Main Body

Human kicking in air

Martial arts are often thought of as a set or series of movements and defenses specific to a particular attack. It is assumed that people somehow keep a library of attacks and defenses that they are able to recall whenever necessary. While basic techniques are important to know, the development of perceptual awareness is ultimately key. Basic defenses range from wrist grabs to bear hugs, punches, etc.

The following hyperlink contain a video library that explain and demonstrate some of these key concepts:

Watch the playlist of videos presented by Sean Flynn that is well organized and easy to understand.

Notable Terms

Some of the terms related to self-defense are hard to define because they represent more than just terms. In fact, martial arts “terms” are philosophies, which must be learned over time and can have different meanings for different individuals. Nonetheless, here are some general concepts and principles behind the different styles of martial arts.

Judo – Japanese in origin, developed by Jigoro Kano, and derived from the earlier style of Jujutsu – it is the art of unbalancing one’s opponent and taking him/her to the ground. Size is of little importance in this style as its main purpose is to teach one to use different bodily angles between opponents and gravity as an advantage instead of merely trying to “out muscle” someone.

Aikido – Also has its roots in Japan, was created by Morihei Ueshiba (sometime shortly after WWII), and comes from the earlier style of Jujutsu. Judo and aikido are very similar in that neither believes size nor strength will define who wins and loses. In fact, the founder (known as O Sensei – “Great Teacher”) was, in his youth, undefeated in every battle in which he competed. As the legend goes, people came from all over to try and beat him, but each one unsuccessful. O Sensei realized that he would soon grow old and weak, and someone would eventually beat him. So, he developed Aikido, which literally translates to “the way of the universe.” This style focuses on using your opponent’s own momentum against him.

Capoeira – An Afro-Brazilian art that is said to be created by slaves from Africa and disguised as a form of dance, which is now rooted in Brazilian culture.


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Ch.1 - Self-Defense Copyright © by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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