Good talk on blocks

Sensei Canna offers insight into the real world of self defense!

Moderator: Van Canna

Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:56 am

CONDITION RED- In Red, you are ready to fight! You may, or may not, actually be fighting, but you are MENTALLY PREPARED to fight.

In many, or perhaps even most, circumstances where you have gone fully to Red, you will not actually physically do anything at all.

The entire process of escalating from Yellow, to Orange, to Red, then de-escalating right back down the scale as the situation is resolved, occurs without any actual physical activity on your part.

The key is that you were mentally prepared for a conflict, and thus could physically act if the situation demanded.

When you believe a threat is real, and you have escalated to Red, you are waiting on the Mental Trigger, which is a specific, pre-determined action on his part that will result in an immediate, positive, aggressive, defensive reaction from you.

This is how you achieve the speed necessary to win. By having a "pre-made decision" already set up in your mind, you can move physically fast enough to deal with the problem.

Without that pre-made decision, the precious time in which you could have acted was wasted on trying to decide what to do after he starts his attack.

The Mental Trigger will differ depending upon the circumstances. It could be, "If he swings that gun in my direction I will shoot him", for instance.

It could be, " I have told him to stop, if he takes one more step toward me with that (knife/tire iron/screwdriver) in his hand, I'll shoot him". Whatever trigger is selected, it is a button that, once pushed, results in immediate action on your part.

Your main enemy is reaction time. If you are not aware of your surroundings, and fail to see the suspicious character, he may overwhelm you before you can marshal an effective defense.

On the other hand, if you are thinking to yourself, "I may have to hurt that guy if he doesn't wise up"; you've probably already won that fight, because you have a better understanding of what is transpiring than he does!

The best fight is over before the loser fully understands what just happened.

If you're caught in Condition White, you will need five to six seconds to realize what is happening, get your wits together, and respond. You simply don't have that much time.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:17 am

There are a couple of mental tricks you can use in the early phases of your training to assist you in this.

Remember that one of the three problems I mentioned earlier in this chapter will be actually "doing it", actually employing lethal force when required.

To help with this, each morning when you put your gun on, remind yourself, "I may have to use my gun today". This plants in your subconscious mind (which drives 90% of your life) that there is a reason we wear these guns-we may actually need them to save our lives!

When you pick up on that potential threat and escalate to Condition Orange, tell yourself, "I may have to shoot him today!".

Believe me, if you have internalized that a specific person is an actual threat to your life, but that you have the means to stop him if need be, it gets easier to mentally deal with the situation.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:20 am

Let's work through a scenario to illustrate these principles. Let's say you are working in a jewelry store today, a small storefront shop in a strip mall in suburbia.

All of the other employees went to lunch and left you here alone. There are not even any customers in the store at the moment, you're alone. What mental state are you in?

(Yellow. You are not ensconced in your home; you're out in the real world.) So you keep your head up, and occasionally you scan out through the glass storefront and check out the parking lot.

Since there is no one else in the store, any problem will have to come from outside. You want to know about a problem while it's out there, not when it's standing across the counter from you.

As you glance through the glass, you see two men in their early 20's back up an old car to your store, get out in identical jogging suits, enter your door, and split up.

Immediately, you go to Orange. They have done nothing illegal, and nothing aggressive, but they are out of place, out of the ordinary, so you escalate your mental state, and begin to think.

"This looks like a hold-up in the making. I may have to hurt these guys. What should I do know? If things go bad, I'll drop behind this safe and I can shoot into that wall without endangering anyone on the parking lot. I have a plan."

At this point you watch them, and continue to monitor their movements. If they leave, you de-escalate to Yellow once they are gone.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:23 am

If they stay, they will probably get together on the far side of the store and briefly discuss what they have seen.

They will then move toward your position at the counter, and after trying to distract you (Can I see that ring back there?) pull their guns and announce a stick-up.

If you have been using the system, you went from Yellow to Orange when they came in, and went to Red as they approach your counter.

You are ready.

Because criminals have to be adept at reading body language (their lives depend upon this skill), they will see that you are prepared and simply leave.

