Street self defense moves are designed to be short, sharp and effective. There are no complicated stylish techniques as with many martial arts. Street self defense moves are easy to learn, don't need great strength to apply them and are all about survival.
I remember the first time I visited an aikido dojo - I watched from the side of the mats and was in awe and admiration at the grace of the flowing techniques and breakfalls. But would those moves work in a real street fight? After ten years studying aikido I have developed reasonable skill in the art but if ever faced with a real violent confrontation I know I would rely more on street self defense moves.
Martial arts like krav maga and the Russian System are more direct and designed for the modern day world. This is part of the problem with many traditional combat systems - they base their defense and counter attack on things which rarely happen in street fights.
Street self defense moves are practical and effective. There is a crucial mindset to learn - it's not about ego or winning it's about surviving! If you can get out of there you should. If you can avoid the situation in the first place you must. But if all else fails you have moves you can fall back on which are instinctive and will work even when fear grips you.
The issue with most traditional martial arts moves is the complexity of execution and the amount of practise required to 'perfect' them - if you ever can! For example, the irime nage techniques in aikido are incredible when executed well. The will take your attacker the floor as if they are hit by a locomotive train! But to get the timing of the move right, the balance and motion required, is not something anyone can learn in a few months. I have been on the receiving end of irime nage many times and when it's delivered by someone with experience you instinctively feel it and there is no resiting the technique.
Twenty years of martial arts study led me to street self defense as the answer to modern violent attacks http://streetselfdefence.net/
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