Updated: May 21
The Best Defense for Protecting Your Family is a Good Offense
There I was being mildly pummeled by my self defense instructor when I had a thought, “It’s really hard to defend myself.”
This was because I felt like I have to see what my attacker is doing and then counter that and then find time to throw a punch. This is really hard. Now some of you may say, if I have time to think of that then I’m not really focused on protecting myself and you’re right.
This was early on in my training and my mindset would soon change when my instructor told me that I don’t have to wait for someone to attack me to defend myself. Wait, what? Isn’t that the whole point? This is self defense, not attacker class. And that was a simple point that I couldn’t move past until this moment.
He told me that if I knew an attack was imminent and I could prove it, then I could strike first as a way to defend myself. Now let me pause here and remind you that you need to be aware of your state’s laws and castle doctrine, don’t just take my story and misinterpret it into the law of the land.
So here we see that waiting for our attacker to strike isn’t the best option for us. And here is where the old adage comes into sharp focus:
The best defense is a good offense.
This isn’t just a fun phrase to yell at football practice, it can be used in family protection too. And in this case a good defense is a committed counter offense
Many times when people are physically attacked, the target gives the attacker an advantage of being in charge. The attacker instigated the attack so therefore they have an intrinsic advantage and the target is behind, reeling to figure out what’s going on. This is why attackers are often so successful because they know when the attack will happen, where it will take place and what the goal of it is.
So we as the good, law abiding citizens that we are will naturally be behind when an attack starts. It’s the same way with home defense. Families give a huge advantage to thieves during a home invasion because they’re not doing anything about defending their homes until someone breaks in. I call this the Biggest Myth in Home Security and you can listen to episode 7 of this podcast for more as I dedicate an entire show to this myth.
So what’s the solution here? We must be proactive about our safety and security. The best defense is to be proactive about creating our counter offense. We do this by practicing situational awareness, by instituting a layered home defense strategy and by training how to fight with our hands or a weapon (or both preferably).
We need to change our mindset from that of a victim to someone who’s just looking for permission to fight, to enact our counter offensive. You must give yourself permission to act to defend your home, your family and yourself. Tony Blauer reiterated that when he was on the show in December.
When someone puts their hands on us in public in a threatening way that isn’t our signal to become a victim. This is our signal to unleash our offensive measures. Take away that advantage the attacker has. Chances are if someone realizes that we aren’t going to cower in fear, they’ll take off at our signal of resistance. This is a mental and physical offensive measure all in one.
Likewise, when we hear our home alarm going off in the middle of the night, this is our permission to start our offensive measures. Don’t let fear give way to anxiety and freeze up.
About 10 years ago I got to be a cameraman for a national bull riding event. It was crazy and there is a point to this story. If you’ve never been to a rodeo or bull riding, it’s worth going for the experience. Every word of Garth Brooks’ song Rodeo is legit.
My position is behind the wall near the chutes and between the bull pins. If I misstep up here on this muddy scaffolding, I’m getting trampled by a bull in either direction. I was impressed by the power that these bulls have. These are massive, horned animals who can do some real damage.
About midway through the show the big name, up and coming rider was up. I followed him with my camera getting down into the chute and tied in. He was a young guy and seemed confident that he knew what he was doing, after all he was the main event for the night.
The chute gate flung open and out they went. That bull bucked and kicked worse than any of the others. This kid lasted about 2 seconds before he got flung off. He hit the mud right next to the bull, he was almost stepped on and kicked. He almost got killed, it was a tense moment.
The clowns got out and distracted the bull as this kid tried to get up back over the wall but his body wasn’t cooperating. I saw for the first time someone whose body was shutting down because it thought life was over. It took three cowboys to pull him over the railing, I even had to grab his leg to help get him over the top.
He landed in a heap next to me and all of the color had drained from his face. I’d never seen anyone as white as a sheet before but this guy was! He had a thousand yard stare and wasn’t responding to anyone. After being left alone for a while he gathered himself and went somewhere. I had a new respect for bulls after that
For us as parent protectors, we need to be ready like a bull in the chute at a rodeo. Bulls are mostly calm in the chute on their own. But when the rider gets on, the bull knows it’s about to go down.
Like that bull, metaphorically once that gate swings open once we know a threat is active, we need to be ready to act. We need to unleash all of our power and training to buck the threat and don’t stop until you know the threat is over.
Deterrence is Best
We as protectors need to be aggressive in our proactive measures to defend our families and this means winning a fight before it starts. At every opportunity in public and at home, we must communicate to a potential attacker that we will be a hard target and they are better off going somewhere else. This way we don’t invite evil into our lives and we keep it away the best we can, this deterrence is a great offensive measure that we can all employ.
Like a bull who is as big as a truck and has horns, it’s size is a great deterrent. Deterrence needs to be our primary offense and if someone doesn’t see that for whatever reason, then we need to be ready and counter them with a second wave of our offensive.
Live your life like that bull waiting to be unleashed. Do you best to deter a threat but don’t fear the chute gate swinging open, that's your time to shine and defend those that you love.
You mess with the bull, you get the horns. You mess with my family, you get me.