Best defence is to be mentally alert


  • Letters
  • Tuesday, 01 Jul 2003

WITH the recent rise in crime, especially against women, and the much-publicised Canny Ong case, many parties have been touting self-defence for women. 

However, no one has actually highlighted the definition of self-defence. 

As a result, many would think of self-defence in terms of learning martial arts, such as karate, taekwondo, wushu or silat. 

Undoubtedly, taking up martial arts will tone up your physique, natural reflexes and, for some, raise your confidence when facing an adversary. 

However, having learnt a few manoeuvres or even defence and attack techniques is not sufficient in preparing one to face one’s real assailants, who most of the time strike on the street or in one’s own home. 

Also, for people who have never experienced street fights or who have never experienced the breaking out of cold sweat when a six-inch vegetable knife is pointed at the stomach, learning martial arts with the sole purpose of self-defence may only serve to give them a false sense of security that may cost them dearly. 

In most places around the world, enforcement agencies have always advised citizens to use precaution when facing an assailant, especially one who is armed. 

The most common advice is to refrain from fighting back as this may further agitate the already agitated assailant, but to go along until there is an absolute chance to retaliate. 

However, in a real life situation, the absolute chance to counter attack may never come. 

On the other hand, if you opt to retaliate at the first point of contact, you may be at a disadvantage because the aggressor may already be expecting your reaction. 

So, no matter whether you are a black belt exponent or white belt junior, you must understand that the experience you gained from sparring with your fellow martial artists is not sufficient to prepare you for the real life encounter. 

For those who really want to take up martial arts for self-defence, it will be wise to check what the martial arts school can offer in terms of training your natural reflexes, toning your physique and, most importantly, sharpening your mental alertness in avoiding and evading a confrontation. 

Should a confrontation be unavoidable, you must be ready to disable the assailant with speed, precision and iron-clad determination. 

In learning martial arts, one should not only go for the forms, like blocking, punching and kicking, but also focus on mental training. 

In ancient times, mental training came in the form of meditation. 

However, given today’s fast pace of living, having to meditate for a minimum of four hours a day is not practical. 

The alternative is to engage in mental visualisation of a “what if” scenario. 

This kind of visualisation has been used by athletes and has a proven record. 

Lastly, having learnt martial arts will not transform you into a Bruce Lee or a Hang Tuah. 

The best defence is still to be alert and observant of your environment and avoid placing yourself in a disadvantageous position. 

BRIAN FONG, Ampang. (via e-mail)  

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