Posts Tagged ‘Personal Safety’

Most attackers are known to you, in domestic abuse they are likely repeat offences. (source)
Audio by Jonathan Fader

Last week I wrote the article, “If you were attacked, was it your fault?” Though it shouldn’t be, it is quite a controversial concept, as who wants to take responsibility, even partially, for being attacked? Usually no one. We tend to prefer our understanding of things from to be binary, we apply a black and white perspective to some categories, yet often, and simultaneously, we adhere to a belief in “grey areas” and “a spectrum” for others. The thing is, you have to pick; in reality most occurrences fit the bell curve model and are not so black and white. Ideally, all events in our lives should be analyzed case by case, but this is an energy intensive way of looking at the world (mentally and emotionally), so, as we are human and prefer easy answers, we apply blanket logic, even when it is the most inappropriate.

That being said, when you are mugged, robbed, or otherwise attacked by a stranger, it is considerably more black and white than when you are attacked by someone you know. As martial artists we often focus only on the former, even though most of the time it is actually the latter that is a problem. One Glasgow University study found that, of the 991 sexual assault victims they interviewed, almost 90% knew their attacker (with only 9% being victimized by strangers).

One of the reasons we don’t talk about it openly, on average, is because it’s difficult, messy, emotionally charged, and so grey (full of various shades) that it is like being colour blind and then trying to tell the difference between red and green.

Yet, as a self-defence instructor, both in my personal and professional life I have encountered many, many, many individuals who have experienced any combination of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Yes, it is mostly women who have lived through these scenarios, but I have also met men who have had such experiences.

As a society, while some people are willing discuss “violence within social circles,” family violence, or partner abuse (often politicized), the general attitude is to pretend like everything is alright, when, if you know where to find it, you can witness the worst of humanity.

To emphasize this point I would like to relate an experience I had dealing with “hoarder houses.” No, not some TV show, but rather what I have actually seen while working for company that handled large scale junk removal. Much to my surprise, extreme examples exist in an area like Metro Vancouver. In fact, they were far more numerous than one would think, and often these houses looked no different then the ones next to them, from the outside. One of the most unfortunately memorable and disturbing cases was a home in which a man, who was clearly a heroin junkie and single father with several kids. Our best guess, based on the conditions we encountered and the items we removed, was that this individual routinely locked his children under the stairs, in cages, leaving them to defecate in yogurt bottles while he got high.

Yes, you read that right.

Abuses by family or friends are very much like these hoarder houses; individuals, both victims and abusers, often go to great lengths to hide the fact that it is happening. This could be due to fear, shame, misguided loyalty, or any of various other reasons why silence occurs. One thing I know for sure is that in most cases society fails to reasonably deal with these horrible situations.

For adults, getting out could mean losing financial stability, shelter, and social support from friends and family. For children, it is far more complicated.

Of the abuse victims I have met, several have admitted privately that they “didn’t say anything” because they did not want it to break the family apart. For others it’s simply shame and fear of judgement. The responsibility to protect yourself, however complex the situation may be, is more on the victims themselves (and, yes, I understand the psychology involved is also quite grey).

When it comes to children the fault is primarily on the “responsible adults” in their lives, the ones who are often choosing to ignore the obvious signs of abuse.

Regarding adults, an example I encountered in my own life was a friend I had long ago. They regularly made bad decisions, even though they knew it was bad (they had a pathological case of cognitive dissonance). One time, late at night, they called me asking me to pick them up because their partner was being abusive. I showed up, and as they were walking to the car their partner started sprinting toward the vehicle. I pulled a move that I wish I had filmed. As I opened the passenger door, grabbed their hand, pulled them into the vehicle. I sped forward and did a 180, while their partner was punching the driver’s side window so hard they left bloody knuckle marks. My friend called the police and they asked if we wanted to press charges. My friend did not. (I could have, and I honestly don’t recall why I did’t.)

