Lesson 2 – Learn self-defense: prevent dangers
The 3 steps of prevention
The first thing that everyone should know (both martial artists, both other people) is that prevention is the most effective technique of self-defense (it is the first step of our self-defense method, read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method).
As a 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s practitioner you must learn to:
- Project your safety (preparation) – Prepare your body and your mind to fight (physically and mentally), plan your movements, evaluate the scenarios
- Check the environment (discipline) – Know your surrounding and each time that you go to places that you don’t know, study them (according to the risk level)
- Control yourself (concentration) – Control your reactions, your instincts, what you communicate (also and above all verbally)
It’s important to know that:
- Most critical situations can be prevented by simply avoiding laziness to act without thinking and preparing simple plans
- It is not at all necessary to maintain a paranoid level of alert, you just have to keep in mind some small tips
- The idea is not to prevent every possible dangerous situation, this is impossible (and paranoid), the goal is to try to prevent the most common / frequent problems
A note by Master Kongling – Grandmaster Fung Yip Ko told me so many times that cunning people adjust the problems improvising at the last moment but intelligent people prevent them from arising.
A few tips about prevention of danger
Without pretension of completeness, let’s see now some of the most functional / useful tips in terms of prevention of personal defense situations.
Project your safety:
- Know the most frequent dangers – Wherever you need to go / pass / stay it is lawful and reasonable to collect information on the relative risks (eg. before a trip); make rapid evaluation of the most common issue typical of that place and decide if it is worthwhile or not to change route / destination and especially what precaution is recommended to take (eg. by the police advice)
- Take care of life – Life (yours and the ones of people around you) is priceless; learn that the simplest solution is always to give up objects of “value”; remember that the other option is to risk to lose everything you have, everything you can have and everything you could have done / been (for yourself and others); in no case is it even worthwhile to bring the value of a human life closer to the contents of a wallet or a jewel to which you are attached; the wounded pride heals much more quickly than the wounds of a knife
- Take care of your values – Especially in contexts where the risk of robbery is high, do not circulate with great values and / or do not make them visible (attracting the attention of the bad guys); become part of the surrounding or, better, change your path
- Prepare a plan – When the problem occurs you will have no time to make the right assessments (if you have never faced an aggression, tension, adrenaline and fear will obfuscate your reason capability); you have to make your plans now (ask yourself what are you ready to lose? What not? How can you prevent the need to use violence?); take your time to (concretely) think to what you will do, how and why (in a situation of robbery, rape and /or violent aggression)
A note by Master Kongling – During your planning don’t fool yourself thinking of being able to beat any kind of aggressor only because you are training in martial arts, it’s ridiculous. My Wing Chun master always told me to think that every opponent is stronger than me, never the opposite.
Check the environment:
- Use the 6DKF’s Box Principle – The closed places have a shape, identify it (in 3 dimensions), mentally analyze it and identify the crucial points where someone could stay to tend you a trap; whatever you need to do within a bounded area (even just fenced) always thinks about how to get out quickly, without any hitch and putting the eventual attackers in difficulty (more about this later)
- Mentally analyze the scenario from above – Draw a virtual map in your head of the area in which you are and those nearby; identify facilitated routes (eg. a safety exit), the blocked ones (eg. a closed window), opportunities (eg. an improper weapon) and risks (eg. an unstable floor)
- Analyze the distances cyclically – Like a radar, keep the maximum attention on what happens first at the short distance (0-5m), then proceed with what happens at medium distance (5-15m) and finally in the distance (more than 15m); use your instinct to discover what people are doing and why, understand if there is something strange; do not forget to look at 360° and not only at eye level (eg. underground, raised areas, etc.)
- People are the problems – Known the environments, what you have to put under strict observation are living beings (dangerous animals included); within a scenario you have to start your analysis from everything that is possibly related to you (looks interested in you, bad people you know, etc.) and / or out of place (eg. in a disco, a person who does not dance and looks around nervously)
A note by Master Kongling – A clue does not make a suspect and a suspect does not make a culprit: in most cases, the signals that you will find will be completely disconnected from actual situations of danger, do not freak uselessly but at the same time do not lower the alert.
- Keep yourself at bay – Make sure that under no circumstances is you the first (silly) to raise the tone or worse to touch a potential aggressor (whether you prevail or be defeated you may regret it for the rest of your life); if you are confused or angry, do not speak, remain silent and wait for those in front of you to get tired (obviously keeping the alert high, read Self-defense: aggression in front of a supermarket)
- Take care of yourself – Trust yourself, if you feel you are not safe (eg. being with people that you do not know) and/or for some reason you are not in a condition to effectively manage the analysis of events that happen around you (eg. because of drowsiness) do not worry of leaving and reach a safe place (eg. your home) through a safe passage (eg. by being accompanied by a trusted person)
- The number is power – Aggressions rarely occur when you are in a group, they happen usually when you are alone or when you leave a place; make sure you are surrounded by trustworthy people who are able to remain cohesive in situations of danger; if you are alone, try to favor bright and frequented paths rather than dark and hidden
- Don’t be a victim – Cowards (as the psychologist Tony Farrenkopf says) tend not to attack people who are self-confident, they prefer to attack the weaker ones because, this way, they think to do not get caught; do not appear frightened, tense, nervous, insecure, concessive (etc.); do not try also to pretend to be what you are not (unless you are an expert in the practice of non-verbal communication), who is in front of you will notice it immediately
It is not as difficult as it seems
The operations we have listed may appear complex but animals, for example, do a lot of them constantly and instinctively. You can do the same without any effort, even during a loveable and relaxed discussion (it’s only a matter of practice). Our brain perfectly supports multitasking, it performs unconsciously a myriad of things at the same time and without effort.
From a certain point of view, this type of evaluation can be fun and keeps your mind active even in the less interesting moments of your days. One of the best ways to dilute the possible tension deriving from the fact of keeping the various scenarios under “control” is to see (as Hatsumi teaches) these tasks as a game (a very serious game).
A note by Master Kongling – Many malicious instructors attempt to instill terror into their students for mere business purposes. It is unjust and incorrect. We must not be afraid of people, experiences and life: we must simply be aware of the fact that reality is neither a minefield nor a field of flowers.
The basic methods that we have described do not ensure not to take risks but simply not to face the unnecessary ones. The choice, as long as it is conscious, is always in your hands:
- You can (lawfully) choose to ignore the dangers and live a carefree life (after all, in an average life of 80 years the aggressions will probably not exceed the fingers of one hand)
- Or you can take life more realistically and take some small precautions, it’s all about you
A note by Master Kongling – If you think that this lesson, this chapter or this guide is useful, please share it with people that are important to you (even if they are not interested in martial arts). The concepts of this page are very easy to catch and useful to apply. This small gesture, besides helping me to share the 6DKF can make the difference and prevent life-risking situations. Thanks.
- How to prevent an aggression for robbery purpose – Starting from a real situation, a path to prevent a violent assault
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.