The truth about self-defense everyone should know.

The Truth About Self-Defense Everyone Should Know.



Having spent decades researching self-defense, sifting through both postulated and apocryphal tales of each system’s superiority claim to all others, I found the truth. I found it not only being a perpetual white-belt myself, but in teaching martial arts, self-defense, police defensive tactics, and DT4EMS’ EVE. To my surprise, I found the truth of self-defense is not a single factor, but a limitless combination of multiple factors. In this chronicles post, would like to share my findings on the truth of self-defense with you. The use-of-force is not a static event. It is dynamic and ever evolving, in which various factors involved play their role. Although there are many, I have found there are three main factors, three additional factors, and a wild card.The main factors are Ability, Skill, and Mindset. The additional factors are Context, Opportunity, and Environment. Throw in the wild-card of one or both parties involved being armed, and the number of zeros behind the numerical factor is greatly increased. Many of these factors are, as you will recognize, are interdependent.

*Each of these truths/factors apply to all parties involved within the conflict albeit a patient, bystander, criminal attacker, and the healthcare provider.



Ability: The ability factor consists of size, age, strength, and sex. For instance, what natural ability (size, sex, strength, age) would come into play if:

  • A 10-year-old girl, weighing 65lbs was having to defend herself against a 25-year-old man who weighs 225lbs?
  • A 25-year-old man, weighing 225lbs was defending himself against a 10-year-old girl weighing 65lbs?

Skill: The truth of skill is based upon training and experience levels, or lack of them, possessed by the parties involved.

  • What training does one have in the actual physical skills?
    • Initial (formal/informal)
    • Ongoing (formal/informal)
  • What experience does one have in the application of the skills?
    • Actual application under stress?
    • Single event vs. multiple occasions

Mindset: The mindset truth is, mental preparation for a violent encounter is as important as any physical skill one may possess. The mental preparation for (critical thinking):

  • The “When should I?” vs. The “When should I not?”
  • What amount should I use?
  • What is the perception of the parties involved?



Opportunity: A person may possess skill-ability, but they must also have the opportunity to use a skill.


  • Is there an opportunity to use the skills?
    • The defender is a world class boxer, but his hands are handcuffed behind his back.
    • The defender is a world champion grappler, but his threat is just out of reach. (Proximity)
    • A threat to do harm, via text message or email, with the threatened in a different state. (Proximity)

Environment: None can deny the truth environment plays in a use-of-force/self-defense situation.

  • Darkness (low-light/shadows)
  • Confined space (ED room, back of an ambulance, etc.)
  • Surface
    • Uneven (curb/street, gravel, wet, loose debris, etc.)
    • Fixed/Moving (Ambulance, stretcher, helicopter, etc.)
  • Other environmental hazards
    • Multiple attackers
    • Crowds
    • Protruding or fixed objects attached to walls/ground (look around the area you are in now and take note of possible injuries one might sustain if thrown into/onto objects)

Context of Situation:  Imagine without warning, a person yells something at you, and grabs you by the throat with both of their hands… Every part of the truths immediately come into play, plus one more, that can change everything…context.

Context one- The person grabbing you is an elderly, frail, hypoxic patient, with no obvious intent to cause you harm.

Context Two- The person doing the grabbing is a man, high on bath salts, telling you he wants to kill you to steal your narcotics.

The context of the situation can change everything, which is why relying solely on techniques is a slippery slope.




The wild card is being ARMED with some sort of weapon. Each weapon/tool has its own set of truths in the use, retention, or defense of it. The arming issue is one we have covered at great lengths in other Chronicles posts and videos. The main factors (ability, skill and mindset), combined with the additional factors (opportunity, environment and context), reveal that self-defense truth is unique to a single individual, at any particular moment-in-time.


The exposure of an individual’s “truth” should be the goal of all self-defense training. The revelation of their truth should be a personal one. The newly acquired knowledge of what one doesn’t know isn’t for public display. It should provide personal motivation to fill in gaps based upon their new awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses.


Universal Truth: No two people can have the same truth regarding self-defense, or the use of force. The use-of-force is not a static event. It is dynamic and ever evolving, in which various factors involved play their role. Size, sex, age, training, experience, mindset, environment, perceptions, and more make up those factors for an individual’s truth. My truth is different than yours, and yours is different than that of someone else. 


As you further your search for the truth, your truth, consider: Every self-defense, martial arts, or combatives system, including DT4EMS’ EVE, is great…when used for what it was created.


#SYWYSO is more than just a tagline. It is culture change.