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Combat Survival techniques… taught with responsibility

The title of this article may sound like a paradox to many. After all, ‘combat’ is supposed to be about hurting people right? How do you ‘responsibly” hurt someone? Doesn’t all responsibility go out the window at the point where you need to defend yourself? At Protect the answer to that is “actually, no, far from it”.

Self defence (in our opinion) is not about fighting, hurting people, or necessarily becoming “warrior’s”. Nor is it about the relentless pursuit of the fear and paranoia that everyone is out to hurt us meaning we must be in a constant state of hyper-awareness every minute of every day.

But that really is what is taught so often in ‘self defence’ schools. I have seen people teaching everyday civilians, just normal men and women, how to kill people. I have seen countless examples of absolute overkill in terms of justifiably eliminating the threat so you can escape to safety, which is what it should be all about after all.

I have seen systems taught (frequently!) where they encourage head stomping once a person is on the ground. The MAJORITY of martial arts and ‘self defence’ systems teach to disarm a knife-wielding attacker and then use the weapon back against the person, very often actually murdering the person. I’ve watched in shock as an instructor showed how to embed a pen into someone’s eye if that person should approach you asking for the time, since apparently “no-one who does this is genuine, they are there to hurt you”. I’ve seen a ‘knife survival’ course where more than 90% of the course taught the attendees how to use the knife in an offensive (vs defensive) manner, effectively teaching them how to be better killers with a knife, and this was passed off as ‘self defence’ . I could go on and on with examples. The term ‘reasonable force’ is unfortunately not a pervasive element in this type of training. Unfortunately for these commando’s, we live in a real world with real consequences to our actions. And teaching people this stuff in the context’s I have seen it taught is setting people up for a massive fall.

Let me be very blunt here, what I have mentioned above are NOT examples of teaching ‘self defence’, it is teaching violence (in some cases it is even teaching murder) and it is very common. Any self defence system that does not adequately cover and explain the ethical, moral, and legal aspects of self protection, as well as develop a solid understanding of use-of-force options is not a complete system. In fact, in most cases, the system can cause as much damage as it does good.

At Protect we train in the behavioural, emotional and psychological aspects of self protection as much as we do in the physical. Why? Simple, because we are not there to learn to fight, we’re there to learn to stay safe and to grow as people, and that is a big difference. Yes, our physical training is highly effective and works when it is needed but our first goal is to get away without needing to use it. Only when our avoidance, awareness, recognition, de-escalation, defusion, psychological manipulation, behavioural manipulation etc have failed (or we never had a chance to use them as would be the case in an ambush-style attack) do we resort to physical protection. So let’s explore a few of the ‘responsibility’ considerations inside that physical stage.

Firstly, what about the fact that violence really “sucks”? It is not easy nor is it pleasant to have to inflict harm upon another human being if you are normal, well-adjusted citizen (those who do enjoy it need to seek help). It is not like the movies, there is no glamour in it. It is a toxic and destructive environment which can have long-lasting consequences to all those involved. Teaching how to simply hurt people without teaching all of the other possible options to allow the situation to be resolved/avoided is misinformed at best and negligent and irresponsible at worse. Now please don’t misunderstand me, there is a time for (defensive) violence. There is a time when you must have the physical skills at your disposal to protect yourself and your loved ones. But there are far more times when violence can/could have been avoided but because the person has only been trained to respond one way (with violence) that is what they fall back on and that is not a good thing. We need to be very careful that we don’t become exactly that which we seek to protect ourselves from. If becoming a violent person is the only way to stay safe against violent people then it is just not worth it. It doesn’t make sense and will cause a highly negative and destructive impact in your life.

And then there is that “little thing” called the “law”. Without an understanding of the self defence laws in your country/state you may very well find yourself in a place which would make the initial violent encounter seem like a picnic…It’s called prison. Use of inappropriate or excessive force for the situation could land you in a world of hurt, but if all you have ever been trained to do is employ a physical response (usually an extreme one) then that is the only option you have to employ when a situation unfolds. What if you had the training to recognise, avoid, defuse, de-escalate, escape/disengage prior to any physical encounter? Or at least an understanding of how to employ reasonable levels of force so that your response is reasonable, justified and proportionate? Wouldn’t that be the answer? Self defence is NOT all about physical fighting/responses. At Protect you will learn all of these options so that you have the right “tools” for the situation to ensure you get out as safely as possible. We are not commando’s so we should not be trained as commando’s, we are normal people who just want to live more empowered lives and feel safer and more certain in our abilities to protect ourselves and our families. And naturally if we do find ourselves in danger we need to know how to get home to our loved ones as quickly, efficiently and legally as possible.