The Realities of Self Defense (Part 1)

DSD gun defenseWhen if comes to self-defense there are no guaranteed answers.

There is no one martial art or training system that is guaranteed to keep you safe no matter what. Anyone selling you such nonsense is conning you.

Real self-defense is about understanding the realities of what you may encounter and looking at what strategies will work for you.

Our combatives based system is extremely effective but we have also found that we need to adapt our techniques to our students. What works for a 200 lb man against another 200 lb man is not the same as what works for a 130 lb woman against a 280 lb man.

To help explore this subject, I’ve created a list of self defense realities. We’d love your thoughts on the subject as you read through these.

Reality #1: A single punch can end a fight.

In the video below you’ll see a number of one-punch knockouts in actual fights.

Understand that a knockout occurs when the brain has it’s nerve impulses disrupted in some way. This most often is the result of the brain physically impacting the inside of the skull but can also result from nerve overload (striking the vagus nerve). There are three manifestations of a knockout – the typical knockout results in a sustained loss of consciousness (where the recipient looses all memory of the event), a “flash” knockout, when a very transient (less than three seconds) loss of consciousness occurs, and the recipient often maintains awareness and memory of the combat, and, lastly, a “stunning,” when the consciousness is maintained despite extremely distorted sensory processing. 

The real point here is that in a confrontation things can happen very quickly. A single punch can end things either for the better or worse (it can happen to a defender just as easily).

Reality #2: A single punch may do nothing at all.

As you see in the video above there are punches thrown that don’t do anything at all. Just because a single punch can knock out an attacker does not mean it will.

A key factor in training for self-defense – whether you train in Dynamic Self Defense, Krav Maga or any other combatives based system – is the multiple strikes principle. Hitting your attacker with multiple well targeted strikes has a much better chance of disabling them and allowing an escape than hitting once and seeing what the reaction is.

Reality #3: Awareness is the most important skill.

Awareness starts with a realistic assessment of what threats you are likely to encounter and what tactics you have in your arsenal to counter or avoid them.

In the video above most of the situations were antisocial situations. This is where a conflict grows and escalates out of some perceived differences. These are the easiest situations to avoid. All that is required is to check your ego and walk away. The point here is that there are usually very clear signs when a conflict moves from social to antisocial. Keep in mind that being part of an escalating antisocial conflict may undermine your claim of self defense as a legal defense.

The most dangerous threat is is the asocial attack – it’s a lot harder to avoid but also quite rare. An asocial threat doesn’t announce itself  – it’s just there. Serial killers for example don’t typically look like thugs or give you any clues that you might want to avoid them. And when they attack they do so without warning. There is no negotiating with an asocial attack – they don’t want anything from you that you can give up freely. The only defense in this case is violence.

The good news is that simply adapting some awareness skills can help you avoid most conflicts. We teach and train these on a regular basis in both our kids and adult classes.

Reality #4: Self Defense is NOT fighting!

If you and I were going to fight we would square off. There would be some agreed to or implied rules. Most importantly, we both know what coming. We know we are going to be in a fight!

Real self defense is not fighting.

Sure there are fighting skills in self defense. In Dynamic Self Defense for example, we teach strikes similar to Muay Thai, grappling similar to Jujitsu and weapons defense derived from special forces training. What we don’t teach is the key difference.

Looking at Muay Thai and Jujitsu as examples, both are pretty intense ring sports. There are serious injuries in both in the ring. However, when training for the ring fighters focus only on the other fighter. They know what rules they are playing under and they are most often paired with someone of similar size.

Physical self defense should only come up when a violent encounter can’t be avoided. In this situation there is an advantage to the aggressor not knowing what the defender knows or having any idea that the defender will react violently. When your only goal is to survive the rules go out the window and that gives an advantage to the defender.

Reality #5: You are not getting younger.

Training to be the next Olympic Judo champion is probably not on the ticket for you. It doesn’t need to be. Even the best fighters end up defeated eventually. (Even the legendary Royce Gracie was defeated in 2006 by Matt Hughes) So the idea that you need to become a champion fighter in order to be any good at defending yourself is totally flawed.

Self Defense Eye Gouge From Ground

Self Defense isn’t about fighting fair…

We see self defense as a basic concept that should empower people of all ages. It’s not about a 40 something professional woman “fighting” a tattooed 300 pound man with steroid rage. It’s about realistically making the best of any situation – using what you have – including your intellect. To that end our training not only teaches you tactics and skill, it rewires your stress response. Maintaining an ability to think and act under stress is something that allows anyone of any age to practice effective self defense.

Looking back at the video above, each person that was knocked out had their head exposed. They were open to a punch or thought wrongly that they would be quick enough to react or could take the hit. Simple techniques such as keeping your hands up (something we call the “guard”) would have made every one of those hits much more difficult to execute. And that doesn’t take extraordinary physical skill or conditioning. It only takes repetition.

The Top 5 Self Defense Skills Students Struggle With

 

Self Defense Women's Classes at DSDWe make no bones about it: Dynamic Self Defense is not your typical Martial Art School. Our curriculum and staff keep things as real life as possible in our drills and techniques, applying real world applications to multiple conflicts.

These real world applications are known as “drills” that work specific parts of our defense system whether it be skills dealing with Awareness or understanding the importance of footwork when defending oneself. With Dynamic Self Defense striving to be number one in not only providing the most realistic form of self defense training, but also in educating and helping our students and potential students in some struggles they may deal with in their training! It is with that I bring to you my top 5 list of “Skills a Self Defense Student Struggles With”.

TOP 5 Self Defense Skills

  1. Taking the Hit – The body is capable of sustaining damage without getting injured. It’s all on where your getting struck. Take for instance blocking. The arm connects with a fist preventing it from striking your face. Sure it may hurt but not enough to take you out of the fight! DSD works several drills to help combat the need of wanting to freeze up, squint the eyes or cower into a ball in situations like this. In the long run the more your body gets used to the impact reality the better your able to focus on your attack response and situation your dealing with.
  2. Having a Quick Response – This is a very important skill for having a quick response will greatly alter a situation in your favor. This doesn’t just cover your attack response but also your DEFENSIVE response whether it be blocking, weaving etc. Drills that force you to think on your feet help in creating a fast positive response skill.
  3. Controlling the Situation – This skill is referred to as Awareness. Simply having good technique and a good physique is not enough! When facing several potential threats, having a proper Awareness skill can be all the difference in getting beat up or getting away. Even though we train for multiple attacker scenarios doesn’t mean I’m ready to take them all on. Using my Awareness skill by surveying the situation, controlling one opponent and pushing them into the others allowing me to escape seems the more logical choice
  4. Proper Footwork – Footwork helps with stability and balance. We take our footwork skills from the field of Boxing. Keeping your feet separated and knees bent, allows for more maneuverability and makes it difficult for the attacker to get you to the floor. Drills that help defend against attackers with Wrestling or Jujitsu training is best given these types of styles focus on getting their opponent to the ground.
  5. Keeping Hands Up – While this may seem simple, many students struggle with this skill set simply because we don’t normally keep our hands up past our waist in a normal situation. It’s easy to drop your hands when not thinking about keeping them up which results in exposing the face and ribs to the attacker. Drills DSD uses to help with this skill include our “Pattern” and various “Focus Mitt” drills.

I invite you to watch the video below to give you some insight on some of the drills mentioned above and skills talked about. For more information on our self defense classes and times please email us in the contact section above.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/54192017[/vimeo]