Monday, 12 February 2018 10:22

Permission Granted: On the Willingness to Act in Self Defence

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You are at home, asleep. Your partner is sleeping next to you, and your child is sleeping in the next room.

You wake up to the sound of breaking glass, and as you step out of your room to inspect, you see a knife-wielding assailant about to enter your child's room.

What do you do? If you had to fight, could you?

The answer is always yes, although some people don't believe that's the case.

Often the hardest thing to do is to give yourself permission to act. We stop ourselves from doing something not because we can't, but because we believe we can't.

This is something we see in self defence all the time. We often get told 'I don't know if I could hit someone, even if they tried to hurt me'. It's not a matter of 'could', but 'would'. In other words, it's not a matter of capability, but willingness. Can you physically make a fist and go through the mechanical movements of delivering it to the target? Of course you can! But mentally you may not allow yourself to.

Think of the above example. If that situation were to happen, what would you do? How far would you go?

The true inevitable truths of self defence are as follows:
1. You will need to hit another human being
2. Anothet human being will hit you

These are hard for many people to come to terms with; we are taught we shouldn't, and that's a good thing. It's what allows us to have a peaceful society and coexist.

When we encounter someone who doesn't play by the same rules, it creates cognitive dissonance. Our mind will try to reconcile what is with what it believes should be.

This short sentence highlights one of the most complicated and powerful aspects of violence. When what we believe and what is real clash, it can cause long-lasting trauma. And I don't mean that just in the physical sense. This can create issues revolving our view of ourselves. It can cause us to seriously question not only our training, but also our very identity.

What we may do, how we may react, how far we are willing to go and in what circumstances are all things that are important to the outcome of a situation. And it doesn't matter whether that's a home invasion, car accident, fire at the workplace or a pub brawl.

Note: autocorrect changed 'car accident' to 'cat accident'. If you have a cat, then that is something you may need to consider as well. Whether your cat had an accident or just did one on the carpet, knowing the fastest route to the safety of the vet, or the litter tray, can save your cat. Or your carpet.

This is something we need to decide on long before we are faced with it. The decision of how far to go and in what situation should be made well in advance, so that at the time you will not hesitate. Hesitation could cost your life, or the life of a loved one. 

This is where visualisation and planning are critical. As Dr Gavriel Schneider often says, "failing to plan is planning to fail".

Visualisation is a powerful training tool, with proven benefits. If you need some tips about how to use this tool effectively, you can find some advice here. For more in-depth analysis I recommend you read Dr Gavriel Schneider's book 'Can I See Your Hands'.

Back to the point at hand. No, not the cat poo - which I certainly hope isn't in your hand, as that will certainly point towards some poor planning on your part.

The point is that we must give ourselves permission to act. We must allow ourselves the power to do what is needed, when it is needed.

This is one of the many 'martial paradigms' we see in training (more on this another time).

We train in order to defend ourselves. We may learn the physical movements, but if we don't think about how to apply what we learn, and give ourselves the freedom to do so, then we will never be able to do it when we need to.

This is a conscious process that we must go through.

And once unlocked, it opens a wealth of opportunities in life. Self-confidence comes not only from knowing what needs to be done, but the willingness to do it.

Think about it now, not when it's too late.

Doing what needs to be done is simple - first decide to act, then just act.

But simple and easy are not the same.

Go through a couple of minutes every day of visualisation. Spend some time thinking about what is important to you, and what you will fight for. By all means, expand the same thought process and courage to your relationships, to your career, to your goals. Give yourself permission to do these things. Decide to act now, so that when you need to you 'just act'.

Otherwise you might end up repeatedly cleaning cat poop off the carpet.

So... Let's rephrase the original question now that the word 'can't' is no longer in our self defence vocabulary:

If you had to defend yourself, would you?

Stay tuned, stay safe.


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