Self Defense – 8 Phases of an Effective Self-Defense Strategy and Training Program


By far, the greatest thing missing from most martial arts and safety programs focusing on self-defense is a structured and systemized outline that helps to keep the student on track with what he or she needs. Not to be confused with the step-by-step self-defense moves taught in the preset techniques or kata of different styles, or a curriculum that spells out what skills and techniques the student will be learning at what level, what I’m talking about is a formula or outline of the areas of action that make up a complete system for real-world self protection.

There are 8 phases, or elements, to a complete self defense strategy. Each element is important in making sure that you have as many options as possible for handling as many different threats and dangers as possible. But, each can be seen as a piece of an overall strategy that allows you the freedom, skill, and ability to control and predict the flow of a dangerous situation and, not only be able to handle it effectively if things get physical, but you’ll also be able to:

1) Have many more options for attempting to de-escalate the situation through the use of non-physical self defense

2) Use effective cover, concealment, and escape techniques to avoid being targeted by an attacker, and…

3) Survive the post trauma and possible legal issues that may come up in the aftermath of a self defense situation

As I teach my serious students looking for self defense mastery, regardless of whether they are focused on traditional ninjutsu – the art of Ninja – or on modern, street fighting self-defense, the 8 Phases of an Effective Self-Defense Strategy and Training Program are:

1) General Awareness – awareness of and education about:

a. Danger exist in the world and CAN touch you

b. The types of dangers that you are likely to encounter

c. The environments where you are most at-risk

2) Situational Awareness – paying attention to and observing the elements and changes in:

a. Your surroundings (what weapons, obstacles, and dangers exist or are available to you?)

b. The actions of others (who is acting suspiciously, out of character, or is being overtly threatening?)

c. Your state and well-being (are you alert, healthy, and well or nervous, ill, distracted, or otherwise emotional unbalanced?)

3) Escaping to safety – awareness of and pre-planning to be able to:

a. Physically escape from a dangerous environment

b. Hide or conceal yourself from a potential attacker

c. Use barriers and other shields that will protect you from incoming gunfire, thrown objects or other weapon attacks

4) Psychological Distraction Tactics – confusing or otherwise distracting the attacker’s attention from you as a target. You can do this through the use of:

a. Acting (like faking a heart-attack, etc.)

b. Feigning Ignorance (like pretending that you didn’t hear or understand his threats or orders)

c. Using Humor (tell a joke or otherwise act as if the assailant is only playing around or that you’re too easy of a target for him and not worth his effort)

5) Dissuasion Tactics – confronting the attacker with direct, committed, verbal and body language cues that both give him a last chance to change his mind, AND communicates very clearly that you will not be an easy target and will not allow him to continue with his attack without resistance.

6) Physical self defense using the properly applied and appropriate skills to avoid, evade, and counter your assailant’s attacks as outlined with the:

a. “5 D’s” of Effective Self Defense Strategy

b. 3 Keys to Effective Self Defense Action

c. 3 Core Strategies for Effective Defensive Action

7) Regaining Composure and Control – effectively handling and neutralizing the effects of post-trauma stress so that you can acknowledge that your attacker gave you no choice but to take the actions that you did in Stage 5. Contrary to popular belief, as it is generally applied in the psychiatric and counseling worlds, this stage is actually practiced and prepared for long before self defense action is ever needed.

8) Defend Against Any Legal Issues – this is the stage that gives a logical, rational, strategic reason to have stages 2, 3, 4, & 5, and to use them if possible before being forced to resort to physical action at stage 6. While self defense is legal, you will have to show that you did everything in your power to avoid physical aggression if you are to really convince many members of the legal system, or even administrators at your place of work, that you are not a martial artist or student of self-defense because you “like” fighting.

I have found over the years that most schools and programs focus primarily on physical techniques. While they are necessary, the true warrior or professional expert understands that strategic thinking and having a goal other than the conventional idea of “winning” as seen in the competitive fighting styles, allows for a sense of control over situations that physical techniques alone cannot provide.

That’s why I teach these 8 Phases of self-defense listed here. Each provides different options, but each level also adds techniques, tactics, and “intensity” to the defensive response not present in the previous levels. Having a complete understanding and control of this structured, 8-stage outline gives you a real sense of “mastery” and the ability to control and stop any assailant who would attack you.

Do you want to learn more about the way I do it? I have just completed my brand new online ecourse to self-defense success, “Foundations of Self-Defense Mastery”

Download it free here: Self Defense Course

What if you could learn in hours, rather than months or years, more than the average karate or self-defense student without all of the filler, formalized kata, or military-like atmosphere? How? By following this simple, proven system for self defense success: http://www.warrior-concepts-online.com

Jeffrey Miller teaches individuals, organizations, and martial arts teachers how to not die or fall victim in a violent situation. Jeff says “If you have a a serious desire to learn what you must know to be a survivor, I can teach you how to master the skills necessary to successfully defend yourself against any attacker, guaranteed.

Leave a Reply