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.
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?
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.
In the previous three posts I discussed some important issues concerning situational awareness and its importance. The first article discussed the importance of developing situational awareness as a key to the prevention of violence. The second article discussed why some people don’t listen to their gut instinct, with some entertaining and amazing stories to show both terrible awareness and excellent, literally life-saving awareness. The third article gave you some tips to help you know what danger might look like so you can identify it in time.
Now that you know why it's important and what you need to look for, I am going to give you some simple and effective tools that can help you develop and improve your situational awareness.
A little, but important, explanation first. The reason I refer to these as games is not to downplay their importance, but rather to emphasise the fact that this kind of training doesn't have to be scary, hard or cumbersome. It can be a lot of fun, and can challenge you in fun and interesting ways.
Here we go!
In the previous two posts I discussed some important issues concerning situational awareness and its importance.
The first article discussed the importance of developing situational awareness as a key to the prevention of violence.
The second article discussed why some people don’t listen to their gut instinct, with some entertaining and amazing stories to show both terrible awareness and excellent, literally life-saving awareness.
Before we get into how to develop better situational awareness, I think it’s important to stop and identify the situational awarness trap; we are often told we need to develop it, that it's important, that it can save your life... And that's all true. We may evn be given some tips on how to develop this (I'll discuss this int he next article). But even with all of this in mind, do you know what to look for?
There has been a lot of discussion recently on the effectiveness of and need for situational awareness. I believe that simply put, environmental and situational awareness are probably the most effective tools that we, as individuals, have for predicting violent attacks and keeping ourselves safe.
Yet this is not always a popular view. Here is an interesting article on this topic.
In this piece we’ll explore some of the common mistakes people make with regards to situational awareness, as well as why they make them. Before I go on, I’d like to ask you sit down and take 10 minutes and read this all the way through. If nothing else, there’s a cool story at the end.
Sensei Gershon Ben Keren recently released this excellent blog on what Krav Maga can adopt from combat sports. I thought this was a particularly important piece (amongst his many excellent writings) as it highlights something that is often sorely lacking in Krav Maga, which I touched on here.
Too often martial arts and combat sports are dismissed in the purist self-defence circles (and no, those three things are not the same – more on this here). These criticisms range from painfully accurate to wildly fantastical, but at their core they are mostly the same: ‘that won’t work in the street’.
But there are many things that can be learned from martial arts and combat sports and applied in self defence. I’ve written about this extensively in the blogs above. This is what Sensei Ben Keren highlighted in the piece above as well.
But let’s look at the specifics. What specifically can we learn from combat and martial sports that can be applied in self defence?