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How To Defend Yourself

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In our high-tech world of comfort and convenience, it’s easy to forget that one point in our evolution, every day was a struggle for survival.

From the environment, to predatory animals, to other hostile tribes of humans, your life and the life of your tribe was dependent on your ability to defend yourself.

Since then we’ve become the dominant predator species and risen so high on the food chain so that we’ve effectively removed our species from it. And we’ve outsourced the bulk of our defense to the military and police force.

The convenience of modern life makes it easy to get comfortable…

Until you drop your guard and run into a dumb thug who doesn’t care about jail and who’s willing to stick you up for a few hundred dollars.

To be able to protect yourself and your people it’s important to have an understanding of the basics of self-defense.

Just because you’ve never been in attacked doesn’t mean that threat isn’t present. I’m not a tough guy but I’d like to think I could defend myself and my people if push came to shove and that’s important. But more importantly is avoiding dangerous situations by using your brain.

How To Defend Yourself

1) Avoid Dangerous Situations

The first rule of self-defense is avoiding physical confrontation, every legitimate self-defense expert will agree.

Being in a fight, as a grown man is a worst case scenario, it doesn’t matter how good you are at MMA, nothing good can come from getting in a street fight.

In a fight you can get beaten, brain-damaged, stabbed or shot. Even if you’re winning the fight, and your fighting skills are on point, those scenarios are a reality. Because the guy decides to pull a weapon or has two friends with him that you didn’t see until it’s too late.

And even if you win, you can still get charged with assault when the cops show up and see you making it reign on some drunk degenerate. That could mean a fine, a mark on your record where you won’t be able to get hired at a major company, or even jail time for assault.

Here’s an example of a guy who starts the fight as an aggressor (a mistake), wins the fight, and ends up with an assault charge. When you start a fight, and provoke your opponent, even with good reason (like he disrepected your girl), you can easily end up with an assault charge.

To avoid dangerous situations you nee to follow six steps:

Step 1: Be alert and trust your instincts

The first step in assessing threats is awareness. You can walk around comfortable and relaxed, but you should train your radar to go off when something isn’t right, and you should listen to that voice. Fear, in moderation, is your friend.

Step 2: Get rid of your friends who like to fight or cause problems

Guys like that will only bring you down in life. You are the 5 people you surround yourself with. That’s why you should build a tribe of like-minded winners.

Step 3: Don’t go to places where degenerates hang out

This means dive bars, and dangerous clubs especially the after hours drug dens – nobody goes there except druggies, drug dealers and thugs. An easy way to do this is to only go to nice places, nice lounges, and nice restaurants. If you can’t afford to go somewhere nice, then stay in, or go out less. If you’re broke you shouldn’t be going out much anyway.

Step 4: Live in a safe neighborhood in a safe city

If you can’t afford to live somewhere nice, at least get a small apartment in somewhere that’s at least safe. Focus on getting your money up so you can live and go where you want. If you’re in a dangerous neighborhood, you have to do whatever you can to get out of there.

Step 5: Be respectful

Not only is it a better way to live, and better for your karma, but being respectful will keep you out of trouble. Don’t taunt guys or act aggressive, and be careful when you’re hitting on girls in a club situation. I see pickup guys advocating aggressive tactics on women, or approaching girls who are already with a group of guys, this is just asking for trouble. There are plenty of girls out there, and odds are, the girl who is going to go home with you is there with a girlfriend or two looking to get picked up, not with a group of guys.

Step 6: Avoid thugs when you see them

If you see thugs on the street, cross the street. If you see thugs around the ATM at night, stay far away. But again, when you focus on step 2, you will rarely see thugs. If you find yourself crossing paths with thugs, even once, consider how that happened and how to avoid it in the future.

Even if you went to a nice lounge downtown in a major city, when you walk home through downtown at night, or take the subway home at night, or go to the Mcdonald’s late at night, you still run the risk of having problems, especially if you’re well dressed with a nice looking lady on your arm.

If you live in a major city, and are planning to go out somewhere nice, make sure to budget for the Uber so that you can get yourself and your lady home without any problems.

Step 7: If you’re a wealthy businessman, especially in a country that’s not wealthy, consider getting security and a driver

Not only does this protect you, it makes a potential thief or kidnapper think twice.

When you follow the above rules, you should avoid the vast majority of dangerous situations, I haven’t been in a fight in more than a decade.

With that said, being able to defend yourself just in a worst case scenario is important

2) Learn How To Defend Yourself

Avoidance is great but you should also know how to defend yourself just in case. There are three major keys to defending yourself

1) Get built

Forget functional strength, the more muscular you are the better you can defend yourself, that’s why there are weight classes in MMA. Also the bigger you are  the less likely someone will try to test you. I’m not a big guy at 5’10, 180 lbs., but I was 120 lbs. in high school and that’s a big difference.

Even if you’re not super jacked, you don’t want to look like the little guy who is an easy target.

2) Know How To Defend Yourself

If you want to train in stuff that works, MMA is the best. Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling and BJJ are also all very good. With that said, I would avoid anything more than training and light sparring. Getting into a gym war with a well-trained fighter can leave you worse off than the real life scenario you’re training for. Recent studies show that even one concussion is very bad news for the health of your brain. Not to mention, you only have one body, and you need it for the rest of your life.

