Why Self Defense Doesn’t Work for Regular People

Tony Johnson

I’m not going to beat around the bush or be polite in this blog.  I’m going to tell you directly and clearly how it is.  It’s not my intention to offend anyone, but to educate.

The Self Defense methods that are most often taught simply don’t work for regular people.

There are 3 reasons why:

  1. Adrenaline & Heart Rate
  2. Training
  3. Audience

Adrenaline & Heart Rate
In a real situation, your body will experience a huge burst of adrenaline and your heart rate will shoot up through the roof.  There are a lot of effects*.  The most important thing to understand, and the thing that most instructors get wrong, is that unless you are very experienced in working with adrenaline, your body will act and respond very differently than normal.

I have seen that even people who have significant time invested in training sometimes cannot put their skills to work in the real world.  When training fails, it is usually because it becomes too complicated too soon, and ignores the basic realities of adrenaline and heart rate.

Any self defense class must consider the audience.  You simply cannot  teach a group of law enforcement professionals the same way that you teach a sorority group their first self defense course.  One size does not fit all.

The Good News
The good news is that you CAN learn self defense if you are just a regular person interested in protecting yourself and your family.  You do not have to be a professional or have thousands of hours of training to learn effective self defense.  You just need a teacher who has experience working with the collection of skills that are appropriate for you.  Some teachers get bored working on these fundamentals, but in truth, nothing is more important, and if you ignore this fundamental training, you will forever be in greater peril.
Don’t get too complicated too soon.  We work with movement and training the startle reflex quite a bit.  More on that on the next blog post.

Immediate Self Defense
My Immediate Self Defense workshops were created especially for regular people.  Mothers, fathers, real estate and other professional business people, and even children have learned Immediate Self Defense.

Here is a link to a recent radio interview about Immediate Self Defense and Martial Arts Academy:

I will be starting an online training program for self defense soon (one for everyone, and one for professional self defense instructors).  If you are interested in more information, please let me know.

*(there’s lots of discussion on the effects of adrenaline in my book.  Most importantly, see Chapter 2 on Stress Response and Adrenaline starting on page 13, and Chapter 7 on Physical Techniques on page 94 has a section on Adrenaline & Pressure training).

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