Rick’s Blog August 3, 2014
What is your violence potential and what does it look like?
Between wishful thinking and paranoia lies a proper level of caution.
Wishful thinking is wanting a world where no one ever harms anyone and then believing you are living in that world – you are not.
Paranoia fears unrealistic dangers.
The real world lies in-between and to determine your proper level of concern you need to determine your violence potential.
This does not mean you should fear the world or stop doing what you do to enjoy your life it just means be aware of real concerns and be more aware when they have more potential to happen.
In martial arts we train in violence to prepare for violence but are we training for the right violence?
Rory Miller raised this issue at a seminar when talking about knife defence. There is a difference to training for knife attacks in a gang or assassinations or being threatened to force you to go to a second crime scene.
To determine what is your violence potential you have to look at your life and activities.
A police officer has a different violence potential than a young guy who bar hops and he has a different violence potential than a woman who jogs on a back trail listening to headphones and she has a different potential than retire guy spending most of his time looking after grand kids.
Violence wants something.
To make it simple (violence isn’t this simple) violence wants one of the following:
1. It wants what you have.
2. It wants you.
3. It just wants to hurt.
If you review your daily world looking for where you might be vulnerable for the bad folk to gain one of the above you begin to see your violence potential.
Most violence requires some window of privacy and control for it to work well for the bad guy.
So, again when reviewing your life where is there a window of privacy and control?
For example walking to your car across a parking lot full of cars actually gives a window where you can be approached. Fumbling for your keys while holding a bunch of packages gives a window where control can be taken.
1. Violence wants what you have:
Desperate people will break the windows of a car to get a pop bottle to return, so breaking your head for a few bucks is not a big leap.
Where are you exposed in your life?
Not only where you are exposed, but is it when you have more to offer? (But remember some people don’t care if it is a few bucks.)
Where do you shop?
Do you make the bank deposits for work?
2. Violence wants you.
Where in your day could you be found if someone wanted your body?
Do you jog through a back trail?
Do you listen with ear pieces while you do it?
Are you dating because sadly this includes dating?
Do you bar hop, or go to parties where you may either lose some control or have drinks tampered with?
3. Violence wants to hurt.
The same questions apply here as for #2 but the outcome can be even worse.
Once you determine where your caution points are then do an exercise Rory Miller uses by looking at you in that moment through the eyes of the bad guy and how would you get what you wanted through violence?
The bar fight will progress differently than the date rape but both will have precursors.
Look at when and how violence might enter your world.
If you can, eliminate unnecessary caution points. I am not saying stop jogging but maybe use a different more public route or get a jogging buddy or stop cutting of a vital sense by using ear pieces.
Once you review and limit your caution points to either ones you cannot avoid or simply chose to retain then review how violence could enter and be aware of the precursors. Sometimes you can cut violence off by showing it is not going according to the bad guy’s script.
Train self defence. But train for what you will face.
Hey if you’re bar hopping and fighting drunks is your caution point then study something that allows you to protect yourself without doing too much damage. (And read Marc MacYoung’s “In the Name of Self-Defense” because chances are if you hurt someone it wasn’t legally self defence.)
If the violence that will enter your world is being grabbed then study something that works in bad breath range and not sparring range.
You may notice I have no definitive answers here and the reason for that is violence has so many ways to appear. Domestic violence is different than an opportunist rapist which is different (in approach) than a date rape.
Only you can assess your violence potential and work to reduce the caution points and prepare for things going bad at those points.
By doing this you can avoid the dangers of wishful thinking and the paralysing fear of paranoia. You cannot live life in fear but you can live it with an appropriate level of caution.