This may sound obvious, but when it comes time to learn self defense, you’ll need to understand that there a lot of things violence is not. It is not a particularly rough cage-match; it is not a bar fight where everyone’s sharing beers ten minutes later; it’s not getting your nose bloodied.
Many people who learn self defense would call those things violence, and under that banner find them repugnant, negative, and something to be avoided. While the avoidance part is common sense (unless you’re into those things, which is fine for you), none of these are violence as we define it. That’s because we prefer to have a much more narrow definition: Violence is what happens when someone sustains an injury.
What does hewing to such a narrow definition do for you? Two things that go hand-in-hand to make you scary-effective:
1. You know exactly what you’re gunning for.
2. You know whether you got it or not.
With a narrow definition, there’s no wiggle room. The narrow definition keeps things tight and binary — either you got it or you didn’t. It keeps you from having to worry about an entire spectrum of goals or events. You just want one when you learn self defense. Injury.
The narrow definition keeps you from screwing around with things like making people submit, tiring them out, or besting them strength-to-strength. It keeps you from confusing these things with effective violence. Best of all it keeps you from being surprised when the guy you thought you just dropped comes back at you.
A narrow definition of violence will save you wear and tear. It may even save your life.