Later that night my friend asked me to take them back…

They were out and could have easily chosen to leave permanently.

One month later, their partner was stabbed and killed in a fight (after pulling their own knife in a struggle). The newspapers reported “what a saint this guy was” on account of him being a volunteer firefighter, and his mother couldn’t understand why her “lovely son” died. Except, I, like others, knew the truth. They ignored the fact that he was violent, had a criminal record, and was, quite frankly, a piece of shit.

When it comes to children it’s even more complicated, largely on account of what happens when it is deemed that they should be removed from their parents or guardians due to abuse. Well, they often end up in “the system”, a Child Welfare system in which in many cases is worse for the child than their own home. Yes, the home in which they were being abused.

Horrible, I know. The reality is, with kids or adults, one of the best things you can do is try to offer them sanctuary and, if possible with kids, try to gain some form of guardianship. Of course, “the system” doesn’t make this easy either.

If at this point you are having difficulty reading this, it is okay. It’s a dark subject (and I am barely even scratching the surface). Yet, while the world is currently the best place it has ever been to live (ignore the fear-mongering), there is still evil and darkness out there, even close to home.

We as a society have a tendency to only focus on that which can be politicized rather than that which is obviously wrong with what we have built. The simplest thing we can do is help those in our lives who may be at risk; by doing whatever you can. Whether that means paying for their self-defence lessons, providing them with shelter, or giving them financial support, you can do more than you think. Whatever you decide, know that you are probably better help than the system.

The government and the justice system have completely failed on this matter, at least in the West. In other countries there isn’t even a system to help those who are or would be abused.

For many the world is better than ever, for others it is still a nightmare.

When we talk about these topics we must be honest and not jump on one-liners, slogans, or broad statements. It must be case by case, requiring sincere consideration.

If you know someone, female, male, or other, adult or child, who you think is being abused, ask yourself, “What can you do to help?”

Written: by Jonathan Fader

Have you assessed this situation critically? Is the short cut worth the risk? (source)
Audio by Jonathan Fader with additions

Being assaulted, attacked, robbed etc… will always be a horrible, unwanted experience. Yet, at any given time, all over the world, it is happening to someone. For the purposes of keeping it simple I am only going to be discussing basic assaults (eg. muggings). This subject will, of course, become more complex with regard to domestic disputes, or when the assault involves close friends, relatives, or mentors; such situations are impossibly complicated, as they are interwoven with emotion, personal connection, betrayal, and often shame. Perhaps “domestic and close relationship violence” could be a topic for another time (likely requiring another series)

For our discussion, imagine you were attacked while walking home, or you were mugged at an ATM. These are terrible experiences, and yet they are often somewhat avoidable. If you still watch the news or follow trends, you may often hear the term “victim blaming.” Discussing fault is typically frowned upon as it is considered cruel to say the person who got attacked was (even partially) to blame. Particularly in cases where it may have seemed unavoidable, taking responsibility for what happened, for most people is a daunting and heart wrenching task.

Before you jump down my throat, know that no one has the “right” to attack you and that these attacks are inexcusable. In most countries there are laws against such things, some of which have been in place for thousands of years. Yet this has not stopped assault, robbery, rape, and other garbage behavior. The idea that laws will protect you outright is, in many cases, delusional. If someone is trying to rob you, will you be able to call the police? Probably not. Even if you are somehow able to call 911, the response times can range from 5 minutes to no response at all (especially in today’s anti-police climate); which means that, when it comes to your own personal safety, you are the only one who can prevent immediate physical harm or death.

Of course, size matters. And if you are underage, with less life experience, it matters even more. If your attacker is bigger than you and decides to target you, fighting may be considerably more difficult and risky.

So what do you do, and why may it be your fault that you got attacked?

Simple, the best self-defence is avoidance. Though Krav Maga teaches to fight with all you have, this is really meant for when running is not an option. The goal, however, should always be to take a step back, think critically, and try to make good decisions and assessments so that you do not even have to make a fight or flight decision.

