In the self-defense world, it is amazing to hear other instructors, martial artists, and people in general discuss self-defense or personal protection and try to support some of the things they currently teach without realizing that just because you say it doesn’t make it true.

Especially when teaching programs for women’s self-defense or teen safety programs.

One of my favorite stories (and I am sure many have others just like it) is hearing a trainer tell a woman that when she is grabbed like this, you do that.

I watched the look on her face get very puzzled then I leaned in closer to hear her say, “But what if he grabbed me like this?” (meaning another way – which was more practical).

He quickly said then we will have to do something. But right now let’s focus on him grabbing you this way. Then she asked what if he grabs my other hand – and he quickly said he won’t – they more than likely grab this hand first. (He was standing in front of her with his right hand reaching across to her right shoulder extending his arm and twisting his upper body which placed his elbow up in the air – definitely not a common grab).

Personal safety or self-defense, wherever you choose to call it, is so much more than teaching just a technique. In fact if you’re teaching techniques then you’re actually saying to the student that in your attack, they will attack you this way and you are placing them in danger first and then trying to help them get you out of the danger they put you in.

You’re also lying. Yes I said lying.

This means you know what you are telling them is not true, you either heard it from someone; read it in a book, watched in a movie or had a great dream the night before – you put forth no research, expanded your own training, personally experienced the attacks and you know what your saying is just not true.

You have a good idea, strong positive thinking but that still doesn’t make it true. You may sound confident in what you’re saying and look like you know what you’re talking about, and even have a cool looking uniform and patches; but around other like minded professionals, we know.

The sad thing is if you’re telling the student when they’re attacked they can control all the variables that happened during a physical encounter like how they will grab, what limb they will grab, how they will punch you, how they will respond when you do this.

Those are all unknowns at the time of the attack – there is NO WAY TO KNOW THEM!

This kind of thinking is dangerous and very unsafe and not too realistic. The sad news is no crime is being committed – however your moral and ethical compass is way off base! If the safety advice you give a person is false, something you’re not sure of, or your advice is for them to be careful; be on the lookout; when they do this you do that, watch your back and don’t get into trouble it’s really not advice.

You’re telling them things they already know and not training them on how to identify, prevent, non-escalate, deescalate, engage or escalate.

So remember self-defense instructors and personal safety experts, what comes out of your mouth goes in somebody else’s ear. If you’re telling them something that you haven’t researched, you haven’t confirmed, it’s not field proven, you have never personally experienced it, have a doubt it won’t work or will get them in a trouble – SAY NOTHING ANS BE QUIET!

Remember, silence can never be misunderstood! Rather than hope what you tell them they will never have to use, think of it like this – you will still save their lives without saying a word!