Self Defence Brain Drain Can’t Retain Any More

by | Nov 24, 2022

self defence

Want to give your students a “Self defence brain drain so they can’t retain anymore?” Have them practice a memorized reaction to one attack thousands of times, then add another 100 different attacks. You have the recipe to keep your students for many years. 

This approach might be intelligent financially, but is it in the best interest of keeping your students safe in the event of violence? 

There are several reasons why this is a dangerous approach to teaching self-defence. 

Countless Repetitions 

At first thought, you might think practicing the same move thousands of times would be beneficial. Still, the risk is this type of self-defence training often becomes too mundane with the attacker going, you react, the attacker going, you react, and so forth.

The first few reps have some intensity, but they begin to diminish. It becomes a very dull self-defence choreographed dance lacking familiarity with how an actual attack takes place. The intensity, adrenaline, fear, environmental, and psychological factors become non-existent. 

Lacks Variables 

This type of training assumes the attack will always be the same, with the same reactions from both the attacker and their target. My friend Richard Dimitri explains it best. This is the best argument against teaching memorized responses to attacks. 

He explains that people generally have one of 5 reactions to being hit, and each is different. Let’s take a standard attack of someone being punched in the face. 

  • Reaction #1: someone gets punched, they take a few steps back, recover and attack again. 
  • Reaction #2: someone gets punched, takes the hit, and immediately strikes back with no hesitations.
  • Reaction #3: someone gets punched, falls to the ground, or gets knocked out. 
  • Reaction #4: someone gets punched and immediately moves in to clinch with their attacker. 
  • Reaction #5: someone gets hit, they do not react and laugh at you. Yes, be very worried. 


This is where repetitive training with the same result gets dangerous. In each of those 5 reactions, there are very different variables. If your training for any attack has you stepping in to deliver a knee to the groin. Still, they have stepped back several steps to recover, which disrupts how you have trained to address the attack. Or, if they clinch, you expected them to be back a step or two to deliver your knee. Or if you strike them, they laugh at you.

Have you not been trained on how to address that? Having expectations from your training that are not met in reality will cause hesitation, doubt, and a lack of follow-up on your part. Those momentary lapses in your thought process are enough to get you harmed or killed. 


Don’t begin with just the physical training. Introduce all the conflict dialogue, movement, environmental factors, partners, and reactions that might occur in your self-defence drills. Embrace the unexpected in your training. Training should build confidence to handle all scenarios, but not false belief, because your instructor or training partners want you to “feel good.”

And NEVER get “committed” to any expectation of how they will react. You will learn and grow by taking a more principle and conceptual approach that has you addressing all possibilities. It will open your mind to more effective self-defence problem-solving. 

I know this is a quick explanation, but if you want more details, contact me by visiting our site at