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Fight or Flight: Self-Defense Basics

Posted by Century Martial Arts on 4/21/2016 3:33:00 PM

Self-Defense Basics

It is an unfortunate truth that many people, regardless of age, gender, race, size or appearance, will one day need to protect themselves from attack. In those instances, there is no substitute for defensive training or the study of a martial art. Trained or not, everyone should know the first basic tenet of self-defense: the best way to keep yourself safe in a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place.

Below are tips on how to avoid an altercation before it becomes dangerous. With a cool head, alertness, and a willingness to walk away, you can typically prevail in many situations.


Situational Awareness

Many people don’t see danger coming until it’s too late. It’s possible to take measures to avoid conflict, but you have to be aware of your surroundings, observe the general attitude and behavior of the people around you, and recognize the signs of an impending conflict.

If the setting feels tense, especially if the mood came on suddenly, make a mental note of the exits and quickest ways to them. Pay attention to the body language of the individuals around you. If someone is encroaching on your personal space, trying to separate you from others, or takes an aggressive stance, it may be a sign of ill intentions.

Watching for these signs is especially important in situations involving the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol can dampen your awareness. If the attacker has been drinking, or is under the effect of other substances, they might not be behaving logically.  It may be harder to reason with them.

Adrenaline and Self-Defense

Human biology has a natural “fight or flight” mechanism. Trying to resist that instinct is a bad idea, and can result in you freezing up. A rush of adrenaline is caused by the onset of danger. This can have debilitating effects on your ability to remain calm and remember your training. Even black belts in multiple martial arts have reported succumbing to adrenaline when attacked without warning.

Remind yourself to take steady breaths. Use the rush of adrenaline to your best advantage: flee the situation. It is ALWAYS better to escape than risk a fight. Your flight may be enough to deter your assailant from further pursuit.

De-Escalating Conflicts

Let’s face it: it’s easier and less painful to recover from a bruised ego than a bruised face (or worse). If you remain calm and aware in a difficult situation, you have a better chance of de-escalating. Most people don’t want to fight, but will be more likely to take a swing at you if you respond with taunting bravado or insults. Just remain calm. Communicate with respectful confidence. You can use the time spent talking to stall long enough to find an escape route.  

These methods are not foolproof. Situational awareness can fail us. In the face of adrenaline we may not be able to de-escalate an aggressor. Humans are unpredictable creatures. Even your best efforts to avoid conflict may fall flat.

In these cases, it pays to have self-defense training as a backup plan. Century Martial Arts will help you prepare, by providing all of your safety and training equipment needs. Check out our various self-defense products and additional training basics.

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