Monday, June 16, 2008

Self Defense

I mainly deal with training on this blog but I thought I'd write a bit about “self defense”. Self-defense isn’t just about being able to overcome an attacker (or multiple attackers) but mostly about being able to avoid confrontation when you can. Looking like a victim or an opportunity to those out for easy cash presents a great way to get into a confrontation. While working as a bicycle messenger in Washington DC I saw many messengers with ratty looking bikes, they were dirty, spray painted, etc but if you looked close they were good (think expensive) bikes. Whenever you made a delivery you always had to leave your bike outside and even with a kryptonite lock it could be stolen (I had mine stolen while it was locked with a kryptonite in the stairwell of a locked building). Part of the trick, I learned later, was to make your bike look like crap, if it looked like a valuable bike it was a target. The lesson here isn’t that you should look like someone living on the street with no money but not to look like an easy opportunity.

Too many people see fight training and self-defense as being the same, its not. Training to fight does prepare you better for when a confrontation takes place but true self-defense is realized in avoiding that confrontation. Many people who train want to show others that they can “handle themselves” in a fight and go looking for one. I, personally, don’t want my students to be like that – I want fighting to stay in the ring. I don’t mean to say that you should walk away from all confrontation since that’s not really possible – if you are truly threatened and can’t remove yourself safely, or a loved one is in danger then confrontation is unavoidable – but avoid confrontation or disarm a possible one when possible.

Tony Blauer is an excellent instructor in this area. He trains people to be ready for a fight and what to do to avoid it as well as how to react once it actually happens.
A recent video posted on Crossfit does an amazing job at illustrating how to avoid potential confrontation:

Always be vigilant, know who and what is around you, sense the atmosphere.Avoid a fight when you can, the ring is a different matter since you are there to fight.

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