Monday, May 30, 2016
"Aren't you worried that training for violence is going to make you fearful?"
"Doesn't this make you paranoid?"
"Isn't this going to make you cynical?"
Real people asked me these questions when it became apparent my training wasn't a casual game I was playing for entertainment purposes. At the time I couldn't answer from a place of personal experience, I hadn't been training long enough to know one way or the other.
I can answer those questions now and the answers are all "no". Training has made my life better. I do not relish finding myself inside a storm of chaotic human behavior and if avoidance and de-escalation are an option, I would absolutely choose them over anything else. If I am confronted with a situation where violence breaks bad I am under no illusions. I will adrenalize. I will experience fear. And I know I have choices.
This makes daily life more fun. I am comfortable with adrenalization and I understand fear and I know what and how my training may (or may not) be available when shit goes down.
And life feels better, stronger, understanding the what/how/why/who of violence.
Yesterday two active shooters terrorized an upscale neighborhood in Houston, Texas. I lived in that area for about 25 years and have friends and family still anchored in that city. The neighborhood in question is home to a friend. It is home to her, her husband and their three young children. Children they worked hard to have as they faced infertility issues. People died and were injured. Two shooters went through the neighborhood and as of today, details as to why are yet forthcoming. She and her little family "sheltered in place" for three hours. When death unceremoniously crashes through your neighborhood your best option may be to shelter in place holding close beating hearts precious to you. If death crashes through your door...the hard truth of humans hunting humans is now in your house.
I am grateful my friend and her family did not face that hard truth yesterday and this incident is a reminder. You don't have to go looking for violence to encounter it. Sometimes violence knocks on your door, literally.
I have been working with a team of trainers at the Silver Eagle Group for the last six months teaching a day long Active Shooter Response course. The course starts with a 3.5 hour seminar that's a mixture of Conflict Communication, Violence Dynamics & Logic of Violence built with Rory Miller. We have taught the course 3 times so far and we launched it in February. After yesterday's shooting I expect we'll be looking for dates to schedule another one sooner than later because the director of training at SEG is going to get phone calls.....when's the next course?
On one hand, I hate that fear brings people to these courses. But I'm glad there is a program that can make people's lives better. Information to stave off the increasing cynicism. Dialogue turning paranoia into a plan. Training experiences introducing people to their own adrenaline so they learn they can be afraid and still find ways to access their human brain.
That's why I started training. And now, it's why I teach. It's purely selfish, really. It feels good to spend a day helping other people transform fear into a functioning plan. Training, hopefully, takes that plan and puts it to use building a richer purpose in living.
Train for your life, not for your fear.