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Self-Defense - Your Body's Hard-Wired Self Defense Mechanisms

Jeffrey Miller

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Contrary to common belief, the human body has a set of ready-made, built-in defense modes that can be utilized in your defense during an attack. In this article, I'll briefly describe these modes and how they can be used to increase your chances during an attack.

To look at most martial arts and self-defense programs, you can quickly come to the belief that all you have to do is memorize a bunch of tricks or techniques, practice until you can execute them well, and. . . presto, that's it. You're a master or self-defense expert.

However, there is one element that is routinely absent from most self defense training. And that is the addition of the emotions as tools for defense.

In the past several years, systems and programs have come on the scene that focus on what's known as “adrenal response training. " These programs, however, tend to focus on only one of these emotional states, or modes.

There are really four of these emotional states that we can find ourselves in when face-to-face with a dangerous assailant. Each state is a natural response to several factors including things like your:

1. Perception of danger or level of threat
2. Personality type
3. Rules and restrictions that you're aware of as a part of your job

And others

Each of these modes is more than a mood, state, or condition which we can find ourselves in. They also control, in many ways, how we think, and even work to free or hinder certain types of body movement.

The Four Emotion-based Defensive Modes Are:

  • Stable/Confident
  • Adaptable/Defensive
  • Direct/Aggressive
  • Slippery/Evasive

As I said, each of these modes is both a reaction to the current situation, and a method for handling a situation in a very specific way. As a general outline, I'll briefly describe each defense mode from both a responsive and a proactive perspective.

Please note that these modes are in no particular order of importance, nor is any one better than any of the others. However you may find that one or two feel more comfortable or “natural" for you, each should be seen as an added benefit that can be employed in a self-defense situation. And, as I've said over and over again, the more options you have in any given situation, the greater your chances of success.

Stable/Confident “Earth" Mode.

This attitude is marked by a general sense of relaxed calm. You really don't perceive a threat and you are in firm control of the encounter. Notice that I didn't say that you were defiant and forced a sense of command. In what I call the “earth-mode, " you use superior positioning and relaxed strength to stop his attacks and direct your strong points against his weak ones, using leverage and crushing pressure to put an end to his attack.

Adaptive/Defensive “Water" Mode.

Just like water, you change to fit into to his movements. You use long-range, defensive angling to draw out his attacks and , just like an ocean wave crash back in with powerful strikes and kicks to his vulnerable weak areas. This mode is often present when you feel a sense of overwhelm by his size, strength, or other factors. You naturally want to create time and distance between you and your assailant so that he has to work harder to get at you.

Direct/Aggressive “Fire" Mode.

Either out of fear, anger, or a need to get-there-first, you move in and direct the fight to the bad guy. In the “fire" mode, you are drawn by a sense of urgency and a need to get things over with quickly. When I say “aggressive, " I do not necessarily mean destructive, but instead there's a direct, committed, “go-for-it" attitude that moves you directly in to meet the assailant before he can really get started. Again, this mode might be triggered by anger just as readily as it could be created out of a feeling of being cornered and needing to do something right away.

Slippery/Evasive “Wind" Mode.

This mode is marked by a very free, open movement with a sense of last-second timing to evade, avoid, and trap your opponent with his own attacks. The body position associated with this mode is very open and looks very different when compared against the conventional martial arts and self-defense stances that you usually see. This mode could be caused by a complete desire to avoid the situation altogether. It could also be used in a tricky, confusing way as you easily evade your attacker's punches, kicks, and grabs only to catch him with your own attacks from seemingly invisible and confusing angles.

Like I said, there is no one best mode. Each is a natural response that is hardwired inside us and part of our overall natural human self-protection mechanisms.

While all of us has leaned toward one or another of these modes as we've moved through our lives, and perceive our chosen one as being “only natural" for us. The reality is that, with proper training, each defensive mode can be developed, re-activated, and added back into our arsenal as a very advantageous strategic option for handling a real-world self-defense situation with a very real-world attacker.

Are you an individual, law enforcement or security professional, member of the military, or company training director looking for real-world self-defense training that works?

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Jeffrey Miller is an internationally recognized self-defense expert. He is the creator of the revolutionary EDR: Non-Martial Arts Defensive Training System and teaches individuals, security professionals, companies, and organizations how to survive danger in Today's often unsafe world. Visit his web site at =>


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