Self-Defense: An Interview with Chris Friesen

defence 2Have you ever wondered what you would do if you were attacked or your purse was grabbed? I don’t know if I would scream, if I would run, or if I would turn into the Hulk and just start a beat down on somebody. But today we have a special guest expert with us. We have Chris Friesen joining us from Safe International Manitoba, and he’s going to teach us some ways to defend ourselves.

Mandy: Now Chris, tell me, what got you into self-defense?

Chris: I’ve been interested in the martial arts and self-defense since I was a teenager. I studied Taekwondo, Jiu-Jitsu and karate. I studied with a second-degree black belt in karate for a couple of years who was more into the reality-based self-defense world and since then, I certified in Krav Maga and other various self-defense systems.

Mandy: What’s your favorite part about teaching self-defense?

Chris:  I think it’s showing people how simple it really is to defend yourselves, and how everybody can really do it. It doesn’t really matter how strong or big or fast you are.

Mandy: I’ve always thought, I’m not overly fast, I’m not very much of an athlete myself, so in that situation, I’m not sure how I would react. What would be your first piece of advice for someone who wants to learn self-defense.

Chris: One of the most important things to remember with self-defense is that your awareness and avoidance is your first line of defense, before it even gets physical. You see so many people walking around in public with their earbuds in or they’re walking around texting, not aware of their surroundings. One of the things that an attacker is looking for is somebody whose going to be an easy victim, whose not going to fight back, whose not paying attention.

Mandy: Ok, so you’ve been put into a situation where you are under attck. What should you do?

Chris: The first thing we really stress is attacking the head. What this does is it flips the switch from predator to prey. If I’m an attacker and I’m intent on assaulting you and you come back at me; you’re slamming me in the head, you’ve got your fingers in my eyes, you’re ripping at my ear and spitting and biting and those types of things — it makes you the predator now and I’m the prey. So it flips those roles around. I have to deal with that before I can come back at you and respond.

Mandy: What would be some techniques that you would employ to bring this on?

Chris: The thing with techniques is you wanna make sure that they’re gross motor skills. An example would be me slamming you in the face or kicking someone in the groin. We are talking about big motor skills versus the smaller, complex ones. An example of a complex motor skill would be if somebody grabs you by the shirt, you’d grab their wrist and twist this way to wrestle them to the ground. This is a complicated move and you absolutely can’t access those types of things when stress hits you and that adrenaline response happens. You’re operating under a completely different nervous system at that point.

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