Thursday, August 9, 2012

What is Practical Self Defense? 5 Elements

When I ask people why they come to us for self-defense training (and why they stay) they usually answer: “Its practical.” Of course, we love this answer because our goal is to provide practical self-defense training.  But what is practical self-defense? The long answer can fill many pages of many books.  In the meantime, here are 5 elements of practical self- defense.

  1. Realistic scenarios  You need to understand how assailants behave.  They attack when you are not ready, from different directions, and in ways that are far from sportsmanlike.  To adequately defend, you must understand real assaults.
  2. Adaptability  We don’t choose where or when an assault occurs.  It can be while you are  walking, standing, sitting, inside/outside, on a subway, in our homes, in a public gathering… Anywhere. Anytime. Practical training includes various scenarios in various contexts.  
  3. Stress  No matter how well trained you are an assault will induce stress or even terror. You must learn to function under stress.  
  4. Simple  Under stress our motor skills suffer. Techniques need to be simple and grow from our natural reactions.  Not all of us can move like Jet Li or possess the strength of a 200lb competitive fighter.  Practical training accounts for various ages, fitness levels, sizes etc…..
  5. Does it actually work?  Complex defenses can work against a compliant attacker in a studio.  Sad news.  In real life, assailants are anything but cooperative.  They recoil their punches, hit repeatedly, and yes, they fight back! 
In essence, practical self-defense must educate you about real life assaults and what you can do to get home safe.

What does practical self defense mean to you?  

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto

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