How intense to attack? If I am provoked to defend myself, how much is too much? In this article I will share with you some research into how extreme you should attack during any situation.
This is probably the most often asked question with people learning self defense. “How intense should I attack?” The answer is – it depends.
If you are in a bar and someone is being a jerk you are better off to leave rather than attack. If you are walking down the street and three guys jump you, your intent better be to save your life whatever it takes…especially if they have a weapon.
Some perpetrators have the intention of only robbing you for money. I say give them the money and be gone. Others have the intent to kill or permanently harm you.
I will talk more in other blogs about how to understand the intent of people. For this blog, let’s assume a particular scenario that your gut is telling you, you are screwed unless you destroy the other person. Well, what you do next will determine you and the other person’s fate.
Get it in your head that there are two type of violence. Social and A-Social. Social violence can be compared to slugging someone because they have done something to you and you want to get even. The intent, is to harm to the extent that you want to let them know their behavior was not ok.
A-Social violence, on the other hand, is violence that is intended to kill or permanently injure someone. This is the type of crime that criminals are put in prison for. This is the type of fight or attack that makes you squirm inside when you see it because it goes against all you’ve been taught to believe. It evokes horror in you. (For most of us that is.)
Social violence will not work against A-Social violence. In order to save your life in an A-Social attack, you have to have the intent to destroy the other person or to make them non-functional at a bare minimum.
When you have the intent to destroy the other person your intention is to attack bodily targets that will cause massive damage to the person to render them nonfunctional. Non-functional means they are dead, unconscious, or unable to do harm.
This is what allows a-socially violent people to succeed. They may not be in the best shape or even know any martial art moves. But what they do know is how to attack to destroy another being.
This is their advantage.
Once you are aware of this and can learn how to train yourself for equal intention, then you even the playing field and dramatically increase your chance of survival.
I’m a big advocate for Tim Larkin’s Target Focused Training program because it trains you for how to handle violent criminals who have no conscience or empathy. To be clear, The Martial Arts Basics program is intended to provide you basic self defense skills so you are prepared for social confrontations along with garnering all the life skill inherited from disciplined training.
The side benefits of training in a good “social” self defense program include leadership skills, getting or staying in shape, more self confidence, less fear responses in life giving you better outcomes, and overall projecting a positive self image which by itself will deter many “would be” perpetrators.
Never forget though that this type of training will most often not prepare you for extreme violence we have been talking about. The intent is very different.
My suggestion is to get training in both. When you start a workout, set the intention for what you’re training for. Social or A-Social? Most people will never need to know the A-Social end of the spectrum of self defense training but when you need it, you will stand a far greater chance of surviving.
With the advent of more A-Social crimes today (Watch this video if you don’t believe me) I’d say no one is safe without having skills that reflect both ends of the violence spectrum.
On a final thought. It is normal to cringe at violence and to feel bad about using it. That is what human beings should feel. However, embracing the reality of violence in today’s world does a lot to encourage you to not be a victim and to take responsibility for making sure you can defend yourself or your loved ones.
While it’s sad, it’s a good practice to admit to the reality of violence today. I hope that even though you train to be prepared, you are an advocate to make the world a safer place to be – especially if you are a good fighter!