Friday, 26 November 2010

Shorinji kempo as self defence

Last night I was battered by a woman and it reassured me.

Sensei set up a sequence of attacks or approaches which could easily be seen as self defence moves and my partner (a woman of much slighter build) and I started practising. We both took turns as the aggressor but it was quite obvious to me she was executing good technique and obvious to others that she was throwing me around the dojo. This made me feel pretty good. I knew I wasn't faking it (not being easy on her-in fact sometimes I was quite awkward) and my partner, SD, had to make the technique work within this self defence framework. It gave me a good feeling of reassurance that what sometimes seem as quite formal techniques can be effective as self defence moves; all this as she bounced me off the walls.

I'm not saying that this is 'Woman's Self Defence' (a term I find incredibly condescending) nor that I'm pleased a *woman* can make these techniques work, simply that I felt a smaller, slighter person can be effective on a heavier aggressor who acts with feeling and with intent.

What is not considered in this format, of course, is street environment or street clothing. Any dojo 'self defence moves' are really no more than an approximation of the physicality of what might happen in the street/bus/tube. We walk into a dojo with sports specific clothing, bare feet, clean flat floors and bright lighting. None of these elements are guaranteed on the street.

This does not mean practising the self defence technique is worthless. If it's never used then it can never be conceived of or tapped into at a subconscious level when needed.

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