Self-Defense Basics: Lesson 1 – Make Yourself Comfortable!

Hey. Ando here from Happy Life Martial Arts. Welcome to the first lesson in your Self-Defense
Basics Course. Now, I know you might think the first lesson
should be back there hitting the bags, but let me tell you a little secret about the
martial arts— the physical fighting techniques are actually the easiest part. I mean, you already know how to hurt somebody,
don’t you? Even if you didn’t, you have a body. Take a few minutes and go explore yourself
and I’m pretty sure you'll figure out all kinds of ways to cause pain and damage to
another human being. But hold on–we’re getting way ahead of
ourselves here. Before we talk about how to fight off bad
guys, we should figure out how to avoid bad guys. Preventing danger is the first and most effective
strategy in self-defense. That’s why almost every self-defense course
begins with the tried and true advice to pay attention to your surroundings. But you’re smart. You don’t need me to tell you that walking
alone at night in a bad part of town, counting your cash on the way to the liquor store,
so you can buy booze and go drink in the park until you black out is risky behavior.

But what may be less obvious is that staying
at home behind locked doors with an abusive friend or partner is also risky behavior. So, how can a smart person like you do an
even better job of preventing trouble and avoiding danger? Answer—by not just paying attention to your
surroundings, but paying attention to how people treat you and how you feel. If you find yourself in a place or with a
person that makes you feel nervous and tense, my advice–make yourself comfortable. No, I don’t mean on the couch, all alone,
with your favorite blank. I mean everywhere and with everyone. That’s not so easy. As you know, the world can be a stressful
place. And let’s be honest—some of that stress
may be good for you. Stress can make you stronger and motivate
you to work harder. But some of that stress you feel is actually
an alarm. Your body is wired to warn you when it senses
trouble. The question is—are you listening? When your breath shortens, when your heart
speeds up, when your chest tightens, when you hear that little voice inside your head
say, “Hey, something is wrong here,” that is your body telling you that you’re facing
a threat on some level to your health, happiness, and safety.

When that alarm goes off, either because you’re
in a place that makes you uncomfortable or with a person that makes you uncomfortable,
you must make it a habit to do or say something to get your comfort back. Don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t hesitate. Turn your intuition into action. This is a crucial principle in self-defense,
so I’m going to say it again—the longer you wait to make yourself comfortable, the
more pain and danger you’re going to experience.

That’s true for toothaches, insults, or
punches to the face. The moment you sense something is wrong, the
second you feel trouble brewing, that’s the time to make your move. Take a minute to think about where you spend
your time. Where do you live? Where do you work? Where do you park your car? Where do you sit in a movie theater? Do you really want to get on the elevator
with those guys? Is this house party getting out of control? What are they doing with that goat? As a rule, don’t put yourself in positions
where you feel vulnerable. Cross the street, stand up, move your chair,
leave the room—do whatever you have to do, but always place yourself in a position of
power. Now, think about how people treat you. Do your friends value your time? Does your partner respect your feelings? Do your co-workers appreciate your efforts? Does someone in your family keep sticking
their thumb in your pie? Look—if someone is ignoring your feelings,
or shouting down your opinion, or bullying you in any way, end that relationship.

You can walk away from a bad relationship
as fast as you can run out of a burning building. If you don’t, then you are allowing yourself
to feel uncomfortable. Feeling uncomfortable then becomes normal
for you. And that’s dangerous. Because if somebody suddenly slaps you, or
threatens your life, or pulls out a weapon, you won’t have the tools to stop them. You've not only trained everyone in your life
to treat you badly, you’ve trained yourself to do nothing about it. You must believe this—whatever you allow
into your life, you’ll usually get more of it. If you let people insult you, then bad guys
will find you and insult you.

If you let people hurt you, then bad guys
will find you and hurt you. If you keep putting yourself in positions
where you feel weak and helpless, then you will become weak and helpless. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change it. Every time you position yourself to feel strong
and capable, every time you say something to let people know that you will not be disrespected,
believe it or not, you are also preparing yourself for more serious threats to your

Start right now. Train yourself to take control of high-risk
situations by taking control of low-risk situations. It took me a long time to figure this out,
but everything you do—and I mean everything–is either building a habit that will improve
your health, happiness, and safety or is building a habit to damage your health, happiness,
and safety. Like any muscle, decisive action and strong
words must be exercised regularly. Of course, it’s easy talk about taking action
and standing up for yourself, doing it is something else. That’s because there’s a problem here. The problem is you, my friend, are a good,
kind-hearted person and good, kind-hearted people don’t want to make trouble.

They don’t want to make anybody else feel
uncomfortable—even if they’re being hurt. But let me ask you— why is it okay for someone
to make you feel uncomfortable, but it’s not okay for you to make that person feel
uncomfortable? Why is it okay for someone to cause you pain,
but it’s not okay for you to cause that person pain? Look—just because you’re kind and patient
doesn’t mean you should put someone else’s feelings ahead of yours.

