Injury science is a relatively new science that studies the causes of injury (including fatal injuries). Injury is studied in terms of all the factors that contribute to an injury: the host, agent (vector or vehicle), and environment.
The host is the person at risk of being injured. While not technically correct for the sake of this post, the agent is defined as the vector or vehicle. The vector is the person who is injuring the host and the vehicle is the object that injures the host. The environment consists of the physical as well as the social, etc.
The World Health Organisation presents a relevant explanation of these factors in causing an injury. This is an extract from my book:
The WHO suggest that the epidemiological model can be used to analyse an act of interpersonal violence where a person slaps another person. In this case the host is the person slapped, the agent is the kinetic energy (slap), the vector is the person who does the slapping, and the environment includes the domestic situation and the societal norms or values that make such behaviour acceptable. These factors interact to cause an injury. Using a model of this type can help to identify all the factors involved in an injury from interpersonal violence.In the martial arts, the host is the martial artist. Who is the vector? This is an important question because the strategies, tactics and techniques developed and taught by the martial art are determined by the definition of the vector.
For the most part, the vector is largely ignored which means by default it becomes someone trained in the same martial art. Judo teaches defences against judo attacks, karate teaches defences against karate attacks, wing chun teaches defences against wing chun attacks. How self defence oriented is this approach?
Sun Tzu in The Art of War suggests that our odds of success in battle decrease as our knowledge of ourself or our enemy decreases. Most martial arts are very knowledgeable about themselves. Who is the enemy? This is an important question because the strategies, tactics and techniques developed, taught and trained reflects the knowledge of the enemy, explicitly or implicitly.
Who is our enemy? According to the above article, the enemy is an acquaintance or domestic (e.g. partner) and the method of violence is 39% knife attacks or 25% beaten. Does your martial art cater for that scenario? Does your self defence course cater for that scenario? Does your 'real fighting' training cater for that scenario?
My point is that if the focus is on self defence, it behoves us to get to know our enemy. To question the underlying assumptions of the activities that purports to teach us self defence.