About nine out of ten pairs will leave at this point, without a confrontation. As they drive away, de-escalate from Red, to Orange, to Yellow.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:24 am

What about the tenth pair? They are drugged, drunk, or both, and failed to recognize your level of readiness.

They may go ahead foolishly with their hold-up. According to FBI studies, probably 80% of the ones you will actually have to fight will be under the influence of drugs/alcohol/drugs and alcohol at the time.

What's the good news? They're drunk and/or drugged, which plays Hell with their reflexes, reaction time, and motor coordination.

They'll be relatively easy to deal with, IF you are mentally prepared (Condition Red) and have done your homework.

If they come in, and upon observing them you go to Orange, then as they approach, to Red, but then they leave, and you de-escalate, you will have gone all of the way up the scale without even reaching for your gun, which is very common.

The point is, you would have been ready to reach for your gun if necessary. This is how you win fights, by being mentally prepared to win.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:11 am

What makes what you have learned in class... really work the better percentage of time? This is really the question.

Let's see

Without a mindset or awareness of the constant possibilities of criminal attack you will be unprepared to meet them.

That is also part of the correct attitude...a relaxed yet ready mind and a prepared body equipped with the weaponry needed to meet the expected unexpected.

It does not take paranoia to be prepared, just having the tools and a mind that steps back enough to pay attention to things.

Being aware of things can actually be quite relaxing because you also begin to appreciate all the good things that surround you because you notice those things too while being aware.

This should take care of the idiotic 'paranoia' comments we hear now and then.

you don't have to walk around like a hard rock or a coiled cat ready to pounce.... until you meet something that requires it.

Attitude gets pretty deep once you really start to look at it but it is the root of the matter.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:30 am

The struggle for survival is natural. That fight or flight response is what allows all creatures to live to see another day, to pass on their genes to another generation.

Humans have the ability to fear death, not out of pure instinct, but because we consciously know that we are valuable; that our lives, despite all sadness and hardship, can still be sweet.

Something good could come as soon as tomorrow. That hope of happiness, that mere possibility of joy, is worth fighting for.

But have we gotten so far from nature that we have lost the ability to fight for our lives? Last week, Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina ran an emergency response drill.

A campus police officer posing as a gunman burst into a classroom, where he proceeded to hold the students hostage and terrorize them with a fake gun for 10 minutes.

Not one of the students fought back. Not one thought to pick up a chair or a desk, or even a book, to defend themselves. They all lined up against a wall and passively waited for death.

One of the students said, "I was prepared to die at that moment." Several students say they considered leaping from a window.

The college students who meekly bared their throats to those who wanted to rip them out are dead already - they just don't know it.
The will to live is life.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:28 pm

Could you really?
Another way to answer the question could be to point out that every animal on the planet, from the lowliest worm up to the largest carnivore, has a built-in reflex to protect its own life.

Human beings have this reflex, too. When you were a kid, did you ever try to hold your own breath until you passed out? Most people can't do it. Even if you are one of the very rare people who can, your body takes over for you and starts breathing again as soon as your conscious mind is out of the way.

This is important because it's very easy to claim, when you are sitting in your living room calmly contemplating different options, "Why, I'd let him kill me before I would ever fight back."

But your body, threatened with death, will have different ideas. It has a built-in reflex to fight back and defend itself.

So, when you know death is the alternative, you will fight to protect yourself if you can, using whatever defenses you are able. If you have an effective defense tool within reach, you will use it.

The drawback with using this angle is that while the defensive-instinct argument is absolutely true, it simply isn't convincing to people who have never been near death themselves.

And it may be difficult to discuss in polite company, because most people have some level of denial about what they are and are not capable of doing under stress. But it may be worth mentioning, if you think you can get away with it, because it's a meme that people will think about later if they are honest with themselves.

"Could you really...?" sometimes means the person asking the question really believes that nothing could be worse than taking the life of another human. Maybe they are thinking that the worst that could possibly happen, if they didn't defend themselves, is that they would die. For a Christian who believes in the reality of heaven, or for other religious people, that's not such a threat.

