What is Self Defence?

Extracted from an article entitled "The Monkey Dance"

What do you think of when you think about self defence? Self defence in terms of being able to physically defend yourself against an attacker is only a small part of it. This aspect of self defence is a last-resort solution to a physical confrontation. Resorting to physical violence means that all other avenues of conflict resolution have failed.

In most cases self defence begins with a simple rule: avoid the situation in the first place. In other words, you don't walk down dark alleys or go to the "bad" part of town, or other places where potential threat is likely to be found. If you go looking for trouble, it will probably find you.

In most of the remaining cases a situation will escalate in a pattern which can be anticipated. Like most animals, humans have a ritual to establish social dominance or defend territory. This ritual is often known as "The Monkey Dance" and has specific steps, though the steps may vary from culture to culture.

In our culture the steps may be similar to the following:
1) Eye contact, hard stare
2) Verbal challenge: "What are you lookin' at?"
3) Close distance
4) Finger poke or push to the chest
5) Dominant hand roundhouse punch

The Monkey Dance is almost always a male thing and can be circumvented by one person backing down, talking their way out to prevent it escalating. If you start the dance you will probably not be able to stop, and most incidents are resolved by one person backing down before violence starts. If the conflict does turn physical the fight is usually over very quickly once it has begun. There are few cases not covered by the above, but these few are very different. The remaining cases involve predatory violence. This is when you are attacked without obvious provocation and usually with no warning. There is no choice here except run or fight. Except where you have no other option, it is usually better to run than to fight.

- Mick Todd