I recently (one year ago) took up judo as a self-defense art because I have found the judo/aikido techniques the most useful BECAUSE they are not the most lethal. I realize this is NOT a common opinion among martial artist and would like to explain my reasoning and generate some discussion. Also, let me say I just recently discovered these forums so have not been following the discussion (although yesterday I did read the thread on SCARS)
Now, my background. When I went through Marine officer training in 1984 they were emphasizing hand-to-hand combat training for officers, so we had 6 months of it about 3 times a week at The Basic School and then an additional 3 months almost every day at the Infantry Officer Course. Then I was given an instruction/teaching guide which I used in training my platoons over the next 4 years.
The techniques were very basic, very easy, and were designed to kill or maim your opponent quickly. We also learned some basic takedowns and grab release techniques - to get us out of trouble in bar fights. These were based on judo/aikido techniques.
I've never had to use the "kill techniques" we learned.
I have had to use the judo-based takedowns, holds and grab releases. First time, we were in a big bar fight and a guy jumped me, so I broke his arm at the elbow to get him to let go and then I left the bar QUICKLY.
Second time, I used the takedown on a drunk college classmate who was acting stupid with a butcher knife, and I've used the grab releases/holds A LOT to stop drunken or obnoxious people from starting anything. All judo techniques.
So, I've never had to pummel anyone or attack anyone with my bare hands - never had to strike a lethal blow - but I HAVE had to use pain compliance holds or grab releases often. So, to me, in this age of firearms, if someone is is attacking you in a way that justifies lethal force, YOU SHOOT THEM. But, striking or beating someone who is simply obnoxious, impolite, or testing you out to see if you are a mark is not justified, so a style which allows a range of non-lethal response is better.
In the one case where I was attacked and was NOT armed, I was in a convenience store pouring myself a cup of coffee. Some guy came up to me with a butcher knife, so I threw the BOILING HOT cofee in his face and then whacked him with the pot. It worked - but again, I used a weapon.
ANy thoughts? Contrary opinions? Perhaps some discussion on the use of martial arts in an armed society?
Anyway, I'm starting my kids with judo.