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Another factor is the retaliation consideration. Does the guy(s) know who you are? Where you live? Where you work? Where you hang out? I have heard of countless cases of this leading to serious injury, death, anxiety, stress, and all other manner of problems, but here’s just one example that I know of to get you thinking... A guy is drinking in a bar with his mates. A classic ego-based fight breaks out between him and another guy (probably very easily defused if he had the right training). He beats the snot out of the other guy as he is an accomplished fighter. Three months later he is leaving a movie theatre with his girlfriend when the guy he beat up drove past with a carload of his mates. Can you see where this is heading? You know, based on your knowledge of human behaviour where this is going, right? The guys got out of the car and attacked him and his girlfriend. The end result was that both he and his girlfriend were stabbed. He lived through it. His girlfriend was not so lucky, she died. Yes folks, she died, from a direct consequence of his actions three months previous which could easily have been avoided if he had the right training, but he didn’t. That is one example of many. This is why we want to avoid these situations at all costs if at all possible. The end of the first encounter is not necessarily the end of the fight, it may just be the beginning and walking around looking over your shoulder every 30 seconds is not much fun.

Of course while we are at it we should mention the emotional and psychological impact on you and your family following a violent encounter. The after-effects of violence can often be more destructive and do more to reduce your overall quality of life than the event itself. You must have a full skill base to know how to recognise and avoid situations whenever possible. And if a situation is not avoidable you need to have the relevant skills to help you handle it appropriately and to help with the healing process afterwards.

Finally let me mention the ethical and moral aspects of self defence, not in detail, just a mention. Here is something that may surprise many people; not everyone who aggresses us is a violent sociopathic criminal who is out to kill us and is therefore deserving of our wrath. Sometimes the guy who is in your face abusing you is just a normal person who on any other day would be known of as a “nice guy”. Today however you caught him having a bad day, a day when life is just getting on top of him and then you happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back by cutting him off in traffic or bumping into him. So he starts yelling at you. So he starts abusing you. So what? If you have been trained correctly you will have the skills to avoid this, defuse it, de-escalate it and hopefully resolve the conflict through understanding human behavioural cues (and having the self control to want to do it) and get out of the situation without anyone touching anyone. The angry guy goes home to his partner and two small children versus his family visiting him in the intensive care until after you chose to physically respond, struck him, and he fell and hit his head on the curb and went into immediate coma with blood running from his ears (yes, this is the reality of violence, not like the movies). And you get to go home knowing you did the right thing, that you controlled yourself, your impulses, you used true self defence to enable yourself to get home safely and avoid all of the ugly consequences of violence. Of course, you can’t always do this, sometimes you are left with no choice but to physically defend yourself, and sometimes the guy aggressing you really is a “bad guy”, but let’s make sure you have the right tools to deal with any situation rather than just one set of tools to apply to all situations, because that is where people get into trouble.

Phil Thompson 2012

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