Without doubt, Bruce Lee was perhaps the reason so millions of people fell in love with martial arts. After all, this skinny guy appeared to possess almost superhuman reflexes, phenomenal strength and martial arts skills that were far beyond anything seen on camera.
In one of his earlier books The Tao of Gung Fu, Bruce wrote about self-defence. The chapter titled “Self Defence Considerations” is perhaps the greatest chapter on self-defence in any martial arts book and I have created our seven tips from that source material:
1. Self-Defence Is Not Fun
“You are liable to find yourself fighting hard to avoid serious injury and so must expect to be hurt.”
I love this quote. Bruce shatters the illusions of anyone who is training self-defence like it is a pyjama party. Yes, he is so right, you will be fighting hard and only if you are lucky will you avoid severe injury.If you look around the web, you will see countless self-defence videos that look as if they are in some kind of video game.Self-defence is tough. It is great that Bruce recognised this, but so few still seem to be able to grasp this now.
2. Pay Absolutely No Attention To His Size, His Arrogance, Fierce Facial Contortions, Nor His Vicious Language.
We see it all the time, men and women, who are keen on intimidating via looks. They stare, they dress in a certain way and of course, they are aiming to scare everyone. It is almost as if they gain strength via intimidation. The key is simple, as tough as this is to do; their appearance has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to fight
3. Size Is Never A True Indication Of Muscular Power And Efficiency.
I think we know this one. Big guy with muscles and people get scared. However just because a person has a great physique, does not mean that they can use those muscles to inflict force. A great example of this is a recent video that went viral showing one of the world’s strongest men sparring against a lightweight boxer. Yes, size does matter but never judge a book by its cover.
4. Once You Hesitate Or Stop, The Stronger Person Has The Chance To Bring His Strength To Bear.
Footwork is the aspect of training that most people neglect. However, it should always be part of every training session.
The legs play an essential part in any self-defence situation.
The tip from Bruce Lee is clear: Keep Moving and never stop against a bigger opponent. Check out his fight scene in Game of Death to see his advice at work
5. It Is Also Advisable To make As Much Noise As Possible As This Naturally Tends To Frighten Off Lawbreakers
This is great advice from Bruce. After all how many people teach verbal skills in martial arts classes these days?
The ability to shout, scream or just use your voice in an explosive fashion should be part of your self-defence training.
6. The Chance of Attack Can Be Greatly Reduced If You Are Walking, Especially At Night, Or In Lonely Places If You Are Always Alert.
This is common sense… however it is still one of the things people fail to do. The goal is simple, be alert when you need to.If you are alone, then you should be more alert about your safety and the chances of being attacked will be reduced because attackers are looking for easy targets.
7. When Being Attacked By A Thug, The Fact Is That He Has But A One Track Mind Which Is Bent On Your Destruction, Rarely Considering What You Can Do
The world is a dangerous place. However, most of the attackers out there are not used to having a ‘bit back’. In my experience, a punch on the nose often really shocks an aggressive person.
There is an argument that people shouldn’t fight back and in certain circumstances they are right. If someone robs you, just give them your wallet or phone. But if someone wants more you might want to reconsider.
The point is this; the attacker has no thought about what you can do. The result is simple…… when you do hit them their ego will shrink and they will start to think about self-preservation rather than winning.
In Enter The Dragon we see the classic fight between Bruce Lee and O’Hara which showcases arrogance on display “remember boards don’t hit back.”
Bruce Lee was way ahead of his time, but even now when we look back at his self-defence advice it is far ahead of a lot of the advice we see today.