Saturday, November 9, 2013

FEAR: Mongering or management?

Finding the "Personal" in Personal Defense Readiness

A couple weeks ago, just days before I was going to a local high school to teach Personal Defense Readiness to a sophomore physical education class, I got a text from my wife about a school shooting in nearby Sparks, Nevada. She didn’t have the school name or the grade level. She just heard it happened. 
CrossFit Defense at CrossFit Love, Philadelphia (Top)
SPEAR Instructor Certification, York, PA (Bottom)

My sister is a teacher in Sparks. My nephew goes to school there. Despite the tragedy that occurred, there was a huge feeling of relief when I learned no one I knew was involved.

That same week several police officers I know, some friends, were injured when an parolee at large allegedly shot at them, trying to get away. One of the police officers was shot in the face and taken to the hospital.

A week later, I was across the country working in my role for Blauer Tactical Systems. I was in Pennsylvania teaching CrossFit Defense and SPEAR System for Law Enforcement Courses. I got several texts and emails from students and friends about a woman that was abducted from the local Wal-Mart, raped and dropped back off at the store. The folks who sent me the information, former students, believed I should remind people how important it was to take a self-defense course. I hated that I was across the country and was grateful that no one I knew was hurt.

See, one of the worst parts about being a self-defense or Personal Defense Readiness Instructor is that you always feel like you are using tragedies to promote your business.

When I refer to these stories I feel like I am standing on a pedestal with a megaphone shouting, “Look at the news, the world is scary. Learn how to defends yourself for $29.99!!!!”

It makes me feel kinda’ dirty. How do you inspire people to face their fears and train for something they don’t even want to consider without fear-mongering?

My self-defense coach Tony Blauer told me  that his system, the SPEAR System, is just like a fire extinguisher -- No one buys one, excited for their house to catch on fire, hoping to get a chance to use it. Self-defense is similar. No one learns self-protection skills and then goes out looking to get mugged. Most, I believe, will never want to have to put their new skills to the test. Like the fire extinguisher, we want them there, under the sink, in case the unthinkable happens.

I heard him say once that statistics are irrelevant, unless you are the one percent. Then, he points out, they mean everything. See, we get in this mindset that these tragedies ... this violence won't affect us. And statistically, that is a good bet -- until it is not. Then, the statistics are not only relevant, but  becoming one can be life changing. 

In the high school class we talked about the shooting in Sparks. I told them about the fear I felt when I heard about it and we discussed the heroic actions of the teacher, Mike Landsbury, who moved toward the danger giving the students time to flee. Investigators believe Landsbury’s actions, sacrificing himself, saved students lives. We talked about the numerous school shootings and lives that were saved when students and teachers who managed their fears moved toward the threat with “indignation” and purpose. We did drills, replicating an active shooter situation. One of the kids who participated confided to one of our coaches that his brother was in a school during an active shooter tragedy many years ago in Colorado. He has always harbored fears because of that. He said the training helped him face some of those fears and made him feel more empowered.

In the CrossFit Defense Course, we discussed the emails and texts I was receiving about the local assault. Some of the students admitted they had fears of just such an incident. I told them so did I, if not for me then my loved ones. We talked about addressing fears, in light of these types of things happening. We still have lives to live, and none of us, we agreed, were going to live in fear and hide.

Nonetheless, I was relieved to hear an arrest was made. (See the story here)

During the cop course, I was able to tell the students, cops themselves, the good news that the last of the wounded police officers I work with had been released from the hospital and his prognosis looked great. Many of them told me they had seen the story on CNN.

Here is the reality: We are all the one percent at some point. The statistics ARE relevant when the fear of becoming one of them negatively changes the quality of our lives. Even if we are never actually a victim, we suffer if we allow our fears to victimize us and change the way we live our lives.

And really, that kind of empowerment is what I want to market, not the fear.

In fact, the opposite is true. That BTS family of courses (SPEAR, CrossFit Defense and PDR) is the only one I know that provides a forum and a formula for particulars to identify, discuss and manage fear. 

Coach Blauer was recently featured in a CrossFit video. In the clip, he tells the story of the origins and evolutions of the CrossFit Defense program designed around his SPEAR System, the same system we teach at NorCal Self-Defense

"Everyday we're faced with some sort of conflict, some sort of confrontation,” Coach Blauer explained. ”How you manage that determines the quality of your day, and therefore the quality of your week, and therefore the quality of your life. Fear management is everything."

It is not paranoid to prepare. It’s your life, Live Ready!  

Check out the entire NorCal Self-Defense calendar here.

No comments: