Basic Self-Defense, Part 1


I’d like to begin your self-defense journey with some definitions:

Self-Defense: I define this as, “Doing just enough to protect yourself, or those you care about, and escape from harm’s way.”

Martial Arts: I define this as, “Going a little beyond the simple act of protecting yourself and then escaping to safety. In other words, martial arts training has a bit of a necessary, or unnecessary, punitive aspect to it.”

Combatives: I define this as, “The purposeful and intentional maiming or killing of another human being.”

Allow me to bring more clarity to my use of these words.

I think everyone understands self-defense. The idea of doing just enough to protect ourselves sounds good. So, let’s move on.

With regard to the words “Martial Arts”, it is important to understand the words “punitive aspect.” When I use those two words, I am talking about doing more than just performing a simple escape from a hold or grab and then running away. I am talking about applying a more serious form of pressure against the assailant. This kind of force is used (and necessary) when you need to make sure the assailant is incapacitated for an extended period of time and doesn’t come after you a second time. Two examples of this would be (1) a hard knee strike to the groin and (2) a powerful sidekick to the knee. Both of these strikes would incapacitate an assailant for a long enough period of time that would allow you and your loved ones to escape.

When would it be “Right” to use such techniques? Consider the two scenarios:

You are on your way to a friend’s house. You stop by a convenience store to pick up a couple of bottles of Coke and an older, and highly intoxicated, homeless person approaches you. Long story short, he become feisty and wants to wrestle your wallet away from you. Do you (A) quickly release his grip, push him away and then walk away, or (B) side kick him hard in the side of the knee?

You are on your way to your mother’s house. You picked up your grandmother and have stopped by work to pick up some things you forgot. Grandma has never seen where you work so she wants to see your office. The two of you end up having to park quite a ways away from the building because of an event put on by the city.

As the two of you are leaving your office, you’re assaulted by two rather large guys. After giving them your wallet, they tell your grandmother to get into their car. You decide to do something, but what should you do? Push them and try to run a block and a half away with your grandmother running alongside of you? Or, should you try to seriously disable one or both of them so you have time to get grandma to the car?

Do you see how the self-defense response is more appropriate in the first scenario? Do you also see how the martial response would be more appropriate in the second scenario?


Moving on to our last definition…

While I am not a fan of teaching combatives to all civilians, I do believe there are times when situations call for a civilian to defend his or her life (or the lives of their loved ones) with the ““purposeful and intentional maiming or killing of another human being.” I know this may sound gruesome, but here me out.

Put yourself in this scenario:

You are at home, alone. It’s late at night. Someone breaks into your home and threatens to kill your children right in front of you. You try to reason with them, but to no avail. You punch them as hard as you can in the mouth and they laugh at you. You elbow them square in the face and cause them to lose several front teeth. They continue to laugh at you. You wrestle with them back and forth and then knee them in the groin as hard as you can. They tell you, “I’m going to teach you a lesson in butchery” and then begin walking towards your kitchen.

At that point in time, your child comes walking down the stairs and asks, “What’s going on?”

What do you do?

You’re in your own house.

It’s late at night.

You’ve already demonstrated your concerns but he is bent on harming you and your children!

Can you feel the tension boiling in your blood? Do you feel the desire to protect your children at all cost?

THIS is what I mean by the intentional maiming or killing of another human being. While you have no desire to ever do this, the unique set of circumstances has forced you to consider taking extreme measures with this individual.

So, now that we have defined the words, we can move on to the next topic of self-defense. We will do that in our next article!

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to email me and ask.

Thank you for your time. I hope you learned something of value!

Roy Harris



Basic Self-Defense, Part 2


In this short article, I’d like to tell you a little about criminal mindset #1.

Many criminals operate with one rule at the forefront of their minds: DON’T GET CAUGHT! So, anything you can do to make it easier for the criminal to be identified and caught will work toward your advantage (and make you a more difficult target). Here are a few examples:

1. Walk in well lit areas. Darkness tends to hide hands and facial features.

2. Walk with a friend or two when possible. Two people are less likely to be attacked than one person.

3. Being aware of your surroundings (e.g. people, exits, potential weapons, etc…) when you are in transport from one place to another. Criminals prefer victims who are unsuspecting and unaware. They love the element of surprise.

4. Take extra steps to ensure your safety. In other words, do not take short cuts because they are easier or more convenient. Because, if they are easier for you, they are also probably easier for a criminal who may be watching for signs of an easy prey.

While I am sure most of you understood what I’ve written above, let me state things in the negative JUST to make sure you understand what I am saying.

One of the best ways to present yourself an easy target is to:

1. Frequently walk in poorly lit areas.

2. Frequently walk alone.

3. Remain totally unaware of your surroundings (i.e. be totally engrossed in the music on your iPod).

4. Always take the easy route, the path of least resistance. This will give off signals that you are a potentially easy target.

Anything you can do to make things easier for the potential criminal to be identified will make you a more difficult target. This leads us to our next lesson…

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to email me and ask.

Stay sharp,

Roy Harris



Basic Self-Defense, Part 3


In this lesson, I’d like to