Can you defend yourself without hurting someone?

Joab

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One poster wrote his motivation for studying the martial arts was to be able to defend himself without hurting someone. And this was echoed to some extent by an Aikido practitioner I met who told me that in Aikido he was taught that if you have to fight you have already lost. Is it indeed possible to avoid hurting an attacker without being hurt? Well, if you can run faster I could see that happening. Could you somehow dodge, evade, move out of the way of blows to cause somebody to give up in frustration? Could you perhaps put somebody in a wrist lock or some such restraint and stop the attack through restraining someone? Well, I would say it depends on the situation. I don't personally believe in every situation one could defend himself without hurting the other person, that indeed, doing moves that would hurt the other person would be necessary at times, perhaps the vast majority of the time. What do you think, can you defend yourself without hurting your attacker?
 

Bill Mattocks

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What do you think, can you defend yourself without hurting your attacker?

I can't imagine why I'd want to, unless the attacker was clearly not responsible for their own actions. When they attacked me, they gave up any claim on not being injured. That's not to say I would go out of my way to injure an attacker, just that their woes aren't my problem. My primary concern is me. Their well-being comes a poor second to that.
 

MJS

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One poster wrote his motivation for studying the martial arts was to be able to defend himself without hurting someone. And this was echoed to some extent by an Aikido practitioner I met who told me that in Aikido he was taught that if you have to fight you have already lost. Is it indeed possible to avoid hurting an attacker without being hurt? Well, if you can run faster I could see that happening. Could you somehow dodge, evade, move out of the way of blows to cause somebody to give up in frustration? Could you perhaps put somebody in a wrist lock or some such restraint and stop the attack through restraining someone? Well, I would say it depends on the situation. I don't personally believe in every situation one could defend himself without hurting the other person, that indeed, doing moves that would hurt the other person would be necessary at times, perhaps the vast majority of the time. What do you think, can you defend yourself without hurting your attacker?

I would say that unless you did not touch them at all, then no, its kinda hard to not hurt them. Keep in mind that the 'hurt' can come in varying degrees. If you were successfull enough to get a lock, the idea of a joint lock is pain compliance, therefore, you will be hurting them. Probably won't leave any serious damage, unless you actually broke the joint you have locked, but nonetheless, they're still in pain.

You being up some good points as far as avoiding goes, however, the next thing to look at is how long do you want to drag your defense out? I could put my vehicle between me and the bad guy and we could spend 30min chasing/avoiding each other. Is that productive? I could move and parry any strike that comes towards me, but will the attacker get frustrated and leave? We don't know, we won't know because we're not mind readers. While its easy to say that doing that will frustrate them, on the other hand it may make them madder than they were initially.

My goal is to go home safe, not play patty-cakes with someone whos trying to cause me harm. I will always assess the situation and act accordingly. If I can verbally defuse the situation, then fine, it works, nobody gets hurt. But, if I can't then I will do what I have to do, to defend myself, depending on the situation. I will most likely base my response on what he does to me.
 

BrandonLucas

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The problem lies in the psychology of the person defending themselves...the only reason that I would not want to hurt my attacker is because I would feel guilty for any pain that I would cause them.

The thing is, the pain is justified by the fact that they are trying to inflict that same pain on me or my loved ones.

It would be different if I were the attacker.
 

Aiki Lee

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It depends on how committed they are to trying to hurt you. If a guy just wants to shove you and you move out of the way and he stops hen you could "defend" yourself without hurting your attacker, but the more committed they are to hurting you the more you will likely have to hurt them to prevent injury.
 

morph4me

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I can defend myself, and not try to hurt my attacker but if he gets hurt, I can't see myself being all that bothered about it. I don't go out of my way to hurt anyone or to get into situations where I have to defend myself, but if I'm put in that situation, I'll limit my response to whatever it takes for me to walk away, if he gets hurt, so be it.
 

Drac

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Depends if they know how to fall...
 

