Self-Preservation: Proximity Alert

In my article entitled The Truth Be Told, I outlined some key considerations when it comes to self-preservation. In that article I mentioned that often in assaults the thing that gets people into trouble is the whole Machismo, ego attitude of not losing face. Let me be clear, that if you find yourself faced by an aggressive opponent, and there is an opportunity to exit the scene safely, but  you chose to stay there, or chose to want to get into a fight, then it is no longer self-defence. What happens next is pretty much your own fault. Self-defence then is when you have absolutely no choice but to defend yourself. But self-preservation is equally about getting out off danger at the first opportunity.

I realise that there are instructors out there, often flying under the reality based banner that teach people how to street fight, under the guise of self-defense training. I am sorry that’s not self-preservation. They are teaching people to become the very thing they want to avoid. Of course, to be able to defend yourself, you need to understand the psycho-emotional dynamics of an attacker. In other words, you need to get inside their heads. Like it or not, that very same education could equally be used to do harm. I am cognisant of this fact, so I am cautionary about what to expose both in these articles, and the accompanying videos.

In the following video, I am taking what I see on face value. Of course, I don’t know exactly what the context was for each of these altercations. I don’t know for instance who was in the right or who was in the wrong. I am purely looking at it rather from a perspective that the person who loses in these altercations could very well be you, except in that case, you had to defend yourself. If we view the video in that light, and assume purely for educational purposes, that the person losing at least for this case study was in a situation they needed to defend themselves. We can then point out what they did wrong, which will then give you a good idea on what you need to do if ever you found yourself in a similar situation.

The following video highlights two mistakes. Firstly there are opportunities as you watch the fights unfold, where a person could have walked away. Choosing not to, as I noted earlier is no longer self-preservation. Its all about the ego, Machismo and not wanting to be seen as a pussy. Secondly, lets assume for the other situations there was no option to immediately walk away, the common error then is how the person presented themselves to the opponent. As you will see in the video, not knowing what is the best way to position yourself in a potential hostile situation can get you quickly into trouble.


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  1. Another fantastic article.. Simply communicated and very well said!
    Keeping distance is key for reaction time and deploying if needed!
    Rodney King and the crazymonkeydefense program know self preservation !

  2. Thank you for your ability to break down those conflicts and analyze the behaviour of these persons!
    Very interesting points about the opportunistic nature of the knockout-attacks, I really did not see that so clearly before. I also want to comment on how well text and video go together – it really enriches the points you make. Looking forward to reading / seeing more of your thoughts on the topic:)

  3. Thanks Rodney, another awesome video. Critiquing videos of real fights I think is a fantastic way to illustrate common mistakes and how to avoid them. Really loving your series on self protection – wish this was available when I was a police officer – I wouldn’t have had to learn it all the hard way!