Newsletter 03 – Hindrances to Self-defence

Women are used to handling men in certain ways, with certain subconscious rules – social ways, not physical ones. These systems are very effective within society and not effective at all when civilisation is no longer a factor, such as in a violent assault or rape. – Sgt Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence

Most regular people do not use violence to prey on other people. Most of us want to live and let live. Most of us are do not enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on other people. Most of us live normal, productive lives, contributing to society the best we know how.

But a criminal or abusive person is not like that. If we encounter such a person and treat him or her like one of us, we end up like sheep treating the wolf as a fellow sheep. In fact, many criminals count on us not being willing to do whatever it takes to stop them preying on us.  We are civilized human beings suddenly thrown into a situation when the rules of civilized behaviour are not protecting us, but are being deliberately used against us.

We are often unwilling to do what it takes to survive violent crime because we hold wrong ideas about what criminals are really like and how they think.

Romanticising the Criminal

Some of the misconceptions we have on how criminals think come from the media. There are many TV shows and movies that portray criminals as victims of circumstance or freedom fighters striking a blow against an oppressive social system (Robin Hood, for example). Or we have career criminals who robs faceless organizations for revenge or justice (such as the Ocean’s  11, 12 & 13 movies). If criminals are presented as the protagonists of the story we end up rooting for them and feeling for them.

Other misconceptions come from pop sociology. We have ‘academics’ who tell us that crime is caused by poverty, a lack of education, childhood trauma or all of the above. The criminal unfortunate person has been forced into crime for survival and deserves our pity, compassion and help. That misunderstood soul actually wants to be a healthy, contributing member of society like us, it’s just that he/she needs (and deserves) our understanding and care.

That’s the same mistake expressed in this statement by John Giduck (author of Terror at Beslan) “Americans are so stupid. They believe that inside everyone in the world is a little American wanting to get out.”

All that is harmless theory until we actually encounter a criminal face to face and it’s our safety and our lives at stake. If at that moment we are confused and start trying to treat the criminal like one of us, if we believe that showing compassion and understanding to the criminal now will cause him/her to see the error of his/her ways, repent and reform his/her life, we will NOT be able to defend ourselves decisively and firmly.

It’s like sheep hoping that treating a wolf as a fellow sheep will cause the wolf to give up eating sheep because it is overwhelmed by their compassion and acceptance. Just because you WANT it to work that way, and believe that it OUGHT to work that way, doesn’t make things happen that way…

The Question Is…

Whether criminals can reform or change their ways in the long run is not the question you should be asking yourself when you are in a self-defence situation. Leave that question for the courts, the counsellors, the psychologists and the religious leaders.

When you face a self-defence situation, the question you SHOULD be asking yourself is “How do I get myself (and my loved ones) out of this situation as safely as possible?” Recognize that the answer may involve doing things that civilized human beings don’t do to each other. Are you willing to do such things to ensure that you return home safe and unscathed to your loved ones and family?

Of course, I’m assuming you are able to recognize when a criminal is setting you up for violent crime. If you know you can’t, then read my newsletters, attend my talks and sign up for my classes!  And stay tuned for the next issue of the Walk in Safety Newsletter, I’ll continue exploring the hindrances that keep us from defending ourselves effectively should the need ever arise…


About Junjie
Musician, Martial Artist and father of two boys. Rambler, thinker and compulsive teacher.

One Response to Newsletter 03 – Hindrances to Self-defence

  1. eastpaw says:

    Too true.

    Just as pick-up artists know how to turn a woman’s social defences against her and a magician knows how to use his audience’s instincts against them, a (good) criminal is adept at utilizing the mark’s preconceptions as camouflage. By the time the victim fully realises what’s going on, it’s too late.

    Then there are the inexperienced, frightened criminals. Those may actually be the most dangerous because they are less predictable, much as an inexperienced, enraged fighter may be more dangerous to a martial artist than is a trained professional.

    We expect this reaction when we do that, but they fail to see what’s going on and do something else instead. Or we think it’s stupid for them to do this, so we write it off as ignorable, but that is precisely what they do.

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