Monday, September 22, 2008

Your Mind and Body: The Most Important Self Defense Products You Own

My business at Self Defense ATL sells self defense products for the average person but as I've said in past articles, you need practice, alertness and a little common sense to protect yourself. A stun gun or pepper spray increase your chance of success, but the most important "self defense product" is you!

Let's get down to brass tacks about what that means. The qualities of someone who successfully defends themselves could be written up in dozens of pages, but to make it readable we'll boil things down into just four areas: Environmental Awareness, Motivation, Physical Fitness and Training.

Self Defense Though Environmental Awareness

Environmental Awareness is a simple concept. If you want to protect yourself from danger you better see it coming! Just as we teach children to look both ways before crossing the street, we must teach ourselves to be aware of our surroundings and alert to possible danger. This is not the same as paranoia! In fact, proper Environmental Awareness should actually increase your appreciation for the small things in life. Instead of marching down the street concentrating on your own thoughts, you should be really looking at the world around you. That way, you'll notice difficult people or suspicious situations and avoid them, defending yourself without even getting into a fight. Not only that, but who do you think the average street predator would rather go after: someone who looks alert or someone who's staring at his shoes? Awareness gives you an air of confidence.
Self Defense Through Motivation

Sift through the news and it's easy to find stories about martial arts experts and big tough guys getting assaulted and not being able to do a thing to protect themselves. What happened? It could be a bunch of things, including plain bad luck, but in many cases these people weren't motivated to protect themselves. That sounds hard to believe, but true motivation (what some people call the "self defense mindset") doesn't magically appear because you took karate classes or hit the gym. Your attitude needs two important features:
  1. You need to believe you have the right to defend yourself! This isn't just an intellectual choice. You must absolutely believe that fighting back is the right thing to do. Decades ago police used to advise rape and other violent assault victims to not resist, but this only made things worse. Nowadays, we know that violent people see a passive attitude as an invitation to attack, and often have a mental "script" that doesn't count on resistance.
  2. You need to be mentally prepared to survive an assault. Don't think about how you'd defend against an attack. Think about what would happen if you actually were punched or cut with a knife. You need to have the resolve to keep fighting, because people only block every attack in the movies. You can't survive unless you think you can.
Self Defense Through Physical Fitness

Most of us aren't big guys built like UFC fighters or anything, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't regularly exercise. Not only is it just plain good for you, it also prepares your body for the stresses of an emergency. Strength training and aerobic fitness are the two primary foci of any fitness program. Don't worry about "sculpting" or "toning," but see how well you do at everyday tasks like moving furniture or climbing stairs. My wife and I love the outdoors because it's fun and helps us stay fit enough to enjoy life - and that's fit enough for an average person to defend themselves.

Self Defense Through Training

Practice makes perfect - or good enough, at least. Remember to always practice carrying, retrieving and aiming our products. Check for local self-defense courses in your area. If you choose to own a handgun always take courses in its proper handling and use. Even if you learned all about guns growing up, taking a course shows law enforcement that you are a responsible gun owner - and that's important if (God forbid) you ever have to go to court. If you can't find instruction in your area we do have Instructional Fighting Videos for sale.

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