Low Bandwidth Version
is imperative when choosing to master the science of
modern self-defense that you are able to separate
yourself from the formalities of everyday life when
you are engaged in battle. Confrontation is not
kind, nor is it just. It is for this reason that you
must never consciously seek out battle -- at any
level. If it finds you, however, you must enter into
personal self-defense at the most appropriate level.
you hesitate when defending yourself, even for a
second, you allow your adversary the potential to
destroy you. Thus, in battle fight -- in life be
the foundation of any method of effective
self-defense is your own ability to read a
situation, decide upon the appropriate action, and
then implement successful techniques in order to
keep yourself free from injury. In martial arts
schools and self-defense courses, you are taught
methods of how to encounter the various types of
physical attack that may befall you: be they a
punch, a body grab, or a weapons assault. It is far
better, however, for you to never be forced into
physical confrontation at all, for this is your only
assured method of never becoming injured. To achieve
this, the most basic level of self-defense, you must
learn how to read physical and environmental
situations and then take appropriate defensive
action before a physical altercation ever finds you.
the most disconcerting factor of this level of
self-defense, especially for those who have been
previously attacked, is that there is no one who can
teach you a method that will keep you safe from all
physical confrontations. This is in no small part
due to the fact that each person who would accost
you possesses a different look, a different body
language, and an undisclosed reasoning for why that
person would wish to instigate a physical encounter
in the first place. Certainly, there are types who
you may come upon who "look evil", who
speak to you with an intimidating tone, or who act
in a specific manner that signals you to move away.
In these situations, the decision to walk or run
away is obvious. It is the less obvious individuals
who pose the biggest problem as you may not know
exactly why you want to steer clear of them.
are countless theories -- and the word
"theory" is used because that's exactly
all that they are -- about how you should behave if
someone with ill intentions comes upon you. Some of
these theories tell you to remain calm, in a
non-aggressive mode, that you should speak passively
to the person; others tell you to be assertive and
attempt to back the opponent down. Still others say
you should scream or run.
you are accosted, no theory will work. This is
because each attacker is completely different and
motivated by his or her own set of irrational
standards. As is the case with all areas of
self-defense, you must confront every situation as
it is presented to you, and react at your most
effective possible level.
are some standard, commonsense rules for conduct
that can hopefully keep you free from confrontation.
For example, lock your doors and windows, avoid dark
isolated locations, don't place yourself in
dangerous environments where hostility is imminent.
If accosted, leave the location immediately before
the altercation has the ability to escalate. If an
attacker comes up to you in a public place, call for
the help of others, and so on.
of these rules can only be applied, however, prior
to a physical confrontation actually taking place or
when you are located in an environment where other
people are present. The sad fact is that most
attackers will not come upon you in public
situations. They will wait until you are alone. In
these situations, your absolute, full-focused,
self-defense is necessary. You cannot think or be
concerned about the injurious effect you are having
upon your attacker, as he or she is certainly not
concerned with your well-being or you would not have
been accosted in the first place. For this reason,
you must master, and be willing to utilize, to the
best of your ability, the most effective
self-defense methods available.
is one of the most detrimental emotions you can
possess, not only in making yourself an effective
self-defense technician, but in terms of the quality
of your overall life as well. People carry fear with
them. They wear it like a badge. All who encounter
them know they are afraid. Thus, they attract those
who would take advantage of weaker individuals.
is one of the most common deterrents to conscious
self-defense, for if you are scared you can't
function with precise mental reasoning. As such, you
will make erratic decisions -- attempting to escape
from your fear as opposed to encountering your
current reality in the most efficient manner
is based in the unknown: a different race, an
uncharted geographical location, or a situation you
have not previously encountered. Fear is propagated
by society, your family, and your friends, who have
all warned you to be afraid of a specific group of
people or particular locations. By possessing this
mentality you never allow yourself to understand
that each individual is his or her own person, each
sector of a city has its own beauty and attributes.
can be consciously overcome by realizing that what
you are scared of is not the reality that you are
currently living. Fear is something off in the
distance -- something that has not and may never
actually occur. By encountering your fears with this
formula, you will no longer be dominated by this
emotion. You can encounter new people and witness
them for who they truly are, and view an
undiscovered environment and observe its intrinsic
beauty and uniqueness.
you are forced into a physical confrontation you
must consciously let go of fear, for fear in battle
does you absolutely no good. In fact, in battle,
show no fear. An assailant who sees that you are not
afraid may choose to leave the altercation
altogether, as the assailant will understand that
you will not be easily overpowered.
forego fear, encounter all human beings, new
environments, and unfamiliar situations with wonder
and respect. Never bring to them unfounded and
predetermined suppositions. From this, you will
possess no fear and you will be able to live your
life with a new level of perfection.
a victim is a state of mind. It is what you do with
the experience of loss, which in turn determines
whether or not you become a lifelong victim. A
victim is an individual who has lost an altercation
and, because of this the person is dominated by that
experience for the rest of his or her life.
Everywhere this person goes, he or she is scared --
expecting a similar negative experience to occur.
The victim mentally brings the same situations into
the life experience -- over and over.
person who is not a victim may have lost battles in
the past, but realizes that life is a step-by-step
process. Though he or she may not have liked the
experience of losing, this individual has learned
what could be learned from it. The non-victim has
become stronger, and has moved on with life,
becoming a better and more whole individual.
cannot win all altercations. Winning or losing is a
state of mind. If you learn from your seeming loss,
your are, in fact, a winner -- as you have become a
stronger, more complete individual. From the
opposite perspective, if we have won many
confrontations and are constantly seeking to prove
ourselves in battle, there will eventually be
somebody who will beat us. Thus, the conscious
self-defense technician never seeks out battle. If
battle is forced upon us, we proceed in the most
conscious and effective manner possible. Then we
leave the experience behind us, not attempting to
gain ego gratification from this seeming victory.
article is excerpted from the book The
Tao of Self-Defense, ©2000, by Scott Shaw.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Samuel Weiser Inc.,
More books by this author.
Shaw is one of the preeminent Martial Arts Masters of the Western world.
He is one of the world's most advanced Masters of the Korean martial art
of Hapkido. In addition, he holds Master Certification in Taekwondo and
Aikijutsu. Shaw is at the forefront of integrating spirituality into the
modern martial arts. He has studied meditation with some of the great
teachers of our time and has been formally initiated into Yogic and
Buddhist sects. Visit the author's website at http://scottshaw.com.
Scott Shas is the author of:
O'Clock: Time to Be,
Warrior Is Silent: Martial Art and the Spiritual Path,
Ki Process: Korean Secrets for Cultivating
: Korean Art of Self-Defense
Tao of Self-Defense
Printer Friendly Page