Do you know how to defend yourself? Self-defense is a critical life skill that everyone should learn. Daily acts of senseless violence and predatory behavior are an unfortunate reality of the world we live in. Far too often, when it comes to self-defense, people apply the “it could never happen to me” mentality. This is an incredibly naïve and irresponsible way of thinking. Knowledge of basic self-defense principles and techniques could mean the difference between life and death.
Check out Evolve MMA’s 7 critical rules for self-defense below. They could end up saving your life.
1) BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AT ALL TIMES
Whether you are with friends or by yourself, you should always be aware of what is going on around you. If your instincts tell you that someone is suspicious looking, you are probably right. Instincts are a very powerful self-defense mechanism inherent in all human beings. If you are walking alone at night, always be aware of what is going on around you. Do your best to travel in a group if you are going to an unfamiliar or dangerous place. Either way, keep your eyes and ears alert at all times.
2) WALK CONFIDENTLY AND AVOID EYE CONTACT
If you are in a shady area of town or a dangerous city, be sure to always walk with confidence and avoid making eye contact. Attackers prefer to target who they perceive as weak prey, and your body language will give away everything. If you act timid and show fear, you are more likely to become a target. Walk with an upright posture with your chest out and chin up. Keep your eyes focused on the horizon, but remain alert to your surroundings. Never make direct eye contact with anyone.
3) AVOID CONFRONTATION
If you believe you are about to be attacked, try to talk your way out of things first. The safest approach to self-defense is to avoid any potential physical confrontations. Put your ego away and do your best to reason with your potential attacker. Avoid physical confrontation at all costs. Talk, apologize, reason, scream, yell, walk away, run away, call for help, etc. Do whatever you can to make sure physical confrontation doesn’t happen. Physically defending yourself should be YOUR ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT.
4) AS A LAST RESORT, ATTACK FIRST
If you have truly exhausted all options and you are 100% sure that you are going to be attacked, then you should attack first. If your life is in danger from an attacker, you have the legal right to protect yourself. A general rule of any self-defense situation is that the person who attacks first is usually the winner. Why? The answer is that most people cannot take a punch to the face and still be coherent.
If you take a violent, clean punch to the face (or worse, a knife to the chest), you will likely be unconscious or in shock (unless you are a highly trained martial artist). Your life will be in grave danger if the attacker continues assaulting you while you are unconscious. Once again, if you have exhausted all options, then you should attack first. Use this rule with extreme caution. Attack first, IF and ONLY IF, you are 100% sure that you are about to be attacked, and there is no way for you to escape.
5) IF YOU ATTACK FIRST, THEN YOU MUST ATTACK ALL THE WAY
If your life is in danger and defending yourself physically is the last option, then you must attack first and “all the way”. “All the way” means attacking until your attacker is incapacitated enough that you can either run away or call for help. If you are untrained in self-defense, you will most likely strike once and wait for your attacker’s reaction. 99% of people do this. They hit once and pause to see a reaction. This pause is very dangerous. If you only strike once and pause, your attacker will most likely become even more enraged. In all likelihood, he/she will return fire and strike you back with fury and vengeance. At that point, it will be a 50-50 situation as to whether you will make it out alive or not.
So what does it mean to attack all the way? You must launch your attack with SURPRISE, CONVICTION, AND POWER. In Muay Thai terminology, it means that you should deliver a minimum of 5 strikes in rapid succession with 100% power. Do NOT stop until you can visibly see that your attacker is almost or completely unconscious. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu terminology, it means that you should apply a submission hold until you break your attacker’s joint or put him/her to sleep with a choke hold. Please note that you should be yelling at the top of your lungs as you attack. At the precise moment that your attacker is incapacitated, you must run for your life and find help. DO NOT stay around and wait for your attacker to recover. After your attacker is incapacitated, RUN AS FAST AND AS FAR AWAY AS YOU CAN.
6) REMEMBER THE 3 CRITICAL STRIKE ZONES
There are 3 primary strike zones on the human body that you can target. Even if you are a woman and weigh only 45 kilos, you can seriously hurt someone who weighs 100 kilos if you are well-trained in self-defense. You must attack the critical strike zones with all of your power. The 3 critical strike zones are the eyes, throat, and groin. If you land clean strikes to the eyes, throat, and/or groin 5 times in rapid succession with 100% power, your attacker will be incapacitated – no matter how big or strong he or she is.
7) YELL FOR HELP
As you run away, yell at the top of your lungs for help. Find an area that is well-lit with a lot of people and start yelling with everything you have. If you are lucky and have your cell phone on you, call the police. Do whatever you can to draw attention to yourself. The last thing that you want is for your attacker to come looking for you.
Ultimately, learning the art of self-defense is like investing in life insurance. Most likely, you will reach the ripe old age of 75 years and beyond without ever getting into trouble. However, if that rare, unfortunate attack does happen, your knowledge of self-defense is priceless. If you don’t believe in its value, simply ask someone who has been a victim of violence, rape, or attempted murder. Your knowledge of self-defense (or lack thereof) could make the difference between life and death.
Learning self-defense is about improving the odds. Unfortunately, no amount of knowledge or training in the world can 100% guarantee your survival in a self-defense situation. If any instructor or school tells you that you can survive 100% of all situations, you should run the other way! So what do you say? Why not stack the odds in your favor by becoming proficient in a reality-based martial art like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
*Note: These 7 critical rules of self-defense are basic rules-of-thumb. There are so many other factors to consider that this article has not addressed such as multiple attackers (versus single attacker), an attacker with a weapon (versus without a weapon), an attack at home (versus in a strange city), an attack in an open field (versus in an elevator), and many other scenarios and situations. For a complete understanding of self-defense, you must train for years and learn all facets of self-defense. Of course, if you take full advantage of all of the courses at Evolve MMA, you will be empowered to defend yourself in most self-defense situations.