Photo courtesy of Nimr Hassan
Several months ago I got to attend a conference with a lot of very high-level speakers and demonstrators, and I heard several very interesting martial arts lectures. The best in show by far, from my point of view, was Nimr Hassan's aikido lesson.
Hassan started out by calling six or eight demonstrators from the audience and pairing them up. There were karate guys, MMA guys, and ROSS combatives guys in the group. He showed them the attack that he wanted to work on defending - a jab-cross, the likes of which you might see on the street. He showed the principle evasion that he wanted to work on - fading back to the inside with a parry to the attacking arm. Then he asked each demonstrator to show a defence or two representative of whatever style they practiced. They were to evade the jab-cross, parry like he showed, then follow up with whatever they liked - whatever they practiced a lot. The demonstrators were a flurry of throat punching, spine-elbowing, head twisting, eye gouging fury. I started to get sick to my stomach at the display of unconstrained violence. I almost walked out but I'm glad I didn't
Then Hassan asked the demonstrators to show their responses in slow motion as the crowd analyzed the likely consequences of each strike. Virtually all the strikes would have reasonably been considered lethal force. The demonstrators all chose to demonstrate deadly force as a response to a jab-cross. Hassan asked how many demonstrators were law enforcement or military. None. Then he asked how many people in the audience were law enforcement or military. One or two out of a few dozen.
I thought Hassan's summary of this demonstration was especially interesting - These demonstrators, being normal civilians and not law enforcement or military, were not sanctioned by society to use deadly force, but they had all trained to the extent that their first choice was to respond with deadly force. Hassan's summary: These guys were all training to get themselves thrown into prison. These guys needed to work on learning some real self-defense - something with which they could defend themselves against themselves.
Sure, there are instances in which civilians are justified in the use of lethal force against an attacker, but I thought Hassan's point was good and his demonstration of that point was superb. What do y'all think? What level of force do you train to immediately respond with? Might you be a candidate for some real self-defense training?