Being a happily married man for over 20 years, my wife wants this next statement, which I say during my self-defense classes, engraved and framed on our living room wall: Women have the right answer.
When I speak to an “only women” group at my self-defense academy, they get the answer to my very important question correct, while guys don’t. What is the question? “What is the goal of self-defense?”.
That’s it. Simple enough right? But men puff out there chests and will say things like, “It’s to incapacitate someone, beat on them, etc.” or some even say “it’s to win!”. Guess what women say? They answer back, “to run, escape or survive”. Those are the right answers.
What I want to talk about in this article is a self-defense move that you won’t find at many dojos in your town, or even taught in online defense classes that much. It is the focus of every self-defense practitioner if and when they have to put their skills to use. The goal is to “run, escape and survive”, and even if you get to use the techniques you’ve been training, you still need to leave the attacker at some point – quickly.
I was taught most of my firearms skills by one of the most decorated and experienced special forces soldiers this country has ever known. To me, he was and still is one of the “bravest” men I have ever met. Many of the stories he tells don’t include massive firefights when he is standing in a pile of grenade pins, fighting off dozens of enemies.
Many stories actually include him saying something like, “So we came upon the target, engaged, and after taking heavy fire we didn’t anticipate, we executed our escape plan”. Or, he would say something to the tune of, “Our mission was over, but we had to make a decision to stay and take on the last remaining adversaries, but because we didn’t have a solid plan in place, we ran”. One time his group was surprised by only three men, when he had almost 12 guys, and he said how quickly they made the decision to turn tail and run because they didn’t have the superior fighting position.
My point is that if one of the bravest men I’ve known, who has tons of experiences in true warfare can turn and run to escape and survive, why can’t I? My mentor’s group was always better trained and equipped, but even that doesn’t ensure that something can’t go wrong. Many times “turning tail and running” is the best combative choice.
Therefore, I look at my life, and think about those times I made the decision to not engage. Murphy’s Law teaches everyone at some point in life, and you can decrease the frequency of the lesson or intensity if you simply keep this rule in mind: The goal of self-defense is to escape and survive. If you get attacked, throw a quick low line kick to the opponent’s groin, you could stay and follow up with more knee strikes than you can count, leaving him in a bloody mess, or you can use that shot of pain to simply escape.
If a verbal fight breaks out between you and someone else, sometimes the best option is to not engage, and simply leave the situation. Whether you escape and “live to fight another day” before, during or after a fight is an option you need to have, and even train. Take a look at a talk I recently gave one of my classes on this topic: https://youtu.be/eQOIOA0id-M