If you’re just a regular guy like me you should at least know how to do three things

  1. Keep your hands up – hands down ends with you getting on the wrong end of a world star highlight reel
  2. Learn how to throw tight crisp hooks with both hands – You can practice shadow boxing or on a bag, YouTube has tons of tutorials on this stuff. Also check out Iron Mike when he gets inside.
  3. Basic head movement and footwork – Again, you should have the basics of boxing footwork and head movement down. YouTube is your friend and a little bit of shadow boxing now and then helps. You can also look to Tyson in his prime who had incredible defense, especially in terms of his head movement.

3) If it’s legal in your country and state, consider getting a firearm for your house as well as getting proper training on how to use it

If your house is being robbed, you’ll be thankful you have a gun to protect your family.

In some countries and states you even have the legal option to carry a weapon or even carry concealed. A gun is by far your best line of defense, but with that said, pulling a pistol and shooting someone in a club or bar brawl could put you in jail for manslaughter. It’s one thing to legally carry a gun, but it’s another to use it in self-defense. If you do choose to legally carry a weapon, it’s very important to understand and follow the laws of your country and state to the letter.

3) Know What To Do in A Fight Scenario

So we’ve covered the basics of awareness and self-defense. Let’s say imagine a potentially dangerous scenario in a club and how you should react…

1) Conflict Resolution

If you stepped on someones shoes or knocked their drink, the polite thing to do is apologize. Again if you’re in a nice establishment, there’s a very low chance an investment banker is going to pull a weapon on you for scuffing his loafers.

Normally, conflict resolution should resolve most problems before they escalate.

2) Leaving

But lets say conflict resolution doesn’t resolve your problem and there is a guy in front of you getting angry and ready to fight. Your best bet is to swallow your pride and leave. Forget about your pride for a second. There is no need to risk your bright future fighting against some dummy with no future who doesn’t care about his life. You have way to much winning to do in life and you have a mission to fulfill. 

Let that guy have the last word, because chances are he’ll end up in jail. Or at the least, will never accomplish anything in his life. You have way too much to lose on the path to success.

3) The Fight

If you’re boxed in, or you’re making a bad decision, which again I don’t advise, decide that you’re going to fight, and do before the other guy does. If you’re choosing fight over flight, make a firm decision to attack quickly and viciously and then GTFO.

If you’ve tried conflict resolution and it’s not working ad you’re boxed in and can’t get out, decide that you’re going to act in self-defense. But whatever you do don’t freeze up.

Keep your hands up and act like you don’t want to fight as you try to calm him down. If you’re lucky this will resolve the situation. But if he gets aggressive and presses forward, drop him like a sack of potatoes over Northern Ireland, before he even knows he’s in a fight. Flip the switch to savage and surprise him the ferocity of the tight hooks you’ve been training.

With that said, you want to make sure it’s in self-defense. You’re not moving forward. You’re trying to cool the situation own. You’re telling him you don’t want to fight. But when he makes a move into your personal space, you attack like a caged animal. That way, even though you’re striking first, if the police show up, all the witnesses will testify that you we’re acting in self-defense.

To properly defend yourself, you need to throw the first punch, or what some guys will call a suckerpunch. As far as I’m concerned, the sucker is the guy who didn’t see you coming and thought you’d be an easy target.  There is nothing unethical about striking first, considering the only reason you’re in the fight is because someone is being aggressive to you and threatening your safety.

You should never, ever be getting hit with the first punch, if you are you’ve already made at least 3 major mistakes,

  1. You went to the wrong club or bar
  2. You didn’t leave before the fight escalate
  3. You let your opponent take the advantage by not striking first

Not only that, striking first, striking hard and striking viciously will give you a major advantage in any fight. Don’t make the mistake of putting on a world star hip hop display of posturing up for 20 minutes and talking sh$%,

When you posture up, puff out your chest and talk sh$# you:

  1. Signal to everyone with a camera to start filming
  2. Potentially alert the guys friends (who you haven’t seen) that there is a fight
  3. Lose the element of surprise
  4. Allow him to hit you first while you’re puffing your chest out
  5. Allows your opponent to mentally psyche himself up

When you see two guys posturing up it’s because neither of them wants to fight. Each guy wants to intimidate the other so that he backs down without having to fight. But neither one wants to back down because of pride.This is a terrible mistake to make. You response to a threat is fight, flight or freeze, posturing up and talking smack is freezing.

Here is an example of why you should never posture up in a fight, especially with your hands down, even against someone smaller than you:

As we covered before, leaving is the best option. But if for whatever reason, you decided to commit to the fight as self-defense, you have to strike first, especially if he’s bigger than you. And you don’t stop until he’s knocked out.

None of this hair pulling, eye gouging, or groin strikes, that can easily make a tough guy just more pissed off. You want him unconscious. That means using those tight hooks you’ve trained with to connect to his jaw line. A solid hook or two to the button is knocking an untrained guy out. Even if he’s 230 lbs. of muscle, his jaw line isn’t.

