The Only Wrong Move In Self-Defense
By Tenna Perry
Over the years while teaching karate and various
rape-prevention seminars, I have been asked many times, "What
if I make the wrong move? What if I do something wrong?" More
times than not, the person asking the question will precede
her question with, "I know this is a stupid question but...?"
As always, I try to instill in the student that
the only stupid question is the one she leaves unasked. Along
the same line of thinking, the only wrong move in self-defense
is no move at all. Now, I am talking about actual SELF-defense.
Not the loss of a purse, wallet, watch or whatever other material
thing someone may be robbing from you. One thing to remember
is that NO material possession is worth human life, specifically
If you are in a parking garage or coming out
of a movie theater and someone pulls a knife or firearm and
demands your money, your only question should be if he wants
it airmailed or hand-delivered. Whenever possible, you should
go for airmailed. This means placating the assailant and tossing
him whatever he wants. If all he wants is a simple robbery,
count yourself lucky and allow him to go on his way as soon
as possible. Even martial artists who have trained for years
prefer not to go up against a knife or a firearm. All too often,
when a knife is involved, blood is going to be let and it usually
belongs to the one defending against the knife. As for firearms,
a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson can beat 38 years of training
in a matter of a split second, simply because firearms are made
to kill from a distance.
On the other hand, if your life or the life
of someone else is in danger, that is when it is time to attempt
to fight back. When you decide to fight back, do it in earnest.
Kick, claw, bite, punch, knee, stomp and do whatever is necessary
to enable you to get away as quickly as possible. There are
no fair fights on the street and, remember, once you are away
from the assailant, keep going. Don't stop to see if he is hurt.
Don't wait for him to get up and have another go-round. Don't
pass go. Don't collect $200 or anything else. Run to the nearest
safe area and then call for police assistance. You are not Steven
Segal or Chuck Norris, and a Hollywood choreographer didn't
write every step and punch.
The most important thing to remember when faced
by any assailant is to keep your head. Hysterics, fainting,
freezing in fear or curling up in a fetal ball won't help you
in the least. By staying as calm as possible, you are able to
weigh your various options and take advantage of the first sign
of diversion, distraction or letting down of his guard.
Perhaps the assailant is a man with rape on
his mind. While rape is a violent crime involving sex, it is
also a crime of power and intimidation. If he seems the type
to be even more turned on the harder you may fight, take a chance
and accost him in return. Rip your shirt or blouse off and say
something like, "Oh baby! After that last test came up positive,
it has been so long since anyone has wanted me! Come on, right
here, right now!" Sound ridiculous or embarrassing? It beats
the heck out of living with the physical and mental after-effects
is a native Texan who lives happily in the country with her husband,
three children, five collies, a snobbish cat and one temperamental
hedgehog. She holds black belts in both Bushido Kai and American
Freestyle Karate (AFK). Along with her husband (who holds a second
degree black in AFK), Tenna has taught karate, self-defense and
rape prevention for ten years. In addition to a background in
karate, Tenna has more than 13 years experience in small animal
veterinary medicine and seven years in equine medicine. She is
also a survivor of child sexual abuse and rape with extensive
writings online concerning all of the subjects mentioned above.
She is the Abuse and Safety Editor here at Busy Parents Online
as well as the founder/editor of the ezine Survivor
Haven and has a column at Suite101.com on Child Sexual Abuse.
Hers is a strong voice that never hesitates to speak out against
any form of child or domestic abuse and rape.