20 posts / 0 new
Last post
Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Your self-defence sentences?

Hi All,

Off the back of a post-training conversation I had recently, I thought it would be interesting to ask for your “self-defence sentences”. What I mean by that is a piece of self-defence advice or instruction that can be communicated in just one sentence.

This does not need to be your number one piece of advice; nor does it need to attempt to capture your entire self-defence philosophy. It simply needs to be a useful piece of advice that can be communicated in just one sentence. Please also feel free to post as many single sentences as you like.

We all know how important it is to keep things simple, so I wonder just who simple we can make it?

All the best,


Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Some of the top of my head to get thing started:

Trust your instincts and avoid people and situations that make you uncomfortable or nervous.

Avoid violent people and places where violent people hang out.

Good personal security does a great deal to take away the need for physical prowess.

Steven's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:

Avoid violent people and places where violent people hang out.

I've heard that one expressed in more colourful language!

I like Rory Miller's four basic truths of violent assault: "Assaults happen closer, faster, more suddenly and with more power than most people believe."


PASmith's picture

You, and you alone, are personally responsible for your own safety.

(I think quite a few people think someone will come and help them if things get violent. Or the police or bouncers will sort things . People also give too much responsibility to an instructor to teach them rather than on themselves to seek out the knowledge they need.)

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

Go like ****  (Mick Coup)

It doesn't get much simpler - or more effective - than that.


shoshinkanuk's picture

use the force..........................................LOL.

on a more serious note - 'keep in mind your pride may kill you.'

Andrew Carr-Locke
Andrew Carr-Locke's picture

Awareness of your environment/surroundings and a sound strategy for escape are key.

Neil Cook
Neil Cook's picture

I like how Peter Squires explained it to me "never fight, never, never, never, never fight. But if you do fight, go alley cat crazy"

Neil Cook
Neil Cook's picture

Sorry it's Simon Squires.

Dave Moore
Dave Moore's picture

Do unto others before they do unto you.

Darragh's picture

you can't control others until you can control yourself

Jr cook
Jr cook's picture

One that I've used before is,

Don't let Karate get in your way.

Out of context that seems a bit odd but the meaning to those who have heard it is to use common sense first, and techniques second. I've noticed a tendency in the dojo to try to make everything look perfect or to over-think things. It's Ok if your response isn't "good karate" as long as it gets the job done!

Michael Hough
Michael Hough's picture

"How paranoid do you want to be?" (Sometimes I have to talk myself down a notch.)

I also have used the phrase, "creative methods of running away" to describe what I practice.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi All,

These are great! Just the kind of thing I was thinking about. Useful concepts succinctly expressed. Please keep them coining. Ultimately it seems that they could be taken together to make a pretty good “key points guide” for self-defence?

All the best,


Traveller's picture

You can't be hit if you're not there.

PaulA's picture

Think covert. All of the above applies.


Harry Mord
Harry Mord's picture
¨Stun and run.¨ I also liked "Karate isn´t for fighting; it´s anti-fighting.¨ I think that´s a paraphrase of something Iain said in one of his online videos.
Gavin Mulholland
Gavin Mulholland's picture

Hit first, and don't stop hitting...

Ben Kelly
Ben Kelly's picture

Hey everyone, 

I love these sort of things and am always looking for new ones so thanks for sharing all of the above.  Without repeating those already said, some that I've found/stolen/co-opted during my studies follow below.  Some get a bit repetitve but I do like them all.

Overhwhelming aggression ALWAYS beats precision and skill: so be aggressive!  (qualified with the point that it's by far best to have all 3 - aggression, precision and skill)

ALWAYS assume all attackers are armed and have a gang of friends lurking near by.

If you're not going to commit mentally and physically with absolutley all you have, don't bother hitting, it'll probably only aggrevate the matter. 

Never hit in isolation - always have a follow up technique on the way as soon as the first one lands.

The most important strength is strength of will.

Have one or two, but no more than three main techniques which you hone to perfection and can rely on in a jam.

The main aim is always to knock the enemy out, merely hurting them leads to the "wounded beast effect" , enraging them and making things worse for you. 

Aggression and willpower = the keys to victory.

Fighting is 10% physical technique and 90% aggressive attitude.

You'll be attacked when conditions are most advantageous to your attacker and least advantageous to you. Even an idiot would know to attack when the deck is stacked in his favour.

Cowardice (meaning a meek, submissive attitude) is more likely to promote violence than  prevent it.

Don't think "I'm gonna fight him"; think "I'm gonna DESTROY him". 

You will fight how you train.  (*so long as your training is at least somewhat applicable to real scenarios, from my own experience, I never once tried to use SO many of the things I trained religously, as they are utterly useless when the chips are down)

In real life, it's not fighting reciprocally you want.  It should be my turn, my turn, my turn, FINISHED.

Do your worst, fast and first!  (I more so like the ring that one has to it and take it with a pinch of salt, obviously doing "your worst" would be massively excessive force in almost all cases).

The key to fighting two men at once is to be much tougher than both of them ;)

Remember, Karate does not give you superpowers.  NO ONE wins them all, and you only have to lose one to be maimed, crippled or killed. 

And the classic - Be first, be fast and be feocious!

I know that's a lot, but hopefully some of you find at least some of them worthwhile. :)


Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Ben Kelly wrote:
I know that's a lot, but hopefully some of you find at least some of them worthwhile. :)

Great those Ben! Thanks for posting them.