Why should I learn self-defense using techniques?
Simply put, position recognition. It is the quickest and most efficient way to learn effective self-defense. In individual “packages” or “mini-scenarios” the three things that go into surviving a self-defense encounter are addressed: recognizing the attack, positioning your own body in response, and taking immediate control of the attacker’s actions through affecting and maintaining control of their body position and actions. When we are able to recognize the positions that our attacker uses and the positions we can place the attacker in, we remain one step ahead of the attacker. To quickly build our recognition capabilities of the “snapshots” of body position, the packages or scenarios we use are called “techniques”.
How will I remember the techniques I learn?
The key to any good self-defense response is the individual’s ability to remember what to do in a given situation. But running through a catalog of responses to an attack when the attack is coming at you is not practical in the dynamic environment of the street; in fact it’s quite dangerous.
So what do we do? How do we quickly recall what’s needed? There are two basic types of memory at work in the human brain, explicit and implicit. Explicit memory is the memory you have to consciously think about, such as “Where did I put my keys?” or “What did I buy at the grocery store yesterday?” Implicit memory on the other hand is the “automatic” memory we use every day, such as tying your shoes or driving or typing. When someone first learns to drive, their mind is filled with numerous details. “How far do I turn the steering wheel to turn onto that street?” or “How hard do I have to push on the brake to stop before I hit that wall?” However, the longer they drive and the more experience they gain, these responses no longer require conscious thought and become relatively automatic. Remember the last time you had to think about how to tie your shoes? This is your implicit memory at work. Physical movements and motions become part of our implicit memory through repetition.
Why is repetition important?
The movements you’ll train through constant repetition become second nature, part of your implicit memory. How is this helpful? This saves you time, and in a self-defense situation time is crucial. It keeps you from “freezing” when something happens. Training repetitiously in a scenario-based environment using techniques is the most effective way to put your “automatic” responses into your implicit memory. Consider this: You find yourself in an altercation that lasts one minute in. How many minutes are present? Most folks would say one minute. But in actuality there are two minutes, your minute and your attacker’s minute. The question lies in how those minutes are being used. Your goal should be to spend as little of your minute as you can reacting to what the attacker is doing. Conversely, you want your attacker to spend the vast majority of their minute reacting to what you are doing. When an attacker is reacting to your actions they are not initiating action against you. When this happens you are the one in control, and the ultimate goal in self-defense is to gain and maintain control.
© Triangle Kenpo Institute 2017