How Far Are You Willing to Go?

When it comes to personal safety, one of the things that I really try to bring home to my students is a simple concept. How far are you willing to go to ensure that you get out of the situation in one piece?

This simple question will give you a pretty clear idea on whether or not you are wasting your time in training. I cannot count the number of times I have had adult students say, “I could never do that to someone.” Well, sometimes your survival might depend on being willing to do whatever it takes to someone.

Before I go on, I need to point out that I am not talking about fighting; the face-to-face, mutually agreed-upon, willingly engaged and participatory violence. That is another beast entirely. What I am talking about is strictly the attack that you don’t want and did not invite.

When this type of situation occurs, are you willing to turn up the heat to a level that the aggressor is unable to handle? I searched like crazy for a good movie example, and couldn’t find one. I did, however, find a clip that shows someone raising the stakes quickly, even though he was not at all an innocent party in the incident. Not perfect, but it will have to do:

As you can see, the Sherriff was simply not prepared for that level of violent response. In this scene, Howard simply took things off of the charts, and sent the Law Enforcement Officers into territory they were unprepared to be in.

In some situations, a person can be attacked and caught completely unawares. This can be the attack from behind, or blindside, or even a moment when you had let you guard and/or awareness down. I stress in my teaching that the real world is not the movies. In the movies, the blindside attack and the attack from behind are attacks from which there is no recovery, and the attack when you were not paying attention leaves you with no recourse except to lie on the ground bleeding.

In the real world, if you have the mindset for it, and you were not knocked out, you can still fight. And if you can still fight, you have the opportunity to turn up the heat.

Of course, the other side of that coin is when the aggressor turns up the heat first. What do you do then? What if you are the one caught in the Sherriff’s position and Howard is taking things off the charts, violence-wise. Well, that is where your training is going to determine a lot, and your mindset and willingness to raise the stakes yourself.

I think that a lot of people in our time have spent so much time in a bubble of safety and entertaining visions of an ideal world that they forget that the world we live in is a long way from ideal. Comparing the world we live in with an imagined perfect world is pointless. Of course our world is going to suck in comparison! You are comparing it to an imaginary place!

There are violent people in the world. You have to be prepared to face them. That means training, more training, and still more training after that. But you also need to be willing to apply that training. You do not need to be a violent person, that is unnecessary and probably counterproductive. But you really do need to be a person who is capable of violence when/if needed.

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