What's Your Response to an Attack?
If you are going to take a self-defense course, make sure that you are enrolled in a class that teaches multiple self-defense-response-options and not just, "when the bad guy attacks, do this and then that." It is irresponsible and dangerous for any instructor to teach that there is a single solution to ALL threatening situations, or that one or two moves are ALWAYS going to save you. Just as there are multiple facets to every individual, every situation and circumstance will dictate a different response. And your training should encompass them all.
So what are these self-defense-response-options? There are five general categories of self defense response. These are:
Compliance - you do what the bad guy wants
Escape - always the best choice when available
De-escalation - talking the situation down - using your brain
Assertiveness - using your body language, tone and voice
Fighting Back - you get physical - last resort
The reality of any crime situation that requires self defense is that you are more than likely going to employ a multitude of options from each of these categories. You may begin to comply to draw down an attacker's guard and then escape or fight back. Or, you may try to de-escalate the situation with mild compliance and then have to fight to open a window for escape.
The final aspect to your training should involve how to deal with the legal consequences of your actions. Contrary to popular belief, you still have to prove that your use of force for self defense was justified and not excessive.
There are multiple scenarios that can come into play. Your choice in responding to a life threatening situation depends on your training and the number of options you have available to you. As we advise all of our students, only "you" know what you can and cannot do when confronted with violence and whatever option you employed was your best option at that time.
Make sure that whatever self defense course you enroll in covers your response options and legal liability. For when confronted with a violent attack, the last thing you want to ask is, "What's my response?"
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Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO & Founder of Women's Self-Defense Institute and has been teaching women's self-defense programs for over 20 years. She is a tireless advocate of self-reliance and responsibility, encouraging women to actively protect life through awareness and education.