Most of us do not know how we will respond in an crisis situation because thankfully, we have never been in one. It doesn’t matter how many classes you have taken, what level of training you have accomplished, if your ultimate reaction to a stressful situation is to freeze.
Small encounters will give you an idea of how you may react. One evening, my ten pound dog was attacked on a walk by a much larger, stronger dog. I was walking with a friend, on a quiet street when the other dog came out of a backyard and latched on to my dog’s leg. I had no training in how to break up a dog fight, but I knew from previous situations that my brain will assess the encounter for a quick response.
While I was on the ground literally fighting for my dog’s life, I noticed my friend, who has quite a bit of self defense training and was wearing a large pair of solid boots, was frozen to his spot. He just stood there and watched the entire encounter which probably only lasted a minute and a half although it seemed like an eternity. Later at the veterinary hospital, while I was beginning to realize I had also been scratched and bitten, it became clear he had no recollection of his behavior.
Our brains are programmed to respond in certain ways to various stimuli, but we can try to train our brains the same way we train to achieve muscle memory with other self defense tools. Simply knowing where the most vulnerable place is to strike another person’s body, or how to hold a firearm and aim properly is not necessarily going to save your life by itself. Seek out training that will also exercise your brain. It is the most important self defense tool you have and you carry it with you no matter what the laws may be in various locations.
There are those who attend self defense classes and start out questioning their ability to respond in a high stress situation, but the reality is many people just assume they will be able to do what is necessary when the situation arises. Make a commitment to training in ways that will not only teach you hands-on skills, but will challenge how you respond as an individual. Seek out instructors that will provide an education in the psychological response to fear, both yours and your attacker, as well as those who will challenge your own response to high stress situations.
My encounter pushed me to educate myself in what to do when a dog attacks. Know your own limits and seek out training that will give you the best possible package when it comes to protecting yourself and those you love.
At SAW Shooting Club we made a commitment to seeking out the classes most beneficial to our members. Join us at Gun for Hire for the Protective Pen/Small Knife Class on February 10th with the Ateinza Kali instructors.