Violence, death and common sense

This two-minute video is making the rounds here in Europe. It’s self-explanatory, just watch it:

 

A few thoughts:

  • I find it interesting that the uploader claims the officer “belittles” the drivers. Merriam-Webster defines that verb as such: “to cause (a person or thing) to seem little or less.” I’d say that is not at all what happens here. The officer isn’t making them feel little or less, he’s making them feel shame and rightfully so in my opinion. More in a bit.
  • Why is there a big problem with gawking or rubbernecking, you might say? It’s dangerous and causes accidents, that’s why. It creates traffic jams due to the sudden slowing down, which causes accidents. It also makes drivers distracted and makes them hit dividers or other cars as they pass the site of the crash. I drive over 50.000km per year here in Belgium, which already has loads of traffic jams and it’s getting worse. Due to the way our highways are structured and being the crossroads of Europe, I get to experience dangerous traffic situations on a daily basis. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen repeatedly.
  • Some people find the officer’s actions problematic. I don’t really have an issue with them. We can argue how effective they are in making people understand their dangerous behavior. Personally, I can see the benefits. The main one is that it can raise awareness of dangers and how your own actions can cause danger to others. More below.
  • Some examples I wrote throughout the years:
  • If that isn’t enough, here’s another video. I did some research and it is apparently a real event, despite how it looks like he’s in front of a green screen. Notice the look on his face when he realizes what happened…

[Read more…]

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…