You are learning how to apply a choke and tell your instructor that you have used the choke for real in bar fights, and that it only takes ten seconds for an opponent to lose consciousness. How should your instructor respond?
1. Ask you to describe and elaborate on the situation you were in.
2. Scold you for smiling when talking about your success with the 52 Blocks choke.
3. Ask if you work as a bouncer.
4. Talk about the dangers the choke can cause the victim.
Your instructor may want to emphasize that the material you learn in class is intended to help you get out of a sticky situation. Studying 52 Blocks for self-defense does not mean that you should go out and look for situations where you can try your skill for real. If you desire to test your skill on somebody, you might want to enter a full contact or noholds-barred tournament. Although such an event isn’t real self-defense, you will still get the adrenaline rush from the stress, which can have a positive impact on your self-defense training. Don’t brag about the real fights you have encountered, especially not if you have sought them out yourself. Getting into bar brawls is hardly something to be proud of. As a trained martial artist, you should know how to avoid these situations. Having tested your skill in real life scenarios gives you credibility. However, impressing on others that you are trying to hurt them can easily damage your reputation. Your peers should see you as a role model. They should view you as someone they want to emulate.
Most people love to talk about themselves. Your instructor, too, should be careful about getting into the Let me tell you what happened to me at the bar last week . . . attitude. If something worthwhile really did happen, he should find a way to implement it in your training. For example, he may have seen the bouncer use a sleeper hold to render a brawler unconscious while waiting for police to show up. The scenario can be documented and learned from: How much time passed before the technique took effect? How difficult was it to apply the technique? What were the circumstances? What went wrong, or what could have gone wrong? If this happens to you next week, what would you do differently? Later, when your instructor teaches you the sleeper hold, he can draw from his experience and teach with an attitude of realism.
Training in realistic self-defense teaches a person about her limitations (perceived or otherwise). Here are some things to consider and evaluate before and after you attend a self-defense seminar:
1. Identify how a fight starts, including body language, pointing, name calling, etc.
2. How capable are you of coping with a great deal of stress? How much physical and mental training have you received?
3. If you have a weapon available, or something that can be used as a weapon, your self-defense capability depends to some extent on your ability and readiness to use the weapon.
4. What are the various types of weapons you could use or reach for in a self-defense situation? How can you use them?
5. If your assailant appears to be unarmed but suddenly pulls out a knife or a gun, how can you take the active approach?
6. Practice physical closeness with another person, for example, by carrying his weight on top of you when on the ground.
7. Consider threats that are confined to a specific area (like a room), and how to maneuver toward the door or other escape route.