By: John Riddle, Riddle Defense / 561-262-7840
October 2, 2019
The definition of SELF DEFENSE according to LAW.COM is the use of reasonable force to protect oneself or members of the family from bodily harm from the attack of an aggressor, if the defender has reason to believe he/she they is / are in danger.
Self Defense does not always need to be a violent encounter. In reality Self-defense isn’t really about the goal of beating up or taking out your attacker with martial arts moves. The goal is to be smart, get yourself and whoever is with you the protection needed and out of harm’s way, as soon as possible. The best way to avoid injury is to prevent an attack from happening in the first place by being aware of your surroundings at all times.
In order to prevent an attack from happening is to see the development of the potential attack through good situational awareness. Being situationally aware means being aware of what is going on around you. Seeing a potential attack start to develop by simply being aware can buy you time and distance so then you could change your direction of travel or defend if need be.
Those who get caught in a violent encounter usually are not paying attention to their surroundings or believe that it will never happen to them in the first place. They get complacent to the point of being totally unaware and then become the victim.
An encounter can start out very slow and unassuming and then the ambush happens.
Through my experience as a police officer and through interviews of “bad guys” I have found that encounters usually start from a distance where the attacker tries to figure out if you are worth attacking. It’s almost like an interview from afar. They look at how you carry yourself, are you injured (leg/arm in a cast, wheel chair, walker, cane) are you alone or with a group. And finally, are you aware of what’s going on around you, or is your face in your phone?
Once the bad guy(s) feel they can approach you they will do this quickly in order to close distance. Once distance is closed they may ask you a question just to throw you off. “Excuse me, do you know the time?” “Can you lend me a dollar, I’m hungry”. Whatever the question, remember this can be a ploy, the close up interview, to distract you for their next move! It is at this point that the close encounter “ambush” takes place. Be aware, a lot of them are successful at this.
What are you going to do when your time comes? What will you do when the attack happens to you? What will you do when the attack happens to you when you are with your family? I talk about this at my facility, RIDDLE DEFENSE in Boca Raton, Florida. We talk about the situations we could come across in our daily travels. We talk about encounters that have happened and how they developed.
After the talk is done, we get down and dirty and work on the physical aspects of surviving the ambush when it happens. We work on concepts and techniques to help us detect, defuse and defend in the worst case scenario. I teach “When/Then thinking”. We have to have a mindset of “When this happens, then I’m going to do this”, never “If it happens”. Always have a plan!
DEVELOP THE TOOLS
You must develop tools and learn how to defend yourself. When push comes to shove it can get violent. You also need to face the facts that there is violence in the world and in your community. You need to know how to deal with this and prevail. If you can’t help yourself, you won’t be able to help anyone else who may be with you, i.e., your elderly mother or father, children, etc. So where do we start?
Your tools in the self defense world should something like the following:
• Situational Awareness
• De-Escalation Techniques
• Self Defense Techniques or Concepts so you can fight back and win
• Knowledge of and Skills with Weapons
• First Aid, Life Saving Procedures (it may be your life or the life of someone you love)
• Depending on how deep you want to get into all this you may want to include vehicle procedures. Learning escape and evasion techniques while driving.
There are other areas of self defense we can get into but the above list is a great start.
You also have to understand that in self defense there is no magic pill. There is not an answer to every situation. When you take the time to learn how to defend yourself you will be able to think for yourself and make proper decisions.