Self defence it's not only practising defencive techniques on the classes and going to gradings. Self defence is much more than that, self defence is a focused mindset on what's really important - your safety and your loved ones. In my personal opinion everyone should at least read this article and apply part of the principles in your life. Staying out of trouble can be done with a correct approach and setting up priorities, not by knowing ninja self defence moves and techniques. Self defence starts inside your mind.
- 1. Planning and avoiding – self-defence starts much earlier than many many self-defence experts teach. Knowing your area and bad spots may save you much trouble. Avoiding bad places known for crime, prostitution and drug use, it’s a first self-defence step that you should take considering your safety and safety of your loved ones. If the area you are planning to go to has a bad reputation, then try to avoid it. If you can’t avoid it and you have to go there also consider the time that you are going to go there. Risk getting in the trouble will be much smaller at 12.00noon on Monday Morning then 21.30 on Friday night. You got the point. If you have to go to the bad area then take extra caution and be “switch on”, so you can recognise problems coming early. Especially pay attention to “transitional spaces”. By transitional spaces, I mean any space that you are travelling on foot, which are good places for an ambush and gather people who may be looking for trouble or try to rob you.
For sure you should pay attention to transitional spaces listed below:
Money Exchange Places
Space in front of your house
- 2. Situational Awareness – be switch on and pay attention to your surrounding. You should be aware of what’s going on in your environment. I’m not saying that you should scan waving your head from left to right, but for sure you want to acknowledge what's going on around you. It’s not a good practise to stick a face on a mobile phone in public places and to use headphones; otherwise, you look like a potential prey and an easy target for predators who are around. Predators have their criteria for choosing victims, and you do not want to give any indications that you can become one. Walk firmly with your chin up and show confidence, let everybody around to know that you are confident (but not cocky) and aware of the environment.
- 3. Avoid confrontation – easy to say, but this is not always possible. You can avoid it by not getting into unnecessary arguments with strangers, moving away from the group of males, especially if they are drunk and make noises. If you can choose an alternative route when spotting something suspicious you better do that.
- You never know how the fight is going to end up
- You may get seriously injured by accident
- You may seriously injure the attacker and face legal consequences after
- An attacker may pull a knife or other weapon before, during or after the fight
- Multiple attackers may appear or join the fight as it’s very uncommon for one single individual to start it these days
- You are too clever for that
- 4. Try to deescalate – if you are not able to avoid the confrontation or ou get surprised from a close distance, then the best option is to de-escalate and leave if possible. Use your verbal judo instead of fists if you have an opportunity of course. Do not let your Ego to carry you away. Learn how to control your EGO – do not let anyone provoke you – you are too clever for that, and you know your value. Let them think that they win the verbal confrontation. Your health, life and your loved ones are more important than your EGO.
- 5. Keep your distance – do not let any suspicious person, a stranger come into your personal space. How big is that space – it’s up to you, but I’d keep the threat at least within 1.5m distance from me and my loved ones. Remember more distance – more time for reaction and more options. It’s now also the time to keep your hands high around chest level and also take a step with your dominant leg backwards to position your lower body in a good fighting stance, but do not clench your fists – keep your hands open and control the distance. Be ready for action at this stage and watch the pre-attack indicators (I’ll write on this subject on the other occasion).
Action is always faster than reaction
You start from the position of disadvantage
You may not be able to recognise the attack and produce adequate defence
Your brain won’t be able to process the information and send orders to muscles that fast
Here is an example of semi-passive position that you may take when approached by stranger on the street.
- 6. The Fight – Hit Volnuable Targets – as fast and as strong as you can if the situation dictates it. You need to be ready to fight in 3 distances:
Clenching/Wrestling – if they can’t win the situation standing they probably get hold of you. You need to know how to stay on your feet while in very close distance. The situation is going to be dynamic and requires immediate actions from your side to keep the balance and stay on the ground, do not get thrown or taken down to the ground, release yourself from the grab or throw the attacker to the ground. In this distance you have some new tools available such as: biting, fingers to the eyes, ripping and other nasty dirty tricks – you want to use them if necessary.
Ground fight – this is something that everyone should avoid in a real street fight at all costs. If the situation gets you to the ground fight your priority should be: GET UP ASAP back on your feet. To do this you need to be trained in ground fighting to understand the basic position change, controlling attackers body on the ground as well as how to utilise appropriate tools to cause damage, disorientation or submission of the attacker and I’m not talking here about locks and classic submission techniques. I’m more about attacking the face, eyes, nose, throat, groin and other available valuable points.
- 7. Disengage ASAP – you do not want to stay in a fight longer than needed. Every second of the street fight creates an opportunity for someone to be seriously damaged. Remember that there are no rules, you are in a rough environment (concrete ground, walls, lamp posts, vehicles, and other hard hazard objects around). On top of that at any point attacker can bring a weapon into the game. More attackers can join the fight, and you may be caught by surprise. Remember as soon as you finish with the attacker, create a safe distance and scan the area. Things you are looking for: more attackers, any common objects that you can use as a force multiplier, exit routes, where your friends/family are, safe havens to escape. That look around after the confrontation will also reduce a tunnel vision as probably you’ll be at your heart rate over 160rpm. Remember you are safe only when you reach a safe place. Leve the scene immediately as soon as you can.
- 8. Check yourself for injury – many times when the knife is involved in the fight victims do not feel the stab and in many occasions do not see the knife coming. Always perform “blood sweep” (sweep your body with your hands and look if there are blood signs) on your body and check if you require medical attention. When the adrenaline is buzzing in your bloodstream, pain sensors are blocked, and you may not be aware of all the injuries immediately.
By applying those principles you can maximise your chances to avoid and/or survive a real-life street encounter. You need to know the theory which is in most cases common sense but also your technical and tactical skills when it comes to the physical confrontation. Mental preparation is also important part as if you don't force yourself to react in the situation of danger and your brain goes into FREEZE mode, then no matter how many hours you spend on your self-defence training or how many self-defence books you have read or videos you have watched.
Self Defence Expert