A further look at Psychological techniques in Self-Defense
In a previous article, I looked at the use of psychology in Self-Defense and also the use of the voice as part of that strategy. Let’s have a more in-depth look at certain aspects of the use of psychology as a self- defense tool.
Maslow and the pyramid of needs is a good starting point when it comes to looking at psychology as part of self-defense training. This can give you a clear view of how you would really react in a violent confrontation and what type of training could help.
Where you are in the heirarchy
So, for argument’s sake,you are 40 years old and you work 9 hours a day in an office on a very good salary. You spend most of the time on the computer, you eat well and most of your life was spent studying and you are essentially a family person and not particularly very sporty.
It would be a huge ask then, if you were attacked by a young man of about 20 of athletic build and looks like he lives on nothing but Red Bull, for you to all of a sudden become the incredible Hulk and defend yourself with ferocity. If he ambushed you as well, he would be holding all the aces. The reality of what is happening may well look something like this,
Let’s have a look in a bit more detail how attacks to the legs, by kicking, can be a very powerful weapon in Self-Defense.
The area most attacked in a typical violent robbery or confrontation, is the head and rightly so. It’s the shortest route to incapacitating an opponent if done well. So what tends to happen is there is an all out free for all, with swings to the head, hoping something will land. It’s the go to attack as many videos on Youtube show.
But what about kicking?
The problem with kicking, even if you are very good at it, is that it often isn’t very effective in the melee of a real street fight. It is difficult to execute and you can easily lose your balance, making you vulnerable to counter attacks. Plus, on top of that, it uses up more energy than other techniques and you can tire quickly, especially with extra adrenaline pumping round your system. It’s draining. But in spite of all of that, they can be effective, if you keep the attacks below waist height. Kicking to the legs can be a nasty surprise for your opponent as it is a form of attack that is unexpected.
Most people, whether they are involved in Martial Arts or not, have heard of the UFC ( Ultimate Fighting Championship ) or mixed martial arts. It’s the latest fashion in combat competitions and designed to test someones all round martial arts skills. Boxing still pulls in huge audiences but it doesn’t have the variety of skills necessary to master mixed martial art competitions.
But is it something useful in everyday street self-defense?
The argument for yes is that you learn a range of exceptional skills, stamina and toughness that an average person simply doesn’t have. So if you ended up in a physical confrontation you could dominate with ease and your opponent would be in serious trouble.
Alternatively, the argument for no, is that this very same skill level and the sense of confidence it brings can land you in serious trouble as your awareness levels and thinking skills take second place. This can put you in dangerous situations that you could have avoided in environments beyond your control, where there are no rules and no sense of honour.
Is it better to train aggression or cold calculation in Self-Defense?
This an interesting subject that comes up in various forms when discussing learning how to defend yourself. Do you simply learn how to pile in and aggressively attack your assailant or do you develop cold,calculating skills that help you clearly work your way out of trouble?
The reason this comes up often is because you can have different schools or styles that argue for both cases. On the one hand it is argued that once the adrenalin rush hits you, you shouldn’t fight that, but use it to drive an aggressive counter attack until you are safe. The other argument would be for staying as cool as possible so that you are aware of all the options available and you then act accordingly.
Different schools of thought
For instance, this quote from How to Drive a Tank goes for the GLF theory ( go like fuck )of winning a violent confrontation. Basically meaning that as soon as trouble arrives you hammer your opponent until he is no longer a threat.
“Real fighting is like the blitzkrieg (lightning war) tactics used in the Second World War or the ‘shock and awe’ tactics of today. As Mick says, ‘Pound the living fuck out of them with everything you can rather than have that standoff stalemate, pointing guns at each other for years.’
This of course has it’s advantages but could be flawed if it doesn’t work. If you tire quickly and your assailant has some “friends” that you weren’t aware of, you could be in serious trouble. You could also be in trouble if you weren’t aware that he was carrying a weapon as you went in Gung-Ho! It could also be a problem if your attacker preserves energy and you blow out. Then what?