01 December 2016

Self Awareness- things can change in seconds

We spend a lot of time talking about use of force in classes.  Many citizens believe that use of force only applies to law enforcement.  That could not be any further from the truth.  The difference is that every police department has a use of force policy that all officers are educated on, but not necessarily trained on.  This is the reason so many people end up getting shot.  The majority of agencies have inadequate force on force training, much less force on force training, that allows them to work through different levels of force.  As a citizen, you will be held to a different standard but will have to answer for ANY force you used, without the benefit of a use of force policy.

For the citizen, a personal protection program and personal use of force are as unique as a finger print.  A large part of that is the ability to always have a real time assessment of your capabilities.  Because we teach Tri-phasic Combat Concepts, ( a fancy way of saying standing and striking at distance, contact distance/clinch, and ground survival with open hand combatives, edged weapons, impact weapons, and the pistol), the issue of getting knocked or falling to the ground during a confrontation often comes up.  Courts have held that if you are disabled and being attacked by an able attacker is one of the things that may allow you to escalate your level of force (if you have the skills to do so, that is).

My usual example is that if two people involved in a confrontation and one guy falls backward onto concrete. At the moment he strikes the ground, he is disabled because he cannot stand.  Unless he knows how to fall (and few do) he is likely to suffer temporary paralysis from impacting his tailbone.  This can last seconds, minutes, or forever.  So he fell down, and can't get right back up.  That is bad enough by itself, but suppose the other guy follows him to the ground.  As a use of force instructor and having busted my ass one good time on a concrete floor when I was 12, which caused the previously mentioned temporarily paralysis and excruciating pain, if this happens to me I would be thinking of how to use deadly force, with a firearm or without.

The above is the simplest way I can see this happening in a conflict.  The truth is that most personal injuries and limitations are not that dramatic.  Last Sunday after church, as is our habit, we were cleaning up around the house rocking out to 80's music on Pandora.  While dancing around, I began to play tug of war with my 15 week old Olde English Bulldogge Odin.  In a split second, I had aggravated an already herniated disk and was unable to stand up all the way.   Today, four days later, I am at about 80%.  I was worthless on Monday and Tuesday and had to have Rich teach Tuesday's class.  I was also forced to take a week off from the gym.  I was pretty PO'ed since I had not missed a workout in four months.  I plan on teaching tonight and then back to the weight pile with some adjustments on Tuesday.

Even though I was injured, there were still things that I had to do.  While doing so, I had to adjust fire in reference to my Personal Protection Program.  It was even more important that I kept Vertical Stabilization in mind.  Vertical Stabilization is incorporated into environmental awareness.  The idea is that in the event of a confrontation, you make the habit of trying to never be more than arms distance from a vertical surface such as walls or a vehicle.  This greatly increases your ability to stay on your feet while insuring that you don't fall backwards striking your head or back.  I also had to decide that I would use a higher level of force much earlier.  As I have written about before, it is always best to stay off the ground if possible.  Already injured I would have a difficult time getting up, not to mention that any impact on the ground would likely increase the injury.  After walking away, and verbal commands, open hand combatives (if withing range) are my go to if attacked.  But with my back I could not afford to twist or be pulled off balance.  So my thought would to block any attack with my hands while kicking shins as hard as I could until their head was knee level.

It took way longer to write the last paragraph than it did to adjust my program (seconds after injury).  The reason why it only took seconds was because I had a program to adjust.  Had my injury not gotten better I would have carried a cane as a force multiplier until it did.

Keep in mind that it is not just physical skills, it is also tools.  Last week we did an Intro to Low Light Tactics Course.  Many of the students don't carry firearms, or cannot carry them while at work.  As an example of how you need to adjust things based on needs and abilities I explained that when I am carrying a handgun my light is on my support side, but when I am flying it becomes a secondary impact device so it is carried on my strong side.  It is secondary unless it is in my hand.  My primary impact device is my pen in the collar of my t-shirt.  By doing this, I have an impact weapon above and below my belt line.  If someone mounts me on the ground and my other tools are covered, I can still deploy my pen and go stabby to their face.

The bottom line is that you need to consider your needs and abilities and not worry about what DEV Group is doing.  You need to make everything work for you.

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