Can Anyone Defend Themselves? Of course the answer is "Yes", but each person has different circumstances. A 300-pound football player is going to have a different skill set than a 130-pound mother of two.
The biggest misconception in the martial arts is that a technique or a strategy will work the same for everybody, every time. Unfortunately, most martial arts preach this notion. They teach the same thing to everyone with little thought as to the capability of the student. Instructors have been trying to fit the square peg in the round hole for as long as I can remember.
For example, the other day, I received a call a woman who has a 3-year-old child and was expecting another. Naturally, she was concerned about her safety a pregnant woman with children is an easy mark. Well, this woman thought she would have no problem using empty hand techniques to fend off would-be assailants. She was convinced that she could “Jackie Chan” a slew of muggers, rapists and thieves with one child in her arms and another strapped to her back!
After a few moments I told her that was all well and good, but before she unleashes her drunken monkey kung fu, she should probably take a few steps to prepare her self a lot better by decreasing her exposure. And if it came down to a physical threat, there are a few things she can do to put the odds back in her favor and increase her chances of survival.
Remember there are 3 things all criminals don’t want to happen:
Keeping this in mind, the first thing I told her was the life she used to enjoy has now changed. A woman, preoccupied with the safety and care of two children, let alone one child, is a prime target for the skels who earn their living preying on the weak and the helpless. She should only go to very public, very safe places that are mother and child friendly. The days of going to malls in the evening or quickly running into the Laundromat leaving the kids in the car are over.
Another step to ensure your family’s safety is to schedule a day to run errands childfree. Or choose services that offer delivery. Now if you can’t afford certain things, well you need to do with out or get your imagination working to come up with a better solution.
Now if you are going out, you have to have a few simple items handy. They are ranked in importance form the perspective of escape and avoidance. This list considers range, commitment and lethal effects.
Personal Alarm (Training Minimal)
Pepper Spray (Training Minimal)
Edged Weapons (Training Moderate to Heavy)
Impact Weapons (Training Moderate to Heavy)
Empty Hand (Training Heavy)
*Note Firearm has been deliberately left off the list.
Both the pepper spray and personal alarm are used to cause a distraction without getting tangled up in your opponent. A hesitation in your assailant’s assault will allow you the opportunity to escape and get to safety.
Next come edged weapons (Push Daggers and Knives with Finger-Holes). They require a lot less power and are a lot more effective than impact weapons. The push daggers and finger-hole knives give you two advantages: a specific way to grab it and are extremely difficult to drop. And in the course of a fight for your life, the less you need to think about, the better. The downside of course is the close proximity you need to be to use the weapon.
Then come impact weapons. They multiply the force you can exert, but they still require more strength, power and body weight.
And of course, empty hand techniques.
Remember, technology will ALWAYS trump hand to hand methods. ALL HAND-TO-HAND is a tactical last resort.
However training in empty hand techniques should be pursued vigorously. There is a great chance you will be taken by surprise and have to use hand to hand in order to get to your weapons.
Plus, it gives you something to fall back on in worst-case scenarios. It also gives you confidence and it awakens the part of you that doesn’t think tactically and defensively.
So all self-defense comes down to more than just techniques. It encompasses the key elements of Awareness, Strategy, Planning and Training.
Predators are banking on the fact you will play the odds and not do any of these.
And all you have to do is be in the wrong place at the wrong time. All you need is one meeting to go late, one thing in your routine to be disrupted and that once busy parking lock is now a barren wasteland. And there you are SOL.
Training for reality is about training your mind to find whatever solution you need to survive.
And that starts well before the fight is imminent. The person who doesn’t prepare for the absolute worst and thinks they are going to get by with just “empty hand” methods is very ignorant, very lucky or very dead.
PS. If you think women are weak, go check out Dr. Ruthle
Field Notes: An Event Apart Boston 2016
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