I just saw this video of a murder-in-progress prank done in an elevator. The footage shown of reactions to the prank where they see a victim being actively strangled by an assailant is quite telling.
While I do recognize that what we are seeing in the video is a very small sample of people, in a certain location, and is largely anecdotal. I do think the video is more true to reality than not when compared to what we see in the news everyday. Nonetheless this illustrates a lesson I attempt to remember in my daily life…
Its on you to fight and survive.
Look at your daily interactions with people, the promises they make and how frequently they let you down or don’t even attempt to deliver. If people you know have a hard time making good on their little offers to help you, how much more of a help do you think total strangers will be when your life is on the line.
So while the elevator prank video is not representative of all people, I think it represents a certain reality that many people are sheep living their lives; they don’t know what to do when faced with in-your-face violence.
What stands out to me in this video above everything else is how horror stricken many of those people were to seeing an act of violence that was not gory, bloody or graphic per se. They simply saw what they thought was a real strangulation in progress. The reactions ran the gamut of sheer horror, backing away, screaming, putting hands to mouth, knees buckling, going the other direction and a few attempts to deal with the threat. Then there’s that gem of a human being filming the action with his phone.
Is this what the land of the free and the home of the brave has become?
The next thing that strikes me is the relatively ineffective attempts to stop the assailant in the prank. I did not see any movement or skill that would indicate to me that any of those people were trained to deal with violence in any manner. More importantly the few attempts that were seen were timid and sheepish. There was no all out, overwhelming violent assault to end the threat they perceived.
This paints a picture that I think is consistent with reality today.
Society as a whole is too civilized to act unless their own life is on the line. Too many people hold on to the false notion violence doesn’t solve problems; that violence is barbaric and unbecoming of civilized people. Never mind the number of times violence has been used to end violent assaults. Unfortunately there is a large swathe of people in society now who don’t think and choose to look down on the military, law enforcement and those who choose to be responsible for their own protection.
When you filter out the bravado, posturing and big words those who would act to defend others against violence are a minority. Those who are willing and effectively trained for confronting violence with violence are an even smaller minority.
The people who are willing but have no training or experience with confronting violence may or may not have an effect on saving someone’s life, its a toss up in my view without evidence to the contrary. There is a refrain I hear often in the martial arts, military and shooter circles that applies to the inexperienced and the experienced with regards to training for violence.
In combat you do not rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.
In a nutshell, when confronted with violent or stressful situations your level of performance is likely to mirror your worst training day. Its even worse for someone who is willing, but has no training. This thought is with me every time I finish a session of training be it in Systema or shooting. Its with me every time I think about how I am not training enough. Beyond skills and training there is many other considerations about the ability to confront violence, among them is physical fitness, strength, and the ability to operate under stress.
While rousing the warrior inside is not strictly about fighting, it is important part of being a warrior. In your mind you should not ever believe someone is coming to save you if you get in trouble with a rapist or someone attempting to take your life. Changing your thinking in this regard will make you more self-reliant in other areas of your life outside of personal defense and combat.
If you care about your loved ones or your life, you would do well to acquire the skills and tools needed to act in a violent situation. More importantly to maintain a state of readiness that comes from training.
Always be training.
I look at what I am doing and I know I am not training enough. I am more acutely aware of the decline of my skills when I haven’t trained hard enough or often enough.
The reality of my life is probably like anyone else’s. I have demands on my time, resources and money that limit how much I can do from one day to the next. It forces me to make sacrifices and to work in small increments. Frankly I have days where I just don’t feel like it. This is where the warrior inside needs to push us past what we don’t feel like doing.
That said, developing the warrior’s lifestyle is really about small steps on a regular basis. Every little bit you do consistently will contribute to your odds of survival as much as changing your life.
My experience so far in shooting and martial arts has shown me there are no absolutes when it comes to meeting the challenges of defending your life, save one… you must survive.
If there is any take away that I get from my training and instruction so far is this:
There is acceptable, good and better.
There is no perfect solution to confronting violence. Its finding what works best for you and pressure testing to see if it stands up to reality. I find myself evolving and refining in everything I do with regards to preparing for violence.
Let it be in your mind that no one is coming if you get into trouble and train accordingly.
The police are under no obligation to save you. In fact the simple reality is if you are alone when a threat appears, 99% of the time there is no one who would be aware enough or close enough to save you.
Refuse to be a victim. Start training and preparing for that moment when you only have yourself to rely on.