Your intent of training should be to survive. You need to be able to follow these traits in order to do so. There exist 7 of these (basic) Defensive principles. These principles have been presented by several persons previously, I happen to find most of them to (usually) be valid in/for any defensive situation. They are from Jeff Cooper's “Principles of Self-Defense”. Although his book deals (mainly) with shooting, I feel that in varying degrees, they (the principles) could be applied to any situation of “self-defense”.
Those principles are as follows:
1. ALERTNESS: This trait is the one that is most often ignored. It has become politically incorrect to “prejudge” people. In the final hour, political correctness is a trait that is to be left at the door. When operating in the real world, when you are out, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS. If you see a situation that looks hazardous, assume that it is! And treat it as such, and/or avoid it.
2. DECISIVENESS: When the situation begins, decide your course of action. Right or wrong, make a decision on a course of action, and continue it. Criminals work on a premise of surprise. If you begin to act in a manner that shows that you have a “plan”, this disrupts any set plan that they (the criminals) may have. All of your moves and actions must show a determined plan of action. It's For this reason, you should consider what you would do in case of an attack before hand (during one's practice sessions), consider how you would react and what your actions would be BEFORE an attack ever happens. Run any “what ifs” through you mind before any situation ever occurs.
3. AGGRESSIVENESS: This does not mean run around like a mad man (or woman). It means, when you respond to an attack, you must use all of the energy you can muster. It means when you attack, attack until your unable to attack anymore. Not with random strikes and motions, but with continued techniques.
4. SPEED: Speed is a result of training, and practice. Although it is common for mistakes to be made with the acceleration of technique, with consistent practice of technique, these mistakes will be minimal. But when speaking in terms of survival, speed is more of a mandate. Speed will produce power; your aggressor will not expect speed. Hesitation will most often spell your demise.
5. COOLNESS: When an attack comes, one must not panic. As stated already, form an instant plan, and begin to implement it. This “coolness” will be interpreted by your assailant as confidence. Carry on with your attacks, unaffected by your assailant’s actions. Be precise with your techniques. Be constantly thinking about the situation and modify your plans to adapt to changing events.
6. RUTHLESSNESS: This means that you should not show, nor give pity towards your assailant. This person has attacked you, you have the possibility of dying. This assailant deserves no quarter. There is no “ethical code” of combat. Only the winner/survivor can tell the end story of the assault. If you find yourself in control of a situation, then and only then, can “alternatives” be considered.
7. SURPRISE: Often, the mere show of resistance, and providing a counter-attack will be a surprise in and of itself. More than anything an explosion of action on your part will surprise and thereby cause a hesitation on the part of your aggressor. This trait alone can very often “make or break” your defense.
It is often “miss-explained” as being part of the “fight or flight” instinct. Fight or flight is a misnomer (and an invalid concept as it is presented in most “self-defense” situations). It is commonly being presented as a situation that an individual will (either) run away (blindly), with total disregard to their actions, Or, that they will begin fighting (anyway that they can). It doesn’t really happen (in that manner) in the wild (much less amongst humans) And it certainly doesn’t apply to humans (not in that way anyhow).
With this considered, by not having a plan in mind, it can naturally make a person choose to flee a situation (until they can figure out what to do). Unfortunately, this is always taken into account by a criminal who means to do you harm. They will immediately make it clear that they have a plan, and will follow it. Panic, can be minimized (or even eliminated) by simply “planning ahead”, If you haven’t thought about what you’re going to do (BEFORE becoming involved in a situation),when it does happen, you will panic.
Not every situation will be decided by who can provide the greater power, speed or complex technique. Very often, it will be the person who has the superior plan (or at least the ability to follow through with one).