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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"First Defense" by Dr. David Hopkins Jr. A Review

First Defense: Anxiety and Instinct for Self ProtectionFirst Defense: Anxiety and Instinct for Self Protection by David Hopkins Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When looking for ways to defend yourself, it is easy to assume programs and products are the simplest and quickest answer. But because violence is often chaotic, other things may be necessary to have a well-rounded approach to self-defense. Dr. David Hopkins Jr., psychologist, martial artist, Krav Maga instructor, and co-owner of Israeli School Security, has taken in hand the task of combining psychotherapy, psychology and personal protection in his easy-to-read 177 page paperback, "First Defense: Anxiety and Instinct for Self-Protection".

Hopkins' approach is to help the reader learn to enhance anxiety, and then employ it like an intelligence satellite. To learn to trust one's own anxiety and instincts in critical and crucial settings. For the author, using anxiety as an ally is far different from slipping into "a fear response of panic" (20). When fear and panic take over one shuts down or freezes. But when a person learns to use anxiety, she is freed from tunnel vision and is taking in - or experiencing - the environment, the people around her or the person engaging her, as well as a wider range of perceptions (24); thus giving her an almost intuitive ability to respond and survive.For the purpose of aiding a reader to learn how to enhance their use of anxiety, Hopkins has loaded his book with numerous exercises and space for journaling perceptions, thoughts, actions and reactions. Once one has gotten a handle on using their own anxiety to their benefit, then the other side of the coin is to learn to use the predator's anxiety against himself, which Hopkins spends time explaining and exhibiting.

"First Defense" has very little to do with the technical aspects of self-defense. There are no diagrams or descriptions of how to perform cool take-downs, disarms or drops. In fact Hopkins is quite reticent to say, "Do this in that situation...now do that in this event." His whole goal is exactly what the book's subtitle expresses, learning to use anxiety and instinct for self-protection. By grasping what the author is promoting, and supplementing their martial arts training with it, one will gain a well-rounded approach to self-defense. I strongly recommend the book.

Much thanks to YMAA for the free copy of the book used for this review.

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