In an Attack, Take Your Cues From the Matador Who Skilfully Avoids the Charging Bull

In an Attack, Take Your Cues From the Matador Who Skilfully Avoids the Charging Bull

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Expert Author Maurice Lorenz-Andree
The main purpose of "Self-Defense" is to avoid a confrontation e.g. in a bar, urban area or maybe a street demonstration. During my RAF service in Malta, a group of us had gone into this restaurant in downtown Valletta, the capital city of Malta. At the end of our meal we were ready to walk out and, as we did so, we saw a loud and very large group of anti-British protestors heading towards us. Although we were not in uniform, we were still identified as Brits.
Well, needless to say, my friends and I made a rapid retreat and we were luckily picked up at the other end of Valletta by a patrol of Military Police in a Land Rover, who drove us back to our base in Luqa.
Avoidance and Awareness is a key component of Self-Defense and; many Self-Defense teachers I have met in the past have put great emphases on this with their students. Many students that I have spoken to have also agreed on the critical part this plays in avoiding a confrontation. For example:
1) Always walk facing traffic. A person walking in the same direction as traffic can be followed from behind and be grabbed and forced into a car.
2) When walking along the street, do not speak on your mobile. Focus on where you are and where you are heading.
3) Check the area around an ATM at night before you stop and park your car, and be aware of anyone approaching you.
4) Never allow a stranger into your home; in an emergency, tell them that you will call the emergency services.
Plus many more Avoidance and Awareness practices that you will be made aware of.
But "WHAT IF" all has failed? What if you have taken all these precautions, but are still taken by surprise and find yourself faced with a dangerous situation - you are neither able to run or walk away from this sudden danger? In such a situation, you would be in a critically dangerous place and you should revert to Self-Defense techniques which require minimum effort to achieve a maximum result: the same principles practiced in Judo and in bullfighting.
In Judo, when an opponent in a practice or contest finds himself at that critical off-balance point, it is at that exact moment that he can be attacked and successfully thrown. In Self-Defense, you learn how to use your opponent's strength and momentum as tools for your own defense. In the arena of the bullfighter, the Matador skillfully avoids the charge of the bull (the bull's attack line) and is prepared for his attack.
The two most common situations where you could avoid this are:
A) When the mugger or hoodie hasn't attempted to rush towards you, but continues to approach you, and makes his demands as he comes nearer; there is still therefore this space between you and him.
B) When he has already made physical contact with you, i.e. he has embraced you from behind or he has grabbed your arm or part of your upper body.
These are just two of many responses you could make:
IA) Maintain this space between you and him (take one step back if necessary) and, as he continues to approach you, shout in a very commanding and loud voice, "STOP" - "BACK OFF" - "BACK OFF" (you are here taking command of the situation). If he continues to come forward and attempts to make a grab or strike you, parry the extended arm or striking hand, at the same time as stepping out of his attack line. Follow up with a kick to a vulnerable part of his lower body before you run. These are moves that would take seconds, with minimum effort, followed by a maximum strike or blow which would stop him from pursuing you. Here, you have successfully taken control of his action by stepping out of his attack line (avoiding the charging bull) and simultaneously striking a vital part of his lower body (like the Matador who would pierce the bull with his sword).
In this scenario, do not attempt to strike him whilst he is approaching you; he is alert and he WILL grab your arm or leg. When you do strike him, after your parry, never kick above the knee; instead, use a snap kick to his knee cap.
IB) There is no physical attack as yet, he has simply grabbed you (but his intention is still to do you physical harm), so here you can stamp on his ankle, strike his ribs or neck with your elbow, break the hold and then run or walk away. All these moves would again take just a matter of seconds with minimum effort.
I do not have room to go into more detailed scenarios and techniques in this article. My main aim in this article is to show you that you can, with minimum effort, stop a vicious attack and counter it with a very specific blow that would stop him in his tracks as you walk away. The principle of minimum effort with maximum effect also applies to elderly people or other vulnerable people using a spray, a walking stick, an umbrella or a bunch of keys. You do not have to be a Commando or a 4th Dan Black Belt to effectively defend yourself.
In my next article, I will look at some of the dangerous techniques taught in some Martial Art Dojos that could get you either badly hurt or killed.

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