To disengage or not to disengage?

jks9199

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Most martial arts instructors generally advise students to disengage from violence whenever possible, only using their "deadly skills" as a last resort. There are lots of reasons for this -- some good, some bad, some philosophical, some practical -- but is it always the best or right advice?
 

Chris Parker

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I'll put it this way: It's always the right advice when it's the best thing to do.

This weekend I'll be presenting a workshop on common weapons for our (Australian) society, looking at short blades (knives, bottles, syringes etc), long blades (kitchen knife, machete etc), and impact weapons (baseball bats, batons etc). And the very first part of it will be to manage distance and escape. But recognising that that may not always be possible, we will then move on to engaging. From there, we will look at disengaging if things aren't working and escape/manage distance again. So it really does depend on too many factors to give a clear answer even in a three hour class, let alone here, I'm afraid!
 

MJS

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Most martial arts instructors generally advise students to disengage from violence whenever possible, only using their "deadly skills" as a last resort. There are lots of reasons for this -- some good, some bad, some philosophical, some practical -- but is it always the best or right advice?

Sometimes its just not possible to to disengage. Now, I'm not talking about letting ego take over, feeding the need to have to prove something. I'm talking about not being in a position to leave, being with someone who you dont want to leave behind, etc.
 

fangjian

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I always encourage my students to 'think for themselves' in regards to strategy, techniques, running away, etc.

Do you mean by 'a bad idea to disengage' like, A man walks into a park with a machete I clearly see he is not all there'. He raises his blade to start hacking, I intercept and engage the enemy....


This is where it maybe be not wise to disengage as he will start killing children.

Maybe not a great example, but is this what you mean?
 

bushidomartialarts

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Disengaging is always the right move.

  • If you do not disengage, you expose yourself to further risk of injury.
  • If you do not disengage, you may face legal consequences if you badly hurt your enemy.
  • If you do not disengage, you open the door for Murphy to walk right in.

However, there are occasionally circumstances where you have to delay disengaging -- such as giving your children time to disengage first. But once it's safe for you to disengage, then you should do so.
 

Sensei Payne

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Diengage once the threat is eliminated.

Let it be.
1) They are no longer able to fight
2) They leave and no longer want a fight
3) Athorities are available to handle the situation.

I never teach anyone to turn there back to an opponet, but I also teach NOT to be a bully.
 

sfs982000

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Most martial arts instructors generally advise students to disengage from violence whenever possible, only using their "deadly skills" as a last resort. There are lots of reasons for this -- some good, some bad, some philosophical, some practical -- but is it always the best or right advice?

I personnally believe that disengaging is always the best option, but there might come a time where disengaging is impossible, it would be then and only then that my "deadly skills" would come into play. I was always taught that the tools we're taught in class were to be used only as a last resort.
 

Sensei Payne

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I personnally believe that disengaging is always the best option, but there might come a time where disengaging is impossible, it would be then and only then that my "deadly skills" would come into play. I was always taught that the tools we're taught in class were to be used only as a last resort.

I would use my skills from the dojo in every physical confrontation. End it fast. More time they have the hurt you, more likely they will.

I don't want my students developing bad habits, simply because i didn't want them to go out and "show off"...the "show offs" are handled seperately.

I am most proud of a student when they handle themselves in a calm cool and collected manner. Using what I taught them to, stop a bully, a mugger, or any other type of attacker. Even though I do not wish those dangerous situations on anyone. Nor do I tell them to go looking for it.
 

sfs982000

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I would use my skills from the dojo in every physical confrontation. End it fast. More time they have the hurt you, more likely they will.

I don't want my students developing bad habits, simply because i didn't want them to go out and "show off"...the "show offs" are handled seperately.

I am most proud of a student when they handle themselves in a calm cool and collected manner. Using what I taught them to, stop a bully, a mugger, or any other type of attacker. Even though I do not wish those dangerous situations on anyone. Nor do I tell them to go looking for it.

Well put, I agree that if a situtation turns physical use what ever tools you have and end it as quick as possible. I think the main thing with gauging whether to engage or not is situational awareness. By that I mean is engaging a person during a given situation going to put you at risk? Disengage if at all possible and engauge if you must.
 

Bill Mattocks

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In my opinion, the first rule of self-defense is to defend the self. All other considerations are secondary.

Martial arts and other forms of physical violence are valid ways of defending the self. So is running away. So is shooting someone with a gun. So is hiding. And so on.

Each as appropriate to the situation, keeping in mind that the goal is to defend the self.

The 'self' is the body and the life contained therein. Not the ego. Not the soul. Not the community. Not the children. Not your spouse. Not the 'better good'. I'm not saying you can't choose to engage in violence in defense of any of those, or that it's not a morally good thing to do. I'm saying it is not self-defense.

In a given situation, I will try to select the most logical reaction to the threat, based on whether or not I am choosing to engage in self-defense or something else entirely. If I am defending a loved one, my choices may be very different than if I am alone, for example.

Quite often, more often than most people wish to admit to themselves, the correct answer to any self-defense issue is to leave the area with alacrity.

If asked "Could you have run away instead?" and the answer is "Yes, but why should I?" then it was not self-defense. Generally speaking, it was something else.
 

