Why nonviolence doesn’t mean submission

If you are nonviolent, either publically or privately for whatever reason at all, most of the bad people in this world are going to see you as an easy target who won’t hit back. However, being nonviolent doesn’t mean that you have to be a doormat.

While violence isn’t the answer to everything, sometimes it’s the only approach of last resort when all other applications have failed, and learning how to defend yourself and others is a valuable skill. It’s why karate masters all see themselves as masters of self-defense, and why even Yoda states that Jedi should use the Force for defense “and never for attack”.

So even if you don’t see yourself ever throwing a punch, here are a few defensive techniques to ensure that you are kept safe during a fight.

Keep yourself from harm

First, try to understand your attacker. Look at his posture and his hands. If he has a weapon he might have one hand in his pocket or at his side. If he has a wide stance and is holding his hands up, he might know a bit more about fighting than you do.

Also look at his eyes and listen to his speech. If someone is drunk or otherwise intoxicated, he will move slower, but will also be more resistant to pain or moves designed to knock someone out due to his slower motor skills.

If a fight is unavoidable, guard your face and neck by raising your hands and keeping your arms close to your body, while hunching over like a turtle and protecting your stomach and ribs. A blow to the head or the face is often the toughest to bounce back from, so keeping it safe is a must.

Go for the legs, groin, and face of an attacker to end a fight quickly, and strike hard and as fast as you can before going for help. By using your knees, elbows, and forehead (the boniest parts of your body) on those sensitive spots, you can overwhelm an attacker and then run for help or follow up with more strikes if no help is nearby.

Use gadgets

A can of pepper spray, a flashing light, or a siren can often disorient an attacker and give you time to flee. However, these gadgets should be easily accessible, and often require time to set up and deploy. Unless you catch someone following you or know an attack is coming, they won’t be substitutes for at least a small measure of self-defense training.

Last resort only

Keep in mind that all of these techniques are defensive maneuvers only, and won’t do much if you are the aggressor in the exchange. If you are a pacifist and embrace non-violence, you should only know how to finish and get away from a fight and not start one.

However, if worse comes to worst and a fight is unavoidable, then these moves will help an attacker be held off or even defeated before help arrives.