I used to go shooting. A lot. Since the move to the Lone Star State, not so much. I think it’s because I now have something roughly approximating a life. Either that or I’ve screwed-up my priorities. Anyway, I do what I can away from the range to keep my armed self-defense skills fresh. For example, I practice drawing from concealment and moving towards cover or concealment (at home, unloaded safety-checked firearm) at least twenty times a day. There are things I do to maintain some semblance of operational readiness that don’t involve touching a gun, of which I’ll share with you . . .
As anyone who’s ever fought anyone will tell you, combat is exhausting. Especially if you go all-in and get the f out (the recommended strategy for successful self-defense). Exercise is key to having the physical resources to stay mobile and mentally sharp when the s hits the f. Although there’s nothing wrong with gradually working towards a smaller, less bulbous profile, the benefits of exercise accrue to overweight people, too. A small amount of regular somewhat strenuous exercise can increase an OFWG’s speed and stamina considerably. Same goes for regular weight training and increasing strength. And then there’s balance . . .
As the above video demonstrates, “street fighters” are all about getting their opponent on the ground and then beating the bejesus out of them. Your ability to maintain your distance and/or stay on your feet after an initial attack could easily be the difference between life and death. So practice balance as well. Any exercise involving a BOSU ball [top image above] will do the trick. (I practice drawing from concealment while on the ball as well.) Really odd yoga positions work too. Or make something up.
While what can be conceived can be created, what can’t be imagined can’t be created. Well, not as quickly or as well. So spend some quiet time closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a self-defense situation: a scenario where you might realistically encounter an imminent threat of death of grievous bodily harm. See yourself avoiding, escaping and/or attacking the bad guy or guys. Are your kids there? What do they do? What about the people around you? Are you carrying something other than a gun? Do you drop it or throw it at the bad guy or guys. Cover? Concealment?
“Gun visualization” isn’t about nurturing boyhood fantasies of good triumphing over evil. Wait. No. It is like that. Just as fantasy role play helps children make sense of difficult reality (and pack relations), positive visualization prepares adults to think the unthinkable. Not wanting it to happen. Preparing should it happen. There’s no harm in that. And plenty of real world benefit.
After interviewing dozens of professionals who go into life-or-death situations (e.g., a member of the 82nd Airborne) for a book, I reckon that accepting the possibility of death is one key to achieving grace under fire. Not the certainty of death. The possibility of death. You accept that possibility and then put it out of your mind. For some, that means placing one’s faith in God and an afterlife. Others simply decide what things – usually people – are worth dying for.
Don’t get me wrong. To paraphrase General George S. Patton, an armed innocent’s job is to make the other bastard die for his aggression. (Technically, “stop the other bastard’s imminent threat of death of grievous bodily harm.”) Knowing what you’re fighting for and accepting the risk of death allows you to relax enough to make that happen. To be focused and determined. Put another way, you don’t need a gun to figure out why you need a gun – just as you don’t need a gun to train for a gunfight. It’s one thing, but not the only thing.