But I will say that I have a new appreciation for pistolcraft as a martial art, having visited Gunsite Academy in Paulden, AZ for a one week Pistol 250 class in January. I would say it took 3-5 years of regular training (2+ hours a night 3-4 nights a week) to feel comfortable in my ability to handle a situation with Kenpo. One week of excellent training on top of years of casual shooting might have done it using a pistol.
Wow. You really think you made THAT much progress? I mean, that much Kenpo is going to make it pretty much instinctive, right?
And here's my (somewhat) long-winded explanation:
They're very different. Consider the decision tree, to begin with. Ed Parker's Kenpo teaches well over 100 different techniques. They are not intened to be used verbatim, but represent examples of self defense motion. If you try to decide which technique to use, you'll spend so much time shuffling position, attack, defense, and environment that you'll get your clock cleaned. There are ways to reduce the combinatorial explosion, including muscle memory, becoming creatively post-technique, and probably others my cold and fevered brain can't come up with right now. The decision tree on a firearm in a typical situation consists of "am I in immediate threat of lethal force? then shoot the threat until it stops". It's a very different thing.
If you are a responsible martial artists, you have to make the determination that it's worth fighting right now. As a student of the arts who is aware of commotio cordis, I understand that any punch thrown is potentially lethal, and that is the bar that I set for fighting: if life is not threatened, walk away. That calculation is the same one that allows for use of a firearm in self defense (generally speaking -- I am not a lawyer):
- is the potential victim Innocent of current wrongdoing?
- is the threat Imminent?
- is the response Proportional?
- can the threat be Avoided?
- am I being Resonable in evaluating these questions?
Regarding "avoidance", I'm just going to include it and not worry about Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground and just assume, from the beginning, that I would prefer not to kill someone if I don't have to -- if I can avoid the situation I should do so. That closes a big can of worms that I'm not going to address while my brain is cold/fever fried.
So for me, the calculation of whether this is worth fighting over is very close to the question of whether this is worth shooting someone over. As such, the decision tree for using a firearm in self defense is much shorter than the decision tree for using Kenpo. Kenpo allows for much more proportionality in response, but as soon as a punch is thrown, the encounter is already potentially lethal.
So that's the decision tree part. Now to the training part. I mentioned that Kenpo teaches more than 100 techniques, plus kata, fighting/sparring techniques, sets, and a large collection of basics (kicks, blocks, punches, parries, stances, movements,....). Gunsite teaches a five-count presentation:
On top of which you must understand stance, sight alignment, grip, and trigger press. All of which are simple if not easy. But the basic "technique" that you will use once you enter a fight is pretty well set. The variables are fewer and their variation generally less. (generally -- I'm sick, so be nice)
There's just a lot less to learn in order to effectively use a pistol. Which is what makes them so useful to people who don't want to spend 8-10 hours per week at the dojo in order to protect themselves. We could require all police officers to spend 3 years getting an effective black belt in martial arts, but instead we send them to the police academy and teach them to shoot. (Yes, they learn hand-to-hand techniques as well). It's just more efficient.
In addition, a handgun is a far better tool for a small, weak, or physically challenged individual than a black belt is. A handgun can be used from a position of disadvantage. It can be used against multiple attackers. It can be used at range.
And it's way more effective against Zombies.