It’s the opposite. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable
and you tell them that they are making you uncomfortable, they SHOULD feel uncomfortable. Here’s why— Bad guys know they make you feel uncomfortable. Bad guys know that you won’t speak up for
yourself. Bad guys know that you would rather suffer
silently than do or say anything to make things feel awkward. In fact, they count on it! Bad guys need you to do and say nothing so
they can get what they want. That’s how they win. Otherwise, they wouldn't waste their time
on you. But you can put a stop to all of that. Here’s a simple drill that I think can help.

Find a mirror. No, not just to fix your hair, but to practice
speaking up for yourself. I know. It’s going to feel weird at first, staring
at yourself in the mirror, but think about it —if you can’t express your feelings
to yourself when you’re alone and there’s no pressure, then you probably won’t be
able to to express your feelings to a bad guy when the pressure is high, either. So, practice this. Face the mirror with your whole body, look
yourself in the eye, and say, “That’s not okay with me. I want you to stop that right now. Back up. Put your thumb in my pie and I’ll put my
thumb in your eye.” You get the idea. Now if you see yourself blinking too much,
or looking away, or tipping your head, or giggling, that’s okay. just try again. Practice until you feel the power behind your
words. Because if you don’t believe what you’re
saying, well, then nobody else will either. I recommend practicing in the mirror every
time you brush your teeth. It’s funny how we all find time every day
to fight off cavities, but we don’t find time every day to practice fighting off bad

So, put down the brush, take a breath, and
say what you need to say. One important detail here—when you tell
someone how you feel, when you speak up for yourself, the other person may argue, but
they may also say nothing at all. You might suddenly find yourself trapped in
an awkward moment of silence. Good job! Don’t forget – the bad guys are trapped
in that same awkward moment with you. You surprised them. You didn't act the way they expected you to. So, don’t be in a hurry to fill in that
silence. And don’t apologize. Definitely don’t apologize! You didn’t do anything wrong, they did. Apologizing is just like pulling a punch back—it
takes all away the impact. Instead, stand strong and let your words sink
in. If you have to repeat yourself, then say it
again. I know it may seem a little odd to connect
how you use your words with how you use your fists, but really, they’re just different
expressions of the same motives and emotions.

Which means, if you can’t defend yourself
with your words when someone is insulting you to your face, how do you think you’re
going to be able to defend yourself with your fists when someone is punching you in the
face? How can you speak up if you always practice
being silent? How can you take action if you always practice
doing nothing? How can you make yourself comfortable if you
always let people make you uncomfortable? Make a pledge to yourself to be on guard against
anyone who doesn’t care about your comfort. Train everyone to understand what’s okay
and what’s not okay when they deal with you. Just to be clear, I’m not saying that every
time someone offends you that you should scream in their face or smash them over their head
with your laptop.

You may choose to do nothing. You may choose to say nothing. You may choose to just walk away and move
on with your life. But that should be a choice, not a habit. As a fully empowered human being, you should
never feel that you only have one option, meaning you always walk away or you always
fight back. If you’re watching this video, the odds
are that you’re a nice person. That means you don’t have to practice being
kind, and patient, and understanding—I’ll bet you’ve already mastered those choices.

What you need to work on is putting yourself
in strong positions and speaking up for yourself to let people know how you expect to be treated. All right. Let me wrap this up. By now, you should know that self-defense
is a lot more than just putting on workout clothes and hitting the bag for an hour. Self-defense is a psychological and emotional
journey. It’s a slow process of building up an arsenal
of empowering behavioral habits. If you truly want to maximize your safety
all day, every day, then you need to practice good self-defense habits all day, every day. Practice turning your intuition into action. Make yourself as comfortable as you can, as
quickly as you can, as often as you can. If you do that, I promise you–you will be
headed towards a healthier, happier, and safer life. Wait! One more thought. The real test of self-defense is not a body
count, it’s a smile.

I believe a smile is your greatest self-defense
weapon. Wherever you go, whoever you’re with, whatever
you’re doing, can you find a smile? If you’re tense, if you’re nervous, if
you’re anxious, your body is telling you that something is wrong, which means you are
not in the optimal state to solve your problems and achieve your goals. And that’s true whether you're dealing with
your boss, your family, or a killer. But when you turn your intuition into action,
when you make yourself comfortable, that’s when you’ll be relaxed, clear-headed, and
at the top of your game. That’s when you'll have the best chance
of surviving and thriving. So, say what you need to say and do what you
need to do until you can find your smile. And once you find it, don’t let any place,
anything, or anyone take it from you. I’ll see you again in Lesson #2. Until then, let your smile be your shield
and your sword.

Keep fighting for a happy life..

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