February 28

Dojo Defence- By Martial Arts Legend Dave Turton


Dojo Defence …

Dave Turton 9th Dan: ASMAA-SDF Head

Dojo Defence … This was a term I started using quite a lot in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.I can’t actually remember if I personally coined it or if I heard it and ‘borrowed’ it (probably the latter).Either way it sums up what I am trying to get across in this article, and is prevalent in 99% of martial arts schools/clubs all over the world and not just in the UK.

So, what do I mean by ‘Dojo Defence’ … well let me explain, as you know I do hold some strong views and am not slow in telling them.

Now also please understand that despite what some people may say about “Dave Turton”, I don’t knock styles, instructors or associations just for the hell of it.

I love ALL martial arts and only use names etc as EXAMPLES, not as criticisms per se.

So OK I had better get on with it ….

You have all seen the adverts, posters etc…


NEW .. Brazilian Bum Kicking .. the Deadly art of self-defence, get fit, have fun, confidence, discipline etc”

 How many martial arts clubs DON’T use the term ‘Self-Defence’ in their adverts, probably ALL.

Yet most of them and indeed MOST (not all I admit) styles also say they do self-defence, when in fact they are actually doing ‘Dojo Defence’.

Once in the late 1960’s I saw a poster in Rochdale (where I lived at the time) for a Karate Club… They of course did Sport, confidence AND self-defence.. I phoned the number out of my usual curiosity and was proudly told that their self-defence was on a different night to their traditional karate, and I could pop along to watch. GREAT I thought until I went…

What greeted me as their self defence was everyone doing traditional karate but in STREET clothes.. Karate in jeans.

Gyaku Tzukis, Mawashi Geris etc as ATTACKS, and traditional Blocks as defences, then traditional counters.

All that had changed was the names were in English not Japanese and they all wore everyday clothes. Yet the instructor was SO proud of the fact that he was teaching self-defence. He wsn’t it was good old “karate in jeans”

Think about it MOST Eastern & Western martial arts systems are usually taught to defence against THEMSELVES … Karate v Karate, Judo v Judo, TKD v TKD, Boxing v Boxing etc.

The Chinese and other Eastern Arts hardly ever teach anything other than to defend against their own styles .. Wing Chun v Wing Chun… Fu Jow Pai v Fu Jow Pai, and so on.

Even Ju-Jutsu (which should know better) often teaches defences against ‘karate’ style punches and kicks. So where is the actual self-defence?

OK some styles have emerged which apparently seem to be taught against other attacks, but they still for the most part teach their students to defend against their style.

Never forget in REAL self-defence your OPPONENT is more important than you… what he/she does or doesn’t do, how he/she reacts or doesn’t react, directly influences what YOU can do or cant do.

Spend 20 years learning how to block a basic karate  reverse punch and try to make that defence work against a lunging lumbering swinging haymaker of a roundhouse punch outside the kebab van will get you murdered.

Its all about ADAPTATION and APPLICATION … two massively important words in self-defence using the martial arts.

The attacker dictates what you do, not you… come on, have look sometimes at punches in attacks, Karate and TKD style … many of them stop so far SHORT of landing on the target there is no bloody NEED for a defence.

If someone isn’t committing to an attack, and by that I don’t mean trying to damage their training partners, but committing to the correct distance and angles etc, then simply put you are learning to defend against attacks that WONT happen for real.

I see regularly the attacker going into a deep stance, pulling their attacking hand tight on the hip etc, all  correct if you are doing that style, then kiaing (shouting) then launching a single straight punch to the head for example, stopping at least 6 inches from the target.

The defender will then step back (from a punch that was missing anyway) use a nice rising block and then counter. OK fine if the class is meant to be traditional, but not so fine if the class is meant to be ‘self-defence’ … its giving students a false sense of security that their art will save them on the street.

Taught as “Dojo Defence”, sorry it wont.

It’s not about abandoning your style, its about ADAPTING it for the use you want it for…

MIS-use is NO use in street training.

 Even kick boxers understand this … training for POINTS is massively different that training for CONTINUOUS.. and so it should be.

So have a look, is your style only defending against itself, then in truth it ISNY doing self-defence it doing:




 Anyone wishing to know more about Dave Turton 9th Dan, The All-Styles Martial Arts Association-Self-Defence Federation (ASMAA-SDF), please go to our website on:













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