The above picture is the stereotype image the average schmuck has when he hears someone say he is "learning to bash in some heads in to protect himself and his his family in case if God forbid, someone tried to encroach him and his family at any point"

Two things I've have been dealing with that are false claims is the following:

1-Average joes who are serious self defense oriented people are trying to be wannabe tough guys, fantasizing about being biker's, gangbangers, and anything involving "street credit" by dreaming of starting an epic bar fight. Maybe to look good in front of a few girls.

2-That Self Defense is morally wrong because it involves learning fighting skills and techniques that can potentially maim and kill a criminal assailant. And that the use of violence is immoral even if it means you getting mugged, raped, beaten or killed for not using violence when appropriate. This statement is made constantly by moralists, some religious individuals, pacifists, or people who are just too scared to fight back in situations where talking your way out of fighting has failed and the thug won't take no for an answer

As a certified self defense trainer with 14 years of civilian self defense training experience under me I am qualified to answer these questions correctly and set the record straight.

For starters let me point out that self defense practitioners and the local neighborhood toughs are not the same and true self defense practitioners ARE NOT trying to be wannabe tough guys because the basic goals between the local tough guys and the self defense practitioners are not the same nor are their reasons for doing things the way they do.

So I'm going to do a little bit of comparing the similarities and the differences as follows:

Similarities:

1-Both can use aggression
2-Both have high pain tolerance
3-Both have offensive fighting skills
4-Both use forward pressure
5-Both are lethal and capable of extreme violence.

Differences:

The neighborhood tough guy.

1-His goals are to gain respect for selfish gains by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
2-He does this to fuel his ego/arrogance
3-He dresses in a way to induce fear and his tats and body language sends the same message
4-He will start fights with anybody he sees as competition and bully those he thinks are weaker just to make himself look good.
5-He does not give a crap about your moral principles, he just wants to win and he don't care how he wins so long as he gets what he wants.
6-If he targets you then what does he want? He wants either take your social status, your body, your money, your property, or your life.

The self defense practitioner

1-His objective is to avoid and prevent violence and if that fails, fight just enough to buy time to escape to gain safety. Safety is his goal.
2-Given his goal is to make it home safe. He is not driven by pride
3-He only uses the level of violence that is needed to stop the assailants assualt long enough to enact that escape.
4-A self defense practitioner looks like an average joe and many don't look like tough guys because looking tough and "street credit" IS NOT HIS GOALS.
5-A self defense practitioner assess the situation first before deciding to use aggression
6-A self defense practitioner only uses aggression when deemed necessary.
7-A self defense practitioner has a show of strength and inner confidence without arrogance.

As for the "self defense is immoral" claim. Most people who make this claim is due to the belief that self defense is ONLY the use of violence. This is far from the truth. The truth is fighting skills are only a last resort option with the emphasis on escaping the fight. In fact, 90% of self defense is non violent.

The first line of defense is awareness and avoidance, the second line of defense would be de-escalation through talking techniques. This will make up 90% of your self defense. Only when all else fails do you resort to the third line of defense, physical fighting skills.

I use my self defense skills everyday and at least 90% of it is non violent :) . So pacifists, the good news is you can still learn 90% of the arsenal without a problem because its all the non violent parts although you are taking a risk not learning the last resort options.

For my religious friends, while I am christian myself I am not a theology expert and am not going to pretend to be one but since this is NOT a religion website, I will instead refer you to www.biblicalselfdefense.com

Author's Bio: 

Ricardo Negron is a Personal Trainer and a Self Defense Trainer certified under the Family Safety and Self Defense Institute. He has studied and practiced self defense and martial arts for nearly 14 years. He is the founder of Healthy Lifestyles and Self Defense Services. He also created and moderates the Martial Arts Strength and Conditioning Forum on Facebook. For more information visit www.healthylifestylesandselfdefense.weebly.com