This question had me wondering if questions along the lines of the ones below would be on topic or not?

What is the minimum research instructors should do to claim being able to teach self defence?


How to spot that an instructor is bullshitting exaggerating their knowledge of self defence?

I can see them as being either too broad or not related to martial arts at all or just inviting flame wars.

  • Are we talking research or experience? If an instructor has worked in the police or as a bouncer or something similar they probably know about the way arguments escalate and develop to assault. Also about premeditated mugging in the former case. They may not have done the research on paper but they probably know what they are talking about where self defense is concerned.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 10:35
  • @HuwEvans As I said before, personal experience is anecdotal evidence at worst or a "small" sampling data at best. That should/could be address in the answers. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 10:57
  • 1
    I'm just trying to see what kind of research you are after... Does watching CCTV footage of assaults count? I was asking about stats in my question, but I would not trust most statisticians to know self defense.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 11:11
  • @HuwEvans That's why the question is so woolly it baas. Research is used as opposite to anecdotes. Thus, watching a few CCTV footage is useless, watching thousands is (potentially) useful. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 12:01

2 Answers 2


The first seems like an opinion question, unfortunately, although it could be an interesting question as to whether there exists some sort of certification. The second seems like it overlaps a bit with the "McDojo" question, and I suspect the answers might be similar, exaggerated stories and refusal to actually test their technique in anything approaching RL circumstances.


I would say that the first question is on topic but poorly worded.

how can I be sure that techniques taught by a particular instructor of martial arts relate to realistic self defense situations.

Should be both answerable and on topic.

how can I gain instruction in avoiding dangerous situations where self defense might be needed.

Equally important, but probably not on topic.

The second question is very close to the McDojo question. I prefer your wording though as most people will not have heard of a McDojo unless they are already martial artists.

  • Your first question is not at all equivalent to Sardathrion's. Sardathrion's question assumes that there is statistical research that can be done on self-defense while yours does not.
    – mattm Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 14:41
  • Your second question is covered by this answer, which is currently the highest voted answer on the site.
    – mattm Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 14:44
  • Yes I agree the second question is well covered. The first one... I would argue that we can't get statistics on what happened exactly in each attack. So we have to challenge this assumption and ask a different question.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 15:10
  • I agree with you, but that is not the question Sardathrion is asking.
    – mattm Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 15:34

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