Tag Archives: fight back

Scream And Shout

Pacific Ocean 2010

In Monday’s post, we discussed that the goal of self-defense is not to win, but to not lose. If you haven’t read the post and are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, click here.

In the comments, someone had shared her story of being attacked years ago and being so stunned at the viciousness, she couldn’t fight back. All she could do was scream. She kept screaming as he punched her in the face. She kept screaming as he yelled at her to shut-up. And because she kept screaming, he feared she’d gain attention from the on-coming cars and he ran off. In other words, she did fight back…using her voice.

When we think about self-defense, we tend to think about blocking and striking. But as we discussed in past blogs, self-defense is also about using our brains (common sense is the first step to self-defense) and heeding the warning of the little voice whispering inside us when something doesn’t feel right. Self-defense is also about using our VOICE. Screaming to gain attention from someone who can intervene or call the police is as important as striking our attacker. Remember, he does not want to get caught.

Our voice is so important to self-defense that we even have a name for it.

Kiai (Kee-eye). It’s a spirit shout. And it has a few purposes:

  1. It helps draw attention to our situation.
  2. It can scare our attacker.
  3. It tightens our muscles to prepare us to take a hit.
  4. And it fires us up. (Don’t athlete’s do this before games? “Come on!”  “We got this!”  “Go [insert team name here]!” Of course they do.

You might recognize a kiai as the “hiya” from old karate movies. However, it can be any word or sound that you want to make. Swearing a string of profanities at your attacker counts. Or shouting, “Fire!” or maybe for a child, teaching them to scream, “Stranger, stranger, 911!”

It doesn’t matter what sound you make. Just make some noise. Even if it’s a high pitch girly scream (which I admit I do when someone scares me. Yes they laugh, but I can’t help the sound. I call it my auto-response kiai.)

Like singers train their voices or drill instructors train theirs, martial artist also train their kiai. Usually a new person in the dojo has trouble making any sound at first. Perhaps they feel silly or self-conscious, but after a few weeks they are shouting with enthusiasm and much spirit.

What sound you make isn’t as important as using your voice to fight back.

~KM Fawcett

Would You Fight Back?

Erik and I on Tsuken Island (Okinawa)

Recently, I had read a post on another blog about self defense, and something a commenter said struck me with surprise. She felt that if attacked, she could never fight back, as she could never hurt another mother’s son.

Wow. That’s a pretty noble statement.

Now she didn’t state her reasons for this. It could be her religious belief, or her moral code, or perhaps she recently gave birth and couldn’t imagine hurting another mother’s child. I don’t know. But it did make me think…

And my conclusion?

Yeah…umm…no…I could never be that noble.

While I’d like to believe I have high moral principles, I know absolutely, without a doubt that if I were attacked or threatened, I’d fight back. There is no turning the other cheek for this girl. I’d punch, kick, claw, bite, poke out eyes…anything to get away. No, I’m not normally a violent person..really…but if the situation comes down to my life versus the assailant’s, you can be sure I’ll fight for mine with everything I’ve got.

So my question for YOU is…would you fight back or not? If you would fight back, is there anything that you wouldn’t do (like biting or poking out eyes)? If you wouldn’t fight back, why not? I’m curious to know your thoughts, and whether or not you have martial arts or self defense experience.

Stay Safe!

~K.M. Fawcett

Safety Tip of the Week: FIGHT BACK!

Tuesday night I gave a women’s self defense seminar at my dojo.  We practiced the techniques from the FLAG (Fight Like A Girl) program as well as some techniques from our dojo curriculum used to defend against the same attack.  So, naturally, the question arose.  “Which technique is the best?”

My answer: “Whichever works!”

Think about it.  You’re attacked.  You react.  Your reaction either stops your attacker or doesn’t.  If it stops your attacker – excellent!  But what if it doesn’t stop him?  What if it doesn’t work?  What now?  Do you coil into the fetal position and fall to the ground?  Hell, no!  You try another technique.  And another one.  And another one after that.  And you keep fighting until you’ve succeeded or until you’ve breathed your last breath.

The point is fighting back, no matter what techniques you use, will double your chances of him breaking off the attack.  Remember, every criminal fears two things – getting caught and getting hurt.

Of course, we all want a higher than 50% success rate against our attacker.  That’s why I recommend learning self-defense.  If you’ve never taken a self-defense class, please take one!  It could be the single most important thing you do.  If you have taken a self-defense class, take another one!  Repetition, repetition, repetition will help you fight back with confidence and effectiveness.

There’s more than one way to stop an attack.  The important thing is stopping it.

~KM Fawcett