A fate worse than death ...?

But is death really the worst possible thing that could happen? Not to my way of thinking! I don't want to sicken you, my gentle readers, with grisly and unnecessary tales of disgusting events.

You read the newspapers and watch the news as often as I do. Having your loved ones tortured and slowly killed in front of you, while you watched helplessly -- that would be one thing far worse than dying outright.

Living with yourself after something like that might not even be worthwhile. I'm sure you can think of other horrible possibilities along the same lines, and if you can't, I want your imagination. My own is too vivid.

Sometimes the question means that the person asking it believes that no human being, no matter what he has done, really deserves to be killed for his actions.

That's not a debate to get into here, but I will say that such an argument usually shows that the person making it does not understand the nature and purpose of self-defense.

Contrary to what Hollywood might have us all think, self-defense is not about revenge, and it's not about punishing the attacker.

It isn't even about justice. Someone who defends herself is not passing judgment on her attacker. She is only trying to survive until society's watchdogs arrive to stop him and then (eventually) to pass judgment on him.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:30 pm

Listed below are some conditions under which I intend to fight back even if I don't think I can win.

I have made this list for myself because I understand that the natural thing to do, when something bad happens, is to deny that it is happening: "This can't be happening to me!"

Even if you get past that thought (a lot of victims never do), the other natural tendency is to tell yourself that if you wait, if you do what the other person says, things will get better. The situation will work itself out. All you have to do is cooperate.

The attacker will take your wallet, your car keys, whatever, and leave you alone. Just wait, do what he says, and everything will be okay.

That's what most people who are attacked tell themselves -- and in most cases, that is exactly what people should do. Even if you are armed, why kill someone if you don't have to? It's only stuff!

But while waiting for an opening and cooperating with the attacker might be the best survival strategy in many situations, there are a few very specific situations where waiting and cooperating are the worst things the victim can possibly do.

A woman forced into a car by an attacker, for instance, has a 95% or higher chance of getting killed if she complies. Even if it seems highly likely the attacker will kill her right there if she doesn't get in the car, the fact is that right at that moment, the odds are the very best they will ever be for her.

They might be lousy odds, but they aren't going to get any better. So I have decided, in advance, that if I'm ever in that situation, that's when and where I will fight back no matter what my frozen brain and in-denial guts are telling me about my odds.

Similarly, a man forced into a back room on his knees, with his back to the attacker, has just been put into the execution position. Most of the time, when someone is forced into this position, what comes next is a bullet in the back of the skull.

Once you are on your knees, you don't have any more choices left, even if do you suddenly realize what is about to happen. If you're going to save your own life in such a situation, you have to make the choice to fight back before you're on your knees.

The purpose of analyzing this stuff beforehand is to make sure that even my frozen brain and my in-denial guts cannot lull me into cooperating if I am ever in one of the extreme places where a victim really needs to fight if she is going to survive.

Because I've thought about this stuff in advance, if something like it ever happens, even my frozen brain will have a definite decision point.

Some of my personal boundaries are:

I will not go anywhere at gunpoint. If the bad guy wants me to go somewhere else, it's because he will be able to do something to me there that he is unwilling or unable to do to me right here, right now.

Therefore no matter how bad the tactical situation seems right here and now, right here and now is the absolute best chance to fight back I will ever have and I intend to use it.

I will not be tied up. If the bad guy wants to tie me up, it is because he wants to do things to me that I would be able to prevent if I were not tied up. Therefore, I will resist while I am still able to do so.

I will not kneel. No one is going to execute me. If I die, I'll die fighting.

My point is not that your boundaries should be the same as mine. It is simply that even though you can wait until the very last moment to make the final decision about fighting back, you should have certain things already set into your decision-making machinery beforehand.

If you don't, and if you are ever attacked, you may not have enough time to do anything but stand there with your brain frozen solid while your attacker takes all your choices away.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:28 pm

"It’ll just get taken away from you and used against you."

This annoying and offensive sentence, with its unspoken accusations of female inferiority and lack of resolve, is nevertheless based upon an important foundational truth. If you carry a gun and are not prepared to use it if necessary, you are indeed at risk for a gun grab or worse.

