The Top 5 Tips for Self DefenseAug 04, 2023
The Top 5 Tips for Self Defense
Learning Self Defense can be a daunting task. Especially when you take into account all the variables a violent encounter can have. At Core, at least once a week someone comes in to ask about a seminar to teach them how to "Learn Self Defense Quickly." This is always an interesting conversation. Mainly due to the fact that you would never express this in any other physical activity. It would be a crazy notion to go to a basketball coach, and ask them to get you proficient enough to play a high stakes game in an hour seminar.....now take into account a violent encounter could cost you your life. Are you willing to only spend 1 hour to prepare for that? When put in that context it seems ridiculous. True understanding of Self Defense is much like any other martial art. It's a lifestyle that will constantly evolve, while you sharpen your skills. Even a BJJ Blackbelt with years of training has goals of improvement.
Truthfully it all comes down to your level of training. The famous quote "Under pressure, you don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training", sums this up perfectly. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat a good diet, exercise, and train hard. This is the secret to truly understanding Self Defense. Simple, but not easy. With all of this said below I've written the top 5 tips I would give someone for Self Defense. These are just a few of many, but hopefully they provide you with some value!
Any BJJ or Krav Maga expert will tell you that self defense always starts with being aware of your surroundings. People far too often will walk around while looking at their phone and not pay attention to the people around them. By staying vigilant, we can identify people around us and reduce the chances of someone sneaking up on us. However, situational awareness goes beyond just paying attention to the immediate surroundings. It also means putting ourselves in better situations. Don’t walk down the dark alley alone even if it is a faster walk home, don’t go to the shady area of town, put yourself around people you trust, etc. Generally I prefer to sit facing the entrance or exit in a restaurant. With my back turned to them it's extremely hard to be aware of my surroundings. Simply being aware of the people around you can make all the difference.
Always Have a Plan
It is very important to always have a plan for when a situation might go bad. This ties back into having situational awareness in the first place. Knowing where an exit is can be vital in a given situation. If things start to go wrong, and you have not thought about a quick exit, you may not have the time to leave when it matters. If you notice someone acting in a manner that could turn violent, it's important to have a plan. If you have to confront them, knowing how to de-escalate can be vital. If you can’t do that, then you need to have a plan of attack or quick exit.
Stay Physically Fit
Far too many people overlook the importance of staying in shape. If you need to run away from an attacker, or you have to physically confront someone who is trying to do you harm, you need to be in good enough shape to make either one of those options a possibility. If I need to run, then I need to run fast. If I need to hit someone or control them, then I need to be strong enough to do it. Physical fitness is all too important in the world of self defense. One thing I tell my students is to be a "hard target." Being a hard target can be a combination of things. Just being physically fit can be a great deterrent. If someone is looking to do harm and they see someone who looks to be in good physical shape, they may think twice about picking that person to mess with.
Like I said at the beginning. It is much better to know how to fight and never get in one, than it is to get into a fight and never have trained for one. In today's world, it has never been easier to start learning basic self defense skills. Find a gym and start learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Boxing, Muay Thai, or anything else that uses techniques that can be applied to a real life situation. Practicing just a few times a week is all you need to start gaining a very important set of skills. I also stress to my students the importance of competition. Even a BJJ competition where you are not getting strikes thrown at you can mimic the stress of another person trying to harm you. It's a scary feeling when you compete, making this the ultimate way to test your skills under stress in a safe environment.
Don’t Just Rely on Tools
“Why do I need to learn how to fight? I carry a weapon.” This one truly bothers me. The problem with statements like that is what if the situation you are in doesn’t warrant that type of a response? I can’t shoot someone just because. There has to be a legitimate threat to my safety before lethal force can be used. If lethal force is warranted, how well trained are you with your gun? Also what is your plan if distance is rapidly closed before you are able to stop the person? Force multipliers are great, but they are not magic.
What about non lethal tools, like pepper spray or stun guns? The problem with tools like this is they are oftentimes not nearly as effective as people want them to be. A stun gun won’t instantly incapacitate someone like in the movies, and may just anger someone more. Pepper spray may get in the eyes of the one who deploys it, thus limiting that person's ability to see. Everything has a drawback, and there is no substitute for learning how to actually fight.
Hopefully these tips gave you some insight into our methodology, and gets you motivated to start training!