self defense


Self Defense

How many techniques are enough?

Maybe the title for this article should be "How many techniques are too much." Here is the point: Can the average person who is being attacked and under a full adrenal rush recall his self defense techniques? Are most systems too complicated, involved, or requiring way too much fine motor skills to pull off in a real attack?

Let's look at an attack scenario. Suppose our intended victim is going to his car late one night in a several story parking garage which has a number of cars parked in it and there is no one around.

Suddenly he notices movement out of the corner of his left eye. He turns to see someone approaching him quickly between two parked cars. The guy asks him a question as he approaches. "Have you seen a black BMW on this level?" The question is designed to distract the victim as the attacker closes the gap. In another second the guy is within three feet of our friend and a half second later is all over him, grabbing him around the waist and arms and lifting him from the ground.

Fear strikes hard and our victim freezes in his tracks. His heart beat is approaching 150 in a matter of seconds as he is under a heavy adrenaline dump.

He has had about two years of formal martial arts training but somehow everything is happening so fast he can't recall the specific technique he has practiced many times in class.

Panic insues. Another second goes by and he realizes he is being throw to the ground. He hits hard shocking his body and dulling his senses. He barely feels the punches now raining on his face as he goes into a state of shock and disbelief that this is really happening to him.

Within a few more fleeting seconds his wallet is taken and his attacker is running down the exit ramp.

So what went wrong? Two years of training two or three times a week and he gets his butt whipped in a couple of shocking seconds without landing a blow. Worse, he never even attemps a single technique. Why?

For one thing, he was totally unaccustomed to this strong fear induced adrenal dump. He didn't know how to react because he had so many self defense techniques in his head and with his cognitive thinking blurred (one major effect of adrenaline) he was not able to pull up a single one to use in the few split seconds he had to react.

We see this all the time in our adrenal stress response training classes (F.A.S.T. Defense). We have even had very experienced black belt instructors freeze up or flail inefectively the first few times they were subjected to a good dose of adrenaline.

This why we try to limit the techniques we use to a handful or so. Additionally we "stack" these techniques so that they are used in similar attacks. I call this a "build on factor". This simply means that one technique builds upon another and that a few simple sequences are able to be used for a number of different attacks.

We use these principles and techniques in Street Self Defense 101.


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