Self-defense, perspectives on it and the nature of learning

One of my students has led an interesting life. Some of the things he’s done:
  • He went jogging on the West Bank and was shot at as a result. He’s not Jewish, but he resembles one a bit through the scope of a sniper rifle.
  • A child soldier, high as a kite on sniffing glue, pointed an AK-47 at him and accused him of being a spy. He then talked his way out if it.
  • African villagers almost slaughtered him and his companion after the companion drove over a goat that belonged to a local (for whom selling its milk was that guy’s only source of income…) He did the right thing to defuse the situaiton and they got invited to the feast where the goat would be shared by all.
  • He got violently ambushed by a gang on a remote road in Asia and got him and his girlfriend out of it and to safety.
  • There’s more, but I’ll leave it at that.
 
Despite all this, he still doubts his self-defense skills.
 
My response during a call earlier today was that a large portion of Westerners would be in therapy for years after just one of those incidents, let alone several.
He doesn’t even think about it anymore.
Self-defense, perspective and learning
There are two points I’d like to make:
  • Self-defense is in many ways a matter of perspective. When faced with coming this close to getting murdered, some people never fully recover after they make it through. Others do so without any lasting consequences. These are two extremes, on opposite ends of the scale of possibilities. There is a lot of middle ground. Where we all fall on that spectrum depends on many factors. The point is that there is more than one truth when it comes to trauma when facing violence, recovery, and PTSD.
  • Violence is a broad topic. There are many aspects of it that apply across the globe and are found in all cultures. But there are also lots of differences and these matter just as much. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while have heard that before
    It then follows that nobody is an expert on violence as a whole. Experiences and training are individual. They don’t necessarily apply across the board. I can’t count the number of times I thought things were a certain way and then, later on, found out I was wrong. Case in point. I assume this will continue to happen. Hopefully, the mistakes will become fewer and with more time in between. Achieving that would be an achievement in its own right, as I’d like to continue learning until I die.

 

Conclusion

Everybody lives a unique life. One that comes with a unique perspective on self-defense, depending on the accumulated sum of those personal experiences. Each of us has an individual truth about self-defense as a result. When your truth conflicts with mine, that doesn’t automatically invalidate either (or both) of them.  The trick is figuring out what you can learn, which aspects you can translate to your own context and what is not applicable at all.

If any of you ever fully figure out that trick, let me know…

 

P.S.: First, many of you have asked so here’s an update. I’m currently writing the last chapter of my Boxing For Self-Defense book. I hope to finish it this week and then the editing and formatting can begin. When I have a release date, I’ll anounce it here and on my social media.

The second most asked question on this: it will be a three volume series of books. There is too much information to cover and cramming it in one book would force me to price it too high for most people. I want my stuff to be afordable and reasonably priced. I don’t know when the other two volumes will be released, given as I still have to write them…

How to use the Hyperice Viper 2.0 for Martial Arts and Self-Defense Practitioners

Last month, I published my “Stretching and Mobility Exercises for Martial Arts and Self-Defense” instructional video and promised to do an additional video for the resources page. It took a while due to technical problems, but here it is, my review of the Hyperice Viper 2.0 and how to use it as a martial artist or self-defense practitioner. The first part explains the basics and theory. The practical demonstration starts at 11min.25sec.

Here goes:

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the Vyper is worth every cent for me, and not just when it comes to mobility. It’s not cheap, but it has done so much for my recovery that it’s hard to put into words. I still use it every day, usually twice a day.

There are knock-off products available at a much lower price point. I haven’t tried any of those, but in my experience, there is often a reason why they are cheaper: lower quality. If you are feeling adventurous, feel free to give those a try. I prefer to save up a bit longer and then invest in long-term quality.

Go here to get your Hyperice Viper 2.0

Book review: Fight Like a Physicist – The Incredible Science Behind Martial Arts by Jason Thalken

A while ago, I read the book “Fight Like a Physicist: The Incredible Science Behind Martial Arts” by Jason Thalken.  I read it mostly because it received such rave reviews. Several people I know also recommended it to me, so I decided to buy it and give it a try. I have a particular interest in the physics of martial arts and conditioning, so I was eager to start reading.

The book has several sections and first talks about basics like center of mass, energy, momentum and glancing blows.

The second section is slightly different and covers protecting yourself with knowledge. It dives deeper into the mechanics of a knockout and how it damages your brain both in the short and in the long term. There is also a piece about how safety equipment works and how it can be improved.

Both these sections are interesting and I don’t really have any issues with them. The main negative point is that they are all rather basic. If you have trained for several years in the martial arts, you have probably heard of these concepts before or have studied them. The odds are good that you therefore already have a good working knowledge and the book doesn’t necessarily give you much more information. So I would look at it as a basic primer as opposed to an in-depth study.

 

Book review: Fight Like a Physicist - The Incredible Science Behind Martial Arts by Jason ThalkenThe second section is slightly problematic. Once again the first few chapters are relatively basic and don’t offer knowledge that isn’t freely available elsewhere. However, I take issue with the two final chapters.

First, there’s a part about guns, knives and the “Hollywood Death Sentence.” Though the author gives some basic information, he tends to put things in extremes as opposed to add nuance to the debate. The chapter about chi and pseudoscience in the martial arts also shows a limited understanding of Chinese martial arts. For sure, there is fake mysticism involved, but the practice is not by definition useless, despite the misgivings of the author.

If it sounds like I’m harshly criticizing this book, that is not my intent. Mostly I’m just disappointed because I expected more from the book. Perhaps you will find it more useful and interesting than I did, I sincerely hope so.

 

Conclusion

This book is great for beginners and if you haven’t really given the physics part of the martial arts and self-defense systems much thought. In that case, it is a good introduction to this topic. If you already have a solid working knowledge, then I would suggest waiting for another one to come along with more in-depth and nuanced information.

 

This review was first published in my Patreon newsletter of September 2017, available at Yellow Belt and up.

Podcast episode 28: AMA Interview with Loren W. Christensen

It’s been over two years since I last interviewed Loren W. Christensen, so it was high time! In preparation, I asked my Patrons for questions and I got so many that we turned the interview into an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Loren was kind enough to answer each question in detail, sharing information from his vast experience in martial arts, self-defense, and law enforcement.

Enjoy!

Loren W Christensen and Wim Demeere

Loren and me, a few years ago

1) The role of meditation in the martial arts and self-defense:

2) Preventive maintenance for people who want to train their whole life:

3) Early experiences and later ones, differences and similarities:

Loren’s site http://www.lorenchristensen.com/

Loren on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/loren.w.christensen

All Loren’s books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QVBjbf

 

Thanks for listening!

Please like, share and leave a review!

Please support the podcast and get access to loads of unique content in return:

https://www.patreon.com/wimdemeere

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Podcast episode 27: Self-defense techniques Q&A

First, my apologies for the massive delay on releasing this episode. There were technical problems with my microphone and then some more issues cropped up. I finally managed to get it all sorted out, so the regular schedule of releasing episodes will now resume.

In this episode, I answer Cain’s questions on getting attacked by rushdowns and several more.

Enjoy!

Show notes:

1. Updates:

2. Self-defense techniques Q&A:

 

Thanks for listening!

Please like, share and leave a review!

Please support the podcast and get access to loads of unique content in return:

https://www.patreon.com/wimdemeere

Subscribe to the podcast and automatically get the latest episode:

Spotify

iTunes

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