A fair number of the questions to the martial arts StackExchange are about self defence. It makes some sense, often martial artists practise self protection skills and methods. However martial arts themselves only cover a small area of self protection, the recent question about devices for example is on topic for self protection but largely off topic for martial arts.

The skill and knowledge sets and training goals are also often not exactly aligned, though many martial artists may not realise it. It can mean poor advice and answers being given to questions which contain aspects of self defence questions.

There is also an information security stack exchange already, this specifically covers security aspects of using information systems, there are several additional SEs which cover different aspects of using information systems, and I don't think it's a bad model to follow.

I would certainly join such a SE, but probably wouldn't contribute many answers personally. I think it would be a valuable resource in particular if the community included people with amateur and professional experience.

3 Answers 3


In addition to the answer from Sean, I would mention that it is quite normal for a site to touch on areas that might seem to be technically outside its intended scope.

A good example is Stack Overflow - it has a lot of overlap with other sites like Database Administrators, Information Security, ServerFault, Reverse Engineering, Programmers, Code Review, etc. Just because a question is a great fit in one of those other sites doesn't make it off topic in Stack Overflow (well, not usually). In fact the only reason those other sites exist is because there was enough material to be able to spin off a separate site* - that isn't the case for Martial Arts.

While you could argue that self defense is a separate topic in itself, if you ask on a martial arts site you will get a martial arts oriented answer. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this. That doesn't mean we can't cover the non-martial aspects of self defense here - remember that it is up to the community as a whole whether they close questions for being off topic; if the community decides not to close a self defense question that doesn't have much connection with martial arts then that means you've automatically started to extend the scope of the site.

*Excluding Server Fault, that has always been an independent site oriented towards sysadmins (not a spin-off).

  • ok let me turn it around then. Should the martial arts stack exchange be an appropriate place to ask questions about self defence or self protection, given that this means it will often cover areas that might not be strictly about martial arts. As mentioned below; legal issues, weaponry, strategies etc. Based on the fact that many if not most martial artists often also cover aspects of self defence and self protection as part of their training. Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 23:36

"It can mean poor advice and answers being given to questions which contain aspects of self defence questions."

The nature of any Q&A site is that you can (will, in fact) always get some poor advice and answers. The guidelines about linking/directing to other sources and the general voting mechanism are the correctives here.

While it's true that martial arts is much larger than just self defense, even within the realm of self defense you can find terrible advice, bad stats, and myths. Given that professional fields that require self defense often draw heavily upon martial arts (police, military, security - judo, kali, etc.), it's natural those kinds of questions will show up here.


Honestly? The site is kind of lethargic as it stands without trying to split into two separate sites. You would have to prove that you could provide a large enough group of people interested to get out of pitch, and I have my doubts that that's feasible.

  • I'm not sure it'd be splitting the site. At the moment it's pretty much the natural place to end up when thinking about self defence, but really the subject is quite a bit wider than martial arts. Touching on legal issues, firearms (where they're legal), other types of carryable weapons, strategies and tactics for avoiding problems in the first place as well as those for once the shtf. All of which seem to be mostly out of scope for the martial arts SE. Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 23:25

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