Self protection


Wanting to learn how to defend yourself from a violent attack and only practising physical fighting type skills is like wanting to be safer on the road and only practising how to crash better.

It seems crazy in that context but that is what most people focus on when they pursue self defence. Sure, car safety ratings and crumple zones and heaps of airbags are all very good but limiting our interest to only crashing is very short sighted. That’s obvious right?

To be safer on the road it helps to look ahead, buffer away when passing oncoming trucks, understanding the sorts of things bad drivers do so you can avoid them, know where the local black-spots (high crash areas) are and understanding how blind-spots work are all far more important proactive measures to being safe on the road.

The same goes for self defence.

Limiting our focus to fight type skills is like limiting our interests in road safety to crashing better. Don't be the Volvo driver of the self defence world. Be smarter than that. Don't be ignorant of what is going on around you.


Sometimes, possessing good fight skills can make us overconfident where we don't use those 'soft skills' and somewhat ironically can mean we are more likely to end up needing to use those fight skills. This is the same dumb attitude where Volvo drivers feel so safe and secure in their car that they tend be ignorant of what is going on around them and are more likely to either cause an accident nearby or be in one.

Focusing on driver knowledge, driver skills and driver awareness is the primary area that will improve driver safety.

We should take the same approach with self defence. Much like understanding where accident black spots are and what sort of accidents happen there is important, so too should those of us interested in self defence seek to understand where violence occurs in our neighbourhood and what sorts of violent crime is most common.

Understanding the underlying nature of human violence will allow anyone with an interest in self defence to decipher the apparent mysteries of violent crime. It will provide clarity to what was previously fuzzy and disordered.

Prioritising understanding over fighting is obvious from this vantage point but is rarely taught. Low Tech Combat is all about this smarter approach to self defence.

However many young men will not be hearing this message over their internal voices telling them they are warriors - “Musashi said the ability to defeat men in fights is all that matters”. I know that voice well although I think that youthful voice died of old age some time ago now. While many young men think of themselves as warriors, most are not. We shouldn’t be too hard on them as it can be a difficult lesson to take onboard for some. #growingpains

Sometimes, it is shocking just how little some good fighters know about human violence and violent crime.

Much like car safety ratings are still important in the grand scheme of things and are great at improving our chances of survival in the worse case scenario, so too is developing physical response skills for the rare occasion we find ourselves in a violent encounter. Sometimes, someone can just crash into us when unexpected.


But if we want to be safer on the roads we don’t only go for the safer car. It shouldn’t be the number one thing we look for when we want to stay safe on the roads. It shouldn’t be the only thing we need to take care of to be safe on the roads.

While driving a safer car should make up just a small part of staying safe on the road, some do it better than others. And yes, I will be linking this back to self defence in just a moment. Bare with me.

When people are in the market for a new car, safety is typically an important consideration - especially for families with young children. But when shopping around, people typically start off their study of car safety from a very low knowledge base. This means they are susceptible to what car salesman tell them and what sponsored website reviews tell them. So even when they are actively looking to factor in car safety intelligently into their buying decision making, their knowledge on the topic is quite shallow meaning they are likely to make suboptimal findings. And then they are driving a car around for many years telling their friends how safe they think the car is.

The same goes for self defence. When someone first starts being interested in self defence, they start looking around for either a local martial arts or local self defence school. Their knowledge to inform considered decision making is suboptimal. They are susceptible to what the school owners and instructors tell them. So even when they are actively looking to factor in desired self defence skills into their decision about what school to join up, their knowledge on the topic is quite shallow meaning they are likely to join a school that is ultimately not the best fit for them. But once they join up, they are committed and will be telling their friends about how good his school is for self defence training.

Smarter, not a better crasher

We should primarily aim to be a safer driver. We should also primarily seek to understand violence first and have physical skills as a last resort. Physical skills are a lower priority. We shouldn’t focus only on the last resort at the expense of everything else that comes before it. That’s what Volvo drivers do.

Don’t be the Volvo driver of the self defence world. That’s just embarrassing.


As a somewhat self fulfilling prophesy, ignoring everything that comes before physical violence makes physical violence more likely to occur. The vicious cycle continues as the person who faced a physical encounter will likely double down on the physical aspect because it was the only aspect of the violence our protagonist was aware of.

Focusing on all of the pre-violence aspects enables us to avoid, prevent, deter, detect and mitigate violence.

With these sorts of skills you will be less likely to need to draw on those last resort physical skills. This is the same as the better more advanced driver having less need to rely on airbags and crumple zones in a crash.

Ultimately, who is safer on the roads?

  1. A driving enthusiast who has undertaken advanced driver training (which always involves a lot of theory), knows about road accident trends, knows where the black spots are in their neighbourhood, actively scans the road ahead, doesn’t text and drive while at the same time owning an older car with zero airbags and brakes that are serviceable but not as good as modern cars.


  1. A Volvo driver who has undertaken no extra training besides getting their license, doesn’t really care for road statistic things and can just satisfactorily control their Volvo which he bought because it was one of the very safest cars on the road. He loves telling people how safe Volvos are.

So who is safer?

