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07/02/2013: "What is self defense?"

Many people equate the phrase "self defense" with the act of physically defending oneself. That act, however, is actually the last part of self defense, and can in many situations be avoided by other means.

What is self defense?

- awareness
- recognition
- avoidance or prevention
- de-escalation

and finally, physically defending yourself if you are unable to leave or do any of the above

AWARENESS is the single biggest part of self defense.
- Make it a daily habit to observe what goes on around you.
- Being aware will make you less of a target for someone seeking an easy mark.
- Project confidence.

Anyone can learn simple, effective physical defenses. Here are brief profiles of some of our current and former students:
   female, age 49, 5'5", 125 lbs
   male, age 60, 5'9", 145 lbs, blind
   female, age 29, 5'5"
   male, age 14, hard of hearing, mild autism
   male, age 46, 5'9", 220 lbs
   male, age 18, no issues
   male, age 54, multiple permanent physical issues
   male, mid-70s
   male, late 60s
   male, age 26, diabetic
   male, age 50, 6'4"
   male, age 47, herniated discs in lower back
   female, 6', 130 lbs
   male, 300 lbs, former semi-pro football player
   male, age 14, 100 lbs - who trained with and could deal with the previous individual

In order for you to state that you acted in self defense:

The person who is threatening you will need to show:
- intent to harm (either by words or actions)
- means to harm (does he have a weapon?)
- opportunity to harm (a threat on the other side of the street is not imminent)

and you will need to show:
- you had no other option but to use force on him (you couldn't leave, talk him down etc.)


You will need to be able to tell the authorities:

- why you were unable to avoid the situation
- that you believed that you were in immediate and imminent danger

And you must have used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend yourself.

Our training covers all of this, not just the "beat 'em up" part.
Physical self defense is the LAST resort.

It's better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed.
- Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence

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