We who teach self defense do a great job with techniques. We do seminars, classes, videos, etc. on techniques to get out of chokes, knife attacks, bear hugs, etc. but what we should be spending a lot more time on is avoiding situations where we have to use such techniques. Some of my favorite quotes on the subject:
“Self defense is a very short list of techniques and tactics that might get us out alive when we’re already screwed”
“Self defense is recovery from stupidity or bad luck.”
“No intelligent man has ever lost a fight to someone who says ‘I am going to kick your ass.”
What I am saying is that self defense is “I must do something now because your hands are on me.” Self protection is “you were in my space so I whacked you.” Self defense is walking into a bar and having to fight your way out later. Self Protection is walking into a bar, seeing some rough looking characters and leaving to go to another bar. Self defense is getting into a fist fight at the side of the road with a road raging idiot. Self protection is having your doors locked, windows up, ignoring the cussing and threats and driving off.
The quote above about not ever losing a fight to someone who says “I’m going to kick your ass” makes a valid point. Being hit or stabbed before you know the attacker is there is violence. Having someone telling us what they are going to do is the threat of violence. The threat of violence is a gift. The gift of time. We should already be moving or attacking as they are threatening.
Being aware of our surroundings, keeping our head on a swivel, sitting with backs to walls facing the door, paying attention to where exits are, always looking around for what can be used as a weapon, etc. will save more from harm than self defense techniques. Even when you win the fight you generally don’t end up unscathed. The old quote “Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things” should be talked about in our classes as much as any techniques are taught.
I got to talk with a fascinating man last weekend. He had been in prison for 18 years before turning his life around. His friends were talking about how he has eyes in the back of his head, that he sees potential threats before anyone else. I said “that is such a gift”. He corrected me and said “that’s a lot of practice! In prison you develop eyes in the back of your head or you don’t survive!” I thought that was awesome. It showed me that super vigilance can be learned. How many of our students could be spared future tragedy if we help develop this ability in them? BE SAFE!


1 Comment

  1. This is dead on! Good stuff.

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