Martial Arts FAQ


What is self defence?
The law is very specific about what constitutes self defence. Under the law you are entitled to use reasonable force to protect yourself, another person or your property, prevent crime or help to legally arrest a criminal.
The force that it is reasonable to use in any situation will depend on the circumstances and the threat you are facing. Broadly, for force to be reasonable it must be ‘necessary’ and ‘in proportion’. However, cases have established that:

  • a claim of self-defence is allowed if you have done no more than you instinctively believe is necessary to protect yourself from attack (or to protect others or property); and
  • in that situation you are not expected to judge precisely the measure of defensive force used.

Self defence gives you the right to respond to an attack with reasonable force but on a cold dark night it is not so easy to be as objective as a lawyer can be in a court of law, if you feel your life is in danger you have to use the maximum force available to you.
Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. You are not expected to make fine judgements over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary at that point in time, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in self-defence. This plea would still be valid if you were to use something to hand as a weapon.
As a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence. (The Crown Prosecution Service).
For examples of previous court cases and details of actual court rulings follow this link the page is well worth a look and answers many of the questions martial artist and the public commonly ask about self defence.

What is the difference between a martial art, a combat sport and what you teach?
Man has always had to fight to survive and all countries have their indigenous combat arts. But with the development of firearms many have fallen into disuse. It was only in Japan and a number of other Asian countries that the martial arts were systemised and developed into what we recognise today.
Martial arts were intended to be used in time of war and only as a last result if the weapon failed. Very basic techniques were taught to soldiers more for physical fitness than effective combat. Today it is only elite forces that spend any time on hand to hand fighting (or close quarter combat) techniques and then far less than the general public imagine.
These original martial arts have almost entirely now become combat sports with rules. Dangerous techniques have been removed to make it safer for the participant.
What I teach is not a martial art or a combat sport; it is a means of surviving the pressures of modern life, providing the mental and physical tools to live life to the full, without fear. It is taught with the intention of being used in a self defence situation and is never practiced as a sport, its fundamental roots can be found in a number of martial arts but would be more recognisable as a form of Systema. It uses natural movements making it easier to learn, with fluid, graceful and efficient techniques it is suitable for the weak and the elderly.

Why are there so many different martial arts?
Bruce Lee said “We all have two arms, two legs and one head”. If we had four arms then we might fight differently but as it is we are limited by our physiology. So why are there so many different arts, styles, and systems? Well I wont go into the splits that occur within groups due to instructors wanting to control the purse strings but we are all human as Bruce pointed out and as such have personal preferences based on our likes and dislikes . A “master” that liked kicking would emphasise the kick, one that preferred grappling would emphasise ground work and so it goes on. Long after the master has passed on, his favourite techniques become, to his disciples, the only way to fight. It is important that you know what you want to achieve and then ask the instructor what the aims of his art are.

All the adverts for martial arts schools include self defence as a benefit of training is that true?
A basic principle of learning is the way one trains is the way they will react, especially when under stress, they will not do something different from the way they practised it in training. Therefore if as in a traditional school you perform thousands of repetitions of punches into thin air and never hit anything solid and when sparing you pull your punch because to draw blood would mean disqualification. How then can you believe that when faced with a real life aggressor you will be able to change years of conditioning? It is a fallacy that a combat sport can provide self defence training; it is not possible to change hours of conditioning, especially when put under pressure.

I’m not very fit, will I have to improve my fitness be fore I can start to learn?
It’s a fact that most people believe that they have to get fitter before they start any sport, just as most people diet before going to a slimming club. With all sports you will get fitter as you take part in them and it is the coach’s job to ensure that you are safe and not pushed to hard during training. If you are over the age of 40 and have not taken part in regular exercise for a number of years it is advisable to visit your doctor before undertaking any new activity. The Academy ensures that your experience will be enjoyable and safe in a number of ways:
• Health screening on joining
• Small classes tailored for the student’s level of ability and fitness.

Steve has completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Sports Science and is current on the latest information on the training and development of athletes. He is a Sports Therapist, a Cardiac Rehab Specialist, is a first aid instructor, and forty years of experience in the martial arts.

I’m scared of the violence against older people that is always being reported in the newspapers. I’m retired and no longer physically very strong, so I’m surely too old to train?
The good news is you are never too old to start exercising and the benefits are huge. The Filipino martial arts taught as part of the system is is perfect for the mature citizen, using a stick which is similar to a walking stick it offers the perfect response to an assault by a younger assailant. With this knowledge comes the confidence that changes your whole physical appearance making you less likely to be a victim. “The art of fighting without fighting”.

I tried karate/ Ju Jitsu/ kickboxing but it was not what I expected it was not very realistic and I kept getting injured. How are your classes different?
If your reading this now then you must still be interested which is good, I have spent 40 years of my life exploring and training in the martial arts, hopefully I will have another 40 to keep looking. Time is the only thing in life that can not be replaced so I don’t like to waste it, I will teach you the things that I have learned the hard way, saving you the time, pain and energy of looking for yourself. If I teach you something I can explain why I am teaching it and how it is relevant to you. The benefits of what I teach will be apparent from day one you don’t need to study for years to learn the secrets. All I have and know are yours to take.