If you want to avoid/survive a violent attack, situational awareness may not be enough. Humans simply aren’t wired to maintain maximum vigilance every waking moment of their lives, even in war zones. Out and about in your regular haunts? At some point, you will let your guard down. But wait, there’s more! Whether or not you see an assault coming, your attacker has the first mover advantage. In other words, there’s a good chance they’ll get the jump on you. That you will be “behind the curve.” That you may find yourself just a fraction of a moment away from a close encounter with a gun/knife/baseball bat/fist/etc. Or outnumbered. Or surrounded. Or all of the above. Which pretty much leaves you with two options . . .
Despite the video above—where bad guys are shooting people who hand over their valuables—do not discount the option of doing what you’re told. There are times when a self-defense firearm or close quarters combat skills may do you no good whatsoever.
Let’s say someone has a knife to the throat of your daughter. John McClane that? Uh . . . What about a gun pressed against your kidney? Krav Maga warriors are good to go. Unfortunately, those skills aren’t on my resume.
Remember: survival is the goal. If you and yours survive, you win. If you survive without physical or mental injury, even better. There is nothing you own that’s worth dying for. Just thought I’d mention that.
Equally, think of capitulation as a temporary strategy. You can always go from not fighting to fighting. Even as you “pretend” to capitulate, you should prepare for an opportunity to attack. Constantly assess whether the odds favor aggression rather than submission.
Things change. Say you’re in a Stop ‘N Rob. A guy with a gun comes to hold up the store. If you can stay out of it, result! If the robber or robbers start flashing their gun around, threatening customers and/or begin to move people to the back room, it’s go time. No matter what.
If you’re willing to risk your life to fight a bad guy because you’re unwilling to acquiesce (even temporarily) to the forces of evil, that’s a perfectly understandable perhaps even admirable position. We’re all going to die someday.
Personally, I prefer to think of fighting as a means to an end. If I can run away from an attack, run I shall. As for leaving innocents behind, I dunno. There is something to be said about helping your fellow man. There is also something to be said about being alive to raise my daughter.
If I believe that fighting is my best option, that turning tail or surrender is untenable or morally repugnant, I will fight with everything I’ve got. Instant on. All in. Gun, fists, kicks, elbows, nearby picture frame, whatever. That much Krav Maga I do know.
How I or anyone else makes that determination is hard to say. It’s not even possible to predict whether the “decision” to unleash the dogs or war will even be a decision. It may be an instinctive reaction. But this much is true: timing is everything.
There are two conflicting adages in play: “He who hesitates is lost” and “Act in haste repent at leisure.” On one hand, fast reactive violence is an excellent way to regain the first mover advantage. On the other hand, if you go all-in too soon (i.e. it doesn’t work) there’s not much of a chance of a plan B.
Anything you can do to prepare for a violent attack—firearms practice, going to the gym, keeping your head on a swivel in public, etc.—-will increase your chances of survival, provided you don’t die during training. You see how that works? Life is a crap shoot. But there are times when you’ve got to fight for your right to party. Good luck with that.