What is the the Best Self Defense?
A famous karate master once said that the real victory is winning
a battle without fighting. This concept always seemed to lose
me somewhere. Sure, it was a nice thought, but really, how can
we defend ourselves without fighting, never mind win!
A few years ago after training for over 30 years I finally got
the answer. There really was a way to win most street encounters
without fighting at all. Notice I said most. Sometimes there is
no other way than to explode into action and just go for it.
The best self defense is either to avoid a confrontation in the
first place or know how to defuse a potentially dangerous situation
before it becomes physical. Here's how...
Experts say that more than 70% of communication is non verbal.
This means that your body posture, eye contact, facial expresssion
and tone of voice are more important than the words you say. According
to the FBI a very high percentage of crimes are committed without
any physical engagement at all. The criminal merely intimidates
the victim to do what he wants.
Additionally most real attacks do not start with someone jumping
out from behind a parked car, an alley or a tree. No, most real
confrontations start with a verbal assault or inteview first.
There are three modes of behavior one can take on in terms of
self defense. First, there is the passive mode. Passive behavior
is a model of weakness. Picture someone with their head down,
shoulders lowered, no eye contact, feet close together. Not exactly
a pillar of strength. Criminals call someone like this, "free
lunch." This is a sure sign pure of fear. While it is okay to
feel scared, to look scared is asking for it.
The opposite of this is aggressive behavior. Most overly aggressive
people are working from a position of fear as well, but over compensate
in order not show it. They fight fire with fire and many times
cause situations to become physical when they need not be. Men
are more likely to fall into this trap. Their macho egos get in
the way of intellegent behavior in diffusing a situation.
The aggressive mode is easily seen by the chest puffed up, the
jaw up and perhaps tilted, finger pointing, loud boisterous behavior.
By becoming overly aggessive they don't allow the would be attacker
an honorable way out. To save face they would rather fight than
back down. By exploding before the physical confrontation starts,
they bring their heart rate even higher and lose more of their
rational, clear thinking.
The correct behavior to avoid many if not most physcial confrontations
and even most attacks is what we call the assertive mode of behavior.
This behavior is generated from a position of confidence. Shoulders
erect, head up, eye to eye contact, aware and focused position.
Prepared but not engaging or insulting. Ready but not pre-emptive.
Always willing to compromise and let the aggressor save face.
Confindent enough to hold his ground without having to win the
verbal war. This is real power!
It is amazing how many times this will work in the real world.
So many of our students tell us they can't believe the power in
We teach this assertive behavior both in our Street
Self Defense 101 video and our Street
Sense - Smart Self Defense for Women video.