I have explained thirteen separate throws, some joint locks and several mat holds. Now I will spend some time on self-defense. First off, self-defense, Ju Jitsu, the Art I teach, must be studied in a controlled setting, a dojo, if one is studying a Japanese Art. It requires repetition, precision and an understanding of all different types of weapons. One can’t defend oneself against a sidearm if he/she doesn’t understand everything about the weapon. And while techniques can be taught, discipline and the ability to stay calm in a tense situation can not. Everyone reacts differently to tense situations, but being calm and focussed can be developed. The best defense is to always be aware of your surroundings. Observe everyone around you. Size everyone up. Don’t look like a victim. It may sound paranoid but experienced Martial Artists do this everyday. It becomes part of who they are; Mushin-without thought or consciousness. One way I have learned to fight off the fear-threat reaction is to be offensive. If someone invades my space with bad intentions, I begin the confrontation. Let me repeat that, if I am clearly threatened, I won’t allow myself to fight from a defensive position. For example, I was recently approached by an individual who was clearly unstable and homeless. I recognized he wasn’t just a sorry soul asking for help. He was far more aggressive and threatening. Before he got too close, I informed him to stay away, because I wasn’t interested in what he had to say. He had a few choice words for me but held his ground. He understood I meant what I said and I clearly wasn’t afraid. My offensive position allowed me to control the situation instead of the other way around. I, was in control. That person probably makes money from people’s fear of what he might do, should he/she refuse to give him any cash. Had he continued to approach me, I would have done what was necessary to defend my space and that absolutely included striking first. Now I don’t recommend this strategy for everyone and there might be those in the Martial Arts community who disagree with me, but it works for me because my offensive posture allows me not to experience all of the natural changes that occur when afraid, i.e. tunnel vision, freezing up, etc. It also allows me not to be a victim. Never, do I want to be a victim. While I absolutely teach self-defense for defense only, this aggressive based defense gives me a distinct advantage. In coming posts, I will demonstrate self-defense from many different types of attacks.