Self Defence – K.I.S Principle


The acronym for the K.I.S.Principle of self defence is Keep It Simple. The bottom line, you want your self defence techniques to be simple, quick and effective. So if you are going to look for martial arts training with self defence as your prime motivation make sure you enrol in a specific course on self defence.

If you take a traditional martial art program with this in mind you are going to be disappointed. The curriculum for most martial arts follows a set standard that starts from step one and progresses to advanced techniques. In a traditional martial arts system you will learn self defence techniques but that will not be the focus. You will perfect your martial arts self defence skills, possibly within a couple of years. More likely you will be considered quite efficient at self defence techniques if you remain very focused within five years of dedicated practice.

When your specific requirement is self defence make sure you join a club with a program that fits your requirements. The difference being, one will focus on the best methods of self defence. Of course the very best self defence method is avoidance, avoid trouble and you will stay trouble free.

The other courses, like our main courses, Japanese Karate, Jiujutsu, Japanese weapons and kick boxing are going to go through the basics, building up to perfection, well that’s the idea at any rate. I’m still working at it some 25 years later.

As to the K.I.S Principle that our self defence course teaches. When we talk about keeping a technique simple we are specifically talking about performing an action that comes naturally or almost naturally. Like walking into a room and hitting the light switch, you don’t think about it you just do it. As mentioned earlier we advocate avoidance as well as awareness as two methods of self defence. Awareness as discussed in a previous lesson allows you to use your avoidance which keeps you away from the trouble in the first place.

Funakoshi Gichin sensei – widely considered to be the Father of Japanese karate had this to say: “When you leave your home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you (it is your behaviour that invites trouble from them).

The criminal element of our society has a way of zoning in on those who they perceive to be the weakest. If you look like a victim you will quickly become a victim as the unsavoury characters of the community are looking for easy targets. The way in which you carry yourself goes a long way.  Your overall demeanour is broadcast to the world at large, or at least your community. So when you are walking around, shopping or waiting at a bus stop, keep your head up, be aware of your surroundings and be confident. Use your sight to focus on who is around you and who may be watching you. If you keep your eyes down you will lose focus and your awareness.

There are desperate people in the community and for what ever reasons they may have their sights on you no matter how aware you are or how much you have tried to avoid them. In these cases you have no alternative but to utilize self defence measures. Your first line of defence for anyone male or female that comes into your zone in an aggressive or threatening manner (your zone for someone who has no visible weapon is an area of within a half meter or 1.5 feet), is to yell – as loud as possible, “STOP”. At the same time your hands automatically come up to a defensive position.

For someone who is brandishing a weapon you want to maintain a much greater distance, eight meters or 24 feet. When you yell “STOP” you will have alerted others in the area that something is going on, the perpetrator of the threat will have a redirection of his or her focus.

When peoples attention are drawn to the individual that you have yelled at, typically the individual will make to disappear.  If he or she had no serious menacing intentions the worse that will happen is some embarrassment, better safe than sorry.

Should the individual be undeterred and the intent is menacing the yell will have redirected focus and your next move is off the line of his attack. At the distance of half a meter your move will be to the inside of either angle closer to the perpetrator. You have now turned their mind set and line of attack off track.

To stop this attack you must not think, this is much more difficult to do than to say. Natural reactions must come into practice, it is a hurt or be hurt mind set that you must have. The position you have placed your self in is superior to the attackers position. The target areas for you are nerve centres and soft target areas that are going to buy you the time you need for either help to arrive or for you to make your escape. With each of your strikes you must yell “STOP” as loud as possible.

The attacker will have stopped when you have moved out of his line. He will be turning and rethinking his plan. His natural reactions have gone astray. Your first strike should be to immobilize so the attacker cannot continue to chase you. The knee joint from the side angle is a weak joint and a stomping move with your lead leg, either kicking or stomping with the side of your foot on to the attackers leg will cause great pain.

The next strike as soon as your foot lands, to give you stability and more power, will be to the throat, using the ridge hand of your closest arm. The third strike, if the attacker is still standing, is to follow up with the other arm using a sword hand strike to the bridge of the nose. If the attacker has gone down then a side kick to the head, the ear and neck area are the best area to focus on. This is considered a finishing strike.

Note: most of these hand strikes could be executed as punches with your fist. However if you don’t have a hard object in your hand it’s doubtful you will be able to make a powerful punch with your fist without a great deal of heavy bag or Makawara/striking pad practice. The ridge of your hand the bony part will make a stronger more powerful strike, the same with the sword hand which is the little finger side of your hand.

The strike to the throat will cause the attacker to have a great deal of trouble breathing. The strike to the nose will cause the eyes to water for a few minutes, blurring the vision. If the strike to the head was required this should cause confusion to the mind of the attacker. This is your chance to disengage with the attacker and run to get help or to find a safe place to wait for assistance from security or the police.

The hand to hand combat is the part where everyone needs training and practice.  Our self defence course will help you with that. You cannot learn the hand to hand part properly from an article. This is the part that needs personal instruction and practice with others so that you will be able to practice on your own and put the techniques into practical application if the need ever arises.

I hope you have found this article helpful. To reiterate you can not learn self defence techniques properly from an article or a book. They can be a good resource for you and can aid in your training. The best form of self defence training is through practice and instruction from those who have been trained and have utilized the techniques that they are teaching in the real world.

Article contributed by: Paul J. Youngman – Jan. 2017 for Black Tiger Karate & Self Defence