LuckyKBoxer

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Most martial arts instructors generally advise students to disengage from violence whenever possible, only using their "deadly skills" as a last resort. There are lots of reasons for this -- some good, some bad, some philosophical, some practical -- but is it always the best or right advice?

no its not the best or right advice.....for the student... Generally it is the safest for the instructor in an age where lawsuits get flung as far and all encompassing as possible.
So instructors will say what they need to cover their own asses first, and then protect their students second.

to be honest you should never engage an opponent unless there is no safe way out... turning and running may not be a safe way if you are out of shape and turning and running is simply going to tire you out, or if you have people with you who can not flee, or if the opponent has a gun, or any number of possible circumstances.

once you have decided that engaging is the best route, then you absolutely should not disengage until the threat has been eliminated... what does that mean?

well if you punch a guy then run he might easily be able to recover and get you and beat you. lets say you work a perfect technique on an opponent and break his leg and start to walk away and he pulls a gun out of his pocket and shoots you... all perfectly reasonable examples of disengaging to soon from a confrontation... do you have to kill the guy? Nope, very few circumstances do I think merit killing an attacker, and usually those will be when multiple attackers are involved. However you should not disengage an attacker until you have rendered the situation safe for yourself, or another attacker becomes more dangerous and you have to deal with them.

I personally think to many people say run away if you can no matter what... WRONG.. only run away if its the safest option for you... but how do you know? You have to work on your environmental awareness skillset. I think people with sheltered lives have trouble with this as oppose to those that grow up in bad neighborhoods. You can learn it, but you really have to want to practice being safe to make it a part of your lifestyle.

there is no easy answer, but to paraphrase something Ed Parker said "I would rather be judged by 12 of my Peers, then carried to my grave by 6 of my friends"
If I make a mistake I am making towards my safety not the safety of my attacker/s
 

Josh Oakley

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In my opinion, the first rule of self-defense is to defend the self. All other considerations are secondary.

Martial arts and other forms of physical violence are valid ways of defending the self. So is running away. So is shooting someone with a gun. So is hiding. And so on.

Each as appropriate to the situation, keeping in mind that the goal is to defend the self.

The 'self' is the body and the life contained therein. Not the ego. Not the soul. Not the community. Not the children. Not your spouse. Not the 'better good'. I'm not saying you can't choose to engage in violence in defense of any of those, or that it's not a morally good thing to do. I'm saying it is not self-defense.

In a given situation, I will try to select the most logical reaction to the threat, based on whether or not I am choosing to engage in self-defense or something else entirely. If I am defending a loved one, my choices may be very different than if I am alone, for example.

Quite often, more often than most people wish to admit to themselves, the correct answer to any self-defense issue is to leave the area with alacrity.

If asked "Could you have run away instead?" and the answer is "Yes, but why should I?" then it was not self-defense. Generally speaking, it was something else.

I'll still defend my kids and my spouse though.
 

MA-Caver

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I disengage when all around me are dead and torn to pieces and every building within a few block radius is reduced to rubble....

oh wait you mean in real life?

Disengage as soon as it's safely possible to enable complete escape (i.e. they can't recover a few moments later and chase after you).
 

Rich Parsons

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Most martial arts instructors generally advise students to disengage from violence whenever possible, only using their "deadly skills" as a last resort. There are lots of reasons for this -- some good, some bad, some philosophical, some practical -- but is it always the best or right advice?

I'll put it this way: It's always the right advice when it's the best thing to do.

This weekend I'll be presenting a workshop on common weapons for our (Australian) society, looking at short blades (knives, bottles, syringes etc), long blades (kitchen knife, machete etc), and impact weapons (baseball bats, batons etc). And the very first part of it will be to manage distance and escape. But recognising that that may not always be possible, we will then move on to engaging. From there, we will look at disengaging if things aren't working and escape/manage distance again. So it really does depend on too many factors to give a clear answer even in a three hour class, let alone here, I'm afraid!

Sometimes its just not possible to to disengage. Now, I'm not talking about letting ego take over, feeding the need to have to prove something. I'm talking about not being in a position to leave, being with someone who you dont want to leave behind, etc.


I tell those who train to disengage.

Those that know when someone else is more important or requires their help they will stay engaged, no matter what the talkinng they have gotten from anyone. They will not know until they are in that situation, but more often then not people need to know it is ok to run away and that gives that little step to do so.
 
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Interesting views , here's my 2cents i think If you wanna talk about whether to engage or disengage it is completely situational , you see 4 guys coming at you with baseball bats and metal rods looking to take out their frustrations , definately disengage , add you having your child with you to the same situation and it turns into a completely different story ... learn to think on your feet and use the surroundings to your advantage , imo martial arts are more about self discovery and decision making. And in most fight situations it is not simply a question of engage or disengage. Though i have been in hardly any fights i know this to be true.
 

chinto

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ok, situational is correct!

situation one, no treat of deadly force, no weapons, one or two offenders, talking themselves into a fight or attack. you are alone and escape is available and viable. brake contact, get clear and do so while keeping an eye on them.

situation two, there is a treat of deadly force, or a weapon, and you are not alone. the person with you is a child, elderly or some how not able to brake contact... then engage with extreme violance! deadly force is authorized! kill if you need to, cripple but make that first target engaged totally disabled and down! give no quarter and expect none! brake contact when the treat is neutralized and the one your protecting is clear....

It comes down to the Butchers bill, is there a life at stake or crippling of some one, not the least your self?? Or is it something you can afford to just brake contact and get clear?
There may be a situation where if you do disengage and get clear you will embolden the offenders to more violance next time... you have to use your head, and your gut and make the call.
Remember, you will Live and perhaps even DIE by that choice.
 
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