Words of Advice about the "Knockout Game" from Seth Shamp (11-24-13)
'Knockout' and Your Self-Defense
By Seth Shamp (Owner of Triangle Jiu Jitsu Academy, Durham, NC)
I would like to take just a moment to talk about what I believe are the most important concepts of self-defense. Situational awareness and distance management.
In light of this disgusting game being played on the streets of cities around the country, 'knockout', I feel, as a martial arts instructor, I would be neglecting my duty if I didn't address and reemphasize the importance of these concepts. I feel like there is a line to be walked between paranoid and always looking over your shoulder, and the naivety that everyone is nice and no one would ever hurt you.
The line being walked is a simple understanding of your surroundings, any threats they present and managing the distance between you and them. Does that mean simple head checks when walking down a city street? Perhaps yes. Knowing whose behind you and around you in all settings is key in the martial Artists mindset. Acting upon what you're observing is the key ingredient.
I believe that all too often we ignore possible threats and hope they go away. But when you are pumping gas late at night and some sketchy guy starts walking out of the shadows toward you, turning away and hoping he leaves you alone is the worst thing you can do. Turning to face him and addressing the situation is a must and can save your life.
This new game being played by the youth of our nation is a disgusting, depressing example of the worst sides of humanity, but it is also the reality of the world we live in. As martial artists we must be prepared to defend ourselves at all time. After all, that is what Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is, a way to stay safe and confident in any situation. All of that is dependent on understanding your surroundings and the possible threats therein.
Stay safe, and train jiu-itsu! - Seth
Seth Shamp is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Royce Gracie and is a multiple time world champion in sport jiu jitsu.
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