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Is Self-Protection Guilty by Association?

When many think of self-protection, they associate it with self-defence. From there it may cognitively become a downward spiral! Here’s one reason why…

Cognitive reasoning is the process in which information becomes a decision through either facts or present knowledge.

Over the years I have had the pleasure of traveling to different regions to teach. Four years ago, I came across my biggest challenge yet. This being when I moved to PEI. It’s a good job I persevere, knowing I can make a difference!

When I moved here, I saw an opportunity to make a positive impact by teaching others how to protect themselves. During my research, I quickly realized that outside of law enforcement, there was absolutely no one educating in this area. However, there were, and still are, martial art clubs claiming to teach self-defence. I just never fully realized how that would negatively impact what I was trying to achieve.

It took me a short time to understand how many were associating self-protection with violence. One question automatically summed it up. When someone was asked how would they learn to protect themselves? The answer, in most cases, came back as learning martial arts. O’ boy! You see; the problem is that most martial arts are 100% reactive to physical threats. Learning to protect one’s self should first and foremost be focusing on preventing the physical, but cognitively they are linked.

It is not “teaching violence to prevent violence” as one uninformed person once stated!

Understandably, many violence prevention initiatives have taken the approach of removing ownership from the individual when it comes to preventing violence. Those that commit violence are the problem. If they would simply stop, the problem is solved! As some have stated, “the onus should not be on the individual to protect themselves.” The feeling if that by promoting self-protection, it is sending out the wrong message.

The sad reality is that we are responsible for our own safety. Those that commit violence do not typically care about you, they do not respect you, and they don’t particularly care about any consequences. This only covers those that are in control of their actions. Add alcohol and drugs to the mix and an even bigger picture is painted. Now add environmental and emotional stressors and that painting has now become a mural, but not a pretty one! – These are not excuses. They are realistic elements of violence.

Not taking personal responsibility and seeing the learning of self-protection in a negative light is extremely sad, as it plays a huge part in the puzzle and should not be alienated. The focus of self-protection is NEVER to blame a victim but to PREVENT victims. It does so by taking responsibility through becoming educated in ways to better identify, avoid and manage violence, not just the physical.

“Wow! What a fantastic self-protection program was given by Norton Arts! Robert’s session was informative, useful and very real. He focused heavily on prevention and armed us with simple moves to use should we ever need them. I was thoroughly impressed with his professionalism and delivery of the material.

We need this type of training in our schools, for health care providers, and for the general public! I hope to see lots of other people using Robert to teach these skills. I highly recommend him!”

~ Carol O’Hanley

So how do you associate self-protection to violence?

How do you believe you can prevent violence in your life?

Learning to protect yourself and those you love is a positive thing. We cannot predict the future and bad things can happen to good people. My job is to provide you with practical knowledge and skills to better protect yourself from harm.

Thank you for reading this and the associated image. I hope it has helped you to better understand why you may have negatively associated self-protection to violence. Furthermore, I hope it has helped you to understand that self-protection is an important part of realistic violence prevention training and is not promoting violence.

Norton Arts is a P.E.I. based company that provides practical education in violence prevention|self-protection. Our focus is always on preventing violence while providing the knowledge and skills to better Identify, Avoid and Manage violence. We have specialized training modules for individuals to workplace environments.

We can be reached at 902-978-1738 or at


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