It goes without saying that not being in the situation is the best option, and failing that running away is next. Technique, waza, skills, are all about creating openings so you can escape. Even if you are more skilled, every second you spend “fighting” increases the chance that you will be hurt or killed.
That said the will to fight, a fighting spirit, is essential to foster and nurture, being ready to be called upon in a moment’s notice. This spirit is simply cultivated though hard training and sacrifice. Accepting what can and will happen, yet moving through and beyond it is the first step.
While the focus of your kyu studies is learning about solid taijutsu movement and how your own body relates to it, it is also important to remember that we are studying martial arts. From 9th kyu to 1st kyu the ability to defend yourself to the point of creating an opening so you can escape is also required.
Wherever you currently find yourself in training take the following lesson and practice how you can apply it using the skills found in the ten ryaku no maki.
As human beings we all come in different sizes- some taller, shorter, bigger, and smaller. Genetics, diet, exercise, and will all help to shape the limits of our bodies. What is a vulnerable place on one person has no effect on another. While practice over time will allow you to pinpoint weaknesses in a person regardless of who or what they are, there are certain points on every person that can be effected in the same way.
Right now I might be very sensitive in my ribs, getting punched there might break them and push the air out of my lungs. On the other hand, if I bulk up, develop my muscles in that area, and condition my mind to ignore pain, then striking them there will do nothing.
With the eyes, ears, groin, knees, and the tops of the feet we are all the same and there is now exercise or way to strengthen them beyond what they are. From a self defense perspective these are the areas that we want to exploit to create an opening.