Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Learning the Hard Way

We need good examples like this (from Tony Blauer's site). Try to pick out what he could've done better. This could be used as a drill, too.

LEARNING THE HARD WAY! Eight-thirty p.m. 16th December 2001. The night that changed the way I think about self-defence. I left my office after a very long day. I was tired, cold and hungry and all I wanted to do was get home and relax. Talk about being in Code White! That was definitely me that evening.

At the rear of my office there is a large enclosed yard that we use as a car park, it’s dark and very secluded. I had done all the usual security checks in the office; set the alarms, locked all the doors and windows etc. I now found myself walking across a pitch-black car park towards my vehicle, head down[!], pissed off, switched off and just wanting to be at home. As I approached my car I gave the yard a cursory[!] scan then opened the door and climbed in[!], placed my briefcase behind the seat and put the key in the ignition. As I lent across to grab the door handle…BANG!! There he was, or should I say there IT was, a Stanley Knife pressed into my throat, accompanied by a blood-chillingly calm and almost softly spoken statement, which I believed, and which will stay with me for the rest of my life, “Struggle and I’ll cut your fucking eyes out”. It was actually the verbal attack that made me feel more vulnerable than the knife at my neck. In fact, for a split second I felt as vulnerable as a five-year-old kid. He was a big guy, a good six-footer with a heavy build, probably in his thirties, with a broad Scottish accent. He looked the part too, heavy padded fleece coat, black balaclava, gloves, the full bad guy uniform and all in all a real evil bastard who would, without doubt, resort to extreme violence to get his way. This man intended to rob me, cut me, maybe even kill me, and not necessarily in that order. The cool, calm, verbal aggression, the body language, his general demeanour told me so. I was scared. He was in control.

So here I was, in the shit big-time, and guess what was happening while I was thinking “I’m a martial arts expert, this can’t be happening to me?” That’s right! It was happening to me. Over forty years experience in ancient and modern combat systems, more black belts than you can shake a stick at, author of one the world’s best selling books on self-defence, trained with some of the world’s most eminent authorities and masters, inventor of the famous R.E.A.C.T. system of personal protection. The list goes on and on. And for what? To suffer, or even die, at the hands of this piece of crap? Was this the way it was all going to end? No fucking way! Don’t get me wrong, this was not cool James Bond grit in the face of danger. I was feeling the full effects of real fear; cold sweats, I could hear my own heart beating, I was frightened and I’m not ashamed to admit it. However, I followed my own advice, stuff I’ve been teaching for years;


“Get into the passenger seat,” he said. I was compliant and slid across to the other side of the vehicle. I sat sideways on with my back against the passenger door, believing this to be a stronger position to fight from. The knife was still in my face as he moved into the vehicle beside me. “Get your wallet out,” was the next order. Once again, I did as I was told. I knew that I only had about £25 ($18) in cash, not worth getting your throat cut for. I handed over the money, which he stuffed into his pocket. Next he demanded my credit cards and their pin numbers. I told him I didn’t know the numbers, which was actually true, to which he replied, “ Bullshit, that’s what they all say, you’ll fucking remember them by the time I’ve finished with you!” I now knew that this man was a professional, and I believed myself to be in grave danger, but this knowledge actually had the effect of strengthening my resolve. Tony Blauer’s cerebral self-defence filled my mind. “Get out of the fear box, Steve, and get out of it now!” I said to myself. I closed my wallet and calmly placed it in the well between the seats, next to the parking brake. I had gone as far as I was going to go.

Now I don’t consider myself a brave man, but knife or no knife, I had made my decision. This man was going down...

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