We are happy to say that each of the martial arts we offer at ZenQuest are useful in real world self-defense. Over time, students in our Muay Thai, Jiu-jitsu, Karate and MMA programs will become proficient in effective self-defense skills. Let’s take a look at each martial art at ZenQuest and its value in self-defense.
Muay Thai - Muay Thai is a ‘striking’ style which focuses on using blocks, punches, kicks, elbows, and knees from a measured distance away from an opponent. It also employs some stand-up clinching (grabbing a hold of an opponent) and throwing. Although these skills are very good for self-defense, in it’s modern form Muay Thai is ultimately based on sport competition. In it’s ancient form or what is known as ‘Muay Boran’ the techniques and strategies were geared more toward actual combat and, therefore, more effective for serious self-defense.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu - BJJ has become known as one of the most effective martial arts in the world. With its takedowns, restraints, submissions, and escapes it is very useful for real world self-defense. Where BJJ is weak, though, is in situations where there is more than one attacker or an attacker is armed. Also, submissions generally aren’t great with opponents who don’t understand ‘tapping’ or are just willing to take damage in order to continue their attack.
Karate - Karate has taken a lot of grief in the last 30 years, mostly because of Karate practitioners jumping into early MMA competitions without any business in doing so. Since those early days though, there have been several successful Karate fighters in MMA including George St. Pierre, Lyoto Machita, Steven Thompson, Michael Page, and Michelle Waterson to name a few. Like with any martial art, there are styles and gyms that do not have a good grasp on effective self-defense but, done right, Karate training is among the best available for real world self-defense. This includes situations involving armed or multiple attackers. Traditional Karate typically focuses on what is known as ‘one-strike-kill’ strategies. This means that the student is taught techniques that are not designed to trade blows with an opponent, but end a situation as fast as possible. Interestingly, this is often what plays out in MMA where each fighter has the ability to knock the other out with one blow.
MMA - Training in mixed martial arts or mixing martial arts will provide a rounded package of self-defense skills. Generally this means training in a ’striking’ art like Karate or Kickboxing, and learning a ’grappling’ art like Jiu-jitsu. At ZenQuest, the absolute best combination for real world self-defense is Karate and Jiu-jitsu. For students who want to practice or compete in MMA, the best combination is Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu. Attending our ’Team Sparring’ sessions sometimes is also a good idea for anyone looking for serious self-defense training as the intensity tends to get turned up a bit there.
Self-defense training must be tempered to be age-appropriate for children. Little ones can’t be expected to have the proper judgment or discretion for strategies that can be damaging or lethal for others. So, we tend to give them safer versions of escape and restraint techniques.
Lastly, self-defense strategies must be practiced consistently over time to work in real situations. Just doing a workshop for a few hours will probably not be enough training to provide a working knowledge of strategies that will hold up to the stress and chaos of a serious attack. The defender ultimately needs to develop instinctive muscle memory for different situations and be able to change from one strategy to another based on what’s happening in real time. Most people can only get that from dedicated training over a longer period of time.