Self-defense, perspectives on it and the nature of learning

One of my students has led an interesting life. Some of the things he’s done:
  • He went jogging on the West Bank and was shot at as a result. He’s not Jewish, but he resembles one a bit through the scope of a sniper rifle.
  • A child soldier, high as a kite on sniffing glue, pointed an AK-47 at him and accused him of being a spy. He then talked his way out if it.
  • African villagers almost slaughtered him and his companion after the companion drove over a goat that belonged to a local (for whom selling its milk was that guy’s only source of income…) He did the right thing to defuse the situaiton and they got invited to the feast where the goat would be shared by all.
  • He got violently ambushed by a gang on a remote road in Asia and got him and his girlfriend out of it and to safety.
  • There’s more, but I’ll leave it at that.
 
Despite all this, he still doubts his self-defense skills.
 
My response during a call earlier today was that a large portion of Westerners would be in therapy for years after just one of those incidents, let alone several.
He doesn’t even think about it anymore.
Self-defense, perspective and learning
There are two points I’d like to make:
  • Self-defense is in many ways a matter of perspective. When faced with coming this close to getting murdered, some people never fully recover after they make it through. Others do so without any lasting consequences. These are two extremes, on opposite ends of the scale of possibilities. There is a lot of middle ground. Where we all fall on that spectrum depends on many factors. The point is that there is more than one truth when it comes to trauma when facing violence, recovery, and PTSD.
  • Violence is a broad topic. There are many aspects of it that apply across the globe and are found in all cultures. But there are also lots of differences and these matter just as much. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while have heard that before
    It then follows that nobody is an expert on violence as a whole. Experiences and training are individual. They don’t necessarily apply across the board. I can’t count the number of times I thought things were a certain way and then, later on, found out I was wrong. Case in point. I assume this will continue to happen. Hopefully, the mistakes will become fewer and with more time in between. Achieving that would be an achievement in its own right, as I’d like to continue learning until I die.

 

Conclusion

Everybody lives a unique life. One that comes with a unique perspective on self-defense, depending on the accumulated sum of those personal experiences. Each of us has an individual truth about self-defense as a result. When your truth conflicts with mine, that doesn’t automatically invalidate either (or both) of them.  The trick is figuring out what you can learn, which aspects you can translate to your own context and what is not applicable at all.

If any of you ever fully figure out that trick, let me know…

 

P.S.: First, many of you have asked so here’s an update. I’m currently writing the last chapter of my Boxing For Self-Defense book. I hope to finish it this week and then the editing and formatting can begin. When I have a release date, I’ll anounce it here and on my social media.

The second most asked question on this: it will be a three volume series of books. There is too much information to cover and cramming it in one book would force me to price it too high for most people. I want my stuff to be afordable and reasonably priced. I don’t know when the other two volumes will be released, given as I still have to write them…

Book review: Musings on Violence: Martial Arts, Self-Defense, Law Enforcement, Warriorhood by Loren W. Christensen

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Loren Christensen’s latest book: Musings on Violence : Martial Arts, Self-Defense, Law Enforcement, Warriorhood. In it, Loren looks back on the last 50 years of his life and he shares  the lessons he learned. The best way to view this book is as a peek inside Loren life, memories and mind. He takes you on a wild ride of all the things he encountered when it comes to violence. Not just as a law enforcement officer but also as a martial artist.

He shares numerous anecdotes and stories of the adventures he lived through. Some of them are hilarious, others are heartbreaking, with a lot of middle ground between these two extremes. Regardless, they all let you look at different aspects of violence, preparing for it and dealing with the aftermath.

Musings on Violence - Martial Arts, Self-Defense, Law Enforcement, Warriorhood by Loren W Christensen

Loren also shares insights and tips on how you can train for handling the kinds of situations he describes. He offers a truckload of valuable and practical information, all of it hard-earned.

It ranges from how to become faster and develop more flexibility to how you should hit the liver to get the best results. Or how you can control your fear when working as a police officer. These are just a handful of examples; the book is filled with so many more.

I’ve known Loren for over 20 years now, have read all his books, we talked both in person, on the phone and via email too many times to count, and I still learned some new things about him. So I’m pretty confident you will too and the same goes for the information he shares:

There’s just so much of it that you’re bound to pick up a few new tricks and concepts.

 

The book is divided into several sections:

  • Martial arts
  • Self-defense
  • Law enforcement
  • Warriorhood

Each section covers numerous topics and tips and you can just read them all in one go if you like. But in my opinioon, the best way to read his book is like this:

  • First, read all the way through. That’ll help you get an overall sense of the information in this book. You’ll probably latch onto one or two things during each reading session; apply these in your next training session.
  • Then, pick it up on a regular basis and just page through it until you find something that inspires you to take a closer look. Read that part and apply in your training once again.
  • Keep on doing that until you’ve covered everything. There’s so much content in this book, it’ll take a few years…

In short, I highly recommend this book and you buy it right here.

 

Note: This review was first published in my Patreon newsletter of June 2018. To receive the upcoming newsletters, sign up at Yellow Belt level or above right here.

How to fight in an elevator against multiple opponents

Here’s a free video in the Violence Analysis series on my Patreon page: How to fight in an elevator against multiple opponents?

I have no additional information on this incident. I read somewhere that this was in Russia, but I can’t confirm it. So we don’t know what happened before the video starts rolling or what the aftermath was.

To be clear: I am only commenting on the tactics used. As I explain in the video, I very much doubt his actions would be seen as legitimate self-defense in pretty much any Western court of law.

The reason I analyzed this video is because it debunks one of the myths about violence: you can’t win against multiple opponents. As with other martial arts myths like “high kicks don’t work in the street“, they need to be nuanced and that’s my goal. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that fighting multiple opponents in an elevator is a good idea or that you should assume it’s easy. I cover that too in the video, that the guy is lucky and things could have gone very wrong for him.

