honestly man ... i was raised in easter europe... i have been in moscow .. in looooooot of street fights , trust me karate will not save u from anything ...
i recommend u to take for ur son for a muay thai classes and also eskrima if u can effort that , if u find a good instructor in eskrima trust me u will be amazed , it is a Philippine martial art that utilaiz stick fighting also fist fighting and lots of arm locks and other interesting staff ... karate is bullshit , not striking with ur fist is bulshit to , u know i agree u might brake ur hand but if u know how to properly punch than nothing will happen. i recommend u to download bass rutten videos
ps there is nothing better than good old kitchen knife...
If you examine Bas Ruttens videos (of which I have a few) they are all combat style defences and attacks. My style uses almost all of the techniques that he shows on his Lethal Street Fighting
video. In our style, we don't fight fair, we fight to win ... so anything goes --- but you can also control the degree to which you react (i.e. if it is just a drunk fight with a friend you can control him and make him give up by causing him intense pain from a joint lock but if it is some guy attacking you on the street intent on injuring you, then you break his arm, wrist, and knee - also use groin strikes, nerve strikes, etc. - totally incapacitate him so he can never get up to attack you again). Combat techniques's are the as same stuff the Marines, British SIS, Israeli Mossad, and the Russian FSB use -- you can't use this stuff in a ring to fight anyone.
We also use a lot of pressure points related to Dim-Mak (also known as death point striking which is an ancient form of t'ai chi ch'uan). Again this stuff is not to be used in sanctioned fights. But even if you don't train pressure points (which take a long time to learn), a combat style is best for self-defense. So if you want the best self-defense techiques for protecting yourself, you want to train a combat style, specifically of a jiu-jitsu derivative style.
Actually, almost all styles come from jiu-jitsu but I mean ones that still utilize joint locks and controls as well as finishing techniques and also include striking techniques.
I know this is bound to stir some controversy here because most guys on this forum will swear that BJJ is the only way to go but really you need striking as well and for self-defense you don't want to screw around - why take a guy down? - collapse his knee and drop him while you stay up to deal with any other problems - ideally, you want to incapacitate your opponent so a combat style will excel at this area.
Again, there is a place for everything - for MMA, a mixture of BJJ, Muay Thai, wrestling and boxing (striking) works best and these styles are most popular on this forum because most people are interested in sport fighting. True self defense is different. I realize these points have been argued ad nauseum on this forum and I don't really want to argue with anyone and spend the next two days arguing what I am saying but its true.
The guy that I quoted has a point Karate is not the most effective in a fight but it is still useful. Escrima is good as well - all martial arts will help you, everyone has its place. Some are more for show and aesthetical purposes but they provide some benefits.
There is a place for Karate, which as the person I quoted said is not ideal for fighting.... but it teaches you technique and form and then these can be used in other styles that you learn to compliment Karate. True it is a hard style and it is usually better and easier to use a soft style to fight but I would argue it is still worthwhile to learn. Contrary to a lot of what you hear on this forum, there is a place for traditional styles as well as the most popular ones right now.
Combat styles won't usually accept someone as young as your son because kids under the age of 15 generally have very soft bones and can be injured with joint locks, etc. So I would say to yo that Karate is a good place for your son to start and then if he is still interested when he is older he can graduate to combat techniques. My son is dying to join our school but he has to wait until he develops more and that's one reason I have him in Karate. There are a lot of other benefits - discipline, self-confidence, the ability to focus. All of these will benefit your son and as I said Karate will still teach him the basics and with his improved confidence, it's doubtful that he will be picked on. Karate skills still work in a fight especially if the other person is not trained.