What is self-defense?

You may have heard about self-defense a lot, but what is it?  I am not talking about the legal aspect but the physical aspect (though you should be aware of the legal aspect when you practice self-defense: when you can do it, to what limit…).

I am practicing Ryukyu Kempo, a style of traditional karate martial art of the people on Japanese Ryukyu island.  In my opinion, this style of martial art is quite appropriate for self-defense, with simple, fast and effective counter-attack techniques. Yesterday, I heard two real stories from my seniors:

  • J-, who has been practicing different martial art styles for almost 20 years and Kempo for several years, was attacked by a flash mob of blacks last weekend, during the Independence Day festival in Philadelphia. In a split second, he knew that he could have taken down the guy attacking him easily, but with 20 more crazy guys coming and with a girl walking with him, he understood that counter-attack would lead to more violence and a worse situation. So J- chose not to take down the guy and let him beat him down while trying to reduce his injuries to minimal.  J- was taken to the hospital and was said by the police later that they could not identify the people in the flash mob.
  • Last week, also in Philadelphia, D- was robbed (by a black guy, sadly).  At the time, he had an injury in his ankle, so he would not be able to run away. He knew that even with his injury, he would have been able to knock down the robber. But he noticed another black guy nearby watching, who he did not know was a friend or an enemy (more probably an enemy). And he did not know if they had a gun or not. So he chose not to fight back and let the robber have his money (he managed to get his ID’s and cards back though).

A lesson I learned from these two stories is that: self-defense is not all about fighting or counter-attack physically. It’s more about awareness of your situation and danger, and react appropriately so as to protect yourself and/or your accompanies; first and highest priority being your life & well-being. You should always keep in mind that being alive is most important, much more important than your money. Also, don’t be fooled by Hollywood and Chinese action movies in which one guy can defeat ten guys attacking him, even with guns. It almost always never happen in real life. Never overestimate yourself and underestimate your situation when you are in danger.

Some more words about gun rights and gun control. I HATE the American gun rights!!! They said it’s all about freedom, it’s in the constitution, it’s for self-defense, it helps prevent and fight back crimes…  In my opinion, all BS!  What about the freedom and the rights to live of other people, who might be killed by those guns. You don’t need a gun for self-defense in the broad sense. And I don’t believe anyone with a gun would have fought back and shot the crazy killer who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, or would fight back any organized criminals. Without the so-called “gun rights,” I believe the number of those crazy shootouts and the number of innocent people killed will be reduced. I always advocate gun control.

One useful article on self-defense that you should read.

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