What can you learn from Star Wars about self-defense? I’ve secretly been waiting for this moment since I was a little boy: the day I’d be able to talk about Star Wars and self-defense in the same sentence. I’m not the only one. After I told my friends I was writing this blog post, they all wanted to know the same thing: What can you learn from Star Wars about self-defense?

  1. Trust your instincts
  2. Never underestimate your opponent
  3. Know your surroundings
  4. Don’t be a hero

Trust your instincts

Your instincts are the single most valuable tool you have when it comes to avoiding violence. After all, what would Jedi’s do if they couldn’t use their instincts? If you have an instinct that says you’re about to walk into a dangerous situation, you don’t take it to be a sign of weakness, you listen to it. If you’re considering a fight, make sure it’s your instinct talking, not your pride. Never underestimate your opponent Never underestimate your opponent. If you’re thinking, “But my opponent is so much stronger than me!” take a second and remind yourself: Anyone who beats you up is still your opponent. They have every advantage in the world over you (except perhaps a lightsaber).

Never underestimate your opponent

Anakin was heavily influenced by Darth Maul. In fact, most of the training montage in Revenge of the Sith was shot for the purposes of this scene. On a purely practical level, this is a useful way to think about self-defense and for personal safety: your enemy might have very different strengths and weaknesses than you. But this lesson is also a good example of how dangerous it is to be too quick to trust your instincts. Since Anakin was such a skilled martial artist, he got caught off-guard when he was facing a quick and powerful opponent. His instincts were working against him. Never underestimate your opponent Han Solo believed that if he just told Luke what he saw, Luke would have his training and realize what to do.

Know your surroundings

Here’s the thing: Star Wars has always been about big moments. (Think “Chewbacca’s Braaaaaiinnnnssss!”) If Luke Skywalker has a big moment, it’s because Han Solo is there with him, but if Vader has a big moment, it’s because Luke wasn’t there. He didn’t trust his instincts and that cost him his life. If he had just backed away from the TIE Fighter and kept running, they might all still be here today. (Don’t believe me? Watch Empire and you’ll see Luke totally fall for Vader’s trap. It’s so dumb I’m a little embarrassed I believed it myself for so long.) There are a few lessons we can take away from this. First, when we face a situation that threatens us, we can’t allow our emotions to cloud our judgment. That fight that we had with your sister just didn’t count for the sake of the argument.

Know when to fight and when to run

We get it. It’s hard to know when to shoot first and ask questions later. At that stage in the game, your instincts take over. You don’t want to be a hero, but you also don’t want to die. So, fight for your life. Run for your life. You’re going to make the wrong call, but so what? Nothing ventured nothing gained. Let go of fear and go with your gut. Explanation #4: Run If you know you’re being chased by a predator, it makes no sense to stand your ground. Run. And if you don’t have a gun, don’t rely on your fight or flight response. You don’t need to be in imminent danger to live by the mantra “run, hide, fight.” Maybe you think you’re safe and they’re out of sight, but you don’t know where they’re going. You could be in the next room. They might be standing right behind you.


That was a lot of ground to cover, so I’ll get right to the point.

Since you already know how to be a Jedi, let’s start with the most important tip of all.

Whatever you do, never make the mistake of underestimating your opponent. Your adversary knows more than you, so even if he doesn’t appear as a powerful fighter, he’s definitely got a killer instinct and he’s probably going to try to get the upper hand by brawling you.

Noble Self Defense

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