Self Defense – Tactics of Safety
Bela diri is the Indonesian term for the body of knowledge that deals with self defense and the strategy and tactics of avoiding or controlling a confrontation. Here I will introduce the general concepts that are applicable in all situations. The specific application of different tactics is covered in class practices and discussions.
The Three Leaves
The three leaves from the tree of conflict are Avoid, Defuse, Neutralize. When confronted with the possibility of a physical conflict you must take the moral high ground. Self defense begins before you ever come into contact with an assailant. You must measure your response to the threat and determine the difference between a fight and combat. A fight is usually about egos and pride. Combat is about personal and familial safety.
Principle #1: Avoid conflict by not being there. Hone, develop and then trust your instincts. If it seems like a bad situation, take your loved ones, your pride and your toys and LEAVE.
Principle #2: If you cannot avoid a conflict, do everything in your power to Defuse the situation. Take control by using your words and offering possibilities other than violence.
Principle #3: If you have truly done everything in your power to Avoid and Defuse then you have the responsibility to Neutralize the confrontation NOW. If you are in fear for your life then all bets are off, but if a bloody nose will end the aggression, then let that suffice. Apply just enough force to stop the attack and protect yourself. No more and no less.
Maxims of Principle #3
- You not only have the right to think at all times, but the responsibility to do so.
- Know and understand the consequences of violence. As a trained Silat practitioner, it is your duty to defuse conflict situations without unduly opening yourself to injury.
- Don’t get hit.
- When you hit, do so with intention, precision and commitment.
- An assailant asks questions with their intentions and movements, Gerakan Suci provides answers:
- “I am so dangerous that I can afford to be polite, reasonable and mellow.”
- “How badly I hurt you depends on how much of a physical threat you offer me.”
- “If it gets physical, I will be the one who walks away.”
- “Gravity is my friend; however, it doesn’t like you very much.”
- The only question we ask an assailant, with our intention, attention and presence is this: “Is what you hope to gain from attacking me worth the risk of injury or death?”
Worst Case Scenario
Being surrounded by a group of people that wish you bodily harm is what we describe as a worst case scenario. Do what ever you can to not find yourself in this type of situation.
If, however, you have been caught unawares then do whatever is necessary to remove yourself now! Your safety and perhaps your very life depend upon it.
All of the buah and maenpo of Gerakan Suci work toward facility with this situation so that it becomes ingrained in your psyche and reflexes.
Fight vs. Combat
The primary difference between a fight and a combat is whether you are in fear for your life or the lives of those under your protection.
A fight is when someone’s pride, ego or confusion gets them into a bad state and they want to take it out on someone else. If this can’t be Avoided or Defused, a few punches can usually Neutralize the situation.
A combat is when you are grossly outnumbered, someone attacks you with a weapon, or you are ambushed. This must usually be Neutralized with greater force and there is the very real danger of someone being greviously injured.
Assault and Reasonable Force
Assume for all practical purposes that self defense is illegal in the United States. Someone can assault you, you can defend yourself with reasonable force and there is a very real chance that you will end up being prosecuted for hurting your attacker. Sad, but true. This is why a large part of Gerakan Suci training is centered around the concept of Avoid, Diffuse, Neutralize.