Ready, Set…Protect! Protecting Yourself and Your Family

When I was a boy, I had bully problems. For some reason I thought I was not supposed to fight. My parents were not fighters, but they did stand up for themselves. So why I let others push me around, I do not know. I wish I hadn’t.

I am thankful that I happened to stumble into the Martial Arts (“warlike” arts) 33 years ago. There is no way for me to turn you into a feared warrior with this short article, but I can share some tips that will give you great mileage in an altercation.


Some people say, “If you take ‘this class’ or ‘that class,’ you will be able to defend yourself.”  Or, “You need to take this certain Martial Art because it’s the best.”  I say:

There is more to consider when it comes to protecting yourself.


Here are three components I find to be essential:


  1. You Must Have the Will to Defend Yourself

Only you can decide if you’re willing to do what is necessary to defend yourself and your family. Some people are passive, fearful of confrontations. Some are reluctant to act because they don’t want to hurt someone or they just don’t know what to do. People with these mindsets are already defeated before they get started.


Exercising caution is always a good thing. But when it’s time to act, things like hesitation and reluctance can be fatal.


If/when you decide you don’t want to be a victim, then it’s up to you to make a commitment that you will not have a victim’s mentality. It is best if you make this decision now.

Andy demonstrating the use of a weapon in protecting oneself – here he is shown with a Bo (staff)
  1. You Must Be Physically Fit

A little past time I have when I’m out in public is to assess the people around me and evaluate (based on what I see) how they might be able to defend themselves should an extreme situation arise.

I usually only find one person (if that…often it’s zero) who looks capable of defending themselves should a perpetrator attack (e.g. in a robbery, hostage situation, abduction, terror attack, etc).

Our nation as a whole has become “soft.” I’m talking physically, but also mentally—but that’s for another blog post. Friends, our bodies need to be regularly challenged. “Exercise” is defined as bursts of higher than normal activity for extended periods. As we grow older, our bones, muscles, and organs grow older too

We must stay active on a weekly basis to challenge our bodies. There’s no way around it. If we don’t do this, we will slowly but surely deteriorate.

I recommend exercising at least three times per week with a routine that is well-rounded and works different parts of the body. This is a very reasonable schedule, especially considering much of the country has turned exercise into a facet of life. In Europe, people often walk or ride bicycles every day.

Exercising three times per week is minimal, yet it is enough to challenge the body while still giving you a day or so rest in between.

Now, hear me out: Guys, you don’t have to be Rambo. Ladies, you don’t have to be Million Dollar Baby. Set up a weekly schedule, something achievable, and stick to it. Eat well, take care of yourself—you don’t have to be perfect, but find a program that works for you and do it.

I have a blog post coming out soon that will explore eating and exercising in more detail. Stay tuned for that.


Check out JANE RUNS WILD’s blog about making running a habit. These principles can be applied to any physical activity: running, walking, hiking, going to the gym, a training app on your phone, etc.


Bottom Line: If you are going to defend yourself, family and home, you need to be physically fit. This includes your mate and children. Everyone needs to work together as a team in emergencies. You are only as strong as your weakest link.


  1. You Need Martial Arts or Self-Defense Training

The best definition I can devise for the term “Martial Arts” is: warlike skills. It is not just enough to have a warlike attitude or to be physically fit. To protect yourself and your family in extreme situations, you need to know how to use your body and mind as a weapon and how to use the physics of the body to overwhelm your attacker.

Andy doing a kata (drill)


Your physical condition, flexibility, and skills (all of which are honed in Martial Arts) have varying impacts on a situation; when used simultaneously with endurance, speed, and agility, they can help you accomplish a multitude of things, such as dodge an oncoming punch or even an oncoming car.


Martial Arts develops physical fitness, power, speed, flexibility, agility, and confidence. I prefer Martial Arts training that’s geared toward a goal of self-defense verses simple, one-time self-defense classes. With the former, you will be more prepared for conflicts and emergencies.


With that said, a self-defense class or two has its place and can be very helpful, especially for those who don’t have a background in Martial Arts and/or are unable to commit to that level of training. Blog with some self-defense basics – coming soon!


Do you have all 3 things?


Do you have all three of these things: the will to defend yourself; a physically fit body; and Martial Arts/self-defense training? If not, are you working toward attaining them? I hope you are so that you’ll be ready to defend yourself and your family at a moment’s notice.


We have a saying in Martial Arts: “You will perform in a crisis the way you have practiced.”  So practice strong and BE PREPARED.



Your friend in self-sufficiency (and self-defense),


Andy Savage
“The Mountain Man”


Andy has been training in Isshinryu Karate for 33 years and has a 4th Degree Black Belt. His passion for helping others shines through not only in his blog but also in the community. Most recently, he assisted in giving a self-defense demonstration in the Tri-Cities of East Tennessee and hopes to continue the practice so that people will be able to protect themselves in an increasingly dangerous world.

This blog post is an account of the author. Situations differ and are contingent on the abilities of each individual person involved, as well as unforeseen circumstances.  The author and/or his associates are not liable for any injuries, loss, or damages incurred due to the use of such information. Such content is for general, informational and entertainment purposes only.


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