Real Self Defense
Self defense has been a rapidly growing industry for many years now and as the world becomes a more violent place, and the media coverage and social media sharing continue to highlight all of the bad in the world people now, more than ever are desperate for a way to feel safe. Everyone is looking for the security blanket. In many states across the USA, concealed carry training is skyrocketing, issuing more permits to carry a firearm than the prior year. We are seeing more and more McDojo’s popping up, some even offering the “accelerated black belt program” for busy working professionals.
Let’s just be really honest here. In a self defense situation, you are not going to magically turn into Chuck Norris, or (insert favorite action movie star here). The reality of the situation is that you are going to do whatever you have trained to do. In a high stress situation, your brain is looking for muscle memory that has been created that is as similar to the situation at hand as possible. If you have not trained several hundred, if not thousand repetitions of a specific technique, you are not magically going to be able to do it when you need it most.
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More and more these days we see “Women’s self defense seminars” advertised where they make promises that in 2 to 3 hours, one time, you will be safer in the real world. How is that possible? In most of these cases, at least the ones I have seen, they aren’t offered by Jiu Jitsu academies, but rather some other martial arts school that has limited if any ground fighting technique. These types of seminars are designed to be a comfortable learning environment where no one has to get uncomfortable and have another person too close to them, or worse, on top of them.
The reality is, if you truly want to be safer out in the real world, you need to train for the real world. This means if you, as a female, want to learn how to defend yourself if you are attacked by someone who is trying to sexually assault you, you need to train from the worst possible positions. One of the most effective techniques a female could use in a sexual assault situation is a triangle choke, the issue becomes, especially in a seminar setting with people who don’t train Jiu Jitsu regularly, or at all, is this position can be uncomfortable and intimidating. I get it, really, I do. But which is more comfortable? Training the technique in a controlled environment and building muscle memory on how to execute this technique in real life should the need ever arise? Or avoiding being uncomfortable now and running the risk of being helpless later, when it matters most.
Self defense is not easy. Training, and being prepared to defend yourself can’t be bought with a few seminars here and there. Sure the right seminars are an excellent supplement to your training, but the key here is that they are a supplement, not the only training you are doing.
In a world where everyone wants a quick and easy solution to every problem, we must recognize that not everything is that simple. Self defense is one of those things. As a result of the instant gratification lifestyles we live, many people are turning to concealed carrying a firearm for self defense protection. While I am an advocate for concealed carry, it’s simply one tool in your tool belt. It’s like only hooking up the mouse to your computer, but leaving the keyboard in the box. Can you accomplish some tasks? Sure. Are you well rounded and able to fully use the computer, not at all. Self defense is the same way, the more skills you are able to acquire, the safer you will be in the real world.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the self proclaimed “self defense experts” that are flooding social media with the garbage techniques, usually targeted at women. Listen, the techniques shown in this video are designed to grab your attention as an easy solution to self defense, if you buy their product, you will be safer and never get attacked, but if you do you will always escape easily. This just simply isn’t accurate. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. These techniques only work because the people demonstrating them are actors and actresses. Most of what I have seen shared on social media is flat out scary and worthless. Don’t trust your life to a sales pitch on social media. Find a Jiu Jitsu academy near you and learn useful techniques that will actually make you safer! As a side note, many academies offer women’s only classes as an option to help you ease into training if it makes you uncomfortable.
While we focus a lot on techniques for self defense, one of the most important things to prevent ever needing to use any techniques at all is situational awareness. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Make eye contact with people near you, show that you are not an easy threat. Walking with good posture making eye contact and acknowledging those around you is an easy way to ensure that everyone around you knows you are not an easy target. This also means using your head. If it seems like a bad idea to go out drinking on the rough side of town, maybe make other plans. If it seems like a bad idea to take the shortcut through the dark alley, it probably is a bad idea, go the long way. Being aware of your surroundings is the single most important thing you can do to PREVENT needing to use techniques to defend yourself.
Don’t let fear of being uncomfortable on the mats stop you from training. Being uncomfortable on the mats will not last long at all. Before you know it, you will know your training partners and have likely fallen in love with training. Regardless, without question it is always better to be uncomfortable on the mats today, than it is to be uncomfortable because you were attacked and couldn’t execute the moves from the Facebook self defense video you watched.
If you are looking to supplement your training with video instruction, check out “Beyond Krav Maga” by Aaron Jannetti or Krav Maga Close Range Fighting On The Streets by Frass Azab. This in depth break down will give you a good self defense baseline if you are not willing, or able to train regularly, or simply want to add another tool to your tool belt. Regardless of what you decide, pay attention to your surroundings, find a training plan that works for you and do your best to avoid situations that you feel have the potential of being bad.
Beyond Krav Maga by Aaron Jannetti provides one of the most comprehensive looks at Krav Maga. Be safe in real life altercations with the help of Aaron Jannetti!
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