I was walking down the street...

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Judderman, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Judderman

    Judderman 'Ello darlin'

    An important part of the whole self defence/protection package is situational awareness, or being aware of your environment.

    Whilst walking down the street what do you look for, how do you defend yourself against these threats?
  2. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Wow, you've opened a can of worms with that question, that will set them all off.

    This is a massive subject all on its own, seperate from any Karate or Kung Fu class

    To be effective at self defence is not just the physical approach, verbal skills are required too. There are different types of aggression all of which require different skills.

    Reactive Aggression.
    This results from underlying stress, inability to achieve goals and personality conflicts. The aggressor looses control due to extreme frustration.
    In this case verbal communication is the key.
    The aggressor is not having a go at you directly, but you are just in the wrong place at the right time. You are just a manifestation of whatever is wrong in his/her life: - unruley kids, domineering wife, money problems and so on.
    Sometimes playing the passive role works best. "sorry mate, I didn't realise I was staring, I was miles away, didn't mean anything by it". By using this approach he/she thinks they have won but you have won by using communication skills. Let them leave in the knowledge they have to carry on with their crap lives.

    Instrumental Aggression.
    Aggression with the intent to gain i.e. robbery, sexual advances, bullying etc.
    This person copuld be a bully, rapist, hostage taker using violence for his/her own materialistic gains. They consider that they are never wrong and become angry , irritable or violent when stressed. Charming to outsiders but devious and dishonest.

    Pathological Aggression.
    Aggression through mental health, drug or alcohol problems.
    This person may not be aware of their actions. The violence can be unprovoked, unpredicatable and sudden.

    So you can see that just teaching a lock, choke or throw is not efficient as there are many more factors to be taken into account. Why would you headbutt a guy who is just having a bad day and honks when he thinks you didn't pull away from the lights fast enough, when a simple "sorry" and apologetic hand signal difuses the situation before it arises.

    To try and answer your original question, positive attitude and strong body language are essential. When confronted by aggression, communication is 80% physical. Research shows that people with weak body language and low self-esteem are more likely to encounter verbal and physical abuse.

    Other skills are important, eye contact for example, do not hold eye contact too long, for a nut job that is seen as a direct challenge. Don't look down though just look away as if nothing had happened. Remember assertive.

    I can recommend [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Art-Fighting-Geoff-Thompson/dp/1840240857"]The Art of fighting without fighting[/ame] by Geoff Thompson, which deals with personal threat evasion.

    Also Tony Blauer has some great stuff on you tube regarding his spear system.


    Hicks Law is also very ineresting, again demonstrated by Tony Blauer.


    Geoff Thompson who we mentioned earlier also has a similar technique called the fence.


    Obviously these you tube clips all deal with engagement. As said earlier it is definately worth putting aside a class to deal with the pre-fight. Have one person as the mugger and the other in the passive role. Make the student actually practice verbal dissuasion, it is not easy especially after the aggressor has shoved them at full power in the chest screaming profanities.

    Hope that answers some of your questions and sorry if I was teaching you stuff you already knew.

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  3. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Dog dirt and paranoid martial artists. Just walk around them
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  4. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Do you have the nerve to punch someone straight in the face when he is threatening you..and continue to hit him until he gives in?

    If not then all your self defence will get you killed.

    Don't attempt to bring reason into an unreasonable siruation.
  5. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Then why dont we just say yes to your question and stop training?

    There is still a structure (however messy) to an altercation. There are different types of attacker and as you know not all need to be punched in the face. That said it takes just as much nerve to talk down a nutcase, this technique can be practiced and taught in a classroom scenario.

    The OP asked about awareness and how to deal with threats. Not all threats get physical is you have a few skills.

    I have in the past been the first to question ladies self defence classes but we do teach them and I now think given the correct instruction they are of value.

    Let me give an example.

    How many people know that if you break down on the motorway (in the UK) when you pick up the phone on the side of the road there is no dialing tone?

