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Archive for February 2011


Reality Check #2

February 7th, 2011 — 6:15am

Believing in yourself-the cornerstone of personal safety?

Whilst contrary to most people’s beliefs that in learning self defence, techniques are the most important thing to learn, learning the skills of assertiveness and boundary setting must come first and foremost when learning or teaching self defence.

We must be mindful of statistics, especially in regards to assault and sexual assault of women and children. The percentage of adult victims/ survivors of sexual assault who knew their offender is approximately 65% to 75%.

It is also the most prevalent health issue for women in SA over asthma and breast cancer. And did you know sexual assaults are most likely to occur in 1. The home 2. In or around licensed premises and 3. in the workplace, in that order.

Taking these scary stats into mind and looking into research into this area in particular it would be suffice to say that boundary setting and learning assertiveness needs to come first and foremost- especially for women.

Being assertive and setting effective boundaries comes from believing in yourself.

The general consensus still seems to be these days that technical or “technique training” comes first as the number one focus in most self defence schools. This is strange as the psychological component of fighting and personal safety is without doubt the most important part. Attribute training is paramount-no attributes, no technique, simple.

Personal safety skills are most powerful when you believe in yourself. I have seen fighters with grueling physical and technical preparation months leading up to a tournament fight crumble on the “fight night” because of a lack of self belief, esteem and confidence.

When you believe in yourself you are more likely to trust in your sense of what’s going on, pay attention to your intuition and awareness, stand up for yourself, respect yours and others boundaries when you or others cross them, believe in your ability to verbally or physically defend yourself, receive and give more respect and most importantly give yourself an air of self confidence.

This “air” can make the difference between making you appear like a “hard” target or “soft” target and alone can deter potential attackers.

Fostering empowering beliefs

Any belief that you may have about yourself can either support and nurture you or be negative and destructive. If you have a strong belief in your self worth, you will act to give yourself positive experiences. Remember, negative thoughts have negative outcomes. In counseling it is often referred to “self talk” or “internal dialogue”. In some arts such as Yoga it can be as simple as a Mantra.

Most of our beliefs are conditioned from an early age. A belief is something that we have learned, a partial view or model of how we think things work. As such it can be changed-which is why many people seek martial arts or self defence as a path to finding this. Instead of sometimes seeing a counselor or therapist!

Many beliefs change as you grow older and hopefully wiser. What you may have believed as an adolescent will have changed in adulthood. You can direct the natural changing of beliefs so that they will enhance and enrich your life.

Some important beliefs to nurture are:

  • My self respect is worth standing up for
  • My values are worth standing up for
  • I deserve to be happy
  • I deserve to be safe
  • I have the ability to keep myself safe

When you believe in yourself and your worth you are far more prepared and determined, strong and clear in response and far less likely to accept that emotional and physical hurt are just factors in life that you have to tolerate.

This also means you will be confident overall in yourself and will therefore suppress the need to intimidate, threaten or bully others because of a need to prove yourself. It will also give you a broader definition of success- this means that you will only fight when you need to, instead of every time someone threatens your fragile ego you must challenge them in order to prove yourself.

Personal safety grows from these positive self beliefs because at the end of the day regardless of your physical ability if you don’t think that you are worth fighting for, then you won’t.

Personal safety starts from within.

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