It’s a very common theme within the martial arts world to hear things like “keep fighting”, “don’t give up”, “stand your ground”, “no retreat, no surrender”, but when it comes down to the preservation of one’s life or the lives that matter to them, running away is a valid self defense.
Too many times we can get hyper focused on techniques or the misconception that if I’m in a physical engagement I have to keep fighting until the threat is gone. Although, if I am capable and confident that I can stand, fight and overcome my threat I may do so; it doesn’t take away the option of completely removing myself from the situation before or during the altercation. It’s very important to know when to fight and when to “tactically retreat”. Running away may save your life but there is a right and a wrong way to do it.
So when is the right time to run away if I choose to do so? One option is to be situationally aware of your surroundings. In doing so you just may pick up on some cues that tell you something nefarious may be coming your way. Then you can remove yourself from the situation before anything serious happens. Another option is creating the moment to tactically retreat. If I have no choice to engage, I want to create a moment that allows me to run away without further putting myself in harm’s way. I want to make sure my adversary is incapacitated so he can’t run after me or have them under control, for example holding them at bay with a pistol while you tactically retreat. Whatever the situation, you don’t just want to run away without making sure that your adversary or whatever the “threat” may be, isn’t able to continuously come after you while you retreat.
If tactically retreating is not an option and you make the decision to stand and fight, be as violent and aggressive as possible. Unlike certain martial arts, Krav Maga/ I.C.S. will specifically work on building an “aggressive mindset” to compliment the already effective techniques. At the end of the day, it’s not just knowing self defense techniques, it’s believing that you will dominate and be the victor!
Learning when to fight and run away is an imperative skill to understand in your martial arts endeavors. But more importantly don’t just train to “survive” an encounter, train to win! The definition of survival is as follows: “continue to exist or live in spite of danger or hardship.” This implies there is still a large opportunity for failure and significant loss……..so train your mind to not just survive but to dominate and win and running away could be that victory. Just know when to do it!