Monday, April 25, 2011

Deadly Self Defense Myths

I have a cousin who is currently receiving unsigned notes from some guy in her building. It is starting to give her the creeps. I offered to recommend some some hardware and classes for her to try out, but that was received... shall we say coolly... My cousin is a liberal. She doesn't like guns, what they represent, what they are intended for, and that individuals can own them. Like most liberals, she likes the Police being the protector of the individual.
It is part of the groupthink mindset of the liberal to dislike the entire concept of an individual taking responsibly for their own safety. They like the idea of the State providing all that is needed in that arena, from rules and regulations on what can be used to mow your grass to the confiscation of all firearms from law abiding people.

I do not hold this against her, for those who believe that violence is something that will never happen to them, it is perfectly acceptable for them to rely upon the State for their protection. There is just one major problem... If the worst happens, the note writer becomes a stalker, then becomes something violent, the violence is upon you now. For the State to be alerted to protect you, you first must call them, explain the problem to a dispatcher, tell the dispatcher where you are, and that you require the police. The dispatcher must then contact the Police dispatcher, who will then call out to the patrol units, wait for one to respond, and finally send the patrol unit information about what is going on and where to address it. The patrol unit must now drive to the address they were given, find the correct building, then go to the apartment where the problem was reported. The typical response time is about 7 minutes from when the Police dispatcher is notified, time from your call to police arrival is about 10 to 15 minutes. By that time what you wanted protection from, has already occurred.

What I described above is the best case scenario. A much more realistic scenario is that you don't get to your phone to make the call. An attacker is not going to politely wait for you to make that call, he is going to do what he can to prevent that call from being made. That means he needs to quickly overwhelm you. If you can fight him off, you have only seconds, what would you go for to protect yourself? The phone? Unarmed people who rely upon the police for their personal protection are toast. The song and dance described above all must occur. However the armed individual has the ability to obtain something that immediately puts them on equal footing, or hands them a distinct advantage. And it is there, with them, now. It is not 7 to 15 minutes away eating doughnuts. It is steps away and immediately available.
In the end, your protection is up to you.

So let us look at some self defense myths and misconceptions.

The Police exist to protect me.
False. The police motto: "To protect and serve." Should be amended to be: "To protect and serve, the law." This is what they are there for. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has even said that the Police have no obligation to protect and defend the individual. And, lest we forget, When seconds count, the Police are only minutes away.

It is safer for me to have an empty chamber
This idiotic thought stems from the days when ammunition was so bad that the slightest bump on the primer could set off the pistol. Modern ammunition and pistols are constructed so that only a full depression of the trigger will cause the pistol to fire. The simple fact is that, despite what you see on TV, pistols just don't go off. Ever. You are more likely to win the lottery then have a pistol go off with out the trigger being pulled.
That all said, with one in the chamber, negligent discharge is much more likely. Proper care and handling of the gun must be done at all times so that it only goes off when the shooter intends it to. If you want to protect against unauthorized persons handling the gun, quick action safes are excellent investments.
With a round in the chamber, you are ready to defend yourself as soon as you get a sight picture. You do not have to go through the action of racking a round before you can get in to the fight. Those seconds are priceless commodities in a true self defense situation. Extra actions that need to take place before the gun can be fired are time wasters that may cost you your life. Your self defense weapon should have one in the pipe, and have no external safeties. Be ready to rock and roll as soon as your pistol is out of its hiding place. Your life literally depends on it.