Jenna

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One poster wrote his motivation for studying the martial arts was to be able to defend himself without hurting someone. And this was echoed to some extent by an Aikido practitioner I met who told me that in Aikido he was taught that if you have to fight you have already lost. Is it indeed possible to avoid hurting an attacker without being hurt? Well, if you can run faster I could see that happening. Could you somehow dodge, evade, move out of the way of blows to cause somebody to give up in frustration? Could you perhaps put somebody in a wrist lock or some such restraint and stop the attack through restraining someone? Well, I would say it depends on the situation. I don't personally believe in every situation one could defend himself without hurting the other person, that indeed, doing moves that would hurt the other person would be necessary at times, perhaps the vast majority of the time. What do you think, can you defend yourself without hurting your attacker?
Hey Joab :) As an aikidoka, I would say it is possible, but with caveats. Even in strictest Aikikai style Aikido, it is not always possible to defend yourself without harming your opponent. One of the core principles in my style of Aikido is to defend without the INTENT to harm the opponent. IMO, there are two main reasons why this does not always transpire in practice: 1. untrained opponents are seldom -in my experience- versed in ukemi! and 2. epinephrine! ie. we cannot always guarantee the proportionality of our defence to their attack - in the heat of the moment, even the most restrained aikikai can see red as would any normal person defending themselves. I do not want to turn this into another Aikido-is-**** thread and but I only want to make the point that I aim to defend myself WITHOUT THE INTENT of destroying my opponent. Reality, however, is not a textbook.
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
Jenna :)
 

dnovice

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Once you start fighting someone will get hurt. What you can do is minize the amount of violence or hurt that you inflict.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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One poster wrote his motivation for studying the martial arts was to be able to defend himself without hurting someone. And this was echoed to some extent by an Aikido practitioner I met who told me that in Aikido he was taught that if you have to fight you have already lost. Is it indeed possible to avoid hurting an attacker without being hurt? Well, if you can run faster I could see that happening. Could you somehow dodge, evade, move out of the way of blows to cause somebody to give up in frustration? Could you perhaps put somebody in a wrist lock or some such restraint and stop the attack through restraining someone? Well, I would say it depends on the situation. I don't personally believe in every situation one could defend himself without hurting the other person, that indeed, doing moves that would hurt the other person would be necessary at times, perhaps the vast majority of the time. What do you think, can you defend yourself without hurting your attacker?
I would say that it depends on what is meant by the word, "hurt."

Hurt could mean pain. I am unconcerned about inflicting pain, in fact, I would say that that is preferable. Negative reinforcement can be very effective and physical pain is a great form of negative reinforcement. An attacker or predator expecting an easy victim may be put off by the pain that I just inflicted and there is a chance that he may break off the attack, thus preventing me from having to inflict injury.

If by hurt, you mean inflicting injury, then I would say that in most cases, yes, you can escape without doing injury to your opponent. By injury, I mean damage beyond scrapes and bruises.

Now, if there is no means of escape, such as being cornered in your house, or if you have already inflicted pain and that is not deterring them, then as much injury as possible must be inflicted as quickly as possible to whatever part of the body that will most effectively end the attack.

If my attacker is unarmed or armed with a knife, that means knees.

If my attacker has a gun, I am in a pretty bad position. If that I can get a hold of him and control where the gun is pointing, and mind you, that is a pretty big if for most of us, then ideally, I want to disarm him and hold him at bay with the gun.

Should I not be able to quickly wrest the gun away from him, I need to change my tactics. The longer that I spend wrestlling with a gunman the greater the chance of my getting shot. I have no qualms about firing his gun into him in order to end the attack.

I think that it is laudable to desire to disable your attacker without doing injury. But if that is not possible, the attacker does indeed have it coming.

As the Bible saith, as a man soweth, so shall he reap.

As Daniel Sullivan saith, "Do violence unto others, and sooner or later, violence shall be done unto you."

Daniel
 
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Joab

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I can't imagine why I'd want to, unless the attacker was clearly not responsible for their own actions.

Joab: Well, it could be for a number of reasons. If you don't hurt your attacker, you won't likely end up in jail and/or sued for damages. People who have defended themselves and harmed their opponent have gone to jail and been liable for injuries. It depends upon who the jury or judge believes. And even if they believe you were atacked without provocation, they will decide if your defense was proportional, would it be the level of force a reasonable person would do in the same situation.