A lot of concealed carry folks swim in a sea of euphemisms; I just did it myself. "Use it if necessary" avoids the blunter but more honest, "to kill another human being."

If speaking bluntly about the purpose of our concealed weapons doesn’t come easily to most of us, how much more difficult would the deed itself be?

Socially, psychologically, and emotionally, few people are able to consider unwaveringly the full implications of carrying a deadly weapon for self defense.

If speaking bluntly about the purpose of our concealed weapons doesn’t come easily to most of us, how much more difficult would the deed itself be?
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:28 pm

"A very large percentage of people who carry a concealed handgun do not carry it as a weapon. They carry it as a good luck charm. They think of it as a magic talisman that wards off evil, or as a rabbit's foot," says firearms instructor Tom Givens.

But the mere presence of the gun is no magic bullet. Without the mental willingness to use the gun in the final extreme, its usefulness is strictly limited.

So how do you come to the place where you are willing to risk killing someone who is trying to kill you? Face it, this isn’t the sort of thing that most people think about. It’s not socially acceptable to talk about killing people.

If there is a social stigma against carrying a gun, there’s a much greater stigma against using one, even to save your own life.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:29 pm

Many women who carry a gun do so because they had some sort of an unpleasant incident, an encounter which created in them an awareness of vulnerability and a determination not to let it happen again. This isn’t universal by any means, but it is a common first step.

But plenty of people encounter violence every day, and they don’t decide to fight back next time. They don’t decide to go armed. So the journey to determined self defense usually takes in a few other stops along the way.

One bedrock question is simply this: what are you willing to fight for? What is so important to you that you would be willing to do whatever it takes to defend it? Is there anything?

A lot of people say no to this question, straight up. Nothing is worth the risk of taking another human’s life, they say. But a little probing might give a different answer.

"I wouldn’t fight back to save my own life," a friend of mine once confessed, "but if someone tried to touch one of my babies, well ~!" This isn’t an uncommon sentiment, and a lot of women who are otherwise passively unwilling to fight admit that they would do literally anything to protect their offspring.

Some become willing to fight for their own lives the day they realize that their kids would be harmed by growing up without a mother.

Nor is this dynamic unique to those who have children. One woman of my acquaintance first became willing to use a gun simply because she heard a news story wherein an intruder killed the family dogs before attacking the female homeowner.

My friend hadn’t previously been willing to fight on her own behalf, but realized she would fight to protect her beloved pets.

What are you willing to fight for? What is so important to you that you would be willing to do whatever it takes to defend it?

Religious people often face more daunting hurdles on their road to fighting back. From the sacredness of all life in some devotional traditions to the staunch pacifism of others, from ‘thou shalt not kill’ in Judaism to ‘turn the other cheek’ in Christendom, from the ahimsa of Hinduism to the dharma of Buddhism, most religions contain at least some elements that could be at odds with lethal self-defense.

Overcoming the qualms caused by these teachings can take time, diligent study, and much soul-searching.

Some religious difficulties are simply the result of misunderstandings. While most Christians and Jews have heard, "Thou shalt not kill," for example, only a relative few know that the Hebrew word often translated as "kill," would more properly be translated "murder" by most scholars.

Many similar questions can be cleared up by discussion with a more knowledgeable friend, or with a religious leader. Sometimes, the answers will be surprising.

When a little girl asked the Dalai Lama a question about school violence, for instance, the Dalai Lama told her "it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun" in some situations.

Occasionally, a deeply spiritual person will sense a conflict between trusting God on one hand, and defending her own life on the other. Can she really trust God to protect her, she wonders, if she takes steps to protect herself?

Further thought might show that trusting God to protect her doesn’t have to be at odds with defending herself -- not any more than preparing her own meals is at odds with trusting Him to provide her daily bread.

After all, God created human beings as tool-users with creative minds, in a universe governed by cause and effect, in a world where actions have consequences.

