So you want to learn self-defence, but are not sure what to ask when you are inquiring with different instructors about their self-defence styles or systems. I could offer you several questions, but I thought it might be fun to pose them as if you were on a game show titled, “The Anti-Jeopardy!” You will hear the incorrect answer first and see if you can guess the question. Then I will offer more details than you might receive on a game show!
#1 Answer – Because I have been in 1000 documented fights!
The Question is? Why should learn self-defence from me? Yes, I read this on a Facebook page years ago. I understand promotion. I promote my business like a maniac which I never apologize for because I know it has helped save lives and prevented countless attacks. But this guy was promoting you should train with him because he has had a lot of fights. Okay, if you want to learn how to fight, maybe go to him, but I still might suggest you hesitate for many reasons. But if he is selling, he teaches self-defence, why the hell is he getting into so many fights? This is the contrary of what any credible self-defence course should be showing. And I call BS on 1000 documented fights. Who would document even 10 fights unless you were creating the fights, in which case you are most likely a lunatic or psychopath? Who is filming and taking notes for you? If one is starting so many conflicts I suspect they can’t even spell the word “avoidance.” If you have ever trained with us, one of the initial things we chat about are the differences between self-defence vs fighting vs martial arts. If one wants to learn true self-defence, they should hear that the “fighting” part is the last step in the process if all else has failed.
#2 Answer – Because that is how we teach it!
The Question is? – Why do you do A, B or C (any attack)? This one I understood firsthand many years ago when I was training and studying different self-defence programs to make SAFE International what I felt best for those I serve. We were going over some particular attack when I asked, “why do you do this rather than A, B, or C?” The immediate answer they gave me was that because that was how you address the attack. I even pushed a little further, respectfully asking, “But if A, B, or C were to occur, would that still work?” They replied with the same answer.
Well, it became unmistakable that I or no one was to question what was being taught. I returned to the rest of the training searching for any nugget of value in what I might bring in to my training or to the clients SAFE International serves. I can’t think of much, but in hindsight the value was evidence of how one should never answer a sincere question.
Whenever someone questions anything we teach, they are reluctant to ask, assuming it challenges me as the so-called “expert.” I always say if you have queries, never hesitate ask because this is life-saving advice for you and those you might teach if that is your goal with self-defence training. One answer I give to any question about whether something may or may not work is, “I don’t know, it might.” Again, this brings many puzzled looks thinking I have all the answers. Any reputable instructor will only be able to give you options, not answers. There are countless variables in any scenario and impossible to give any absolutes. In fact, if someone tells you precisely how to react every time, I suggest you do not train with them.
Even suggesting you know all the answers shows an enormous level of ego, and not Healthy Ego, right Jeff Phillips?
You can discuss the options, which ones might have the highest rate of success. The more options one has, the higher chances of survival they will have.
#3 Answer – Don’t worry, all you need is leverage!
The Question is? But what can I do, I’m not that big or strong? This one drives me nuts. In violence most times one who is the target of an attack id chosen by someone bigger and stronger. Right off the bat, a high chance your leverage means Jack Shit! I don’t care how skilled you are, leverage will not make up for a substantial discrepancy in size and strength.
What makes up for the size and strength difference? Your understanding of how to use your perceived vulnerability against your attacker through body language, words, and tone.
What makes up for the size and strength? Your mindset and understanding what and who will motivate you to sink your fingers deep in their skull or any vulnerable target if it is a brutal assault or rape.
What will make up for size and strength? Knowing you are on your own and that you will do whatever is necessary to survive.
Skills without mindset are limiting. I would choose an effective mindset over “skills” and “leverage” any day. If one has the mindset and skills, leverage may come into play.
To say all you need is leverage is ridiculous.
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Managing Director, SAFE International