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While we mostly learn through reading books, enrolling in classes, and experiencing things first-hand, it's also important to understand the wealth of knowledge one can obtain through simple quotes from other people.
In this post, we're fortunate to have quotes from Bruce Lee, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ronald Reagan regarding their lifetime of knowledge, experience, and wisdom about self defense, packed into a short profound sentence.
1. "There’s only one basic principle of self-defense. You must apply the most effective weapon, as soon as possible, to the most vulnerable target.” - Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee, one of the greatest martial artists of all time, presents a self defense perspective derived from decades of experience and wisdom.
Self defense is never just about one thing. You can’t just have a great weapon and you’re able to protect yourself. It’s a combination of several factors coming together to give you the best chance of survival.
In Bruce Lee’s example, you can have in your possession the most powerful gun, and the ability to draw and arm it quicker than your opponent. You’re in a great position to defeat your attacker. But if you fire your first shot and miss, and your opponent is able to counter-attack you before you can get off your second shot, it doesn’t matter what gun you have or how fast you can use it. You will be defeated if your opponent’s shot connects. Various cogs have to work together to implement effective self defence and it takes awareness, practice, and preparation to achieve it.
2. "When it comes to self defense, it is better to have the power and not need it than to need it and not have it."
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you carry a self defense weapon with you, you may never have to use it, but if there’s one time you have to use it, you’ll be happy you had it. Always have some sort of self defense weapon on you at all times.
3. I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence." - Malcolm X
Malcolm X, one of the most notable human rights activists, was always a fervent supporter of self defense and his quote highlights his view of it.
Not only are you legally allowed to defend yourself with violence if someone is attacking you, but it’s smart to do so. Once a perpetrator has made the decision to threaten your life, you have the full right to make him pay with his own life, if that’s what it takes to defend yourself. Many people find it hard to inflict harm to someone else, yet if it’s your life or his life, you better choose yourself first
4. "Lying is an elementary form of self defense."
When you’re in a dangerous situation, nothing is off the table. Everything goes. Your only goal is to survive and if you must lie to survive, then it’s the right thing to do.
5. "A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense." - Woody Allen
Most human beings are like this tree. We are non-violent, compassionate, empathetic, peaceful beings that don’t wish harm or pain onto another. However, just like the tree, if another entity were to impose harm and danger upon us, then we will strike them back simply in self defense and cause great harm to them.
6. "For every idealistic peacemaker willing to renounce his self-defence in favour of a weapons-free world, there is at least one warmaker anxious to exploit the other’s good intentions." - Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher was the first woman to become the British prime minister and was known as the “Iron Lady” of politics for her strong will and obstinate opinions. This extended into areas such as diplomacy, military, and self defense.
Her pragmatic approach to self defense is that there will always be people out there willing to take advantage of others’ weaknesses. Therefore instead of removing everyone’s defenses and relying on good will, it’s better to arm yourself as a deterrent and be prepared to defend yourself. The same goes for personal self defense. You don’t know what another person’s intentions are, so you’re better off protecting yourself than depending on another person not to attack you.
7. "Self-defense is not only our right; it is our duty." - Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was the 40th U.S. president and a leading voice for conservatism. He believed in personal responsibility, individual liberties, military, and of course protecting oneself.
Reagan states that not only are humans granted a civil right to defend ourselves, but that it’s our duty to do so. Not defending ourselves would almost be disrespectful to the precious opportunity we’ve been granted to live in this world. Even if you are physically inferior or you feel your life is worthless, it’s your duty to try to defend yourself.
8. "Self defense is not just a set of techniques; it’s a state of mind, and it begins with the belief that you are worth defending." - Rorion Gracie
It’s unfortunate that sometimes people simply give up if they’re being attacked because they don’t believe they’re worth saving or they don’t think they have the ability to defend themselves. This is normally the case when individuals such as runaways, homeless women or prostitutes are kidnapped and attacked.
This quote emphasizes that every life is worth saving and it starts with your self-image and self esteem. It doesn’t matter where you are in life, what you’re experiencing, or what you’ve done. You are always worth defending.
9. "The right of self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals." - James Monroe
As long as there is life and a society, the need for self defense will always be present. As long as you’re alive, your need to defend yourself and your life never ends.
10. "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most well known civil rights leaders and a vocal proponent of non-violence. While Martin Luther King, Jr. doesn’t explicitly encourage the use of weapons and bloodshed, he explains that even another famous non-violence proponent, Gandhi, has never denounced self-defense. When two of the most well-known voices of non-violence have never criticized weapons and bloodshed in the name of self-defense, you know how important self defense weapons are.
11. "Protecting yourself is self-defense. Protecting others is warriorship." - Bodhi Sanders
You would be surprised by how much of a difference one person can make by helping someone else being attacked. If you see someone being attacked, there are countless things you can do to help.
One, call the police to report the crime and tell them the location.
Two, after you’ve dialed 911, you can verbally defend the other person by telling the attacker to stop, or even alerting him that the police are on the way as a deterrent to possibly stop the attack.
Three, if you are physically able, you can also intervene which will be putting yourself into harm’s way. We would encourage anyone to physically intervene if they’re physically fit to do so. But if not, at the very least you can call the cops and verbally help the person. We would encourage both men, women, and young members of society to assist who are able to.
12. "The two most important things to do for self-defense are not to take a martial arts class or get a gun, but to think like the opposition and know where you’re most at risk.” - Barry Eisler
We disagree with this quote and believe everyone should own a self defense weapon and take a self defense class if you have the time and money.
However Mr. Barry Eisler’s seconds points hold true. Think like the opposition and know where you’re most at risk.. Where would an attacker look for his victims? In vulnerable, desolate areas like side running paths, parking lots, stairwells, or alleyways to name a few.
How would a predator attack his victims? One method is using the element of surprise and quickness. That’s why you should be very wary of your personal space, especially in vulnerable areas. If you’re in a desolate parking lot and there’s a gentleman closing the distance between the two of you, you must do everything in your power to ensure that he doesn’t get close to you, as that’s when he can engage in a sudden attack.