Self-Defense: 7 things you should learn

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Self-Defense: 7 things you should learn

Today I talk about self-sefense – and the most important 7 things to learn. As always you could either listen to the audio or read the full transcript below.

Hi and welcome to episode No. 5 of the Martial Podcast. My name is Martin and like every week I will talk about a specific topic around martial arts. And this week we take a look at self-defense. In particular, I´ll show you the 7 most important things to learn.

Because I think what you learn in a typical self-defense class is by far not enough to be safe on the street.

There is so much you should know about when it comes to self-defense.

And in particular you should have certain abilities to feel safe in every situation you are in. And in this episode of our podcast I´ll tell you WHAT abilities I´m talking about.

And please feel free to comment below and tell me your opinion on this topic.

So but now let´s start: What is the No. 1 most important thing to learn and to do when it comes to self-defence? I´ll tell you what: The most important thing is to avoid a fight. The most important thing is prevention. Don´t get in situations where you have to defend yourself against one or even multiple aggressors.

And I don´t mean you should stay at home all day and never go out. What I mean is this: If you are well aware of your surroundings and what´s going on around you, chances are you won´t have to use your fighting skills as you avoid a fight right from the start.

So the No. 1 thing you should learn when it comes to self-defense is …

1. Awareness

Being aware of what is going on around you. So no earphones tucked in when walking along a deserted street with your eyes on your smartphone all the time – not realizing that someone is approaching you already.

Because …

… when you don´t see an attack coming, you can´t defend yourself against it.

So all your training in a martial arts school or dojo is just useless if you are not aware of what´s going on at a particular moment.

But on the other hand: If you are aware of a dangerous situation you could just turn around and walk in the other direction. So that the guy in front of you doesn´t even have the chance to engage you in a serious fight.

So really: Awareness and fight prevention are most important when it comes to self-defense. If you do that correctly than you don´t have to fight. You don´t need to show off your fighting skills if you avoid it beforehand. And that is the best self-defense one can think of.

But of course, there are situations where you can´t walk away or awareness alone was not enough to protect you from certain aggressors. Or maybe you weren´t that aware of your surroundings at a given moment.

In this case you have to know about a second thing – something you may learn or at least hear of in a good self-defense class. And that is …

2. De-escalation

One thing to learn here is to talk yourself out of a dangerous situation.

One strategy could be to ask the aggressor about his mother and that you haven´t seen her for ages. And of course you don´t know his mother. But he certainly gets uncertain confronted with such a question.

Or you begin some small talk about the funniest things.

Of course, you have to stay absolutely cool while doing this. He shouldn´t be aware of your anxiety. So in order to be able to do that, you have to train this a lot – even if it feels very awkward when doing that with your regular training partner or friend.

Another thing besides the talking is that you should bring your hands up.

And bring them in front of your body so you keep some distance between you and your opponent. This is called a fence and by doing this you have more reaction time if your opponent attacks you.

And you can use this to de-escalate your opponent. In order to do this it´s very important to keep your hands open and not making a fist – because this could seem far too aggressive. And you want to appease the aggressor of course.

And also bystanders are more likely to believe you where the aggressor later on in court if you made a fist.

And as I said: Combine that with talking. You may also say that you don´t want a fight and he should stop his behavior now. Of course you do that also because of potential witnesses standing around you. As you not only want to win the actual physical fight but also the fight later on in the courtroom.

So the most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings. And then comes the de-escalation part. But in some circumstances you have to fight.

And then it´s important to make a preemptive attack. Because defending is far too risky. In some situations attack is the best self-defense you have.

And your opponent probably will not see it coming. Because he thinks you are easy prey for him. When you actually aren´t.

But of course, you have to learn that. And therefore you have to train it. You have to train your

3. Attacking

Most importantly you have to train your punching power.

And there are many opportunities for that:

You can either train alone on a wall bag, or a punching bag or on a so called BOB. This is an abbreviation for body opponent bag. This is a life-like mannequin with a vinyl skin for more realistic self-defense training.

Another opportunity is of course to train with a training partner. For that you could either use kicking shields or most importantly focus mitts.

I personally think that every serious martial artist should own a pair of focus mitts as you can train so many things with it.

Not only your punching power but also speed and certain reactions.

So, and then comes the typical self-defense training into play you normally learn in self-defense classes. You learn to

4. Defend yourself

But please don´t train it like you see it in the movies. It´s very seldomly the case that two opponents stand in front of each other, still outside of kicking range and totally aware that they are about to duel each other.

In reality the aggressor is looking for easy prey. So either they seek for a careless victim not aware of their surroundings or they just want to vent their rage on a shy and weak person.

So you either have to expect an ambush or a person who feels stronger than you. Because they want you to be a victim and not an equally strong opponent.

So men often have to face an attacker in a bar who wants to just punch you in the face because of their own bad life.

Women have to fear more the people they already know, as studies say that sexual assaults are most likely to happen in their familiar environment. And the attacker often is someone they know already.

Besides all technical training in your self-defense class – it´s important to dare to fight.

You have to be prepared to punch, kick, elbow and at worst to scratch and bite your opponent.

So these four abilities are the most important and you should begin by training these four things:

  1. Your Awareness
  2. De-escalation abilities
  3. Attacking
  4. and Defending

As you have accomplished this, you should also train a bit of

5. Ground Fighting

And by that I don´t mean that you should start to train a grappling art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Luta Livre or Judo.

I just mean that you should integrate a bit of ground work into your self-defense training.

And I don´t mean you should only grapple there with your training partner. In a self-defense situation you are allowed to use your whole body. So please punch and kick – even if you are lying on the ground.

… … …

But until know we assumed that there is only one aggressor you have to deal with. But in reality there could also be

6. Multiple Opponents

So you should train defending against multiple opponents too.

Or better yet: Don´t learn to DEFEND against multiple opponents. A better strategy here is to learn to FIGHT against multiple opponents.

As a matter of fact: If you are facing more than just one aggressor, you can´t concentrate on defending yourself.

Instead you have to attack your opponents. This is the only chance to keep unharmed in a fight.

Your mental state has to be one of attacking not defending.

… … …

And last but not least. Learn to

7. Defend against weapons

And most importantly: Train to defend against knives. As they are the most commonly used weapon in street attacks.

And they also are the most dangerous!

Of course, I don´t mean that you can learn to defend against a knife and don´t get harmed by doing so.

But at least you can learn to safe your life. Most probably you will get hurt by doing so! But the most important thing here: Learn to not get stabbed in the face or to your body. Your hands and arms are not that vitally important.

… … …

Yeah, so this was my take on “Self-Defense: 7 things you should learn”

Please tell me in the comments below what you think about it. Have I missed something out? What are the most important things to learn in a self-defense class?

And if you liked todays episode of the martial podcast than please make sure to subscribe. And also have a look at our other episodes which we have published already.

And then see you next time at the Martial Podcast!

Sifu Martin Grünstäudl –


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