Hearing or even thinking that being attacked was, in one way or another, your fault, is a difficult idea to swallow and yet, if you don’t want such things to happen in the future you will have to make some changes. (Again, we are not talking about assaults involving partners, friends, or relatives)

The concept of personal responsibility or “ownership,” (made more popular these days by Jocko Willink in his books “Extreme Ownership” and ‘The Dichotomy of Leadership,” and by others in various publications) is a difficult concept for many, even in the best of times. You see, we have this thing called an Ego, and it wants to protect us and shift blame elsewhere. So if someone did a bad thing to us, we rationalize that it must be completely their fault. Yet, when it comes to self-defence and protecting yourself, that may not be entirely true.

Were you walking in a way that made you seem like an victim? With your head low, shoulders rolled forward, for example, are physical indicators that will lead an attacker to believe you are an easy target. Or did you, as Jordon Peterson would say, “stand up straight, with your shoulders high.” It may seem silly, but this simple change will take you from “easy target” to “potential problem” in the eyes of the attacker.

I, myself, am not the largest person, being 1.6m tall and (in the past) around 65-68kg. Yet I managed, despite my big mouth and tendency to offend people, even when I was younger and did not know how to fight, to not get jumped, or attacked, or worse (much to my surprise). In my case, it’s an explainable confidence that probably kept people guessing whether it was a good idea to attack me or not. I managed because I talked big and looked the part. Of course, occasionally I would recognize that I said the wrong thing to the wrong person, and I was immediately aware of that instinctual feeling: “It’s time to leave.”

Knowing when you are about to get in over your head, in any situations, is difficult. But knowing when you must leave (early “flight” indicators) will save you great pain and hardship. Failing to recognize that you, A) just pissed off a bunch of people, B) are probably in over your head, and C) failed to avoid further conflict, means that you are largely responsible for the resulting hospital trip. You failed to manage a bad situation, you stayed in that bad situation, and you allowed it to get worse.

Another example is the classic “taking a short cut through a dark alley.” Didn’t your mother tell you not too?! You can say all you want that “the person who robbed you shouldn’t have!” And you are right, they shouldn’t have, but your attacker doesn’t care; they are operating on a different moral scale then you are. Even if they are just trying to survive, they don’t have the right to take from you. But it really doesn’t matter in the moment, because now you are in the situation, and they are doing it. Failing to recognize that you were making a bad decision, a decision that put you in the position of being an easy target, makes it your fault. Failing to maintain situational awareness, to know when to run when you must, might be your fault to.

You might say, “Wait a second, for some people their body will cause them to have paralytic fear, causing them to freeze up and prevent any decision making that will be beneficial. So how can it possibly be their fault?”

Well, why did you go into the dark alley in the first place? Even if you knew it was a bad idea? Failure to recognize that decision as your fault may cause you to make it again and further compound any psychological trauma you may have experienced from the results of the first bad decision.

Furthermore, what did you do to prepare for violent situations? For most the answer is “Nothing.” Which would then be your fault. You assumed it would never happen to you and when it did you may have found yourself asking yourself, “why didn’t I do more?”

Prevention is the number one way to stay happy and healthy, which includes the ability to defend yourself. If you never learned even the basics of defending yourself, and you didn’t keep your body in good health so that you can run, it is again your fault.

We can say all we want that “people shouldn’t attack people” (which they shouldn’t) and “it’s their fault,” but we cannot control other people, we can only control ourselves, which means our personal safety is on us and us alone.

This, of course, doesn’t apply to small children, but as a parent you can teach and inform your children, in age appropriate ways, to give them the best possible chance of survival in any situation.

So, do you want to be the victim? Or do you want to take a proactive approach to self-defence, taking full personal responsibility. Learn to make good decisions, avoid people who might be problematic in your life, and learn to defend yourself.

