I was reflecting on the last 28 years of teaching self-defence, and these Top 3 Jaw-Dropping Self Defence Comments left me shaking my head. But, of course, you can agree, disagree, or comment if you have similar experiences.
Number 1 Jaw-Dropping Self-Defence Comment
Richard Dimitri and I were teaching a self-defence workshop in Ottawa, ON, Canada. One participant brought up the FRONT CHOKE. We were bringing up our opinions on how plucking the hands choking while kicking the groin is not an optimal way to address the front choke. If one is being choked with any honest, reasonable effort and not just performing, it is not functional.
We teach to use the most direct, damaging tool to the most vulnerable targets, whatever they may be. One gentleman was reluctant to hear the opposite advice of the instructor he had been training with for a few years. When I put on my self defence helmet and came at him with minimal force, he could not execute what he had learned. Still, in subsequent attempts, he succeeded when he adopted the philosophy of the closest weapon to the nearest target.
He appeared confused about how something so simple and taught quickly was more reliable. We asked what he thought. I could not believe his reply. He looked at us and said it was easier to remember and more effective. BUT. Here it comes! He said, “But I have been training for years with this other instructor, so I feel a loyalty to use what he taught me.” I remember Richard and me looking at each other in bewilderment. Finally, we replied, “Okay, good luck with that.”
We had zero problems with not agreeing with us, but how one would put their loyalty to someone ahead of their safety, even in the face of experience. After 25 years of teaching self-defence, if I learn a principle or concept that appears more effective than what I have learned or taught, I would adopt it in a second. I am more interested in my life than anyone, their style or system. And I owe it to those I teach to provide training with the highest probability of getting home.
Here is a quick excerpt from Richard Dimitri and yours truly addressing the Front Choke Defence.
Number 2 Jaw-Dropping Self-Defence Comment
This next one is prevalent. I have heard this many times over the years, but it never ceases to amaze me when someone says, “Hit first, ask questions later!” You can’t accept that philosophy and say it meets what any credible self-defence course would teach. It is a fear-based reaction and one that could land you in jail. Some would assert, jail, yes, but I am still alive. This is a very short-sighted view that has many potential hazards if it is the only view one has been taught.
Good luck if they are aware of other self-defence strategies and still embrace this philosophy. By choosing that strategy, you are risking your life and the other person’s life, who may not have been a valid threat. It may wreck the lives of those you love and the person you may harm if you care. All because you see threats everywhere without learning what a real danger is.
Number 3 Jaw-Dropping Self-Defence Comment
This final comment is more sad than jaw-dropping. It is not unusual for someone to tell me they don’t believe in violence. On the surface, I understand what they are expressing, but it becomes jaw-dropping when I ask if they have children, brothers, sisters, or parents who love them and ask, “But what if you saw one of them being abused, could you not use violence to protect them?” And although seldom, I recall one woman telling me she still did not think she could hurt another person even in the face of losing that person in their life. And when I point out how their belief in not using violence to protect themselves would leave that person alone, they still would not use violence.
I have further learned that this comment may have come from a history of trauma, so I am more curious in discussing this one with clients to fully understand.
Many will not care so much about themselves, but typically when I bring up those they love, they understand how violence is a tool, neither good nor bad, but how and why it is being used.
What are some of the comments you have heard that have left you bewildered?
You can also check out Richard Dimitri and Pamela Armitage’s amazing content by visiting Study of Violence.
SAFE Violence Prevention & Self Defence