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momma bear

Ah, the infamous battle cry: “If you mess with my kids, I’ll unleash a whole new level of crazy!” We’ve all heard it, and perhaps some of us have even said it. Though well-intended, this phrase encapsulates a popular misconception about self-defense: that sheer will, emotional fervor, or a ‘momma bear’ instinct is enough to fend off attackers. This misconception is not just wrong; it’s dangerously misleading. Let’s dig deeper into why relying on a “momma bear syndrome” isn’t just unrealistic, it’s hazardous.

The Reality of Criminal Predators

Criminal predators are generally not novices. These individuals have a history of violent behavior, often calculated and strategic in their attacks. They understand the elements of surprise, proximity, and timing. Most critically, they lack empathy; they don’t care about you, your children, or the ramifications of their actions. In their world, you are an obstacle between them and their objective, an obstacle that must be removed with swift brutality.

The Pitfalls of Emotional Responses

While the idea of channeling fear or anger into fighting strength is cinematically appealing, it’s far from realistic. These emotional states are not only unsustainable but can also cloud judgment and impair motor skills, making you more susceptible to mistakes and, ultimately, defeat.

Why “Hope” Is Not a Strategy

When under attack, if you are untrained and unprepared, you’ll find yourself at the mercy of your aggressor. All you’re left with is hope — hope that you won’t be killed, hope that they’ll be satisfied with your wallet, or hope that they get scared off. However, hope doesn’t provide a tactical advantage nor serve as a strategic defense.

The Importance of Training and Practice

The cornerstone of effective self-defense is neither emotional intensity nor hopeful thinking but targeted, consistent training and practice. Martial arts, self-defense courses, and even certain fitness regimes aim to prepare you for the unexpected, teaching you not just techniques but also the mental preparedness needed to execute them effectively.

Situational Awareness: A Double-Edged Sword

While being aware of your surroundings can often help in avoiding dangerous situations, let’s face it — life happens. We get distracted by our children, our phones, or our thoughts. In these moments of distraction, an experienced predator is most likely to strike. Here, situational awareness fails, and only the skills ingrained through regular practice can save you.

The Brutal Truth: We Sink, Not Rise, Under Pressure

Contrary to popular belief, people don’t generally “rise to the occasion” during crises. Rather, they sink to their lowest level of preparedness or training, relying on the most basic skills they’ve internalized. If you have no self-defense training to fall back on, then you are effectively defenseless, irrespective of how furious or “crazy” you can get.

Making the Right Choice: Invest in Training

Instead of relying on a mythical burst of “momma bear” strength or craziness, invest in the only thing that will truly enhance your odds in a critical situation: effective self-defense training. Whether it’s a martial arts course, a self-defense seminar, or an intensive workshop, the knowledge and skills you acquire and practice can make all the difference.

Also, it would not hurt to invest in some personal protection devices, such as personal alarms, pepper spray, or a stun gun.


It’s time to retire the misleading notion that emotional intensity is an effective substitute for training in self-defense scenarios. Not only is this idea founded on a misunderstanding of human psychology and physiology, but it also dangerously underestimates the capabilities of potential aggressors. Take the responsible route: get trained, stay practiced, and equip yourself with the fundamental skills you need to protect both yourself and your loved ones. It is always better to be prepared.

As always, be safe and be prepared.


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