The best form of self-defence is to not be there, it's kind of obvious but it's one part of the picture that is often ignored. Obviously, it is not always possible to avoid a situation, which is when your martial arts skills will be invaluable, in one way or another.
Common sense tips to avoid a situation, or rather to greatly reduce the chances of one occurring should be based around avoiding trouble spots. These may be certain dodgy areas in a city where the likelihood of trouble is relatively high. Certain locations may be safe by day but decidedly unsafe by night, it's probably not a good idea to take that short cut through the park at night!
Then, on a smaller level it is sensible to avoid seats where potential trouble makers sit on public transport, in my city that means sitting downstairs on the bus. Alternatively, it could mean crossing the road instead of walking through a crowd of teenagers or walking away from a heated discussion in a bar. These measures are prudent safety first procedures that could save your life, but you will never know; think of these as essential health and safety for modern living.
Awareness, Health and Safety
Now to successfully avoid these situations there needs to be a certain amount of awareness of what is going on around you. That is an article or two in itself so will just be mentioned here. If you are walking through a dangerous area with an iPod blasting out music you fail on both counts; you haven't avoid the danger in the first instance and you are reducing your ability to be aware of any incoming potential danger! Not good health and safety!
If you do find yourself in a situation that is careering toward a violent confrontation, either as a result of a lack of or despite health and safety this no longer matters. All your faculties need to be on the situation in hand.
You have to quickly decide whether you will strike the bad guy or not. All situations are different but you will probably have a chance to back off or talk your way out of the situation, this is all dependent on the other person or people. There can be no definitive answers, you need to make a judgement call.
If you decide that you won't hit the bad guy just yet, you need to leave or if not possible, diffuse the situation. Be aware that you may have to strike if the situation escalates, your diffusion technique may not work.
Avoiding the situation is the best option, being aware in the first instance will help you avoid any trouble but if it does arrive the best self defence option may be to run. If not you may have to diffuse the situation to stay safe.
Successfully diffusing a potentially violent confrontational situation can save you a lot of bother and even your life. There are many techniques you can use but if the one you decide on fails you can always revert back to an earlier stage in the process (leave or strike) or try another.
One way to diffuse the situation is to use distraction techniques, these can be extremely effective. To read about this and get tips on how to employ this strategy in a real situation please click through to my post on the Epic Martial Arts Blog below.
The post at http://epicmartialartsblog.com/self-protection-diffusing-the-situation describes the essence of the technique and an incident where it has been applied successfully.
Dr. Jon Law is a sports scientist, martial arts instructor and blogger from Birmingham UK with almost 20 years experience. For more information and tips on all kinds of martial arts skills please visit: http://epicmartialartsblog.com.
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