    Now a simple bit of instruction (awareness) that could stop a panic situation.

    Self defence is not all violence, which is where I think the OP was going with his question.
  6. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    To me self defence ONLY happens when you are under attack. Everything before that is common sense and street smarts.

    I would be a terrible self defence instructor because I would say such things as Get Fit, Get some beasting behind you to learn you are not made of glass. The real danger I imagine is people who have no real fighting spirit learn a few techniques and think they shall be effective.

    Had to attend one self defence at work session and the advice given when someone is being aggressive try to understand why they are aggressive. It is Too late when they simply attack you for no apparent reason. It was also suggested that in a confrontation in the office we should sit down as this shall show that WE have no aggressive intent.

    ALL of the examples of how to avoid conflict I agree with BUT when under attack you CANNOT worry about what will happen next simply use all you can to survive the attack.

    I spent decades placing myself in situations where I had to defend kids and young adults. The fact that people NEW that they would be in a fight stopped the majority of them. So I am NOT suggesting fight at the drop of a hat BUT if you suddenly find yourself under attack...it is a different and unreasonable environment that DEMANDS that you are prepared to go 100% and that is almost impossible to teach except over a length of time and hard training.

    These are my opinions and as I said I would be a CRAP self defence instructor.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  7. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I would not disagree too much save to say that I'm sure people in your neck of the woods are more street smart. Not everyone is though and I find women the worst. No thought as to where to park the car, totally oblivious when standing next to the car looking for the keys (as opposed to having them in their hand while walking to the car), checking taxi driver ID (pre-booking taxis), facing out when standing in public phone boxes so you can see out and so on. All examples of common sense but not to all.

    Maybe these courses should be called awareness courses that also deal with the physical aspect, not self defence that also teach awareness.

    Edit. I have just seen your edited post Koyo and would agree that it takes years to develop the physical aspect and to be able to go 100%.

    I teach scenarios where one person is the mugger and one the defender and my students really find it hard to get an aggressive demeanour, even though it is only practice.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  8. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Is that because they know they are only playing or simply haven't got it in them?
  9. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Honestly, probably the later. I think many of them train for the love of it. Some of them tell me they were looking for self defence when they started but were not prepared for how nasty that was.

    I can actually see some of them wince when I show some of the nasty stuff.

    I have explained that once the nasty stuff has finished you can go back to being the nice person you was before.

    Like Koyo said, time spent is what is required.
  10. Judderman

    Judderman 'Ello darlin'

    Simon Thanks for the further info, for the verbal stuff I'd highly recommend George Thompson's Verbal Judo.

    I was thinking more of the "street smarts" that Koyo was talking about.

    I'm sure after time it becomes fairly second nature, but what is it you are looking for, what are the tell tale clues that someone is either out for you (apart from the obvious punch in the head) or just on the look out for a victim?

    In answer to koyo's comments I'd say that the pre-fight stuff happenes long before a single utterance is made. There will be a reason that you have been chosen as the target, being aware of what triggers aggression as well as what criminals look for in a victim means that you can avoid the majority of situations. On the other hand you can punch them very hard in the face :)
  11. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    I think I may have answered some of your questions on Koyo's book thread.

    First principle is don't get hit second principle is..remember the first.

    ICHI GAN means first train the eyes learn to watch like a hawk and "see" sense the dangers and openings .

    NI SOKU second the body train hard to toughen and make the body flexible.

    SAN TAN third technique. Make them pragmatic and simple rather than numerous.

