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Defy the Doubters: Part 2

In a continuation of our Defy the Doubters post from last week, let’s discuss two more of the dangers of giving into the idea that there’s no point in learning self-defense.


Danger #3: Incorrectly assumes that learning self-defense can’t prevent violence


Learning self-defense prevents violence? Why yes, yes it does. Self-defense critics often misunderstand the significance and practicality of self-defense training as a powerful prevention tool in deterring potential attacks or even avoiding confrontations. We aren’t saying that walking down the street shadowboxing or wearing your Krav Maga gym tee signals to potential attackers that you are a force to be reckoned with, but rather, it's the enhanced confidence and vigilance acquired through self-defense education that truly speaks volumes.

An illustrative study by Betty Grayson and Morris I. Stein, titled “Psychopathy and Victim Selection: The Use of Gait as a Cue to Vulnerability,” sheds some interesting light on this. The study involved surveying 47 maximum-security prison inmates using a video to discuss victim selection. Strikingly, these participants unanimously recognized confident and aware individuals as targets to avoid. It's a powerful reminder of the significance of exuding self-confidence to deter potential predators effectively.


Gaining confidence and self-assuredness necessitates a blend of study and hands-on training in practical self-defense. However, the crux lies in taking that initial step and embarking on the journey. This step is an investment in your safety and well-being, preemptively preparing for potential challenges. Think of it akin to insurance or emergency readiness. Just as insurance shields us from unexpected upheavals and assembling a 72-hour kit offers solace during natural disasters, learning self-defense serves as a safeguard. It curbs fear, reassuring you're not helpless, armed with tools to regain control in various situations. We all know the feeling of not being prepared and then experiencing some form of a crisis - trying to retroactively get insurance or find your flashlights when the power goes down is far more difficult (if not impossible) and we think of learning self-defense in the same way. Learning self-defense follows the same principle. Investing now fosters peace, preparing you for unlikely scenarios while fundamentally transforming your daily approach. So hold your head high, literally and figuratively.


Danger #4: Removes a powerful healing tool for survivors of violence


Throughout our decades of training people from diverse backgrounds, we frequently hear from survivors the impact that self-defense training has had on their healing and growth. As Victor Certified trauma-informed instructors, we understand both the value in self-defense training as a preventative tool AND as a healing and empowerment tool for those who have experienced violent traumas.


For survivors of trauma, the process of learning self-defense opens up a distinct avenue for healing. It helps them reframe their experiences, fostering a realization of their inherent strength and agency. This learning journey serves as a bridge to reconnect their minds and bodies, which often become disconnected after experiencing trauma. The inner fighter within them is reignited through this process. Remarkably, even during their initial one-hour session, participants begin to cultivate confidence, situational awareness, and the capacity to devise self-protective strategies. These skills hold profound significance for those who've felt their power stripped away.


Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a prominent trauma expert, underscores the essential interplay between the mind and body in trauma treatment. He asserts in "The Body Keeps the Score":


"True healing from trauma requires acknowledging the inseparable relationship between the mind and body. To effectively recover, we must embrace therapies and interventions that attend to both psychological and physiological well-being, as the wounds inflicted upon the body cannot be addressed in isolation from the scars etched upon the mind."

The combination of treating the mind and body as a cohesive unit is not just crucial; it is also immensely effective in healing trauma. The one day Victor Course is designed specifically with this in mind. Spanning six hours, survivors of trauma gather in a courageous environment to engage in self-defense training tailored for healing. Throughout the day, group dialogues and psychoeducational elements seamlessly weave together, culminating in a profoundly transformative experience that guides survivors onto a renewed healing trajectory.


For those who've felt trapped and disempowered, this specialized training has the potential to breathe vitality into their being and plant the seeds of confidence and healing. Whether these individuals choose to pursue further training or not, it initiates the construction of a fresh foundation of hope, always there to lean on in times of need. That first step can make a life-changing difference in one's path to recovery.


So there are just a few of the big dangers of this mindset but what do we do to combat it?


Our core mission has always been to empower people to leave each session with more confidence, awareness, and sense of safety than when they walked in. While it's true that becoming an expert in self-defense and fighting takes years, every expert was once a beginner. With each class attended, video watched, and technique practiced, individuals grow stronger, more capable, and increasingly self-assured. As a result, they begin to embrace each day with a sense of peace, knowing they have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves.


"Self-defense is not just a set of techniques; it's a state of mind, and it begins with the belief that you are worth defending." - Ronda Rousey

So, while the naysayers might be right in emphasizing the time it takes to master self-defense, they are completely missing the point of all the reasons why someone SHOULD learn self-defense. Consistent commitment to training yields gradual progress, establishing a bedrock of strength, confidence, and vigilance that profoundly influences all life dimensions. Learning self-defense thus evolves into an investment in personal well-being, fostering newfound self-assurance and resilience.


This future is possible where self-defense education is a shared priority and understood for both its physical and mental benefits. Reject the dissenters and their misconceptions and don’t let their voice have power over you. It is your fundamental right to live without fear and to be able to learn how to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.


Brittany Gleed, PhD(c)

Joseph Gleed, MSW

Co-Founders

Operation BRAVE ● KO Self-Defense ● Unified Krav Maga

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