Friday, March 31, 2017

The most fatal mistakes you can make in self defense

When it comes to self defense, you must be aware of training methods or lack of understanding that could cost you your life. These are very common mistakes that I have seen many people make. By taking them into consideration, you will learn what to do and what not to do in order to effectively defend yourself. The mistakes are as follows:

 * Failure to defuse or de-escalate - The most common and biggest mistake many self defense instructors and students make is failure to prevent a situation from getting violent. Even if they do, it's rarely discussed. You cannot provoke someone or allow the situation to get worse and then claim self defense. You cannot just attack someone because you "feared for your safety" or you wanted to "teach someone a lesson."

This video is an example of such a case. The aggressor in the train starts taunting and acting aggressively towards others before someone trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu applies a chokehold. What's wrong with this situation? He didn't try to de-escalate or defuse the aggressor first.

Nothing justifies you initiating the first attack. The level of response must be proportional to the level of danger. As long as your potential attacker is talking, there's time to defuse the situation. If you fail to de-escalate a situation from getting violent and have to attack, it's too late.

* "Walk away from a fight " - You've probably been told that if your up against someone who is angry with you, walk away. What's wrong with this advice? You didn't defuse your aggressor. If your aggressor is angry with you, walking away sends the message "you aren't worth my time and you don't matter.. " Your aggressor will feel mocked and even more angered then possibly attack you from behind. This seems like a humble approach but very unwise in practice.

* Assuming you know your enemy - Alot of self defense instructors assume that you will be attacked by a stranger. They then base their training on situations they imagine would happen. In reality, most attackers are people who you know. Cases where a complete stranger is going to jump out of nowhere and grab you from behind is very rare. Your enemy is most likely going to be your friend, a family member, or spouse first. Once you establish a relationship with said person say a spouse, you will eventually let your guard down and lose the will to fight. By the time you realize the danger, it will too late. That's why many serial killers were successful in their crimes because they were very social and established a relationship with their victims. The life of Ted Bundy is one infamous example. You need to be very careful who you let in your life to prevent violence in the future. To learn more, check my blog post out "know your enemy in self defense" (

* Assuming that you are invincible - Doesn't matter how much self defense you know, you will make mistakes no matter how small and they will cost you. Even if you survive a violent situation, you might still have to live with irreversible damage. Could be an amputated limb, loss of an eye, scars, malfunctioning body parts, PTSD, the list goes on. You are not invincible. Your body is very fragile which is why you need to pick your battles wisely.

* Failure to resolve conflict - One of your most powerful tools to self defense is conflict resolution. If you don't resolve conflict, you allow the situation to escalate and unresolved conflict can lead to violence. Around half of the homicides involve domestic violence and abusive relationships. If you receive a text message from a friend or acquaintance threatening to attack you, that's when you act. Don't wait until you are under attack to respond. You should already be trying to resolve conflict peacefully to prevent violence. Once you resolve conflict, you give people less reason to take out their negative emotions out on you.

* Neglecting your environment - Many self defense schools train in a nice open area on a mat clear of weapons indoors. In the real world, that kind of environment doesn't exist. When your in a violent situation, you will either be in public or in your house. There will be many barriers and improvised weapons your attacker can use. There might be glass on the floor or confined areas making it difficult to defend yourself properly. The environment and how well you can use it will determine how likely you are to survive an attack.

* Neglecting laws on self defense - Many people practicing self defense seem to forget everything about the legal system. They think "well the law in my land says that i am permitted to do X..." That may be true but there'll still be an investigation to determine if you were acting in self defense or not. If you have a weak case, you might end up serving time in prison. That's why you need to be mindful with how you defend yourself physically in order to not look like the aggressor.

* Assuming self defense is only physical - Self defense is more than just physical. There's verbal and legal self defense that are just as important. Many self defense schools make the mistake of only focusing on hand-to-hand combat for example but there's no emotions being incorporated in the training. In reality, your attacker may start off intimidating you, taunting you, screaming at you, or insulting you to reduce your confidence. He or she might be enraged or frustrated before the fight starts. You might freeze under those situations or lose confidence and get hit in the face before you know it. You will also need to defend yourself under the court of law or you might get charged as the aggressor than vice versa. Psychology, emotions, and so many other variables affect how likely you are to survive a violent struggle.

* Failure to recognize danger - The ability to recognize danger is a very important skill in self defense. Let's suppose someone with suspicious behavior walks past you and pulls out a knife then slits your throat from behind. You won't have enough time to react if you do not foresee danger and by the time you do, it will be too late. This video stresses the importance of foreseeing danger. A knifeman walks in a store, slits one guy's throat, and continues attacking.

*"You have to know what it's like to get hit " - This is a ridiculous belief circulating in some self defense circles. Why not train to avoid hits and delivering them instead? Taking a hit is counter-productive. Training to take hits defeats the purpose of self defense. If you train to take attacks, this picture sums up what will eventually happen to you.
* Failure to keep your distance - Keeping your distance is very important because it allows for reaction time and safety measures. The closer you are to someone, the harder it is to respond effectively. Suppose you were talking to someone face to face in public and suddenly, the person stabs you multiple times. You wouldn't be able to respond in time because your eyes would be too focused on the person's face to see the knifeman reach for the knife in his or her pockets. Keeping your distance prevents that from happening. This video gives an example of what happens when you don't keep your distance.

* Failure to get to safety - When you neutralized the threat, you must run as fast as you can out of danger. If you defeated your attacker in hand-to-hand combat and he or she is still conscious, he or she can pull out a gun then shoot you. There's also the risk of multiple attackers coming in to help your attacker.

* Failure to adapt - There's only so much you can only train for in self defense. There will probably be some scenarios that you did not train for. Your attacker might open fire on you or others from a distance or a bomb might go off followed by an attack and you might get taken by surprise. When this happens, you will need to assess the situation in order to determine the best of course of action. For example, if i was approached by someone wielding a knife demanding my valuables then i would keep my distance but also comply. My eyes would be on the knife as i hand over my valuables. If the knifeman still wants to attack me, that's when i attack and attempt to disarm him or her. Adapting to every situation is crucial to making the choice that will ultimately save your life in the end.

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  1. What you say about training to take a hit being wrong is untrue. While you might not need to practice taking a hit in excess, it is essential that you understand what it feels like. As you've said previously, you're going to make a mistake. If you've never taken a hit, you'll be unprepared for it when you slip up. Building up your body's ability to put up with impacts will often determine who wins a fight. He/she who is willing to put up with more pain and bodily injury will often win in a fair fight. While it could be counterproductive to train to take hits in excess and is more useful to not take hits, it's even more counterproductive go not be prepared to take them. Please reply with your thoughts, I am interested to hear your views and insights on taking hits.

    1. You make some valid points. I've found that boxers train to take hits (ex. rolling with punches) so this type of training might actually be useful. I'll reconsider what i wrote.

  2. Zach, the key to your comment tho is what you even said yourself 'fair fight', which i think the article's whole point is that it is everything but. But I do agree with your general premise that it's better to know how it feels to take a hit, so you're better prepared. To the same extent, it's better to know how to fight if you need it, rather than not.