F I T – The Secret to Self-Defense


Lots of people in martial arts talk about “secret” techniques, but after almost 50 years practicing multiple self-defense disciplines I believe the secret is very simple. It’s about being F I T – Focus, Intensity, Technique.

That’s what we emphasized during testing last night. Yes, we need technique, but technique without focus and intensity is not enough in the real world of angry and desperate people attacking you with intent to cause you physical injury – and possibly even death. In a real attack, you will probably have less than a second to respond. If all you practice is technique, you may lack the ability to keep your attacker from doing you serious harm. You must also practice focus and intensity.

Focus means that you are able to pull together every cell of your body and aim them in the direction of your attacker and also on your surroundings. You have to think fast and act fast. If you don’t know how to focus, you will lose.

Intensity means that you are able to pull together every cell of your body and fill them with your deep intent to stay alive. That means bringing great force to bear on your attacker and that force comes from intensity. In physics, you determine intensity by taking the energy level and multiplying it by the velocity at which the energy is moving. Intensity is increasing your energy level and moving it toward the object at ever-increasing speed. It’s more than just muscle strength – it’s every kind of strength you can marshal to deal quickly and effectively with the person or persons intending to do you bodily harm. And don’t forget to use the intensity of your voice. A well-aimed, full-body shout in your attacker’s face helps you gain a momentary advantage – which could be just enough to give you victory!

Technique means that you are able to pull together every cell of your body and direct them to perform the skills you’ve acquired through self-defense training to overcome and defeat your attacker. A self-defense technique is simply what you use to accomplish the task of escaping harm. It might be an escaping technique, a blocking technique, a striking technique, a kicking technique, a throwing technique or a trapping technique. What’s important is that you have practiced enough self-defense techniques that your mind and body react fast enough to stop the attack by escaping your attacker or executing a physical movement that brings the attack to an abrupt halt. Technique training teaches us that self-defense is not about how big or strong you are. You’ve learned how to double and even triple your power through whole-body response to an attack. You’ve trained to be fast and flexible. You’ve trained to strike hard, fast and continuously when necessary. You’ve trained to use your opponent’s force against them and to throw them hard into any nearby surface that will cause them to lose their balance or ability to continue their attack. You’ve trained to evade and escape with great speed where possible, and when not possible to weaken your attacker with powerful punches and kicks to the most vulnerable areas of their body.

Self-defense that works is no secret  – it is the discipline of mind, body and spirit to overcome with Focus, Intensity and Technique. You can do it!

Blessings and see you Monday night for final testing and graduation. Practice your Kata and Bunkai!

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

Grace Martial Arts

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