Self Defense is Part of Preparedness


This is a picture of Master John Baylor and myself with some of the kids from the Upper Marlboro Martial Arts Center.  It’s a great place to learn martial arts for adults and children.  Master Baylor also has a great after-school program.  Visit or stop by in person.

This is a link to my novels, please check them out.

When we think of being prepared, we think of making sure our home is ready for a big storm or some other disaster.  That is an important thing to do but you also have to make sure you are prepared for the disaster of violence in your home or on the street.

Most of us can be reasonably certain that we can go out and do our daily activities without having to worry about being accosted on the street. We should be careful when we’re out and take steps to not look like an easy mark.  Be alert, don’t look like your fixated on your smart phone, or zoning out to the music.  The more aware you are, the less you look like a target.  But what if you are targeted, how do you protect yourself

In the movies, the hero is always ready with their weapon of choice. This may be possible in your home, but there are few places out in the world that will welcome a person carrying a weapon. There is one exception to this rule. Knowledge is one thing that can’t be easily taken away from you, and the knowledge of self-defense is with you everywhere you go. It passes easily through airport scanners and it is ready whenever you need it.

Self-defense and marital arts classes improve your fitness, give you a social outlet, and provide you with an important tool to be used when it is needed. It isn’t fool proof and it certainly will not make you a super hero, but it puts more odds on your side and it gives you choices if it does come down to action.

Self-defense and martial arts are subjects to be learned like any other subjects. The addition of training allows you to put that knowledge to practical use. We are talking about understanding momentum, angular momentum, leverage, and a little about anatomy. Those are the basic ingredients and the big secret to protecting yourself.

The martial arts that you see in the movies and has much to do with real useful martial arts as the reality show “The Real Housewives of New York” has to do with the real housewives of New York. You don’t have to throw flying kicks from twenty yards away or do somersaults off rooftops. In fact, those skills are of little use in a real situation.

It’s the simple things that are most useful. First, and this is always on the top of my list, when faced with danger and you are not protecting your home or someone, run like crazy. The sole purpose of self-defense is to keep you safe, and there is no better way to do that than to not be where the danger is. A great technique is to throw your wallet in one direction and your keys in another and run. If you can’t run all your effort should be put into getting you in a position where you can run. I tell my marital arts students, “Run away and call a cop, they get paid to handle things like that.”

As I said, simple things are the most useful. In a stressful situation it will be hard to remember complex techniques. There are many techniques to be used when someone grabs you. They are called Ju Jits, or grab arts. I tell my students that the first step in any technique is to get the attacker’s attention. Stomp on their foot or kick them in the shin or the groin if you can reach it. Here’s something that many people don’t think of, spit in their face and make it a nasty one.

Civilized people hesitate when confronted with an attack. Unless the attacker is drunk or crazy, he or she is likely to be bigger and stronger than you. Their size and aggression leave people afraid to strike. It takes training to build up the confidence to strike as soon as someone puts their hands on you. Remember, once they grab you, they have made themselves defenseless. In most cases an attacker’s hands are their only weapons and when they grab you they give up their weapons. Pick a target and strike. If you do not know an escape technique, keep striking and yelling for help until they let go.


Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Health and Fitness, Martial Arts, Preparedness

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