The self-defense scenario

In this article, I will describe the more frustrating personal defense situation that happened to me (Kongling), returning home after going out with my girlfriend.

Note – These articles have been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

The background (in short):

  • A lot of years ago (when I was eighteen probably), for some weeks I had been dating a girl who lived about 1 hour away from my town
  • A boy, that this girl had always refused, came to know that we had been going out together for some time
  • Somehow, blinded by jealousy, he must have spied on us as we entered or left her house (since when it is impossible to quantify)
  • One evening (probably after having ascertained that I was at her home), he decided to wait for me (together with a friend of him) where I had parked my car
  • It was already almost dark, the area was poorly lit and above all deserted
  • In a very carefree way, I reached my car without seeing anyone around me (read Constant attention: what is and how it works)

The situation that has triggered the criticality:

  • Without going into detail of what they told me, the 2 basically ask me if it is true that I am together with the girl in question (how we met and other amenities)
  • Despite the strangeness of the meeting the 2 guys seemed to be completely peaceful, calm and somehow “friendly”
  • They even seemed gentle, so much that after the short discussion, we even shook hands amicably
  • They were (apparently) gone away and I was already in the car but it was rather hot and to drive home I decide to take off my jacket, so I get out to put it in the back seat
  • While I was about to enter the cockpit, the 2 guys suddenly arrived running toward me (from behind)

Trying to break down sequentially everything that happens next, let’s see what my analysis of the situation (should) have been. Needless to say that, as always, everything happens in a matter of seconds.

The (missed) application of the S.A.F.E. method

To understand what we are talking about, read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method.


  • Even though I was already at an “advanced” stage of my martial path, regarding the real principles of personal defense, I was a totally ignorant (and this cost me a lot, read Best martial arts for self-defense)
  • What I should have done was to maintain a basic passive attention level (read for example The overall view: see everything, do not look at anything); this way, I could (perhaps) have noticed that someone was hidden waiting for me in the parking lot
  • This was my first mistake, if I had sensed their presence I would have gone much more quickly (and I would have avoided what unfortunately happened later)


  • Involuntarily, in terms of negotiation (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///), we could say that this is the aspect in which I have behaved better
  • I did not pose aggressively or frightened (partly for the false security that the martial practice gave me, read Self-defense: why 90% of martial arts does not work, partly because probably I was in a good mood)
  • Although this was not enough, I have for all intents and purposes established a positive / peaceful contact that has, at least momentarily, canceled their initial intention to beat me


  • My second and bigger error has been to give my shoulders to those guys, without even checking 1 time before going toward the car door (again, I would have avoided when it happened later); this might seem like a manic detail but it is not at all, before entering or leaving any place it is always a good practice to give a quick look (it costs nothing)
  • They rushed towards me (I can’t say exactly with what intention) but taking me by surprise, they pushed me down a drain in front of my car
  • The drain (in concrete), joined to the hill, was quite high and steep (more than 2m)
  • Instinctively (yes, this time thanks to the training) I managed to protect myself during the ruinous fall (read also Everything you should know about breakfalls)
  • Unfortunately, at the end of the fall, I stuck against a stone that passed exactly in the middle of my arms, to violently hit my right incisor tooth (which broke at 45° immediately, as in the photo)
  • Despite the fall, except for the tooth, I was completely unharmed (it is not wrong to say that martial arts indirectly saved my life) but it wasn’t over there


  • By touching my mouth I realized that my tooth was gone and would never be reattached (as everyone can imagine, I spent a lot of money at the dentist)
  • The damage, combined with the fact that I was cowardly attacked by 2 people on my back, made me furious
  • Out of my mind, I went up the conduit literally like a tiger (they were still there, still with the idea of beating me)

The final result

How the scenario has been “solved”:

  • I had never experienced such a loss of control (even in other worst situations)
  • I can’t remember exactly what happened in front of them, I can only say that I was totally out of control and that the limits that I normally impose myself (even in situations of danger) were gone
  • I hit them with unprecedented violence (knees, elbows, I even used the edges of the cars)
  • I don’t want to describe their conditions but at the end of the “outburst”, they were both leaning against a car (apparently) unconscious
  • In a still very altered state (I was literally shaking) I entered my car and (with difficulty) I tried to leave
  • A few minutes later, my mind started to recover and my blood froze; the doubt flashed in my head was that I could have killed them
  • I quickly turned my car and went back to the parking lot (that short stretch of road was really terrible)
  • Arrived at the parking no one was there
  • I have been very lucky, somehow the 2 got up and left

Final notes

Some things to think about:

  • Even if their aggression could be easily framed in a context of attempted murder, legally, even my position would not have been so easy to defend in a court of law (no witnesses, etc.)
  • The fact of practicing martial arts does not automatically allow a person to defeat more than one opponent at the same time (this is a ridiculous fantasy); the real reason why I prevailed over those 2 guys is identifiable in the fact that I was very well prepared (and they were not at all), that I was beyond the limit of prudence (and they were poorly determined), last but not least, that I weighed something less than them together (read Forget everything you know about multiple opponents fighting)
  • Even after all these years, describing those moments causes my body to still overheat; I can’t say that today I have reached such a level of detachment to be able to avoid reacting in such a violent way (I am very far from the practitioner I am aiming to become, both mentally both physically, read Revenge and resentment, knives taken from the blade side) but that I probably would not have stumbled into the situation at all
  • Let’s be clear, not all the self-defense scenarios are solvable or preventable (this is something to be accepted) but a correct mental and physical preparation drastically increases our chances
  • The memory of how I felt at that moment is a perfect example of an emotional anchor that can be exploited in case of need (read How to use emotions in workout and combat)

To conclude, I would like to list some realistic “alternative endings”:

  • Me not able to control the falling – Rolling like that I could have hurt myself a lot (remaining also defenseless in the hands of my 2 attackers)
  • They a little ‘bit stronger – If they had had even a minimal martial preparation and / or a more similar size to mine, things would have gone very differently
  • They in serious conditions (after my reaction) – At a minimum, even after all these years, I would still be embroiled in expensive lawsuits (with uncertain outcomes); in the worst case, I could have even ended up in jail (together with the slew of people convinced that they only defended themselves)

A note by Master Kongling – I have been very lucky. I do not like to tell this bad story but I hope it is a warning to all those who have (in relation to personal defense): false security, superficial approaches, little knowledge of risks and consequences (read also What is the difference between real fights and combative sports?).

In the next article of this series, we will analyze other cases of personal defense, so as to work not only on hypothetical situations but amalgamating theory and practice through a concrete basis of real events (if you want us to give priority to this kind of topics read Learn Kung Fu online: request a specific article).

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • How would you have behaved?

Author: Master Kongling

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