I’ve Got Your Back

When I was fifteen years old I joined a martial art school that taught a very hard style-​​reality based version of Jujutsu. There was a lot of emphasis on surviving club and knife attacks, as well as effectively dealing with multiple attacker scenarios.

Once, before class started two of my training buddies and I did an impromptu free fighting session. They both attacked me with punches and kicks from my right and left front corners, nearly simultaneously. I instinctively put my back up against the wall. This accomplished several things at once. It immediately moved me just out of range of the incoming strikes, without having to block or parry them. It also immediately cut in half the angles I could be attacked from, my training partners could not circle around me and attack from the rear, they would have to attack me from my front angles only.

On a psychological level I felt empowered with my back up against the wall. Lastly, on a tactical level I could use the wall as an impact protection tool and throw my training partners into it, which is exactly what I did and then escaped to safety. Here are the important lessons I learned thirty years ago: #1 If you can’t escape a physical conflict the next best thing is to put your back up against a wall. #2 Psychologically embrace ‘the gift’ of the wall, it’s there to help you protect yourself. #3 Most importantly I learned that the keys to combat survival are right before us, if only we could see them.

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