“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:43-44
Jesus sat with His disciples on the Mount of Olives. They asked Him a question – “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” They believed Jesus was the Messiah and that He would bring in the Messianic Kingdom for Israel.
Jesus began His answer by warning them about being deceived. He said that many would come in His name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and deceive many people. Jesus said that even when they heard of wars and rumors of wars and nation rising against nation and kingdom again kingdom and of famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places, they should know that the end will not be yet – “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Jesus also warned His disciples that they would be hated by all nations for His name’s sake and would be persecuted and killed. Jesus said many false prophets would rise up and deceive many people. He said that lawlessness would abound and the love of many would grow cold. Jesus said His Gospel would be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, “and then the end will come.”
It was in this context of answering the disciples’ question about the sign of His coming and the end of the age that Jesus told them to “watch” and “be ready.” The Lord also gave an example that is familiar to martial artists – a home invasion – “if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.” Then Jesus added – “Therefore you also be ready.”
Here we find two keys to both “faith” and “self defense” – Beware and Be Ready. In our last post we shared about the importance of Being Aware. Now we look at Being Ready.
Being aware of danger is a great place to start, but it isn’t enough if we’re not ready to do something to defend against that danger. Awareness can help keep you out of dangerous situations, but what happens when you find yourself so close to an attacker that your awareness doesn’t give you enough time to escape? Would you know what to do?
That’s why self-defense training must go beyond just classes in awareness. If you see a dangerous person approaching you in a parking lot and you move as quickly as you can toward your car or some other safe place but the person moves faster than you and catches up to you before you are in that safe place, are you ‘ready’ to defend yourself?
Five Defensive Options
There are five basic options available to you in every self defense situation.
Think about the situation where you are trying to run from someone chasing you in a parking lot, but they are faster than you are. They catch up to you from behind and grab your arm or shoulder. Are you ready to do something to get away from your attacker? Are you ready to escape from their grab? Block them as they try to grab you? Strike them when they grab you? Trap them after they grab you? Throw them when they grab you?
Which self-defense option works best for you often corresponds with how you’ve trained to be ready. If you are ready with multiple self-defense options to a variety of attacks from different directions, you will have an increased confidence when you are walking in a parking lot (or anywhere else).
Escaping from a grab depends on many things, so a student of self defense needs to train in escaping from a variety of grabs: grabs from the front, grabs from the sides, grabs from the back – wrist grabs, arm grabs, elbow grabs, shoulder grabs, full-body grabs.
We train students in the 3 E’s of Escaping: Effective, Efficient Evasion.
Knowing how to escape begins by knowing where you stand in relation to a potential attacker.
- Zone 3 — Not within reachable space … if a potential attacker cannot reach you without taking a step, you are in a relatively safe zone. You can often escape by simply moving away from the potential attacker quickly.
- Zone 2 — Within reachable space … if a potential attacker can reach you without taking a step, you are in an unsafe zone. You can often escape by simply moving away from the potential attacker quickly.
- Zone 1 — Physical contact employed … when someone grabs you or strikes toward you, you are in a danger zone. You can often escape by employing a basic escape technique or by blocking a strike and moving away from the potential attacker quickly. If escape or blocking technique is not effective, then employing a countering technique (strike, trap or throw) often leads to an effective escape from the attacker.
A key to effective evasion includes efficient movement. Struggling for a lengthy period of time often leads a defender to exhaustion and defeat. Learning how to effect an escape in less than five seconds usually leaves the defender with enough energy and strength to run to a safe place. It also moves the defender away from the attacker before being trapped or seriously injured.
Moving to Safety
There are six basic directions in self defense: retreat (moving backward), advance (moving forward), left (moving left), right (moving right), up (moving up) and down (moving down). Actual self-defense movements often include multiple movements at the same time: e.g. down-retreat-left; up-retreat-right, etc. The movement chosen depends on the type of attack and the type of escape technique.
For example: an attacker uses his right hand to grab the left wrist of a defender. The defender might move his body in a down-retreat-right direction while executing a twisting-arm escape against the attacker’s grab. That moves the defender away from the attacker using their left hand to effect a double grab. The defender’s body moving in a downward direction also adds strength to the escape and causes the attacker to either let go or step forward in a bent position, causing them to lose some of the strength of their grab. It also places the defender in an excellent position to run away from the attacker, or if the attacker chases him, to kick backward driving heel to lower abdomen, then continue running away.
The combination of directional evasive movement (Yield and Clear) and effective escape technique (Contact and Control) accomplishes the primary objective: the defender escapes and moves from Zone 1 to Zone 3 before the attacker can employ a second attack.
Moving in the wrong direction can have the opposite effect of an escape technique. Instead of getting away from an attacker, a defender could find himself or herself pulled closer to the attacker’s body and grabbed with both hands into a grip that is more difficult to escape.
For example: an attacker uses his right hand to grab the left wrist of a defender. The defender might move his or her body in an up-advance-left direction while attempting a twisting-arm escape against the attacker’s grab. That places the defender closer to the attacker and removes them from a position of strength to one of weakness.
Training to Escape
How do students train to escape effectively and efficiently? We’ll share some training techniques in our next post.
We invite you and your family to become part of a Christian Martial Arts program.
If you would like more information about Grace Martial Arts and Karate For Christ International, please contact Sensei Mark McGee at email@example.com.
Teaching Children How To Be Healthy And Safe
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