Note: This post was originally published in November of 2015. It has been completely revamped and updated for comprehensiveness.
A mindset is an assumption that is so established in a person’s mind, that it creates a powerful block to other ideas or thoughts. Here are Eight Fixed Mindsets about Self Defense that may be holding you back:
#1 I’m too uncoordinated to learn self defense.
Many self defense techniques involve large motor skills that are easy to learn. You don’t have to be coordinated to do them. You just need to learn HOW to do them and learn where to make your blows land to do the most damage. You don’t need to be coordinated. You just need to hit your attacker and cause injury. Coordination (or the lack of it) is no excuse.
#2 It takes too long to be good enough to defend myself.
Again, many self defense techniques involve motor skills that are easy to learn. And it doesn’t take a long time to learn them. You should practice them, but it doesn’t take months or years to get good at them. Look for a self defense instructor that teaches techniques that use your body’s natural reactions and that teach you the best places to strike so you can cause injury and get away.
#3 I carry a gun, knife, pepper spray or some other defensive tool. I don’t need to take self defense classes.
Carrying a defensive firearm or other defensive tool is a great idea. But keep in mind that there may be situations where you won’t have time to draw your defensive tool. When that happens, You’ll need some self defense training to fall back on.
(Be sure to take classes to learn how to use your firearm or other defensive tool effectively and safely. And practice using it. No weapon will protect you if you don’t know how to use it. And yes, that includes pepper spray and kubotans.)
#4 I’m physically fit. I can handle a thug.
While it may be true that people who clearly appear to be “big and strong” will probably be less likely to be attacked, it doesn’t mean it’ll never happen. If someone is desperate enough for cash and/or valuables, they will choose anyone to be a victim. And remember, desperate and/or asocial attackers don’t fight fair. Take a self defense class and learn how to focus on targeting key parts of the attacker’s body. Just in case.
#5 It will never happen to me!
This is the one that always makes me roll my eyes. Seriously, no one is immune from violence. Everyone is a potential victim. It doesn’t matter where you live, how careful you are or what you look like. No one who has ever been attacked expected it to happen. And you can be sure that they also thought that it would never happen to them. Be prepared. It can happen to you. Hopefully it never will. But it can happen.
#6 I can reason myself out of trouble.
Bad guys do not follow the same societal rules that you do. Trying to reason with a sociopath or drug-induced attacker will not work. You need to be prepared to defend yourself physically.
#7 I’m too old, overweight, out of shape, etc., for self defense classes
Self Defense is first about learning to recognize and avoid dangerous situations. Good awareness skills can help keep you from being attacked. Anyone can learn awareness skills. When it comes to the physical part of self defense, find an instructor who teaches simple and effective defense techniques that are easy to do and remember. You can learn to protect yourself no matter what your age, weight or fitness level is.
#8 My adrenaline will kick in and save me.
A rush of adrenaline actually causes fine motor skills and cognitive skills to diminish. But if you learn and practice large motor skill defensive techniques, you’ll be able to use them to get away or fight back.
Learn to defend yourself, even if you think you have a “good” reason not to. And even if you are limited in what you can do, you can still learn awareness skills to help you avoid danger, and physical skills that can work for you. You never know when you may need to use those skills to avoid/defend against an attack.