And who are you in the self defence world, number 1 or number 2? Who do you want to be?

Leave your comments below.



P.S. So yeah, I am picking on Volvo drivers a little here but I hope you get the point.


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We examine rising knife and gun violence in the UK from a self defence perspective. Watch a documentary about knife attacks and knife culture in London, examine some of the latest violent crime statistics from the Office of National Statistics as well as examine some real case studies of knife and gun attacks. It's a deep dive!

In this article, we go deep on knife and gun violence in the UK. All for self defence knowledge.



News source:

A beauty queen trained in self-defence fought off a mugger moments before her casting to take part in Miss Universe Great Britain.

She parked up on a side street close to the meeting place at Jurys Inn, Broad Street, but as she locked her car a man approached her.

The thug began to pull her and attempted to grab her handbag.

She fought him off.

As Kirsty Grace arrived at a Miss Universe casting, she parked down a side street. As she got out of her car in her high heels she was approached by a mugger who probably thought he had just identified an easy target.

Fortunately for her she is a practitioner of Krav Maga and is a blue belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

The 26 yr old said: “Self-defence has been an interest of mine for many years and I want to emphasise to other women that it’s imperative to learn how to look after ourselves".

“I really believe the mugger thought I would be an easy target, relying on catching somebody off-guard or vulnerable in high heels - I’m pleased I showed him otherwise".

“Awareness of what is going on around you is so important at all times. Timing is essential, responding quickly but keep as calm as possible, all these things you learn and drill in training classes which helps you act under pressure. I then went to re-adjust my hair in the ladies bathroom shortly before walking in for my casting.”

While this is a good news story I would like to tease out some self defense aspects to consider in light of this story.

The bad

She parked down a side street.

Side streets off busy areas are the hunting grounds for predators. Marc MacYoung calls these areas 'fringe areas'.

They are to be avoided whenever possible - especially if you are walking down them by yourself, especially if you are female and especially at night.

Going into these areas is high risk. You would want to be in condition yellow and on the ball.

However, life being what it is, sometimes we cannot avoid staying out of high risk areas for whatever reason. This seems to be the case here.

Secondly, it seems the mugger was onto her as she got out of her car. This implies she didn't see him as she was locking the car when he struck. If she was forced to park here she should have had a really good look around, with doors locked, prior to getting out of the car and maintained observation as she exited.

This act, looking for threats and appearing aware, can deter a mugger who wants to go for easy targets who they can strike using the element of surprise.

It is unclear if she did this or spotted him prior to getting out of the car.

The good

Kirsty was able to fight her way out of a bad situation.

That takes skill and luck. No doubt, her Krav Maga and Jiu Jitsu training helped her in a significant way.

She was lucky.

She was lucky there was just one attacker and not two or three or four. She was lucky he didn't use an edged weapon (or gun). She was lucky he wasn't bigger, stronger or faster, more skilled or more determined.

But she took full advantage of that luck by fighting back in a skilled and determined way.

Sometimes, events in our life can take centre stage and it can be so easy to forget all about our safety. That makes us human. Let this serve as a reminder to try and be more mindful when we are in high risk areas.

Kirsty's example here shows that when avoidance and awareness don't work and violence is inevitable, you better have a robust Plan B. That's where physical resolution skills are paramount.

And yes, she got through to the next round.



What is self defense? What is it really? What should it be? What is the state of the self defense industry?

Simple questions at face value but many important points can be drawn out from analysing them.

Firstly, we determine that existing definitions of self defense are seriously flawed. 

Secondly, we explore a new updated definition that is much more useful.

Thirdly, we identify that the self defense industry is doing a very poor job of teaching students useful self defense knowledge and skills. 

Fourthly, the martial arts industry is no better at teaching self defense skills. 

And finally, we realise that there is almost no serious consideration of the legal use of force. A massive oversight. 

We also cover much more ground. This is a long post - over 3000 words so get yourself a coffee before diving in.

Raising Daughters and Teaching Real Self Defence Skills

Matt Thornton:

First and foremost, I want my daughters to grow up unafraid to speak their minds, and defend their boundaries. I want defiance, aimed at anyone who would try and hurt, demean, or victimize them, to be the go to reaction. In short, I want to raise assertive women.

Some great advice. Real self defence is not about techniques.

Case Study: The unpredictable typical criminal

News story:

The Daily Record of Morris County reported on Monday that authorities allege in court documents that Hannah, before he was shot, pointed a loaded shotgun at an officer, and that the hammer had been pulled back. The newspaper, citing affidavits filed in Superior Court in Morristown, said he had been kicked out of his grandparents’ home because of heroin use and told his grandmother he wanted to end his life.

The court papers also reportedly say Hannah stole a Kate Spade designer purse from a car in Butler on the day he was shot, keeping the contents but discarding the purse. Kate Spade purses can be worth hundreds of dollars. Neighbors said that police had been looking for Hannah that day and neighbors called police to tell them that the man they wanted was walking through the neighborhood disguised as a woman and walking with a limp.

This, in some ways, is a typical low life criminal. He engages in crime to fund his hobbies. However if you stumble across his path he could be dangerous.

