Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Fatal Flaw in All Self-Defense Tools

When thinking about self-defense people often think of martial arts, handguns, pepper spray, tasers, and a host of other ways to defend themselves.  Each of these have self-defense applications to be sure; but each of these have a seriously fatal flaw in common.  In order to effectively use any technique, or deploy any tool you must first have awareness of the attack in time to mount a response.

The lack of a proper mindset the number one reason why most of the self defense techniques and tools are completely ineffective. If your assailant's first attack takes you completely by surprise, the chances are good that you may not be in a position to use your pepper spray, or draw your handgun.  Awareness is the most important thing you can have for self-defense.  If you think about it most people today go through their daily life mostly unaware of what is going on around them.  They are sending text messages, talking on their bluetooth headset, thinking about the meeting they just left, or just daydreaming.  Simple laziness is often to blame. Constantly assessing your environment and the people in it takes work and dedication. Doing it without looking like a paranoid freak takes practice. Since there are a million things in this world that compete for our attention it is often easier to just let the world around us fade to gray, ignore the background noise and focus our minds on something else.

But distraction is not the only barrier to real situational awareness.  The other is FEAR.  For the average person really starting to look at their environment from a personal security standpoint can be terrifying. They may see danger around every corner, and begin to picture every stranger as someone to be feared.  This can be even more true if the reason they are finally opening their eyes is because they were recently a victim of an attack.  Since the driving factors in human behaviour are often seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, many people soon slip back to playing ostrich.  They put their blinders on ignore the world around them and go back to their distraction of choice.

This is where all of those self-defense techniques and tools can begin to be useful.  When a person is confident in their ability to defend themselves that fear is tempered.  Fear is a necessary part of our survival instincts, it should help us evaluate risks and make good decisions.  But without confidence in our abilities and the tools we choose to utilize that fear can rise to an unhealthy level and prevent us from practicing good sitational awareness.  So take your Krav Maga, women's self-defense, defensive shooting classes, Tasers, Pepper Sprays and the like and get proficient.  Master your tools whatever they are but don't let over confidence in your tools lull you into a sense of security.  Practice your observation and evaluation skills every day.  Be aware of your surroundings so that you won't be caught completely by surprise.