My 5:30 lesson brought my client’s first Basic Course on Self-Protection to a close. We revised the fence, straight striking, hook striking, transitional striking, the cover, multiple attackers, fighting from the ground, kicks and anti-grappling concepts.
We also covered adaptations for protecting others. This included using another person’s boundaries as a gauge for intercepting a threat, clearing the intended victim (the principle) and pre-emptive striking. Then we drilled removing a protected person from a dangerous area – crowd-clearing.
Not covered in the lesson but mentioned here for my client’s notes is the post-fight. The first part of the post-fight criteria is to maintain awareness, anticipating a secondary threat. This is covered in my current podcast, “Aftermath Part I”. This stage is sometimes referred to as the “double tap”. Utilising a feedback decision-making loop, the defender understands that just because the immediate threat has been neutralised to some degree that the danger is over. With the onset of endorphins and other chemicals being released in the brain to help calm a defender, it is easy to drop one’s guard. This makes the defender especially vulnerable and incidental hazards, such as traffic, or further attackers might put said defender at immediate risk.
After safety has been confirmed and First Aid administered if required, the full effects of the aftermath come into play. These can come in any order and should be anticipated as part of the process of dealing with an assault. Hormonal responses can lead to an emotional breakdown. Then there is the onset of depressive feelings. These can range from the fear of reprisals and fear of police involvement to the self-flagellation of hindsight. Reprisal fear can be put under the category of “double tap” anticipation. It is a longer view of this particular threat. However, living in fear can be more destructive than the actual incident. Apply logic, take the necessary precautions, contact the police to report the incident and prior to all this, anticipate you will be feeling this type of post-traumatic condition. The legal side of things are best covered in the works of Leigh Simms and Mark Dawes. UK law has a fairly robust system in place that allows individuals to defend themselves and to also intercept someone committing an offence. Defence needs to be reasonably proportionate, but the law does not expect the average individual under pressure to be able to exactly measure what is proportionate. Pre-emptive striking can also be justified so long as the defender can prove this was their only course of action to avoid being assaulted. Finally, self-protection hindsight, which is commonly referred to as “The Black Dog”, is the human habit of replaying incidents in their head and feeling they could have or should have done something else. Often this is when a violent situation has been averted and the defender feels embarrassed by the way they handled the situation. It is crucial here to remember the core purpose of self-protection and to be able to accept the past in order to move on. Self-defence is only self-defence if whatever violence you have committed was unavoidable. The student of self-protection seeks to reduce the danger to themselves and, in many cases, the danger to others. Don’t play the game the offender wants.