Many practitioners, including karate and so-called self-defense experts really have no idea where to start when it comes to mastering the skills needed for protecting yourself against a real-world brutal attacker. This article takes outlines the two-fold approach that I recommend to clients who are serious about winning a brutal assault.

To look at the common approach to martial arts and self-defense instruction, the conventional approach appears to be to simply study a few of preset, get some colored belt rank or maybe a certificate of some sort, and you’re all a master. Right?

If that’s true, then why are so many trained individuals becoming victims to real attackers? Why, if what their learning works in the dojo or self-defense class, are these “invincible” strategies failing miserably on the street, when dealing with real-world attacks thrown by serious, real-world attackers?

There are a lot of reasons but I think the primary one is that, by and large, these courses are simply a matter of the blind leading the blind. What I’m referring to is that people, who have no experience in handling violence, are trying to get something from martial arts teachers who, themselves, have no real world experience at handling and winning actual street attack encounters.

So, what needs to be learned to survive a street self-defense attack?

My unique perspective on the whole self-defense study, and what I teach my clients, is 2 sided.

Initially, get as many options as you can so that you can respond in different situations and against a variety of aggressors.

Also, in the moment, when an attack is taking place, the defender must be able to respond to and manage the violence itself – regardless of where it comes from or what’s behind it.

Like a double-edged sword, each side is important if the practitioner is to be ultimately successful. The first side, your physical training should give you with not just proven skills, but an understanding of the important principles and concepts that are being taught by the technique models. This way, you won’t have to rely the preset techniques themselves, but you will be able to function during the attack, not against a classroom attack but, against whatever your attacker is throwing at you. A few of these basic principles include:

  • 1) Barracading
  • 2) Defensive angling and positioning
  • 3) Rhythm and flow
  • 4) Right use of space
  • 5) among others

The other relates to attitude, or “heart.” No matter how sure you are, or feel in class with your friends, fellow students, and junior students, what matters in a real self-defense encounter is how you act and deal with the pure, animalistic violence being thrown at you by an attacker who isn’t pulling his punches and doesn’t care about your well-being in the least. Will you focus or fold? The only thing that will matter is what you do when the moment is on you.

This reminds me of the airplane ride I was put on to the tiny island of Grenada when I was in the Army several years ago. While I sat there, focusing on the far side of the aircraft and mentally planning what I would do when I found myself in a deadly combat zone (assuming we didn’t get shot down first), I heard other guys farther back in the aircraft actually crying. Ironically, these were the same guys who, during training exercises where we “played” war, ran around as-if they were John Wayne and Steven Seagal, acting tough and reminding everyone that they were ready to go to war right now. Well, here they were – on our way – and they were the least-prepared to deal with the pure reality of the situation.

Your training must insure that you can deal with both his punches, kicks, cuts,or whatever the onslaught may be, and you must be able to focus on winning by dealing with the rage and raw brutality that is a natural part of combat. Opposite sides of the same coin. Both critical for success.

So, take a look what you’ve trusted up till now, and make sure that you do so with the eyes of a critic, not a blind follower. See what’s in the news. Ask some police officers, bouncers, or even military personnel who have seen combat what you can expect to experience inside a real fight situation with someone who wants to beat, break, or kill you. Then, all assumptions aside, set out to fill in the gaps to make sure that you’ll survive, and not end up face down on the sidewalk!

Do you want to learn more about the way I do it? Then I recommend that you get this brand new online e-course to self-defense mastery, “Foundations of Self-Defense Mastery”

Get it free here: Self Defense Course

Want to learn in hours, instead of months or years, more than the typical martial arts or self-defense practitioner without all of the filler, formalized kata, or military-like atmosphere? How? By following this simple, proven program for self defense expertise:


Jeffrey Miller consults with individuals, corporations, and martial arts teachers how to not die or end up as a victim in a violent situation. Jeff says “If you have a serious desire to learn the life-saving skills needed to be a survivor, I can teach you how to perfect the skills needed to successfully defend yourself against any attacker, guaranteed” Subscribe to his free online self defense newsletter at:

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