Understanding the ways real attacks happen is extremely important. In Personal Defense Readiness, startle-flinch conversion off of a primary initiation attacks is something we train extensively. That being said, only knowing how to weather the ambush is simply not enough. It is critical to build and refine your skill-set, and practice to refine your motions, and train under stress/pressure to test your ability to perform.
This is a good video clip from a while back, where Coach Blauer discusses pre-contact cues. This is an important concept in our PDR training. The model for most self-defense systems is stimulus, response. If he does "X, I do "Y," but doing so is improbable in the ambush moment. The model for our training is stimulus, stimulus, stimulus response.
I feel like I learned a great deal on Saturday. I have taken one or two martial arts style courses, and the steps felt too formalized. I've been in situations that call for a fast response, and in no way would I have had the time or presence of mind to recite steps in my head prior to needing to act. Hopefully I'll never irritate someone enough to need to use the skills you've taught us, but, should I find myself facing an angry adversary, I know my odds of a successful outcome have increased significantly thanks to just that one class so far.
-Christine Picaut, Arlington VA
I attended the 4 hour Women’s Self Defense training last Saturday. The class was great. The time went by so quickly that it is now difficult for me to tell you how the time was allocated, but I will give you a brief summary of the training I received and my thoughts.
It began with a verbal seminar, discussing things like: intuition-paying attention to the gut feeling that something isn’t right, awareness-pay attention to your surroundings, how to respond prior to a potential threat to possibly avoid a physical altercation. We then went over basic strikes and techniques for how to respond if grabbed from behind. There were 3 trainers and approximately 12 students. For many of the techniques the girls partnered one-on-one and practice the moves while the trainers “floated” around the room observing and assisting to make sure everyone was getting it. Once we practiced with other the girls, they had us line up and practice the move on each of the 3 trainers. Since physical interaction as well as the strike placement will be somewhat different with each “attacker” we practiced the moves at different heights, angles, etc. Also, throughout the physical portion of the training there was a lot of emphasis on the physiology of the attack. For instance, the trainer would have us standing with our back to our partner and the partner would come up from behind as if they were going to choke us. Initially we had to just stand there and take it, focusing on the sounds, sights, and feelings that we experienced prior to and during the course of the attack. We repeated this exercise and at an unknown point a trainer would sneak in and perform the “surprise” choke hold. I actually surprised myself during this exercise. While doing it with my female partner, I did as instructed and just stood there focusing on the sounds, feelings, etc. But when one of the male trainers came up behind me & performed the choke, it felt real and my immediate reaction was to perform the defensive move which I had learned at a previous training with NOVA Self Defense. Although I wasn’t exactly following that day’s instructions it was good to see that when I felt threatened I reacted appropriately. After going through various techniques, the class ended with the trainers putting on their padded suits and “attacking” the students. Each student took a turn with each trainer. The attack began with a verbal confrontation, we had to determine whether we could escape, verbally de-escalate, or would have to become physical. If it became physical the attack didn’t end until the trainer was on the ground and the student was safely out of reach of the attacker.
The training was fun and informative. Of course, when I got home I tried out some of my “skills” on my husband. He was surprised at how easily I could free myself from his grasp. This course doesn’t teach you to try to overpower your opponent, that isn’t realistic in many cases when a woman is up against a man. It does however focus on using your body’s natural responses as a defense mechanism both from recognizing the danger all the way through the physical aspect. I do think the more training a person gets, the better her chances are in surviving a real life situation. I have now attended two seminars as well as a 12 week course. I intend to continue taking at least one seminar a year just to retain the information that I have learned and stay current on any improvements. I also plan to have my daughter Amanda take a course like this as soon as she is old enough.
-Christi Campbell, Amissville, VA
One Second After By William R. Forstchen
This book was an interesting read that makes you think. Forstchen covers a lot of aspects of human behavior and crisis management on a scale that I had not previously considered. The setting for this story is in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville, NC, where I grew up. The story follows a small mountain town coping with the aftermath of a widespread Electromagnetic Pulse attack on the United States. Some of what occurs is quite disturbing, but I would not say it's far-fetched. If you're interested, it's a good read. No spoilers here.
How does this relate to Personal Defense Readiness?
Emergency preparedness is very much like self-defense in that it is something many people neglect to prepare for. Many people hide behind a blanket of apathy and denial thinking, it will never happen to me, so I don't need to train or prepare for it.
Often discussed by Coach Blauer in our PDR training is the Mental Blueprint Psychological Void concept. Anything you have done, thought about, or specifically trained for is a mental blueprint. The more vivid your experience the more vivid your mental blueprint. On the contrary, anything you have not done is a psychological void. For example, the statement, "fueling your car at your usual gas station," may have brought vivid images to your mind. Maybe you can even see the prices of gas on the LCD screen or "feel" the weight of the gas pump in your hand, whereas the statement, "rejecting a claim under 103(a) supported by K.S.R. case law," may cause you to mentally go "huh?" if you are not familiar with the US Patent Office procedures. The take-away here is that you should not be mentally going "huh?" about situations that could have a serious impact on your survivability.
What are your plans in an wide-scale emergency or natural disaster?
Cool! You're prepared, you have a go-kit!
Peel the onion further.
What if you can't get to your kit because of mass-traffic jams because you're at work or traveling when an emergency happens?
What would you do if someone attacks you?
Peel the onion further (to different scenarios)
-You are at a bar and someone shoves you
-You wake up to the sound of glass breaking and a prying sound at your front door.
-Someone with road-rage forces your car to the shoulder, blocking you in, and gets out with a bat and approaches your car
-Someone attacks you at your parking lot or parking garage at your usual grocery store
What are your options? Will you fight? Where could you go to get to safety? What are your improvised weapons?
A little bit of planning goes a long way.