The Right to Self Defence

In light of the article on the ABC’s 7.30 Report on Monday 17th February (, here are my comments:

Did you know that:

  • ·         1 in 3 woman face physical or sexual abuse in their life time
  • ·         One woman a week is killed by her spouse or ex partner
  • ·         1 in 5 children are the victim of sexual abuse (that’s one child for  every 3rd house you pass on your street)
  • ·         Sexual harassment is one of the biggest reasons for stress related leave in the workplace
  • ·         The Australian government has paid out over $10 000 000 in compensation claims related to violence in Queensland schools in the last 5 years
  • ·         Queensland Police spend 40% of their time dealing with domestic violence (yet only 14% of court time deals with this common issue).

The truth is that our society is rife with issues that the average person just doesn’t want to think about. In fact the human brain is designed to push these realities to the very back of our consciousness as a coping mechanism in order to allow us to function normally in society and not suffer massive bouts of paranoia. Interestingly it is this primal coping mechanism that also puts us in situations that are potentially life threatening. We have all experience ourselves saying “she’ll be right mate”, which actually means that you are over riding your bodys natural response to an environment or situation, cognitively weighing up the balance of probabilities. The tragic death of Jill Meagher is perhaps just one example – who knew there would be someone with intent lurking just down the road looking for someone to attack. If her experience stops just one person from the same tragic fate because people understand there are terrible people in this world then we have begun the journey of self defence.

If these criminal elements didn’t exist there would be no need for a police force (dealing with domestic threats), a military (dealing with international threats), United Nations (dealing with global threats to humanity), lawyers (fighting for the innocent ….. and the guilty) and private security providing assistance to all of the above

Whether you like it or not our world has a massive criminal element.  Sexual predators, molesterers, thieves and narcissists.  Self defence especially Krav Maga simply asks that you accept that bad things happen to good people, and take measures to stop a threat to your person or loved one.

I believe it is irresponsible to advise people to not protect themselves because you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law. The advice should be that if you are in a physical altercation you willend up in court, embrace it. The legal system is there to protect your civil rights and one of them is your right to self defence and the defence of others. If you do what others would consider reasonable given the circumstances you have nothing to worry about. I would argue that a person that has no training in resolving violence is more likely to make the wrong decision than someone who has trained in scenarios that depict the reality of violence (depending on the system and instructor of course).

Krav Maga is one of the only self defence systems in the world that teaches a force continuum model.  In fact ask any participant and they will tell you that engaging the aggressor is the very last option. Avoidance is the best way to end an altercation, and if they must engage they must commit to the defence and stop/neutralise the problem, not disable the assailant or inflict the maximum damage.

Krav Maga teaches while defending a dangerous attack to strike the jaw and the groin in the beginning of the altercation if avoidance was not possible. Why the face and groin? Because compared to most other options they will generally stop the problem while not inflicting grievous bodily harm. I already hear the critics, but one punch can kill!!! Ok fair enough so let’s look at two elements.

  1. a)In almost all cases where a person has suffered death as a result of violence it was not the punch to the face that caused death. The cause of death is the impact of the skull striking a hard surface as a result of being punched. Boxing exponents have punched to the head for over a century with relative safety even when concussion occurs.
  2. b)Don’t compare someone that trains in Krav Maga to defend themselves against violence to the narcissists who go out with the intention to king hit an innocent person having a good night out with their friends or family. You’re right one punch can kill, all the more reason for someone to learn how to defend themselves and learn to stop the problem rather than do nothing, get knocked out, stabbed, become a vegetable or die. Krav Maga student are generally professional individuals such us health professionals, teachers, Doctors, Tradies and students. They all have one thing in common and that is they feel the need to learn how defend themselves against people who for whatever deranged reason feels the need to attack them or their family.

Krav Maga does train people to become aggressive but I would like to point out that there are fundamentally two types of aggression.

  1. A constant state of anger frustration and aggression used to constantly do damage to people and property. This is the type of aggression that is commonly thought of when the word aggression is used.
  2. A controllable determined will to win or survive that is turned on and off to accomplish a specific task such as a rugby player running for the goal line or a mother protecting a child or the Soldier that gets awarded a Victoria cross for bravery after saving the life of a friend. Tell me what’s more heroic the mother that defends her child or the soldier doing their job. This is the type of aggression that is eluded to when teaching Krav Maga, the will to win and never give up.

As a professional within the self defence industry one of the concerning things is the number of martial artists from various systems doing a 2,3 or 5 day courses to become an instructor in Krav Maga and then attempting to teach people how to defend violence. The student must also take responsibility for their own training, make sure that the instructor is well qualified through a reputable Krav Maga organisation and challenge the logic behind the teachings. If you are taught to strike the throat or gouge the eyes or break a leg as the first option when faced by someone verbally abusing you then you should do a lot more research.

There are circumstances where vital striking is considered appropriate, and those circumstances revolve around the intent of the aggressor. In the case of property or verbal abuse, complying and creating space and leaving the environment is the preferred option however, in the case of life threatening situations such as rape, abductions or attempted murder then it is reasonable to consider the use of such tools, don’t forget that one woman a week is murdered by her spouse or ex partner, just in case you forgot that bad things happen to good people.

If you are the person that doesn’t feel the need to learn habits that will save your life then you are one of the majority who fail to accept that bad things happen to good people.  You say “that will never happen to me”, you walk home at night via the dark alley, you let your kids ride a push bike without a helmet, you haven’t changed the batteries in the smoke detector in years. You forget that Bikies sell drugs to children, and that young girls and boys are kidnapped and sold to criminal organisations as sex slaves. Yet I bet you look both ways before you cross the road because the threat of being hit by a car is imminent, so what would you do if someone aggressively tried to punch you in the face, rape you or your child or a client attacked you at work even if it was a 13 year old child trying to impale you on the blade of a knife.

My point is simple, everyone has the need to learn self defence. You don’t need to be paranoid, It is dangerous to bury your head in the sand and pretend the world is a safe place. Accept that bad things happen to good people and you will automatically start building habits to make you safe. Don’t let the threat of legal action stop you from defending yourself against violence. You will get hurt or punched or killed.

Ultimately be mindful and be safe.

Ashley Gard

Similar Posts