I have spent some time watching video's, both on DVD and YouTube, and am finding it hard to believe that what is taught will work. First, complexity over simplicity. Most of what I have seen or witnessed, including my own of early years, seems way to complex and disconnected from what the lizard brain would handle during a violent encounter.
Take a look at what is available regarding what is promoted as street fighting. There are a few that are caught on video phones coming straight from the streets, bars and other establishments where it comes fast and furious and in my perception the complex techniques taught as bunkai and/or self-defense are just not realistic to work.
It makes me wonder just what is being taught and why is it being accepted as self-defense. It also makes me wonder if it would be accepted in legal and socially moral terms as self-defense. Most of what I see goes past a perceived point of no return taking defense into the realm of fighting (Note: fighting is illegal).
Another perception is never, ever is it discussed that once a technique or combination achieves its goal of pushing an adversary out of the offensive into defensive role do they speak of stopping the technique or combination and moving fast away from the conflict. Then, my favorite one, is never, ever do I see them approach self-defense sessions or instructions in a whole and complete manner, i.e. never or ever do I see them first discuss and practice how to avoid it completely, how to avoid it by discussion (provided it is a nature where verbalization is possible), and to avoid it by deescalation (also part of the discussion aspect), then the physical defenses and finally what should be done once you reach a safe zone and have to deal with the aftermath, i.e. medical, psychological, legal, civilly, etc.
Is it possible what I am seeing is more a matter of "the way" as a philosophical character building model? Not meant to be for self-defense although you constantly hear the instructor talk about defense against this or that attack. Why do we tend to remain solely in the realm of the physical and leave all the other stuff up to the individual on their own - if they actually know of and understand the entire spectrum of self-defense?
I realize just how much I was involved in this model of teaching, learning and fooling myself and others into thinking this was self-defense but the why concerns me more today than ever before in my involvement with karate and self-defense. Is it a matter of ignorance and acceptance without question? If so, how do we get folks to question such training and practice? Why are we so focused on analysis and explanations without first working out if what is being analyzed and discussed even works? My favorite self-question is, "why did it take me so long to discover I was wrong and why oh why didn't I figure this out years ago?" Maybe it is good in the beginning but when you leave out an analysis of whether it works in reality or not you lose a lot of ability in violence and why don't we push to leave this level of infancy and reach for the adulthood of martial systems?
Got any answers for me?