The Mental Side of Self-Defense – 4 Self-Defense ModesBy Guest Writer | July 17th, 2010 | Category: Articles, Self-Defense | 2 comments
If you were to look around at all of the martial arts schools and self-defense training programs, you might come to the conclusion that all that is needed for effective self-defense is to learn a few moves or techniques. However, true self-defense is so much more than that. Without considering the mental side of the defense scenario, you will be unable to act in a dangerous situation, even after taking self-defense courses.
Many martial arts-based self-defense classes are missing the key factor of the mental fight. The strategies taught in such classes may or may not work under pressure, when your life is on the line. If you are evaluating potential self-defense strategies, don’t make the error of neglecting the important issue of emotions and your natural emotional response to the stress of an attack.
While it’s pretty easy right now to rationalize that you’ll be able to keep your calm in the heat of the moment, the truth is that humans are emotional beings. Before you can even think of a potential way out of an attack, you must overcome your body’s natural response to the stress. This is often described as the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. It is perfectly natural, but it is a very dangerous thing at a time when seconds can mean the difference between life and death, especially if you’re not expecting your body to respond in this manner.
Although your personality type can have an effect on your body’s response in a time of panic, there are four general response possibilities recognized by experts. These responses come not from thinking about the predicament but from primitive instincts hard-wired into the brain. The four recognized response modes include:
Confident and Relaxed – In this mode, we don’t really perceive the actions as a threat. Even when presented with a serious attacker, the response is strength and confidence. Those who are able to remain in this mode hold their ground and are able to respond to the attacker’s moves quickly and efficiently.
Direct and Committed – In this mode, the victim fights back quickly with direct, committed actions prompted by either fear or anger. In this mode, we take a direct approach, “going for it” no matter the consequences. This can be an effective self-defense mode, although it can result in overly reckless actions.
Defensive and Emotional – Far more often, the person being attacked is overwhelmed by the aggression displayed by the assailant. The body’s natural response will be covering vital targets and fleeing to a safer distance, perhaps by literally jumping backwards at the sight of the attacker.
Evasive and Avoiding – People in this mode tend to avoid conflict at all costs. The first impulse will be to naturally create distance between our attacker and us. Those who are in this emotional mode at the time of the attack will duck or evade the assailant’s blows, but probably won’t be able to land any punches of their own.
Even in similar circumstances, our emotional states are constantly changing to reflect the situation. The emotional state in which you find yourself during an attack can be affected by the situation surrounding the attack, as well as the actual assailant you’re dealing with. Your body may respond to one attack with confidence, while remaining evasive or defensive during another. The important point is to train yourself to be able to fight back effectively regardless of your emotional response to the situation.