Defending others has been the subject for our classes this week (or 3rd party protection if you are being tacticool).
We looked at different ways of intervening physically if we choose to do that, and also at other options available.
While we use many of the same tools and skills as for self-defence, protecting others is distinctly different, and there are completely different considerations involved:
From a self-defence perspective, if the violence is not directed at you, then the best self-defence is to take the opportunity to run away. 3rd party protection is in some ways the opposite of self-defence - you are choosing to put yourself at risk to defend someone else.
So we spent some time in the classes talking about options and considerations, playing out mini scenarios that the groups came up with - and there were some really good scenarios, it was great to see what people came up with - difficult situations, and realistic.
This brought out some really difficult questions about what to do - ethical questions, strategical and tactical, and considering what (and who) is most important to you, and what you are willing to risk. There aren't textbook answers to these questions. There are things to consider as you make up your own thoughts about how you want to act, and it's really damn hard, because there isn't always a perfect outcome that works out for everyone.
People don't do well without a plan. Having thought through these things beforehand helps us make better decisions and act in the moment. We need to consider what our goal is, what's most important to us, and what is most likely to help us achieve our most important goal.
What do you do?
In many situations the most effective way of intervening is not to rush in physically on our own - the Big Damn Hero approach doesn't always work out so well in real life, and may mean we don't get to go home, or be there for the people we care about - instead we can improve the odds of a successful outcome in any way we can, depending on the situation and our resources.
How much we are willing to risk is likely to be different if the person we are trying to protect is a stranger, or one the most important people in our life.
We may not choose to intervene physically, but that doesn't mean that we can't do anything.
Calling 999 is a way of intervening. Getting help is intervening. Shouting and drawing attention to what's happening is intervening.
Finding an improvised weapon can improve your chances if you do intervene physically. You can go all in, or deliver a hit to disrupt then run, hopefully giving the victim a better chance to get away. If you can get help, with more people you may be able to solve the situation with less force.
There are many options, with different degrees of risk, and different resources required.