So you think your appearing bad ass is the same as appearing confident? When does looking confident not work? When you don't feel confident. Might seem simplistic when I say it like that, but many self-defense instructors teach their students to look and act confident but fail to address the question, "But what if I do not feel confident?" If one is isolated and chosen as a potential victim, understand the attacker's perception of you as a good target makes your "show" of confidence most likely ineffective now! The dictionary definition of confidence is, "a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's abilities or qualities."
This all ties in with apathy and denial with self-defense which I have addressed before, but in more detail in the following blog written by fellow self-defense instructor Pamela Armitage https://www.richarddimitri.com/2018/02/journey-self-defense-world/
The majority of people feel they will never fall victim to violence, so they have zero preparation to handle it if they do fall victim to violence. And when confronted with violence they either freeze or try to appear confident to thwart it. So how can one expect to be confident if they never prepare for the worst case scenario, or even worse, think it can't or won't happen to them?
To look confident, you must feel confident in not only your demeanour but in your mind particularly where the real confidence develops. Does appearing sure mean you do not feel fear? Certainly not, but it does mean you have the tools to address the concern with what level of confidence you have reached through the specialized training of self-defense/violence prevention training.
At SAFE International we often ask our clients if they have ever heard the expression, "Walk with a purpose!" For many people that is the extent of what they were taught in regards to appearing confident. But what does that mean? Do you not always have a purpose when you walk? Is the goal not to get from spot A to spot B? So just having a purpose does not guarantee any look of confidence. In regards to self-defense, the expression, "Fake it till you make it" does not work. The bad guy, I mean the career bad guy can sniff out a false appearance of confidence.
I have also worked with a lot of women who have been taught to walk with a look of being "Pissed Off!" on their face as an effective way to keep the "bad guy" at bay. While this can and does work for some, many do not realize that with the wrong person you may actually attract them with this challenging approach. And as a secondary thought, how healthy can it be to walk around with a scowl on your face all day. See this is an area most men have no understanding because they do not face the same experiences many women face. Self-defense is not generic, it does have some similarities between the genders, but there are also many distinct differences in how violence may appear.
So like anything else, it takes education to understand who the "bad guy" chooses and why so one can be educated to reduce their chances of being victimized by them. At SAFE International we do not just look at violence from the perspective of the victim, but rather a 360 degree one taking into account how the bad guy behaves, the bystanders, the environment, etc. The criminal may do things we would never do or consider doing, but we need to understand how the bad guy thinks, acts, and behaves to add to our self-defense toolbox. They do not want to get caught for apparent reasons so knowing what you might do is essential in the event they do target you. They also do not want to get hurt so understanding how to physically defend yourself is another critical aspect you need in your self-defense toolbox. So drawing attention and knowing how to react physically is essential, but altogether avoiding violence should be your goal whenever possible.
The best demonstration on how to do this is seen in this short video with fellow self-defense instructor Richard Dimitri who teaches around the world on his own and also with myself and SAFE International.
By playing the games Richard Dimitri discusses you are not faking confidence, you ARE displaying confidence because you are in the moment, not thinking of the past or the future. Those games along with limiting distractions like MP3 Players, cellphones, wearing hoodies that block your peripheral vision, you dramatically reduce your chances of being chosen as a victim which should always be the priority.
From there comes the additional self-defense tools you can add like effective verbal de-escalation strategies, then the physical principles and concepts.
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