Bart Vale says th­ese KRPHJURZQ FDJH ÀJKWHUV DUH EHFRPLQJ PRUH com­mon, and he knows the best way to de­fend your­self DJDLQVW WKHP


There was a time when the hay­maker was the most ad­vanced tech­nique you were likely to en­counter in a typ­i­cal side­walk scrap. Sadly, those ϐ Ǥ

ǡ Ǧϐ videos that are avail­able for view­ing on any com­puter or mo­bile de­vice, a gen­er­a­tion of street thugs is pound­ing the pave­ment armed with moves they’ve lifted from the play­book of pro­fes­sional MMA.

ǯ ϐ ϐ ǯ ! " a dark al­ley. If you’re on the re­ceiv­ing end of a rear-naked choke ex­e­cuted by an at­tacker who learned it on YouTube, odds are your tapout will go un­ac­knowl­edged as you fade into a lengthy, if not per­ma­nent, nap.

Dz ϐ ǡ ǯ and con­trol be­cause the ref­eree has the re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the ϐ ǯ " ! ǡdz ǡ ϐ and MMA pi­o­neer, as well as a long­time kenpo Ǥ Dz ǡ Ǥ ǯ ϐ Ǥdz


" up­date their self-de­fense tech­niques so they can con­tend with this new ϐ ǡ " Ǥ " ϐ ǯ Ǧ ϐ ϐ ǡ " " ǡ ) ǯ " ϐ Ǥ

“Fight­ing some­one with poor tech­nique doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily re­duce the ȏ Ȑ ǡdz Ǥ Dz ϐ Ǥdz

Th­ese days, that “any­thing” he’s re­fer­ring to of­ten stems from a crash course in MMA. “The mar­tial arts world con­tin­ues to evolve,” he adds. “In ǡ ǯ ϐ Ǥ ǡ ǯ ϐ Ǥdz


“A lot of the karate tech­niques that are drilled as the stan­dard set of self­de­fense re­sponses prob­a­bly aren’t go­ing to work against a do-it-your­self

ϐ quicker than your abil­ity to re­act,” Vale says.

“Imag­ine that you’re fac­ing some­one who is nat­u­rally good in a grap Ǥ ϐ learned how to shoot in and take you down. [That per­son] could have the abil­ity to get you to the ground be­fore you could step back to per­form your tech­niques.”

In all like­li­hood, a street tough who’s self-taught in MMA would have the same ad­van­tage. “The bad guy is go­ing to shoot in, and you may try to punch him or knee him — you might get him or you won’t,” Vale says. “You would al­ready have to be mov­ing de­fen­sively by the time he is mov­ing of­fen­sively on you. Even if you do con­nect with your tech­nique, it could hap­pen that way be­cause of luck or a col­li­sion due to the fact that you’re both mov­ing.”

The win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to de­fend your­self lasts about half a sec­ond af­ter the at­tacker en­gages with you, Vale says. “If he suc­cess­fully grabs you in some­thing like a rear-naked choke, you’re go­ing to be out quickly. So you re­ally have only a half-sec­ond to [avoid] end­ing up in the hold.

“Now, if you are able to step back and re­act to stop him, that’s great, but re­al­is­ti­cally, that won’t al­ways hap­pen. It’s why I also train my stu­dents to re­spond to the sec­ond af­ter it hap­pens — when the bad guy al­ready has you in the choke and you are on the ground.”

When you prac­tice self-de­fense, do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to pre­pare for such con­tin­gen­cies, Vale ad­vises. “Don’t limit your­self by " ϐ mo­ment of the at­tack. You also should have tech­niques that will work in the short amount of time that you’ll have when you start the drill from your back with the choke al­ready locked on.”


If the for­mula for vic­tory is com­bin­ing prepa­ra­tion with op­por­tu­nity, seiz­ing op­por­tu­nity on its own could be the home-brew that lets Ǧ Ǧ ϐ the street.

“I can re­mem­ber years ago [when] Mr. Ed Parker met a jujitsu or judo guy — I can’t re­mem­ber who it was,” Vale says. “This guy came up to Mr. Parker and said, ‘I have a hold that no one can get out of.’ So he put Mr. Parker in the hold and told him to get out of it. When Mr. Parker said, ‘I can’t,’ the guy jumped up, threw his hands in the air and said, ‘I beat Mr. Parker!’

“Mr. Parker said, ‘Wait a minute. You didn’t beat me. I let you put me in the hold. Let’s try it again.’

“So the guy reached in to grab him again, and Mr. Parker in­stantly hit him in the neck, pre­vent­ing the hold. The guy com­plained, ‘Wait, you can’t do that! I didn’t get you in the hold yet.’

“Mr. Parker pointed out that if you are will­ing to let the guy get the hold, you are giv­ing him the op­por­tu­nity, and by play­ing along with your op­po­nent’s chore­og­ra­phy, of course the hold will work against you. But in a real sit­u­a­tion, if you are trained to re­spond in frac­tions of a sec­ond, the tim­ing of your re­ac­tion could very well be the thing that de­nies your op­po­nent the op­por­tu­nity to get the hold.”

The les­son ap­plies as much to a mod­ern MMA-based as­sault as it does to the kenpo-vs.grap­pling demo that Parker gave.

“Don’t limit your­self by al­ways start­ing on your feet from the first mo­ment of the at­tack.”


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The op­po­nent, per­haps in­spired by MMA on the In­ter­net, at­tempts a low round­house kick (1). Bart Vales an­swers with a leg block, an op­tion that’s best for mar­tial artists who have con­di­tioned their shins (2). The op­po­nent fol­lows up with a punch, which Vale neu­tral­izes by mov­ing and block­ing

(3). The shoot­fighter/kenpo stylist im­me­di­ately seizes the ex­tended arm (4) and lever­ages it to ef­fect a take­down (5). The move leaves him in po­si­tion to se­cure an arm­bar that can eas­ily dam­age the shoul­der (6).

It pays to watch MMA so you’re fa­mil­iar with the types of at­tacks that are used in the cage, Bart Vale (left) says. For ex­am­ple, once you see that fight­ers of­ten shoot in for a take­down, you should start work­ing on the kind of take­down de­fense MMA fight­ers fa­vor.

If you’re able to move away from an at­tack and thus buy time to pre­pare your counter, by all means do so, Bart Vale says. How­ever, some­times an MMA-themed ag­gres­sion — such as this knee thrust de­liv­ered from the clinch — won’t per­mit you to do that. That’s why a self-trained MMA fighter can be more dan­ger­ous than a con­ven­tional striker, he says.

Be­cause self-de­fense of­ten begins from a po­si­tion that’s less ad­van­ta­geous than stand­ing in front of your ad­ver­sary, it’s es­sen­tial to en­gage in train­ing ses­sions that start from awk­ward po­si­tions, Bart Vale says.

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