Why it Shouldn’t Take You that Long to Learn Self Defense


Why it Shouldn’t Take You that Long to Learn Self Defense

You’ve been told by the experts that it takes YEARS of training to learn how to defend yourself but why should it take that long to learn something that’s INSTINCTUAL to every man, woman and creature on this earth?

This INFURIATES ME because it discourages anyone who doesn’t know any better from trying to learn self defense…or even fighting back.

Did you know that every year in the United States over 800,000 people survive violent attacks? (REPORT HERE

These aren’t super soldiers or killer ninjas, these are every day people who followed their instinct to survive. I realize that there are degrees of survival, but compare that to the 17,000 who are murdered (REPORT HERE) your chances of surviving are pretty good…like 99.9% good!

So why do experts insist on telling you that it takes a lot of time and dedication to do something that should come NATURALLY to you!!!

Allow me to explain…

There are three categories of martial arts:

  • Combat Sport
  • Cultural Fighting Art
  • Self Defense

Combat sports like BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, MMA, Kick Boxing, Sambo and others require athleticism, dedicated training and intense fitness. Like all sports, your age and overall health play a key factor in your success.

Furthermore, to be successful in sport, music or anything for that matter you need the HOLY THREE:

  • natural talent
  • hard work
  • luck

Natural talent that all the training in the world can’t give you. A work ethic that enables you to maximize your potential and luck that you don’t get sick or injured, resources to train and luck that you don’t have any personal issues that might force you to stop.

Cultural fighting arts on the other hand are a “life long pursuit of unattainable perfection” based in a particular culture.

Like yoga, the path is never ending and continues throughout your life. The goal of martial arts is to change your INSIDE from the OUTSIDE based on the tenants of honor, discipline and respect. This includes activities like Aikido, Akijujutsu, Kungfu, Kendo, etc.

Judo, Olympic Tae Kwon Do and Kyokushin Karate are examples of arts that fall into both the cultural fighting art and combat sport.

At it’s best, martial arts make you a better person – at it’s worse, you’ve become a mindless member of a cult.

Finally there’s Self defense.

Self defense is simply survival.

If you live, it worked. Success is entirely results based.

It’s doesn’t need to come from a single culture or nation. Self defense is  life skill that should enable you to adapt your ability to protect yourself to your current physical and mental state. Our rule is that “if you can leave your house, you should be able to protect yourself.”

That’s why the excuse “I’m injured so I can’t practice” doesn’t fly with self defense because if you’re injured you need to come up with other ways to protect yourself NOW when you’re most vulnerable.

Also, don’t just think of self defense as EMPTY HAND fighting. Real self defense should include ALL WEAPONS available based on your local laws, culture and items you’re around every day. If you use a cane, train with it – if you carry a hammer – TRAIN WITH IT.

In self defense you need use every resource at your disposal and do whatever gives you the tactical advantage at the time.

The reason the experts tell you that you need YEARS to learn self defense is because they look at self defense like a COMBAT SPORT or CULTURAL FIGHTING ART. 

Self defense skills are confused and jumbled up with sport and culture. Sure some techniques and tactics of self defense can be found in some places…but they get “lost in the sauce”.

Other experts attempt to “adapt” their combat sport to self defense and then make the mistake by trying to teach it to beginners.

Even if you could do this successfully – the issue with teaching a self defense version of BJJ, wrestling or any other combat sport to someone who is inexperienced is that it DEMANDS you become an expert in that combat sport first!

Remember, there are MUCH more efficient and simpler ways to defend yourself. There’s no need to do an armlock when an eye-gouge will suffice and there’s no need to practice with a bo staff unless you’re a Shepard.

And before I continue – YES you can definitely defend yourself with COMBAT SPORTS and MARTIAL ARTS, but usually the simple act of just FIGHTING BACK stops the attack.

The problem is with doing the “combo” martial art and self defense is that in a real life or death situation, you never know what’s going to COME OUT of you when your SNS kicks in. You may wind up trying to do a wrist lock or a double leg takedown while he and his buddies pound you to the ground.

But that’s not all…

Confusing SELF DEFENSE with MARTIAL ARTS and COMBAT SPORT creates another huge problem because now you associate fitness, time and dedication to self defense…and you shouldn’t.

There’s NO DOUBT that the more you practice and the better shape you’re in will INCREASE your chances of success in self defense (#commonsense).

But just because you’re out of shape, old or injured doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself.

It just means you need to constantly adapt your self defense skills to your current level of fitness. Unlike preparing for a competition, your need for self defense is constant and that need only increases when your sick, older or injured.

Remember, you’re not trying to win a contest – you’re trying to survive.

