Why and when self-defense does not work

Self-defense: when it works and when not

What is self-defense?

  • It is something very difficult to teach and to learn, it is the art of self-preservation (read Personal defense: the S.A.F.E. method)
  • It is not the way to learn to beat someone, it teaches us how to preserve ourselves (nothing more, nothing less)

A note by Master Kongling – Some instructors distinguish “self-defense” from “self-preservation”: it is a wrong and counterproductive distinction that confuses those who approach this field. In a course, nothing could be more dangerous than separating the psychological from the combat aspects.

What should a serious self-defense course be based on?

A self-defense course that works, it is made:

  • 50% mental
  • 50% physical

With this in mind, the ingredients of a perfect preparation are (read):

The 2 most common mistakes of self-defense courses

Mistake 1: focus only on combat

If we train only to beat our opponents, we will never be prepared for self-defense:

Let’s repeat it, in a real scenario:

  • We have to know about the law – What we can do and what we cannot do (read also Personal defense: parry the first attack)
  • We have to know about mental stress management – Because the moment where we get attacked by surprise, our physical and combat capabilities will disappear, if we are not trained to sustain stressful situations (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///)

Mistake 2: neglect the combat preparation

On the other side, we will fail even if:

  • We concentrate only on mental aspects
  • We do not practice daily
  • We do not train our body to react

A self-defense course that focuses only on preconfigured and collaborative simulations, will not help us to be safe in any way (read A scheme to quickly learn any kind of technique):

  • If we never do sparring, how could you think to be ready to fight?
  • If we have never taken a punch, if you have never get beaten, it is impossible

A note by Master Kongling – I’ve said it many times: it is like thinking to play a Tennis match without ever had a confrontation with another player; it is so simple in sports but so hard to understand, for some reason, in martial arts terms.

The predator has always an advantage

In self-defense:

  • There are no rules and who attacks knows that he is probably better than us
  • No predator attacks someone who is stronger than him nor one at the same level
  • Unfortunately, the mindset of the predator is always to attack the weaker

Avoiding physical violence is easy (but only in words)

In self-defense situations, we are always at a big disadvantage and it is for this reason that the best solution is always to avoid to fight.

There are a lot of situations that can be solved, for example, simply by going away but to do this, we have to be able to:

  • Control our mind
  • Control our emotions

If we are not trained, we will never learn to do this in a stressful situation. We have to be mentally focused on:

  • Negotiation
  • Escape

These appear to be simple solutions but they are hard to achieve when we are involved first-person.

A note by Master Kongling – What is more worrying, is that these topics rarely appear in self-defense courses: normally they are only mentioned but it is not sufficient at all, I’ve already been there (read for example Self-defense: aggression in front of a supermarket).

The origin of problems and dangers

What we have to understand is that:

  • 50% of the problems arrive from us (in terms of aggressivity, lack of prevention, etc.)
  • 50% derives from the potential aggressors

We are part of the problem and that part is related to our mindset:

  • There are things that must be learned
  • There are things that must be trained

Can we manage everything?

What is outside our mind is totally out of our control: we have to accept it. It is not like a controlled fight:

  • Where there are rules
  • Where there are times
  • Where there are specific spaces
  • Where everything is chosen before the fight begins

In a self-defense situation, nothing will go as we expect, we cannot choose:

  • The moment
  • The situation
  • Our physical and mental conditions

Everything can happen: we have to accept the fact that no one can control everything.

Is it worth studying self-defense?

Yes, to follow a self-defense course is something very useful.

Probably only 1 to 10 times in our existence but it can make the difference between life and death, so: it is worth but this does not assure us that we will be always safe (nothing can).

What is the more effective part of self-defense?

Prevention is the best and more effective part of self-defense. All the rest can be a question mark but the prevention part is the one that more probably will save our life (let’s concentrate on it, it is relatively easy and effective).

On the other side, to learn to manage a real combat (against a prepared opponent), in a street situation, is a high-level goal that we cannot achieve until we have trained for years and years (with a daily cadence).

In-depth video courses

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • What is your point of view about self-defense?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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