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Self Defense Tips (from Tulane class)

Week 1 Notes-

Remember that the difference between an “altercation” and “Self Defense” is the threat to your life.  Both should be avoided but one of the two is extremely difficult to avoid.   Submission, flight, or bluffing alone could increase your risk of injury.

Any altercation can escalate into a life threatening situation and should be avoided and or de-escalated at any and every opportunity.  If you are with someone who is escalating situations into violence get away from them- if that isn’t possible try to remove them from the situation.  Do not attempt to place yourself between individuals who are escalating, it is difficult to stop both parties simultaneously and you are more likely to be injured.

A threat to your life, immediate family or property can be distinguished by the type of violence.  Predatory violence is predatory- there is less “affective” behavior (affectation like puffing up) and more “effective behavior” like getting into a good position (your weakness) or arming, closing of escape opportunities etc.  The majority of people who encounter predatory violence will say after the fact “there is nothing I could have said or done to stop this”.  The indicators are usually there- pushing you into an alley (closing off escape routes), not stopping when submission (such as surrender of wallet apology for perceived insult etc.) or capitalizing on weakness (such as attempting to force you into a car after a carjacking or trying to tie you up after a robbery).

In cases of dealing with predatory violence offensive mindset is good defensive strategy.  Even a lion will reconsider his dietary choices when kicked in the head by a gazelle- that’s why gazelle are not extinct.  Destructive techniques coupled with expected behavior tactics such as fake flight, fake submission or fake bluffing can neutralize a threat through death or injury.  “Violence is rarely the answer, but when it is, it is the only answer”.  An example of this is telling a home invader that you will call the police (bluffing as he knows that you haven’t and the response time will be too little too late anyway) and then spraying him in the face with wasp killer you keep by your bed.  This causes injury while his mind is still processing the expected bluff.  That injury alone may stop the threat, or at the least make it easier for you to cause more severe injuries or death (if necessary).

When learning strikes it is more important that you learn the technique and the TARGET than it is for you to learn to do it “hard”.  A ten year old girl who eye gouges you will cause much more harm than a 20 year old man that punches you in the chest.  Also, striking a man in the head with your fist is much more likely to injure YOU than the man.  In a life threatening situation you want to injure the attacker enough to stop him or her, get away, or get help.  Do not injure yourself doing it, practice targeting and good technique- what it is for to keep you from injuring yourself.  Remember this:  it is important INJURE your opponent, not  to “hurt them”.  Determined people can shake off “hurt” determination does not shake off broken, blind, or choking.  You cannot expect to train to “hurt” and run away and be set for life- many attacks occur in situations where your escape is prevented, like in your own home.  Remember to keep your feet shoulder width apart- height, depth and width are how we deliver our body’s energy into another- you need to be able to move your hips and torso (width) move up and down at the knees (height) and move front and back (depth).  When you deliver a lower body or upper body strike you are using two or more of these principles. An uppercut uses height and width, a lead hand uses width and depth, and a stomp uses all three.

Think of hard to soft, soft to hard when striking.  Do not use your heavy bones on an opponent’s heavy bones- Head butt the fragile bones of the face, not the forehead, hammer fist the collarbone, don’t punch it, punch the solar plexis rather than knife handing it.  USE YOUR ENVIRONMENT- a boot is better than a bare foot, and a bottle is better than a bare hand.



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