Some of the biggest challenges are role-playing the bad-guy role, acting, and understanding that even with good protective gear, you can’t go full force, full speed and keep everyone involved safe. Safety-wise, you have to come up with a compromise that works for your group.
Acting/role playing: at face value, you either have it or you don’t. If you struggle with taking on the bad-guy role, consider being an angry aggressive version of you. Think about when you are driving and some idiot does something stupid, cuts you off, almost hits you, putting your well-being at risk. Be THAT version of you that yells aggressively in the car, when the scenario requires an escalation (you do that too, right?).
Scenarios should NOT always be, “Bro, you spilled my beer!” or “Hey mother f-er! Bla bla bla!” Consider scenarios that allow gray areas.
Scenario training quick-tips:
- Not every scenario should be a fight. The role-player should have some instances where verbal de-escalation is possible to allow escaping without going physical.
- Some scenarios should have no verbal or build up.
- You should be practicing your engage-to-disengage skills as well.
- Movement with your hands-up non-aggressive posture when applicable
- Employing the 3-Es if you think you can get away without engaging (empathy excuse exit), “sorry man” and keep moving!
- Identifying secondary threats- having a second role-player enter the scene or get involved in the dialogue during the build-up.
Don’t just take the test 40 times, study for what’s going to be on the test, then re-test and assess your skills!
Prepare for what is likely to be on the test and to get familiarity with decision-making under stress, then evaluate what areas you need to work on.
One thing I’ve done to help take the thinking out conducting scenarios is create a cheat-sheet with some possible encounters. The conductor of the drills gets to decide what the bad guy(s) will be doing, the actual attack, the duration of any relevant build-up, and the orientation of the good guy. This takes some of the thinking out for the bad guy, and helps the students experience a wider array of scenarios and responses.
Train smart & stay safe,
NOVA Self Defense