If you want feel-good, go somewhere else. If you want stuff that actually helps, read on.
Ask any woman and she’ll say that she will defend themselves if necessary. Ask any woman about defending her kids and she’ll sound angry and determined, momma bear style, when saying “Bet your ass I will!” But there happens to be a whole shitload of women in abusive relationships at any given point in time. Even ones where their kids get abused too. Plenty of women get victimised by strangers every year as well. So what gives?
I read this article on kids and childhood development where the author talks about watching this kid kicking a soccer ball around. He was young so he couldn’t kick the ball very far, but every time he kicked the ball he made this explosion sound. The author reckoned that if the kid could kick the ball nice and hard he probably wouldn’t be making the explosion sounds.
It strikes me that the people who sound the meanest when talking about self defence might be like that kid.
The problem with being general
The problem is that, by being general about something, you use the sanitised generality to avoid the unpleasant specifics.
So, would you defend yourself if attacked? “Yes!” you say.
Great, would you take a knife from your kitchen and ram it into someone’s neck and feel the hot blood cover your hand and drip down your forearm?
Would you defend your kids against an attacker? “Of course! I’d turn all momma-bear and rip their heads off!”
Great, would you carry a knife on your waist every single day for the rest of your life? Even when it’s hot and uncomfortable, and it jams into you a little every time you sit down, and you have to make sure to always wear a skirt or pants so you have somewhere to keep it (no more dresses for you)?
Are you going to go to the gym and lift heavy heavy weights to get strong enough to rip someone’s head off? Go watch a video of ISIS beheading someone and acknowledge the reality before you talk about ripping off heads. I have no problem with you ripping off heads to keep your kids safe, I just want you to be honest about what’s involved so you’re more likely to actually do something like that to save your kids. (And no, you can’t really rip someone’s head off with your hands.)
Words are cheap
Words are cheap, especially when they’re generic words that make you feel good. And that’s what a lot of so-called self defence is about, making yourself feel better. It’s like taking a 2-hour self defence seminar. What do you expect to learn in those 2 hours that will allow you to get the better of a professional Bad Guy with a lifetime of training? What is that wrist-grab move going to do against the guy in your house holding a gun to your kid’s head, making you hate yourself for not buying and training with a pistol when you had the chance?
Being comfortable and feeling good never got anything done. Relaxing in a hot bath with fragrances and soft music never achieved anything in life (unless as a deliberate act of relaxation to allow you to do more another time). Want to know the secret of rich people? Those families you see taking 3 month yacht trips around the world? The other 9 months of the year they aren’t a proper family because they’re so busy working their asses off. Why are they so much smarter than us and why do they know how to make so much money? Because they killed themselves working hard to make it so. Why is Usain Bolt the best in the world? God-given talent? Watch him training, where he sticks his finger down his throat to puke so he can get past the nausea quicker and get back to training faster. Where his dad says it’s hard to watch him train because of what he puts himself through.
So get uncomfortable
If you are worried about safety then don’t make vague mental commitments about “I will defend myself if necessary.” Make mental commitments to being willing to take specific actions. Imagine them happening in your mind and make your mental self do the hard stuff.
“I will be harsh and cold with the stranger who’s trying to be nice to me.”
“I will stare at the person behind me at the ATM, and scan him up and down looking for hidden hands and bulges from weapons around his waist. Even if it makes me feel uncomfortable.”
“I will carry a knife on me (not my handbag!) every single day, no matter how much it sucks, because I don’t know when someone might try hurt me. I will make myself focus on the comfort I get, not the annoyance I feel, until I feel weird without my knife.”
“I will not check my phone while walking.”
“I will not check my phone in the car until it is switched on, in gear, hand brake off.”
“I will go the long way around to avoid that person in the car park, even if I’m already super late and my boyfriend will be pissed off.”
“I will pull my knife and stab the home invader in the neck, again and again until he runs away or goes limp. And I will see the blood everywhere and not care.”