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Martial Arts, Taekwondo, Writing

Self-defence – An overview


Self-defence, self-protection, street defence are all buzzwords covering the subject of trying to avoid being attacked and what to do when you are being attacked.

There are many excellent courses out there but many people still don’t attend them. Why is this? I personally believe that there are many factors but for me the core factor is that people don’t understand what an attack is. I’m not talking about a fight such as you see on CCTV cameras where the protaganists have basically consented to smack ten bells out of each other.

An attack is much worse. Attacks are usually blitzes that come out of nowhere’. Pre-selection will have occured although this could have taken place months or even years before or in the time it took to cross the street. These are the ones that you see on CCTV programmes where someone walking along is randomly attacked and left lying in the gutter. The majority of them are actually avoidable but until you experience an attack (God forbid) it’s hard to envisage it. Imagine waking up on your back. You can’t breathe because your ribs hurt so much that you feel physically sick and your nose is blocked by blood. You’ve wet yourself and pain wracksyour body. You can only see out of one eye and you can see your partner lying a few feet away from you but you can’t move to get to them. You have just been successfully attacked.

Now, what can you do to avoid this? The answer is A LOT. You can basically do whatever it takes to avoid this but it depends on you as to how far you want to go. The most important thing to bear in mind about self-protection is that it’s life changing. I’m not talking about a meta-physical or revelational experience but I am talking about changing habits, changing the way you look at and view things and people. Often you will end up inconveniencing yourself and others. It all depends on how far you go however.

The most obvious solutions are;

– Attend a self-protection/defence course and live it
– Never walk alone at night
– Never leave well-lit areas
– Never drink so much that you get drunk
– Never take drugs
– Never leave your children unattended in the car
– Never go out on a Friday or Saturday night, especially after 10pm

I can immediately hear a sharp intake of breath from many reading the last item. Statistically you are most likely to be attacked on a Friday or Saturday night however, most people go out on those night and are loathe to change this. This is where how much you value yourself and your safety comes in toplay. If you’re not prepared to stay in on those nights, are you prepared to stay relatively sober or does your idea of a good night involve copious amounts of alcohol? I ask this because it’s all well and good attending a self-defence or self-protection course but if your social life revolves around going out and getting drunk then it was pretty pointless attending the course. Read the paragraph on attack again and really put yourself into that position. Is it worth it?

Similarly, if you take a shortcut home in order to avoid missing your favourite TV program then you need to evaluate what is more important, watching TV or keeping safe? It’s then up to you to evaluate the best and safest way of getting home I thought it would never happen to me’ is not what you want to be saying.

If you have vulnerable dependants such as children is it really worth leaving them in the car when you pop in to the shop to .’? It can take seconds to break into a car and drive off, or take the contents. Surely the stress of getting the darlings out of the car (again!) and taking them to the shop far outweighs the stress of losing them or having them harmed in a car robbery? Think hard about when you thought you’d lost a child, maybe you were out shopping or at a local attraction. You’d taken your eye off them for a split second and they were gone. Has your heart sped up, your palms started to sweat and a sick feeling come to your stomach? Make the choice.

So to summarise;
Attacks are not nice. To avoid being attacked you have to evaluate how far you are willing to go and what life changes you are willing to make. You then need to stick to them and make them habits

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.

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