Oct 26, 2018

By Tristan Kealy

When we hear about the violent assault of one individual by another, we usually hear about it from a given news source, radio, TV, Internet, Social Media platforms etc. The reason we hear about it is because of the violent nature of the crime, we hear about the physical trauma inflicted upon the individual, the cuts, bruises, broken bones, blood, rape, and perhaps death! We hear about these things because it creates shock and terror in our minds, grief, empathy, and sympathy for the victim. Violence sells news! It’s physical violence that grabs people’s attention and more and more often we are hearing that the victims of these physical attacks are women.

​When discussing the subject of Women’s Self Defence the question I’m hoping to answer for you today is: Should we be focusing on the Physical aspects of defence or the Mental aspects?

Physical attributes, in relation to any field, are developed over lengthy periods of time, constant repetitions of the same or slightly varied actions, again and again, and again. Sometimes we employ other repetitive exercises or drills that will help develop explosive power or faster reactions times that coincide with the actions we are trying to master and help us reach our goals quicker and to a higher level. The point is this takes time and dedication and constant analysis of our actions to measure performance levels and achievements and track our (hopefully) improving standards. In today’s very busy society, particularly when discussing women, who may have busy careers, health concerns, exercising and sporting commitments, social commitments, family commitments, schooling, and the list goes on and on. Do many people, not just women, have the time today to take the necessary physical tools that you need to defend yourself in a violent assault to the level necessary for them to survive and get themselves and or loved ones home safe?

My personal opinion is…. Probably not.  I have personally spent most of my life trying to perfect striking techniques. I have spent thousands of hours over decades of training trying to perfect effective punch and kicking techniques. I am by no means perfect (far from it) but I am probably better than the average practitioner. Would it make sense for me to pass on these physical techniques that require high levels of flexibility, timing, accuracy, power, and a great sense of range and understanding of your own body and its capabilities and limits that take years of practice to attain? I think not! And at the end of the day and at a crucial time, these techniques are fallible. Anything can go wrong in a violent attack. Plans can go to shit very quickly in real life. The simplest response is quite often the best (as is the case in many instances).

Please don’t get me wrong, I am a great believer in having to learn how to defend yourself in a physical manner and I have taught hundreds and hundreds of people to effectively do so but my point is that there should be more time and focus spent on teaching people and especially women the Mental aspects and Mental approach to their own personal safety and avoidance of violent physical attack.

I believe that women should be encouraged to tap into the skills and abilities that they already have at their disposal. Intuition, gut feelings, daily planning, awareness of surroundings, verbal skills, being firm and affirmative, employing volume and profanity, and then if necessary aggressive all-out physical violence.

Until a huge cultural shift takes place in the way that men treat women, as a husband, son and brother, I believe women will have to and be encouraged to be more aware when getting to and from work, clubs, parties, venues etc in the safest way possible. Try not to make calls whilst walking to your car, bus, train etc. Walk tall and aware of your surroundings, walk with other people when possible. Look for people that don’t belong in the area. In a car park, if people aren’t coming or going, they are just loitering around. Make sure you make eye contact, let them know that you have seen them. There are many choices you can make day to day that will help you to get home safely.

Learn not to be embarrassed, to make a scene, if my wife was in a threatening situation I would hope that she would make a huge scene and be happy to run down the middle of a street screaming at the top of her lungs if it meant she would get home safe. Most people you run into on a daily basis at clubs, shops, venues you will never see again, so who cares if you did overreact and may have misjudged? If you were wrong you were embarrassed for a few short moments in front of people you will never see again but if you were right, you may just have saved your life and avoided any physical attack or confrontation. 

I could go on for a long time on this topic and the point of this blog is not to push one subject over the other but I do believe that just as much time should be spent on discussing the Mental aspects of defence, as well as the physical and they, are things that you can start to employ just by hearing about it and talking about it!