Does even a murderer or a child molester or a rapist deserve to be killed for his actions? Such a question can haunt the ethical person. But perhaps a more perceptive question would be, "Who decided that this conflict was worth a human life?"

When an assailant raises a deadly weapon toward an innocent person, the assailant has already made the most important choice of the day: he has decided that someone is going to die. The only decision left for anyone else to make is whether the person who dies will be an innocent victim, or one of society’s predators.

In the final analysis, each person’s journey on the road to self-defense is intensely personal. The decision that her own life is worth defending, even if it comes at the cost of killing an attacker, cuts right to the heart of each woman’s most deeply held moral, ethical, and religious beliefs.

Ultimately, anyone who carries a deadly weapon must decide for herself where her own boundary lines lie. She must decide for herself what it will take for her to say to an assailant: "Not me. Not mine. Not today."

Otherwise, her gun could get taken away and used against her.
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:05 pm

How to be a good witness

By A Dispatcher

This article, written by a dispatcher who works for a large police agency in Arizona, was originally published on the Combat Carry discussion board, and is reprinted here with permission.

You always hear from other people (and sometimes your firearms instructor) to try to be a good witness rather than confront a situation head on, if possible. One thing that they forget to tell you is how exactly you can be a "good witness."

Well, I'm here to give you some tips on what to do when you dial those three important numbers: 9-1-1. Instead of tailoring this specifically for shooting-related incidents, I'm writing this for just about any kind of emergency because this is the most-important and first step to getting the help you need quickly.

Remember Where You Are


I have a saying at work, "I can send the world to you, I just need to know where to send it." We can send anything from animal control to sending in the military troops, but it will do no one any good if we can't find you.

It's commonly understood that when you call 9-1-1 that the dispatcher already knows the location of where you are calling and your phone number. That's not necessarily true.

It also depends on your local phone company and even how you're dialing 9-1-1. If you are calling from a residential phone, there's a high chance that the address shown on our screens are correct and the same with the phone number if you've lived there for a long time (e.g. +/- 5 years).

If you're calling from a cell phone, you might as well assume that we have no idea where you are let alone what your phone number is. Very few places in the country have the ability to not only know your phone number but to actually figure out your location, even while moving in a vehicle (mine is one of those few).

So, always be sure to give your location. If you are driving on a highway, keep track of whether you're going north/south/east/west-bound, the last milepost marker and approximately how far away from it you are.

On a freeway, remember the last exit number or street that you passed. In a city, remember the address of where the emergency is (or the cross streets and which direction you are; e.g. northwest/northeast/southwest/southeast/etc.).

Remember: We need to know where the emergency is/has happened rather than where you live or where you retreated to.

Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

Dispatchers can only send help as fast as we can determine what exactly is going on. If there is a home invasion/robbery, say so. Don't say that you were sleeping and some guy breaks down your door, etc., etc. Just say in plain English what it is.

Some examples: Domestic violence (physical/verbal/people are separated now), people fighting, bank robbery, assault in progress, armed robbery, carjacking, shooting (someone was actually shot), prowler, car accident, hit and run, fire, suicide, rape, man down, shots fired (nobody actually shot).

The faster you can tell us exactly what happened (short and sweet), the faster that we can send help.

Another important factor is when it happened. There is a large difference between an assault that happened 2 weeks ago, an assault that happened an hour ago, 5 minutes ago, and is happening right now.

Once you give us the minimum information (location, what happened, how long ago) we can dispatch help immediately while we put you on standby for about 30 seconds so we can get things going.

Safety Is the MOST Important Thing
Your safety, the safety of those involved and the safety of those responding to a call are of the utmost importance to us.

If there is a very dangerous incident at the location that you are calling from... LEAVE!!! Don't wait for a dispatcher or police officer tells you to do so. Use common sense! It does us and you no good to call us in the middle of a shooting rampage or house fire while you're still there, you could get hurt or killed!

Make sure that your environment is safe for you to be calling from and let us know right away if there is something that can hurt us/you or would increase the cautious approach of those responding to the call.

Questions that we always ask include:

Is anybody hurt and how hurt are they (e.g. unconscious, breathing, walking around, etc.)?

