This is part of a series of articles inspired by an interview with Matt Thornton.  It is a collection common fallacious arguments and strategic errors regarding martial arts efficacy.  From here on, when I write an assertion like, "X works," I mean:

  • Substitute for "X" any specific martial art, system, or technique.
  • "X" is generally applicable in a real fight.

X Works Against the Untrained

Time and time again we see evidence that criminals employ (at least) a rudimentary cost-benefit analysis in their victim selection process.  They prey on the old, weak, vulnerable, and those they perceive will be unlikely to resist.  As Karl Rehn says, "They're not looking for a righteous fight; they just want to get paid."  When their intended victim does resist, it's often the case that any resistance is enough to drive off the criminal.  But not always, maybe not even most of the time.

Ramsey Dewey answers this question pretty well, following up his video critiques of some womens' self-defense videos on the web.  Your training time is a scarce commodity; spend it learning the most effective self-defense techniques available.  Said another way, learn techniques that will save you from the largest array of likely bad guys and likely circumstances.  Consider an amateur boxer and an average high-school wrestler (with complete freedom to resist using strength and technique) as baseline adversaries.

Notice that this isn't actually a logical fallacy; it's a strategic error.  When I look at a bad guy, I can't tell if they're going to run away at the first hint of resistance or die fighting.  I should assume they're a determined adversary, fight hard and effectively, and enjoy a pleasant surprise if my bad guy isn't very motivated.