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Self-Defense


By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Benjamin Franklin  (17061790)

There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief.
Edmund Burke  (17291797)

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...  only disarm those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.  Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.
Cesare Beccaria  (17381794)
"Essay on Crimes and Punishments", 1764

Your mind-set is your primary weapon.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)

Anyone who is aware of his environment knows that the peril of physical assault does exist, and that it exists everywhere and at all times.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
"Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

It is true that a victim who fights back may suffer for it, but one who does not almost certainly will suffer for it.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
"Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The one who fights back retains his dignity and his self-respect.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
"Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Any man who is a man may not, in honor, submit to threats or violence.  But many men who are not cowards are simply unprepared for the fact of human savagery.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
"Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Know what is behind you, and pay particular attention to anything out of place.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
1. Alertness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The one who anticipates the action wins.  The one who does not, loses.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
1. Alertness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Observe your cat.  It is difficult to surprise him.  Why?  Naturally his superior hearing is part of the answer, but not all of it.  He moves well, using his senses fully.  He is not preoccupied with irrelevancies.  He's not thinking about his job or his image or his income tax.  He is putting first things first, principally his physical security.  Do likewise.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
1. Alertness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Anyone who appears to be triggered out of watchfulness and into action by your appearance must be explained.
Anyone observing you carefully must be explained.
Anyone whose behavior seems to be geared to yours must be explained.
If the explanation does not satisfy you, be ready to take appropriate defensive action.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
1. Alertness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Use your eyes.  Do not enter unfamiliar areas that you cannot observe first.  Make it a practice to swing wide around corners, use window glass for rearward visibility, and get something solid behind you when you pause.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
1. Alertness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

No sensible person ever opens the door of his house without knowing who is knocking.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
1. Alertness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The essential thing is to bear always in mind that trouble can appear at any time.
Be aware.  Be ready.  Be alert.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
1. Alertness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The specific course you decide upon is, within certain parameters, less important than the vigor with which you execute it.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
2. Decisiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The proper course of action, when under attack, is usually to counterattack.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
2. Decisiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

"What would I do if?.."  By thinking tactically, we can more easily arrive at correct tactical solutions, and practice even theoretical practice tends to produce confidence in our solutions which, in turn, makes it easier for us, and thus quicker, to reach a decision.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
2. Decisiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

When under attack, it is necessary to evaluate the situation and to decide instantly upon a proper course of action, to be carried out immediately with all the force you can bring to bear.  He who hesitates is indeed lost.  Do not soliloquize.  Do not delay.  Be decisive.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
2. Decisiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The best personal defense is an explosive counterattack.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
3. Aggressiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Aggressiveness carries with it an incalculable moral edge in any combat, offensive or defensive.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
3. Aggressiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Never assume that simply having a gun makes you a marksman.  You are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol than you are a musician because you own a guitar.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
3. Aggressiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Now how do we cultivate an aggressive response?  I think the answer is indignation...
Your response, if attacked, must not be fear, it must be anger.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
3. Aggressiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

If it is ever your misfortune to be attacked, alertness will have given you a little warning, decisiveness will have given you a proper course to pursue, and if that course is to counterattack, carry it out with everything you've got!  Be indignant.  Be angry.  Be aggressive.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
3. Aggressiveness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Speed is the absolute essence of any form of combat.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
4. Speed, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

On the very instant that we know that our assailant intends us serious physical harm, we must work just as fast as we can.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
4. Speed, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The perfect fight is one that is over before the loser really understands what is going on.  The perfect defense is a counterattack that succeeds before the assailant discovers that he has bitten off more than he can chew.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
4. Speed, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Therefore, if you are attacked, retaliate instantly.  Be sudden.  Be quick.  Speed is your salvation.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
4. Speed, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Anger, as long as it is controlled anger, is no obstacle to efficiency.  Self-control is one thing the sociopath does not usually possess.  Use yours to his undoing.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
5. Coolness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

It's a matter of will.  If you know that you can keep your head, and that you must keep your head, you probably will keep your head.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
5. Coolness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Under any sort of attack, keep cool.  And if you must shoot, shoot with precision.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
5. Coolness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Anyone who willfully and maliciously attacks another without sufficient cause deserves no consideration.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

We are fully justified in valuing the life and person of an intended victim more highly than the life of a pernicious assailant.  The attacker must be stopped.  At once and completely.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Let your attacker worry about his life.  Don't hold back.  Strike no more after he is incapable of further action, but see that he is stopped.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

What you do to prevent further felonious assault, as long as the felon is still capable of action, is justified.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

An armed man, especially if he is armed with a firearm, is dangerous as long as he is conscious.  Take no chances.  Put him out.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

If you must use your hands, use them with all the strength you possess...
If you choose to strike, by all means strike hard.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Don't try to be fancy.  Shoot for the center of mass.  The world is full of decent people.  Criminals we can do without.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it.  The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury.  Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

If a felon attacks you and lives, he will reasonably conclude that he can do it again.  By submitting to him, you not only imperil your own life, but you jeopardize the lives of others.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

If you find yourself under lethal attack don't be kind.  Be harsh.  Be tough.  Be ruthless.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
6. Ruthlessness, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

By doing what our assailant least expects us to do, we may throw him completely off.
...  what he usually least suspects is instant, violent counterattack, so the principle of aggressiveness is closely tied to threat of surprise.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
7. Surprise, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

The criminal does not expect his prey to fight back.  May he never choose you, but, if he does, surprise him.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
7. Surprise, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

Your physical safety is up to you, as it really always has been.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
A Final Word, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

It is high time for society to stop worrying about the criminal, and to let the criminal start worrying about society.  And by "society" I mean you.
Jeff Cooper  (19202006)
A Final Word, "Principles of Personal Defense", 1989

At that time the Third Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu had a favorite little monkey.  The monkey was very quick.  One day Iemitsu let his attending retainers strike at it, but no one could hit it.  Iemitsu ordered Yagyu, his Sword Master, to do the same, but it was so agile that not even Yagyu could hit it.
"As its movement is as agile as lightning the only person who can strike it would be Takuan Osho of the Tokaiji temple," Yagyu told Iemitsu, who immediately sent a messenger to fetch Takuan.
"Osho, try to strike that monkey."
Osho glared at it on Iemitsu's lap and then took out his nyoi (his priest's staff).  He was about to strike the monkey when it immediately cried out and prostrated itself before Osho, as if begging for mercy.  Iemitsu and his attendants were amazed at his skill and praised Takuan.  Whereupon Takuan laughed loudly and said:
"This is nothing.  As long as Lord Yagyu and the other Lords worried in case they might strike the Shogun if they missed the monkey sitting on his lap, their stroke lacked spirit.  Because I intended to strike even the lap of the Shogun, the monkey felt my spirit and must have been frightened by it."
When you strike, just strike.  Nothing else should be in your mind.
Nobuko Hirose
The Invincible Spirit, "Immovable Wisdom", 1992

The way to reason with a predator is to make it aware that it can live in a cage, or it can die, but it can no longer prey upon us.
Massad Ayoob  (Born 1948)
Interview, 2005

The religious fanatic who practices terrorism cannot be reasoned with, because there is nothing you can threaten him with, and no alternative you can offer him that is more palatable than his genuine belief that if he dies fighting you, he will be greatly rewarded in afterlife.  Only swift and extreme force can stop him.
Massad Ayoob  (Born 1948)
Interview, 2005


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