I said, “Whichever works!”
That may not have been the answer she (or you) expected, but think about it. You’re attacked. You react. Your reaction either stops the assailant or doesn’t. If it stops your attacker, excellent! But it doesn’t, what then? Do you coil into the fetal position and fall to the ground? Hell, no! You try another technique. And another one. And another one after that. And you keep fighting until you’ve succeeded, or until you’ve breathed your last breath.
The point is, no matter what techniques you use, fighting back doubles your chances of an assailant breaking off their attack. Remember, your assailant fears two things: getting caught and getting hurt. Be sure to use your voice as well as your might. Shouting, screaming, and swearing will draw attention and could help save your life!
Of course, we all want more than a 50% success rate. That’s why I recommend learning self-defense. If you’ve never taken a self-defense class, please, take one! It could be the single most important thing you do. If you have taken a self-defense class, take another one! Repetition, repetition, repetition will help you fight back with confidence and effectiveness. If a self-defense class sounds intimidating, why not sign up with friends and make it a fun night out?
For authors: a self-defense class or martial arts training can help you when writing your fight scenes. What better way to learn techniques that could work for your story and for your particular characters than to try them out first hand with an instructor? The sensei (teacher) can also give you ideas for what a person with no training can do versus techniques a martial arts character might use. Different martial arts styles will emphasize different things. Jiu jitsu, for example, emphasizes ground fighting and submission holds while karate emphasizes blocking and striking.
One day, after a training session, the students were enjoying a drink with Master Shimabuku. Some were drinking beer. Some awamori. Some pine juice. Using this social time as an opportunity to teach, the Master asked which bottle was the best. Those drinking beer said theirs was the best. Those drinking awamori claimed theirs was the best. Those drinking pine juice said theirs was the best. The Master replied, “All bottles are good. They all serve their purpose.” Though Master Shimabuku never mentioned why he asked the question about the bottles, Sensei Advincula believes he was relating it to karate styles: that all styles of karate are good.
Extrapolating that thought, I believe all styles of martial arts are good. They all serve their purpose. The important thing is to train. Take those classes. Practice. Learn different techniques. Because there is more than one way to stop an attack. The important thing is stopping it!
Stay safe out there!
~ K.M. Fawcett
Author and Martial Arts Instructor