Self-defense and the Elephant in the Room – Marc MacYoung



I teach ‘self-defense.’ As such I can tell you locus of control is the elephant in the room. Which is kind of funny because everyone is arguing over the elephant poop problem, but denying there’s an elephant standing there.
If I may beg your indulgence I’d like you to do two actions. First, hold out your arm and make a fist. Then parallel to the ground, move your fist sideways, back and forth.
Second action. hold up your hand. Leaving your index finger extended curl you other fingers. Now repeatedly curl and uncurl your index finger.

IF you can do these actions you are physically capable of stabbing a rapist in the neck or blowing his brains into a fine pink mist. As such the position you are in when you pee has NO bearing on your ability to defend yourself.
That is to say any hesitations, restrictions, limits and “I couldn’t do that” are ENTIRELY internal to you. It’s not that you ‘can’t’ it’s that you won’t. These words are NOT the same. Can’t means can’t. Won’t means that for whatever complex set of justifications/reasons/beliefs/ world views you won’t allow yourself to stab or shoot someone. (For the record, I’m not saying these aren’t extremely powerful forces, but they aren’t ‘can’t’ issues.)
Which brings us back to locus of control. Is yours internal or external?

I ask because when someone start talking to me about how women this and society that about self-defense, I’m seeing an external locus of control. Which is a jaw dropping event for me. Wait a frickin’ minute. If WSD programs are — as so many claim to be — about empowerment then WHO CARES about what society says? Much less a bunch of guys? As such, I question the whole premise of “You guys are saying I should be weak and helpless.” And then generalizing it out to all men and women.

We’ve already established if she can do those acts, a woman can physically defend herself against a stronger and larger male. Because when tools are involved size doesn’t matter. While equality under the law means that there’s going to be the suckage of an investigation, MOST states allow for the use of lethal force to stop a rape. As rape is deemed grievous bodily injury stabby stabby, shootee, shootee is on the table of allowable options. In fact, WOMEN have an ‘extra’ advantage on this level of force because of that ‘rape=grievous’ — so honestly, it’s not actually ‘equal.’
On the other hand, people who often blame society for the limits and weights put upon them start squealing real quick about “I couldn’t do that,’ ‘I shouldn’t have to…’ and “I don’t want to …” when it comes to the more unpleasant aspects of self-defense. If you use your imagination I’m sure you can come up with all kinds of these statements regarding using and carrying knives and guns.

Kinda undermines the idea of empowerment doncha think? Or is their working definition of ’empowerment,’ I don’t have to do anything different (accept any responsibilities), but I get all the perceived bennies and freedoms of power? It’s easy to keep from getting raped if you’re willing to stab someone in neck for trying. If you’re not willing to do that, it gets a little more complicated and unreliable.

In closing, I’d like to point something out. Something I’m working on is how often people rely on social conventions to set and enforce their boundaries. I mean why develop the habit when society does it for you?
Thing is, people who do this are VERY quick to point out when someone else isn’t following these social rules. Mostly because there’s a form of power inherent in doing so. Yet, when it doesn’t work, they have no other options on the table — well except emotional meltdown. (But that too relies on the other person’s concern over what people will think.)

Having said that, many people have weaponized social standards and use it as a shaming technique. (Often such people will strawman what other people are saying to accuse them of being rude, insensitive and ‘what’s wrong with society.) This blaming and shaming behavior is very common among people who tend towards external locus of control — except they’re trying to control other people through social conventions and rules.

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