I am a big fan of action movies, specifically martial arts action movies. I have been my whole life. Anyone who has some training in a Reality Based Martial Art (RBMA) knows that the movies and TV have little to do with real self defense. Unfortunately many people without training, including those who shape our laws do not get that.I encounter people all the time who get their complete thought process about self-defense and martial arts training from the media.
As I sit here writing this, I am watching the thrilling movie Ninja Assassin. It’s an exciting movie with highly stylized violence, and feats of supernatural martial arts. In one scene, the hero has to assassinate a very large gentleman. The hero uses a knife and stabs the man in the carotid artery, femoral artery, and through the brachial artery – the big guy keeps coming through spurting blood. At one point he even says, “it will take more than that to stop me.”
This leads me to a persistent myth I see which is common to a lot of media – the Juggernaut or unstoppable villain. As a plot device a Michael Meyers or Jason Vorhees who can get shot, stabbed, drowned, electrocuted and still keep on coming provides excitement. The reality is that Juggernaut just doesn’t exist.
In reality, if your carotid or femoral artery get’s severed – chances are you will lose consciousness in seconds and your life in a very few minutes. I don’t care how tough you are, how muscular, what drugs you’re on, or how psychotic you are – there are rules you’re body is going to follow. There are people, through muscular conditioning, training, and other factors for whom typical punches and kicks are going to be less effective. Boxers condition against knockout punches and body blows.
In our system of Jujutsu we learn common anatomical weaknesses so that we can attack them and it doesn’t matter who the attacker is. For example, you cannot condition your eyes to be impervious to attack in any way, nor can you condition your trachea. Joints can be attacked in certain ways – requiring very little pressure to cause breaking or dislocation.
Part of our philosophy is that good self-defense doesn’t rely solely on causing pain in an opponent (as some are resistant to pain) and shouldn’t require a lot of strength, speed, or flexibility. These things are all advantages, but are fallible.