As a native southern Californian (one of the few who never tried surfing in the 31 years I lived there), I knew little about life in the rest of the country. Since 2005, I have also lived in North Carolina (Durham), Wisconsin (Madison), and Illinois (Chicago). While my academic training was as a scientist/engineer in electronic materials science, I have since branched out - mainly into business development and industrial or corporate engagement/outreach for universities. My perspective from having worked at a large company (The Boeing Company) and having co-founded a high technology startup; and having the good fortune to have worked with interesting and talented people, has, in hindsight, prepared me well for this type of culturally-interfacing job. Hobbies include music, ping-pong, volleyball (indoor), camping, and most recently (since 2014), "scenario" martial arts.
Let me pontificate a bit : I'm definitely not interested in traditional martial arts, though I do see its value - it's certainly useful if you have the time to dedicate (which most working adults do not). The problem with the so-called "self defense" aspects of many martial arts (and I've witnessed this first hand through the lens of my Krav training) is that they are not modernly contextualized, field-tested, and in many cases, not even stress tested. I'm a believer in drills (a.k.a katas), but only if they are contextually based. I've written a medium length document (30 or so pages) as a "primer on effective self defense", documenting what I think are the most relevant concepts and context, from what I'd like to believe is a data-based and scientific approach. I'm happy to share and get feedback on it - just ask! I've attended three different Krav Maga schools (2014-2019) reaching level 3 out of 5 comfortably, dabbled in BJJ, FMA (Kali and Martial blades concepts - and come to the conclusion that it's good for attacking and showing off, but not useful for defense unless the attacker is just scared off by your knife movement display), struggled over the idea of using a knife for self defense (coming to the conclusion that knives suck for self defense, but are great if you decide to kill someone - and then have to deal with the heavy legal ramifications), and have a mild obsession with the ideas of technique over strength. I'm not a big guy and don't see myself bulking up (it's a lot of time and work!), but I'd like to be able to defend myself, my family and friends if push comes to shove. So how do we approach this strategically? That's part of my ongoing struggle and discussion.