View Full Version : What do you suggest for a rank beginner?

May 14, 2002, 08:46 PM
I read through the archives but didn't really find the answer to my question.

I read the following quote the other day "When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail." I realized this applies to me.

I have only recently got "serious" about self defense. I always kept a gun around the house but just recently got my CCW and started taking classes wherever I could find them. I am getting comfortable in this respect, but my unarmed skills are non-existant. Even a poorly trained street person could kick my butt if he got the jump on me.

I am a middle aged male in a little less than average shape. I have always been able to talk my way out of bad situations. But I realize that sooner or later my luck could run out.

What kind of training should I be looking for? Should I cross train in more than one skill at a time? If so what? I realize this late in life, my options are limited. No class is going to turn me into an "operator". I would just like to even the odds a little.

Your input is appreciated.

May 14, 2002, 09:24 PM
First, get on the treadmill. Not only will this help you run away from fights, it will help you if you do get in a fight, and to survive a GSW (for some silly reason people think that they won't get shot in a fight). Second, cut out tobacco and alcohol. Smoking will cut your wind and booze will give you extra calories. As well, if you stay away from booze and where booze is dispensed, you stay away from most trouble.

Second, go to skul. You cannot train without a framework. I can recommend most of the major skuls--Gunsite, Chapman, LFI, Thunder Ranch, Blackwater, SIG, Louis Awerbuck, etc. Remember, not all skuls focus on the same thing. You don't go to Indiana University to study chemical engineering and Purdue does not have a School of Medicine or Law.

Chapman was pure shooting. Thunder Ranch is fighting. Gunsite is a mix. The best bang for my buck in skul was LFI-1. I only shot about 350 rounds, but Mas presented more on self-defense than 3 years of grad skul and the bar exam. If you want to jump out of black helicopters and refer to your self as "Captain Tactical", don't go to LFI-I. The secrets of ninja come later. LFI-II and III are good for unarmed stuff, but I hear SIG has an excellent retention class (and knife class too).

Even the NRA Home Defense course get can you started. We just had one here in Lafayette. They run them all over.

Reading and videos help you whet your appetite, but most learn by doing. So, do.

Third, get a training partner. Like weight lifting, it will help you train (watch each other's draw or mal drills) and motivate you (come on, let's go, I don't want to hear about "my life, my wife, the dog, etc.").

Fourth, dry fire. Helps tremendously.

The more you train, the less you know. It's all about creating a culture of learning. Best wishes.

May 14, 2002, 09:34 PM
KSFreeman has given excellent advice. I'd add one thing- Practice your mental conditioning. Don't walk around in condition white all day. One thing I do is to try to remember what people are wearing, noticing their facial expressions, gestures, etc. Just make sure your mind is just as sharp as your hands.

May 14, 2002, 10:10 PM
Thanks Freeman, you're starting this off in the right direction. To address your points in order,

Alchohol and smokes are a non issue, and I haven't been inside a bar since becoming a grandfather. I guess I just outgrew the whole mess. I'm more of a couch potato.

Going to school is the plan, and your IU vs. Purdue analogy is kind of my point. Most all of the schools you mention are on my to attend list. I have all of Mas Ayoobs books, along with Col. Coopers "Principles", etc. But they are for the most part shooting schools. Neccesary skills but only one piece of the puzzle.

What about H2H schools or knife schools? Police officers and soldiers get basic H2H in addition to PT and firearms. What should civilians look for? Boxing, martial arts, some combo of all of the above?

Training partners - I am fortunate on the shooting side. I train regularly with a group of LEOs and military types, one of whom is an instructor at one of the major shooting schools. For the PT my youngest son has hit puberty and the growth spurt so we are going to hit the gym together "young smart aleck vs. old fat man" friendly competition for motivation.

ronin308, I paid my way through college as a bill collector/repo man so I learned "condition yellow" long before I knew that's what it was called.

I realize that escape and evade is the best choice, but when it's not possible I would like more options in my bag of skills.

Keep those tips coming.

May 15, 2002, 11:03 AM

In reguards to your HTH questions, can you give us some more info?

What do you want to be able to accomplish?

How much time are you willing to invest in training?

Are you looking for something that you and your son can do together?


May 15, 2002, 02:12 PM
Half, I will try to elaborate further.

In reference to your question about what I hope to accomplish, there are situations where you may find yourself attacked, but not at a level that would justify lethal force. For example, some drunk wanders into your yard and starts raising hell. Or you are at work and a coworkers abusive spouse shows up wanting to fight everyone in the place. Currently, other than shooting him, my only option is to stand there and take the beating or run. Unless I got a lucky sucker punch in I wouldn't stand much of a chance.

It's embarrassing to have to admit, but I simply don't know how to fight. I've never had to.

I would be willing to devote a couple of nights a week on a regular basis to learn the necessary skills, I just don't know what I should be learning.

My son and I will be doing the physical fitness portion together. He may want to participate in the H2H portion as well, but it's not a requirement.

May 15, 2002, 02:35 PM
Would STRONGLY suggest finding a school that combines a mixture of striking and grappling. I studied tae kwon do for some time, and felt quite confident until a wrestler charged me, took me to the ground, and beat the crap out of me. I'm now supplementing my striking art with Brazilian ju-jitsu instruction. just my opinion, FWIW.

