Why the Fence is THAT Important (diary entry)


Tonight’s teacher consultation took the form of a self-protection overview. We discussed various points surrounding pre-emptive striking and how it should be taught to students.

The fence is an extremely important tool for testing whether or not a pre-emptive strike would be required. If executed correctly, the user will be on-balance and have sufficient space to take action should the potential threat confirm violent intentions. Debate has arisen as to what this pre-emption to should be depending on the nature of the threat. The argument put forward is that some confirmed threats are not especially dangerous. In fact, it is fair to say that the majority of threats fall within the mid and low level region. Striking someone hard could result in serious injury to the threat, including putting them into a vegetative state or even death if they fall badly. My simplistic view is that a fence should be robust enough to filter out these mid and low level threats. Although I accept there is no one move and different situations might warrant alternatives to striking a confirmed threat hard in the most effecient manner possible, for the most part I advise against striking lightly in order to escape.

My reasoning is thus:

  1. There is a very narrow window of opportunity the fence affords where a person targeted by an aggressor has an opportunity to pre-empt a confirmed threat. Once the person being targeted acts and opts for violence they immediately put themselves at risk should their action not subdue the attacker.
  2. Not using a technique intended to subdue a confirmed threat will likely just elevate the situation and allow less time for a tactical escape. If a defender is going to “stun and run” they need maximum distancing. It should also be noted that the stun part might not be necessary at all and the defender could just escape or set up obstacles to hinder the pursuit of the threat.
  3. The fence can be used aggressively should someone breach it before it is properly established. This aggressive fence can be used as a shove that creates distance in order to escape or for the defender to assert themselves in creating a deterrent.
  4. Finally, the act of pre-empting a threat is a huge psychological burden for the majority of people to accept. Unless an individual is in a professional capacity where they are being employed to handle violence, they are likely to be someone who will rarely face violence. They will have enough worries about striking first without having the additional burden of considering the level of a threat. Furthermore, stress at the time of the incident usually diminishes an individual’s combative effectiveness.

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