Are there any dogs?

Has anyone been drinking or seem like they have been?
Has anyone been doing any drugs or seem like they have been?

Are there any children involved or around now or when it happened?

Are there any weapons involved (you or the bad guys)?
There are literally loads of other questions we will ask depending on what you're calling about.

If you volunteer this information without us asking it makes our job easier and gets the information to those responding quicker.

People and Vehicle Descriptions

If there are people involved, tell the dispatcher who the players are. It is just as important for us to know who the innocent people are as well as the BGs if there is any reason why a LEO would approach them cautiously.

Descriptions of people should include: ethnicity (What they look like, not their family tree; e.g. white/black/Hispanic/native American/Asian/etc.), gender, if they have a hat/what kind/color, hair color and length (approximate), shirt type and major color(s), pants/shorts/dress/etc. (including major color(s)),

if they are wearing a jacket (type and major color(s)), shoes (if possible), and any unique characteristics (huge mustache, bushy beard, extremely short skirt, large spiked hair, numerous piercings on the face, tattoos, etc).

We also need to know if they are still there or left and if they left which direction they were last seen going.

When a vehicle is involved, we don't necessarily need to know what manufacturer made the car or the specific model. Unless you are absolutely 100% sure as to what it is and can quote the engineering schematics, we prefer general descriptions of the vehicle.

We need to know the following: color (!), type of vehicle (station wagon, sedan, coupe, pickup truck -- with or without camper shell, SUV, motor home, farm equipment, semi-truck, etc.),

year of the vehicle (older, newer, or approximate decade will do just fine), any unique characteristics (e.g. chrome wheels/rims, bumper/window stickers, dents, broken/cracked glass, etc),

how many people are in the vehicle (as well as their descriptions, if possible), license plate and state issued (if you can get it, partial plates are still helpful), and the direction the vehicle was last seen going in.

General Information and Conclusion

Try to volunteer as much information as you can without being questioned. As I said already, the faster we get information the faster we can get it out to those responding and those in the area. If we need more information, we will ask for it.

If you are on a cell phone you can barely hear the dispatcher, you/they are breaking up heavily, or there are other problems with the connection, keep repeating your location until the dispatcher confirms your location.

The default response to any situation where we can't figure out what's going on is to send people now for some kind of unknown problem and try to recontact you.

When giving numbers, don't give 3742 as "thirty-seven forty-two," give it as "three-seven-four-two", or both one right after the other.

When giving letters such as in a license plate, try to give it phonetically. If you don't know any military or LE phonetic alphabet, give example words (e.g. "B as in boy").

This will avoid confusion and get your information correctly as you give it rather than trying to figure out what you said. If there is something else that we need to know, we will ask... Believe me, it's our job to get information quickly and we know how to do it well.

Dispatchers are commonly considered the "first person on the scene" so we need to know as much as we can, as quickly as we can so that help (and the right help) can get to you and get what needs to be done safely for everyone involved
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:35 pm

Nightmares and Dreams

By Kathy Jackson

A new shooter often found herself fighting off recurring nightmares and vivid dreams about guns and self-defense. Night after night, she battled shadowy bad guys, reaching for her gun only to find it missing.

Or she drew the gun, and it would not fire no matter how hard she pulled the trigger. A masked intruder entered her dreams, and she stood frozen, unable to lift the gun to fire at him even as he reached for one of her children.

The dreams made her feel puzzled, powerless and angry. She was frustrated about her interrupted sleep, and worried that the dreams meant something was really wrong with her.

This isn't an uncommon tale. A fairly high percentage of those who venture into the self-defense world as adults will experience some level of sleep disruption as the subconscious mind struggles to integrate new thought patterns and organize the new information.

Our brains are wired to process new information all the time, not merely when we are awake. The more fundamental the new information, the more the brain struggles to integrate it with what is already there.

Learning to cope with these active dreams can be an ongoing challenge, but it is possible to tap into such dreams and make them work for you. Here's how.

