Can you really prepare for the ambush?
The following comes from Tony Blauer’s News Letter (Format modified slightly to make easier reading on the forums):
THE ESSENCE OF THE SURPRISE ATTACK
Can you really prepare for the ambush?
The first section was written by Dr. Eric Cobb, an experienced martial artist who has previously trained extensively with Blauer Tactical Systems.
THE ESSENCE OF A SURPRISE ATTACK Let me state up-front that most of the concepts that I will share here are based on the extensive research of Tony Blauer. -E. Cobb
A concept, that we continually and dogmatically state is “action is faster than reaction”, but we then structure almost all of our training around a stimulus/response” format.
In other words, the current “ruling class” in martial arts training says, “Whenever he does this, you do that.” In really “sophisticated” arts there might be additional levels to the thinking that add in “Once you’ve hit him, his body is likely to respond like this, so you now do this…”
However, in the same breath, the lesson continues that “action is faster than reaction”. Do you see the problem here? In essence, much traditional training is setting up unconscious dissonance in trainees by telling them that:
A: If he moves first – he’s faster than you. “Action is faster than reaction.”
B: Don’t respond until he moves, intercept the attack after it has reached maximum velocity with a fine motor skill and then respond via these techniques.
These concepts are impossible to reconcile, are tactically inappropriate, and express a lack of understanding of the vast majority of real-world violence.
Consider if you will now a completely different viewpoint. At least 90% of the time, the fight begins long before the actual physical confrontation occurs.
It begins the week before when you cut the guy off in your car. Or it begins, as soon as you walk into the theater and you get bad vibes/dissonance from a couple of fellows that stare at you and your girlfriend.
Or it begins when you walk into the Quikmart and see the clerk looking pale and sweaty and a couple of guys wearing coats in the middle of summer.
Almost every time, there are pre-incident indicators that can clue us in to the real possibility of violence and allow us to implement our optimum survival strategy.
There is a great myth that violence is terribly unpredictable. The truth is that violence is one of the most predictable of all human behaviors.
Gavin de Becker teaches at great length about this from a broad conceptual framework in his book The Gift of Fear. Tony takes this work a step further into the tactical realm and teaches tools, targets and tactics that specifically deal with demystifying this whole process.
So, let me give you another potential paradigm from which to think about surprise attacks and how we might deal with them in protecting ourselves, and our families, from violence. Imagine a long time line that stretches out over a period of several hours.
Now, at every interval along that time line, let’s arbitrarily set them at 15 minutes, mentally write in the words “stimulus/response”. At the very end of the time line, mentally write in “Big Bang”.
What this concept mentally represents is the actual process for almost every violent encounter. All along the way leading up to the actual physical confrontation (Big Bang) there are S/R moments happening. At any one of those moments you can make a tactical choice to extricate yourself from the confrontation.
In Tony Blauer’s system we teach a principle called the three D’s – detect, defuse, defend. Intelligently applied, the first two will allow you to walk away from almost every encounter without having to drop someone. If all else fails, the timeline thought process above can jumpstart your survival instincts and place you in a position both mentally and physically to proactively move toward survival.
So, are there surprise attacks? I would answer to that “Yes,” but only when our training fails to actually address real-life. A better question might be “Do we place ourselves in a position either by our mental state, physical conditioning, or our emotional fragility in which we can be ‘surprised’ by violence?”
I think that the answer to that is most assuredly “Yes.”
I recently read a quote that I liked a lot and may help summarize my point here. Paraphrased, it is this “Practice does not make perfect. Practice simply provides us more alternatives for recovering from our mistakes.”
I personally believe that this is the real goal of training. Life is a full-contact activity and while it would be nice to think that we can always be ready to rock at a moment’s notice, it may not happen that way. The best systems then teach psychological, emotional and physical tools for “correcting our mistakes…”
The vast majority of the time there is no “surprise attack”.
And in the very rare instances that we are caught completely off-guard, our training must support us in surviving those situations. That is why it is so vital for you to analyze your style, system or school and understand that if you are not finding the answers that you seek there, look elsewhere. You and you alone are responsible for your safety and you must develop total confidence in your “toolbox” for real-life confrontations.
Of course, this is real-life we’re talking about so I could be wrong…
Food for thought – yes?
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