You’re Probably Overestimating Your Self-Defense Skills

James Walpole/ October 4, 2018

If most guys are like me, they all think that they could hold their own in a fight. “Sure,” they say, “I might not be a karate master, but I know how to throw a hard punch.”

If most guys are like me, they are hopelessly wrong.

It’s easy to convince yourself that fighting is simple. Movies have filled us all with so many images of punching, kicking, and grappling that we’ve all no doubt replayed fight scenes in our mind. We can easily imagine ourselves winning fights because we have imagined our favorite actors winning fights. We have glossed over the details of fighting and have seen the ass-kicking without the technique. All of that memorization and absorption makes us think we could do the fighting ourselves.

That’s a dangerous assumption, and you find out how wrong it is when you first train in a martial art. For me, my first dip into the world of jiu jitsu made me realize just how unprepared I was to fight an opponent with any kind of experience in violence. Six months later, I’m still having my tail kicked six ways to Sunday, and there are a lot of better fighters who are tapping out, too.

Courage helps, but it won’t keep you from being choked out or knocked out in a fight. Determination helps, but it also loses consciousness when you do. Strength helps, but the right hold will make your strength useless.

Fighting is a skill, not game of brute force or will. You may have the will, but if you don’t know the techniques (and how to counter them), you are helpless.The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be. And if you haven’t been in a fight – real or simulated – in a while (or ever), you have no grounds for being comfortable with your self-defense skills.

This is at the same time a scary and a confidence-inspiring truth. You should be scared because you’re not as strong or as safe as you think. You should be confident because most other people are right in your spot. If you take initiative to learn the basics of self-defense, you’ll be much harder to take down. You might not be the world’s best fighter, but you’ll be safer.

Photo by Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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