Fighting Fear – Why is Fear Management Important to Self Defense?
A few weeks ago Coach Blauer posted a note on his facebook wall asking for responses to his question: “What's the most simple, usable self-defense tip you've ever read or been told? Please share. It can be a concept, strategy or tactic.”
It didn’t take long too come up with the following: “Fight Your Fear before you fight your opponent”. I think the actual quote goes like this “What does it cost you to face your fear? What might it cost you if you don’t?” If you didn’t already guess, this is from Tony Blauer the founder and CEO of Blauer Tactical and the creator of the Personal Defense Readiness Program (PDR).
Self defense courses often talk about awareness and tell the student that “The best way to win a fight is not to get into one”, but then spend the rest of class doing punches, kicks, and wrist grab escapes without thinking of the following:
· How did the fight start in the first place?
· How can we defuse the situation without using a physical response?
· How will your emotions play into the equation?
· Will you be able to access your skill set when influenced by adrenaline/fear?
Only until you address fear as a biological and psychological state and then learn strategies to think your way through the challenge, can you move forward if the need arises to physically deal with an attacker.
PDR students learn this by identifying what fear actually is biologically and psychologically. We acknowledge the fact that it will be present and to not think of it is as a negative emotion. It’s a natural state, so we must learn to work our way through it. Most people are afraid of being afraid when in fact we can learn so much about ourselves, and really build true confidence by embracing it and learning from it. To quote Coach Blauer again, “It’s not the danger we are afraid of, it’s the fear of danger we are afraid of”.
Here is a quick list of questions I’d like you to answer honestly:
1. Do you learn Fear management and verbal defense skills?
2. Do you get threatened rather than get challenged in a confrontation?
3. Do you know in advance what is at stake if you lose the fight?
4. Do you know in advance what you are willing to do to avoid, deescalate and protect you and your loved ones?
5. What are the moral, legal, ethical ramifications of your actions?
In my opinion, these questions are what should be your guiding thoughts before you even start to learn specific techniques. No, its not as sexy as practicing a flying arm bar, sweeping hip throw or a combination of strikes, but it is what is needed more so than actual techniques.
Look at what you are learning as self-defense. Can you answer the questions from the list I mentioned earlier? If not it’s time to decide how you can improve your training to address some of these concerns. Remember, the information you already have will never be replaced by more good information, but here is a thought. If you run any type of business or have a job that requires ongoing training, you wouldn’t overlook the need for continuous improvement and innovation would you? In business when you stop learning or innovating you stop growth so why would you do the same for your Self Defense or martial arts training?
FEAR will always be present, but that’s ok. I realize that there will likely be someone who is bigger, stronger, faster and better than me so I need to train to be my best at any given time. I’ve created a personal directive that gives me permission to back down or fight if needed and I’ve thought critically about the consequences of protecting (or not protecting) my family and myself. My understanding of what actually constitutes a really dangerous encounter, and is not simply an ego attack is much better as well. All of this has given me greater confidence because “I have thought to do it in training before I thought to do it in the street”. This has all been made possible by the Personal Defense Readiness program created by Tony Blauer.
Positive mental and physical growth as a person is one of our goals in martial arts training so, why aren’t we learning how to really use our heads in a confrontation? I think it’s time to start training our brains along with our bodies don’t you?
The following quote from coach Blauer sums this up: “ The way you feel effects the way you think, the way you think effects the way you feel, they both effect the way you move”.
The PDR experience will improve your emotional, psychological and physical toolbox to deal with fear, adrenaline and physical danger.
I hope to see you soon.