All that said, here’s the video.

If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out all my other violence analysis videos on my Patreon page. There is lots more there: instructional videos, Q&As, my newsletter, etc.

And there’s loads more to come…

 

Suicide by cop and misinformation about violence

I remember when the term “suicide by cop” became mainstream. Before that, the general public was mostly unaware that this even happened. Afterward, there was a lot of resistance to acknowledging this phenomenon as something real. Simply because to the average person with little to no experience with violence, it is counter-intuitive (more on that below) and therefor couldn’t possibly be true. Today, we know better but there is still a lot of pushback against the mere concept.

Case in point, this example here:

I’m not going into the reasons why people try to get a LEO to shoot them. That is beyond the scope of this article.

For more details on the video above, go here. While you’re at it, read the comments for a while…

As you can see, the “they didn’t have to shoot him” or “shoot him in the leg!” type of opinions are all there. Decades of Hollywood and TV brainwashing people about violence is hard to get rid of.  By the way, I answered the “Why don’t you shoot him in the leg?” myth already so feel free to check out that video.

What’s the point?

My point is that we’ve never known so much about violence as we do know, yet so few people seem to understand even the most basic concepts about it. As always, those with the least knowledge and understanding tend to be the loudest and dominate the public (and official) debate. The result tends to be useless or counter-productive measures and laws that get put in place. In the long run, this leads to more trouble, more uninformed opinions fueled by outrage and even worse solutions get pushed through.

I believe that this trend will not slow down and at the very least, it costs lives.

I also believe there is a way to fight this trend: share accurate information to dispell the myths.

Here’s what I’m doing on my end:

1) Articles

A while ago, I wrote “Everything you know about violence is wrong.” as a basic introduction to the concept of violence and how our media leaves us misinformed. I have plans to expand this article into a book, but it will take a while to get it done given the other books I’m already working on.

Throughout my blog, you’ll find dozens more in which I try to explain the realities of violence in various situations through videos or by commenting on incidents.

2) Interviews

I also interview LEOs and violence professionals so they have a platform to not only explain their point of view but more importantly, give regular folks access to the kind of information they desperately need to keep themselves safe.

Here are a few violence professionals you might want to listen to:

Here are some LEOs that share their experience and procedures:

Podcast Episode 15: Interview with Captain Jon Lupo

Podcast Episode 13: Interview with Montie Guthrie

Podcast Episode 003: Interview with Loren W. Christensen

All these men share their expertise and experience with you for free, despite the blood, sweat, tears and trauma it cost them.

They also all give the sober truth of the many sides there are to violence and how complex this topic actually is. Far more so than the media and the entertainment industry have led the public to believe.

The information they share can save lives, including yours.

3) Violence Analysis

I’ve been analyzing videos of violence in society for years now. You can view a bunch of them by starting here and working your way through the playlist. There are a even more here on my YouTube channel. On my Patreon page, I do more in-depth violence analysis for the people who are looking for practical training advice for self-defense. Almost every time I post a video, I get messages of people saying it opened their eyes to something they didn’t know or want to see: just how ugly and extreme violence can get. But also what to do about it in a realistic fashion, which is the goal of all the above:

Through real life examples, teaching what violence is truly like and what you can do to avoid it if possible and handle it if unavoidable.

I make no claims of offering perfect solutions.

I will make a claim of trying to offer pragmatic and practical advice.

Now all of the above, that’s me…

What are you doing?

We all make our own choices as to what we feel is important enough to spend our time on. To each his own and I fault nobody for not taking me up on this. But I would suggest the following:
  • If you are a civilian, spread knowledge and expertise in the face of ignorance about violence. Instead of shouting and insulting, give dispassionate, factual information instead of outrage. You don’t have to beat people over the head with it or talk about it non-stop. But you’d be surprised how often a few well reasoned points of information offered in a non-confrontational manner can plant a seed in the minds of people, one that later blossoms into a change of mind.
  • If you are a LEO, talk about your legal obligations (no, you can’t “un-arrest” somebody and let them go, no matter how much they yell for it), procedures and their reasons (liability, safety, etc.) and the realities of the job most civilians don’t know or understand (reasons for “slow” response times, etc.) I know this is hard. I also know this is often frustrating. But I believe it can make a difference in the long run and is better than retreating into silence or bitterness. As stated above, I fault nobody for choosing not to do this.

Why do this?

I believe there is a long, uphill climb before accurate information about violence becomes commonplace, instead of the ignorance and myths we have now. Not doing anything is counterproductive and costs lives. That only leaves a handful of alternatives.

I believe speaking out as explained above is a good start to tackle that climb.

P.S.: Take the three minutes to watch this video to understand why something may seem counterintuitive to you and still be completely true. If this is so in physics, it can very much be so in other subjects, including violence…:

Podcast Episode 13: Interview with Montie Guthrie

In this episode I interview an Air Marshal who just retired and happens to be a good friend: Montie Guthrie. Montie has several decades of law enforcement experience working in several agencies, including the Border Patrol. He was kind enough to take some time to talk to me and give his perspective on the job, violence, self-defense, firearms and much more.

Just so you know, we were… helped… yeah, “helped” by an undisclosed amount of whiskey during the recording of this interview. We both felt great afterwards and I sincerely hope you enjoy our interview as well.

Interview with Air Marshal Montie Guthrie

Retired Air Marshal Montie Guthrie

Show notes:

1. Border Patrol

2. Being an Air Marshal:

 

Thanks for listening!

Please like, share and leave a review!

Please support the podcast and get access to loads of unique content in return:

https://www.patreon.com/wimdemeere

Subscribe to the podcast and automatically get the latest episode:

iTunes

Stitcher