5 Self Defence Myths That Could Actually Put You In Danger

People are always quick to give advice, but when it comes to something like self defence, it’s important to thoughtfully consider commonly held beliefs, as following bad advice could actually lead to serious consequences. The basis of Krav Maga is that natural reflexes are your best asset in a threatening situation, and trying to remember hundreds of tips and snippets of advice completely contradicts this methodology. Some common advice about self defence is not all that well considered, and can actually put you in danger.

Self Defence

There are a few self defence myths out there that can potentially be very dangerous for you when faced with a threatening situation.

Keys Between The Fingers Are a Useful Weapon

Krav Maga places great stead in the usefulness and importance of improvised weapons in self protection. A well-chosen object could very well save your life if applied properly. One of the oldest tricks in the book is that putting your keys between your index and middle finger and gripping the base can act as a makeshift ‘knuckle-duster’. There is a positive aspect to this particular piece of advice, and that is that you’ve sensed danger, accepted that it is a very real threat and you’ve thought about how you are going to protect yourself.

Keys are actually very useful improvised weapons. Krav Maga is systematic, it is about calmly identifying objects and their viability for defensive use. Keys somewhat resemble a knife, just as a stick resembles a club or a bat. However, you wouldn’t use a stick to jab at an attacker, you would mostly likely swing it. The same goes for a knife. The most effective way to implement keys in self defence would be to use it more like a knife, i.e.: gripped facing downwards or between the thumb and forefinger – this promotes a slashing motion rather than a punching. Keys are much more effective as a cutting weapon, rather than an impact tool.

That being said, keys often aren’t your best option at all. In a high-adrenaline situation, a small cut might only prove to enrage the attacker even more. Krav Maga teaches far more effective self defence moves that would neutralise the threat much more efficiently.

Running Away Is Always Your Best Option

Perhaps one of the most common pieces of advice for a mugger-type situation is to run, which in many ways seems fair enough. But if this is always your first response you could put yourself in more danger than before. First of all, running exposes your back. Depending on your reflexes and speed, this may give an attacker an easy target, especially if they are faster than you. This may ultimately put you in a far more dangerous position than before – on the ground. Depending on where you live in the world, this could pose the threat of being shot in the back.  If you are in a group situation where there are multiple attackers and more than one of you, running could also put your companion(s) in more danger than before.

Running could definitely be your best option, but it is by no means a blanket rule and shouldn’t be your first reaction. Assess the situation first and act accordingly.

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If In A Threatening Situation, Shout ‘Fire!’ Instead of ‘Help!’

This particular piece of advice is just ridiculous – not to mention extremely outdated. In the 21st century, Shouting ‘fire!’ to attract attention  is far more likely to make people avoid the source, rather than be compelled to seek it out. ‘Fire!’ is more associated with ‘run!’ – whereas ‘help!’ is far more likely to get a bystander’s attention.

Adrenaline Makes You More Alert and Perform Better In Threatening Situations

Assuming that the adrenaline sourced from a threatening situation will make you perform better or be more alert is a pretty dangerous misconception. When you are put in a life-threatening situation, reflexes in the adrenal medulla produce a cascade of hormones in your body which affect the way you act and think. This is commonly called ‘fight or flight‘, but many people don’t understand what it actually means.

Put simply, your body begins ramping up processes that prepare you to face the situation ahead – specifically, increased blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose levels; and decreased immune system and digestion functions. You lose the ability to focus on small tasks and brain processes where all your energy is centred on the task at hand. Veins also constrict blood in smaller muscles groups and redirecting the flow to more necessary places. Basically you are in panic mode and your fine motor skills become less refined.

This means that you aren’t necessarily more alert, and your ability to perform complex moves or attacks depreciates. The key to Krav Maga is simplicity – learning how to neutralise an attacker by using the natural reflexes of the body as a base for defence.

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If You Are Being Mugged, Throw The Item They Want Away From Your Escape Route

Another piece of advice that is potentially really dangerous. People aren’t dogs, and throwing the item (phone, wallet, keys etc) in the opposite direction isn’t necessarily going to have them scrambling on the ground for it. In most cases this will only serve to aggravate them as you haven’t done exactly what they say. While muggers generally are out to make gains through threatening people, they also tend to be violent in nature – looking for any excuse to hurt someone – or extremely apprehensive about what they are doing. Making jerky movements like throwing may seem like a threat and provoke and attack while your defences are down.

If you’d like to train to be fit, strong and ready for any situation – no need for vague pieces of advice –  Urban Kombat founder Garth Montgomery is a globally certified instructor by Israeli experts. Book into a Krav Maga Induction class, or call Garth on 0408 864 851.