Testosterone has a lot to answer for in the self-defence world.
Even online you can start to see the testosterone rise when passionate martial arts instructors get into a debate about what works in self-defence.
Yet some go further, they want to go from self-defence to offence.
I have seen people threaten others, offer to fight people and even once I read that one man was going to attend seminars and offer to fight the self-defence instructor.
It seems that a lot of individuals involved in self-defence are actually really just interested in fighting others.
This seems almost bizarre that an industry that is designed to make sure people are able to protect themselves against criminal assault is full of people, so eager to attack others?
I know the answer.
They have never felt fear.
In this article, I will explain why it is ok to be afraid to fight and why people who say they are not scared are either telling lies or are just plain stupid.
Fear Is About The Risk of Losing
Faith in anything is very powerful, and self-belief can be incredible.
But what happens if self-belief leads to your downfall?
Sadly we see this a lot now with youngsters travelling abroad who try and ‘balcony hop’ while drunk. They believe they can jump to the next balcony while under the influence of alcohol and sadly many have fallen and suffered severe or fatal injuries.
The same thing happens with fighting ability.
Go to any town centre, and you will see two young men or women squaring up to each other and saying ‘come on then, I’ll smash your face in’ or words to that effect.
They truly believe they will destroy the other person.
But what references do they have to support this view?
Sure some might have training, but in truth, usually neither one will be experienced in real violence.
But what about self- defence students and instructors?
Why are they so eager to fight?
My opinion is that they have ‘positive violence associations’ cause by training.
This is how advertising works, it alters what they call memory structures by linking positive feelings toward products. For example, you link drinking Rum and Coke with having a great time with friends.
So when a Coke or Rum advert shows friends having fun in a bar drinking Rum and Coke, you link the product with a positive experience.
The same thing happens with self-defence training.
You link fighting to having a good time.
This is especially an issue if your training is all one way and sees you as the ‘victor’ in every situation and drill.
But what about instructors with some experience who are like this?
We will cover this next.
Why Some Experience Is Dangerous
I remember winning my first 2 boxing matches easily and then getting stopped in round 3 in my third fight.
I was gutted, I never saw myself losing for a long time, yet I was beaten by someone much stronger and fitter than I was.
So what happened?
I beat myself.
My first few matches I won easily, so I started training with less intensity, less effort and I actually believed I would win in the same fashion.
This was a big learning curve for me.
In self-defence we have a lot of people with some experience, maybe they were in the police, a door supervisor, security, armed forces or prison service.
The thing with experience is simple, you can have one experience repeated over 20 years, or you can have 20 years of experience.
There is a huge difference.
So when someone says that they were a police officer, a door supervisor or any other profession like this, it does not mean anything.
Sure they could have an incredible depth of experience, or they could just be great at dealing with very drunk people at 3 am.
But where ‘inexperience’ shines through is in the eagerness to fight and the belief they will win with ease.
Just like my ‘small amount of boxing experience’ made me believe I could train less and still win easily, many self-defence instructors have had a small amount of experience and as a result they start to have ‘less fear’ or zero fear of a fight because they think every fight is easy!
Experienced people are scared of violence.
They have seen more incidents and know that there is the potential of defeat.
The above video is the legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato talking about how the hero and the coward feel the same in the presence of fear, it what action they take that separates them.
In this article, we need to make it clear that fear does not mean you cannot fight.
Instead, it is a healthy mechanism that shows your training is both spot on and so is your attitude.
Now I will also add that there is nothing wrong with confidence. It is fine to feel fear and also have faith that you will defeat your attacker.
You need this confidence in any self-defence situation.
At this time I am 38 years old, as well as experience in Defence Lab I also hold a black belt in Judo and 20 years experience in the police and years of boxing, Vale Tudo, Russian Sambo and many other martial arts behind me.
Do I feel the fear of fighting?
Yes, but at the same time, I know that my 15 stone frame combined with my years of experience and skill makes me a nightmare for anyone if they cross my path.
I have the confidence in my ability, yet I also know I could get seriously hurt.
So if you are reading this and wondering why you are still scared of fighting when you see and hear so many people that are unafraid.
Do not worry.
Fear is not only natural but essential, and it shows you are on the right path.