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SELF-DEFENSE PRINCIPLES

Self-defense situations in U.T.F. Taekwon-do concentrate on tools, targets and techniques not usually permitted in sparring situations. They are taught in order to give students a graded variety of responses to choose from in confrontational situations when a fully combative response is not desirable or necessary.

These self-defense pages (not available on this site yet)  are intended for the purpose of organizing and focusing the teaching of this skill. A qualified instructor is essential for the student to properly learn how to apply the principles and methods outlined here. The teaching purpose is to replace involuntary brute force reactions arising from panic with aware responses chosen for their maximum effects with the least effort and repercussions for a particular situation. Once a particular technique is "understood", it is necessary that it be repeated many times, at different times, in different conditions, with different people until it can be used spontaneously whenever needed to the degree appropriate. Only then can it be considered "learned".

Several entire martial arts have developed using only "hands-on" self-defense techniques. It is quite possible to spend a lifetime just specializing in these types of techniques. In our Taekwon-do training it is the intention that the basic principles and methods behind these techniques be learned so that the student can adapt and apply them whenever a new situation arises. Learning many does not replace learning well. Ultimately, beyond knowing a certain number of basic responses, it is not the quantity of techniques known, but the quality of the knowing which will determine the studentsí preparedness.

Whenever possible:

  1. Use knowledge rather than brute force.
  2. Realize that being grabbed also offers you a connection to control the attacker: if they have you, you also have them.
  3. Use a larger part of yourself against a smaller part of them.
  4. Donít go against where their power is concentrated, but use your force where their power isnít.
  5. Donít put yourself in a more dangerous position in the process of getting out of the original predicament.
  6. Break their focus, especially if it is necessary to go against their power.
  7. Use the concept of leverage to multiply your force.
  8. Pressure points are preferred to pain infliction, because they:
    1. are often easier to regulate in their degree of effect,
    2. work even when the person is "feeling no pain" from drugs or other factors, since they act directly on the nervous system and are not mediated by any decision-making process,
    3. do not usually need a healing time to recover from bruises,
    4. are less likely to cause "now itís my turn" reactions.

(These last two are worthwhile considerations for keeping friendly relations among practicing students.)

9. Brute force is a last resort, but does have itís applications.