Beginner’s Guide to Self Defence.
After some 30 years training Shotokan Karate with some of the best instructors, representing my country, running my own karate school, teaching self-defence courses to women and children in South Africa, this is a subject I am extremely passionate about.
I will never forget the day that one of my karate students (a mom of 2 children) was attacked in her home by 2 assailants. In South Africa this is a common occurrence and often the crime is extremely violent. In other words, if this happens, you are likely to be raped or murdered – your life is at risk! When the men entered her home office one afternoon, she reacted immediately. She fought these men for about 20min from her desktop. She threw everything she had at them before they finally left empty handed.
Another story from a young teenage girl I taught. She was being sexually abused repeatedly by a young boy at school. She reported this to the school and not much action was taken. One day when leaning over packing her school bag, the boy took advantage of her once again, she spun around and hit him with a back-fist and injured him badly. After receiving medical attention and stitches, he was expelled from the school.
I was hijacked at gunpoint in the road in which I lived.
People all over the world are exposed not only to dangerous criminals, but to party goers, people under the influence of drugs or alcohol, bullies, and even sometimes family members. It is critical that every person should have taken some steps to ensure that they have some skill to protect themselves and their loved ones. Self Defence is a critical life skill.
10 rules or tips to surviving any kind of attack.
1) Prevention. You may laugh at the simplicity, but seriously, too many people walk around with blinkers on, totally switched off the world around them. Be part of your world. Notice the small things. Use your intuition. Be aware. Avoid danger. Simple things, like taking a corner wide when walking, and maintaining your own personal space bubble.
2) Do not allow yourself to be the victim. Making eye contact with people is a sure sign of confidence. Walk tall, shoulders back and stride or walk with a sense of purpose and assertiveness. Confident people usually do not become victims.
3) Surprise your attacker: Do the unexpected. An attacker thrives on the fact that they have surprised you. When this element is lost they no longer hold the power. Some examples include: Falling to the ground and pretending to have some kind of fit or move towards the attacker whilst maintaining eye contact. Don’t do what they would expect you to do! Again, you may laugh but imagine the reaction.
4) Dog eat dog. You need to stoop to the level of the attacker. This is usually a pretty low level of humanity and sometimes brutal, and you need to be ready for it mentally.
5) Visualise. A term you may have heard from top athletes or even in meditation classes. Well, the same applies for self-defence. Visualise all forms of attack – in your home, in your car, at work, at a party. And watch your own reaction. We practise fire drills and flood drills from the time we go to school, but never have we practised personal safety drills. Have a plan and visualise it.
6) You need to be physically fit. Adrenaline will get you so far, but when you get into a fight longer than 30sec, without physical fitness you are nowhere. Make sure you can stand and fight for at least a few minutes. I don’t mean skilled fighting, I mean any kind of fighting – kicking/punching/biting/using objects close to you.
7) Make sure you know how to strike (really hard). This does not need 30 years of training, but a course on self-defence would go a long way to teaching you some fundamental basics
8) You are stronger than you think you are. When someone teaches you the correct and most powerful way to strike, using your own body as a weapon, you realise how powerful you actually are. This one skill and the knowledge itself may save your life.
9) Today, attackers often use drugs to take advantage of you. When out, make sure you watch your drink being poured and keep it in your hand or sight at all times. Date rape drugs are prevalent and if targeted you can do very little about it.
10) Never, never go with the attacker. Fight for your life. The odds stack against you heavily when the attacker takes you with him. Research shows that out of 100% of people attacked, only 10 % fight back. Of these 10%, 90% are successful. Fighting back is usually the unexpected reaction and puts the attacker off guard.
These are by no means the answer to every situation, but a guide based on my own experience as a martial artist. Every situation is unique and requires a different response. Please feel free to share this information with friends and loved ones. It may just save their life one day.
To arrange self defence classes for your company, school or a group of friends, please contact me.