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Levels of Self-Defense

There are different levels of confrontation that call for different levels of defense. There is a very low level where someone is just bugging you. Maybe they are drunk – could be a relative. You are being bothered in some way but it is not life-threatening or even meant to harm you. It is just irksome. There are some types of “defense” that can be applied in a social situation where no one notices that there is a confrontation and that you are in control and are convincing the person to back off. We really won’t be covering this type of defense very much although some techniques to be learned can actually be applied at a low level. But mainly we will work with defense against one of the next two levels of threat.

The second level is when someone is threatening bodily harm. Your response will be stronger but you need to be under control to limit your liability. But you may need to hurt the attacker to the level you feel threatened. And it could escalate. This could be an unarmed person walking up to you, threatening to hit you if you don’t give him money. It could be that someone aggressively moves towards you and gets within “your space.” That space will determine the level of “defense” that you take. We need to note here that later we will find that your “defense” is most usually an offense if you get yourself into that sort of situation.

The third level is where someone is threatening to kill you. At this point there are no holds barred. You are there to save your life. It’s his or yours (I’ll use the pronoun “his” although we all probably know of some females we would rather not tangle with!).

Many of the techniques can be used at all three levels, depending upon your intention. But it is important to know that if you are in one of the second two situations, you either defend yourself or expect to get severely hurt or destroyed. It is serious business.

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