Monday, February 26, 2007

Rules of Engagement

What if…
You just took a short cut through the alley behind the parking lot because you’re very much in a hurry to get home and it is already getting late at night. As you walk alone in this dark alley, you notice a group of men standing besides a post drinking and smoking about 50 feet away from you. Suddenly you have this strange feeling inside your gut as if there’s a big knot, and then your heart starts pounding fast. What will you do?

What if…
You were walking along the street and suddenly someone grabbed you from behind with a knife pointed right through your neck and you realize he is not alone and then he starts asking for your wallet. What will you do?

What if…
You were suddenly confronted by a stranger who starts shouting at you and pushing you in order to provoke a fight. What will you do?

What if…
You found yourself trapped in a corner with a knife-wielding assailant who had just cut the throat of another guy. What will you do?

What is Self-Defense?
You don’t have to become a Bruce Lee or Steven Seagal in order to learn self-defense. Neither do you have to possess the strength of a bear or be a heavily-muscled guy like Arnold Swarzenegger. Although it is good to be in great shape and possess the skills and strength of martial artist, what you really need is a logical, practical and effective way of protecting yourself without getting involved in time consuming discipline or learning from a master who instructs you to “dance” for so many years and say that only then will you be allowed to learn the fighting techniques of his style (talk about patience!).
Although there are martial arts such as pencak silat, jujitsu and judo that are highly effective for self defense, it would be practical for most men and women who lead very busy lives. Most ordinary people do not have enough time to go two or three times a week in a dojo and practice for two to three hours and have a life long commitment in order to learn how to defend themselves properly. Not even signing up for a ten-day street fighting course will offer much help in achieving this goal.
The best method should be based on the use of common sense and the use of a “natural weapon” that everyone possesses whatever size, shape or age one might be. A “natural weapon” is the normal human instinct of self-preservation or what others refer to as ‘killer instinct’ – used with control. Much like the instinct of a rat that fights ferociously against a big cat when it is trapped in a corner. But, of course, more often than not, you may never have to fight aggressively or resort to the use of physical skills when you can use avoidance, evade and escape methods or other common sense means.
Common Sense Rules of Self-Defense
1. Listen to your gut. Very often, when something is wrong you get to have a strange feeling about it. You may feel as if there are butterflies in your stomach or a big knot tied around your waist. This is an important warning signal that tells you to leave the place, to take an alternative route, to avoid a stranger, or simply to look for a crowded place to escape from danger. Many times our instinct or gut feels knows that there is danger lurking even before our mind does.
2. If you are confronted especially by an armed assailants or a group of gang members. Do what comes naturally – shout for help and run like mad.
3. Don’t look like a sorry victim. A person like this sends out messages to potential assailants indicating that they would not defend themselves or are too scared to do anything when confronted. Don’t walk around projecting an image of a person with low self-esteem or no self-confidence. You would be setting yourself up as an easy target. Instead you should project an image of confidence with head held up as you walk the streets. This feeling of confidence which eventually manifest in the way you talk and move discourages would-be attackers making them think twice before they make a move.
4. Use good communication skills. The way you speak is an important part of self-defense strategy. In a heated argument, a lot of fights are avoided if one only talked calmly. If the other person keeps shouting at you in return be confident but speak in soft and calm manner, it may help in making the other person realize what an idiot he is trying to intimidate or provoke you when he gets the impression that you are not going to succumb to his threat.
5. If all your rhetoric fails you, the final option is to fight back. You have to be prepared to use physical techniques to enable you to escape in such situations. Whenever evade and escape is not possible, resort to using engage and escape for this matter. What to use in engage and escape tactics will be discussed in the next issue.

Rules of Engagement
by:Bong Abenir
RAPID JOURNAL vol.8 no.2 ISSN 0118-4113 Page 26-27

preparation for street combat

It is not unusual to hear about a martial artist who has won trophies and medals from tournaments but ending up badly beaten in a street confrontation with someone who only had little or no martial arts training at all. Why? The reason for this is that most tournament fighters train only for combat competitions which emphasize technique to score points, rather than techniques for self-defense. There is no denying that the more sparring experience one has the greater his confidence and preparation is to face an adversary. However, a tournament fight is still a game and not the real thing and losing in a real encounter may mean losing ones life.
Most tournament fights emphasize offensive attacks in order to score points. These fights tend to neglect defensive tactics; instead one often sees competitors just throwing their tools at one another without paying much attention to protecting the body from getting hit just as long as one scores more points than the other.
Another fact is that in tournament fighting attacks to vital areas such as the groin and eyes are considered illegal. I am not proposing a change in rules to allow such attacks. But my point is training for tournaments which disallow such attacks can be detrimental to one’s training for self-defense where in actual combat these prohibited areas of attack are often used by assailants. So it would be wise to spend some time learning to properly protect these vulnerable areas. It could also mean learning to raise your guard all the time instead of habitually dropping them, as most tournament fighters often do in order to encourage the opponent to initiate an attack and eventually fall into a set up where one applies a good counter. A competitive martial artist with such predisposition may actually be setting himself up as an easy target instead. One must not neglect to practice these self protective techniques in order to do them instinctively in case one encounters such situations in the street.
Now it does not mean that just because a martial artist has built the habit of protecting these vital areas one would automatically be invulnerable to attacks from an experienced street fighter. One should also adopt a street fighter’s mentality as well. In order to gain advantage, one should train properly in attacking these same vital areas of the opponent. The only way to do this is by constant drilling and sparring all out with the use of protective equipment. This way one gets to train effectively and safely.
Although many would frown and comment negatively with regard to the employment of such tactics, it is my strong conviction to continue teaching and using these methods to allow my students a better chance of surviving out there. One is better off getting ahead in self-defense situations rather than ending up as a sorry victim or worse dead in such encounters.
Remember fighting is ugly. No one wants to get into a fight, but when one is forced or pushed into it, it had better be done well. Now ask yourself this question, “when someone wants to harm you or your love ones, what will you do?”
Train hard my friend!

preparation for street combat
by:bong abenir
RAPID JOURNAL Vol. 8 No. 1 page 40-41 ISSN 0118-4113