Hard and Soft self defense methods mixed
within every functional martial art. As hard methods are easier to
develop to the basic functional level, they are forming foundation of generic
self defense training be it based on Krav-Maga, karate, or anything else.
For the same reason of initial simplicity striking is the core of modern military
H2H training curriculum.
On the other hand soft self defense methods require longer
training and higher level of skills to be practically useful. In well balanced
styles of karate and kung-fu the soft skills considered to be advanced level of
training and often missing altogether as instructors themselves may not be good
enough in it to present those soft techniques to their students.
On the other hand Judo is concentrated on soft techniques
and Aikido is built around soft techniques (with better preserved emphasis on
striking – as throw preparation technique – than it can be found in modern
But what methods, hard or soft, are better suited for
teaching civilian self defense courses?
When the first order of importance is seen to teach
student to stay alive in the utmost life-endangering circumstances, the second –
and at the end of day not less important – is to teach handling of (legal and
social) aftermath of a victory in a violent confrontation. And there we
need to refer to rules of self defense.
As legal definitions and limitations of acceptable
self defense vary from country to country (in the US it varies even from state
to state) it is no one-size-fit-all solution available. However, if we’re
looking for the lowest common denominator, we can say that using force that is
the same or less threatening than supposed aggression should keep you
out of legal trouble.
And here the soft techniques are starting to play. If you
attacked by someone why tried to hit you in the face with his fist and in defense
you hit him back and broke his jaw, you both are seen as acting on the same level violence and he
can try to sue you (even in a civil court for cost of the medical treatment). But if in
self defense you just pushed him aside or throw to the ground without causing direct
body damages he’s less likely to have probable cause to take you to a court and, in any
case, you’ll be seen more sympathetically in the aftermath.
Does this means that hard methods shouldn’t be taught in
civilian self defense classes? By all means no!!! The FIRST order of business
is to give skills for a student to protect his or her life; dealing with an aftermath is
the second. But it also means that hard techniques should be not only
self defense skills included even in a basic civilian self defense training course.
And there is advantage of Judo-based civilian soft self defense.