Reframing Self Defense Part 2

I once saw a YouTube video of a drunk Canadian, who was arrested and being taken to the local police station. The video went viral, because the intoxicated man, started belting out a queen song. Somehow, he nailed all the words, the thing that struck me the most despite how funny it was. Was when they arrived at the station, the officer (If my memory serves me well) says to the man: “is there anything else I’m going to have to worry about?”
The drunk guy responds by saying “Physical violence is the least of my priorities.”

Think about what he is saying for a moment, his statement goes against a huge part of the current self-defense industry. Where almost every school that claims to teach self-defense, starts with the physical violence first, and very little if not any word about situational awareness and legal aspects of violence.

For me, the more I learn about asocial violence, the more I want nothing to do with violence. I train self-defense, not because I love violence, but because I refuse to be a sheep the day violence comes toward me or anyone I care about. Again, the violence that I’m speaking of is the kind you can’t talk your way out of, nor walk away from.

And here’s the key, most forms of social violence, you can walk away from. That is, if you physically can. I mention that because, if you are in a wheelchair or some other context, you either must get darn good at verbal judo, or you must know when to flip the switch and defend your life.

Let your ego go. In fact, make it take a dirt nap, just because someone insults you, does not mean that you must go and prove what a bad ass you think you are. What happens then, when you walk over to that dude that insults you, and you knock him down only to have him hit his head and die? Or at least brain damage?

Do you have the pocket to pay for legal fees, counter lawsuits and so on? Was it worth it then? Was it worth to spend time in prison? I’m guessing not, plus, most people would regret their actions soon after.

There was a top ranked MMA fighter, who was said to be known for going around sucker punching people. This disturbed soul also claims to have the best sucker punch in the world. As of result of actions, his dumb ass got arrested. MMA coaches/gyms surely could do a better job instilling values into their fighters or at least laying out what they will not tolerate, because in all honesty it sets a bad precedence for the coach and gyms.

The moral of the story is this, violence should be avoided until it cannot be avoided any longer. We need to think more deeply about what we are being taught, and what is being taught to us. If you’re considering taking self defense classes (which you should) if all that is being taught is deadly force, you probably should reconsider. If all that’s being taught is how to break an arm, or take someone’s vision away, you might want to find another school.

There is a time for deadly force, but often, there is a scalability involved. Simply meaning that not all situations call for a level ten response. Sometimes compliance and restraining a person is all that’s needed.

Train smart, engage your mind, don’t let your ego dictate your actions, make violence the least of your priorities.

Re-framing self defense

Psychology is a grossly over looked area of self -defense, if you look at the typical school that teaches any sort of combat art. The physical is the direct aim, already starting from the worst case scenario, meaning that someone is already choking you, punching you and so on. While we must start somewhere, I for one do not believe that this is the best approach. For me, as a martial arts instructor who has worked with nearly ever adaptive need, taught self-defense clinics to major colleges in my city, worked with retired military veterans, some law enforcement and even organizations such as DHHS. The one revelation that has kept coming to my mind year after year, is that real self-defense starts from the inside out.
Believe me, I know that this is extremely counter to what we are taught to in most schools today, because we just want to learn to kick ass. But honestly, we are not getting a very holistic approach. The most I’ve heard regarding awareness, is to simply “be aware” or have a 360 degree awareness at all times… Which is impossible to do. Telling someone to be aware is merely a way to cover a base, and doesn’t actually teach a student anything. What exactly are they being aware of? What are they looking at for? Do students actually know how handle and cope with emotional stimulus and stress?
Another reason that the psychology of self-defense goes untouched, is the narratives that coaches and or instructors provide. Some schools have weekend self-defense clinics, which are awesome and there can totally be some valuable elements taught. But the truth is, that one class isn’t all you need. It’s not going to make you a bad ass. If you are serious about self-defense, you must practice it the same way you want to get better at writing or math. One class, or once a month is not sufficient. There isn’t one technique that everyone must know and then your good. It doesn’t work that way. It never will. The other reality is this, most schools today do not specify to how fast and even complex a violent encounter is. Criminals simply do not care what you know, how long you’ve been training or anything of the sort. And so think that our modern training is going to prepare us in all areas is silly. Don’t miss understand me, MMA is a great base to learn self-defense, yet if we don’t know how to spot a threat, de-escalate a situation before it even starts, controlling our ego and emotions all we have is mere violence. Again, some martial arts schools only make this area worse, for example Krav t-shirts that say “touch me, and your first lessons free.” The saying truly gives off the vibe, as though you could take some Krav classes and kick anyone’s ass. Some of the BJJ community doesn’t help either, just the other day I saw a meme of a blackbelt, with his thumbs inside his belt looking all stoic. The Meme read “I’ve been doing BJJ 40 years. I fear no man.”.
I think that’s a bunch of nonsense. Any real person, is going to have a fear spike when a violent encounter takes place. Whatever the context may be. I’m fairly certain, that if you’re getting out of your car (with your kids in it) and the A typical person presses a knife to your throat. The likely hood of you having a sense of fear in that moment is extremely real. You might be fearing more for your offspring, and rightfully so. Perhaps this savage wants more than your car and money. Ever think about that? It’s in this context, that we must be able to rise above the ways of emotion and stress. How do we accomplish this? By training. I know that this might be hard to do, in some gyms that are more family oriented. Yet it doesn’t mean that in our self -defense training, we can’t train in a manner that prepares us for the real world.
We can practice training with heightened heart rate, being caught off guard and off balance. This is how life is, this is what it means to be human.
The self defense industry, is in serious need of an over haul. As mentioned earlier, if you’re serious about your own self-protection and even the safety of your loved ones. It’s up to you to start acting like it. It’s up to you to start training as though it actually matters. As coaches, instructors and the like. To start teaching and communicating to our tribes that it matters.