A Theory of Defense

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Self-defense has been on my mind lately. The news is filled with violent protests and attacks; the internet has been filled with self-defense videos and advertisements for classes; and people I know have been asking me about how they can defend themselves.

The need to defend oneself has been front and center in a lot of people’s minds. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to self-defense. How one defends oneself depends on a several factors:

  • Location – are there avenues for escape or defensible cover?
  • Tool Available – are there implements at your disposal to help you defend or escape?
  • Skill Level – Do you have the proper skillsets to defend yourself?
  • Condition – Are you physically fit enough or did the initial attack leave you in adequate condition to defend or escape?
  • Responsibility – Are there people with you for whom you are responsible?

Every situation can be a little different but that does not mean that you can’t prepare. To prepare you need to do a few things that may be uncomfortable for you.

  1. Assess your physical fitness. If you are at a large venue event and there is a situation, do you have the energy/ability to run a half mile to an exit? If you cannot or if you are with people who cannot, running away is not an option. So if you are out of shape or if you are with grandma and there is a problem, you need a solution that does not include running.
  2. Assess your skills. – Are you properly trained to defend yourself? Doing punches and kicks in line or even sparring does not fully prepare you to defend yourself. I was at a seminar primarily for blackbelts from a variety of styles. This seminar was on countering quick and violent attack. Many of the practitioners had trouble coping in the spontaneous environment. This shock can be exacerbated with the introduction of a weapon. Are you ready to face a dynamic violent situation?
  3. Determine your attitude on violence – Are you prepared to hurt someone to defend yourself or others. If you are not prepared to hurt someone, possibly severely, you need to come up with a different plan.

Defense is a personal decision. It really depends on you. Be honest with yourself in assessing your condition and your skills. Improve yourself if you can, but always be honest with yourself. If you cannot or will not do certain things to defend yourself, prepare yourself in other ways.

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