I always teach that you should avoid an attack whenever possible, whether that means avoiding dangerous places, or running away to safety. Avoiding a fight is always your best option, and is the only fool proof method of self defense.
However, if you find yourself in a situation that you cannot escape and you must fight back, you have to be 100% committed to finishing the fight. This is because the fight is not over until the threat no longer exists.
Let me give you an example:
Years ago at my teachers school, one of my classmates, a model, was attacked in the street after she left a photo shoot. She defended herself and dropped him, but hearing him groaning on the ground she felt bad and went to help him. He then pulled out a knife and cut her face. She got medical attention, but the the knife cut was deep, leaving her disfigured, and ruining her modeling career.
Months later she came back to class and told us her story. Seeing the big scar on her face, I felt terrible for her. She said she would never feel bad again when having to defend herself. Some lesson to learn, huh?
If you fight back and then stop, like this woman did, you give up the initial advantage gained from the element of surprise. This gives the assailant time to regroup and modify their attack (in this case, he used a knife).
This type of behavior is not uncommon amongst women. Many girls/women are taught not to be aggressive, be it verbally or physically. This causes them to feel bad if they are in a confrontation. I cannot tell you how many times women apologized after hitting me, or hitting a pad that I was holding, during a self defense class. It takes months of deconditioning to remove that behavior!
To survive an attack you must attack the attacker, and continue your attack until it is safe to run away/escape.
Don't Feel Bad, Follow Through.
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