“Surviving Polite Society”
1) MINDSET.. I have one mantra I live by, “I will never give up!” In the Police Academy, this simple phrase is drilled into you so many times, eventually it bullet-proofs your mind. I truly believe our greatest weapon is a strong, determined, focused mind. If you lack the will to survive a violent encounter, all of the training in the world won’t save you.
2) LEARN TO FIGHT.. With the popularity of mixed martial arts, learning to fight/defend yourself, has never been easier. Training facilities are everywhere along with competent staff to train you. You don’t have to be the next Bruce Lee or Royce Gracie to attend, and even if you can only spare a day or two a month to train, it is better than nothing. The benefits are endless but include, better overall fitness, increased stamina, better reaction time, awareness of danger. CONFIDENCE.. (refer to mindset)
3) TRAIN.. So you’ve attended some classes and have learned the basics of defending yourself, and along with this you have sharpened your mental sword to a razors edge. What now? Now comes the part where most fail. Now you depend on yourself and train, train, train.. Develop the skills you’ve learned and perfect them. Bruce Lee had a great take on this. To paraphrase, “When the wind blows the tree bends. It doesn’t think about bending, it just bends.” His philosophy was to train until the movements became instinctual. If you are being attacked and you have to think about what to do next you have already lost.
4) AWARENESS.. This part should be quite simple but it’s not. Years of living in “polite” society have weakened our ability to see danger when it presents itself. In many cases, victims will begin our interview with this type of statement, “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing” or “I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.” We are fortunate to live in a country where most days the sun rises and sets with little in the way of conflict or tragedy. The flip side of that coin is a false sense of security. The feeling of, “That would never happen to me.” Believe me, bad things happen to good people. Know the signs of danger and learn to respond accordingly. I could write an entire book on reading people and picking out tell-tale signs of a subject set on hurting or stealing from you, but we’ll save that for another time.
5) PRIORITY.. What would you die for? What would you kill for? The answer should be the same. Think about the people you love and the ones that love you. Take a moment and put yourself there. You’re in your home, or out for a walk and out of nowhere a stranger, or multiple strangers attack. Imagine seeing the one person you love most in this world be brutally attacked by some piece of filth. What would you do to save that person, to save yourself? If you answered, “I would do everything necessary to stop them” then numbers 1 thru 4 pertain to you…
The author has been a practitioner of the martial arts for thirty plus years, has served in the Marine Corps, and is currently a Police Officer in California. If there is ever a particular question I can answer, please write me at, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been involved in numerous combative encounters. Though I have never initiated violence, I have been forced to conclude it on many occasions. Lessons; Never judge a book, or a suspect by it’s cover. Some of the most brutal fights i’ve been in have been against women. Some, quite small in stature. Size is intimidating on a surface level, but without determination and purpose it is limited.