He doesn't appear to be especially capable but the willingness and readiness to use violence is probably there. He is also likely to be highly unpredictable.

If you were running scenario training what would you brief the aggressor role player if you were to use the above person as an attacker model? What techniques? What overall approach? Would he hit and move to keep distance and maybe eventually flee? Or would he charge in and end up in the clinch? How would he wield a weapon? Swing keeping distance or go for big knock out hits? What about if he was armed with an edged weapon?

It is interesting to consider this particular case - even if it is based on incomplete information. Thinking about what this person would do in a real attack can provide really useful insights into the sorts of skills you would need to develop to best counter him in a real self defence encounter.

It is worthwhile spending time considering pre attack indicators and knowledge you could draw on to avoid getting involved in a physical encounter at all.

This person could feasibly be a predator (mainly) and also an alpha male (especially if high or drunk).

Confronting Armed Rascals

News Story:

Gamez had gone to Hernandez’s residence and slashed the tires of a vehicle belonging to Hernandez. Hernandez went outside and confronted Gamez. Gamez attacked Hernandez with the knife causing him injury.

Lesson: Don't confront someone unarmed who has just slashed your car tyres with a knife.

Gun Violence and Crime in the US

Gun Violence and Crime in the US

Gun violence and gun crime in the US. Quite an emotive topic for some.

However this post looks straight at the data and truths surrounding gun violence in the US so we can have a better understanding of how it happens and how we can defend against it.

This is one of the longest posts to be published on Low Tech Combat so strap yourselves in. We also have a whole heap of charts and images (13 in total) to portray the information as efficiently as possible.

Chimp vs Chimp Violence and Insights into Human vs Human Violence

Chimp vs Chimp Violence and Insights into Human vs Human Violence

New studies into how chimpanzees engage in violence between one another shines great insight into the fundamental nature of how and why humans engage in violence with one another.

This post explores these recent studies and provides analysis into the meanings for us humans.

The King Hit

The King Hit

The King Hit (or Sucker Punch) is causing a lot of problems in todays society. It is easy to hit someone with a cheap shot.

We explore this King Hit issue in this post. We look at the injuries and family suffering that King Hits cause. We look at some statistics. We look at the pettiness of the reasons people use these cheap attacks. We look at the culprits. We ask if King Hits are a reflection of a cheapening of life these days and dehumanisation more generally.

Regardless how much much of a cheap shot these sorts of attacks are, the threat posed by them is very real - especially if you are drunk (drunk=slow).

Let's get stuck into it.

The Human Combative Behaviour Presentation

This post contains a highly produced slide deck exploring the topic of Human Combative Behaviour.

It combines some fantastic imagery, statistical analysis and features many of the key points from the Manifesto aiming to educate people about human to human violence.

Strategic Self Defence

Strategic Self Defence

Many people get confused regarding the differences between strategy and tactics; Even people who are well versed in various combat arts and sciences.

This post examines exactly what strategy is and what it is not - from a self defence perspective.

Then we go deep and explore how we can approach self defence from a strategic perspective. This will get you thinking big picture and how the deliberate big picture decisions we make flow down to everything else.

Are Combat Sports a Waste of Time for Self Defence?

Are Combat Sports a Waste of Time for Self Defence?

There are broadly two camps.

The first camp, they love the combat sports and feel that unless you train against a 100% resisting opponent you are not close to simulating real violent encounters.

The second camp, they feel that there are too many restrictions when training in combat sports which generates bad habits.

There is a bit more to it than this and we go deep looking at whether or not the combat sports are a good method for developing effective self defence skills.

13 Commonly Believed Myths About Self Defence BUSTED!

13 Commonly Believed Myths About Self Defence BUSTED!

This post explores 13 commonly believed myths regarding self defence and we bust them wide open!

Some of these are sacred cows that need slaughtering. Some of them may be eye opening. Some not so obvious. 

Regardless you are sure to get something out of this one!

The Warrior is Dead, Long Live the Warrior

The Warrior is Dead, Long Live the Warrior

What is a warrior? Is the term even relevant today?

Is a warrior only a soldier? What about a martial artist? What about an MMA champ? What about a cop? What about a mercenary? What about a cancer survivor? What about a sporting legend?

This post argues that most of the above are NOT a warrior. This post examines what a warrior actually is - in some detail.

Caution - some people may be offended.

The 5 Best Improvised Weapons in the World

The 5 Best Improvised Weapons in the World

Improvised weapons can be a great equaliser.

But what makes a good improvised weapon? What commonly espoused improvised weapons are worse than using unarmed options?

That is exactly what we are looking for here as we drill down into the topic and identify the 5 best improvised weapons in the world.

Interview: Matthew Apsokardu on Traditional Martial Arts and Self Defence

Interview: Matthew Apsokardu on Traditional Martial Arts and Self Defence

Authentic interview with Matthew Apsokardu from Ikigai Way.

We go over a range of topics mostly linked in with the overall theme of how traditional martial artists train for self defence. We also talk a bit about how the rising trend in combat sports such as MMA have impacted on the evolution of traditional arts such as karate.

It's great to get an open minded traditionalist talking about contemporary self defence issues.