We have seen a huge shift in the reason our students train in the past year or so. Initially, most of our students were training to get in the best shape of their life or to compete in mixed martial arts or jiujitsu. Recently, the main reason folks have been coming to us is self-defense. Protecting one’s self and loved ones seem to have topped the charts when it comes to motivation to start martial arts training.
It seems fitting since martial arts were initially developed to help individuals maximize leverage and the opponent's aggression against them to be able to fend off an attack.
Here are a few things to help you be prepared in case of an attack. The most important factor in self-defense or defensive tactics regardless of our client, whether military, law enforcement, civilians, or security contractors, is situational awareness. Being aware of your surroundings and potential threats gives you the most time to formulate a response and an avoidance strategy. In law enforcement, this is referred to as the “reactionary gap.” Simply the sooner you assess and recognize a threat, the more time you have to react. The greater the reactionary gap the more options you have. Avoid daily distractions while in public. Don’t have your head buried in your smartphone reading text messages and emails while walking down the street.
We’ve all heard the old adage “prevention is better than the cure,” avoiding a situation where there is a higher probability of conflict is the way to go. You have the right (at least in the United States) to walk wherever you want, whenever you want. However, there are places and times that a wise person will avoid. There is always a risk of serious injury or worst in a situation that requires you to utilize a self-defense skillset. It’s simply not worth arguing with a person who has enjoyed too many adult beverages or walking down a dark and unfamiliar ally late at night.
There are sometimes situations that you simply cannot predict an attack and you may have no choice but to stand your ground and defend a loved one or yourself. When that time comes, it is important to have rehearsed and trained as much as possible. Your defensive actions must be muscle memory.
Under extreme stress, even the most highly trained individuals experience loss of fine motor skills as well as a reduction in cognitive function. Your self-defense skill set will only become muscle memory with hundreds if not thousands of correct repetitions. That is why I recommend everyone train at a reputable and established martial arts school that has produced documented results in self-defense encounters.
Force multipliers. I’m often asked, what is the best self-defense tool? The answer is simple, its whatever “tool” you are competent with. There is no need to carry a firearm, a knife, a Kubotan, or pepper (OC) spray if you have not put in countless hours of training on that tool. Just as with empty-hand self-defense, your proficiency with a force multiplier must be engraved in your muscle memory. Otherwise, there is a high probability you will be disarmed of your tool and it may likely be used against you. Luckily, in most States, you can find great training. Be sure not to stop at a CPL class, although that is a great start, the training required to be proficient at firearms is rigorous. Not to mention the moral and legal ramifications of the use of deadly force.
Before you got out and purchase training or tools be sure to check your local laws as they may vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next.