Effective Self-Protection: 10 Principles

Inmo Bob teaches Keith the dog how to maintain awareness
Effective Self-Protection: 10 Principles

Do You practice Martial Arts thinking that you can protect yourself?

Think Again!

What we now call Martial Arts bear little of no relation to the actual meaning of the term.. The dictionary definition for  ‘martial’ means warlike and to be pertaining to war or fighting.

The modern interpretation of the martial arts has kept little of these warlike origins, unless you look at some Western Martial Arts being practiced today.

Study of these European Fighting Systems is a relatively recent phenomenon, but one that is worth investigating in a future post.

(I will write a post about Western Fighting Systems soon, so keep your eyes open for that.)

Some Eastern Arts have no longer kept that martial or warlike element and have become no more than forms of dancing and sport.

I have nothing against dancing or sport. On the contrary, I love these recreational pursuits but in no way should we think of  them as systems designed for fighting!

(Notice the upsurge in self styled experts and McDojos in every town and city in the UK.)

Many martial artists have little or no experience of fighting yet claim to teach effective methods of self-defence. This is dangerous and irresponsible. Students leave the dojo or gym feeling that they can take knives, sticks and even guns from a determined attacker.


Dangerous nonsense.

Determination beats Technique… Every time.

Even the term ‘self- defence’ has negative connotations.

To teach ‘defence’ implies that someone has initiated the attack and you are now having to stop them and counterattack. This all takes time and is usually ineffective if the assault is determined and violent.

Which it often is! They have taken you by surprise and now you have to react.

It seems ridiculous to me that we have to defend ourselves at all as this implies that we have allowed ourselves to come under attack. The best fighters, the most skillful fighters, never have to rely on defence. They are proactive rather than reactive.

They maintain such a high level of awareness that they never have to defend an attack.

They pre-empt any form of attack.


I was aware of this difference early in my martial arts career when I realised that the blocks I had learned were rarely effective. They never ever worked in competition, let alone on the street. I had little faith in defence but put more faith in my ability to read a situation and deal with it appropriately. I preferred to avoid confrontation rather than fight.

I would always ensure that the level of protection was commensurate with the level of threat.

In other words: if I could run I would run; and if I had to fight, I would fight .


I must make it clear from the outset. If you currently practice martial arts, this post is intended to enhance your ability to train harder, faster and more effectively than ever before both Physiologically and Psychologically.

The techniques I teach come from over 50 years of training with great teachers and  fighters  who made it their job to ensure that they had been tried and tested in many environments under varying degrees of pressure. I had confidence in the effectiveness and efficiency of their methods.

They have to work, and that’s why I teach them. What was also important to me were  the psychological aspects to the system.

The fact that we model not just the physical but the psychological techniques gives us the edge over many other systems of fighting.

We model the mental and physical programs of all elite fighters…


So what does SADS/UPSCARS  stand for?

S…. Surprise

A…. Awareness

D…. Decisiveness

S/U… Stay Upright

P…. Physical Conditioning

S…. Speed

C… Control

A… Assertiveness

R…. Ruthlessness

S…. Simplicity

How Do I put This into Perspective?

To put these principles into practice, we need to use them in every aspect of our lives, so much so they become unconscious activities… like riding a bike. You should never, ever need to even think about them. Someone who trains and lives at this level of behaviour will control every aspect of their lives so they don’t just transform their fighting ability but also their ability to get on in life.

To put these principles into the context of a common street scenario, I will cite the following example:

You park your car up in the multi-storey on a visit to the shopping Centre.

As you park, you look about increasing your level of AWARENESS. You look, listen and get a feeling for your surroundings.

There appears to be no one around so you lock the car and head towards the steps. On your approach to the stairwell you notice a couple of guys hanging around near the entrance and your level of AWARENESS rises.

You are now prepared for any eventuality. If they approach, you can turn and run and if so you will know which way.

If you decide to take a stand, you will be DECISIVE in your actions. Operating at this level of awareness means that you have the element of SURPRISE on your side.

One man moves toward you and asks you for the time.

This could be a ploy or tactic designed to distract you, but you maintain an awareness of this and politely explain you don’t know.

Suddenly his partner moves aggressively toward you with his hand raised. You know from your PHYSICAL TRAINING that his posture indicates attack and you go into offensive mode. As you make your first move you act ASSERTIVELY and with SPEED. You use SIMPLE techniques that allow you to CONTROL and neutralize the attackers. If they are armed then your response must be RUTHLESS.

At all times you must STAY UPRIGHT and stay in CONTROL mentally too.

Your PHYSICAL TRAINING has prepared you physiologically for this type of event, so the outcome should be in your favour.

So there we have it. 10 principles designed to be used in a typical attack scenario and all are important to the success of your training.

It is important to note that any form of a meeting between two or more people implies an interaction. This interaction can be thought of as communication.

Even a confrontation implies this.

It is important therefore that we understand what we mean by ‘communication’ at the outset and how we can use more sophisticated methods to manipulate our opponent psychologically.

Skillful Fighters do this naturally.

So in the next post I will show you some techniques for stopping an intended attack from escalating from a verbal confrontation to a Full on Fight!

I call this phase “Controlling the Space” and I will teach you in detail how we can become ‘Excellent Communicators.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *