A pile of reasons you won’t train self-defense

You probably don’t know me, and I probably don’t know you. Even so, allow me to be your best friend for one article; the friend you hate because he tells you the truth, and wants you to be better. The truth can be uncomfortable; it’s rigid and doesn’t tolerate falsehood. The truth is the reality we all must come to terms with.

If that triggers you somehow, this probably isn’t going to be an easy read. But I’m committed to being the best friend you hate for the duration of this post, so stick with me.

The Truth

The truth is, you are capable of far more than you know. You are capable of far more than you’re doing right now. If you don’t believe me, take an honest inventory of your wasted time and start using that time to look up countless stories of human beings around the globe who succeeded against impossible odds and their own lack of self-confidence, and became more than they ever imagined possible. The bonus for me is I won’t have to talk about the “I don’t have time” excuse.

And all I’m saying is you could be competent at self-defense if you put in some work. You could do that. You’re capable. But who cares, right? Look, I believe everyone has the right to be free of violent attacks on their person or property. The problem is the only person who is always available to defend that right in the moment is YOU. So you have the right to defend yourself, and everyone is capable of doing so. But capability is not enough; you have to be competent or you’re just relying on luck. The more competent you are, the better your chances of defending yourself or others successfully.

You are capable of building competence, and the confidence that comes with it. But it’s not magic and no one is going to upload Kung Fu into your brain. You have to do the work. You have to train.

So why won’t you?


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You won’t train because you are tired

We all experience fatigue, but allowing it to become a barrier to training is a disservice to yourself and your loved ones. The thing to understand is that there is vast potential within you beyond that wall – and what you make of yourself by pushing through it will resonate in every corner of your life. See, when you’re feeling too tired to do something, whatever it is, that is the precise moment when all the elements of potential are present and ready for you; you just have to bring the fire. Through this struggle is where you build mental and physical resilience, and your character is forged.

But pushing through that wall isn’t the only approach. You also have to evaluate your lifestyle choices. Why are you so tired? What can you do to change that? The fact is, if something is important to you, you will find a way to make it a priority.

You won’t train because you are afraid

You might be afraid of injury, physical contact, an intimidating environment, failure, looking goofy, sounding stupid, or that you’re not capable on some level. There’s a thousand ways to be afraid, but they’re all lies. Fear is a liar. Fear is a trap. Its goal is to keep you restrained, paralyzed and innocuous. It will convince you to believe in some nonsensical version of reality that only exists in your own mind. I know because I’ve felt every fear named above and more, and some still lie to me.

What do we do with known liars? Do we keep listening? You have to face it. You have to walk through it.

You won’t train because it’s just not important

I can respect that kind of honesty. But I hope you can acknowledge it’s possible you haven’t really thought this through. Sometimes we can confuse “it’s not important” with “I really don’t want to do that.”

So just consider: if someday you have to defend yourself or someone else against an attack, that means out there somewhere right now is that Bad Guy (possibly more). Maybe they’re already a criminal. Maybe they’re still living right. But at some point, this potential Bad Guy gets it in his head that he’s going to bring violence to you. He might be in prison, with nothing better to do than get strong. He might be on the street, assaulting regular people on the daily and getting better at it.

Do you really want to leave that potential encounter to hope? Just hope that he sucks enough for you to overcome? Just hope he makes more mistakes than you? Just hope he’s not armed? Just hope he doesn’t have a buddy? Just hope you see him coming?

You won’t train because you’re just focused on others

You are less able to care for and protect others if you’re not caring for and protecting yourself. Sometimes that means protecting you from you!

Jordan Peterson, in his book 12 Rules For Life,  Rule 2 states, “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping.” In the self-protection world, this is obvious: “you are your own first responder.” In the emergency medical community it’s the same; when EMS arrives on a scene, they know their own safety takes top priority. If they become casualties, they will no longer be able to help anyone else, and they’ve added to the total casualties on scene.

There are no doubt people who need our help. Service to others is pretty much the meaning of life. But those “others” must include you, so that you remain capable of giving your best to those you love.

So if you are the one protecting yourself and loved ones, you better know how to do it effectively.

You won’t train because you can’t afford it

With the amount of money I see people spending on gear, I have a hard time believing this is true for anyone. More likely, training just isn’t a priority and that means financially too.

For the amount you spend on beer, gear, latte’s, Netflix et al., all your hobbies and entertainments, etc…, you could be investing in yourself and the protection of your loved ones, and then some. It’s just a priority shift, and if the previous Bad Guy scenario doesn’t make you reevaluate those priorities, I’m not sure what will.

You won’t train because you are already good enough

No one is good enough to stop training. Bad Guys are out there right now practicing their “craft,” and they are counting on you to be apathetic, complacent and compliant. If complacency is your jam, then shame on you for giving the Bad Guys practice. A lot of us don’t appreciate it.

Further, the world is constantly changing. New tech, new methods, new techniques, dynamic and evolving contexts, the swirl of people in and around your daily activities – it all adds up to a shit sandwich we have to deal with. If you stop training and practicing – or worse yet, never start – you’re far more likely to have to eat it.

Finally, in my opinion if you think you’re “good enough,” you’re not.

You won’t train because you’ll just shoot ’em

I don’t see this one as much as I used to, but it’s still out there. The idea that, just because I carry a firearm, I can now deal with anyone is such an ignorant mentality, I’d put it right up there with that vegan strawberry milk kid.

Your firearm is not a magic talisman, nor is it a fire-and-forget weapon. It takes actual competence with the details of operation, tactics and techniques in order to safely use that tool without making a catastrophic and avoidable mistake that might get you killed or put in prison.

Nor is being old or infirm an excuse. Different contexts call for varied strategies, but knowingly carrying a hammer so you can treat all problems as nails is the willfully-ignorant strategy of the most stubbornly obtuse in Fuddland.

You won’t train because you don’t feel like it

There’s a lot of honesty in this one; it’s the rock-bottom of excuses, cutting through all the bullshit above. I just don’t feel like it.

Life is a constant battle to control our feelings, rather than the other way around. I’m craving sugar, so I eat the ice-cream. I feel tired, so I skip a workout. I’m angry, so I yell at someone. I feel down, so I have a negative attitude. Feelings are what drive our need for comfort, entertainment and leisure. Not many of us “feel” like doing hard work, at least not all the time.

This is the battle at the heart of life, and there’s really only two outcomes: either you control your feelings, or they control you.

If you want the former state of being, then dig deep, gather that fire, light the forge and go to work.