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In a nutshell
Self defence is the ability to protect yourself from harm: physically, mentally and emotionally. It is not about fighting. The aim of self defence is to incapacitate the attacker and walk away; ideally unharmed.
There is no consensus on what 'self defence' actually means:
Some people think self defence refers to tips & pointers that will enable you to handle any manner of assault
Martial artists often regard self defence as a weak, limited aspect of combat
The Police see self defence as being a reasonable, considered, appropriate response to an assault
Self defence is legal. Fighting is not.
What is the difference?
Fighting has the connotation of reciprocity: two people trading blows. Unlike fighting, self defence involves one person being assaulted by another.
It is necessary to avoid prosecution when using self defence. Employ restraint (reasonable force) and only apply your skills only when you have no other choice. You should never use your art in anger.
Laws exist to ensure the safety and wellbeing of society, and a martial artist should respect this.
I’m aware of how much
violence there is at work these days. I met up with friends I used to work
with in housing and violence is very common at their work. NHS staff are
increasingly under physical attack (I’ve noticed warnings in my local GP
surgery). School teachers too, and transport staff.
Life presents us with many situations that can be unpleasant:
Problems at work
you may feel vulnerable and alone. You may feel helpless, afraid,
angry and frustrated.
Dealing with confrontation
Confrontation occurs in many forms and can be very stressful. It is important to handle yourself in a constructive, calm manner. Discover how to keep a cool head, avoid conflict and cope with hostility.
You can be switched-on without being macho, defensive or paranoid.
When faced with hostility or violence, most people panic. Panic is an adverse reaction to unexpected events. It is the failure to acknowledge your fear, understand the cause of fear and recognise the options you have available.
Freeze, flight or fight...
The human brain responds to danger by making us do one of the following:
• Run away
• Become aggressive
Taijiquan offers an alternative to option 3. Instead of becoming aggressive or panicking, we seek to neutralise the threat whilst remaining calm.
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Page created 25 August 1994
Last updated 15 May 2020