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In the 30 or so years that I have been involved in the martial arts, I have come across plenty of people who thought they could defeat a pack of hooligans armed with baseball bats and knifes. The reality is often a very different one and when push comes to shove they are usually the first to find the exit or are pleading for mercy.
When I first started out as a fledging Kung Fu instructor in the early ’90’s I thought that it was a balance of 50% mental fitness and 50% physical ability. Nearly 20 years on, I must confess that I was sadly mistaken. I believe now that it is at least 80% mental toughness and perhaps 20% physical ability.
Think about it. Bullies and thugs look for victims not opponents. If you are not even prepared to fight, you’re not much of an opponent.
Many of our trainees who were confronted with a potentially dangerous situation involving one or more attackers have found that following ‘procedure’, i.e. relying on the training we provide got them out of trouble without even having exchange any blows! Why is that?
In order to defend yourself effectively you basically need two essential ingredients:
1. A personal combat system that has been tried and tested and proven to work under real conditions (i.e. Wing Chun or Escrima Concepts) and
2. A belief system that empowers you to act whenever necessary.
A functional fighting system will certainly see you through most altercations BUT ? if you doubt yourself or your art for whatever reason you are, for the lack of a better word, doomed, no matter how many Black Belts adorn your waistline. This is usually a result of technique based (as opposed to concept based) training that only works in a specific context or environment.
It’s the old adage of “Mind over Matter” that comes into play here, as a fight is often decided long before the proverbial mass hits the fan. This means that if your opponent believes that he can win more than you do, the outcome is usually a foregone conclusion in 90% of cases. The rest is simply fluke or because your mates suddenly turned up.
Things look a lot bleaker when alcohol and weapons are involved. The British Crime Survey estimates that in 47% of assaults the offender was under the influence of alcohol. Drunks, like drug addicts don’t think about their actions they just act on impulse as their inhibitions are suppressed by the alcohol. It’s your responsibility to act decisively and fast, especially if you are with a loved one. Because if you can’t or won’t, no one else will and you will end up as yet another statistic.
At some point you need to take a long good look in the mirror and ask yourself “Am I willing to pull the trigger”, i.e. are you willing to square up to your opponent even if your heart is pounding in your throat? Are you prepared to follow through with appropriate cause of action even if it does mean that one of you is going to end up ‘picking up his teeth with broken fingers’?
If the answer is anything but an unequivocal “YES!” you seriously need to re-evaluate what you are doing. The training at the Rapid Defence Academy is fun as well as functional. Everything we teach is pressure tested, keeping you safe in the knowledge that you can perform under stress and duress. This confidence translates into positive and assertive body language that tells bullies to stay away.
Remember: “It is not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight inside the dog that matters.”

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