When it comes to how to train for the "Reality" of conflict & violence...
Most People Are Wrong!
So, how do you take your training in whatever you do and transcend that training in order to apply it to real life situations?
What most people think is totally wrong!
Harder training DOESN'T necessarily mean that it is BETTER Training! Nor, does 'thin slicing' and isolating a skill set to the point that you over focus on the complexity of that skill so much so that you disconnect with how it will be used outside of the environment that you are training or competing in.
Take shooting... or rather Marksmanship. Basically, putting that bullet down range and hitting the bulls eye of your target.
You can become a very good competitive 'bench shooter' and out shoot the best of 'em, but then under real conditions of a life encounter where you are carrying concealed, and something occurs where you believe you may need to use your firearm to protect the Life of yourself or someone else.
You quickly realize that it is a totally different situation that requires different conditioning and many many more skills than all of those hours and competitions afforded you on the range. That's not to say that being skilled at certain specific things is bad, wrong or a waste of time, however it may not be as useful as you may believe. Many of these things are not as intuitive as one might expect.
My Now [In]Famous Example...
Take my Lifeguard v. Olympic example...
When you think of a lifeguard, most think of swimming...
Just like when you think about self defense the first thing that usually comes to mind is learning how to fight, right?!
And there's where the problems begin!
That thought already begins to "Thin Slice" and isolate a skill & performance expectation that can lead to misconceptions...
Being the 'Best' Swimmer (a.k.a. Gold Medalist Michael Phelps) makes you the 'Best' lifeguard...
So killing myself to be the best swimmer will equate to me being able to be a better lifeguard and save lives more effectively... Right?!
Or in the world of being a better protector:
Learning to be the 'Best' fighter is going to equate to protecting myself and others better?
NO IT'S NOT!!!!
Yes, you have to be a strong swimmer in order to be a life guard... And yes, having the confidence that you can 'throw down' can help you to protect yourself, but there's MUCH MORE TO IT THAN THAT!
Look At the Context...
The CONTEXT of being a lifeguard is different than that of a swimmer trying to win the Olympic gold.
Being a lifeguard requires a broad skill set to be effective. ONE of those things is being a strong swimmer, not to be confused w/having to be the best or fastest swimmer!
Here's a short list of skills (very short):
- Swim while protecting someone
- Communication skills (speaking, listening, presence)
- Conflict Management skills
- Leadership skills
- First Aid & CPR skills
- Ability to read weather & water conditions
- Operate watercraft & flotation devises
- Directional and navigation skills
- Critical & creative thinking skills
- Staying fit to serve
- Diet and hydration knowledge
- Ability to be on a team
- An understanding of the laws and policies of the position
- Ability to fill out proper documentation
- Ability to use communication device (phone, radio, etc)
What About Protector's?!
You want to learn how to be the best fighter?! In what? MMA? Boxing? BJJ? Submission Wresteling? Thai Boxing? Stick or Knife Fighting? HEMA Short Sword Fighting? Russian Combat Sambo? Shootfighting?
Will being the best in any of those things make you a better protector?
Maybe... Some things would certainly transfer, but if you are trying to learn how to protect yourself and others from Human Conflict and Violence, you have to look at the right picture of what your goal is...
Learning how to protect yourself and others in today's day and age doesn't mean that you have to become the next UFC champion, Navy Seal or Israeli Counter Terrorist, but it IS sexy to fantasize about it isn't it?
Here's the biggest problem w/that thinking though...
Real Conflict & Violence Doesn't Look Like an
Trust me, it DOES FEEL GOOD to dominate in the ring, sparring match, etc. It's fun to fantasize about training to be John Wick, Jason Bourne or 007!
HOWEVER (and this is a BIG ONE!)...
Developing the skills to be a Protector and being able to Better Defend Yourself & Others against the conflicts and violence that we face in our lives requires MORE than you strapping on some MMA gloves, buying an gun and going to a weekend warrior zombie apocalypse tac course.
So what DOES it take to Transcend your Defensive Tactics from Training to the Actual Life You're Living?
Human Conflict and Violence is Broad, so Be WELL ROUNDED! The first thing to be well rounded with is YOU!!
Even a skilled lifeguard is useless if they are sick, hurt or unhealthy... Protectors have to be fit to protect as well!
Rest: Get a good night sleep and downtime!
Eat a well balanced diet for good nutrition (supplements?)
(1) Mobility / Flexibility / Fluidity
(2) Strength / Stability
(3) Endurance / Stamina
Create and keep healthy relationships. This is also HUGE!
Ethical / Spiritual Clarity, Confidence and Calmness. Know your WHY and Connect to a Bigger Picture!
Develop a good attitude.
SKILL SET When Dealing w/Conflict & Violence (The Short list):
~ Ethical Clairity (what are you protecting)
~ Risk assessment & Management skills
~ Emotional Climate Training - Staying Cool Under Pressure (Baseline)
~ Breathing skills.
~ Awareness Skills.
~ Boundary Setting skills (Beginning w/you knowing your deal breakers)
~ Presence. (Understanding what you're bringing to the game effects it)
~ Verbal Communication Skills (Specifically Conflict Communications & Deescalation Skills).
~ Listening Skills.
~ Leadership Skills.
~ First Aid Skills.
~ How to create a plan 'A' & 'B' when dealing w/conflict & violence.
~ How to physically defend your self and others in each in different modalites:
- On the ground attacker up
- You and your attacker on the ground
- Defending against multiple attackers
- vs.threats: empty hand, edged, blunt, flexible, projectile and other weapons
- Adapting your skills to vulnerable places: Vehicles, against walls,sitting, etc
- Options for disengaging AND engaging:
II. Stun & Run
IV. Restrain & Control
- Security tactics: Dealing w/a Subject
- 3rd Party Protection: Protecting a Principal -
- Offensive Weapon Usage.
- Psychology & protecting yourself from PTSD
- Legal considerations
- Cultural and community considerations
- Surround yourself w/folks who excel at what you're doing.
I'm sure I left out some more things and as you know the list could both be broader as well as more in depth in each of those skill sets.
My point is that simply learning how to 'fight' or 'shoot' is at best a gross oversimplification of what it really takes to Protect Yourself or to Help Someone Else from Conflict or Violence!
So, like I tell the folks who train w/me before we start our force on force training including a fair amount of sparring:
Sparring (fighting) is a drill! Yes, do your best (for you, your stage of life etc.) but it isn't the be all / end all of being able to protect yourself and others from conflict and violence in life, so...
If you are good at it, GREAT! But don't get too full of yourself...
If you can use some work at it, train to improve, but don't get to down on yourself or think that you can't defend yourself.
Remember every day there are thousands of people who protect themselves and others w/o any training what so ever...
There are highly skilled folks that were 'taken out' by people who have no skill what so ever!
IF you're not careful, you may even be entirely on the wrong path to your goal of learning how to protect yourself (and others).
Worse yet, there are leaders and 'experts' out there that will gladly take your money, time and admiration to help you live your fantasy... (Sad I know)
So How DO You Transcend Your Training?
(1) Stay Healthy: Mind / Body / Spirit / Relationships
(2) Understand What Your Goal is for Training
(3) Be Well Rounded in the Actual Skills of Dealing w/Conflict & Violence that you are likely to run into in your life... Not the fantasy!
(4) Build a Practice, Habit & Lifestyle OUTSIDE of your Class & Training!
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