Let’s talk about the importance of self-defense training.
From our early years, we are taught everything. You
name it and we have a class on it. It could be art, home
economics, math, or English. And while all these things are
great – they’re an absolute must – there is no requirement
for children (or men or women, young or old) to take a
class to learn situational awareness, real self-defense, and
how to defend themselves and survive an actual attack.
Now take this into consideration because, on a daily basis,
who do we interact with? Other people.

Let’s look at our priorities.When you’re at a shopping
center and you make a major purchase – let’s say an
appliance, or a new iPod – and you spend a couple
hundred dollars, the individual across the counter asks
you, “Would you like to put insurance on this? It’s only
16 (or 30, or 40) dollars a year.” And inevitably a lot of
us will say, “Yes, absolutely.”

I want to insure my material items. I want to insure my car,
I want to insure my house, I want to insure everything
around me. However, we grow up in a society where we
interact with people every day, we see crime in the news,
we read about it in the papers, and we hear about it from
others without becoming paranoid, without waking up and
looking over our shoulders every day.

Not that you have to carry paranoia with you to be heads up
about self-defense, safety, and personal situational
awareness. This is the most important aspect of the mindset
of self-defense. However, from the time you get up until
the time you go to bed, you interact with other human
beings.What on this planet do we worry about when it
comes to self-defense? Other human beings.
Yet there’s no requirement to learn how to defend
ourselves, to understand what a threat is, to learn how
to get out of a dire, desperate situation. And I’m talking
about desperate as in being in the back of a car or in a
locked room with an attacker who is overpowering you, all
the way down to a schoolyard bullying situation with two
young kids.Where do we learn what to do about this?
We don’t. No one says we have to. So we go through life
thinking, “It’s not going to happen.”We hope, and we
believe that we can put ourselves in the right place, and
that people will be there for us. Yet we see it on the news all the time.

You don’t have to watch the news for more than
an hour to see three or four people being victimized.
We tend to disassociate ourselves from the people we see or
read about in the news. They’re not real because we don’t
know them, and we haven’t attached anything to them
emotionally as far as “Hey, that could happen to me.”
Instead, we should say, “Hey, you know what, I don’t want
that to ever happen to me. Because this was in a good
neighborhood, they drove nice cars, they made a lot of
money. They did not know their attacker, and yet they
became the victim of this brutal individual.”
Now does that mean if you take a self-defense class – if
you take a seminar that is just absolutely empowering and
gives you five tips or strategies to survive a situation – does that mean that you’ll never become a victim? Absolutely
not. And if there’s an instructor or an organization or a
program out there that preaches, “If you do this, you will
always be safe” or “If you do this move, guess what, you
will always win” – that’s nonsense.We’re talking about the
90 percent.We want to go for the 90 percent effectiveness
rate when it comes to protecting ourselves, our loved ones,
and our families.

It could be just some teenage girl or teenage boy who gets
beat up after school. They put themselves in the wrong
place, at the wrong time, and at the mercy of their attacker.

It can be absolutely anything, from the lowest priority
of self-defense to the highest priority, from a bullying
situation to a weapon involved, from a domestic situation
to a multiple attacker situation. It really doesn’t matter.
Education is of the utmost importance.
And you have to remember, once you’ve been in a
situation, hindsight is 20/20.We begin to say stuff to
ourselves like, “I wish I would have taken a class.Well,
now I’m going to take a class” or “That’s never going to
happen to me again. I will never let that happen again.
I’m going to get a concealed weapons permit. I’m going
to take martial arts. I’m going to take a self-defense class.”

Let’s not be reactive. Let’s be proactive. This is empowering.
Instead of only insuring our washers, our driers, our
homes – which these are all important and they must be
insured, absolutely – let’s start thinking about insuring our
most important asset – ourselves.
I’m going to go ahead and give you an example.
We all do this every day. I did it on the way here.We drive
a vehicle. And why, predominantly, do we get insurance on
vehicles? It’s not because we’re going to go out there and
wreck our car. Correct? I mean, that’s what we like to
think. I’m not going to jump into my vehicle and ram it
into a wall or into another car. At least that’s what I hope I won’t do.

We buy insurance because we’re worried about
the other person. Someone might hit me, run into me, be
driving under the influence and smash into my brand-new
vehicle – and I want it replaced. I want it done correctly,
and I need peace of mind.

So we spend all this money and this energy. Throughout
the U.S. and in many other countries it’s mandatory that
if you own a vehicle, you will have insurance.Which goes
back to the question of why do people walk around and
we don’t have a self-defense system implemented in the
schools? It’s not mandatory that your child will sit down
and crack open a book and start learning about who the
bad guy is, what he thinks, what can he do to you. That
he’s not the guy in the dark alley with the long trench coat,
he’s not the boogieman, he’s not the guy you see on TV,
he’s not the guy knocking on the door begging to get in.
The bad guy looks like you and me.
There are only three types of bad guys.We’ve basically
determined that there’s no other type of individual outside
the parameters of the three types of bad guys which are
covered in the C.O.B.R.A. Self-Defense Program. They can
be classified in many different ways, but generally they’re
going to fall into three types of individuals.

