Seven Aspects of Self-Defense: Introduction


The Seven Aspects of Self-defense

Whether you are a student, practitioner, or instructor, SD is not a simple set of physical skills. At its best, it is an in-depth understanding of a class of problems, combined with social, mental and physical skillsets to neutralize those problems, whether by prevention or direct action.

When we (Kathy and I originally, then Erik) envisioned the maps the idea was to make them a combination of checklist and guide. A list of all the things you need to know and the best order in which to learn them. That way, you could check off your current skills, note and address any holes in your knowledge and plan for the next step in your personal advancement.

I’m going to give it a try. And I hope that each of the CRGI core will do the same in their own areas of expertise. What does a bouncer need to know? An expert witness? A firearms instructor?

Understand that no one knows the answers. We are all limited. And nothing any human can possibly write is a truth. What follows is a model. It is the way I look at things. It may be extremely useful to you, but it is not and never can be the objective truth. In martial arts parlance, it is a way, but not The Way. The only true way is the one you find for yourself. Use my model if it is useful. Make a better model if you can. Always think for yourself– challenge and question.

That said, in my experience, the smartest, most insightful people are full of doubt. The ones who are actually kind of stupid and unaware tend to have great confidence. So, if you immediately feel comfortable to forge your own way, you’re probably a conceited dick. Forge your own way, definitely, but if you feel comfortable doing so, check yourself. And make damn sure you apply your skepticism and doubt to your own choices just as you would to an enemy’s.

In “Meditations on Violence” and then expanded in “Facing Violence” I asserted there were seven things you must cover in self defense training:

  • The ethics and legality of using force
  • Violence Dynamics
  • Prevention: Avoidance; Escape and Evasion; and De-escalation
  • Counter-assault
  • Breaking the Freeze
  • The Fight Itself
  • The Aftermath

These will set the core of the map that follows, with one critical addition at the end.

So, here goes.

– Rory Miller

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