When it comes to your personal protection, the program you choose to study, the way you train, and the person who teaches you, all determine how well, and even IF, you will be successful in a real-world self-defense encounter. When seeking out a defensive tactics program, you must remember that you're not shopping for a piece of furniture where, if it doesn't work out for you, you can take it back.
A self-defense situation is also very different from the safety of a karate tournament. There is no "fair-play" and no referee to insure that each participant adheres to the rules.
The following is a list of principles that will be crucially important during your training if you are to be ready to face a violent attacker bent on crushing you in the real-world. Missing, or not knowing the importance of even one of these could, literally, be fatal.
1. Somewhere, someone is training to hurt another human being. If you're not training to protect yourself and you meet him - HE will win.
2. Self-Defense is not a choice - it's a responsibility
3. There's more than one type of attacker - make sure you're prepared for ANY type
4. Most so-called experts are not even close - don't just check the instructor's credentials, check his background and experience
5. If you must fight, learn to fight "smarter" not harder
6. Your body knows how to defend itself instinctively - learn what that is and learn to use it to your advantage
7. There's more to defending than physical self-defense - train to also develop non-physical, distraction, and non-confrontational options
8. You can't have a favorite technique - so don't
9. You can't have a weak side - avoid only learning things on your strong side
10. Most martial arts and self-defense programs don't work - know what you need BEFORE you choose a program
11. Your assailant won't care what color belt you have
12. Emotions, not logic, will rule the day - make sure they're a part of your training too
13. You will defend yourself as you have trained - right or wrong - so make sure that what you're learning is "right"
14. Step-by-step, memorized, Karate-moves won't work - if your skills are not automatic, forget it
15. A street attack is not a contest with rules. It is a life-changing event, and the trophy is your life - train that way
16. A one-day seminar, video, or book will not suddenly make you an expert
17. The more options you have for any attack, the greater your chances of surviving
18. If you want to survive, you must be ABLE to hurt another human being (yes, I know... I've said this before...)
19. You can't "pretend" to hit, kick, or grab - your assailant won't be pretending
When it comes to self-defense, you have to know that what you're learning is right. Not after the fact, but before you ever find yourself face-to-face with your worst nightmare.
Real-world training can still be very safe and enjoyable but, there are certain elements of the training that simply cannot be ignored. You may not like the idea of having to roll or the fact that you might get a bruise or two along the way but, as one of my female staff members points out to students...
... "which would you rather have - a bruise or two now from the training, or what's left over when your attacker is finished with you?"
The choice is yours. After all...
...it's YOUR life!
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Jeffrey Miller is the founder and master instructor of Warrior Concepts International. He is the author of "The Karate-Myth" and the Danger Prevention Tactics video, among others. For more info, subscribe to his ezine here.
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