This knowledge is lifesaving. I wish the kids knew it. I wish
the young females knew it. I wish the males knew it who
walk around and think, “You know what? I’m a pretty inshape
guy. I took a couple classes. There’s no reason
anyone’s going to really victimize me.”
Hey, guess what – you might have a very nice car, and two
guys with a long rap sheet are across the street staring at
you. Maybe they’re on probation. Maybe they broke out of
jail.Maybe they just don’t care. They’ve put the bull’s-eye
on you, and guess what, in thirty minutes from now they’re
planning to take your very nice car. They’ll do whatever
they have to do to get it, and drive it all over the state, or
all over the county, and just joy ride. And if you’re in their
way, guess what, you are the victim.
So it really doesn’t matter. People with experience, people
with no experience.We can insure our life to the hilt with
just general education and knowledge. It doesn’t have to be
hitting a bag all the time. It doesn’t have to be, “I can do a
hundred and fifty push-ups in twenty seconds and hit a
bag harder than anyone.” That has nothing to do with
reality training, and we discuss that in the article on
Combat Conditioning. How what you do in an enclosed,
controlled environment doesn’t translate very well at all
once you’re out there.
It’s not called street fighting, because most fights don’t
happen in the middle of the street. It’s called real-life
situational training and self-defense.
We’re going to go one more step. I want you to just give
me a couple minutes of your time. I want to give you an
example and take you on a little journey here, if you can
just stay with me, please.
If you had the crazy ability to time travel, first of all that
would be outstanding. Second of all, we could complete
this mission. You’re going to go ahead two years – six
months, one year, two years, it doesn’t really matter.

You’re going to crack open a newspaper or search the Internet,
and you’re going to find that let’s say yourself, or your
family, or someone very close to you became the victim of
a brutal crime. Or maybe just an average crime. Maybe
they were robbed, maybe they were murdered, maybe they
were raped, maybe they were just brutalized to the point
where they were handicapped or it caused some kind of
emotional distress that they’re going to live with for the
rest of their lives.
Now, because you have the ability to time travel, you go
back to today, right now, which you just left. How much
would you spend, and what would you do, to seek out
self-defense training? What would you do to tip the scales
in your favor? To change the ultimate outcome that you
witnessed in the future?
Obviously none of us can time travel (that I know of). But
having done this exercise, you can imagine that you went
into the future two years, and you found that your mom
was robbed, and they took her car and left her for dead
and she didn’t make it.What could you have done to
change that?

Now say you couldn’t stop her before she went out to the
car. You can’t just change time like that. But you could
empower her with the fact that maybe she didn’t park
in a well-lit parking area.Maybe she was jingling her
keys. She left her car unlocked when she got in because
she began to adjust the mirror. She was looking for something
in the console. She made a phone call. She stayed in
the parking lot twenty-five seconds too long, which gave
an individual who was standing at the other end – who
basically scouted her out because she was the last one
leaving – the opportunity to walk across the parking lot,
open the car door, and carry out the plan that he wanted
to carry out.
The education that she could have gotten over the last six
months, year, or two years could have saved her life. She
didn’t necessarily have to become a prize fighter, step out
of the car, and whoop this individual. That’s not what
we’re looking for. Because you’ve got to remember, selfdefense
isn’t about whooping somebody. It’s not about
anything but living. Surviving. You can beat someone to a
bloody pulp and you don’t get a title belt. You don’t get a
trophy. You don’t get ten seconds on the news half the
On the other hand, if you lose, if they take your life, if they
victimize you, you might get a ten-second spot on the
news, if that. And guess who’s destroyed – everyone in your
family, everyone close to you. And everything you ever
worked for is gone via the hands of some thug, some
criminal who made his plan just because he thought you
were a weak target.
Time traveling. If we could do it, we could see the future
and we would know, “Hey, guess what, I might need this
type of training. I might need to sign up for a class.” But
because we don’t have this power, once again we just kind
of shuffle it to the back. It’s not going to happen to us.
You have to remember, it can happen to anyone. And let’s
just go ahead and time travel. All right? Do this exercise for
me, and it will definitely open up your mind and expand
what you think about as far as the potential hazards in this

Author's Bio: 

Chris Sutton, author of
The Psychology of Self
Defense, is a lifetime
professional martial artist
with over 25 years of
training and teaching
experience. He has also
served as a law enforcement
officer, a corrections
officer, and a boot camp
drill instructor.