Here is how a small guy can knock out a big guy with a tight clean hook to the jaw:

A knockout is a concussion, which is caused by the brain rattling up against the skull. The reason a hook to the jaw is so effective, is because it whips the head with such speed that it slams the brain into the skull, knocking your opponent out. And an unconscious opponent is a neutralized opponent.

Head and foot movement is good, but a real street fight is going to be ugly and awkward. You want to strike fast and furious for 30 seconds with tight, clean hooks aimed at his jaw.

You have to be careful about where you punch. Punching the forehead or side of the skull can easily break your hand, this is why boxers where gloves. You want to hit him on the button and knock him out as quick as you can.

Also I would avoid going to the ground if you can. As effective as BJJ is in MMA, I wouldn’t recommend it in a street fight. Because you don’t know how many guys you’re fighting, and while you have him down on the ground in an arm bar, his friends can rush over and stomp you out.

You also don’t want the cops showing up after you’ve broken a guys arm, it will make for a much harder claim of self defense.Ideally you want to keep things standing up so you can move or run if necessary.

I don’ recommend using a gun in a bar fight, even though you’re carrying it legally. The same goes for some other weapon like a champagne or beer bottle. That can easily get you charged with assault with a deadly weapon even if you we’re just trying to defend yourself.

What To Do If You Win The Fight

Ideally you knock him out quickly and viciously. And when you do, the smart move is to leave as quickly as possible, no good can come from sticking around. And you definitely don’t want to stand there bragging and posturing as the cops show up or as his friends rush out of the club and find him on the ground.

You also don’t want to start stomping the guy in the head, that’s a potential aggravated assault or even manslaughter, and you do not want police showing up while you’re doing that. Once he’s down you want to get you and your people out of there ASAP.

What To Do If You’re Losing The Fight

If you’re in a fight and you’re losing, or his friends jump in and make it a 3-on-1, the smart thing to do is cut your losses and get out of there. Get just enough room to move and get out of there ASAP.

Take it as a loss and live to fight another day, or better yet, never have to fight again because you’re living smart and working full-time on fulfilling your destiny. The last thing you want is to get knocked out on the street with three angry guys on top of you.

4) Know What To Do In A Robbery scenario

As opposed to a fight in a club, where someone might have a weapon, chances are if you’re getting robbed, the attacker is pulling a weapon on you. If you’re getting robbed at knife point or with a gun to your head, you’re in a very, very bad position. And you’ve made some major, major mistakes leading up to that point.

If that weapon is a knife and he pulls it at mid range, you have a better chance of running, but if it’s a gun, running will probably get you shot in the back. Some self-defense experts have “effective looking” training for gun and knife disarms, but I would rather give the guy what he wants rather than trying to wrestle a knife out of his hands at close range. Wallet, watch, whatever he wants, and do it quickly without protest and pray for the best.

The only time you should go for a gun disarm is as an absolute last, last resort. After you’ve given him what he wants and you see a look in his eyes like he’s going to blast you. At that point do what you have to do to survive and pray you make it through. But this is an absolute last resort. Ideally you should structure your life well enough and be aware enough that you don’t end up in this position.

Conclusion

If you find yourself having survived a fight without being hurt or getting an assault charge, or God forbid, an armed robbery, you need to seriously re-evaluate the decisions you make. After the dust settles, you need to figure out how you let yourself get into that situation in the first place and how to make sure it never happens again.

Because you have way to much winning to do in this world, and you can’t afford pissing away your potential by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You need to play the game of life to win, and that means protecting yourself at all costs.


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4 Comments

  1. Andy
    April 19, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Good stuff Will, as always!

    As an addition to this, I’d like to recommend Geoff Thompson’s books.

    He is a former nightclub bouncer and martial artist who was involved in hundreds of street fights.

    “Watch My Back” is his autobiography. Lots of graphic stories from his bouncing days. You’ll learn a lot about criminal psychology, how fights go down, how to avoid them, how to assess situations etc.

    “Dead Or Alive” is his book on self-defense. Can you learn self-defense from a book alone? Of course not, but you get a good overview of how to protect yourself in case something happens. Written by someone with decades of real-life experience.

    “If you’re a wealthy businessman, especially in a country that’s not wealthy, consider getting security and a driver”

    Yes, but make sure to screen them well. Especially in those countries.

  2. April 19, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Will – Good information, I’m a customer who has bought your stuff and regularly watch your videos, and I teach self defense and personal safety for a living.

    My local training center is http://www.selfdefenseglobalkc.com and my e-course is at http://www.selfsefenseglobal.com.

    Feel free to use me as a resource on this stuff after screening, because most of what people think they know about fighting is from movies, comic books, and TV. Knowing you can take care of yourself is a huge confidence booster in dealing with any conflict, which almost never truly needs to become violent.

    Thanks for putting out great stuff. Your guide to getting organized is worth 10X what I paid you for it.

    Cheers,
    Eric Siley – Founder, Self-Defense Global

  3. April 20, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks Andy, appreciate those recommendations

  4. April 20, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks Eric, I appreciate it, will definitely check out your site, sounds like a great mission to be on

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