If black belt level self defense skills came in a pill, everyone would want one. Heck, it sure would have saved me a lot of blood, sweat, and tears coming up through the ranks from white belt starting in 1981 to senior martial arts instructor. There are a lot of push-ups I could have avoided as well. In the strict and tough karate studios where I trained and taught, roughly 3 out of 100 people made it to black belt. Far fewer continued training to my level of third degree or above.
Fortunately, many self defense skills don’t require hundred of hours learning the art of combat or the artistry of powerful movements. Physical self defense can be dialed down to basics moves most people can learn (practice is on you though!). Other parts of self defense require a tougher-minded outlook combined with street-smart awareness. It’s thinking ahead, having a wary eye, and presenting yourself to the world in a way that makes criminals and predators naturally pass you by as undesirable.
You won’t learn how to move and groove like a black belt here, and I don’t have a magic pill either, but I’m excited to help you discover many of the insights I’ve picked up along the way to senior martial arts instructor — insights that will allow you to Think Like a Black Belt and keep you and your children safer, such as:
1) Physical Self Defense
Martial artists are, well, artists. We learn to move our bodies and mind with precision, force, and tenacious inner will. Our moves, stances, and even our breathing all channel into the art of combat. It is a beautiful and awesome thing when done well. Basic self defense, on the other hand, can be boiled down into simpler moves almost anyone can do.
- Not everyone can hold their wrist and knuckles just right to land a powerful punch. Most people can however heel palm strike a chin, stomp a foot, bash a nose, break a collar bone, or bring a knee to the face of a doubled-over attacker.
- Not everyone can break free of an attacker’s grab while putting the attacker in a joint lock or submission hold and taking them to the ground. Most people can however learn to break free from chokes, bear hugs, hair pulls, wrist grabs, and head locks.
- Not everyone can choose from an arsenal of 40 blocks to parry a strike. Most people can however learn the basics of avoiding and blocking a punch or kick.
As you read my ongoing articles, you won’t learn artistic kicks and complicated grappling techniques (join a karate or Mixed Martial Arts school to do that!), but you will discover the down and dirty moves of street-smart self defense.
2) Mental Self Defense
Black belts walk and talk with long hours of class time experience adding subtle power to their body language, confidence to their step, and fire to their awareness. Dozens of tips can help you develop this more powerful self and thus become slippery Teflon to an attacker’s targeting phase. The tips can help you fashion a new mindset, a survivor’s instinct, and savvy street smarts.
3) Emotional Self Defense
Not all criminals and predators dress like thugs, twirl their mustaches with an evil laugh, or fly their pirate flag at full mast. A few spend their whole lives working to control, manipulate, and suck the life out of others. They come with different names, but bottom line is they sap you of energy, make your life miserable, drive you crazy with personal issues, act subtly or overtly superior, and make you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them:
- Scott M. Peck calls them People of the Lie.
- Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, in their book Safe People, refer to them as “unsafe people.”
- Your friends may call them exasperating and frustrating.
- You may know them as emotional predators or vampires.
- I call them Dark Hearts.
My subtitle to this section is called Defense Against the Dark Hearts — a take off on the name of a class in which juvenile fiction and movie character Harry Potter learns to deal with black magic attacks.
My goal in writing on these subjects is to better arm people against all sorts of predators and criminals. Also parents will be able to teach much of this information to their children, making them safer, too. The subject is huge and fascinating, so I will be adding more articles or blog posts to this site every week. Please feel free to subscribe — it’s free!
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Is there a subject you’d like me to cover that I haven’t mentioned?
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