The truth is in Self Defense there are only two levels:

Good enough is whatever it takes for you to avoid or stop the attack and survive based on your current physical condition and mental state. You spend most of your life in the “GOOD ENOUGH” condition.

As good as you’re going to get takes into account your fitness level, age and the HOLY THREE: natural talent, work ethic and luck.

But that’s always short-lived….

The toughest man (or woman) on the planet today, isn’t the toughest tomorrow and we’re ALL fighting father time. There’s only a small window of “AS GOOD AS YOU’RE GOING TO GET.”

The good news is there are core “Good Enough” tactics, techniques and skills that have already been tested in actual combat, police work, civilian life and espionage. These are universal tactics that literally ANYONE can do.

A lot of research exists on this subject back when hand to hand combat was a REAL military concern and before political correctness reared it’s ugly head in law enforcement.

During WWII the fighting prowess of the Japanese soldier was a huge concern because close quarter combat was part of warfare because battles involved trench warfare and the weapon technology of that period put soldiers toe to toe with the enemy on a regular basis.

From early 1900’s until the war,  Japan sent emissaries all over the world doing Judo demonstrations, teaching their art and exporting their culture. In addition after Dunkirk, the German War Machine proved deadly, effective and merciless. In the minds of allied troops – every enemy soldier was a martial arts expert and a trained, heartless killer.

The allies needed a method  of close combat that worked against the Eastern fighting systems and for that they turned to a man who had mastered their ways and spent decades fighting in the Far East.

That man was head of the Shangai Municipal Police (SMP), William E. Fairbairn. A former British Royal Marine, Fairbairn who was in charge of the SMP during the early 1900’s and developed the first modern hand to hand combat system because the lives of his officers were in CONSTANT danger.

Being stationed in Shanghai, he was able to draw from a variety of fighting experts from literally every culture on the planet. He and his team did exhaustive trials in the field where they eliminated the sport and ceremony until only the most primary and UNIVERSAL core combat skills remained.

In World War II, these tactics were adopted by the U.S., Britain, Canadian, Australian, and eventually found their way to the Israeli Defense Forces in the 50’s.

A lot has been written on this subject and on people like Fairbairn, Anthony Sykes, Pat O’ Neill and Col. Rex Applegate so I’ll stop here  but the point is, the research on “what works in a real fight” has already been done – and not by one man, but by many – Fairbairn was just one of the first.

This system trained recruits, spies, commandos and even the civilian resistance forces and it didn’t take years to do it; it took only weeks because the techniques were simple which made them easy to learn and easy to recall.

These universal core combat methods were adaptable and could be applied to close quarter weapons and other aspects of self defense as well.

Because in order for any technique to work in a REAL life or death attack…

A Self Defense Skill should be as Simple as Kicking a Ball. Once you Learn it, You should be able to go Years without doing it and then do it again in a Moment’s Notice.

After working and teaching these methods since 1989, it’s been my personal experience that someone of average ability can learn to protect themselves efficiently using these methods in only a few weeks.  Then, after not practicing for years they can perform those moves just like the day they mastered them.

I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes, time and time again for decades.

Of course doubters will say “Well they can’t beat a trained fighter!!!”

First – this analogy is stupid (more on that in a moment) but to their point – even if you train in MMA for decades…that’s not going to guarantee you victory every time!

In a street it doesn’t matter what your “style” is – the person who usually wins is the person who goes first- FAST AND DARK.

The person who can cause the most PAIN and INJURY first will win in the street. 

For example – if you have two gunfighters facing off, it’s the one causes the most damage first who wins. 

Now about  that “trained fighter comment”….

This is an observation based on match fighting or sparring.

It’s predicated on the ASSUMPTION that two people are going to knowingly fight each other without the intent of raping or killing one another  >>> It’s basically a glorified schoolyard fight.

This is of ZERO concern to me.

I’m too old and broken to “spar” in the street. I’d rather walk away then roll around with some a-hole, but if you attack me and try to prevent me from seeing my family and friends…well, hell is coming to breakfast – YOU SHOULD FEEL THE SAME WAY TOO!!!

But forget about me…. what if, you got into it with a known MMA fighter and you told the fighter you were sorry and didn’t want to fight. Then you got close to him to apologize and proceeded hit him over the head repeatedly with a black jack? I guess he never go a chance you do all those cool moves on you…right???

Or a BJJ fighter took you to the ground and you guy stuck them in the neck with a push dagger…well you wouldn’t need to know how to do BJJ anyway now would you?

This is how you need to think of self defense its a 360 degree situation. The fight includes EVERYTHING from the first look to the final exit.

