The term “Self-Defense” is used to generally describe the tools and techniques that we should use to defend ourselves against acts of aggression, whether they are verbal, physical, or life-threatening.
However, word choice matters. Let’s illustrate.
The words “defend” and “secure” are similar, yet different. Read these definitions and see if you spot it.
Defend (v): to resist an attack made on (someone or something); protect from harm or danger.
Secure (v): feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety; protected against threats; made safe.
Figure it out? Here’s my point.
When you “defend” against something, you are actively resisting an attack, meaning it is in the process of happening and was not prevented.
When you are “secure” you feel safe and free from threats. In other words, you feel confident. You have not entered the state of needing to defend yourself.
This, to me, is a fundamental difference in how we view ourselves and our abilities to execute techniques when they are needed.
Self-Security begins with the premise that you believe your life is worth defending.
When you believe this, you will spend time doing things that make you a better person.
Building your skills, capabilities, knowledge, and character gives you the building blocks to build your life the way you want it and to value yourself.
If you ever face a Self Defense scenario, you will need to execute the techniques in your arsenal without hesitation and with the utmost confidence in your ability.
How do you do live a life worth defending? You live a life that builds character and values and, most importantly, confidence.
Cornerstones of Confidence
There are 2 items that can improve your competencies. Think of your competencies as your “superpowers” in that a person skilled within these areas will be much more apt to be able to recognize threats and have the confidence to improve the quality of your life.
They are 1. Capability Boosters and 2. Character Builders.
- Capability Boosters (CB1)
Capability Boosters provide the foundation by which discipline can be developed and thrive.
Discipline is the secret to getting good at anything you want.
Motivation is a limited resource. When it runs out, you need Discipline to carry you through the most challenging times.
Becoming disciplined is the platform for building confidence and once you build momentum in your capabilities, progress is like a freight train; you’ll be hard to stop!
Capability Boosters include:
Reading & Writing
- Building an extensive vocabulary is the most important skill you can build.
- Say what you mean, mean what you say. Words can get you into or out of trouble.
- When words run out, punches fly!
Health & Wellness
- Sound nutrition makes us thrive everywhere.
- Working out (strength train, light weights, yoga, walk/run, hiking, etc.) reminds us we are alive to thrive!
- Testing our human potential is vital to finding out more about what we are capable of. Test the limits!
Sports & Recreation
- Learn your individual strengths and weaknesses.
- Working within a Team environment is crucial to success.
Studying the Arts
- Use both sides of your brain! The arts keep us rooted to our senses.
- Everyone can connect through the arts to our humanity.
- Character Builders (CB2)
Living with character strengthens your values and allows you to see the good in others and yourself. This is a valuable resource from the Character Counts organization (https://charactercounts.org/)
- Think “true blue” (completely faithful)
- Be honest
- Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal
- Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do
- Have the courage to do the right thing
- Build a good reputation
- Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country
- Play by the rules
- Take turns and share
- Be open-minded; listen to others
- Don’t take advantage of others
- Don’t blame others carelessly
- Treat all people fairly
- Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule
- Be tolerant and accepting of differences
- Use good manners, not bad language
- Be considerate of the feelings of others
- Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone
- Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements
- Be kind
- Be compassionate and show you care
- Express gratitude
- Forgive others
- Help people in need
- Be charitable and altruistic
- Do what you are supposed to do
- Plan ahead
- Be diligent
- Do your best
- Use self-control
- Be self-disciplined
- Think before you act
- Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes
- Set a good example for others
- Do your share to make your school and community better
- Get involved in community affairs
- Stay informed; vote
- Be a good neighbor
- Obey laws and rules
- Respect authority
- Protect the environment
Tools in the Toolbox: The S3 Threat Response Framework
The ability to deal with complex situations requires people to have access to options. Think of it like a mechanic. The more complex the situation is, the greater the variety of tools and techniques you need to deal with the situation.
Often, much less time is spent teaching folks how to stay in the “Green” or the Preventive Tools & Techniques. This makes sense, because people want to know what they should do when the rubber hits the road and they are faced with the reality of dealing with a scenario where they need to defend their well-being.
However, you will end up spending the most time in this area and you should minimally be aware of the tools and techniques you have access to keep you there.
The 3 Level Self Security System (S3) Threat Response Framework will guide you through your three different options to prepare and respond for threats: 1) Preventive Techniques, 2) Detective Techniques, 3) Corrective Techniques.
Every situation is different. You may not be able to predict other people’s behavior. Your obvious goal should be to stay and steer towards (GREEN) at all times.
Before threats become worse, your senses and your “fight or flight” response may have kicked in. In this stage (YELLOW) these tools can help mitigate or minimize the threat from becoming worse or allow you to remove yourself from the situation entirely.
If all else fails to work, or if the confrontation or aggressor picks you, the threat hits (RED) and you need to defend your safety. Your tools here should be plentiful and razor sharp.
Level 1: Safe and Secure
This is the safest level on the S3 Threat Framework. There is no imminent threat of any kind and you are in familiar surroundings that are predictable.
