In a situation where you need to defend yourself, it is your skills, not your rank, that will protect you.
Prevention is the best self-defense. Attackers, whatever their objectives, are looking for unsuspecting, vulnerable targets. Be aware of your surroundings, avoiding confrontation. If you can defuse a situation (talk someone down from physically assaulting you) or get away, by handing over your wallet/purse or whatever they want, do that. Hand over your money rather than fight. Nothing you own is worth more than your life or the life of a loved one.
If violence is unavoidable, however, to really defend yourself, you rank is NOT going to protect you.
In the martial arts today, so many people seem to be obsessed with rank, either getting promoted to a higher rank or worried about whether or not someone else deserves the rank that they have been promoted to.
Your belt rank or branch chief certificate, is not going to save you; the only thing that will save you is your mindset, your skills, and your preparation.
Do you know the difference between the martial arts, fighting and self-defense? Your one-on-one dojo fighting/sparring is not going to help that much, if all you know is consensual fighting.
If you have loved ones with you, include them in any personal self defense planning, especially if you have kids. Don’t let loved ones or kids get caught “flat-footed.”
Have a plan, discuss the plan, activate the plan, with no hesitation if the need arises. Train and practice for different scenarios that you may find yourself in. Do NOT rely solely on your dojo sparring.
Can you rely on your rank, or the stripes on your belt to protect you? Of course not. Your belt is only good for one thing, holding your pants up. ??