Gaining focus in any self defense discipline starts with knowing the core moves. Core moves are the basic elements that must be learned to fit with in the style. The core elements and the advanced moves usually work well together, giving the fighter a complete set of skills that typify the fight style.
Some fight styles are more appropriate for actual self defense, and others work better in demonstration and competition. Military combative training is perhaps the best self defense skill for the streets. Boxing is a close second. Self defense is about being well prepared so that confidence works in your favor.
Luckily few criminals are true self defense experts. They are criminals that have chosen a life of crime rather that pursue personal achievement or excellence. However their defense skills are usually built on the streets in tough situations, and for this reason should be regarded warily as an opponent.
Military combative training provides a fully evolved set of survival skills for combat. Handheld weapons, combinations of boxing, judo and Greco-Roman wrestling describe the combative training candidate. A further advantage of this type of training is the element weight class is disregarded. The skill of the fighter must be able to transcend weight class, beating larger more powerful foes, or smaller, very quick foes. Mental focus is developed as the variety of maneuvers are practiced to the point of being automatically repeatable.
While boxing is more limited in scope, it is more precise and powerful. The four basic punches of jab, cross, hook and upper cut are the core maneuvers. Variants of these punches along with feigning to confuse the opponent provide elements of advanced moves that make boxing a superb self defense discipline. The maneuvers are practiced with great frequency, making them a simple habit or reflex. Requiring little to no preparation, the maneuvers flow from the boxer quite naturally as the opponent attacks.