“The Best Defense Is A Good Offense”
Applied to self-defense this is true, to a point. But it should be taken a little different than the “just attack them before they attack you” that is implied.
A good offense in this case means preparation, not being offensive. So please, don’t be that guy in the “Tapout” or “Affliction” shirt(purchased from Wal-Mart) that talks about how he “trains UFC”(whatever that means).
It’s having the right mindset – practicing the moves(techniques) you will have to be able to execute when the time comes. None of that Karate Kid garbage or anything you might see in the movies or on TV.
I’ve been training for 14 years at this point and I’ve only had to use my “skills” one time… well, my physical skills, the rest are in use on a daily basis(conscious and uncontentious)
When I did have to use my “skills”, what came out was the right technique for the situation (nothing I had even practiced mind you), all with good control and awareness in the moment… I felt like a freaking Jedi Master, everything was there, everything was flawless(kinda).
I’ll talk more about that later but the most important bit I want you to gain from this is this – Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail. (if you care to read my “story” it’s at the bottom of the post)
Look around you.
How prepared are you for an emergency at this very moment?
If you can’t think of at least 5 things that could go wrong right this second, you’re most likely not prepared. One or two? You’re on the right path.
“Nothing ever happens to you until it does” -Thomas Sippin
Nobody plans to get in a car accident, but we have Air Bags, Seat Belts, Crumple Zones on the vehicles to ensure decreased risk of death or serious injury in the case of a collision form any conceivable angle.
Why should you treat personal protection any different?
Shouldn’t you have a fire extinguisher in your house?
Seat belt cutter and glass breaker in your car?
A “spare battery”(or on the go charger) for your phone?
Are you physically prepared? i.e. are you in good enough shape to be able to withstand 30-60 seconds of high intensity activity(such as punching, kicking, and various strikes) and sprint afterward?
Do you know what to do after an attack? Or how to avoid walking into one?
These are important questions you should be asking yourself on a daily basis. Constantly evaluate “what ifs” (what if that car swerved into my lane, what if that guy tried abducting me, what if someone tried taking my child, etc…)
Look to use your surroundings to your advantage instead of someone else’s, watch for verbal and physical cues of intent(agitated tone, shifty, looks uneasy).
These are things you know and are told, but how often do they cross your mind – Never? Here and there? Daily? Hourly? Constantly?
The better you get at these “thought exercises”, the more second nature it will become, making you even more prepared in case a “what if” were to happen.(So you can be a Jedi too!)
I have avoided more situations than I could probably count(deescalating situations before they arise and avoiding them altogether), so the fact that I’ve only had one “encounter” out of all my years of training is something I could be proud of, but also, could have been avoided(if I were paying a little closer attention)
The Scene – My baby sister’s 21st birthday party.
We were out at a few local “watering holes” right here in ol Hartford, WI. And we decided to go to one last place before calling it a night.
A few of the guests of the party decided to sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with two other patrons who had already had their fill of booze for the night(and then some).
Unfortunately, one of these guys wasn’t what you’d call the friendly sort…. After about 20 minutes this guy(let’s call him Red – the color of his shirt) was playing pool and seemingly out of nowhere starts screaming across the bar about how “every time I go out in Hartford someone is trying to start sh*t with me” and so on(clearly this reoccurring problem seems to be him, even though he hasn’t realized it yet…)
We get the member of our group out of the bar to try and deescalate the situation but Red wasn’t having it. He followed us out.
There was about 7 guys between him and the person he had the “issue” with(we still don’t know what it was…) yet Red still insisted on not leaving screaming “I’m gonna f*cking kill you” at 1am about a ½ block from the police station(clearly, not a bright man).
All of a sudden, he takes off running out into the street and straight toward the group(1 on 7, good odds, no?)… But he didn’t make it… I(the skinniest guy out of the group as someone pointed out) took a straight forearm to his chest, redirected him back toward his “friend” who then told me to get my hands off his friend… and that was the end of it.
Not graceful or cool like the movies. But it worked.
I think the reason I was the only one who reacted was due to the fact I noticed signs of aggression Red was putting forth and decided to act on it before someone wound up in the hospital(it would’ve been him)
Moral of the story, don’t go out to bars… and alert the police before they get there too late, 911 is a quick dial away, and this man(I was told afterward) was a known trouble maker who probably should have something to show on his record(personal opinion). As to why they allow him back into the bar… still a mystery…
To wrap things up, it’s always better to prepare for a situation that you might not encounter than to be caught with your pants down… it may wind up with more than just an embarrassing story, it could cost you dearly(jail time, hospital, or the morgue)
There’s no superhero to come save you in real life, so be your own hero, and save yourself by preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best. But mostly, stay away from the “problem” situations before they happen.
If you want to learn more about self-defense training, check out our Hapkido training program or contact me directly: justin @ post35.net for more info on upcoming courses(or to schedule a private course)
Stay Strong My Friends