Lesson 6 – Self-defense: how to escape

Everyone says it is better to escape rather than fight but…

As we have seen, a lot of bad instructors underline the importance of mental preparation in self-defense but without explaining how to manage it (read Lesson 7.3), in the same way, they also say that it is always better to avoid to fight and escape but again: they do not tell how.

From a psychological point of view, the ability to escape it is absolutely not automatic (if it were that simple, 90% of contrasts would not exist). Not all people are the same but even when the chance to escape is a viable option we still have to face one or more of these insidious enemies:

  • Pride
  • Fear
  • Consuetude
  • Tactical inability to evaluate options
  • Physical “incapacity”

Whereas for the last two entries the question concerns more directly the martial training (a topic covered in later chapters of this course), to overcome pride, fear, anger and consuetude it is necessary:

  • To decide now how to act and to stick to the plan in the moment of necessity (as we said in Lesson 7.2)
  • To understand how your mind works and how to control emotions in relation to the escaping task (read Warrior’s self-control)

How to win pride

Especially if we are not alone, it “annoys” us to retreat in front of people who threaten us, so instead of appearing “strategically cowards” and saving our lives, we prefer to be stupid and risk losing it:

  • This happens because we are slaves of the judgment of others
  • We are psychologically weak and we (try ingenuously to) hide it
  • We are not able to connect what we want for us from what we want to show to others

The right way to think:

  • Taking the wrong choice for pride is ridiculous, it means acting consciously in a stupid way
  • The first step is to understand that you can be a victim of pride (as everyone)
  • The second is to notice when it happens to recalibrate your attitude

You must learn to distinguish what is right for you from what is nothing but a silly recitation (of which others, however, laugh behind your shoulders).

A note by Master Kongling – Regarding the pride, I am convinced it is much more humiliating to be remembered as the fool who has not been able to control himself (and has been killed), rather than laughing over a tactical flee it in the following weeks. A person who has the intelligence to know how to control himself is very well distinguished from a coward: a real man (or a woman) does not need to prove anything and can smile of other person’s judgments.

How to win fear

Rational fear is a perfect instrument capable of increasing our concentration in relation to an important task to face: the danger. If, however, we lose control of it:

  • It becomes panic (stuttering, legs trembling, etc.), eliminating your ability to evaluate
  • When even a low level of panic takes you, even the most obvious options (eg. escape) disappear

How to win fear:

  • The first thing to face is that if fear makes you smarter it is useful, in all the other cases it does not help you
  • To free yourself from irrational fear you have to rationalize it, make it clear and well confined
  • You have to discover all that scares and / or makes you uncomfortable (honestly and privately)
  • Divide the list in two parts, the first (A) must contain the irrational fears (superstitions, unscientific suppositions, etc.)
  • The second list (B) must contain the rational ones (things that scientifically can happen)
  • Write them on a paper and sort the two lists in order from the less incisive to the strongest fears
  • Simply start to face A list (irrational fears) from the most irrational / simple ones (one per day)
  • When you will have reached the end of A list, you have to analyze each item of B list, describing how to manage them
  • For each B list element, you have to write the context where they can happen, if they are truly so dangerous and the possible solutions to avoid / solve those situations (one each day)
  • At the end of your work, you will be free of most of your fears; for the eventually remaining ones, the awareness of a serious and daily training will be more than enough

A note by Master Kongling – This is how I got rid of so many little thoughts that limited my life (from a working, sentimental point of view, etc.). Do not make the mistake of deluding yourself not to fear anything (or anything irrational): learn to know yourself.

How to win anger

Anger is not always a bad thing, it can help to get access to our last resources (read Practical examples of emotion control) but in most cases, it is a bad attitude:

  • If it controls you, all you do risks to be predictable, stupid and dangerous
  • In a self-defense scenario to involuntarily lose control of your mind can be literally lethal (firstly for you but also for the others, read Best martial arts for self-defense)
  • A person who is angry believes he is strong, but in reality, he demonstrates all his weakness and insecurity

How to win anger:

  • Anger (excluded the pathological cases) is a beast that borns from pride and fear
  • To win it you first have to admit the existence of his parents and face them
  • Secondly, you must learn to recognize its arrive before its explosion (in you and in the others)
  • Third, you have to know that, even if you think to be right, you could be wrong
  • Above all, you have to understand that in no case it is useful to avenge a wrong (creating chains of reactions and counter-reactions)
  • For what remains is a matter of mind education, you have to accept your limits and the ones of other people (becoming more patient)

A note by Master Kongling – If you are pray of anger it is not a matter of days to learn to control it but remember: intelligent and strong men / women do not allow the actions of others to control their minds. You have to start to work on it, now.

How to win consuetude

Almost always, people are used to giving the most normal consequences to events:

  • A question involves an answer, an error involves a correction, an insult involves a reaction (etc.)
  • This is the normal sequence but what happens if you break the path?
  • To do not allow things to happen is one of the best strategy to take control of the situations (read The use of unorthodox methods)

If you do not want to lose every possible opportunity to prevail (in this case fleeing) it is necessary to:

  • Leave the preconceived patterns of the human mind; stop waiting and fear what is about to happen
  • Learn to break the flow of your opponents imposing your will (as a good fighter do in combat)
  • Do not have to be a passive element of the scenario, it is the scenario that must be at your service
  • If your mind is disconnected from the flow of the fight scenario, you can intervene at any time and interrupt its implementation (gaining infinite options to act)

A note by Master Kongling – I can understand that this could appear complex and not so clear but the point is that no matter what kind of interactions are happening: you must be focused on all the possibilities and resources that come to be at your disposal (escape routes, possible diversions, etc.). In later chapters, we will deepen this topic at a more advanced level and in a more complete way.

Final notes

A few conclusive thoughts:

  • Meditation, martial training and the exploration of your mental structure are indeed the best tools at your disposal to take control of yourself and even learn to leave the field (when necessary)
  • Needless to point out that in this lesson we have discussed only the cases in which the escape is actually possible and reasonable and the limit is only our mindset; the remaining contexts (tactical and physical incapacity) will be seen later

“Who is really expert in the art of war, knows how to win the enemy army without giving battle, take his cities without blending them, and overthrow the state without prolonged operations.” – Sun Tzu

In-depth articles

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Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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