Self Defense – When the internet is lying to you

Undoubtedly, the Internet is a great source of information for martial artists. Whether it is old or new documents, the amount of information that can be found is virtually infinite. Unfortunately, quantity and quality are two very different things, and mathematically, the more content we have, the more we will have at the two extremes of the qualitative spectrum.

Ultimately, it is always up to each individual to exercise their own critical judgment and to show a minimum of scepticism about the information they receive. It’s usually quite simple to do when you are an informed martial art practitioner with a little experience, it becomes much more difficult for neophytes. Therefore, it goes without saying that if you’re producing content for the latter, as a producer, you have a responsibility to provide information that is as objective as possible (unless you have a subsequent motive that would require to knowingly mislead a part of the population…). At the end of the day, spreading your homemade conspiracy theories is often quite harmless (although…), but when you give beginners self defense advices that is outside the real world, it becomes extremely dangerous.

This brings us to the key point of this article, one of the most mocked videos on the subject. This is a video of Marie Claire, a French (I’m ashamed…) women’s magazine who has decided to offer some self defense tips for her audience. Again, the approach is quite commendable and I am very much in favour of seeing this kind of mainstream magazine cover self defense, but, as I said earlier, when the quality of information is so poor, it is better to abstain.

The video in question is the following one : 5 Self Defense Tips Every Woman Should Know | Marie Claire (humble title).
Again, excellent idea but terribly executed. This video is an example of what not to do… The techniques are poorly demonstrated, it lacks intent, there is no commitment…

Nevertheless, I use it as an example because, if most people who have practiced a little in their lives will immediately frown when they see this, it will not be the case for everyone. And, this video gave rise to several other critical videos, which makes it a quite interesting case to study.

You have Ramsey Dewey who did MMA Fighters try Women’s Self-Defense techniques which is quite educational (he did others, on the same subject), but above all Average people try terrible women’s self-defense moves from Reality Check Self Defence which shows well the absurdity of this demonstration, it’s quite realistic and entertaining.
Also the video of HAVOC JKD which is quite well demonstrated.

At the end of the day, what’s demonstrated in the original video is either completely impractical or dangerous for the user. An educational video on CPR does not have the same consequences as a video on a game test, a video on self defense does not have the same consequences as a tap dance tutorial.
However, if showing this kind of video is borderline irresponsible, it teaches us one important thing, always questioning yourself and going out of your comfort zone. This mentality must always be the driver during everyone’s training. It is obviously necessary to take the time to understand and master a technique, but this step must always be followed by a real practice.
Do I master a wrist lock? All right, now the same on an opponent who resists, is it still as effective?…. Probably not. Hence the importance of always questioning oneself and testing one’s knowledge, without complacency and without false modesty.

In conclusion, do not believe everything you are told and remain critical of what you are shown, both on the internet and during your training sessions!