Martial Arts And The Fundamentals Of Self-Defense
Studies show that a struggling economy yields a higher incident rate of violent crime and general lawlessness. That means you may be more likely to find yourself in a potentially dangerous or violent circumstance. A lot of martial arts students believe their training will give them an edge during such confrontations. In truth, it does. But not in the way many students believe.
The Mental Game Of Self-Defense
Suppose an attacker is coming toward you. Your instinct is to protect yourself. If you have studied karate or similar styles, you might be tempted to respond physically. Doing so can result in injury or worse, in the event that you overreact and cause excessive harm to your attacker. This is the reason it is critical that you are mentally prepared to respond appropriately to a confrontation.
Mindset plays a key role in safety during a potentially dangerous situation. Too often your emotions can get in the way. This can cause the manner in which you process your circumstances to represent the largest potential threat to your safety.
Understanding The Danger Of Emotions
Anger and fear do more to escalate a confrontation than any other response. Emotions are the antithesis of logic. It’s worth noting that few crimes of aggression (i.e. robbery, vandalism, etc.) are done with the goal of fighting. When someone robs you, they seldom want to fight. Martial arts students, prompted by fear or pride, will often react physically to an aggressive crime, which escalates the threat. It prompts a violent response from the robber or would-be attacker.
The Difference Between Fighting And Self-Defense
People fight for many reasons, though most of them can be categorized according to two primary triggers: to attain something or protect something. This can extend to private property, self-esteem, pride, or a sense of honor. These things have nothing to do with protecting yourself from physical harm.
Self-defense represents any action you take in order to protect your person. Many martial arts schools unwittingly encourage their students to use the style they are learning to “protect themselves” from criminals. There is a fine line between defending yourself from physical harm and fighting.
A Constructive Response To A Threat Of Violence
Shed your fear and anger. A threat of violence does not actually represent violence. Reacting to the threat because you are fearful or angry can lead to injury. Don’t challenge the attacker unless it is likely that you are going to be harmed. If they are demanding your wallet, give it to them. If they want your car, provide the keys. Regardless of how accomplished you are in martial arts, it is a rare situation that justifies using your martial arts as self-defense.
Lastly, provide your attacker with an exit strategy. If they feel cornered with no way out, they will react violently.
There is a time and place for using martial arts as a tool for self-defense. However, the key to remaining safe in potentially violent circumstances is to recognize that such occasions are rare.