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How Does Your Clothing Effect Your Self Defense?

 Is the clothing you are wearing compromising your safety?
Do the clothes you wear compromise your safety?

Many of you have heard me say, “If I can’t kick in it, I don’t wear it.” This ia a safety issue I think about often.  The more aware I am, the less likely the safety of my family or mine will be comprimised.  This awareness even applies to how I dress for the day.  Every piece of clothing I put on has to fit the ‘kick’ test. If it does not pass, I don’t buy it, I don’t wear it. It would be a sad day indeed if after thousands of punches, buckets of sweat, months and years of training and when you actually need your skills you find yourself restricted in your movement. Movement is key to successful combat.

Decisions you make in life often effect you in ways you could never perceive.  With this in mind, when you buy clothing, select clothes that give you more range of motion rather than less.  Keep these considerations in mind when you shop or dress for the day.

Here are some topics to consider with your clothing choices:

  • Padding
    How much protection do your clothes offer? If you are on your back, is that bro-tank going to offer additional padding or just guarantee your shoulder get scraped along with your elbows? If you take a punch or kick to the stomach, will your clothes absorb it at all? If you stomp on an opponent’s foot and they are wearing sandals, how much more damage would that cause than if they had on boots?
  • Running
    Can you flee a pair of muggers while wearing nice heels? Could you pursue a purse snatcher (of course, observing all relevant laws) in your hip leather Tommy Bahama sandals? What about the attackers? Would they be able to chase you barefoot if you ran down the sidewalk in your sneakers?
  • Ripping
    When you perform your collar choke on an opponent, is it going to cut off their air or just tear their collar? If you go for a tackle and your opponent holds onto your shirt, will the material just rip away or will it support their weight? Would it be smarter to try and grab their thin cotton tank-top or their durable surfing shorts?
  • Provocation
    Do you look more or less threatening in that TapOut cap without a shirt? If a policeman look at a fight and needs to quickly assess who is the defender or attacker, do your clothes make you look more like one or the other? Is a potential aggressor going to give you the benefit of the doubt if you have no shirt on and he’s with all his pals? Is that going to appear more or less aggressive than just wearing a neutral t-shirt?

To be clear, I’m not advising anyone to throw out all their “impractical” (for a self-defense scenario) clothes. That would be totally contrary to the art; an important tenet of self-defense is that its practitioners shouldn’t have to substantially change the way they go through the world. Self-defense is about making you comfortable, not making you paranoid. But self-defense is also about making smart decisions, both defensively (maybe wearing sneakers downtown instead of sandals) and offensively (stomping an opponent’s uncovered toes instead of just kicking at their leg).

Be aware how your clothing afftects your ability to defend yourself. How will your technical limitations play into a scenario? Whether you are going to the beach, heading downtown, or taking a new route to work, be aware of what you are wearing and how it might affect your overall self-defense strategy. And even before you leave for those trips, make sure you know how your attire will give you different benefits and drawbacks if an incident should occur.

Making right decisions before an incident happens is just as important as the dozens of small things you should do right during an assault. Have a great day and stay safe!

ATA Leadership Martial Arts and Leadership Krav Maga also offer Firearm Safety courses, College Bound Readiness courses as well as many others.  Check out all your options at SEE MORE .

Michael Brown is a seventh degree black belt and Senior Master Instructor in Taekwondo and a certified instructor in Krav Maga for over 15 years. He is a two time world champion in sparring and a former Captain in the United States Marine Corps.  He is a fire arms saftey expert and also trains individuals in concealed and carry tactics.  Master Brown has been working with families and training people in personal defense in North Carolina for 24 years. He and his wife, Master Kimberly Brown love working with military personnel, law enforcement and civilians to become combat ready and helping them develop skills that will enable them to be the ‘First Responders’ for their families.

ATA Leadership Martial Arts serves the communities of: Fayetteville NC, Hope Mills NC, Spring Lake NC, Linden NC

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