November 13, 2020
There are SO many blog posts and YouTube videos about the “Self-Defense Moves Every Woman Needs to Know.” But is it true that if you just learn some moves you will magically be protected? That you'll be fully equipped to keep yourself safe?
Unfortunately not. It would be awesome if it were true, but the reality is that the “magic moves” that are being promoted are usually not things that will work in actual violent encounters. They look great in demos, but… In a real attack those cool moves require your cognitive brain to be working, and that's just not gonna happen right away. That's not how our brains work.
In the intial moments of an attack our primal brain is in charge, and the cognitive brain takes a bit to catch up. That's why it is SO important that we learn how to harness our natural protective response and how to convert from that to the tools that we can use, whether those are nifty moves or not.
Another reason to beware of any suggestion that if you just know “the right moves” you'll be able to protect yourself is this: everything works in a demo. That does not mean it will work in a real attack.
Perpetrators who choose to attack you don't attack the way “bad guys” in demos do; their level of aggression can be off the charts, their timing and angles and “technique” is often all over the place, especially if it's a blitz attack. “Bad Guys” in demos don't generally create any change in the physiology of the defender (the defender isn't scared, surprised, off-balance etc) so of course choreographed cool moves are usable.
In a real violent encounter the fact that you can't immediately remember and use the “magic moves” you've learned can actually put you right into a fear loop and keep you from taking action.
So am I saying that these moves/techniques are useless and that you shouldn't learn them? Nope. But do some realistic scenario training with expert role players in High Gear (TM) and see what you're actually able to do when you're taken by surprise, scared and dealing with an adversary who won't just let you win and won't end his attack until you do something significant enough to make him stop.
” You can’t have a favorite move. You can’t be a specialist. Your best move might trigger your opponent's best counter.”– Tony Blauer