May 16, 2002, 04:25 AM
lift some weights

A Haslem
May 16, 2002, 08:27 AM
Some advice from a middle aged grandpa, although I've trained in Karate usually every other day for the past 30 years.
1. Find a school where you can learn punches and grappling, forget the kicks, they take too long to master especially for us older folks.
2. Try to learn a few techniques well, don't worry about a whole arsenal.
3. Forget the fancy TV moves, they don't work in real life.
4. Get a punching bag to develop power.
5. Be careful on the intensity of training because when we get older you get injured easier and it takes longer to heal. Doesn't make sense to get hurt worse training than in a real fight.

I don't kid myself on the problem of age. I find that after age 30 every day more and more people can kick my butt.
Good Luck

May 16, 2002, 08:46 AM

I can only help you from my very limited experience. I am sure there are some here that have worked in more than one system and can better answer, but I will tell you what I can. I am in the American Society of Karate. Our style is not a ridged traditional system. Although it mostly came from Shotokan, we have also incorporated into it some Taekwondo, Judo, Jeet kune do, Gracie Jujitsu, and others. Many of our black belts have brown or black belts in other disciplines. If we find something that works better, we change. In a traditional system you may do something a certain way just because that's the way it's always been done. Our system is one of the best that I have seen in producing a well rounded martial artist. Yes, we point spar and do kata which you may not be interested in, but we also spend a great deal of time on self defense and ground fighting. If you are willing to devote two nights a week to training, I would look for a non-traditional school that combines the elements that you are looking for. You definately want some striking and some groundfighting. Go to different schools and ask if you can watch a class or two, and then talk to the instructor after class. Go with your gut feeling. Here are some things that I would be leary of:

1. School not affiliated with some type of governing body.
2. Instructor that tells you he, his style, his school is the pinacle of MA schools. (He should be proud of his school and art, but not to an arrogant point.)
3. Instructor that says you don't need ground fighting skills.
4. School that makes you commit to long term contract without some type of trial period.
5. School that insists that high kicks are a good form of self defense.
6. School that says that training for point sparring is all you need for self defense.
7. There are countless others, but let your BS detector be your guide.

I hope that in some small way this will help you. If you have any other questions, don't be afraid to ask. Maybe we can get one of the "heavy hitters" to answer it.


May 17, 2002, 09:21 AM
Try checking out the U.S. Marines Close-Quarters Combat Manual. It is printed by Paladin Press. The online bookstores carry it.

This book shows a number of holds, locks, strikes, a chapter on knife fighting, etc. It was written for taking care of a real threat and completely imobilizing them (or "finishing" them as the book puts it). Nothing fancy just getting the job done. It is written with just the fundamentals and based upon the Marines Line System. Check it out.

May 18, 2002, 10:45 PM
Be careful on the intensity of training because when we get older you get injured easier and it takes longer to heal.

Isn't that the truth. When I was a kid, I could throw myself into a wall all day and not even think about it. Now I have to stretch before I do anything, just so I don't tear any muscles.

As for a particular martial art: if there's somewhere near you that teaches Jiu-Jitsu -- not Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is great, but 99% ground oriented -- try it out. In my estimation, there's no better way to put a world of hurt on someone than traditional Jiu-Jitsu. Hell, I don't even study it because it's just too brutal; I go for Judo, which is the friendly, tame, please-don't-break-my-face, adapted version.

May 20, 2002, 10:27 AM
Thanks to everyone who replied to this. It has given me an idea of what to look for. Now I just need to get out of the house and start studying.

May 20, 2002, 03:48 PM
Be careful on the intensity of training because when we get older you get injured easier and it takes longer to heal.

You fellows might be getting old, but me.....I'm in my prime!!;)


May 20, 2002, 07:33 PM
I think a school or dojo with a good instructor will help volumes. Books and videos are great to a certain extent and several well known mixed martial arts competitors have learned this way. You might make mistakes and learn things incorrectly, however, and this is exactly what a good instructor can show you.

Also you might not only want to think about the time that you are putting in training, but how far you are willing to travel if you are looking for a school. You might be less apt to stick with a place if it takes you an hour to get home and you are pooped even before you start driving.

Thus, you'd probably want to check out the yellowpages and check out the schools that are close to your area and teach what you are looking for. Also, lots of good help on the internet too - you can find everything from schools to training partners to motivation to tips with a certain technique.

Finally, I have to give my shouts out to mma.tv. You can probably find someone over there that has practiced any martial art out there. That site is to mixed martial arts what TFL is to firearms.

Good luck, I'm interested in what you decide on.

May 26, 2002, 04:55 PM
There are several schools that offer an integrated curriculum for defensive skills.



These are two that I have trained with and respect a great deal.


This is a third that I have heard very good thing about but have not trained at.

OPS and Insights both offer mobil training throughout the country.

All three schools integrate their unarmed programs with teir knife programs with their pistol, shotgun and rifle training.

You can get a much broader training experience for a lot less money working with mobil training schools than having to make the trek to one of the big temples [Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, etc.]