SEPS - Self Defense

Self-defense, doesn’t work. This may seem a weird statement coming from a self-defense instructor, however in my experience (both personally and from working in the security industry), and those of individuals I have worked with, physical self-defense techniques, without personal safety/self-protection training, are very difficult to employ. One of the purposes of this course is to give you, the personal safety/self-protection piece that is often missing in a lot of self-defense programs. If you are looking to learn how to physically defend yourself – and I believe this is a worthwhile skill to have – then these would be the things, I would look for in a class.

Does the instructor simply teach techniques, or do they explain the techniques in the context where they will be used? There are many great “technical” martial arts and self-defense instructors out there, however if they can’t explain how and when different attacks and threats occur, and give context to the techniques that they are teaching it is unlikely that you will be able to use the material that they are expecting you to learn. If an instructor simply says that when somebody grabs you, you do this, it is evident that they don’t really understand all the situational factors that may be at play. In one situation, negotiation may be applicable, in another breaking away, and in another attacking your assailant etc. A good self-defense instructor, regardless of the style/system they are teaching, will be able to explain to you what real-world violence looks like, and teach you when and how, to apply the appropriate tactics.

Are the techniques instinctive or instinctual? When you are attacked, there are certain movements you will perform naturally to defend yourself e.g. you will flinch and bring your arm up to defend yourself when attacked. Are the techniques you are learning, based on natural movements, or are you being asked to move and work in a way that goes against these responses. This is one of the reasons that many people are unable to replicate what they have learnt in a self-defense program/class, in real life. A good test of this is if you are able to perform what you have learnt when put under pressure. Pressure or stress testing, should be part of your physical training, to make sure that you can put into practice what you have learnt when under stress and duress – an emotional state you will be in if physically attacked.

Is there reuse of techniques? In reality, there is a limit to what you will be able to remember when assaulted. Because of this, you will want a handful of techniques that you can apply in a multitude of situations i.e. reuse them. There is only a certain number of ways that a person can grab you or your clothing, if you have to learn and remember different ways to deal with each separate attack, it is more than likely that you will not be able to identify the “type” of attack, and the “appropriate” technique/response, in time to deal with it. Simple solutions, that can be replicated, to deal with different incidents is the mark of a good self-defense program. These may not cover every eventuality but they are a good starting point.

Is your instructor passionate, and does he welcome your questions? A good instructor will be training you to be able to defend yourself if attacked. He/she should be passionate about training you to deal with a real-life incident. If they are detached or seem removed, I would question that they actually “care” to teach you how to survive. Unfortunately, there are instructors out there, who don’t want to be questioned as to why you should do something, or act and behave in a certain way etc. If your instructor is confident about what they are teaching, they should be able to answer your questions and deal with your concerns.

Whilst there is no substitute for training, I have written books on the subject, which you can access by clicking here, and have a number of free videos that you can watch by clicking here.

Watch Gershon Ben Keren's 2015 Google Talk

In February 2015, Gershon Ben Keren, was invited to Google's offices to deliver a presentation as part of their "Author Talks" series (other presenters have included: President Barak Obama, Salman Rushdie etc.). In this 60 minute talk/presentation, Gershon Ben Keren, explains part of the SEPS framework, for identifying, predicting and preventing violence.

Books By Gershon Ben Keren

Although the SEPS System, offers a framework, for understanding how violent situations, develop and evolve, it doesn't contain any physical/self-defense techniques. If you are looking to know what to do in an actual violent encounter, when things turn physical, these books will detail solutions to such situations. Click on the images (book covers), to learn more.

Self Defense Techniques & Tactics

Self Defense Solutions To Violence