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Old 02-04-2001, 09:14 AM   #23
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 482
This from a guy who has trained the DEA, police, etc. who insists on sparring, not to test lethal techniques, but to understand how you would react emotionally and physically to confrontation and various types of attacks. BTW, he also strongly suggests talking your way out, walking or running away from an attack.

A long one.


Quote: "If you are ever forced to confront violence, you will have no choice as to the time of day (or night), the location, the environment, how many assailants there will be, if weapons will be involved, nor who will be with you at the time of its occurrence. You will simply have to respond to whatever set of circumstances present themselves."

Roy Harris

This from an Q&A forum with him:

QUESTION: Roy, how can a martial artist (who works 40 hours a week) be confident about defending themselves? I train in BJJ and wrestling, and know some basic boxing. I know not to go to the guard or the mount in a fight (unless I have serious backup) and I know to run when a knife or gun is pulled. Aside from that, how can someone like myself gain confidence in regards to street fighting (meaning I'm being attacked by surprise)? Some of us work in bad neighborhoods so trouble finds us sooner or later. Thanks.

ANSWER: Confidence comes through experience. Experience will be one of your greatest teachers.

To become confident at self-defense, you must push yourself to your emotional limit, and beyond. Your greatest fear should not be your opponent, but yourself. If you take the time to prepare yourself now, you will have very little to fear.

Learning self-defense is something that takes times. Becoming confident with your new found knowledge is something that also takes time. Time is the true test of everything in life. Nothing of true quality comes without hard work, diligence, persistence and time. There are no short cuts!

How long will it take for you to become confident? It all depends on you and your instructor. With a good instructor an some discipline on your part, you should feel confident in about one year of consistent training, two times per week. Some will feel confident after their first lesson. However, this type of confidence fades when they spar against others in class and find out how difficult it is to land a punch or slap an arm lock on someone. True confidence comes with time and experience.

To develop good self-defense skills, you must first understand that there are three periods of time during a fight:

1. before the fight ever starts.
2. during the fight.
3. after the fight has ended.

BEFORE THE FIGHT - you must prepare for anything: kicks, punches, elbow, knees, weapons, legal concerns, etc... This will take time to train. Also, you must learn how to see a potential fight and remove yourself before it begins. This is called "street smarts." Prevention is the best way to stop an attack!

Additionally, you should understand the culture you live in. Southern California culture is different than Minnesota culture. Minnesota culture is different than Pilipino culture. Some cultures settle fights with blades, while others settle them with guns. Still others settle them with wild hay maker punches and beer bottles. Understand how your culture responds to violence.

DURING THE FIGHT - This is where most people spend their time training. Although I have spent a considerable amount of time training in this area, I believe that this is the least important of the three. To effectively neutralize any type of assault, you must train for every type of assault: strikes, weapons, multiple assailants, grappling, environmental considerations, improvisation, etc...

AFTER THE FIGHT - This is where the fight really begins. Sometimes, a person will start a fight just to get you into court. So remember, before a fight and during a fight you have a certain amount of control. After the fight, you have no control. There are legal ramifications to your every action, and you will be held responsible for them. Additionally, there will be emotional consequences that can last years.

To sum it all up, there's a lot to consider. However, don't let it disturb you. Most people will never be in a fight in their lifetime. And for those who do, the fight is usually over in less than 10 to 20 seconds.

If you happen to live or work in a bad neighborhood, it's time to concern yourself with statistics. Find out from your local police department what the most prevalent crimes are in that area, whether they be crimes against persons or crimes against property. If it is crimes against persons, then you should focus your training on that one specific area for several months.

Prepare to survive now! If you never have to use your skill, great! It is better to have a skill and never need it, than to never have a skill and need it!



1. Gain your composure.

Remember, you could unexpectedly be taken to the ground. Maybe your head hit the ground. Maybe your wife is standing there watching it happen. What about your 18 months baby that your wife is carrying in her arms? Maybe when you hit the pavement, a piece of dirt got in your eye and you are having a difficult time seeing? What is you had been drinking a bit to much? Gaining your composure will be your first task.

2. Remain aware of your surroundings.

While in the midst of your altercation, you could end up being someone's else's carpet or personal shoe cleaner. You could also end up getting stuck with a blade from your blind side. (Every one has blind sides!) You must remain aware of your surrounding at all times, from the beginning of the fight until it ends.

3. Gain temporary control of the situation.

This is where your skill in escaping from vulnerable positions will come into play. This is also where your environmental training will come into play. You may end up with a big guy on top of you. You feel the urge to perform elbow/knee escape on your left side but you can't because the pool table is in the way. You remember how you HATE to do it on your right side because that is your weak side. So now you must find a way to get to a superior position and begin to control the fight.



Remember, all generalizations are false
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