Don’t let space invaders win!
Strange title you may think but if we take that literally from a self defence aspect we do not want to let aggressors invade our space.
If you allow aggressive people into your personal space violence will surely ensue. What do we mean by invading your personal space, well if they can touch you then they are too close period and your alarm bells should be ringing.
Don’t get caught up into the monkey dancing, gesturing, chest bumping or stare down tactics as this will only draw you into your attackers world and will not have any value in keeping you safe.
Why is this so important? In all the encounters I have been involved with and seen it’s when your aggressor is too close that he has the advantage as in most cases action beats reaction so letting him in you will be reacting. I know I am going to get a lot of mails saying but GM Angelo we train in MMA and Who flung Dung style and we can defend any attack from any position. Sorry to upset people but you can’t. How you initially engage with the assailant can determine weather you live or die in extreme circumstances.
If we use the military as an example a commander would not say to his men just rush up to the enemy and attack them. They would do a reconnaissance mission to check how many they were dealing with, what weapons do they have, what is the terrain like, what strategic advantage could they utilise, where would the enemy run to if they retreated, escape routes and there are many more things to consider before any fighting takes place. On the street I know you are not in the army but the factors you are employing are the same e.g. by sizing up your attacker/s, how many of them are there, are there any weapons involved, what can you use for weapons, where can you escape to, is it wet or snowing on the ground etc.
Keeping safe is your priority so you must utilise space (to give you time to act) and the weapons close at hand that could be employed to aid your self protection. If you think it’s a good idea touching forehead to forehead in a bid to show you are not scared of your attacker then you are asking to be knocked out. You should not be so focused on matching your assailants aggression or not losing face as you may not be aware of his friend sneaking up behind you about to plunge a knife in your back or a glass bottle over your head.
Why I am banging on so much about space? The reason is as martial artists we have and use so many techniques that this actually can be a hindrance. A street fighter/mugger will use what he knows has worked time and time again as he has perfected the distraction, surprise technique so crossing your threshold happens very quickly and entering your personal area will be accomplished without hesitation. Once he is in your personal area you are on the back foot and playing catch up as he has taken the initiative to implement his plan.
There is an unwritten rule in street encounters and that is he who strikes first normally wins.
In my experience I found this statement to be true, when it has failed is when the defender has had a little more space and time to work with so that they could react positively to the aggressors.
When you are not prepared it can seem to happen so fast as borne out by the many victims of crime statements I have taken over the years. Things actually don’t happen that quickly as there are always precursors that happen before any event we just have to learn to read the signs and signals that are evident before any act of aggression takes place.
Having said the above, in England the law states that if you genuinely believe you are in imminent danger of being attacked or fear for your safety than you can strike first to defend yourself. Now there is not a need to wait any more to be attacked and then do something about it. The key words here are genuinely believe.
There is an excellent book on street encounters by Shihan Alex and I have put a link below for you.
Be safe and don’t play space invaders.