12 Rules of Disengagement – Teja Van Wicklen

What to do as a last resort in both practice and real time.

1. Fight Dirty. To Do Whatever It Takes To Survive. Give yourself Permission, even if it’s gross or horrifying and goes against everything you’ve been taught throughout your life.2. Break the Freeze. Get Out of the Tunnel. Recognize the Freeze. Then move. Do anything but stand still. Replace fear with Anger.

3. Know Your Targets. Commit the softest and most vulnerable areas of the human body to memory. Plan to make your first retaliation memorable. Attack soft with hard.

4. Use Weapons as Equalizers. Carry something hard or sharp with you even if you carry pepper spray. He’s bigger, stronger and may have a weapon as well. Teach yourself to see weapons everywhere. Use anything you can get your hands on. Throw things. Always practice against weapons. Assume your attacker has a weapon.

5. Defend and Attack in One Beat. Be aware of the Action/Reaction Loop: whoever attacks will keep attacking, whoever defends will keep defending, unless you defend and attack at the same time by being Smart and Brutal. Learn how to practice this way.

6. Use Simple Movements. No finesse techniques. If you practice self defense, make the movements you plan to rely on simple, and natural. Adrenaline may steal your memory and complex motor skills.

7. Practice Using Equal Motion. When practicing, always assume your attacker is as fast or faster than you are. Do not practice doing several movements to his one.

8. Always Practice With More Than One Attacker In Mind. When practicing, use your peripheral vision, keep your eyes and mind working for you. Practice dealing with and getting away from more than one attacker.

9. Use The Element Of Surprise. Attack him while he’s talking. Scream suddenly. Bolt, even though he has a gun. Never show him your weapon or announce that you have one!

10. Go For Debilitation Over Pain. You want to make sure he can’t keep hurting you or your child. And if he’s on drugs, he may not feel pain. Make sure he can’t continue!

11. When in Doubt Get Out.!! Hit and Run! Always be looking for an escape route. Run to safety not just away from danger.

12. When in Doubt, Freak Out! If you can’t get away, and your life is in danger, fight like a wild animal!

Disclaimer: Remember the Law of Preclusion. Preclusion is a legal term that means only engage in physical combat against another human being when you can’t get away and feel you are in grave danger. You will have to explain your actions. Only do what is absolutely necessary to survival.

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