Lesson 1 – The basics of self-defense

A rational approach to self-defense

In this chapter, we will start to describe the foundations of a serious martial preparation for self-defense. We will try to be as much as possible:

  • Serious – We do not like to cheat / deceive people, especially when life comes to risk
  • Practical – No absurd situations that never happen outside a predetermined context
  • Simple – The most complex and risky cases will be the subject of the last chapters of this course

Note – This article has 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).

We have chosen to speak already from now of a topic so complex because it is precisely those who take the first steps in the martial arts world to risk being a victim of illusions and/or untrustworthy instructors (read Recognize a good / bad master: 5 characteristics).

Personal defense: learn from everyone, not trust anyone

90% of self-defense courses are purely useless and in many cases dangerous (read Why martial arts do not work: 5 reasons):

  • They promote the abuse of irrational levels of violence (illuding you to do not receive it back)
  • They confuse personal defense with martial arts (read Best martial arts for self-defense)
  • They confuse street fighting with self-defense
  • They do not consider prevention (they always start to teach from the moment where the situation has already reached the peak of danger)
  • They do not teach negotiation (they more or less consciously teach you to do things that can force you to pass the rest of your life in prison)
  • They do not teach to train seriously (they say you that by executing the “magic technique” even a child can beat a mountain of muscles)
  • They sell you didactical techniques (that you will never use) as definitive solutions (they are only a possibility to learn from, not the way)
  • They show techniques apparently simple but in reality too complex outside of a controlled context (especially for a not daily and advanced practitioner)
  • Worst than everything they do not tell you the limits of their methods; the reason why the use of violence must be(as much as possible) avoided is that, on the street, no fight ends without damages and normally is the aggressor to prevail, not the victim (on one side, he has done all its valuations before assaulting you, on the other, you are caught by surprise, read Self-Defense: is it possible to always be ready to fight?)

A note by Master Kongling – 6 Dragons Kung Fu has hundreds of combat techniques, the reasons why (in this first part of the course), we have shown so few of them is to avoid: the risk of focusing on pre-packaged mechanics instead of on training, to concentrate on learning tricks rather than on building real skills. Let’s be clear: in the future chapters, we will look at the techniques but it is not only on this that you have to rely on. The understanding and absorption of a principle are worth 100 poorly studied fighting techniques. It is no coincidence that the Shaolin monks spent years studying basic positions, fortifying body and spirit before moving on to the study of the applications: when the technical phase arrive the less determined were already skimmed and the rest already became strong and combative as tigers (ready to exploit it at its maximum level).

At the base of self-defense

For a martial artist, to be able to face the adversity of any type of personal defense scenario (from the quarrel to the clash without rules), it is necessary to:

  • Learn what must be avoided – In most cases, the critical situations can and must be managed through prevention; with the right attitudes we can avoid 90% of the dangers (and their consequences) without having to start even a verbal comparison
  • Learn what must be done – Both before and during the occurrence of a dangerous situation it is vitally important to have a ready-made (but adaptable) mental scheme that can help us make quick and consistent decisions that can save our lives
  • Learn to manage stress – One thing that many low-quality courses only mention is the psychological aspect; the events related to self-defense occur at the least appropriate moments (in full sleep, while you go back home thinking about your work / school problems, etc.) and panic is the most common reaction, everything you learned (or thought you learned) fades
  • Learn how to negotiate – Who creates problems or disorder is often a person with little acumen and / or a lack of concentration; the clever use of the word (and / or gestures) can get us out of the way, again, without having to resort to violence
  • Learn how to escape safely – The ability to escape from a potential aggressor is not only linked to mental aspects (pride, preservation of one’s own goods, etc.) but also and above all to the physical ability to reach (unharmed) a (truly) safe area
  • Learn how to do not hurt yourself – In the street, when you face (or try to escape) attackers, you must always count one more opponent to face, you; in many of the cases that the news report, it is not who threatens to provide the greatest damage but rather the inattention and inability of the victim to manage the struggle scenario (eg. slipping and beating the head)

A note by Master Kongling – Only when you have made this baggage of knowledge yours, you will be ready to learn how to fight on the street but let’s repeat it again: physical confrontation is always the last option (read The 6DKF’s diagram about the use of violence).

In-depth articles

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Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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