Your training needs to stack the odds in your favor and do what ever is needed to get home. PERIOD.

LIE, CHEAT and STEAL – Remember – It’s not a matter of who’s right, only who’s left!

Too many people look as self defense as “sparring” – I look at it as LIFE OR DEATH.

This is why I think the reason for most fights are STUPID. 

Because you should be able to walk away from most altercations and arguments (without turning your back of course).

What we do is for that small percentage of threats who don’t take the exit, who won’t let you walk away – who want to TAKE WHAT YOU HAVE regardless of what happens to you.

I’m not an attorney, I’m only concerned with maximizing your chances of survival against your worst nightmare.

Fact is, if you defend yourself in any way you will probably have to defend yourself in court.

There’s a self defense and the law article HERE <<< 

I don’t care about what happens to your attacker…I care about what happens to you.

Oh, before I go…

Do you remember Kelly Heron?

She defended herself in a public restroom against a larger, stronger attacker…and she only took ONE SELF DEFENSE CLASS!!! (STORY HERE)

Or this 86 year old woman who used a package of bacon to bludgeon and attacker who was trying to rob her at an ATM (STORY HERE) I don’t know what training she received...but it doesn’t sound kosher. 

And the woman who destroyed a gun wielding attacker with a baseball bat (STORY HERE) I guess she never heard the expression “never bring a bat to a gun fight”.

Finally, one of my personal favorites is from the founder of Shotokan Karate Gichin Funikoshi. In his book Karate-do he describes his only street fight…

During World War II, a thief tried to attack him, but Funakoshi stepped out of the way and grabbed the man’s testicles. He held the man in that position until a constable passed by.

That must have been an extremely awkward moment.

I think that story actually demonstrates Funikoshi’s STREET SMARTS – he didn’t try to fight him…he just ended it the FASTEST, SIMPLEST and most EFFICIENT way possible.

Self Defense is more will than skill.

Until Next Time…

Train Honestly,



PS. Another reason you hear the experts tell you that you need years is because they really don’t know any better. They’ve been told their entire lives that it takes years and they’ve spent years doing it.

They have businesses that depends on you training longer and more often, so when they hear weeks and not years they react – I get called a SCAM ARTIST and FULL OF SHIT at least 10 times a day.

They can name call all they want….but the facts and my experience of training thousands of people every month tell a different story.

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Published by theselfdefenseco

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. True words. I’m not violent, I’m gentle. Someone takes my seat, fine, it’s not worth fighting over. Someone attacks my wife, I’ll kill him if I can.

    1. Right. I think most reasonable people think this way.

      People mistake the willingness to understand and deal with the reality of violence as making you a violent person, when the opposite is true.

      You realize that anything can escalate into a life or death situation and you have the foresight to realize the future headline “Man kills for parking spot.”

    2. I love your spirit! “Avoid the altercation WHEN possible, don’t sweat the small stuff, but STAND STRONG IF NEEDED and become your aggressor’s WORST NIGHTMARE!” Let your full strength flow from the heart, and get home safe!

      1. Simple should never be replaced by difficult fancy tectnigues. True simplified attacks and defense are the may things you only need to succeed in hostile environment. Simple but basic will always get the job done.

  2. I was abducted as a teen, taken to a desolate secondary location on one of the darkest nights of my life, told by my assailant I would NEVER escape him. I was skinny weak kid with no fighting skills, frightened to death, confused out of my mind, did not know what to do. Then this creep attacked me with force while in his vehicle, telling me I could not stop him. But I instinctively fought back with every bit of strength I could muster, screaming at him, punching, scratching, twisting, pushing my hands and fingers into his face. It was all a blur of overwhelming fear and frantic, desperate action. I finally twisted free for just a moment, one precious moment, and was able to tumble out of his vehicle onto the ground, get up and run for my life. He quickly drove after me down this lonely dark road, tried to run me down, but I jumped into a ditch full of water and finally escaped as he fled away. The cops NEVER caught this bastard! I was bloody, bruised all over my face, throat, and body, but I was alive. The SDTS gives all of us a much better chance of survival than I had that night. I am so grateful to Damian and all off his mentors for giving us the best, most practical, realistic, and honest chance to get home alive! Thank you once again for all that you do for so many who will listen.

  3. Jerry didn’t need to be trained to “wild.” He couldn’t flee at first so he fought with all he had. He didn’t have to think. He just wanted to go home and see his family again. However, he admitted he didn’t know what to do. His inner reptile, mother bear, sheepdog (call it what you will) came out and saved him.

    Had he had only one class (guaranteed) he might have been surer of himself and more confident. I know a place you can learn four lessons free. L-5

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