As a young college man, I actually completed a degree in Computer Science. I have chosen not to make that my lifes work, the diploma hangs on the wall of my fathers den. While working towards that degree, I was taught that if / then statements are an inefficient way to program a computer. As I trained in the martial arts, I came to realize that if / then statements are a horrible way to program people to deal with crises! Anyone thats taken a weekend long seminar on any defensive topic has probably been sent home with a list of if / then statements and the instructors actually tell them that they have learned something useful. You know how it works; the instructor leads the class through several exercises, each one verbally labeled with; If you are grabbed like this, then you apply this technique; If you are punched at like this, then you apply that technique. There’s a real problem with this. Unless you are willing and able to train these techniques, with a partner, live force on force, on a regular basis, you will never be able to do it in real life. No weekend long seminar can burn these techniques into you to the point that you will be able to make them work. What most people find is that during crisis, their minds are quick to call up that list of if / then statements. Then they stand there thinking frantically, if he grabs me by the arm, I’m gonna (insert sound of fist on face here, complete with ringing ears and blood dripping from nose). Dang, I didn’t have a chance to get down my list of statements far enough to deal with that one. The real problem with the if / then approach to defense is that the people who instruct that way really do train constantly, and it works for them. They quite often don’t understand that the way they are teaching just doesn’t work. I believe the best way to keep my students safe is to teach them avoidance. I try to instill in my students an ability to avoid those situations that might make fighting a necessity. I try to teach them to be unattractive targets for criminal activity. Then I try to teach them a system of defense that is workable. And, yes, I’ll admit it. I do teach a single if / then statement. It goes like this: IF I’m attacked, THEN, I will step off the line of attack, and counter attack as fiercely as I am able, with any weapon or tool available to me, until I feel safe walking away. This is not an elegant system. Its not pretty to watch. But I feel that for the majority of people, its the best plan available. I have been convinced through my early traditional martial arts training, and from a few bug tussles I’ve been in since, that doing ANYTHING, even the wrong thing, is vastly superior to doing nothing. Doing nothing, freezing under pressure, is the shortest path to defeat. Doing the right thing is the path to victory. Doing the wrong thing may not lead to victory, but it doesn’t necessarily end in defeat, either.