Contrary to popular belief, self-defense is often less about technique and more about clearly thinking and understanding one’s own options when in a dangerous situation.
“You can break someone down with confidence,” said street combat specialist and multiple black belt holder Troy Green. Building confidence in one’s own ability to defend his or herself was a key aspect of the women’s self-defense and safety seminar Green instructed Saturday morning in Ardmore.
A group of around 10 women joined Green at the Green Family Martial Arts building — some having taken classes there before and others having kids who attend lessons at the martial arts center.
While Green also teaches kickboxing and oversees a fight team, he said teaching others self-defense and inspiring confidence in others is one of his greatest passions.
“I like the hands on, people that are passionate about learning how to defend themselves. There is no better satisfaction in the world than this level of thinking,” Green said.
Nearly 47 years in the making, the class has evolved from being mostly a seminar into more of a physical learning experience. “You can look at it all day long, but you’ve got to feel it and how it works and how it doesn’t work,” Green said.
His passion for teaching others self-defense grew mostly from his own experiences, Green said. The earlier years of his life were rough while growing up in the foster care system. “I spent a lot of time running around in places I shouldn’t be. I’ve been shot, I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been through a few beatings, been held down and kicked down.”
Green said he began training in martial arts at the age of 17 in the hope that maybe he could overcome his small stature and join the police force. He became a police officer when he was 25 and felt nearly invincible when he was handed a badge and gun.
“That’s the human that I can’t stand. I was him for a little while. Until I got my butt kicked and realized that stuff couldn’t protect me. I spent the rest of my life learning how to use these right here,” Green said, holding his fists up. “Since then, all of my training has been about understanding the science of combat and how it really works in a street application, in any application.”
Applying self-defense training to the real world has led him to some unusual places. Green said he has trained anywhere from in the front seat of a car to the inside of a bathroom stall.
“You have to understand what is available to you and what is not available to you and what is in front of you, what the options are. So you know not to freak out over the things you shouldn’t be freaking out over.”
Fear is your worst enemy, Green told the group. When people start to panic, they begin to fear what’s going to happen to them or how bad it might hurt. Some people will naturally freeze up in these types of situations, however, training prepares your mind to accept what may happen and over time can help even those who freeze out of dangerous situations.
“You have to make a decision before it happens, how you’re going to react. Not what you’re going to do specifically,” Green said. “Make your startled breath your first move.”
In most situations, Green said the number one thing to do is run, if that in an option. Even if the assailant has a gun, only about 2% of the general population can hit a moving target; and if the subject has not fired the weapon within three seconds, they are most likely using it for control and not with the intent to kill, he said.
However, if running is not an option, there are a few different self-defense techniques Green demonstrated for the group.
The first was what he referred to as the ’hip-roll take down.’ This move can take the subject off their center balance and cause them to fall. While some techniques were more advanced, Green also had participants practice simple ways of breaking out of a choking position on each other, among other things.
Many of the actions demonstrated were effective in that they redirected the subject’s attention— and some were more surprising than others. Green suggested shoving a finger up a person’s nose, or in their eye; and if using keys to stab someone, add an additional twisting motion, he said. It is also easier to rip someone’s ear off than the average person may think, he said.
While a lot of valuable information was presented during the class, three hours of self-defense training is not going to be sufficient enough to immediately instill confidence in a person, Green said. One has to work at it and constantly train to get to a place where they can effectively defend themselves.
“Knowledge is power. Your worst enemy right now is going to be fear,” Green said. With several years of self-defense training under his belt, Green said he feels confident in his ability to take on any assailant and wants others to have that same feeling.
“I don’t have an ounce of fear about it and that’s a pretty cool place to be,” Green said.