When they attacked me, they gave up any claim on not being injured. That's not to say I would go out of my way to injure an attacker, just that their woes aren't my problem. My primary concern is me. Their well-being comes a poor second to that.

Joab: I would agree with that, still there are the legal questions. And than, what if it was a person close to you that was emotionally distraught? You wouldn't want to hurt someone in your family or a drunk uncle and the like. But my real question is is it it even possible? Is it possible to avoid hurting someone who attacks you? Is it even possible?
 

blindsage

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I think this may be a long term goal for someone who desires it, but the only way to even come close to accomplishing it would be to train in a very realistic way, experience the complexities and nuances of actual confrontations and accept that there will be damage done to another at some point, and then taking that knowledge and over a long stretch of time focusing your training and technique on that goal. It think that is what some Aikido claims, but they often leave out the realistic situational training in which there will, of a necessity, be harm done, in the process of striving for that goal. I'm not saying aikido is ****, but those who instructors demonstrate defense against 5 attackers who only do committed overhead chopping attacks is not helping towards this goal.

Taiji takes a somewhat similar approach in that the goal is to receive the opponents attack and use their energy against them, but there is not an explicit goal of not hurting the opponent. Actually some advance taiji practioners can be pretty harsh.
 
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Joab

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I would say that it depends on what is meant by the word, "hurt."

Hurt could mean pain. I am unconcerned about inflicting pain, in fact, I would say that that is preferable. Negative reinforcement can be very effective and physical pain is a great form of negative reinforcement. An attacker or predator expecting an easy victim may be put off by the pain that I just inflicted and there is a chance that he may break off the attack, thus preventing me from having to inflict injury.

Joab: An interesting point. I don't know what the poster meant by "not hurting someone"

If by hurt, you mean inflicting injury, then I would say that in most cases, yes, you can escape without doing injury to your opponent. By injury, I mean damage beyond scrapes and bruises.

Joab: Well, its always a good idea to avoid injuring for legal reasons alone. Interesting, you can stop somebody from continuing an attack without injury, certainly possible in some cases I would think.

Now, if there is no means of escape, such as being cornered in your house, or if you have already inflicted pain and that is not deterring them, then as much injury as possible must be inflicted as quickly as possible to whatever part of the body that will most effectively end the attack.

Joab: Depending upon the state your in, you might be able to justify any use of force going back to English Common Law which states a man's home ih s castle. I would see what the laws are in your state.

If my attacker is unarmed or armed with a knife, that means knees.

Joab: A chair between you and him might work, W.E. Fairbairn recopmmended that one in his book, "Get Tough!"

If my attacker has a gun, I am in a pretty bad position. If that I can get a hold of him and control where the gun is pointing, and mind you, that is a pretty big if for most of us, then ideally, I want to disarm him and hold him at bay with the gun.

Joab: That might work, you never know.

Should I not be able to quickly wrest the gun away from him, I need to change my tactics. The longer that I spend wrestlling with a gunman the greater the chance of my getting shot. I have no qualms about firing his gun into him in order to end the attack.

I think that it is laudable to desire to disable your attacker without doing injury. But if that is not possible, the attacker does indeed have it coming.

As the Bible saith, as a man soweth, so shall he reap.

As Daniel Sullivan saith, "Do violence unto others, and sooner or later, violence shall be done unto you."

Daniel

Again, my main question really is is it possible to do regardless of legal, moral or philosphical or ethical questions. Is it in fact a possibility? I would say very difficult certainly, perhaps impossible in many perhaps most situations.
 

MJS

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Again, my main question really is is it possible to do regardless of legal, moral or philosphical or ethical questions. Is it in fact a possibility? I would say very difficult certainly, perhaps impossible in many perhaps most situations.

While the legal side is important, when my life is in danger, it is not #1 on my list of priorities. My safety as well as anyone with my is first and foremost!
 

Bill Mattocks

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But my real question is is it it even possible? Is it possible to avoid hurting someone who attacks you? Is it even possible?

Is it possible to fall down without hurting yourself?