Remember, it’s your life and your responsibility. While others contribute to who you are and why you are the way you are, when it comes to assault, in that single moment of time, all the blame on society, your parents, your significant other, are completely irrelevant. In that moment it is only you and them.

Did you do everything you could to avoid that horrible situation, or did you do nothing and wait to be the victim?

Written: by Jonathan Fader

If you are a regular UTKM Blog follower or active member in the Krav Maga or self-defense community, then you’ve probably figured out that there is a lot of politics in the Krav Maga world. Since I started Krav Maga, I’ve become familiar with some of the more active and larger organizations through training directly with them or their students and instructors. Some I follow on Facebook. Just to give you an idea, let’s list off some of the major recognized Krav Maga organizations, and even some smaller ones:

IKMA – Israeli Krav Maga Association
KMF – Krav Maga Federation
IKMF – International Krav Maga Federation
KMG – Krav Maga Global
KMW – Krav Maga Worldwide
KMA – Krav Maga Alliance
CT707 – Israeli Special Forces Krav Maga
CKMI – Combat Krav Maga International
IMKM – Israeli Military Krav Maga
KMIL – Krav Maga Israel
IKI – Israeli Krav International

Of course, there are many others legitimate organizations, but nowadays the Krav Maga community is fraught with liars and fakers. (I am not intentionally forgetting anyone, but I think my point is made by listing the above.) From a business perspective, I disprove of some of the ways these organizations operate or teach things that are impractical or unrealistic or stray from the fundamental Krav Maga principles. Many seem to have developed a more sports martial arts mentality. Yet, given the opportunity, I would like to train with each and every one of these organizations at one point or another (minus the obvious frauds).

Many people ask, “What’s the point?” Why train with other Krav Maga organizations when you’re already an expert? Many people have the stance that they already know everything there is to know about Krav Maga. So why put in the effort to train more?

Perspective

One simple rationale. Perspective is everything in the world. Even time itself is simply the perspective of one point to another, from where it was before to where it is now.

perspective.gif

For this reason, I welcome and pursue training with other organizations and bring instructors from other organizations to train my students, even if I may not agree with or teach their curriculum. Our goal is to provide all of our students with the best possible ability to defend themselves. Thus, introducing them to other perspectives affirms what we have taught them or offers another method that works for them. The reason being that in the end, it is about them not me.

Personally, I have issues with all of these organizations, but I also see valuable lessons from all of them, just as how they view me and other smaller organizations or schools I am sure.

If a student trains with another organization and makes the decision to leave me, I truly hope it is for the right reason of giving themselves the best possible training that suits them. The goal is that they can defend themselves to the best of their ability in a dangerous situation.

ego.png

Ego aside…

I know people of all martial arts who only train with one organization, their organization, and never reach out to others. I commend their sense of loyalty, yet criticize their close-mindedness. For all they know, their instructors could be garbage or fraud. You are not getting the best training you can if you are limiting yourself to one source.

You are not getting the best training you can if you are limiting yourself to one source. Don’t limit your perspective and, in turn, limit your personal growth by restricting yourself to one organization, school, and style.

Sure, training with all of the organizations is unrealistic, not to mention expensive and impractical. However, now you know the benefits of branching out and experiencing more than one perspective throughout your Krav Maga or self-defense journey. At least, try to train with more than one organization. If not, how do you really know that you truly have the ability to defend yourself? Challenge yourself by learning and training with new people. Limiting yourself would limit your perspective. In the end, it could be catastrophic if you’re blindsided by a situation for which you are totally unprepared.

Perspective is everything. Don’t stop challenging yourself. Don’t stop learning. Keep searching for different perspectives.

A while back we were contacted by some one from the Krav Maga Instutue in NYC, http://www.kravmagainstitutenyc.com/krav-maga-landing-2b/, asking to collaborate. It has been a while but we are happy to post their first article. If you are a Krav Maga school, Instructor or even student that would like to help contribute to the blog feel free to contact Jonathan Fader at:  jfader@urbantacticscanada.com so that we can make the Krav Maga world and family a little more knowledgeable one post at a time!

6 Times you’re really tempted to Krav Maga Someone, But Shouldent!

When You Keep Getting Bumped on the Train

There are very few things worse than commuting during rush hour, especially in a big city like New York. Thousands of strangers pressed together on their way to or from work — that’s a recipe for agitation, short tempers, and possible confrontations. When you’ve already had a stressful day because you flubbed your big presentation at work and then a hulking monster of a guy keeps elbowing you in the ribs “by accident,” it’s understandable that you’d want to elbow him too … in the groin. Solution: Take a deep breath, go home, and immediately start looking for jobs that allow telecommuting.

When a Conniving Co-Worker Takes Credit For Your Work

You just busted your ass finishing a mega report that your co-worker helped with marginally at best. Imagine your surprise, and fury, when you submit it to your boss and your colleague says, “Hope you like it, boss. I think it might be my masterpiece.” Resist the urge to roundhouse them in the head and remember that the truth always prevails. Solution: Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss the report further and present your hours of research and work. Clearly outline your co-worker’s involvement, which your boss will see is actually tantamount to Googling some names. You’d be revealing the truth without deliberately sabotaging your colleague.

When You Catch Your Partner Cheating

Hopefully this will never happen to you. But if it does, then there’s no easy way to say it — it’s going to hurt like hell. In fact, your immediate urge will be to inflict pain right back, if not on your partner then certainly on that stranger in your bathrobe. However, not only will attacking them not win you your partner back (if anything, it would all but cement the breakup), it might land you in jail. Solution: Take the high road and calmly deal with the situation, whether that means leaving or asking the third party to leave. Show them how cool, mature, and graceful you are in a situation like this, and then remind them that’s what they just lost.

When Someone’s Rude to Someone You Love

You’ll probably never want to deck someone so bad as when you witness someone being rude to your mom or little sister or best friend. Sometimes it’s much easier to let a confrontation go when it’s targeted at you, but when it’s someone you love, your protective instinct kicks in. Chances are, however, your mom, little sister, or best friend would not want you to punch someone in the face in their honor. So don’t. Solution: If you must, calmly let the assailant know they had been rude. Perhaps they weren’t even aware of their actions and will apologize immediately. Or you can always let it go and use the encounter as an excuse to go get dessert somewhere with your loved one.

When That Sleazy Guy Ruins Your Night Out

All you ladies out there will know what I’m talking about. You’re out with your friends at the bar and one very persistent, very unwelcome guy won’t leave you alone. You just want to focus on your friends, and your whiskey, but he won’t take no for an answer, all the while looking down your shirt and making suggestive comments about how you look tense. Of course you look tense — there’s a douchebag pressing up against you. It’s like his groin is just asking for you to send your knee over. Solution: Drop the niceties and tell him very bluntly that he’s creeping you out. If he still won’t relent, ask your friends if they would mind moving on to another bar or inform the staff that there’s a sleazebag creeping out their customers.

When You Witness Bullying

Krav Maga teaches us to use our skills in order to maintain overall peace. As a result, you may sometimes feel like a vigilante who can help restore order in society with a swift hammer fist or a hard push kick. When you notice someone getting pushed around, your first response might be to step in and subdue the bully. However, you don’t know these people or the circumstances of the situation. For all you know, they could be siblings with an aggressive dynamic.

Solution: Calmly ask what the problem is and try to assess if the apparent victim needs any help. If it becomes clear that it’s a misunderstanding, then move along. If the victim is a woman who appears to be getting abused by a man, alert the authorities.

Written by: Alicia Lu

http://www.kravmagainstitutenyc.com/krav-maga-landing-2b/ by way of Cai Cuyugan