Five Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making in Training Self-Defense that Cost You time and money!

Hi there 👊

Everyone training self-defense wants to have tools to use in the worst case scenario.
Some of us love to train just for the sake of it, and some are looking for a quick fix, what to do if something happens that I could not foresee and prevent.
Anyway, we are looking for answers to the questions such as:
  • What if I'm attacked?
  • What if I need to defend myself and loved ones?
There are few flaws that appear in training very seldom.
Let’s look and fix them!

Focusing on the "one right technique"

    • We want to get simple answers. Unfortunately, for the complex situations, there are none.
    • Our response to the problem (attacker's behavior) will alter depending on how we perceive the situation and what is our capacity to respond to it.
    • Focusing on the correct angle of the hand or so, puts our focus on the wrong place, we should focus on the results of our defense!

    Quick Fixes

    • Accept that there isn't any "one right technique" but a combination of movements that help you out of the situation.
    • Every technique/movement is measured by its' success: Did it work? Did I get away? Was the attacker stopped?


    Not training the whole problem/attack 

      The traditional way of learning self-defense is that we are given a problem such as:

      • The person grabs you like this...The person tries to hit you with fist, blade, kick .... You are on the ground...

      • Then the attacker stops and lets you do the technique

      • Then we train movements to that first appearance of the problem, forgetting that the attacker is the problem and if you concentrate addressing that first appearance, you will not succeed in the defense.


      Quick Fixes

      • Accept that the problem isn't the initial attack, it is just the first appearance of the problem, the attacker decided to start with that one!
      • Ask your training partner to be "active attacker" and continue his/her attack with next moves.
      • Train the movement as whole!


      Breaking the defensive movement to parts

        • This is one of the most common pedagogic challenges that we come up with everywhere.
        • We try to treat all the learning process like putting together a house of legos or assembling and disassembling a firearm.
        • The movement skills are different!
        • Once we break the movement into parts and then need to perform it in less than a second in real-life situation, we’re not getting that skill right!
        • Sequencing makes us clumsy. It messes our brain up and we can’t put the motions together fast.


        Quick Fixes

        • Don’t break the technique into parts, simplify the solution if needed and then add on
        • Every time you fail, make a quick analysis and repeat.


        Not integrating the startle -flinch reaction

          • Treating self-defense situations as something that we are in control, is a big mistake.
          • If we are in control, we should be the first active person, not reactive person.
          • When we are surprised, there will be a startle-flinch response.
          • Our brain will give us very fast commands to act, and they come natural to us. We just must build on those.


          Quick Fixes

          • Accept that there will be a startle -flinch response!
          • Couple your defensive movement with the startle-flinch response!
          • Add your whole defensive action to the initial movement!
          • If you don’t flinch when training reaction, your training partner is not doing his/her job right!


          Not pushing our limits – failure is a must in the road of development

            • There are a lot of sayings such as “train hard, fight smart”, “The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in action” etc.
            • I translate these to pushing the limits of our skills in training so that we will fail in attempting to defend often, then analyze the mistakes and fix the techniques and move on to challenge ourselves more.
            • This is mentally very hard and must be addressed. This is not being outside of one’s comfort -zone but pushing the limits.
            • If we succeed 10/10, we are staying in one place, not becoming any better

             Quick Fixes

            • Accept “failure” as integral part of learning.
            • Make “failure” safe, there is no sense in getting hurt in training so that you are incapable to defend yourself in reality because of the injury.
            • Assess what went wrong, simplify if needed and repeat!



            • I hope you can save time and effort by taking these to your training! The change from linear pedagogy to non-linear might feel awkward, but I promise, that once you start picking it up, the learning curve will be mind-blowing!
            • If you want to take a speed-lane:
              1. Please check out my recent book “May the skill bel with you – how to accelerate skill acquisition in self-defense” available at

              2. Go directly to our website and get the May the skill be with you online course with videos and exercises.

              3. Invest in learning and get our annual package, get the exercises, train the movements and let me help you overcome the obstacles!

            Stay safe, train hard but smart!


            Coach Tommi