What do you think is the most important element of self-defence classes?
Giving the student real self defence skills, in all their facets, is the obvious answer, but is it the first one and the only one?
Usually the argument will then go to discussion about technique, or scenarios, or the level of contact or how long it takes to get a black belt. These are all valid discussions, but often miss one important point.
Read more to find out what that point is!
Adrenaline is one of the realities of self-defence. If you have never experienced violence, you are 100% guaranteed to be adrenalized if something happens. And even if you are very experienced in dealing with violence you are likely to experience adrenal dump – you are just likely to manage it much better.
There are a couple of factors that are not discussed as often when talking about adrenaline:
1. The level of adrenaline you are experiencing
2. The effects of adrenaline on other people (attackers, people you are protecting, bystanders, first responders)
3. The root cause behind the adrenaline
These are crucial pieces to understanding what kind of situation you are dealing with, whether it can be avoided or de-escalated and how far things might go if it deteriorates into a physical confrontation.
Read on to find out why!
About 5 years ago I wrote this piece on how we perceive violence happens.
In the 5 years that have passed, many things changed, but what was discussed in that article still holds true.
Today I’m going to revisit that idea, and discuss how the language we use impacts our perception, and vice versa, and how that impacts our understanding of, and response to, violence and self-defence.
Below are some of common phrases that are often used interchangeably in self-defence classes. But are they really interchangeable?
Read on to find out!
A fight is about to start. You know it. You tried to avoid and you tried to de-escalate with no success. The person is pointing at you, shouting that he is going to punch your teeth down your throat. He is closing the distance quickly and starting to angle his body, so you know a right haymaker is coming next.
You are not worried. You’ve practiced your moves in the dojo thousands of times and you know what to do.
As he closes the distance, you shift your weight and for a front kick to push him back, like you’ve done a million times in training…
… but you lose your balance and fall on your butt. He is right on top of you, and about to try and curb stomp you into oblivion.
Where did you go wrong? Read more to find out.
Let’s start with something you (hopefully) already know. Combat sports and self-defence are not the same thing.
If you think they are, then I recommend you read this. If you still don’t believe me, then you should probably stop reading here.
At the same time, there is so much that self-defence practitioners can learn from combat sports! You can read more about this here. Again, if you still don’t believe me then you should probably stop reading here.
So, if you are still reading then hopefully, we are on the same page. So, let’s talk about some of the training methods that are useful for both, how they cross over, and at a great structure and toolkit for your training.
Ready? Read on!
So good to be writing again! It's been 3 long months.
What does ‘self defence’ mean to you?
To most people it means being able to defend themselves or their loves ones in the event of a violent attack.
And yes, that’s a pretty good reason to learn self defence.
But there’s another part to the equation, that’s just as important. Want to know what it is? Read on!
$hit Happens. All the time. To everyone.
We watch the news and see a story about someone getting mugged, assaulted, sucker punched, raped, murdered.
But that stuff happens to other people. I lock my doors at night, and I have insurance. Besides, I don’t live in that part of town and I don’t associate with those sorts of people.
And then what do you say?
One of the things I discuss often is the separation between combat sports, martial arts and self-defence (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this).
Self-defence practitioners often exclaim that combat sports and martial arts are NOT the same as self-defence, and indeed there is plenty of evidence to support this claim.
On the other hand, combat sports and martial arts practitioners will always claim their stuff is effective for self-defence.
Me? I tend to sit right in the middle on this one. Do they overlap? Yes. Are there transferable skills? Absolutely! Are they identical? Absolutely not.
But can they be?
Violence ain’t pretty.
We’ve all seen violence at some point or another, though surely to different extents. If you haven’t then you are either very, very sheltered or very, very lucky (or both).
With YouTube and social media is now easier than ever to get access to millions of examples of what real, ugly violence looks like. I invite you think of the first time you saw someone get knocked out violently or stabbed, whether in real life or the net.
What was your response?
Chances experienced a bit of adrenalin and some anxiety or stress. Perhaps you simply couldn’t watch the whole thing. It probably left you feeling out of sorts for a little while after it finished.
Now imagine this happening to you in real life.
Would you have the tools to deal with the trauma of real-world violence?
You walk into the dojo and tentatively go up to your instructor when you see he has a spare minute. In a hushed tone, almost apologetic, you ask the following question:
“I tried what we learned in class on my [boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/mum/dad/friend] and it didn’t work. What was I doing wrong?”
This is a question I have seen and heard many times, and have also asked a couple of times when I first started training.
The people asking it can approach it in a variety of different ways. Some are almost apologetic, because they believe they didn’t do it right. Others are angry or upset, claiming that ‘it’ doesn’t work.
If you’ve ever tried something you learned in a martial arts or self defence class on a friend and it didn’t work, or if you’re an instructor who has heard this question, and you want to know what you did wrong, read on.