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Desrtopa comments on Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism - Less Wrong

105 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2009 02:44AM

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Comment author: Desrtopa 27 December 2010 09:08:37PM *  3 points [-]

Perhaps this happens occasionally, but I know several people who've been mugged, and all of them have been mugged by a single person. In fact, I know a number of martial artists through my own training who have been subject to mugging attempts, and all of them successfully defended themselves.

It's likely there's some selection bias going on, since it's rather embarrassing to admit to other practitioners that you failed to defend yourself from a mugger, but while there are certainly situations that no human, however skilled, can fight their way out of, martial arts are definitely better than useless at defending oneself and one's property.

Of course, learning martial arts is rarely the most effective way to defend oneself. It's usually more practical to stay out of situations where you'd need to use them at all. The way I see it, anyone who practices martial arts solely for self defense is in it for the wrong reason.

At least in terms of practical usefulness, it beats athletic skills like basketball, although you'll never get paid as much for it even if you're really good.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 December 2010 09:45:06PM 4 points [-]

A small non-random sample, but I saw a discussion of the usefulness of martial arts where about half the participants said that what they'd actually used is the knowledge of how to fall safely.

Comment author: beoShaffer 11 October 2012 03:57:55AM 2 points [-]

There's actually been a decent bit of research into martial arts falling in non-combat situations. Kojustukan has a pretty good summary.

Comment author: Kenny 11 October 2012 03:24:30AM 2 points [-]

I can attest that falling safely is in fact very useful!

Comment author: CronoDAS 28 December 2010 05:04:40AM 1 point [-]

When my father was (successfully) mugged, it was by a group of three. (He also remarked that lone muggers tend to fail, unless they have a gun - it's too easy to simply run away from them.)

Of course, the plural of anecdote is not data, etc.

Comment author: Desrtopa 28 December 2010 09:09:29PM *  0 points [-]

I'd be interested to know where he got that information. Personally, I'm inclined to be skeptical; I think most people would rather not take the risk of trying to run away. If they have you at knifepoint, or have a grip on you, then you're at a distinct disadvantage trying to escape. The upside is that most muggers don't really want to hurt their victims, but that's a very risky thing to rely on.