Trauma-aware self-defence instruction. 5

Here is the next episode of “Anna Really Hates Marketing.” Here you will find excerpts from her new book, which 




On as a Kindle book and a paperback.

On as a Kindle book. The paperback is available from a US merchant, with a serious mark-up, so I’d avoid it for now, but watch that space. Amazon are slow, but they do move.


Where were we?

People living in an imaginary “safety bubble”:

If an act of violence bursts that bubble, people can experience what amounts to a loss of faith. This is a serious blow, regardless of what they had put their faith into. Whether they believed in God, Krav Maga, Sam Colt, or a suburban lifestyle, it doesn’t matter: to discover that their faith was misplaced can cause a deep sense of betrayal and a painful paradigm shift.

The alternative to this loss of faith is worse. People may end up believing that they have themselves failed; that if they had been better Christians or martial artists or shooters or people, they would not have gotten hurt. They maintain their faith in whatever safety choices they had made, and choose to accuse themselves instead. This is self-victim-blaming, and it is a form of psychological self-torture that can completely crush people. The voices in your head are the voices you can’t walk away from.

As instructors, there is a lot we can do to both prevent this kind of thinking, or to address it after the fact. First and foremost, we need to be honest with ourselves about the product we provide, and market it accordingly. There is no system or technique that can’t fail. Anyone selling a guaranteed cure-all to all types of violence is misleading students. Making these false promises is not just unethical advertising; it can put the students who buy into them at risk of psychological and physical damage. Students who believe they are being taught a perfect self-defense system may blame themselves if their training fails to protect them. They may also put themselves at risk of harm, believing that their invincible training will keep them safe no matter what.

Secondly, we need to be aware of how alien the risk assessment process is to many people. Without specific instruction, many people are unaware of the distinction between hazards and risk:

  • a hazard is anything that may cause harm;
  • the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by present hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.[1]

People who live in a safety bubble have no idea of the hazards around them. When their bubble is burst, and these people suddenly realize all the potential dangers around them, it can shock them to the point of paralysis. They become so focused on what could happen that they have no energy left to determine the real chances of it happening. Only once they learn to recognize hazards and evaluate risks will they be able to make a reasonable assessment of their actual level of safety, which may be quite high.





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