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The Incredibles teaches us that monologuing — ranting at your vanquished enemy before administering the coup de grace — is a bad idea. The sign above makes the same point. Instead of plugging his assailant(s), the Austin tavern keeper fired a warning shot and issued a verbal challenge. All very Hollywood and perhaps apocryphal, but really stupid . . .

Always remember: speed, surprise and violence of action is the best strategy to win a gunfight or, for that matter, any sort of fight. If you’re going to attack, go all in with as much violence as humanly possible.

You can’t learn or practice that strategy — what’s often called the “combat mindset” — at a square range. Loading your gun and shooting at a target ain’t it.

I can’t recommend force-on-force training highly (or often) enough. At the same time, I’m down with any firearms training course where the instructor or instructors do their level best to get your adrenalin flowing.

The Israeli self-defense system known as Krav Maga is based entirely on speed, surprise and violence of action. Even a single lesson (usually free) can give you valuable insight into what you need to survive a violent encounter, gun or no gun.

Meanwhile, for safety’s sake, realize that there comes a time when your words are meaningless. A danger to your survival, in fact. Delaying you from doing what needs to be done, giving your assailant precious time to gain the action advantage (action beats reaction).

Bottom line: no warning shots, ballistic or spoken.

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  1. I have heard that talking creates another problem: it slows your reaction time.

    Your reaction time is slower when you are talking because your brain’s limited processing power has to shift from formulating thoughts and language to convey those thoughts — to recognizing that an imminent threat is at hand and formulating a strategy to counter that threat.

    If I understand it correctly, it is that transition that adds to your reaction time.

    I have not seen any sources to back up this claim. I even tried a crude test with family members to investigate whether talking affected their reaction time. The results of my crude test indicated that talking did not affect their reaction time. Has anyone else heard of this? Have any sources?

    • once ol’ girl gets yakkin’ there isn’t much that’ll get done. i always encourage her to speak into the microphone. two birds; maybe she’ll forget the words.

    • ” The results of my crude test indicated that talking did not affect their reaction time. Has anyone else heard of this? Have any sources?”

      Source, no.

      Personal anecdote, yes.

      It was right after I got my first cellphone. Part of the job I had at the time was maintaining analytical instrumentation out in the chemical plant. Each process ‘train’ had a small lab so they could see what was going on in their plant before it got out of control.

      Anyways, a few minutes after I left work for the day, while navigating city traffic in rush hour, the phone rang. One of the plants was getting really weird test results. So I started walking the shift analyst through a complex troubleshooting procedure. And nearly wrecked my car. A few times.

      It was impossible for me to be focused on the in-depth conversation at the plant and drive. Each time I tried, I nearly crashed the car. I finally told the guy I’d call him in 20 min. after I got home. And I did.

      Quite frankly, it scared the crap out of me. Light, superficial chatting with passengers while driving wasn’t a problem. Listening to music, even getting into it, wasn’t a real problem. An intense, focused conversation while driving, no way Jose.

      It was like my reaction times were *seriously* impaired. It was pretty much on-par wit the type of impairment I had experienced years past when driving plastered. (I haven’t done that in many years. and zero plans to resume. Stupidity of youth, etc.)

      • My crude experiment:
        — I had family members hold out their hand and prepare to catch a ruler bill between their forefinger and thumb. I would drop the ruler, just above their finger/thumb, at random times and get an average length of drop which equates to reaction time.
        — Next, I had family members answer a question (something like, “What did you have for dinner yesterday?”) and dropped the ruler at some random time during their response. I averaged the length of ruler drop (which equates to reaction time) again.
        — I did not see any noticeable difference in the distance that the ruler would drop before they would catch it, whether they were focused only on catching the ruler or whether they were answering a question that involved a minimal amount of thought.

        Of course, in my crude experiment, no one was under stress/duress. Perhaps the result would be markedly different if the person formulating a thought and conveying it was under stress.

    • I was taught this in Krav Maga. Ask the aggressor a question and take action while they answer or contemplate it. Don’t challenge, cooperate, and hope you can get them distracted for a couple seconds. For example: “Give me your wallet and keys!” can be responded with “Sure. Can you drive a stick?” or “Ok. Do you want my PIN numbers too?” or the generic standby “Please don’t hurt me. What do you want?” Then bam! Another tip, if they tell you to move “put you hands up, etc” that’s the time to strike because they expect you to move, and it takes time to determine that the movement isn”t conforming to the instructions.

  2. this was an actual Apache saying:

    “It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.”

  3. if i’m that salty, talking time is over.

    action beats reaction: works both ways. make sure to call 911 on her first.

  4. The only words you need say are: “move and I’ll shoot you”.
    I’ve trained for thirty years in the forerunner to krav maga, ryukyo kempo, now know as ryu tei.

  5. Self defense is brutal. There’s no time or even reason for conversation.
    Orders, though, are not conversation; they don’t require (or even ask for) any verbal response.
    “GET ON THE FLOOR” isn’t a conversation starter, it’s a conversation ender.
    I don’t like to be a keyboard commando, but in a self defense situation, action beats words anytime.
    In my home, being presented with the business end of a 12 gauge should engender shock and awe. Anything else is just asking for at least an ounce of buckshot being launched at you at far too fast a speed to try to duck.

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