I just ran across this piece of news.
Long story short, a guy gets shot 23 times and still survives… Just stop and imagine that for a second: 21 bullets enter your body and you don’t die. Talk about being lucky!
Granted, no vital organs were hit but the guy got shot in the arms, legs, abdomen, and jaw. Even though these aren’t vital organs, there are still plenty of arteries there. So despite having no organ damage, he could have bled out and died anyway. But he didn’t.
Well, this just goes to show that you can’t always predict what’s going to happen when you use force, deadly or otherwise. Because let’s be honest: if somebody says a couple cops are going to fire 46 shots at you, hitting you with 21, would you really think you’d survive? Nope. And in most cases, you’d be right. But as this story here proves, there are exceptions.
To be clear: I’m not saying you should go out and make a LEO draw on you because you might just get lucky and survive. What I’m saying is: you never know what’s going to happen when the feces hits the rotating blades.
Now you might be thinking “Duh!” and that’s your prerogative but my point is this: even if you accept that the most unlikely things can and will happen in a fight, that won’t stop you from making assumptions about fighting and combat. Making assumptions is just human nature and we all fall prey to this bad habit. To make matter worse, we usually don’t realize we make these assumptions. But we sure do train according to them. And there’s the problem…
I train in both combat sports and traditional martial arts because I believe they both have value. In fact, they complement each other very well, providing you distinguish between the different environments they operate in. To do that, you make up an intellectual image of what each of these two categories of disciplines looks like. You make this image by drawing from your own experience, reading, watching videos of actual fights, talking to others who share their experience, etc. All these things combine into some big-ass assumptions about what a fight looks like in an MMA or similar competition and how things are on the street and in self-defense scenarios.
Chances are good you’re right on the money for some and totally wrong for others (Unless, of course, you’re so totally awesome you’re never, ever, EVER, wrong about anything.)
But you won’t know that until you start fighting for real, regardless in which environment.
Get to the point already! Shees…
Here’s the rub: whatever mental map you made of the huge territory that is fighting, it’s never really as accurate as you think. That’s OK, it’s just how things work. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore this and move on. It’s more efficient to work from the basis that your map has some pertinently wrong information. And you won’t know it’s wrong until you are on the spot that part of the map is pointing to. By that time, it may be too late to do anything about it though. Because the erroneous assumptions you based your training on didn’t prepare you for the “Holy Crap WTH is this?!!!!” situation you suddenly encounter.
Whuh? I don’t get it?
Here’s an example. An exaggerated one, but bear with me.
If you base your entire self-defense training on shooting your attacker, you would need a reload to put down the guy from the story. While you’re busy reloading, he’d still be coming at you. I doubt he’d give you the time to finish that reload… If he has a knife, things get even more interesting…
Now had you asked your firearms instructor “How many bullets does it take to stop an attacker? Would 21 be enough?”, chances are he’d say “Probably,yes”. Some of the firearms trainers I’ve seen would say “Of course! It wouldn’t even take more than three bullets from a BlingBlangKapow pistol if you use the special UltraMegaKillKill load because it has mad stopping power! Yipikayee MoFo!!!”
But we now know this isn’t always true…
Granted, I’m exaggerating and yes, you can pick this example apart. That’s not the issue. The issue is that you would likely never have thought it would have taken 21 bullets to stop a guy. You would have assumed less than 21 was more than enough to finish the job. Which brings forth the big question:
If you are wrong about this assumption, what else are you wrong about?
And even more importantly:
How does this affect your training and what are you doing to correct these flaws?
By the way, if you think this is a unique case, talk to Loren about the time a criminal ran a block before succumbing to a bullet through the heart. Imagine what damage he could have done had he turned to fight the cops instead or run…
Wrapping things up.
In the first part or Martial Arts Reality Check, I talked about not thinking there’s a ninja hiding in every shadow and instead actually living your life. It takes the occasional reality check to do that.
In this part, I’d like to suggest you’re going to be flat out wrong about some of the assumptions you make about fighting and self-defense. I know I’ve been wrong many times, chances are, so have you. Even worse, just because we discovered some faulty assumptions in the past doesn’t mean there aren’t any left now. Remember, you won’t know you’re wrong unless somebody points it out to you or you encounter the problem in real life.
So every now and then, it’s probably a good idea to do a reality check, to see your martial arts training isn’t based on assumptions that are just not going to cut it in real life.