I am a big, big advocate of training, but I am an even bigger advocate of learning and I am a ginormous advocate of doing.

Going to a training session of any kind is good. No matter your level, I think everyone can still benefit from training, but that training is a whole lot better if you do more than go through the motions. If one actually challenges oneself to learn and grow that is the key. Of course, the ultimate benefit is if one can implement the learning.

One way to learn is to look back at events and see what lessons can be gleaned. I also think re-looking at the same event time and time again is mighty helpful. Not obsessing, but revisiting a few months or even years later.

It was probably a year and half before I really was able to see the entirety of my attack. In the beginning I was to afraid to think about it. If an imagine or memory popped in my head then I immediately wiped it out and thought of anything else. I did a lot of busy “work” in those first few months. Distraction was the name of the game. After some training, my mind allowed me to see part of what happened. I saw the mugging from the point where the mugger was a foot from me and I would role play in my mind what I would do now should I be in that same situation.  It was nearly a year before my mind would let me see that there was much I could have done to avoid that situation and it was probably 6 more months before I could calmly, without fear or emotion play the entire thing in my mind. I either didn’t remember things or let my mind protect me from what I could not yet handle. Now, I will admit, I rarely revisit that particular event on purpose, but from time to time I force myself. I remember the first time I consciously thought about that day. It was after a training I took in Tennessee with Kathy Jackson.

She had been speaking about situational awareness and she was demonstrating telling a bad guy to STOP! GET BACK! I became very emotional and wasn’t exactly sure why (In those early days my emotions would sneak up on me). It was literally the very first time I saw that there were things I could have done to put myself in a better situation. Once I got on the plane to come home I closed my eyes and let my mind see the event from a broader view. Instead of him right up on me, I saw him from way across the parking lot. I let myself admit that from the second I saw him, I knew he was a bad guy. I let myself feel the nothingness that I felt that day. There was no fear, no tunnel vision, no racing pulse, no desire to fight. There was only a calm,  almost a resolve to accept my fate. I didn’t even get scared until I got home and crawled into bed later that night. I was shaken, but not until I actually realized what happened and what could have happened did I “freak” out. But, I remember saying how scared I was when I was on the ground. I think I had to believe that because if I didn’t I would have had to face my own poor choices and I was definitely not ready do that. The day on the plane was truly the first time I realized that I didn’t act on my instincts and that there was plenty of distance to have done so.

That bit of information was huge for me. Having the, courage isn’t the right word, having the…well, taking the time to see the event as it actually happened helped me see the huge need to focus on my mind set and on actively overcoming years of conditioning to not fight. If you read the blog back then, then you are patently aware of what a very difficult struggle that was.

My inability to get mad, to be mean, to cuss, was extremely frustrating and actively working on overcoming that thinking was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

The desire to train was the first step, but my desire to truly learn is what allowed me to see the gaps in my preparedness and my utter resolve to never ever again be a willing victim in my own attack is what prompted me to implement those lessons and to continue to do so.

I love to train. I don’t care if it is a shooting course or knife fighting or doing combatives. I just love being with others and actually doing the drills. Now, I realize that training is time consuming and pricey, but I am here to say…

Not. An. Excuse.

There are tons and tons of things we can do for free, dare I say daily to help prepare us to be better, more effective stewards of our own safety.

This week I read two blog post. The first one is at Active Response Training. Greg highlights some lessons that can be learned from officer shootings. Really good info. I have not had a chance to read the report myself, but you can bet, 100% that I will.

The other one was over at The GunDivas. This post is so sad to me because it highlights the overwhelming culture we have of victim mind set. I said it before, my thinking and actions were not unique. There are more folks that think like I did then, than think like I do now. People everywhere, men and women think there is a magic force field or condom with teeth that will save the day, but usually that is not the case. If you believe I am wrong then why don’t we have more dead bad guys in cemeteries then we do very alive ones in jails or on parole? The headlines should read, “Another one bites the dust” instead of “Victim of rape set to testify at trail.”

I will give you that sometimes there is. Sometimes a completely untrained frail old lady picks up a .22, shoots blindly one time and the bad guy drops dead. Sometimes the tiny little college girl fights like hell and for whatever reason the bad guy flees. Sometime a mother is lying on her back in a grocery store parking lot and 2 cars pull up, but what about when there is no savior? What about when you truly are the only solution to the problem?

Now is the time to train, to learn, to do.

12 thoughts on “Do

  1. “What about when you truly are the only solution to the problem?”

    And that, Ms. A, is at the very heart of it!! Personal responsibility for a person’s own safety . . . .

