Scott Be Positive

The Three D’s of Self-Defense

By Scott Shaw

Martial artists are forever seeking new methods to refine their personal science of self-defense. Once the physical and philosophic basics of a system are mastered, then comes the metal refinement that takes the student forward, moving them towards the level of martial arts mastery.

In order to raise the ever-evolving understanding of my martial arts students, I personally prescribe a method that I called, “The Three D’s of Self-Defense.” This method is provided to help define a precise course of action for each confrontation and to ultimately chart a pathway towards victory. The Three D’s are:

1. Deflect
2. Deny
3. Defy

To briefly go into the basics for this three-part self-defense philosophy, we can view each element individually.

A physical confrontation is never to anyone’s benefit. It is only the ego-driven martial artist that desires to go toe-to-toe with another person and emerge victorious. To this end, it takes the larger man (or woman) to walk away from a fight rather than to allow another person to drag them into a physical altercation. Therefore, the first means of deflection is to walk away from any confrontation.

Certainly, we all realize that walking away is not always an option. This is especially the case when a person either grabs you or strikes you and is not going to stop until they are disabled. To achieve self-defense in the most conscious manner possible, while keeping yourself free for personal injury, the true martial artist will always deflect an attack rather than encounter it directly.  

Forcefully blocking an assault has been shown time-and-time again to lead to injuring the blocking component of your arm or actually breaking your blocking hand. Therefore, learning the science of opponent energy manipulation and deflection is the ideal first tool of effective self-defense that each martial artist should master.

When there is no way to exit a physical confrontation and stop it before it begins, and deflection has not halted an opponent’s attack, the next step in conscious self-defense is to deny their ability to continue forward with their assault. The quickest and most debilitating way to engaged an oncoming opponent is to strike them before they have ability to strike you. For example, they are rapidly moving in towards you to attack. Before they have the chance to connect with a punch, kick, or grab, you deliver a powerful first-strike to a debilitating part of their body. 

When encountering an enraged attacker, each situation is defined by its own set of circumstances. Therefore, there is no one strike that should always be used. But, a powerful straight punch to the face, a front kick to the groin, a hammer fist to the temple, a knife hand or fist to the throat are all viable first-strike weapons in an offensive defense. 

A physical altercation is rarely won by simply delivering one strategically placed blow to an attacker. Though occasionally, if you deliver a powerful strike to debilitating location on your opponent’s body, this may occur. But, you can never rely upon this. I have witnessed a number of incidences when a person was walking away from a confrontation, after having knocked their opponent to the ground, only to have the opponent jump up and charge after them.  Therefore, you must defy their ability to come after you once the first round has been won. 

No honorable martial artist would ever kick an opponent when they are down. That being said, you must be sure that you actually have the ability to completely leave the scene of the confrontation before you turn your back on your attacker. To this end, simply leaving your opponent with a bloody nose may not be enough. Unless they have formally conceded the fight, you must continue forward with your offensive defense until they are fully subdued.  

Again, each confrontation is defined by its own set of parameters, so it will ultimately be up to you to know when you can safely leave. But, before you attempt to leave, be sure that your opponent’s ability to come after you has been nullified or you may not emerge victorious during the second round of the confrontation. 

Three Together
The elements of, “The Three D’s of Self-Defense,” can also be tied together and used as one cohesive self-defense methodology. For example, an attacker races towards you. Before he can make impact, you deflect his initial attack. Immediately, you follow up with a powerful, well-placed, strike that stuns him. Finally, wasting no time, you follow thru with a debilitating second punch, kick, break, or throw that ends the entire confrontation. By defending yourself in this manner you allow your attacker no time to rethink or redirect his initial attack and you emerge victorious.  

The martial arts are a refined science of physical and mental training designed to make the practitioner a more conscious and aware interactive participant of life. For this reason, the true martial artist never trains simply to learn how to fight. Instead, they train in order to gain new mental and physical understandings that will keep themselves and their loved ones safe. They achieve this by avoiding confrontations whenever possible and achieving physical victory only when absolutely necessary. 

Strive to become the best, most conscious and competent martial artist that you can be.

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