Self-Defence Chimeras (diary entry)



Tuesday night’s consultation lesson focused on the end point of a young person’s self-protection course. We decided to begin at this point and reverse engineer the process for the younger levels. My client’s mandate in this instance was for me to help provide a self-protection ideal for a first year university student.


The below are some rough notes on what I would expect of a student aged 16 years and over who is considered to have completed a self-protection course longer than 10 hours of in-class time.




I would expect a student to have a demonstrable willingness to put their training into everyday behaviours. They should be able to understand and use social barriers in their everyday life. They should understand the bystander effect and seek to lead by example in helping others whilst also to not hesitate in identifying help. They should demonstrate leadership skills in line with their own level of competence. Their tenacity, demonstrated through a range of physically demanding and combative activities, should underlie their confidence and an indicator that a) they have enough control/self-esteem not to be pulled into an unnecessary conflict and b) if required, never to give in.


Situational Awareness


Basic situational awareness takes into account people, places, hazards and changes. Training in this area can be proven by the student displaying a cumulative sense of awareness in any situation. This promotes confident and workable awareness versus being switched off or, at the other end of the scale, hypervigilance.


I would expect a teenager over the age of 16 to have knowledge on the effects of alcohol and substance abuse. They would understand how even a small amount of alcohol or drug usage can alter their own perceptions and behaviour as well as others. They should also know how to plan ahead for events that might be potentially hazardous, including social outings. Understanding of a facilities lockdown procedure should be part of their personal research.


I would expect the student to have developed an instinctive awareness of risk assessing new places and general environments, understanding places of safety and potential hazards. This would be in alignment with a relaxed demeanour rather than displaying a paranoid or hyper-vigilant approach to everyday life. The student should understand the importance of change and how one should adapt one’s attitude in accordance to that change.


The student should be savvy to the dangers of social media. This includes the importance of protecting personal information when online. They should also know to have their mobile phone charged and with adequate data, have an ICE number and know the address of their local police station.


Offender profiling should be part of the student’s body of knowledge by the end of this stage of training. They should have a general knowledge of different types of predator or violent offender. They should also have specific knowledge of the violent crime rate in their local area and the area of any place they intend to be resident in the near future such as universities or trips abroad. The student should know what type of violence they are most likely to face in accordance with their gender/age demographic.


The student should have working knowledge of the Jeff Cooper Colour Code and adaptations of Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop (such as Mo Teague’s “3 Rs”. This should include an understanding of the “Double Tap”.


Hard Skills


I would expect a student to have a firm grasp on tactical escape procedures, including negotiating obstacles and adapting to different environments. A student should be competent in pre-emptive striking and have a strong workable understanding of the “Fence” concept. They should be able to generate a substantial amount of force repeatedly into a held target proportionate to their size and weight. The student should be able to adapt their striking in various different postures, angles and in transition. They should have practical skills pressure tested in stand-up, clinch and ground ranges (both asymmetrical and symmetrical). They should have pressure-tested experience in using the cover to regain the initiative. They should have basic grappling knowledge along with anti-grappling knowledge. Their training experience should include use of improvised weaponry and pressure-tests against multiple attackers.




Self-defence law is a definite requisite for any student aged 16 years and over.




I would expect a student to understand that basic effects of stress hormones on the body prior, during and after an incident. They should understand how increased heart rate diminishes cognitive function and fine motor skills. This should also be in mind when considering the “double tap”. Their knowledge should extend to understanding the likely psychological impact they will likely experience post-incident. This might include self-doubt and depression “The Black Dog”, and an overload of emotion. I would expect a student to have knowledge of their own aftercare; including both First Aid and talking over the incident with a trusted professional or peer. They should understand the importance of reporting an incident to the correct authorities and getting their information straight.


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