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.