The answer is no. No doubt what you learn from combative arts classes could be used for self-defence but they are just not self-defence. In reality, what you have learnt from the martial arts classes have nothing to do with the realities of protecting your personal safety. But again, we constantly attempt to find out what is the best combative arts for someone to learn about self-defence.
Realise this, if self-defence is what you are looking for, most of the martial arts school will not be able to offer you that, especially on staying safe in a modern urban environment. You may ask why do you say so?
1. Self-defence has something to do with “defusing violence”.
Violence can originate from an argument, physical contact, a date rape, a drunk friend, a fight, etc. They are all violence. Do you know that these pose different problems and there are different solutions?. How many martial arts school’s syllabus actually teach the students about how to response to such a situation? Do you think by breaking board will help you in “defusing violence”? Different violent situations will require different levels of response. You will learn such level of response in self-defense lessons but not combative arts.
2. Martial arts emphasis on fighting style.
As you know each violence situation differs, self-defense is the answer in dealing with it. Remember this, what works for one situation may not work for another. Martial arts emphasis on fighting style. Form is more important than substance. But for self-defence, your personal safety is the priority. You learn how to defuse violence or getting out of that situation. It encompasses common sense, habits, lifestyle, alertness etc.
3. Martial arts are training but not education on how to deal with violence.
Martial arts are training and sports. People constantly mistaken it for education. Self-defence by its very nature addresses specific conditions and problems. Do you think the SWAT officer’s high risk entry training is of good help in controlling a drunk in a bar? Of course not. The training that works for such an officer doesn’t work for you as well. Self defence requires education and training. In combative arts, you will learn very specific things, however, that surely doesn’t mean that you are prepared to handle all violence situations. You need to be educated about what martial art techniques can be used for self-defence in each and every different circumstances.
You must know that most martial arts have become sports regardless their combative history or self-defence use they claim. There’ is a huge difference between sport fighting and defensive movement. If you still think that any martial art could be used for self-defence then you are exposing yourself to the danger.