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Self-defense tips


Although most people will never be in a self-defense situation, one never knows when it may occur. Once in a situation where you must defend yourself, it helps if you have options as to what actions you may take. Here are some self-defense tips.

Six S's

The winner of a self-defense situation is the one with the most S's, which are:
  • Skill
  • Size
  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Stamina
  • Psyche
The person who is better skilled at fighting, is bigger, is stronger, is faster, has more endurance, and has a win at all cost attitude will probably be the last person standing. If you do not have an edge in at least one of these characteristics, you should find an escape route as quickly as possible.


Most self-defense situations do not suddenly appear, they develop from some minor confrontation that has escalated. If you can nip the confrontation at its bud, it will never blossom into a full-blown self-defense situation. 

First, do not put yourself into a situation where self-defense may be required. As the actor James Coburn stated, "Avoid arse holes and big egos, and avoid places where arse holes and big egos hang out."

Three C’s

Most self-defense situations involve the three C's:
  • Confrontation.
  • Conflict.
  • Combat. 
You are confronted by an aggressor and there is some sort of conflict or disagreement with the person that leads to combat.

Remember to ROAR

  • Recognize. Learn to recognize when a situation may demand the use of self-defense and what level of force may be required. Check out your surroundings and all the resources that are available to you.
  • Overcome. Overcome your fears and prepare yourself for what you must do.
  • Attack. Once you determine and attack is imminent, attack first with the appropriate amount of force.
  • Run: At the first opportunity. Run for safety or to seek assistance. 

Self-defense effectiveness

To be effective at self-defense, you must be able to defend against, control, and use the following:
  • Fear. Controlling your fear and dealing with the fear of an attacker.
  • Verbal. Know how to defuse verbal attacks.
  • Weapons. Defenses against types of weapons or potential weapons.
  • Rage. Controlling your rage and dealing with the rage of an attacker.
  • Legs. Defending against kicking attacks.
  • Hands. Defending against hand attacks.
  • Throws. Defending against being thrown to the ground.
  • Close-range. Dealing with close-range attacks, such as scratching, head butts, bites, etc.
  • Ground. Dealing with fighting and grappling on the ground when both you and your opponent are on the ground.
  • Grounded. Dealing with fighting when either you or your opponent is on the ground.
  • Multiple. Dealing with multiple attackers.
  • Defending another. Defending another person.
  • Family present. Defending when family or friends are present and may be harmed by your actions.

Self-defense confidence

Confidence is different than being cocky or arrogant. A confident person does not dress tough, act tough, or talk tough. A confident person appears calm, alert, capable, and in control. When you see a confident person, you know they know what to do, how to do it, can do it, and importantly–that they are willing to do it. To be confident in your self-defense abilities, you must possess the following:
  • Excellent physical conditioning.
  • Excellent self-defense skills.
  • Excellent strategic and tactical pre-planning.
  • The required self-defense skills.

Rules of engagement

When engaging an opponent, Brazilian jiu-jitsu uses four rules of engagement:
  • Defend. For example, when grappling, you first defend by keeping your base, fighting off chokes, armbars, sweep attacks, etc. 
  • Escape. Then you try to escape by breaking the closed guard and passing the open guard
  • Dominate. Once you pass the guard and escape, you try to dominate by keeping your opponent on his or her back by using a side mount. 
  • Attack. After you can successfully keep your opponent on his or her back and dominate them, you attack using powerful blows or submissions. 
When your attack works and the opponent submits, you win. If you do not follow the order of the rules of engagement, such as trying to submit your opponent when you are in his or her guard, you invite problems. While trying to defend, if you skip trying to escape and trying to dominate, and instead try to attack, your opponent will capitalize on your mistake.

Hide, blend, deceive

When you find yourself in a place where you should not be, such as getting lost in a strange city and finding yourself in a dangerous neighborhood with thugs on every corner or perhaps you are being pursued by someone who wants to harm you, to protect yourself until you can get to a safe area, you will need to either hide from detection, blend in with your surroundings, or deceive the bad guys.
  • Hide. Hiding is an option, but it does not help you get back to a safe area. However, it does help keep you safe until an escape opportunity arises, such as waiting until daylight, waiting until the area is clear of people, or waiting until police or groups of uninterested people are present.
  • Blend. You may be able to blend with a group of inconspicuous people, such as a tour group or a church service. Blending offers the same advantages as hiding, but it may also permit movement toward a safe area. If you are discovered, you have some protection from being around other people.
  • Deceive. Deception is an option if you can carry it out, but it is dangerous if you are discovered. When deceiving, you act as if you were a part of your surroundings; you move around as though you belonged in the area. However, if discovered, you may be unprotected with no help available
A good fighter knows many techniques, a great fighter knows which techniques to use depending on the circumstances.

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