Nov 13, 2010

Ninjutsu Training - Suggestions For Handling Stressful Situations From the Martial Art of Ninjutsu

One of the most common concerns that I hear from people - men and women - who have taken martial arts or self defense training is they doubt whether or not they'll actually be able to use what they've learned under pressure - during a real attack. And, unfortunately, because of something that I call, "The Karate-Myth," this is no surprise.

This article offers a few, very important, suggestions for handling stressful situations from the art of Ninjutsu - the system of self defense and Life Mastery developed by the ancient Ninja families of South-central Japan, and still used today as one of the most effective systems ever developed for the serious self defense student.

But, before I discuss some ways for effectively dealing with stressful and dangerous situations, I want to talk about something else. And, this something else is...


Denial is the most dangerous impediment to most people developing the skills necessary to overcome stress, and to be able to successfully handle danger, whether physical, psychological, or emotional. Regardless of whether we're talking about protecting ourselves from a physical street attack, harassment on the job, or the emotional trauma that comes from the abuse from a significant other - people go through their days with one of two types of denial or ignorance.

The first is personal denial in that they believe that, "it will never happen to them." And the second is...

Denial of personal responsibility - they refuse to believe that they have any power to effectively neutralize the problem and make it go away! Before we ever begin to look at "what" we can do in a stressful or dangerous situation, we must first accept and operate based on 2 truths:

1) That it CAN happen to YOU (whatever "it" is), and...
2) You have the right, and can learn how to keep yourself safe from danger, attacks, and other stressful situations!

It is this "general awareness" stage that forms the foundation for any serious self protection strategy, and what determines whether or not you will be able to use or apply anything that you learn - whether from the typical self defense guy with a few "tricks" to show you, or a real world self defense expert who has actually "been there" where you are and has not just knowledge, but also the experience at being successful where it matters most.

Now that we've covered that, let's take a look at a few ways to deal with a situation. Please note that not all of these suggestions will work in every situation, nor will they work to the same degree. It is your responsibility to have more training than merely memorizing this list and thinking about this from the comfort of your chair, if you have any hope of being successful using this information against a real attacker who wants to beat, break, or kill you!

Here are a few options taken directly from the "8 Phases of Effective Self Defense" training model that I teach my students:

1) Learn to focus and be more aware of your surroundings. This "situational awareness" will allow you to notice possible warning signs and danger clues long before the danger ever gets close to you. The idea here is: if you want to be able to handle stressful situations effectively, then be able to notice them when they are still far away from you - before you feel the effects of stress and while you can still think calmly and clearly!

2) Develop multiple escape routes and strategies for getting out of a given situation or away from a dangerous threat before it can touch you. One that comes to mind that I see kids do almost instinctively is the old, "I've got to go to the bathroom" tactic. The idea here is: if you can't prevent danger from or stress happening, then have an escape plan for removing yourself from it. After all, if stress or danger can't touch you - it can't hurt you!

3) Learn methods and techniques for de-escalating a situation. Through the use of things like humor, distraction tactics, and even threats if you have the position, power, or authority to back it up, can all be effective in reducing and eliminating the possibility of the situation escalating to a more dangerous level. The idea here is: do, say, or communicate whatever you must, and an in a way that deters the cause of the danger from going further. If you can get the attacker to think about, or focus on something else instead of you - then you no longer have to deal with the problem!

Of course, if you cannot do these things, or you have not been successful in reducing or eliminating the threat, then you will have to handle the stress on a physical level. But, that's for a different lesson.


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