I have studied traditional martial arts for the last 42 years; I started training in 1974. Unfortunately, however, I found them to be ineffective most of the time once I started my professional security and law enforcement career in 1988.

Please do not misunderstand my position; I love and still teach traditional martial arts every week but I always keep them in perspective to what they actually teach a person to do. I explain the difference between cultural and traditional martial arts and their purposes and true modern-day, evolved, and well-rounded fighting systems such as Pramek Adaptive Combatives (Pramek.com/pramekflorida.com/pramekdetroit.com), Modern American Combatives (palmbeachcombatives.com), Combat SAMBO, Krav Maga, Fairbairn Combatives as taught by Damian Ross of the Self Defense Company (https://www.myselfdefensetraining.com) and others.

Fighting systems of the 21st century need to include both utilization and defenses against modern weapons as well as use the latest in bio-mechanical and scientific research to improve on their effectiveness and efficiency.

I encourage any concerned citizen to study some type of martial arts or combatives to prepare themselves mentally and physical for a use-of-force situation. You meet some like-minded individuals and can learn from all of them. I have been very fortunate to learn from some of the best real-life operators and tactical law enforcement officers that exist. It is amazing what human beings can train to do and to overcome. You can be one of those people with dedication and a good choice in combative systems and instructors.

What traditional and cultural martial arts are useful for:

Discipline, kinesthetic awareness, fitness, flexibility, limited real-life practical self-defense, how to take a strong punch or kick (in some systems), conditioning

What they are not so useful for:

Adaptive Realistic fighting in a modern operational or street environment, combatives, self-defense, operational defensive countermeasures, police defensive tactics, real force on force training in a realistic environment with fully resisting attackers, using modern weapon systems and defenses against them

So, again, please understand I have the deepest respect for traditional martial arts and have studied and been ranked in many of them; however, we must understand that they are not meant to teach high percentage (effective 90% of the time against 90% of the people) and high incapacitation rate concepts that can be adapted using gross motor skills and applied universally in a modern street or operational environment.


Author – Dr. John M. Landry, Ph.D. (State Law Enforcement Detective Lieutenant – Retired). Dr. Landry has served as a police instructor since 1995, and is certified as a Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor (Rifles-Shotguns-Pistols), General Topic Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, TASER Instructor, Chemical Weapons Instructor, Impact Weapon Instructor, Firearm Retention Instructor, Handcuffing Instructor, and Reality Based Training Instructor. Dr. Landry has also trained with some of the best instructors in martial arts, firearms, and combatives to include the Crucible’s Iraq Pre-deployment course.

*Image courtesy of army.mil