Are you being taught Self Defence ?
This may seem like an odd question, however, learning a martial art style does not mean you are learning self-defence.
I’m not talking about the matter of whether what you are learning is sport based; bound by set rules or using set techniques, such as learning judo which is an Olympic sport.
I’m not even talking about whether you do art to art based sparring, meaning you practise defending and attacking against your own style system, Karate against karate for example.
I’m talking about that actual practice of surviving an unwanted attack of aggression against you.
In one of my previous articles (click here to Read more) I talked about how most self-defence classes teach in the wrong order.
They’ll teach you how to escape a typical attack, say a side headlock. They show you the ABC moves of escaping this. In truth the best defence against it is, don’t! Let anyone put you in a headlock. Seems logical right!
Doing everything possible to prevent becoming a victim of an attack. Awareness, potential threat assessment, escaping etc
The duty of Care /The law: A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of Self Defence.
You are responsible for the care of that person. For example punching them in the face causing a knockout, will result in them hitting the ground.
Should that person then smash his/her head on the ground resulting in head trauma, you are responsible and will have to defend your actions as reasonable.
A Perfect Judo throw may seem like a great technique, however, you could break their back on the pavement.
Mindset: All the striking, kicking, throwing, locking, grappling, weaponry skills will mean nothing if you have not trained your mind.
You need to understand the interview stage of an optional assailant. Learning how to control your personal space, learning to control your own bodies adrenaline This list could go on!
Escaping violence: Does your self-defence training practice “running” Yes! that’s right learning to run away, escape when possible.
We’ve all been taught when we are kids to stand your ground, fight back. In a violent encounter, this is just silly.
Once you engage in an assault you do not know if others will join in becoming a multi assailant assault now! You have no idea if a weapon will be pulled.
I am often asked whats the best defence against a knife? and even after all my years in Filipino martial arts weaponry training, it’s still BEST to run if you have the space to get gone!
The only time running is not an option is if you have family members to protect, or your escape route is blocked. Even if you are grabbed, you should be practising to free yourself with strikes and run away from the situation. Under stress, you will only do what you practise the most! The practice of Self defence goes well beyond the practice of forms, kicks, punches. Its an education on the law “reasonable force” an education on where to find help. If your travelling what are the safe areas, What areas do you avoid? etc Martial Arts offers a lot more than your self-defence skills. It is a way of life for personal growth and well being. However, if you really want to learn how to defend yourself you need to learn the full picture, then all your training will help you. Until my next article, keep training and enjoy becoming the best version of your self
Sensei Darren Hunter