Internal Stories That Will Get You Killed

Often I talk with people about self defense and they have been told a story, by someone else or themselves, that keeps them from seeking out training for themselves or for their loved ones. 

“I’m not a fighter.”

“I’m a woman, I can’t defend myself.”

“I will protect my kids, they don’t need to train.” 

“It’s law enforcements job to protect me.”

“I attended a seminar once, so I know what I am doing.”

“It’s too expensive to train.”

“I don’t have the time to train.”

These, or some variation, are the most common I have heard in the twelve years of doing this. Let’s explore these stories and how we can change them.


“I’m not a fighter”

Is this true? 

When you close your eyes and picture a “fighter” what do you see? Do you picture a martial artist? Chuck Norris? Rambo? Arnold? An MMA fighter?

Is the person you picture the only person able to train to defend themselves?

A fighter is simply someone who is WILLING to fight. 

Realistically the story should be

“I am someone who is willing to protect myself and loved ones. I AM a fighter”


“I’m a woman, I can’t defend myself.”

This hurts every time I hear it, and I hear it more often than you may imagine. The reality is, this is something that has been pushed and beaten into people for a long time. 

Yes males can be bigger, stronger, and more violent. Yes, size and strength matter.

They are not the only variables that matter. Training, mindset, and aggression, to name a few, are also variables in fighting and more importantly variables I AM in control of. 

This story painted in your head is a great example why training IS for you and why it is important.

This story should be

“I’m a woman, I can do everything possible to defend myself because I am in control of how I respond to violence. I can take the time to learn to better prepare myself. I CAN defend myself”


“I will protect my kids, they don’t need to train.”

This story comes in many forms. Also see:

“It’s my job to protect my wife.”

“My husband/father/mother/son/etc is a cop, they will defend us.”

“We have a Police Officer at the school to protect us.”

We’ll focus on the one above specifically. Feel free to change the people involved.

It IS the parents’ job to do everything possible to ensure the best possible outcome for their kids, including overall protection. 

Unless you spend every moment with your child, you will inevitably be in a position in which protecting them is not physically possible. 

When you’re at work where are they? Do they go to school? Do you ever leave them with friends, family, or a babysitter? Etc…

You are not with them. So they need to know how to care for themselves or if they are too young to do ANYTHING (i.e. 1-5ish years) the people that watch them need to know how. Have you had those conversations?

Let’s change that story

“I will protect my kids by preparing them and the people that are responsible for them how to best deal with violence. They DO need to train”


“It’s law enforcements job to protect me.”

Feel free to revisit the “Our school has a police officer” story with this one as well.

This is a common misconception. Police officers often come to violent events to do their best to enforce laws. That can often be misunderstood to be them “coming to help you.”

Realistically, their job is to enforce laws. That’s it.

Not to mention, to enforce those laws, they have to be there. That may take time.

What are you doing to give yourself the best chance of survival for the 1 or 3 or 5 or 15 or 20 minutes before they can arrive?

Set a timer for 60s – hit start – close your eyes and imagine a violent attacker with a bat is in the room with you right now. Law enforcement is 60s away. Picture how much damage can potentially be done to you and others in the room in just 60s if you decide to not defend yourself.

Average police response times in major cities ranges from 5-15 minutes for emergencies. Try that same drill with a 5 minute timer if you want to be optimistic.

The true story is

“It’s MY job to protect me.”

Simple story. Accurate story.


“I attended a seminar once, so I know what I am doing.”

This is VERY common and it’s our fault. I am speaking to YOU in the self defense instructor shirt.

For years we have offered one off seminars and promoted them with the undertone that they will make you safe. The communication generally is translated by those receiving it as “If I attend this seminar I now know self defense.” Which is severely inaccurate.

The reality is, seminars are great places to be introduced to the concepts of self defense. However, OWNING the ability to defend yourself requires you investing the time in genuinely learning and embodying the concepts over time. 

You may be SAFER than you were before you showed up, however, you need to continue to train to actually make an impact in your overall ability to stay safe.

The truth is

“I attended a seminar once, I learned a few concepts that I can train to increase my chances of survival. I MUST CONTINUE TO TRAIN if I want to truly increase those chances.”


“It’s too expensive to train.”

Like most issues with money, more often than not, we lack the understanding of the genuine value of the investment. If we were to tell you that next week you will get attacked and it will cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills and months of emotional agony, you may look at the $150/ month investment differently. 

However, there is no guarantee that will happen or not happen. It’s an insurance policy. If you’re ok moving on without that insurance that’s completely your choice. The investment is in understanding that if you do decide to go forward without that insurance, the results are your responsibility based on your decision. 

It is likely the attack was someone else’s fault. It is OUR responsibility how we respond to it. There’s a difference between fault and responsibility. You ARE responsible for your own safety. No one else is.

There are also plenty of ways to train and prepare that are cheap or free – which will bring us to the next common story, so…

The harsh truth is

“I CAN AFFORD to train. I can decide to invest in my safety right now. I am responsible for any issues that may arise in the future.”


“I don’t have time to train.”

Time and money are generally the biggest excuses we use for why we couldn’t possibly reach our goals. No matter what our goal is. 

This self sabotaging has many different roots. Stories we have been told about what we can accomplish, what we should be occupying our lives with, and what things are genuinely valuable in life. 

These stories overtime put us into “survival mode” in our daily lives. Simply looking to the next problem or distraction instead of seeing the long term value of simple and consistent progression.

If you KNEW you could make $100,000 extra this year by finding three hours a week to do a “side hustle” or chase your dreams, you would most likely find the time. 

If you KNEW someone would show up at work next month with a knife and try to stab you, you would most likely find the time to train.

It’s easier to occupy our time with things that keep us busy, whether they are productive or not. Truthfully, improving your ability to stay safe and protect the ones you love has no set “requirement.”

The more time you spend training, generally the more you understand it, the more you become accustomed to it, the better your chances of surviving violence.

One hour a week is better than no training at all. 

Hitting a heavy bag for ten minutes five times a week is better than nothing at all.

More time helps. It’s not necessary. 

The real story is

“I DO have time to train.” 


Our internal stories guide us on our path. They can help us do incredible things or they can undermine us at every turn. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

Have I ever felt fear or discomfort around my own safety or the safety of others?

What times have I felt that?

If I could go back to those moments and BE more confident and capable, what value would I feel from that?

If someone violently attacked me or someone I loved right now, how confident and capable would I be to make the right decisions under stress and apply the right skills?

How much do I care about being more capable in that instance?

What am I in control of in those scenarios? 

How do I improve my ability in the things I am in control of?

If you take the time to focus your thoughts honestly and have goals, you can better make decisions.

If any of these stories resonated with you, I challenge you to explore the stories in your head and how they are holding you back. 

Be good, train hard, stay safe

-aaron