Contrary to popular belief, there is a big difference between a fight and a self-defense situation. While both may look the same on a physical, combative level, the reason that each participant is there is very different.
As a general rule, a fight is a contest involving two or more willing participants, all trying to "win" or prove that they are "right." A self-defense situation, on the other hand, may involve more than one willing participant but, they are all on the SAME side!
The defender in a self-protection encounter is the unwilling target of an attack launched by another who is trying to take something from her. As a result, she is not trying to win or lose necessarily, as much as she's trying to get out of the situation altogether.
The following is a list of the six general phases of progression that one goes through in being properly prepared for a self-defense situation - beginning with the least amount of threat to the defender and leading to that which poses the greatest potential for damage. Each phase, or stage, itself, has the potential of reducing or completely eliminating your chances of ending up as a crime statistic as a victim of assault or some other serious crime.
If you are to be properly prepared to maintain a safe and danger-free life, you must insure that your training takes all of these phases into consideration.
1. General Awareness - Accept that there is danger in the world and choose to do something about NOT being a victim of it.
2. Awareness of Danger Potential - Tune-in and be aware of your surroundings. Know that the sooner you can be aware of danger that might affect you, the more choices you have for dealing with it.
3. Escaping to Safety - Know how to choose good escape routes from where you are. Have escape routes pre-planned from your home and everywhere else you frequent regularly. And, have multiple routes to and from places like work, the mall, school(s), and of course, your home.
4. Distraction Tactics - Don't be in a hurry to fight. If at all possible, use humor, trickery, and other non-threatening, non-confrontational strategies to diffuse the situation or distract the attacker's mind away from you as the target.
5.Project a Confident Attitude - As a last resort, use firm, committed speech and body language to try to dissuade the assailant from going through with his plan to attack. Let him know, in no uncertain terms, that you will not be an easy target.
6.Physical Self-Defense - If all else fails, and you end up at this phase - be prepared to win.
It's important to note that "physical self-defense" comes at the end of the list. This is never the preferred choice for handling things as there is always the chance, no matter how good you are, of something going wrong.
As I said, the more options you have in being able to avoid or escape from a situation before it gets physical, the greater your chances of success with the least amount of wear-and-tear.
But, remember: If you must fight, then do everything in your power to go home safely. After all, this is about "defense", right?
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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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