One of the main things I want everyone to get out of this post is not that you will be suddenly be invincible or that learning a few techniques will automagically prevent you from harm. I do want to help you feel less helpless and have the sense that you can absolutely protect yourself. But the reality is that assaults and fighting are ugly, messy, and incredibly unpredictable. This is my problem with quite a few self defense courses and teachings out there.
First, some of their techniques range from questionable to pure crap. Also, they can tend to instill a false confidence. So I’ve alway figured my job is to be as real as possible and give you the advice and options that are going to give you your best shot.
Fundamental hitting and striking is important and very useful, especially to the right targets. But it takes quite a lot of practice to get powerful at hitting and smooth in your technique.
And you really can’t depend on hitting if you are in a bad spot.
What if you miss? What if it’s not hard enough? If you watch any fighting events, UFC or whatever, you’ll see some folks take ridiculously hard hits and they keep going. This happens. That’s why it’s best use them as necessary but not rely on knocking someone out.
The main goal should be to put yourself in a better position to further defend yourself or get the heck out of dodge. And personally if I’m not with friends or family, my choice would be to run like hell as soon as I could. It’s too unpredictable, anything could happen.
Let’s start by shifting our focus to: good self protection and moving to a better positioning to get yourself out of the situation safely.
But even more important than that, one of the things that I want you to think about right now and
later when you have more time for reflection, is what would be your mental response/reaction to
someone invading your personal space? And this is before anything physical happens. What will you do when you get that intuitive sense that someone is going to mess with you?
If you haven’t read the Gift of Fear I highly recommend it. In it he talks about his interviews with women that have been assaulted and in nearly every case they all had the sense that something bad was going to happen.
And some didn’t listen to that sense because of thinking they were being paranoid, and that they didn’t want to seem like “bitches” when it was prior to the assault and nothing had happened yet. And even during the assault some would shut down and not do anything at all because they were in shock or perhaps thought they would make it worse by fighting back.
I want everyone to listen to this “bad feeling” when you get it. First of all, no one is allowed to be in your space if you don’t want them to be. No one for no reason!
If you don’t want them there they don’t belong there. I want you to have a sense of outrage and anger that someone would even presume that that was okay. BECAUSE IT’S NOT! I don’t give a crap if they’re just “playing” or whatever BS reason they come up with. Your personal space, your choice. Simple as that. Cultivating this attitude is key in my opinion.
There are a few different types of attackers out there. In the spectrum of guys (mostly guys but could be a few women too) that just get their kicks from intimidating and messing with women, to full blown psychopath evil killers. And when it comes down to it, you shouldn’t feel the need to parse out which one that is when the moment arrives and you get that bad feeling. When that happens, that’s it. That person is not allowed to continue to making that bad feeling happen. Do what you need to do for yourself.
And along with cultivating that mindset, I want you to also understand that a lot of the techniques we’ll be doing can get pretty nasty. Especially the ones with weapons. Slicy stabby with a sharp object or beaning someone in the face with blunt force is not pretty.You have to ask yourself if you are ready and have the capacity for doing violence. This is incredibly important. The difference between getting out of a bad situation safely or being seriously hurt can be that small moment of hesitation.
You’ll need to figure out your own personal motivator for flipping that switch and doing whatever it takes to make it home safely. For some it’s the thought of their family and friends. That old story of mothers lifting cars off their children. Find what it is for you and make sure you think about it and spend time practicing calling that up, to the point where it gets you angry and hyped up and ready to punch a bastard in the throat.
This and listening to your intuition are incredibly important and I can’t stress it enough. Listen to your bad feeling and be ready to put your arm through a bastard’s throat. That’s pretty much the summary of this seminar. Fighting and surviving an attack is different than training martial arts. Martial arts can give you these skills but the practice is more about developing attributes like toughness and speed and timing and all the things that will make you better at fighting. You practice to develop yourself. It takes time and a different mindset. But surviving an assault requires as little thinking as possible and being single minded with the intent to make it home.