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Japan Training Trip 2005
Women's Self-Defense Survey
Feature Article: Emotion-Based Defensive Response (part 1)
by Jeffrey M. Miller, Shidoshi
When discussing self-defense training, we really need to be discussing more than just learning some tricks and techniques for dodging punches or escaping locks and holds. Why then, are most instructors content with stopping at, and most students satisfied with learning, self-defense in a vaccuum?
Well, I have my own beliefs, mostly involving the fact that most have never been in a real-world self-preservation situation with an assailant out to do maximum damage with any technique or weapon they choose. Basically...
... they don't know any better.
In this issue, I want to look at a foundational idea that the rest of our training philosophies should take into account if we are to train in the most efficient and effective way possible.
First, we need to consider the learning curve of the average human being. When we think about how we learn best, aside from the methods that we might have been exposed to along the way, it becomes obvious that the "natural" way to learn can be seen in the following pattern:
Do - Think - Feel
That is, the most effecient and effective learning model for most of us is to:
- Do the 'thing' in a hands-on fashion.
- Think about the 'thing' - work at understanding what makes it 'tick' and how it can be used - it's impact and use for us.
- Have an emotional response - we either like-it, don't like-it, or it doesn't matter.
So, what's the problem you might ask. That's the way martial artists train in just about every dojo or training center around.
The problem is that...
... the above formula is only half the equation!
The problem is that, we may learn best this way but, we operate very differently when under stress. I don't mean just danger, but any time stress factors play on us. Whether we're talking about fear, sadness, happiness, or whatever, we simply operate in a different way than we learn. And, this must be accounted for in the learning curve or we will simply be unprepared for a real-life encounter with an attacker.
The difference that I'm speaking of is really an exact opposite of the learning formula. When under stress, human beings operate by the formula:
Feel - Think - Do
This means that in a life-threatening situation we will:
- Have an emotional reaction - to the type of attack, the assailant, the environment, rules and regulations that we are bound by, and a hundred other factors.
- Access memories, beliefs, and mental functions - and then, based on what we think about the situation and what we know...
- We go into action - and do the best we can with what we know.
To say that the formulas are different, is more than an understatement.
What are we to do with this information? How can it help us to better train to be prepared for a life-saving situation?
Quite simply - we can make sure that we are producing and working under a particular emotional mode when training for self defense. This will require a training atmosphere akin to that used by actors-in-training than what we are typically used to seeing in a martial arts academy.
The Four Base Emotions
The human being enters the world with four base emotional triggers that, based on future stimuli and the addition of the higher mental functions, combine to produce the many emotions themselves. But, from a primative, self-preservation perspective, it is these 4 base impulses that we will concern ourself.
The four base emotional responses to stress are:
- Confident, stability - we're basically unmoved by the threat, because there is no perceived threat.
- Defensive repulsion - we are overwhelmed by the source of the impulse and instinctively cover our targets or pull away to a safer distance.
- Aggressiveness - we quickly move in to take control of the situation.
- Evasiveness, avoiding - we sidestep or evade the problem, seeking primarily to completely avoid having to deal with the problem at all.
While there have been countless martial arts and self-defense systems that have been designed around a particular emotional response mode, no one mode is right or wrong in and of itself. Each one is an option to be channelled and used as a tool, if only we knew how.
In part 2 of this article, we'll take a look at how each of these emotional responses can be used appropriately in the right situation. Until then...
... read more about a
that's based on these base emotional responses to danger, that was designed for adults who want a good, solid basic program without all of the trappings of the martial arts.
AND NOW - The Moment We've All Been Waiting For...
The new "Foundations of Self Defense Mastery eCourse is ready! Click on the link below to go directly to the enrollment page to begin receiving the 7 lessons in the course.
Please Note: the registration page is password protected so you will need to type the following, exactly as it appears, to gain access:
Password: Foundations Mastery
Please Note that the sign-in server is case-sensitive so remember to use initial caps on both words to make sure that you are not locked out.
Got it? Okay then...>Click here get your Free Program!
And finally, a word about the powerful "Danger Prevention Tactics" Video. This video is a perfect resource for undertanding the first four lessons in the "Foundations" eCourse. It also points out many myths common to the self-defense instruction being offered all-to-often in today's world - myths that are dangerous to effectively surviving a attack situation. This powerful vidoe provides you with actual, workable strategies for dealing with, not only human attackers but, with surviving accidents and other "natural" disasters as well.
Click Here to get more information...
Mark your calendars and plan to attend this year's Spring Ninja Training Camp April 15 - 17th, 2005.
>Click here to download the flyer for camp
We still have plenty of space for the awesome Japan Training Trip this September (More info to follow...)
... I'm asking all of our female vistors and subscribers to participate in a very important study and survey on women's self-defense issues. Go to this link to
Take the Survey
Well, that's it for this issue.
Peace, Happiness, and Safety,
Jeffrey M. Miller, Shidoshi
Warrior Concepts International