SDT takes a particular view on a number of matters related to self defence and these views or ‘philosophy’ impact on the structure, content and methods of training in SDT.
1. Violence is the Last Option: An aggressive response to a confrontation should a last choice unless circumstances force it. This is not a contest and it certainly should not be allowed to become a contest of egos. The consequences are potentially serious even should you ‘win’ the encounter (no one really wins a street confrontation you only survive it). Fight because you have to not because you want to.
2. Personal Accountability: Have the courage to make decisions that you believe are in your best interests and then take responsibility for the whatever consequences (good and bad) that may follow from that decision. Don’t hand responsibility for decisions you should be making over to someone else and don’t blame others for the consequences of decisions you have made.
3. Don’t have ‘Attitude’: Some systems encourage students to develop an aggressive ‘tough guy’ attitude, to be feared. They confuse being feared with being respected. Having ‘attitude’ is simply a magnet for trouble. True confidence is not cockiness. True confidence manifests itself in being humble and unassuming on the outside while being strong and resolute on the inside.
4. Mistakes are a Learning Opportunity: The difference between between those who achieve and those who don’t is how they view the same situation. A mistake is the difference between actual outcome and desired outcome. If what you got is not what you wanted then change what you did. You have just learned something and now are better placed before the mistake. But only make the same mistake once.
5. Strive to be Your Best not “The Best”: We are all different and we all have a different potential. To make being “the best” your aim means you have taken on board the measure of worth that others have defined. If truly being your best and being the best coincide then fine. But don’t succumb to how others define status and worth at the expense of your own values. That shows weakness.
6. Don’t Judge Worth by Fighting Ability: This is a specific and common example of trying to be “the best”. Taken literally this means that everyone bar one person has little or no worth as by definition only one person can be the best. Does this mean the rest of us are destined to lead unhappy and unfulfilling lives? Get real.
7. Don’t Judge Ability by Appearance: It is sad to see so many otherwise mature males making fools of themselves in the pages of our martial arts magazines with eyes bulging and teeth snarling doing something dastardly to a hapless assistant. Such is the nature of the human threat display. These displays are a significant component of what we have to deal with in defensive tactics. We must learn to see through them for what they really are – just appearance.
8. Determination is Everything: The capacity to succeed at any endeavor is a function of many attributes. But many a gifted person has failed to achieve through a lack of determination. In the pursuit of any goal the two hardest things in life often are the ability to get going and the ability to keep going in the face of hardship and difficulties. As the saying goes:
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,
It’s the size of the fight in the dog.