When we discuss self defense, there are a few things that must be kept in mind. In this article I am going to look at a few of these facts. A lot of what is sold as “self-defense” is not going to give most of this information more than a passing mention, but they are extremely important.
First, you need to stay aware so that you are able to avoid most situations before anything turns violent. It is so easy to get distracted with all of the toys we have now. But if you are engrossed in your phone or have the earphones in listening to your music, you are ignorant of your surroundings. It is one level of dumb to be unaware, but using intentional distraction to be ignorant is practically suicidal. I don’t know how many times I have nearly run over someone when I was driving and they step out in front of me because they are more interested in their phone than they are in not getting killed. Put the distractions away. Alain Burrese has a free guide on this subject available here. There is also a ton of great reading on No Nonsense Self Defense website as well.
Don’t make things worse
Next, you need to understand ways to scale down the intensity of a situation when you see it heading toward violence. The industry term is de-escalation. When the other guy is puffing up and being a loudmouth, if you pay attention, you will find that you are doing the same thing. Calm down and don’t make things worse. You need to let the other guy have the win, let him have the last word, and do not give in to the urge to “one-up” anything he says for his parting comment. This is your safest road.
Legally defensible action
If you do act, anything you do must be legally defensible. If you bump into someone and cause them to spill their drink, and they take offense, and you don’t de-escalate, opting instead to act like a raving ding-dong and they take a swing at you, and you use the “redirect-the-punch-break-the-arm-take-out-the-knee-break-the-neck” self defense response that you are training in your RBSD school, you will be in jail. It isn’t “Self-Defense”. You stopped acting in self-defense when you participated in the verbal escalation of what could have been a minor mea culpa incident. “Sorry dude! That one was my fault. How about I buy your next round?” is a lot better than going to prison because something minor got out of hand and you played a big role in it getting out of hand out of nothing more than wanting to be macho.
Self defense that does not take into account the effect that adrenaline has is not realistic. Fine motor skills melt away when adrenaline hits the bloodstream. If your entire self-defense training is based on intricate techniques, and especially if you only practice these techniques on a compliant partner, you are going to be in serious trouble if violence ever looks into your life.
A few necessary items
Don’t fall for the hype. Real self-defense training is going to include things like self-defense law in the State or province where you live, there should be scenario training to help you learn to identify different types of violence you may face. The training will need to be something simple that can be learned quickly and drilled often. The there will need to be some lecture based lessons, not just warrior monk physical techniques. A good course is going to cover the different aspects that encompass the subject. I do not understand there even being a market for classes that only cover the fighting aspect and teach you how to overwhelm the opponent with a level of violence out of proportion to the level of threat you are under. It is not only foolishness on the part of the student who is entering the course, it is dishonest and irresponsible on the part of the instructor.
Be careful where you train and what advice you accept.