Complete Avoidance: You should always strive to be in this area. Your overall threat level is low. You have the choice to avoid situations that can escalate all together by staying in the comfort of familiar surroundings, like your home alone. While this is not practical for living a full life, you can rest easy knowing this is the least troublesome level in your personal safety against others.
Proactive Deterrence: If you decide to venture away from the comfort of familiar surroundings, you can prepare yourself in several ways.
- No ego/Positive mindset – let go of your ego. Most confrontational situations are avoidable. When ego’s get in the way, we get into trouble. Road rage, bad behavior and tempers can flare at unexpected times. However, you can control how you respond to them. Let them bounce off of you like bullets off of Supergirl. Also, keep a positive mindset when you venture out. This will promote your use of strong and confident body language and verbal assertiveness in the event you need to use them.
- Travel in Groups – Traveling in groups is a better idea than travelling alone. You should all be aware.
- Body language – You should stand with strong posture, head tall, shoulders back and a powerful stride. When passing by strangers, meet them with eye contact and a smile.
- Lose the distractions – When traveling alone, keep the smartphone in your purse or pocket. Do not walk around with your head down or headphones in. Also, be mindful of your jewelry and other personal belongings on you as they could be targets for potential bad guys.
- Carry a tactical flashlight – If you do not carry any other weapons, this is one to have. A tactical flashlight can “blind” an aggressive person and keep them disoriented so you can move towards your escape. A thorough review of flashlights is included here.
Level 2: Escalating Rapidly
This is the “Fight or Flight” stage. You may or may not even have time to react and you can literally be flooded by your senses competing to rationalize the events unfolding.
Primary Senses: Your eyes and your ears are your primary techniques here. Look and listen to everything going on around you. If no threat is imminent, using your eyes and ears can give you a real-time analysis of the threats that could occur (e.g., lack of lighting or visibility, out of place vehicles, suspicious acting individuals, etc.). If you identify these things you may have time to alter your course to move back towards “Green”.
“6th” Sense or Gut Instinct: Your gut instinct or your “6th” sense is one of our most powerful cognitive tools. The sensation you get when evaluating situations using your primary senses should never be ignored. When confronted with situations where your 6th sense is used, leveraging the tools from our Level 1 toolkit are key. Things like strong body language and posture, assertive verbal commands and direct eye contact may help thwart situations teetering between Fight and Flight. A book called “The Gift of Fear” examines this important aspect of personal Safety and gives real examples of clues and steps that can be used to stay safe.
We train to take control of all of this. We spend plenty of time discussing the activities you can perform to stay on the safe side with this framework. However, we spend the majority of our time sharpening the techniques needed for the highest level of threat in the framework. We work on our Jiu-Jitsu and our Striking, each class.
Level 3: Maximum Threat
Once situations are forced into the “Red” Level 3, you must have the most tools available for you because the problem is the most complex. This is where we spend the majority of the time training in the academy.
Jiu-jitsu: “The Gentle Art” can be not at all gentle. Being able to survive, defend, and escape an attack from your back is a must-have reason to have this tool in your technique arsenal. Not to mention, your ability to control and submit your aggressor/attacker with superior knowledge and technique will give you the chances you need to get away unscathed.
There are well over 600 techniques in Jiu-jitsu, however you only need to know a few dozen to become a highly effective weapon. The techniques flow together like an inter-related web, meaning that you can instantaneously move your defense to offense, moving from survival to submission in seconds.
Striking: Strikes are potent and are typically used when confronted with escalating scenarios such as multiple attackers, physical confrontations, and weaponry. In our toolkit, we use all “8 limbs” of attack, to include:
- Kicks, Punches, Slaps, Scratch: this includes the strike respresponses with the feet, palms, fists, and hands/fingers. Most people natural instincts are to grab, scratch, or push away. I well placed blow can provide the “softening technique” needed to create the space needed to escape.
- Knees & Elbows (Hard tools): When you are within the grasps of an aggressor, your knees and elbows become your primary striking weapon of choice. Elbows are hard bones and can often do extensive damage to soft tissue (nose, eyes) and bones with lower density (e.g., cheekbones). A well placed knee can also be the equivalent of hitting your opponent with a sledgehammer. When an attacker has their hands on you, their midsection and anatomy are exposed. Make it count.
Weapons (life-preserving): Weapons are an important element of Self-Defense protection for life-preserving scenarios. If a person with a weapon or deadly intentions has their sights set on you, you need to use all of the weapon at your disposal. If you have these weapons and you are confronted with this unfortunate circumstance, you may need to use these tools.
- Pepper Spray – carry this in your purse. Don’t leave home without it.
- Hot Water/Coffee – before you leave your house, or a friend’s house, ask for coffee or tea to go.
- Gouging/biting – some of our most damaging weapons are our teeth and the ability to use our fingers on soft tissue (for close-quarters situations).
- “Force protection” (i.e., blunt objects, weapons) – It is a personal choice to carry weaponry in public. If you are not prepared to use it, then you should not carry it. You should train for this as well. If it is in your own home, you have to decide what you are willing to use and gain access to.
We train for the time when the fight picks us. Remember that you must believe your life is worth defending. Take action to make that real, each and every day by living your life with character and confidence.
Contact us to get started!