Self Defense

The Martial Arts and Self-Defense – Emotional Response and Reaction

Written by Mary Woods

The media has fuelled the perception that ordinary people on the street are in constant danger from violent attack, and self-defense classes promise to counter this fear.
They make many claims about the usefulness of martial arts techniques in defending oneself against attack. Such situations of attack are rare, however, and can be avoided by not putting oneself in danger (for example, not walking around bad neighborhoods after dark, not buying or selling illegal drugs, not hanging around bars, not getting involved with gangs, and so on).
The media has fuelled the perception that ordinary people on the street are in constant danger from violent attack, and self-defense classes promise to counter this fear.

In truth, this perception is largely false, as more people are injured in incidents of domestic violence than on the street by strangers. To be effective, self-defense classes only need to reduce the feeling of fear.
When a person is actually attacked on the street by a stranger, the main problem in self-defense is generally not a lack of physical ability to counter the attack, but an emotional reaction, such as panic or anger, that can turn a bad situation worse. Panic can be paralyzing and invite attack, while anger can provoke harm as well by frightening or angering an attacker to further violence.
After many hours of practice, a kick or a punch becomes merely a physical force, a fist or a foot is easily handled, and an encounter is not even experienced as a personal attack. In the martial arts, the simple act itself of practicing over a long period of time may be the most important element in effective self-defense than any specific technique learned.
Focusing on self-defense in today’s world has changed the techniques being taught in the martial arts. In the modern world, no one is likely to be attacked by a sword-wielding samurai.

They make many claims about the usefulness of martial arts techniques in defending oneself against attack. Such situations of attack are rare, however, and can be avoided by not putting oneself in danger (for example, not walking around bad neighborhoods after dark, not buying or selling illegal drugs, not hanging around bars, not getting involved with gangs, and so on). The media has fuelled the perception that ordinary people on the street are in constant danger from violent attack, and self-defense classes promise to counter this fear.

About the author

Mary Woods