Saturday, June 18, 2016

can women really defend themselves?

This morning over coffee my spouse is on Drudge and shares this story with me. The link is here so you can follow it yourself if you like. Article Link.

In Colorado a mom hears screams from the front yard where her kids are playing. Races out of the house to find a mountain lion:

"she found the cougar on top of her son, the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said. The woman "was able to physically remove her son from the mountain lion" and the boy's father called 911 as he drove his son to hospital, the sheriff added."...quoted from the article

Later in the article " Sheriff's deputies and a law enforcement officer from the U.S. Forest Service found the mountain lion in the front yard of the residence and put it down, the sheriff said."

Let's look at what is NOT said. She physically removed her son (who lives by the way). Authorities find the animal still in their front yard after they leave for the hospital and put it down (i.e., they shoot it). It's always a sad moment for me when a beautiful creature like this is doing what it is designed to do and it's nature crosses paths with a human. Like the Gorilla and the little boy at the zoo....neither creature is vicious or evil, anyway that's a different rabbit trail.

So, "physically removed her son" and then the mountain lion is still hanging around in the front yard...doing the math? This mamma fucked up that mountain lion. As a mom, I'm pretty sure she didn't pause at those screams...hmmm, I wonder what could be happening? I will look out the window first...oh dear...let's make a plan. Honey? Where's the shotgun?

Nope. Not what happened. I have heard hurt and panicked sounds from my kids when they were little. It hits a deep, lizard brain place and you just move. 

This lizard brain is, in it's own way, a tactical genius. It doesn't use higher level thought process, in fact, it's mostly a pre-verbal thing. If this mamma had been a lion tamer, an exotic animal veterinarian, or any other profession in which she was well-studied in Mountain Lion, we might say oh, there you have it, she knew the animal's weakness. I'm pretty sure Rueters would have shared that tidbit as it's just a wee bit important.

Think about it. This average adult human female took on a mountain lion to save her tiny human and.she.won.

The next time I hear any female tell me she's "too...(anything)" to be able to learn physical self-defense, I am showing her this story. Because here's the thing girls, we are hard-wired for it. Just imagine what you can do with all that instinctual tactical capability if we put a little training behind it?

And the next time a guy asks me "do you really think a woman can defend herself against a man?" He's getting this article as my answer. If she can fuck up a mountain lion, with the right motivation the human male is child's play.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Walking Dead 2.0

The Walking Dead usually means Zombies. Dead, decaying humans come back to life with one purpose, eat brains and make more Zombies. I guess. I'm not a Zombie aficionado.

There's another version of Zombie. They're much harder to spot. They aren't gray and awkward and they don't gnash teeth or move crazy-fast or anything else Hollywood has designed.

These zombies are more subtle and consist of human beings desperately mangled by an intense commitment to the actuality of their own assumptions.  If you drink your own Koolaid you are the walking dead. Here's why:

1. Buy your own assumptions and you lose the possibility of growth. Humans are growing/moving/changing or they are decaying. You won't be curious. You won't ask questions. You won't try anything new. What's more, eventually your lack of curiosity will be seen by someone as combative and pick the wrong day/wrong person and your perceived combative attitude could escalate into a physical confrontation. If that never happens? You're still not much more than an ambulatory corpse.

2. Believe your world view is the sum total of universal truth and you are going to consistently violate the territorial rules of other tribes. You are going to offend the protocols, violate territorial boundaries and step on someone's status. Friends, the family of your partner or spouse, colleagues...eventually you will piss off just about everyone and you will be categorically alone. Humans are not designed to function well in isolation. Biologically, we don't survive long enough to reproduce if we are doing it all by ourselves. Take this up a notch and the entrenched assumptive reality might just piss off someone just like you but with a different assumptive reality and someone's going to break bad.

3. You won't see it coming. Another way to apply the phrase Walking Dead (maybe more accurate to say Dead Man Walking, but it doesn't play as well),  if you have a specific set of assumptions about who can-will-might successfully ambush you, you won't see it coming. Flip it around and you might set hooks for a physical encounter and be damned surprised by the firepower your assumptions dismissed.

Number three may need some explanation.  A couple of weeks ago we had a new guy walk through the doors of our training center. He is looking for a place to "keep the rust off" - career operator. A little bit of ego around the edges but overall a decent guy. And a big guy. Over 6 feet and pushing 250. He shows up for a class taught by one of my female instructors. AM is maybe 5'2'' on  a good day and barely breaks 100 pounds. He struggled through the whole class. Finally, he looks at her and says "but you are so small!" Her answer was awesome. "Yup, and I'm probably not getting any bigger".

In his world, dangerous people are big, strong men. Can he overpower AM? Duh. Her size isn't what makes her dangerous. She is well trained and I have seen her in action, she is fierce. But for this guy, she is doubly dangerous. His assumptions about what makes up a Threat define his reality. If he meets an AM on a bad day she will have the advantage. Dead man walking.

We all have assumptions and biases about reality and how "things are supposed to be".  If you disagree with that, then your assumptions are already running you. You are a Zombie-in-training.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

slipping the leash

Teaching self-defense means training behaviors good people have been trained to avoid. From the moment of your birth you have been trained to play nice.

"Don't bite your sister"
"Don't hit - use your words"
"Share your toys"
"Don't look at Tommy's math paper, do your own work"
"Go to school/work/etc."
"Be a good sport"

You all have these. If you parent, the ones you heard as a kid come out of your mouth and maybe you have created your own - interrupting shitty family traditions that just should not be passed along. I recognize this is an assumption and I'm pretty confident that if you are beating your kids or telling them they are stupid little shits, you are probably not reading this. Anyway, moving on.

People well socialized to standard western social constructs are shocked, angry, saddened and offended at the recent attack in Orlando, Florida. It's wrong. It's heinous even. The Threat completely slipped our leash. Our being key, he was doing what he thought was right....different socialization.

Take away the AR and it's capacity to take out dozens of people in one fell swoop* - his actions aren't a whole lot different than what we teach when we teach people to defend themselves. Teaching self-defense is teaching people to slip the leash.

In class last night we worked on defenses against getting stabbed. We trained getting away - disengaging as safely as the situation allows and that includes causing as much damage to the Threat as possible (and is necessary). MR is a 5'0 foot, 100 pound woman. Last night she was up against a 6'3 230 pound attacker, she's going to have play dirty. He can out reach her, out run her, out maneuver her just by his size. If she "assists" him in accidentally stabbing himself, her chances of getting away go up.

If the Target is about the same size, then "giving the knife back" is not self-defense - it's criminal. But for MR? It may be her best way out. I am asking her to slip the leash. Inviting her to get familiar with wounding another human being.  Like our friend with the AR down in Florida, I am asking her to practice behavior our culture punishes.

Violence is violence. It's a tool and we use it because it works. Need to hang a picture? Get a hammer. Need to disable someone? Get violent. Getting a grip on the Orlandos, the San Bernadinos, means getting over ourselves. Stop the Violence! Good luck with that.

Be horrified over Orlando. Be sad. Grieve or be angry. Stop being offended, save your outrage for something else. Instead of being offended - be curious. Curiosity opens up possibility. If you want to do something about terror attacks in your own backyard,  and you choose offended outrage as your response, get this: offense shuts off intelligence.  Stupid, outraged humans are chaotic tantrumming 3 year old's in a big body. If this is you, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

*the AR can't do that by itself, it needs a human.