October 6, 2018
In his video about preventing child abduction, Coach Tony Blauer of Blauer Tactical Systems(BTS) talks about life being like a rose. The flower is beautiful and the thorns can hurt you, just as life has both its wonders to delight you and its dangers to harm you. The important thing is that you (and your children) not get stuck focusing on just one aspect, either the beautiful or the dangerous, but to recognize that both exist.
Not long ago I was at a local YMCA to promote a self-defense class and encourage people to sign up. I was astonished by the number of people who had absolutely no interest in learning about personal safety and self-defense, most of whom said in explanation “Oh, I don’t need anything like that!”
To me that belief is the equivalent of focusing only on the rose and ignoring the existence of the thorns.
I don’t WANT to think about the possibility of violence entering my life, but because I want to be as best prepared as I can be, I DO think about it.
In our PDR™ courses we talk about knowing what your personal directive, your deepest motivation to survive, is. Mine is my family, specifically my elderly mother and my youngest son, both of whom live with me. If I am not willing to consider the possibility of violence happening to me, and am not willing to learn what to do in order to survive it, then if something happens, whether it’s a mugging, a home invasion, or an act of mass violence in a place I happen to be, the likelihood of my making it home alive is far less than it would be if I were prepared.
What kind of preparation do I need? At a minimum, a mental blueprint of different kinds of situations that I might encounter, that allows me to imagine what might happen and how I might get myself to safety. At best, the experience of having trained a wide variety of realistic scenarios with excellent “bad guy” role players in protective gear (High Gear!), scenarios in which I have the opportunity to pressure test my ability to respond to violence, to navigate the fear loop, and to get to safety.
What’s the downside of failing to prepare, and not making it home safely? In my case, my mother, age 90, will no longer have my home to live in, my financial support, and my loving care as she lives through the end of her life. My son, age 17, will not have my home to live in, my financial support, my guidance and encouragement and loving care as he begins life as an adult.
To those who say “I don’t need to learn self-defense”, I can only say this: will ignoring the possibility that violence could enter your life make you safer? I understand that it is an unpleasant, and even frightening thing to contemplate, but refusing to even entertain the possibility is in my opinion irresponsible and unfair to your loved ones.
A 2013 studypublished in the “Social and Personality Psychology Compass” journal suggests that people bury their heads in the sand because they feel guilty when confronted with reality, and that the ‘ostrich problem’ – ignoring information that can help them – arises because of the need to avoid negative feelings.
If other people depend upon you, don’t you think you owe it to them to admit that violence in your life is a real possibility, and to let them know that you are willing to do whatever it takes to prepare yourself and whatever it takes to be safe?
Some roses have scores of thorns and some have just a few – you can choose which to plant or pick. In the same way you can make choices that will minimize the likelihood that you will encounter violence in your life, and that’s a large part of what we teach in our PDR courses: how to detect and avoid danger.
If your rose has thorns, you can snip off the tips or break them off the stem completely, and if you can’t do that you might carry gloves that will give your hands some protection; in the same way, we teach how to de-fuse and de-escalate potentially dangerous situations.
But if a thorny tangle of roses lies across your path and you must deal with it bare-handed, you must be willing to handle it even if it hurts and draws blood. That’s why we teach simple and effective self-defense skills that use your body’s innate and instinctive abilities to deal with danger, drawing on primitive survival skills that have been honed over 80,000 years of evolution.
The one thing you cannot do is assume that the rose you see will have no thorns. They are there, whether you want them to be or not. Danger and evil exist in the world, whether you acknowledge them or not.
Accept that along with all of the grace and beauty in the world there is darkness and evil. Challenge yourself: even though it may be uncomfortable and even frightening, learn about violence and train to overcome it. You will discover within yourself abilities and power that you did not know you had, and you will walk through life aware and capable rather than oblivious and vulnerable.
Those who love you will be thankful that you know how to protect yourself and to survive should an incident occur, and you will be too.