I suspect that the answer is: it depends. You could fall on the soft green grass in your front yard and laugh because it felt so nice to lie there and look at the sky. Or, you could trip on a concrete parking block and do a face-plant on a tarmac parking garage floor, breaking your nose and several teeth, and lie there and moan and spend the rest of the day picking gravel out of your facial wounds.

Now apply that to anything you might do to someone else.

The answer to your question, I believe, is "it depends."
 
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Joab

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Is it possible to fall down without hurting yourself?

I suspect that the answer is: it depends. You could fall on the soft green grass in your front yard and laugh because it felt so nice to lie there and look at the sky. Or, you could trip on a concrete parking block and do a face-plant on a tarmac parking garage floor, breaking your nose and several teeth, and lie there and moan and spend the rest of the day picking gravel out of your facial wounds.

Now apply that to anything you might do to someone else.

The answer to your question, I believe, is "it depends."

I agree, it depends. And I do think going into a situation like that with the intent of not hurting the person, unless it was a loved one, would be a dangerous mindset to be in. When I worked with the intellectually disabled I was given what is called TOVA training. This was developed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to restrain someone or break out of grips and the like in a way that would not hurt the other person. Some of it, like side stepping and other getting out of the way moves, I think would work, and I in fact did some of that before I got the training from footwork I learned in martial arts I took in the past. A lot of it was very complicated, and I didn't feel comfortable at all that it would work in a high stress situation. Most of the intellectually disabled are not violent, and the way I approached them usually calmed them down, speaking softly, positively and in a comforting way. That's not likely to work out on the streets against a mugger.

I agree it depends on the situation.
 

Big Don

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I can if one of two things happen:
They stop when threatened with physical force (fighting)
They stop when threatened with a weapon
other than that, I might be able to, but, where is the fun in that?
 

Nomad

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Of course it's possible. It depends, however, on a lot of variables, many of which may be outside your control. How big is the attacker relative to you, how intent is he/she on hurting you, how skilled and or fierce is the attack, how much warning do you have that this is coming, and so on.

If someone swings at me and I sidestep, I've defended myself without hurting them. Note that this may not stop their intent to harm me whatsoever, but it did effectively defend against that attack.

If I get a good grip on them as they're coming in and can do a takedown and armbar or something similar, there's a good chance I can use pain compliance to get them to change their minds. (I'll take the definition of "hurt" as in causing injury to them... transient pain may be necessary to avoid bigger injuries. Besides, technically if they're attacking me I may already have "hurt" them... their feelings, their ego, etc.).
 

Bill Mattocks

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I agree, it depends. And I do think going into a situation like that with the intent of not hurting the person, unless it was a loved one, would be a dangerous mindset to be in. When I worked with the intellectually disabled I was given what is called TOVA training. This was developed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to restrain someone or break out of grips and the like in a way that would not hurt the other person. Some of it, like side stepping and other getting out of the way moves, I think would work, and I in fact did some of that before I got the training from footwork I learned in martial arts I took in the past. A lot of it was very complicated, and I didn't feel comfortable at all that it would work in a high stress situation. Most of the intellectually disabled are not violent, and the way I approached them usually calmed them down, speaking softly, positively and in a comforting way. That's not likely to work out on the streets against a mugger.

I agree it depends on the situation.

I think a lot depends on luck, too.
 

bluekey88

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It's absolutely possible. On any number of occassions, I've done it. In my role treating individuals with behavior disorders, I sometimes encounter aggressive, out of control and dangerous behavior. I am trained to use Devereux's Safe and Positive Approaches to prevent and intervene in crisis (formerly CP/I). I am contrained by my job to do whatever I can to not harm individuals in my care. The techniques I'm allowed to use at work are effective and I like them so much I've become a licensed trainer in the system.

That being said, it's not perfect. Stuff happens. Most of the time, people don't get hurt when that is the intent of those intervening...however, I've seen interventions executed perfectly and clients or staff were injured.

So, it CAN happen...but it doesnt' always happen. On the street, I garauntee your average aggressor is going to ahave a fair bit more on the ball than my average client...and you probably won;t have the same level of back up (other staff) to help.

Peace,
Erik
 
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