Sunday, February 10, 2019

Why Doesn't Women's Self-Defence Teach Courage?

I'm currently working on the first draft of the last chapter in my book, Fear and Fight: Understanding Our Natural and Learned Responses to a Threat. That chapter uses the previous chapter's information on stress training and the discussion on our natural and learned responses to a threat to explore certain aspects of women's self-defence.

The first thing that always needs to be understood by 'Fight Activities' is why they teach to overcome fear. Fear was selected for in nature because it conferred a survival advantage on an individual. Why then do Fight Activities teach ways and means to overcome fear. It's because survival is not the principal objective of those Fight Activities.

To survive is to live in spite of danger or hardship. The quintessential laws of nature are: survival, survival, survival.Nature is prepared to tolerate rape in order to survive. WSD is not. Survival is promoted by fear, therefore, WSD teaches ways and means to overcome fear in order to avoid rape.

The principal strategy taught by WSD to overcome fear is to turn fear into anger. The action tendency of anger is fight. The automatic physiological reaction associated with anger prepares the body to fight and anger decreases our inhibition to aggress.

The principal strategy taught be the military in order to overcome fear and act on the battlefield is courage. To act in spite of fear. I have found it very interesting that the literature on WSD, including feminist literature, does not mention courage as a means for women to overcome fear if attacked in order to fight.

WSD teaches to turn fear into anger. It uses ways and means, including forms of exposure, to develop confidence which reduces or negates fear. It uses overlearning so that fight behaviour becomes the instinctive behavioural response to a threat. But there is no mention of courage; of acting in spite of fear.

Shame and the threat of shame are major ways and means used by the military to overcome fear in order to fight. That tends to lead to anger which, as said above, promotes fight behaviour. WSD do not tend to use the strategic use of shame or the threat of shame in order to overcome fear if attacked in order to fight. Shame is described as a possible outcome of a successful rape and a predictor of PTSD, but it's not used to promote defensive fight behaviour as is the case with the military.

I just find it interesting to compare the different approaches to overcome fear in order to fight.

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