Doing the verb of self-defence

What does it take to be competent at self-defence?

When do you reach the point that you’ve got it?

When will you know enough?

When will you be ready?


You’ll never reach that point.

Not because you’re incapable of defending yourself, but because it doesn’t exist.

Self-defence isn’t a place to inhabit – it’s a mountain to climb. And in order to reach the summit, you must keep climbing, step by step, making mistakes and learning more as you ascend. Because self-defence is the practice of keeping yourself safe.

I call this “doing the verb” instead of “being the noun”.

So, how do you get better at self-defence?

Train in appropriate physical techniques. Seek to understand the types of violence that you are most likely to experience. Dig deeply into your sense of self-worth & ask if you truly believe that you’re worth protecting.

In other words – you do self-defence.

“Doing the verb” reorients us away from the outcome and toward the process. This is why, in many professions, doing the verb is called “practicing.” Doctors practice medicine. Lawyers practice law. When your focus is on the verb—when you’re still practicing—you continuously hone your craft, challenge yourself, and get better.

The process is also true for the inverse: anybody that’s told you that you can’t or won’t ever be able to protect yourself or stand up for your boundaries is categorically wrong.

You can always improve, and you will if you practice your craft with deep & deliberate understanding. The first steps you take at the foot of the mountain set the stage for the steps you’ll take as you climb higher, and they’re no less important or less scary than the summits above.

It’s when we stop doing the verb that we stop growing. When we think we have become the noun—when we believe we have “arrived” or that we “can’t”— that we don’t learn.

Letting go of the end-result allows us to focus on the actions which forge us into the type of person we so desire to be. When you do self-defence, you are actively taking steps towards becoming someone who does self-defence.

Every experience is a tool to clear your path forward, and every step you take towards keeping yourself & those you love safe is a noble one. Keep training, focus on honing your craft – and you’ll “reach the summit” in no time.

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