Experts have great balancing ability. Non-experts do not.
Balancing is defined as: “to offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another.”
“The cost of obtaining such information needs to be balanced against its benefits”
Synonyms: compare, evaluate, consider, assess, appraise, and estimate
“It is a matter of balancing advantages against disadvantages”
Experts are able to accurately evaluate both sides of a situation and determine what mixture creates an effective outcome. On the other hand, a Non-expert may thoroughly understand one side, but he or she does not understand both sides of the situation. Therefore, this person is unable to create balance. In terms of self-defense methodologies, the two sides are the Benefit (advantage) vs. the Cost (disadvantages).
A person that only focuses only on one side, either the Cost or the Benefit of a methodology, is by definition – a Non-expert. No matter how adapt a person maybe at exemplifying or articulating the Benefit of his or her methodology, if he or she cannot equally show examples of, or articulate the Cost of this methodology, this person is not an Expert.
When you encounter an article, post, story, etc that only promotes the Benefits of a certain self-defense methodology (technique, weapon, etc) and it ignores the Cost, you are absorbing Non-expert information. Everything has an associated cost. The most effective methodologies balance out at high benefit and low cost. Ineffective methodologies balance out at low benefit and high cost.
A popular method used by Non-experts is to use a specific example of an attack on an innocent victim, and then explain only the Benefit of his or her favorite methodology in terms of these examples. The example promotes the Benefit, but without understanding the associated Cost, there is no transfer of useful information.
The Benefit results from the sum of the advantages provided by the methodology multiplied by the chances that the advantages will be realized. The Cost results from the sum of disadvantages provided by the methodology multiplied by the chances of the disadvantages being realized.
For example, a person who was assaulted by a punch to the head, would have clearly benefited by wearing a helmet. It is a wide spread practice of expert police and military operatives who are about to enter into dangerous situations to wear protective headgear.
For the police and military, the Benefit of wearing a helmet into action is high and the relative Cost is low. But the opposite case exists for the average civilian. The Benefit is low, while the associated Cost is high. The Benefit is low for the civilian because the odds of being punched in the head at any given time is extremely low. While the financial cost of purchasing a helmet is minimal, there is a high social cost for a person to wear a helmet in his or her everyday life as a protective measure against being punched in the head. The police and military do not suffer this same social cost. In fact, they are expected to wear a helmet. In certain aspects, wearing the helmet and protective gear may also create increased social status. Whereas for the civilian, this same protective gear creates lower social status in the form of social isolation.
Experts of all types (race car drivers, bike racers, etc), wear helmets while civilians do not. The reason for this difference is explained by the Cost/Benefit analysis. The Expert is much more likely to receive the Benefit, and thus her or she is willing to pay the associated Cost (helmets can be heavy, hot, and uncomfortable).
When someone touts the Benefit of a particular weapon or self-defense technique in a certain situation, does he or she also explain the Cost? Non-experts may be well versed in the Benefit, but know little of the Cost. It is impossible to create the expert balance that forms high Benefit/low Cost situations without fully taking into consideration both the Benefit and the Cost of the methodology.