In this modern era of “Shall-Issue” Concealed Carry Licenses, a common question that arises is, should I train in unarmed self defense?
The answer is a resounding yes for a few reasons:
- You can’t carry a gun or a knife everywhere, even with a permit.
- Not every threat justifies the immediate use of deadly force.
- Just because I “can” use a firearm in a situation, doesn’t mean I “should” (crowded area/neighborhood).
- You’ll never never leave you arms and legs at home or in the car.
But just as important as these considerations, is the consideration of “mindset”. In his book, “Tactical Manual”, Max from Max Velocity Tactical lists unarmed self-defense skills as among the areas you need to develop in order to obtain a Warrior Mindset. You can find his outstanding book on Amazon or at http://www.maxvelocitytactical.com.
Similarly, Israeli Krav Maga Association Chief Instructor David Kahn, whose books & videos I highly recommend (Amazon), quotes that age-old Tactical Manual known as the Bible in his book, “Krav Maga – Professional Tactics”:
“Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle,
and my fingers for war”
To me, that sounds like a Biblical command to obtain and, more importantly, retain unarmed self-defense skills.
But, how one obtains these skills is critically important. A YouTube search will get you hours of videos on self defense skills. Nearly every second of it will be unrealistic garbage that has exactly no relavence to real-life skill.
I recommend taking a course from QUALIFIED instructor. Most martial arts have organizations that certify instructors and require some sort of standards. Beware of the guy who has created his own system and declared himself the 10th-Degree World Supreme Grand Dragon Master. Find a reputable organization and seek out reviews.
Books are a great source, but you must practice the skills and you really need a knowledgeable instructor to help ensure that you are actually applying the techniques correctly and realistically. Many martial arts schools teach complicated and great-looking self defense techniques that will never actually work because either you won’t remember it or you won’t be wearing a martial arts uniform.
Video training with a qualified instructor is a great idea and again, make sure that the instructor is qualified. This training will also most likely require a training partner.
It’s important to realize the difference between theoretical training and real life. Let me give you a quick illustration. I once hired a martial arts Master I had trained with to work with me as a retail loss prevention investigator. Once faced with an actual suspect resisting arrest and truly trying to assault him, he learned that there was a huge difference between performance in a controlled class environment and on the street. Now, the two men who trained us (recently featured on the cover of a major martial arts magazine) made sure that our training would stand up on the street, but the street is less forgiving than a classroom.
The point is that you should train for the street, not for belt tests. Ironically, training for the street will improve your performance on belt tests, but the opposite will get you hurt.
Another reason to train in unarmed self defense is that in a self-defense situation, you may not ever get the chance to draw a gun or a knife, if your attacker has surprised you. Having skills will enable you to be able to deal with the immediate attack and develop time and space to introduce a defensive tool.
Unarmed self defense skill also develops awareness. That awareness will keep you looking for threats and hopefully avoiding or mitigating them before they can harm you or anyone else.
Another area that unarmed self-defense skills develops is self confidence. Once you are aware that you can defend yourself against attacks, you will feel less afraid and project confidence. Criminals profile their victims, and one who appears aware and projects confidence will not be targeted.
A criminal’s goal at the end of the day is to go home, and if he is confronted by someone ready, willing, and able to defend themselves, he will most likely move on to another victim.
As it says in the Tactical Handbook of Life (the Bible)…
“Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”
An important self defense skill everyone needs to know is how to fall properly. That skill is the most commonly used self protection skill. Answer this question: How many times have you been attacked versus how many times have you fallen down? I’m betting that you’ve fallen down many more times. Nearly all martial arts and self-defense schools teach falling, because it’s such an essential skill and the odds are that you will fall down at some point in your life. Having the skills to protect yourself from injury while falling will help everyone.
In short, you should develop unarmed self defense not just because they might come in handy, but because they fully develop you into the Warrior Mindset.
As Supreme Grand Master Hwang Kee (Tang Soo Do) said, “When there is preparation, there is no fear”.