Below is our own interpretation (and to the best of our ability an equal representation) on the difference of the two.
We advice that a student wanting to learn would need to figure out what the he/she wanted to gain between the two before pursuing a study It would also be necessary to classify which of the two your school is leaning on to in terms of teaching methodology, teaching routine and teaching output (the students) so as not to miss your expectations, give you false hope and representation.
|Martial Arts||Self Defense|
|Fine motor skills are honed and developed, and eventually tested as a dueling game by practitioners.||Accesses the “alligator brain” where emergency glands surge and the body goes into hyper drive and fine skill is inexistent.|
|Proficiency is tested in a duel type of game (one on one) under set rules and scenarios (mats, open space, stand up, ground fighting, or mixed).||Proficiency is tested on survival alone with multiple scenarios. Survival can even be in a form of disengaging and retreating a violent encounter.|
|Is good for fitness, self discipline, honing your mental analysis, camaraderie with team mates, self esteem. (this is why it’s good to teach as a business as well)||Is good for mental analysis, but is independently not good for fitness, as you do not need a fit body to de escalate a potentially violent scenario. (not good as a business)|
|Most if not all self defense skills cannot be implemented in martial arts as those might be against the agreed upon rules.||Proficiency in basic martial arts skills can cross over to self defense as one may need to throw a jab, a choke, to defend his own life.|
|Martial arts schools would usually (not always) have a set of spoken or unspoken hierarchy amongst its practitioners ranging from healthy casual to hero worship and cult following||Sessions would involve a facilitator that demands attention. All else would usually be casual and open to discussions.|
|Is usually put up as a school or academy because development of motor skills would attract peoples interest, thus generating constant membership and steady income.||Is usually taught as a seminar as skills can be learned quickly. They need to be learned quickly as people may need to defend themselves soon after. (take the case of military hand to hand combat courses (seminars) delivered to military units.|
|Involves direct physical contact alone.||Physical contact is just a small part of the science. Psychological patterns, intent, pre violence indicators, post violence handling etc. come part of the bigger picture.|
|Involves fine technique and athleticism alone.||Athleticism helps, but is just a small part of the package,|
|Proficiency has nothing to do with self defense and preservation.||Proficiency has nothing to do with martial arts skills.|
May this simple article open your eyes to what you really want to achieve and to realise if your group or academy is supporting you to get there.