Many people are asking “how does self defense work?” and “is it self defense if…?” These are common questions we hear all the time because the line that separates self defense from assault/fighting is so thin and easy to accidentally cross over with devastating consequences.
This article will teach a few of the important aspects of what self defense is, where it begins, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Are You Emotionally and Psychologically Prepared?
Being emotionally and psychologically prepared is an absolute must when it comes to proper self defense. You need to have this area handled before thinking about any type of physical training or conditioning.
In order for you to respond properly in the event of an attack or confrontation, you need to be ready and prepared psychologically. You need to fully understand and accept that physical danger, in the form of an attack by another person, can happen anywhere and anytime. This mental preparation is the first step towards a good defense.
Another part of being mentally prepared is to understand that effective self defense involves more than just learning moves and tactics. A lot of martial arts classes train you how to respond to a real threat situation, but the training does not induce the same stress/emotions that come up during a real threat.
Until you’re able to understand how your body responds in a real life situation, it’s easy to over/under utilize what you’ve been taught. This can lead to deadly injuries inflicted either on you or the attacker along with a host of other legal problems.
Illegal Fighting or Self Defense?
You have to understand that self defense is perfectly legal, but fighting isn’t. Most martial arts courses are structured in a way that teaches you how to “duel.” This is based on the assumption that you and your opponent are both willing participants.
You may try and rationalize your martial arts training by saying that fighting is not the reason you started doing it, but if you don’t fully understand the difference between self defense and fighting (very thin line), you’re putting yourself at risk. (In physical and legal terms)
What you consider to be self defense may not always be what the law, society or the authorities consider it. I highly recommend you check out http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/self-defenseexplained.htm before you proceed any further. This resource will give you a pretty good understanding about how easy it is to cross the line between self defense and fighting.
There are many different ways to defend yourself and it can vary depending on your situation. The same physical confrontation can be justified in one situation but considered assault in another. Although the rules change, one thing that remains the same is that self defense is geared towards ending an immediate physical threat using the least amount of force necessary. It’s never okay to use physical force to end a perceived emotional threat. This can range from hurt pride to hurt feelings. When you resort to physical measures for these situations, it’s considered fighting/assault, not self defense.
Staying in one spot and aggravating the other person is also not self defense. This is fighting. If you are trying your best to withdraw from physical danger and the other person attempts to assault you without provocation, then that’s a completely different story.
Some of you are probably sitting there right now thinking, “If I don’t provoke him and he attacks, it’s self defense…, so that means if he provokes me and I attack, then it’s not self defense for him!” Well, it doesn’t quite work that way. You are assuming that one person will always come out as the “winner” (legally) and that’s not the case at all. It can be lose-lose for both parties involved.
If you don’t know how to distinguish the thin line that separates legal self defense from illegal fighting, then there is a much higher chance you’ll end up in prison when such a situation arises.
Self Defense Begins Before Physical Confrontation
It actually begins with self awareness. A chameleon adapts to it’s environment and defends itself by changing the color of it’s own skin. We do something similar too. We defend ourselves by changing our tone, attitude, and even our body posture. If we don’t understand who we are as a person and how we react in certain situations, we lose whatever control we have.
The best option for staying safe is to do what it takes to avoid putting ourselves in situations where self defense is required. The second option is to do whatever it takes to neutralize the situation before we find ourselves in a spot where physical self defense is the only viable option.
What If You Still Get Attacked?
If it’s come to the point where all your options are exhausted, that’s when absolutely anything goes. Anything can become a weapon if the intent behind it is survival and nothing else. Always make sure you completely understand what constitutes fighting/assault before you begin learning how to fight. Also understand that effective street fighting is not the same as martial arts. There are many physical aspects of self defense that’s not covered in most martial arts classes and can make the difference between life and death.