Teaching "The Defender's Mindset"

When I’m introducing students to self defense at any level I have something of a canned speech that I give.

You are in every situation you will encounter your own “First Responder” and your own best witness. Be Aware, Be Prepared, be the Best First Responder and Witness you can be".

To me this helps get the students in the right mindset and prepares them for the class to come.

Do any of you other instructors have a similar approach? What else do you do?


In working with students who have a lot of fear, or who are not sure if they could shoot if needed and those who are wrestling with the idea of carrying. I spend time on the difference between choosing to shoot someone and choosing to defend yourself.
We look at where the aggressors responsibility is in choosing to start or continue an action that results in them getting shot. As opposed to the defenders choice which is to prevent harm to themselves and their loved ones.


Good approach, I do something similar. I take the focus off of the gun completely and start with, “Are you willing to defend your own live and the lives of others”, period.

Then we work up the scale of tools you’re willing to use to accomplish that end and their likely effectiveness.

I also work throughout once the gun is introduced on reiterating that in the vast majority of successful DGU’s the gun is never fired.

If we can get that mindset established then it’s a short trip to convincing most of them that if you run out of options it’s perfectly morally acceptable to fire in defense of yourself or others.

Those who are unsure or uncomfortable with the whole thing definitely require a “take baby steps one at a time” approach.