Self Defense is mostly about defense.
I know. I know. DUH! Right?! But hear me out…
Defense is about doing what it takes to avoid being chosen as a target by a predator. And, despite your efforts, if you are chosen, defense becomes about doing what it takes to avoid becoming a victim of physical violence.
But, when that horrible time comes when you have been targeted and you are unable to avoid being attacked, then self defense is about offense.
The three parts of self defense
- Avoid being chosen as a target (defense using awareness and mindset)
- If you are targeted, avoid becoming a victim (defense using awareness and mindset)
- If necessary, use violence to incapacitate the attacker quickly (offense using strikes)
Don’t become a target
Related Post: 6 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Predator’s Target
There are several ideas about how avoid being chosen as a target of the violent criminal…
- Always be aware of your surroundings. (This requires that you get your eyes off of your phone).
- Act like you are confident and sure of yourself (even if you don’t feel like it).
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back (not slouched).
- Walk as with a purpose instead of with hesitation and/or aimlessness.
- Look people in the eye. Don’t stare at them. But look at them so that they know you really see them.
- Avoid going places alone at zero dark thirty or taking that shortcut through the alley or wooded path.
- Eliminate or at least reduce any risky behavior.
Many victims of violent crime have risky social habits like leaving a party with someone they just met, drinking far too much, or using drugs.
Being aware of and avoiding risky environments and risky behavior will reduce your chance of being targeted by a violent criminal.
Avoid becoming a victim
This is a skill in and of itself.
Learning to be increasingly more aware of your surroundings is a big first step in avoidance.
But being aware is just the first step. Knowing what to be aware of (what to focus on) is the real skill.
Understanding what is normal and abnormal for any location/situation you find yourself in is invaluable. You want to notice if something doesn’t seem “right.” Things that make you feel uncomfortable. Then remove yourself from these possible threats.
Related Post: Awareness: The Cornerstone of Self Defense
Of course, there are those people who just can’t seem to avoid being the victim. They have to “save face” because their ego has been stepped on. Someone cuts them off on the highway, flips them off or says something “off color.”
Related Post: Road Rage: Is “Saving Face” Really Worth Dying For?
These things cause some people to become emotional, angry and vindictive. That’s a very dangerous reaction because you don’t know what the “offender” may do if things escalate.
When something like that happens, you need to ask yourself if the situation is worth going to jail for, going to the hospital for or even dying for.
When someone offends you, instead of “pushing back,” walk away, no matter how difficult that may be.
I highly recommend that you figure out now where your “line in the sand” is that can’t be crossed. That line should have a lot to do with personal safety and not just a bruised ego.
Use violence to incapacitate the attacker quickly
When, however, your “line in the sand” has been crossed and your personal safety is now at risk, it’s time to bring on the offense.
“Violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer, it is the only answer.”~Tim Larkin
In order to survive an attack, you need to learn how to completely dominate, devastate, and incapacitate the attacker as quickly as possible.
I can’t stress this enough. When someone has decided to be violent toward you, to save yourself, you must be able to be violent and aggressive toward them in return.
“Now how do we cultivate an aggressive response? I think the answer is indignation…Your response, if attacked, must not be fear, it must be anger.”~Jeff Cooper
Responding to your attacker with violence, aggression and anger may just save your life.
Your attacker/s will most likely be bigger, stronger and faster than you, so don’t fight to their strength.
Simply find a weak spot (or two) and focus on injuring, yes injuring, him/her. Eyes, nose, throat, knees and groin are pretty much everyone’s weak spots.
Related Post: Self Defense Tactics and Techniques
Really, the most difficult thing about turning the tables on your attacker (from my training and experience) is in believing you can do it.
You need to believe that you can do the techniques.
And you need to believe that you can deliver them with the violence needed to make them effective.
The techniques I used to teach are not very difficult to learn or do. It’s the commitment to being violent when necessary that takes work for some people.
Related Post: What Would You do in a Violent Situation?
So, when you are practicing self defense techniques, remember to also practice being violent. You can use training dummies (B.O.B.), heavy bags, kick bags and, if you’re lucky, a willing training partner.
Related Post: Practice Until You Can’t Do It Wrong
While having the proper equipment on hand is great, a trainer that can guide you through the process of becoming violent when necessary is invaluable.
So look for one in your local area and when you find a trainer that understands the three parts of self defense, work with him/her as often as you can.
And remember that the offensive part of self defense should be used only when the attacker has crossed your “line in the sand.”