Many martial arts schools teach a subject which they call "self-defense." More often than not, these schools teach various methods of physically causing injury to an attacker to prevent him from causing you harm. While it is good that we have such schools around, it is unfortunate that many of these schools are not teaching self-defense at all. Some of them are teaching methods to win trophies in martial arts tournaments, some of them are teaching ancient outmoded ways of combat, some are teaching methods intended to be self-defense but are really methods of committing unlawful acts, and some of them are teaching elaborate methods to commit suicide during the process of attempting to protect oneself. The first rule to learning effective self-defense is to know the meaning of "self-defense."

Webster's dictionary defines self-defense as being, "THE ACT OF DEFENDING ONESELF OR SOMETHING THAT BELONGS OR RELATES TO ONESELF."

That pretty well sums it up. It does not mention trophies, it does not mention fighting, and it does not mention punishment. Self-defense is simply the act of protecting oneself, one's family or friends or one's home and property. It does not involve (in most cases) the wearing of elaborate uniforms, bowing, squaring-off in fighting stances, rules of combat, trophies, or any other of the trappings which go with sport.

It does not mention the necessity for causing an attacker permanent physical harm, the need to repeatedly strike an attacker as he is attempting to flee, or any number of idiocies which will land him in the hospital and you in jail.

A common thread which runs through self-defense as an Art and as a Science is that it should always be based on proven principles and laws. Toward this end, the International Sungja-Do Association has spent over thirty (30) years researching and testing various theories of teaching and practicing self-defense so as to root out those superstitions, myths, and simply poorly-designed techniques which can result in more harm to the defender than to the attacker.

There are five (5) levels of self-defense:


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