    SHI ROKU make the three symbyotic and execute every thing with strong fightind spirit.
  12. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    I think there's a point in Martial Arts training, probably starting from about a year of serious training and maybe lasting 18 months - 2 years, where Martial Arts makes you less capable of defending yourself. I think it's because you start to feel like a badass and start to act with less caution than you did before you started training; you start to ignore the instincts that come with your street smarts because you don't think you need them anymore and you stop actively trying to avoid confrontation because you think you're likely to come out on top if one develops.
  13. Gripfighter

    Gripfighter Sub Seeker

    **waves** :p haha
  14. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Too true. If there is no sense of danger both in your training and in any confrontation. You are in real trouble.
  15. Estrix

    Estrix Valued Member

    I have to say, I've found in life that keeping your back straight, your head up, and looking aware has kept me out of trouble. This includes on dark and dodgey streets at night. In all honesty, I've also found the ability to grin like a lunatic helps a lot!

    However I remember reading an article some time ago on Marc MacYoung's website, that suggests that real, sudden and predatory violence is actually the smallest percentage of the situations you are likely to encounter. The suggestion I would make is that this implies you will have an oppertunity to difuse most situations if you have the means and skill to do so. Therefore verbal reasoning and some level of personal skills are a valid addition to martial arts. Violence should always be considered as the last resort. In the UK it is very hard to plead a case of pre-emptive agression.

    However should you find violence is upon you, then yes, reasoning goes out the window. The oppertunity to difuse the situation (if ever it existed) is past and now you're only concern should be getting out alive. That's what the physical part of your training is for.

    So I would suggest that modern martial arts should include some time on spotting and diffusing the situation before violence is required.
  16. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    general common sense keeps you out of trouble. Although I hate to say, there are many people out there lacking of it.

    My wife especially did something very silly. We have a park at the back of the house, which leads straight to a tube station. Walking to the tube station was about the same time as taking a bus to another one round the corner (about 10minutes).

    This park is pitch black at night. Cricket field one side, football/basketball courts and tennis courts on the other side...so its quite large. And only the path (right in the middle) is lit up.

    I tell her this and not to go into the park at night as its quite dangerous. Especially for a petit female.....first thing she does when she moves in.

    She got so scared, she ended up running through park in tears.

    I have spoken to many victims of robbery/assaults etc and many are the same.
    - i wasnt looking where i was going
    - i put my coat/handbag/laptop bag at the back of my chair where i cant see it
    - i knew it was a dodgy area but its the quickest way home (by 4minutes)

    You dont need to scout the area and go all Jason Bourne. Walking around looking for trouble to avoid, usually ending up with trouble coming after you.
  17. Judderman

    Judderman 'Ello darlin'

    Ah common sense, a wonderful and rare thing to behold. Hell I can remember being a wayward teenager arguing that 4am was a perfectly safe time to return home as there was no-one about to bother you.

    *sigh* the follies of youth :rolleyes:

    Anyway, common sense aside, no-one has put there finger on the sort of things to look for, or this just a case of experience or gut feeling?
  18. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Trouble is everyone live in different areas with different levels of violence and depending on their situation and whether they've grown up in their area. Then you have to take into account their childhood/adolescence. Where they sheltered or out there drinking cider in the park and scrapping? People look at other people and situations in different ways.
    If you spend you're time looking for possible trouble and avoiding it the logical step is to never go out. Bettter to ignore it until it's right in you're face then have the will to do something about it
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  19. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    many times you can see it in the posture and the deliberate eye contact. Even in their clothing as gang members tend to dress in a similar way.

    There is no need for someone to have continuous eye contact with you unless they are checking you out (not in a nice way).

    NEVER ignore your gut feeling . I suggested Ichi Gan..so from now on have a look when walking in town...some guys just stand out. But as you say it IS down to experience and common sense.
  20. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    The thing is...I think maybe different things are better for men to do than women.
    For example...I used to walk home from training in Nottingham along the canal. Dark, single path, isolated etc etc. A mugger's paradise basically.
    The alternative was a big main road but slightly longer.
    However I theorised that as a man I was actually more in danger walking on a main road where other young guys were (walking home from pubs and clubs) than I was on the path. Seeing as my main violent threat would be young drunk men (at the age I was then).
    A women would be less of a target for them (for violence if not unwanted attention) and therefore better on the road than the canal?
    I'm not sure I'm right about that though?

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