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Self Defense


Self defense skills
I saw a bumper sticker once that said, "I'd live in heaven, but the rent's so cheap in hell." You may have noticed that you live in hell, and that you're surrounded by devils. Research finds that more than half the people in America are predators: meaning they don't respect the rights or feelings of others, and they live out of ruthless self interest. And 4% are sadists with no conscience at all. In a situation like this, I can see no choice but to learn self-defense. Not to do so is to remain a victim. And that's intolerable.

The curious paradox is that if you learn self defense, you make the planet safe for you. And then you can thrive here. So it isn't hell for you anymore....

If you happen to find yourself living in hell, what should you do? The only strategy I can see is to learn martial arts so as to make your personal world safe, and then build a refuge, a nest for you and your loved ones. You can make your home and family an oasis of peace and nurturing. When you walk in the front door, you can take the armor off and put down the weapons. Your nest becomes a place to heal and rejuvenate so you can go back out into hell again tomorrow.

One of life's paradoxes is that (in the beginning) you most need self defense skills with the one you love the most. We're lucky we live in a time when non-violent self defense has been developed: you can stop the abuse they're doing to you without hurting them. And you can teach them how to treat you well. Once the abuse is stopped, then you no longer need self defense skills with your loved one, and your nest is calm and sweet. Out there in the world, you still need self defense skills, but not at home.

Classic self defense
Classic self defense works under most circumstances:

1) I recognize abuse when it's done to me. If I don't spot it, I can't stop it. My feelings always know instantly when I'm being abused. If it feels like abuse, it is. I don't second guess myself or make excuses for the abuser.

2) I stop the abuse. If I don't stop it, it only gets worse. I hold up my hands with the palms toward the abuser, and I say, "Stop," over and over in a calm tone till they stop. If they don't, I use my hands to block line of sight, and continue to say, "Stop." That'll stop almost anyone.

3) I say something on the order of, "That hurts. Please don't do that."

4) I ask for future change. "In the future please...." Whatever they did wrong, I explain what respectful behavior would have been.

5) A common response to self defense is escalation. When they do, I put up my hands and start all over again. If they get too wild, I take a time out. I say, "Time out, ten minutes." And I come back in ten minutes to continue.

You'll notice that this form of self defense is based on the teaching model. The teachable moment is to catch someone red-handed in the middle of misbehavior. No one should be able to complete a sentence of verbal abuse at me. Halfway through it, my hands are up and I'm stopping them. Then I tell them what they did wrong and what to do right. With this form of self defense I literally teach the people around me to treat me well. And it's very powerful. No one can resist the hands....

And you'll notice that this form of self defense is non violent. When I'm attacked, I should not be hurt. My skills should be too good to get through. And also, my attacker should not be hurt. Just because he's attacking me is not a reason to descend to his level. So I protect him, and any bystanders too. No one should get hurt. Since I don't use violence, this form of self defense can be used with people I love and care about.

Coyote self defense
Coyote self defense works under all circumstances, and is often invented intuitively on the spot. It's the art of using stealth and deception for self defense. When I'm attacked, I switch from friendliness skills to combat skills. Warrior skills are based on being cunning, sweet, patient and detached:

1) When I'm abused, I refuse to talk about content, and instead talk about feelings. "You seem to be angry. Am I reading you right?" I draw my sparring partner onto my battlefield, because when we talk about feelings no one wins or loses. And then I ask more questions about feelings, explore them.

2) I use empathy to convince the abuser that I am on his side and seeing things from his point of view. This is a delicate art, but if I'm good enough, I can even get him to take a little advice.

3) When attacked, I lie and manipulate shamelessly. I pretend to have feelings I don't have. Of course I don't deceive in order to hurt my attacker, but rather for their good.

4) I exaggerate the drama. For example, a client had a mom who called with endless worries. My client would try to placate her. So we invented a new strategy. The next time Mom called to worry, my client listened till the end, and then said, "Oh Mom, it's worse than you think," and gave her three more reasons to worry that she hadn't mentioned. In less than a week the behavior stopped. Mom still called, but she didn't talk about worries.

5) I confuse my attacker, and distract them, or drive them crazy. I ask innocent-sounding questions that are hard to answer. I pretend to give in to their efforts to control me, temporarily, if necessary.

6) I startle the abuser. This is suggested in an old sufi story. A saint was walking along, and he saw a snake. "Don't bite," he said to the snake. A few days later he saw the snake again, and the snake was battered and bruised. "I told you not to bite," said the saint to the snake, " but I didn't tell you not to hiss."

7) I expose the abuser. In front of the people who matter to him, I talk about what he's up to.

8) I use my knowledge of their weaknesses to protect myself. If he's afraid of his boss, I go into the boss's office.

9) I melt the abuser's defenses. For an example of this, you can see "An Aikido Story:" Click here.

To see more information about coyote skills: Click here.

Forms of Abuse
There are 10 common forms of abuse that science has found. I would have thought there'd be hundreds. But no, there are only 10. They are, starting with the most common: abandonment, contempt, melodrama, control, rejection, betrayal, sarcasm, shaming, criticism, and deprivation.

Each of these forms of abuse causes a particular form of defensiveness. So there are 10 forms of defensiveness. The problem with defensiveness is that none of the forms work. The only thing that works is actual self-defense.

Defending yourself effectively from abuse leaves you free and undamaged. Defensiveness not only doesn't stop the abuse, but you drive yourself crazy into the bargain.

The 10 forms of defensiveness are: pleasing, magical thinking, melodrama, anger, helplessness, suspicion, worry, hiding, selfishness, and enduring.

The irony is that one is often attacked by someone's dysfunctional defensiveness. Each form of defensiveness can be used as another form of abuse. So in that sense, there are 20 forms of abuse, except that melodrama appears twice. So, technically, there are 19.

To see more information about the forms of abuse: Click here.

Download Self defense skills.rtf