Trauma-Aware Self-Defense Instruction

They’re going to show up.

If you’ve been teaching self-defense for any length of time, chances are that you’ve already taught a survivor of violence, whether you knew it or not at the time. If you are going to teach for any length of time, meeting a survivor is a ‘when,’ not an ‘if.’ These students present a specific set of challenges, and have specific needs. If they’re handled unconsciously or inexpertly, they can be damaged more easily than most other people.

Trauma-Aware Self-Defense Instruction provides a map of common perils and pitfalls that instructors may come across in training survivors of trauma. It also provides methods for navigating these obstacles, such that these students can not only benefit from self-defense training, but thrive in it.

There are no guarantees. Every survivor is an individual. Every experience is unique. But with an understanding of the underlying patterns and principles of trauma, skilled instructors can adapt to any challenge.

Like warriors who know their enemy, the instructors armed with this knowledge can help their students carve their weaknesses into true strength.

– Rory Miller, author of “Meditations on Violence”, “Conflict Communications”, “Facing Violence”, and many other works.

Praises for Trauma-Aware Self-Defence Instruction:

“If you teach self-defense you will have students come to you with traumatic history. You might know who they are and what that history is— or you might not. This book isn’t about becoming a counselor or a social worker. It is an in depth guide on how not to be an ass when you are working with the children of adversity. And if you, yourself are a survivor of something, it’s a solid kick in the head that not everyone is on the same path or as far along that path as yourself.”

Rory Miller, author of “Meditations on Violence”, “Conflict Communication”, “Facing Violence”, and many other works.

“Making self-defense training accessible and effective for people who have experienced violence first-hand is not necessarily intuitive. If you are an instructor, this book is an imperative. If you are student, this book will help you become more informed as you look for the best possible training environment. Anna has distilled a complex and potentially murky discussion into a clear and concise dialogue. If you teach self-defense, this should be on your required reading list.”

Tammy Yard-McCracken, Doctor of Psychology, Licensed Professional Counselor, Self-Defense & Krav Maga Certified Instructor

“A.R. Banks has a perspective in an area that most self defense instructors wear blinders to. My good fortune to bounce ideas around with her has made me a better instructor. This book is an opportunity for the reader to do the same. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Officer Kasey Keckeisen, training coordinator, Ramsey county SWAT

“This book will give you a solid set of tools to deal with important issues you may not even have considered. It’s an essential part of any instructor’s library.”

Dan-Philipp Trailescu, Head Instructor, Nicosia Aikido

“A must read for anyone who teaches or trains in martial arts or self-defense. Opens one’s eyes to the perspectives of survivors and their experience of violence most people may not relate to. This will help you become a better instructor and training partner.”

Nathan Corliss, martial arts practitioner and self-defence instructor

“It’s an odd sort of irony that the people who are most likely to become self-defense instructors are the very sort that tend to need it the least. They tend to be physically capable, and interested in training and studying violence. This can put them at the opposite end of the spectrum from the people who need the training the most. A responsible coach will spend most of their energy training people with an entirely different set of physical and emotional capabilities than they have.

The physical side of this is far and away the easiest to overcome. Tactics, technique and tool-use allow physical solutions that can be broken down and analyzed. Someone who is smaller, less athletic, injured, etc., may need to take a different route, but it’s fundamentally the same terrain.

That is not the case for the mental and emotional side of self-defense instruction. Some students will have experiences that are so foreign to the coach that working with them can be like navigating a difficult landscape without a map, in the dark, where the only guide speaks another language. You literally cannot even see the problem you’re trying to work around.

There are remarkably few tools available to help with this navigation.

Thankfully, we’re about to have one more.

This is going to be an important read.”

Dillon Beyer.