Find a comfortable place. This can be your own bed, immediately after you awaken from the dream, or it can be an easy chair or a comfortable couch the next morning.
Relax. Consciously slow your breathing as you deliberately let go of muscle tension.

Visualize. Once you have relaxed, allow the dream to replay itself as a movie in your mind. Visualize each small detail, every bit of it, and don't shy away from anything. Accept the dream and the fear contained within it.

Take control. As your reverie reaches the climax of your dream, the part that woke you up, take control, changing key details.

Rather than visualizing being frozen in fear, visualize yourself reacting with calm confidence. Picture yourself calmly reaching for your firearm and drawing it smoothly, doing what is necessary to stop the imminent attack. Consciously feel capable and strong; hear your steady voice command the attacker to stop.

If necessary, visualize pulling the trigger smoothly with the front sight centered on the attacker's chest, and visualize the gun responding as it should.

Fix what you need to. As you allow the changed storyline to play out in your mind, you may discover that you do not know what to do in the event that an attacker does some specific thing (enters from the dining-room window, perhaps).

This is your opportunity to spot holes in your defensive plans that your conscious mind may not yet be aware of. If necessary, figure out what you will do to patch these holes and then visualize yourself doing that thing.

Visualization really works both to erase the immediate sting of the nightmare, and to reprogram your mind to fight and win if you must. Together with sensible safety precautions to allay your conscious fears, careful visualization can help put your nightmares to sleep for good.
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Van Canna
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Re: Good talk on blocks

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:03 pm

What Needles Taught Me About Processing Threats
By V. Herold

I took the dogs out last night for their last pee before bedtime. It was dark, and clouds blotted out even the dim light offered by light years-distant suns. Fresh spring leaves on the big tree in the yard strained the yellow beams from the security light across the concrete pad where the car was parked.

The three of us paused on the deck as I closed the door, taking in our surroundings as we always do.

I scanned the area as I always do, starting on the left where the driveway curves around the house, past the lilac bushes, across the walkway, along the garage and away toward the western edge of the property where tall grass stands like the spears of an invading army. Nothing but the desaturated non-colors of night against deep, thirsty shadows.

As I opened my mouth to urge the dogs forward, a panic-stricken alarm burst from Needles' throat as though he thought to fight off a deadly enemy with the strength of his voice. Small dog. Deep voice. I'd never heard him so frightened and angry before. And something deep inside me snapped awake. Danger. Close.

I felt my pupils dilate as I re-scanned the area. Nothing. But Needles still bellowed as though Death itself crouched over us. I was aware of Obie next to me, stiff and tense, but I couldn't take the time to reassure him. I didn't know what the threat was: timber wolves, a large man on meth, or a figment of the dog's imagination.

My right hand settled on the butt of my pistol as I backed toward the door, still looking for the threat. If we couldn't get somewhere safe first, I was ready for a less savory option. Something dark and still, tall and man-shaped caught the corner of my vision and whipped my head around to face it.

Then, as if someone had turned on the light in my mind, I understood. The dark shape was the jacket I'd hung to dry on the post at the edge of the deck earlier that evening. Needles had recognized the shadow as something unfamiliar and vaguely man-like. And not understanding, he was frightened.

I spoke quietly to him, then stepped forward to touch the garment. “See? It's just a jacket. It won't eat you.” His roar of terror subsided into a few quiet, sheepish barks. And then the only sound was the noise of his sniffing.

You can always trust the dog to warn you that something in the environment worries him. But the human in the relationship must interpret those environmental cues and act on them wisely. That's what separates us from them.

In a defense context, fear is the dog. Fear warns that something in the environment is dangerous. If fear is allowed to be in charge, chances of a good outcome dwindle. If Needles had his way about things, I would have shredded the jacket.

Analysis of the threat acts in the defense equation the way the human acts in interactions between her dog and his environment. It refines human response to a perceived threat, allowing us to respond with appropriate force to that threat.

I think we need both fear and analysis. Without fear, there is no urgency. In fact, many threats might go unrecognized without fear. And without analysis, we run the risk of overreacting to a minor threat or under-reacting to a deadly threat.
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Van Canna
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