The Instructors at Violence Dynamics have made a commitment to provide meaningful weekly content. I am very pleased about that in and of itself. I'm also very excited about residual effects it is having. Thought provoking content as a catalyst for discussion and debate. The network is working.
As such, discussion from this last week found a common thread - The high end use of force by civilians.
If several people had similar questions, those questions merit further inspection.
One source of discussion came from my buddies Jesse and Andi again
Here they are with their 3rd favorite Violence Dynamics Instructor
We teach techniques and principles that require one to inflict potentially life ending harm or damage on attacker. However, we don’t believe most Average Joe's could pull it off when protecting themselves.
We do, though, think that when protecting a loved one the situation would change. I’d rip the head off someone raping Andi but would I feel the same about someone attacking me?
Where do you find your inner animal while still remaining in the constructs of social appropriateness.
We place so much value on life and we’re afraid of death and so how do you cause this to someone else.
Easier to experience death than to cause it.
A similar question was posted on last week's live from Facebook video
If you haven't already you can watch it HERE
What differences have you found between training people who's professional identity involves violence,
verses those who's personal identity involves violence,
verses those who don't feel that violence is part of their identity?
I'm interested in two aspects of the question.
Firstly, how "professionals" and "amateurs" with some investment look at violence and how it affects the potential options they see.
Secondly, what kind of work can be done with people that have little or no investment in violence and the higher levels of conflict, in particular medical professionals undergoing statutory training. What are realistic goals and what would be most useful within peoples practice?
To start addressing these concerns let's look at Rory Miller's comfort with violence scale:
Lethal (Willing to kill)
Assaultive (Willing to damage)
Aggressive (Willing to go physical)
Roughly the scale works like this, The level of violence you are comfortable with works on all levels below you. You don’t like people willing to go one level higher, and although you may need them, people 2 levels or higher make you uncomfortable (may seem like monsters to you).
For example, professional force users by definition have to start at assaultive and be able to bump up to lethal on demand as circumstances dictate. So as an Operator if your wife who is nice is having problems with her boss who is manipulative, to you it seems a natural solution for her to just stand up to him (be assertive).
However, that is a 2 level leap which is very difficult for people to do.
It is easy for higher levels to use the tactics of lower levels. That is how professionals stay married to nice people, assaultive and be able to bump up to lethal on demand can use the mechanisms of any level below that including those of the nice.
But it is very hard for someone comfortable being nice to even manipulate.
For more information on this check out "Violence: A Writer's Guide" HERE
What kind of work can be done with people that have little or no investment in violence and the higher levels of conflict?
The starting point for Instructors is to help people understand where they are on the comfort with violence scale, and find where they glitch ethically. Once that is acknowledged, helping them become very good with the level of force / violence they permit themselves to operate at.
An exercise we use at Violence Dynamics to start looking at ethical glitches is the capacity drill
It is not physically difficult to maim or kill a human being. That is capability. Even the toughest most bad ass human you can imagine is just seven liters of blood in a skin sack. Everything that monster needs to be human (spinal cord) is only protected by thin rings of fragile bone. Everyone reading this has the capability.
In training if you get a sinking feeling in your gut when you work on putting your thumb through someone’s eye, or apply pressure to someone’s neck in a way that would break it outside of a training environment you may not be emotionally equipped maim or kill a human being.
There is nothing wrong with that. That is capacity. However, if you don’t have that in you it does you no good to practice it. You will have to get really good at lower levels of force.
It is imperative that you discover your capacity for violence before you are in a situation where you are forced to use violence.
Someone comes at you with a knife.
You have a gun. You have nowhere to retreat, nor lower force options – Preclusion
The threat has Intent, Means, and Opportunity to kill you.
Do you shoot?
Do you shoot to kill?
Are you okay with that? Take a minute to think about it. To feel it.
Now change one element and ask yourself those questions again
The threat is:
- 12 years old
- 6 years old
- 4 years old
- A woman
- A pregnant woman
- Mentally disabled
- Your spouse / partner
- Your child
A four year old child with a knife could end me.
Cold math dictates that lethal force is not only justified but logical.
Cold math dictates that lethal force is not only justified but logical.
However, personally I’d rather die trying to disarm the little amazon pictured above than maim or kill my daughter.
The point is we need to know our own personal capacity before we are forced to test it.
Questions are free, answers always cost. I feel no one can honestly answer the questions of the capacity drill until they pay the price of being there, or somewhere similar. However, this exercise is a good start to finding our own personal capacity before we are forced to pay the price for an answer.
Reader's Digest version - Morihei Ueshiba was a fantastic Jujitsu guy. He goes through a difficult time during his father's death and becomes deeply involved in religion. How does one balance their career teaching Jujitsu, a violent career, with their newly found religious beliefs, their new ethics?
Ueshiba developed a new form of Jujitsu called Aikido. Roughly translated as the way of peace and harmony.
Ueshiba found what level of force / violence he was comfortable with and developed an entire art around it.
Ueshiba stated that Aikido was for “the loving protection of all beings” - So he had to get really good
at protecting him self with out damaging the attacker.
Being able to control someone with out hurting them is an extremely difficult task!
If you don't believe me try being a cop for a week or two.
Not everyone has 8-12 hours a day, 7 days a week, over a span of 30 some odd years to develop that skill as Ueshiba did. That may be a worthy end goal, but you have to survive 30 some odd years to get there.
Until then it will be necessary to use all levels of force to protect yourself.
Where do you find your inner animal while still remaining in the constructs of social appropriateness?
How do you help someone expand their capacity?
This is no easy task either.
Terry Trahan spoke about it in part on his Facebook live video last week. You can watch it HERE
Terry mentioned, and I agree that a large part of expanding capacity is acknowledging self worth.
As Jesse asked:
I’d rip the head off someone raping Andi but would I feel the same about someone attacking me?
I could kill for someone I love but I don't think I could kill to protect myself.
This also shows up a lot as Momma Bear Syndrome - A mother says something like I'd rather die than hurt someone. Then you put them in a situation where there child is in danger and this mother that could not envision causing damage to a threat is like "I will tear out your throat and butt fuck your soul!!!!!"
You have to understand you are worth killing for
The philosophy of Aikido to protect all living things.
However, you have to put yourself on the top of that list of living things or you can't protect a warm cup of piss (extra credit points to anyone who can name that movie in the comments).
Terry also spoke about imagination.
So if you have checked your glitches, and you feel you can use high levels of force to protect someone you love from pain, but are unsure if you could to protect yourself - play this plastic mind exercise with me.
The picture above is of my sister-in-law Barb. The love of my brother's life. She died in surgery 15 years ago.
Although he hides it, I know my brother is in pain. He hurts every Christmas. He hurts every birthday. He hurts every anniversary. He hurts every special moment because she was taken away from him, from all of us. That is a lot of pain.
So if you would kill to protect a loved one from pain, are you going to let some asshole cause a lifetime of pain by taking you away from your loved ones?
"I will tear out your throat and butt fuck your soul!!!!!"
You are worth killing for.
Train Hard, Train Smart, Be Safe
You owe it to those that you love to do what is necessary to continue to be part of their lives