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The Risks of Relying on Running for Self-Defense: What Every Individual Should Consider

One of the biggest pieces of cow manure you hear people say or write when they're talking about self-defense is, "I don't need to know any self-defense; I'm just going to run away when it happens," or something to that effect. They seriously believe that running away is always the best solution to every possible confrontation or attack scenario they may encounter. But study the picture above. What do you see? You see a predator catching up to its prey. Think about that in the context of self-defense. In this blog, I'll explain the many reasons why running away may not always be a good idea and why it is important to know some form of practical fighting. Notice I said practical fighting, not martial arts.

Let's get to it!

The I Don't Get Into Fights Myth

Before I get into reasons why running away is not always a good idea, I want to disprove this common argument that some people say or post online. It's called the I Don't Get Into Fights Anyway, So I Don't Need to Learn How to Fight argument. These people believe they don't need to learn any self-defense because they don't get into fights anyway, so it's pointless to learn anything. But this is why this line of thinking can get you in trouble. You must understand that there are two types of fighting:

  1. Consensual - two people agree to fight each other in an agreed upon manner, which includes rules and a determination of what it means to win the fight. For example, a boxing match, a wrestling match, a fight outside a bar to test your manhood, or a jiu jitsu tournament.

  2. Non-Consensual - one person wants to fight and the other one does not. This is not a mutually agreed upon fight. In fact, the fight is being forced on one person, whether they want it or not. The target or prey is forced to fight back or die. For example, a mugging, a rape, a gang assault, a home invasion, a kidnapping, an armed robbery, a bullying scenario, a road rage incident, a carjacking, a robbery, a shooting, and many more.

You see the difference? In one, you get into fights because you AGREE TO FIGHT. In the other, you are a BEING FORCED TO FIGHT, or risk injury, death, or worse. So how can you say that because you don't get into fights, so you don't need to learn to defend yourself?

There are people who live among us who are predators, a-holes, and sociopaths, and if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you had bad luck that day, then you might run into these people and become their victims. Now what are you going do? Run? Curl into a fetal position and cry for your mommy?

Don't Run - Reason 1: Your Loved Ones?

If you get attacked by yourself, and the situation allows for it, then go ahead and run as fast as you can. But what happens when you have your loved ones with you? What if you have your girlfriend, husband, or child with you? What if you and your family are on vacation abroad and your family gets robbed and assaulted? Will you just run? Or will you abandon them? What if your children can't run fast? Then what? Do you just leave your daughter behind to get kidnapped?

The answer to all these what-ifs is an easy one: of course not. Unless you don't care about them. You have to stay and defend your loved ones. And if you don't know anything about self-defense, then you can't save them. And that is tragic.

People who still think that fighting is some kind of challenge match that young men engage in to prove themselves. Wrong. They have their blinders on and pretend that nothing evil could ever come their way. They live in denial that wolves exist. But if a wolf comes at you, then how do you protect your loved ones? Do you just run?

Don't Run - Reason 2: They Will Catch Up to You

Unfortunately, predators can run very fast. If you've ever seen a zebra being chased by a lion in Africa, then you know what could happen. Unless you're confident that you can outrun your pursuer, and that you have the stamina to keep going for a long distance, be careful about turning around and fleeing. Here's my suggestion:

  1. If you are more than 50 yards away from your attacker, then you have the option of sprinting away as fast as you can, depending on your pursuers' age and fitness level.

  2. If you are less than 50 yards away from your attacker, I don't recommend turning around and running. The pursuer can get you from behind very easily, even tackle you.

Use your common sense. Turning your back to a predator exposes you to rear attacks, so be careful. If you face the enemy and defend yourself, you may have a better chance at survival.

TRUE STORY: I once had a student who came to my academy and wanted to sign up for classes. We talked in my office as I interviewed him. This was a fairly young man, about twenty one years old and very thin and gaunt. I noticed he had a long thin scar around his neck that went from ear to ear. I asked him where he got that scar. He told me:

One year ago, I got involved in a really bad incident. I was at a party in San Francisco and it was the kind that was late at night, a lot of young people, everyone was drinking, and people got into fights. I got into a fight with this one guy, and we went at it bare fisted and bloody. We fought two rounds. I knocked him down both times. There were lots of people watching. I got so tired after the last round, so I decided to just leave, get out of there. I walked out the building and was on the street. I was about a block away from the place when all of a sudden I got tackled from behind. I felt a razor blade cut into my neck. The guy I beat at the party had chased after me down the street, jumped me from behind, and pulled out his razor blade and sliced my neck wide open. Then he ran off. I felt blood was gushing out my neck like a faucet. Luckily my friends chased after me and saw what happened. They were literally choking my neck to keep the blood from spilling out. My friends called 911, the ambulance came, and they were taking me to the emergency room. I was told that blood was pouring out of me as the paramedics were putting fresh blood into me. I had lost three pints of blood on the way to the hospital. We only have four pints in the human body at all times. I almost died. The doctors saved me. But even now, a year later, my bodyweight never went back to normal. I can't seem to gain any weight. Doctors told me that's because I lost so much blood in that incident.

I asked the young man what he learned from that experience. He said:

Never assume the guy you're fighting doesn't have a weapon, even if you don't see it. And

never turn around and walk away until you know it's really over. Just because you think it's over for you, and you don't want to fight anymore, doesn't mean it's over for your opponent. He can chase you down.

Well said.

Don't Run - Reason 3: Nowhere to Run

The problem with using running as your only form of self-defense is that you may end up trapped in a space where you can't run, like an alley, an elevator, or a room with one door. Or worse. You could be surrounded by zombies and now you have to fight back!

Do you know the worst place to hide is? A restroom that has no windows. Never hide there because you have no exits.

In case you get trapped in a no exit, or one exit, space, you'll need to fight your way out of there. Grab anything around you and turn it into a weapon. But there may be times when running just isn't a viable option.

It's Better to Have It and Not Need It, Than Need It and Not Have It

A good self-defense training program will educate you in the realities of the street, and give you the hard truth. Martial arts are about seeking the Truth. Tandez Academy does this in every class. We believe that your safety and security is your responsibility, no one else's.

It is better to have it, and not need it, than need it and not have it. If you can run, then run as fast as you can and get out of there. But if the situation calls for self-preservation, then you should always have an answer, and hope that the answer is reliable and effective.

If you're interested in training with us, please contact me at 408 373 0204. We teach Reality-Based Self-Defense in every class we offer. Come check us out.

"I Hate Cardio. I Better Learn How to Fight." -

a student at Tandez Academy

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