The Tripod of Self Defence

Self defence is something many different schools offer each with a unique point of view and reaction though very few schools take into consideration what I call the tripod (three legs) of self defence and as such this article will touch upon these three areas a little bit more.

A confrontation is often taught as an aggressor performing a specific attack and then a rehearsed sequence for the defender to follow in order to escape successfully. Taking away the dozens if not hundreds of variables to the success rate of the defender, it is often a point of neglect to see that the reaction of a defender is actually the second part of self defence.

The first leg of self defence is actually the lead up to the encounter. A good instructor should teach you how to gauge your surroundings, consider all points of escape (self defence is about self preservation, do you know where the fire exits are in any building you enter?), become aware of any possible threats and most importantly – how to disarm a situation verbally. It is likely that 70-75% of all confrontations can be stopped at this stage as such preventing you from needing to take physical action.

The second leg of the self defence tripod comes in the form of the actual physical defence. This part I will not elaborate on too intensively as it is generally the focal point of any school that promotes self defence.

The third and final leg of self defence comes from the problems that may arise after the confrontation. Are you aware of any legal ramifications to your actions? What is the extent of your legal right to protect yourself? There is a line between self defence and aggravated assault and though many schools teach a student how to defend themselves – very few tell students the limits of what they can do to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

Thus self defence is a key skill to have and one that everyone should learn but ensure that you are in a school where the instructor teachers you all three stages – pre confrontation, physical self defence, legal ramifications. Remember the advice given to you by your instructor is a general guide and only a lawyer is able to provide you with concrete rulings of law.


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