    Great post!

  2. Training can happen everyday under any circumstances. Making a effort to be aware of your surroundings and noting unusual sounds /sights can be training. Life doesn’t happen in a gym – it happens in the world.

  3. +1 on Bill’s comment… “WE” are responsible for our own safety… It’s the anathema to the Left’s ideals, but it IS the reality. How one chooses or doesn’t choose to exercise that responsibility is the key. YOU have taken that hard step and are now fully empowered in your own safety (bumps and bruises not withstanding). But how to we convince others? We hear more and more about folks taking training, but how do we get them to take MORE/practice/get involved? That to me is the bigger question. YOU are leading by example, both here and in training, and kudos to you for the efforts!

  4. +2 to all of the above. Its way too easy to find excuses/reasons to NOT take the responsibility into our own hands, to go get that training, to prepare before the event. I think it all goes back to the “me” culture, the prevalent thought-process that says “the world owes

    • (stupid keyboard)

      “…the world owes ME, therefore someone else will do what needs to be done.” The mentality that says “no, I really do deserve that new 90″ flatpanel LED TV-ma-tron inside my $500k house that my great-great-grandkids will still be paying off, all because the Joneses next door have an 85″ plasma and I can’t let them have something better than me blah blah blah.” Its the same mentality that says its okay to sue a 12 year old kid for swatting a pitch out of the park, rather than admit that it was a freak accident and that the kid has some wicked skillz yo. Its sad, but the people who are able and willing to look at their own flaws, take ownership of them, and work to fix or correct the issues, to actually admit to their own shortcomings, we’re becoming fewer and further between. I’m not perfect, by any means, and I still hate to admit my failings (including the training issues), but when I screw up, hey, I screwed up. And I try to fix it myself. Those are the folks I like to hang around with. Its a very large part of why I love the gunny crowd!

  5. I love training. I can’t afford a lot of it. BUT… I read and practice and bug other people to teach me things. Training doesn’t have to be formal. You don’t have to drop a couple hundred bucks on a class if you are willing to figure out how to get it otherwise. You can use the resources around you (once you have the basics – everyone should find the money to pay for professional, basic training) to continue learning. Everyone at any skill level should continue “training”.

    And don’t wait until you’re “good enough” to go to training. My SIL has fallen into this trap. For Christmas two years ago (TWO YEARS!), my MIL paid for a concealed carry class for her. She still hasn’t attended. She wants to be “more comfortable” with the gun before she takes the class. She has taken her gun out to the range exactly ONE time and that’s because I arranged a family shoot day. I understand wanting to be more comfortable, but you can’t be unless you handle it and GET TRAINING! I’ve even told her that I would rather have someone with zero training come to class, because there aren’t any bad habits I have to correct. But she still hasn’t gone, and I fear she never will.

    • Yes, waiting until ready isn’t a philosophy that makes sense if you think about it. Practice is what makes you ready.

  6. I was encouraged to see a couple nights ago a news segment specifically directed at woman. Reporter interviewed martial arts person who gave very good advice: 1 situational awareness, 2 get away if you can, or 3 fight if you have to, and recommended strikes I’ve been taught: open hand nose, open hand chin, eyes, and trachea. Then demoed an attack with the reporter where she performed a strike and ran. Given the general mindset of the media, I thought that was a good segment. Unfortunately, they did not follow up the discussion with force multipliers — you know which ones I’m talking about.

  7. “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” ~Proverbs 22:3

    agirl… I think so many folks live in the illusion of safety… that many don’t realize it until it is too late… training, mindset, preparation, planning… and integrating those things into our lives a we live life… for us is the only answer…

    It’s not paranoia, but a rational acceptance of reality… a reality that most folks don’t ever see or want to acknowledge until it surprises them at the worst possible time… which is why many police officers react so differently than regular folks do to similar circumstances…

    I’m so glad your kids get a chance to learn now what you learned later in life… I hope my daughter is better prepared for life than my wife and I were when we were her age…

    Keep up the good work!

    Dann in Ohio

    • When I said, “your kids get a chance to learn now”, I wasn’t talking about the attack, but the great world of knowledge and skills you are learning now… and they can begin learning too…

      Dann in Ohio

      • Thanks for clarifying Dann. I knew what you meant. There is still a sting to the memory of what I didn’t do. I suppose there always will be, but there are many useful lessons for others and for me. I intend to take every opportunity I am given to put those lessons to good use. I, too, hope and pray my kids will be better prepared. It is pretty much my life’s purpose.

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