About this Book
With this book, I have decided to just focus on twenty-four urban self-defence and close quarter combat systems mainly for two reasons; firstly, during my initial research, I found over two hundred different combat styles, and that wasn't including the many traditional martial arts practised around the world today and all their variations. So, instead of a very brief, bite-size chapter on each, which doesn't give you very much information at all, I wanted to explore far fewer styles but in much more detail, which I think is really important, especially for anyone looking for something more specific; it is better to know a lot more about a few systems, than to know very little about a lot.
Secondly, this book isn't written by me, but by professional instructors and Sensei around the world and, to be honest, it would have been virtually impossible to get over two hundred professionals to write a detailed chapter on their specialised system – it was hard enough getting twenty-four and for some systems and styles it was almost impossible to find someone willing to write about them and, like all books, I had to have a deadline and I had to have a limit to the number of people I asked for each style. Some people were extremely proud of their system and wanted to tell as many other people as possible about it, whereas others either repeatedly ignored my requests (as so many people now seem to do with emails) or quickly declined; for whatever reason they seemed not to want to tell anyone about their system.
But actually, I think twenty-four is a really good number and just enough to not get lost or confused as to what sort of systems and styles there are out there, and what they can (or can't) do. Saying that though, I might (and it is just a 'might') compile a Volume 2 with more interesting combat styles should I have enough interest, both from other renown professionals willing to profile themselves and showcase their systems, and from people wanting to read about them.
Lastly... I have showcased Krav Maga twice, from two different professionals; Israeli Krav Maga by David Khan in the USA, and Total Krav Maga from Nick Maison in the UK, both at the very top of their game and considered the highest grades in this style in each of these countries. Krav Maga has influenced almost every other form of Urban Combat in the world today, so it is worth spotlighting these two professionals and their system in more detail. I have also profiled KENPO and its more progressive system KENPO, as well as Escrima and its more modern variation Eskrima, again because both of these styles have developed and significantly influenced the martial arts and self-defence world today.
What Makes a Really Good Combat Specialist?
The people featured in this book are undoubtedly some of the very best in the business; quite simply, they have dedicated their lives to self-defence and combat training. I absolutely believe that most people can do most things in life really, really well; they just need to want it enough, and the reason why most people don't achieve is just because they don't want to achieve. Most of the limits we have set in our lives, and on ourselves, are self-imposed limits; we find excuses and reasons for not doing things rather than finding ways of doing things. But, as we often witness, ordinary people really have gone on to do extraordinary things and, after reading about each of the individual contributors in this book and the development of their specific styles - or their practice of a more traditional style - two words immediately spring to mind when trying to understand what makes people become really, really good combat specialists; COMMITMENT and PASSION. Dojos, training academies, sports halls and gyms are full of martial artists and combat specialists training hard, rehearsing and practising, week in, week out, which is undeniably brilliant, but it is commitment and real passion that makes just a very few stand out, and from those that stand out, only a very small handful eventually become some of the very best. It isn't that others don't have commitment and passion, of course they do, but there is another level that drives some people to become the best of the best within the combat world.
Finding the Right Combat System
We are all different and we all want different things in life. However, until we actually try different things in life, we often don't know what we want in life! And the same goes for combat training; there are so many martial arts, self-defence and urban combat systems out there, the hardest thing is finding the right system for our needs, and a system we feel most comfortable with. So how do we go about it?
Firstly, you must ask yourself why do you need to learn a combat system? Do you live in a tough urban environment with a high crime rate and so you need to learn a combat system purely to defend yourself against a possible threat or attack? Do you work the doors and need a combat system to help protect yourself in an often violent world, and to keep yourself, and others safe? Are you in the forces or military and therefore need more weapons based training? Or is it just for your own personal and physical growth and development?
Secondly, once you have decided why you want to train, you need to be honest and ask yourself what sort of training and environment you feel most comfortable with? Are you a wrestler or grappler and feel comfortable up close and personal? Or do you prefer the rigidity and relative isolation of the kata? Are you a fairly aggressive person and feel more at ease with tough sparring and full-contact, or do you prefer more sport based, less contact styles? By trying different styles and systems you will quickly understand what you want out of your combat training, and once you know what you want, you can then start to set yourself goals, and start to work towards achieving those goals - there are styles and systems featured in this book that suit just about everyone.
And thirdly, you should always choose an instructor that is dedicated in helping you learn, grow and develop; learning any form of combat isn't easy; it's tough and it's hard work, and it takes time and a lot of commitment, especially in the first few months as you are settling into a new environment, so find an instructor that pushes you to learn, but is patient too. Find and instructor that believes in you.
Be The Best You Can Be
If someone ask you what you do for a living, you wouldn't tell them that you were an average carpenter, or an average lawyer, or an average accountant, or an average soldier, or an average doorman (or woman). No one wants to be average, and no one wants to tell others that they are average either! So treat your combat training in the same way... don't be average! Develop a real COMMITMENT and PASSION towards your chosen system or style, study hard, ask lots of questions, learn from others, be respectful, take advice, read combat books and watch combat movies, buy combat DVDs and watch YouTube techniques of your chosen style; dedicate yourself to learning and dedicate yourself to being the very best you can be.
In fact be better than you ever thought you could be!
Train Hard, Stay Tough
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