Initial Reaction

A recent conversation prompted this post.

There is a common saying for when things go wrong; “Sh*t got real”. 

There is a lot that happens at that moment when things “get real”.

Whether the situation is a mugging, carjacking, active shooter, ambush assault, or riots (strangely called protesting by our modern media) your first reaction will be to pause in fear or confusion. For some people, this pause is going to be a very brief moment where they are going through a WTF moment and gathering information. People who have been in bad situations enough times already understand when things are going sideways, they just need enough information to decide what they are going to do about it. People less experienced in the fine points of bad behavior might be stuck in that WTF moment for much longer than a moment.

No matter who you are, there is still that reaction of fear. Some deny it, but just like your belly-button, deny all you want; it is still there. When something other than expected happens, we have a period of uncertainty, until we reassure ourselves by knowing what to do.

People talk a lot about rising to the occasion, but in a crisis, we will sink to the level of our training. The person who has no training at all is only slightly worse off than the person who has trained in fantasy garbage. The main difference being that, while both are going to screw things up, the fantasy trained person is going to screw things up with confidence.

But if your training had some basis in reality, you will be better off. Did all of your “self-defense” training involve an attacker standing in front of you? Were you standing also? That isn’t self-defense, that is fighting. Different animals. The guy fighting you, that you are fighting against, that stuff is mutually agreed upon conflict. Either one of you could walk away if you wanted to. And the main point as relates to our topic here – neither of you are surprised that you are about to fight.

The active shooter, the mugger, the ambush, the gang assault – you don’t walk into that stuff knowingly. If you do, you need to rethink your entire decision-making process. These things occur in moments of distraction, weakness and/or fatigue, they come from disadvantageous angles and come with that hideous mix of fear and pain. There is a surprise that really could be called shock. Unless you are a total legitimate badass, you might even be bleeding by the time you know something is wrong. None of these are fun or games. They are real. Your training should take this into consideration.

Proper training can help you to shorten the fear/confusion stage of the event, and move into the action stage. Whether your action is to run or fight, do it with all the ferocity of a supernova. You probably only have one chance. Make it good. If you want to train, I can help, get started here: