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By Michael P Rowe
Modern tools and equipment are not a guarantee of survival. A mindset and training plan are.

There is a belief that the best trained, the most sophisticated and those with the greatest understanding are the ones who are most likely survive disasters and high stress situations etc. Movies, novels, and television  tends to lean this way.

Welp I call "Bullshit!"

In December 2004 a Tsunami hit the Indian Ocean. One of the groups to survive was the Jarawa tribe. What was their greatest and most sophisticated piece of equipment? The simple “Bow and Arrow”, however their ancient oral tradition contains advice on what to do, when the ocean retreats; they get to high ground. An ocean retreating is a tell-tale sign that a tsunami is about to occur. These primitive people survived in a situation where the educated and suposedly more sophisticated failed. Their culture was more attuned with the basics of survival than their modern western counterparts. Most people in the modern world rarely have to consider if they will have enough to eat, have somewhere to shelter etc. These survival concerns are taken for granted. For the Jarawa, they are an everyday concern.

Our training aims to put us back in touch with our survival side. In every technique practiced we should consider the potential outcomes if: the assailant had a knife, had friends to assist him and/or knew how to prevent us applying the technique. This is not just in order for us to claim that we are a reality based self-defense system; an assailant may not be armed, may not be part of a group etc. Rather it is to engage our mind and make us curious about the situation we are facing. Rather than standing on a beach looking out at a retreating sea in a transfixed state, we should be questioning the situation e.g. if the sea goes out what happens next? And come to the logical conclusion that it’s coming back at some point and then determine our response i.e. it’s probably not best for us to be there when it happens, simply because we don’t know exactly what will happen.

We may not always have the exact knowledge of what to do in a particular situation however if we are curious and ask ourselves questions we can up our survival chances greatly. If we assume that the aggressive individual coming towards us has a knife in his back pocket we will know that it is wise to keep some distance and watch his hands. If our eye is drawn to something or a movement that is out of the ordinary we should make a risk assessment of the situation. There are two possible outcomes of our risk assessment: high risk and unknown risk. Judging something as low risk puts us of our guard. If we are standing on the beach and the sea retreats we need to assess the situation from a risk perspective. We may not have the knowledge to understand what we are seeing and may only be able to categorize the situation as having “unknown” risk but that should be enough for us to try and determine the possible outcomes of the situation e.g. what will happen when the sea returns.

Developing this ability to assess situations from a risk perspective and being curious about our situation and environment is how we start to develop situational awareness. Bring this thinking to your training; consider how a technique would fair when a knife or multiple assailants were present and what you could do to offset these additional problems – how you might alter a technique, your body position or what your next steps would/may need to be. This will take out a lot of the potential surprises that real life situations may involve and prevent you from standing transfixed as something you’ve never seen before or considered happens.


Hours of Operation

Monday 5:00  - 9:00 pm
Tuesday  5:00  - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 5:00  - 9:00 pm
Thursday 5:00  - 9:00 pm
Friday 5:00  - 7:00  pm
Saturday 8:00 am - Noon
Sunday Personal Training Sessions by Appointment

Phone: (402) 277-8568

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