Welcome to Lesson #8 in your Self-defense Basics Course!

In this video, we discuss how to deal with someone charging you or shoving you backwards. Along with Lesson #7, this introduces an old piece of martial arts wisdom that still works today!

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Some thoughts from Lesson #8…

What if a bad guy gets in your face? Don’t worry. There’s an old piece of martial arts wisdom to help you ride out the storm…

Push when pulled and pull when pushed!

You’ve heard about using someone’s strength against them? Well, that’s what we’re talking about here. Instead of trying to stop an attacker from getting what they want, you’re going to give them what they want… and more.

For example, let’s say you’re being pulled—maybe by the wrist or hair—instead of trying to pull back and fight his strength, you push in closer. You use his strength to amplify yours.

Another example. Let’s say the bad guy charges in, pushing you backwards. Instead of trying to push back to stop them, you grab hold and pull them closer.

By pushing when pulled, and pulling when pushed, you’re actually letting the bad guy help you get in his space and in his face. So, if you want to use your attacker’s strength against him, go with the flow.

Of course, going with the flow may not be a one-time decision. You may have to flow back and forth several times to gain the upper hand. That’s completely normal.

You’ll see the same “push and pull” game going on at the highest levels of combat sports. But for basic self-defense, remember that it’s the first time you make a decision to attack and get closer instead of try to break away, that will take your attacker by surprise and give you an advantage.

There’s just one problem. If you pull a bad guy closer to you, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up falling back, smacking your head on the ground, and getting flattened like a tortilla. So, let’s add a twist to the story…

Imagine being a bullfighter. When the bigger, stronger bull charges in for the kill, what does the matador do? He or she turns! As the bull passes, that’s when they have a chance to attack.

It’s like a tornado. If you stay outside of it, you’re going to be thrown around and hurt. But if you can somehow enter into the eye of the storm, you’ll find a place of relative calm and safety. So, when you can’t escape the storm, be the storm!

Twisting or turning is useful not just for adding power to many techniques through hip rotation and pivoting our feet, but it’s also critical for making quick changes in direction and angle. In fact, turning is so useful, I recommend practicing it all by itself.

Start off just standing naturally and twist. Just your upper body at first… then pivot your feet.

Next, move into your defensive stance and add a twist from there.

Then practice stepping back and twisting, like a matador, to get out of the way and to the side.

Of course, like Lesson #7, we can use a pillow and a wall to practice striking and turning. Just remember that your goal is to drop the attacker not to drop the pillow.

And remember to use your imagination! The more frightening this scenario you create with the wall the better prepared you will be for real life out there.

One more tip– you’ll remember from Lesson #7, that when I am pushing in, I’m trying to lift the bad guy’s head up. But when I’m pulling, I’m trying to pull the head down. So, if you can grab the hair, a hoodie, the shirt, even his arm, do that. Pull it down.

Let’s wrap this up. As always, there’s a big idea behind all of these physical techniques…

When you set a goal for yourself—any goal—the most effective strategy is to attack it. Go straight at it and push as far as you can.

When you hit a wall or an obstacle—and you will—when life pushes back—and it will—then go with the flow. Turn it around, find a new angle, and then go right back on the attack until you put that goal down on its knees.

That’s how you survive a fight and that’s how you succeed in life.

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WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program.