I took a woman's self defense class a month ago. I am ready to defend myself!
You are carrying around a false sense of security. No woman's self defense class can prepare you for an attacker who is stronger than you, weighs more than you, is determined to complete what ever deed they came there for, and is ready to take a little damage in order to get it done.
Let us face the cold hard facts. Men are stronger than women. Men have denser, more powerful muscles than women. In a fight between two equally trained people, the same weight, where one is a man and the other is a woman, the woman will loose 999 times out of 1000. This is the simple truth. If the man is determined to rape, or injure, a woman, he is going to do it.
What does this mean? It means that women need an edge when fighting a man. A gun gives you that edge.
What if I don't have a gun? Just give up and die?
No. However, developing fighting skill takes time and considerable effort. You have to train for a long time before you can apply the proper techniques in a fight, and be effective against a bigger stronger opponent. And the horrible truth is, it is a perishable skill. You have to train on a near daily basis in order to gain, and retain the skill required to fight off a determined, bigger, stronger opponent.
So what to study? As much as I love the striking arts, they are no good for women who wish to fight off a determined male attacker.
I will give some examples. On an episode of "Celebrity Boxing" female professional wrestler Chyna was paired up with one Joseph A. "Joey" Buttafuoco. Chyna was a roided up massive specimine of womanhood. She was in very good shape, working out daily, and eating right to maintain her musculature. She had been training in boxing for several years. Buttafuoco only trained for a few weeks, was grossly out of shape, and was in no condition to fight anyone. The result?

Chyna got beat pillar to post. Several times Joey simply tossed her to the floor with little effort. Had the ref not been present, there would have been nothing the muscled woman could have done to defend herself.

The way a woman can defend herself effectively against a resisting, bigger, stronger opponent is with ground skill. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is specifically designed for a smaller opponent to defeat a lager opponent on the ground. A dedicated woman against an untrained man, on the ground, has a chance. A slim chance, but a chance all the same.

If I have a gun, can't it be used against me?
Yes... If you are unwilling to pull the trigger. In a self defense situation, you have to be prepared to defend yourself. This means doing bad things to your attacker. It isn't like on TV where the peace loving monk becomes a super killer, then goes back to being a peace loving monk. In order for your training, or your weapon to be effective, you have to be willing to do the bad thing. You have to be able to break the arm, to stab for the heart, to put three in center mass. In my time in martial arts, this is what most people find the most disturbing, and the hardest to do.
Of course you can't shoot real people on the range. The law frowns upon things like that. What you can do is seek out stressful situations in which to deploy your weapon safely, or find situations where you can use your training in a full contact situation.
IPSC events put you in a stressful situation where you have to engage multiple targets, reload, and incorporate movement. These events are fun and teach you how to use your weapon in a safe manner with people who want nothing more than make you a better shooter.
Training at a gym where you spar regularly with live resisting opponents in a limited rules environment will teach you to overcome fear and instruct you how to deal with a resisting opponent. If your dojo/dojang does not spar limited rules, in situations where you could walk away bloody, you need to find a new place to train.

But back to the question at hand... If you have a weapon how could someone take it away? Just do a look around for gun disarms out on the Internet. At best they are techniques that need to be trained constantly over and over and over again, at worst they will get even the best practitioner shot. In any case disarms are extraordinarily risky low percentage movements. If you are willing to pull the trigger, it is highly unlikely that an assailant will be able to disarm you before you put a bullet in them.

I will just kick my attacker in the nuts!
Really? You don't think that the attacker has thought of that? Chances are he will be protecting that part of him, and even if you get a good kick off, it will be a glancing blow. Sure it hurts when you get hit in the nuts. But I guarantee that a determined attacker will be able to work through the pain, get in to a dominant position and rest out the worst of your attack.

So... What should you take from this post? First, if you are serious about your personal protection, get a gun, learn how to use it, and carry it with you everywhere you are legally allowed to carry it.
If you are female and have time, start training in BJJ, or no-gi submission wrestling. Learn that ground skill. It is a great workout and you will be learning something that can actually work to defend yourself. You can train in Muay Thai, or, MMA as well as BJJ if you like, but concentrate most of your training on the ground.
If you are a man, I would concentrate on working maybe 3 out of 5 training days on BJJ, and the other 2 on Muay Thai, boxing, MMA, or other striking art. Ground skill is the hardest to learn, so the majority of your time, in the beginning, should be focused there. After you have a solid foundation, you can move to even out your training, but be sure to get that mat work in.
Both should keep their shooting skills sharp. Go to the range at least once a month to keep your shooting proficiency up. Attend a couple of IPSC events to learn what it is like to shoot under stress. Who knows, you may like it and become a competitive shooter!

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