Get home safe.

Get home safe…that’s the endgame. You can come to a class and learn what look like techniques. But if you’re not walking away with the general idea that is “do whatever the hell it takes to get out of that awful situation alive,” then you might not be hearing the right message.

As Krav Maga instructors, we’ve got lists of curriculum line items we’ll teach you and on which we’ll eventually probably test you. But as proponents of personal safety, we’d be lying if at the end of the day, we didn’t just say, “if it comes out of you, and you get home safe, then you did the right thing.”

The classes my colleagues and I teach include techniques that were designed to inform someone with no fighting experience, and take them from zero to hero in the shortest path possible. If someone comes to those classes with a fighting background, or a lifetime of martial arts experience, their mind and their muscles are already prepared to do something if faced with a threat. I’m not here to re-program that response. I’m here to help you develop a response if you’ve never considered you might need one. Hopefully I’m here to help you do that before you’ve discovered you need one.

In any case, the take-home message is the same: get home safe. I don’t care how you do it. Just do.


A question about “Diffuse, Evade, Attack”

I was recently tagged in a Facebook post that posed a question to the self defense educator community about the practicality of an approach that could be surmised as Diffuse, Evade, Attack. Several respondents contributed their opinions as informed by their military or martial arts backgrounds. I saw a common theme among them all: avoid a bad situation if you can, and if unable to avoid, defend yourself to the degree warranted by the situation.

TR wrote:

What we teach from a self defense perspective is that self defense is what you need when self protection has failed you. From the comments above, I can see that many others learn the same thing. If you can de-escalate the situation with your words, or by altogether avoidance, that is the epitome of getting home safe. And that is self protection. But those who have had to defend themselves physically know that sometimes, hand-to-hand is the only way the situation will be handled. When it comes to the main goal: GET HOME SAFE, I teach that you should do whatever it takes, according to the situation. What I can do to defend myself when I’m alone and walking to my car, is different than what I can do when I’m walking with my children or my loved ones. In any case, the common thread in everyone’s response appears to be TRAINING. Just like your kids drill for what to do if there’s a fire at school, we all need to be drilling for what to do if our personal safety is threatened. In the heat of the moment is not the time to make rational decisions. If we have trained, considered the possibilities of threat, and realized the capability of our physical and mental strength, then we can expect that training to ring true in the heat of the moment.

I’ve seen this common theme in the comments above, and it’s something you’ll hear in my gyms regularly: hospital trip or morgue. It’s all situational.

See the whole conversation here:

I said I’d never have a blog.

My degree is in graphic design. I graduated at a time when it was OK to have stellar skills in that dying thing called “print” and to not understand that evolving thing called “web”… For some time, I survived as a designer, and then I found my true calling: making people safer and healthier. Somehow, the people by whom I was surrounded were also discovering such a calling, and they were all blogging. They blogged about how important they were. How clean their diets were. How amazing they were at shooting. How strong they were. And I told my best friend, “I’ll never have a blog.”

So here I am, 5 years later. Those bloggers are still important, clean-eating, accurate-shooting, strong people. And we’re all still relatively successful business owners. And my best friend, the witness to the “never-a-blog” promise, is a business owner in my back yard.

I’ve learned a lot about myself by reading other people’s blogs. And I’ve learned a lot about myself by imagining what I could say to the world if I had a Facebook alias. I’ve learned a lot about myself by having three absolutely miserable Decembers in a row. One of which was the December when my best friend turned into my competitor.

But here’s the point: until now, my perception of blogs has been that they’re a virtual platform on which self-important people pontificate. Until now, I’ve been content to believe that what I present on the training floor, or in a competition, or in a business meeting, is enough to define who I am in my newfound professional calling. But the fascinating thing about statements that start with “until now” is that they inherently represent something you once believed to be true that you no longer believe as such. And so, here I am. A congregant of the wordpress congregation. A victim of the free template oligarchy. A humble, self-important contributor to the virtual history of the modern world.

I’m a business owner. A martial artist. An athlete. A lesbian. A pitbull parent. A divorcĂ©e. A gen-X or gen-Y’er, depending on who you ask. A graphic designer. A gardener. A math geek. A band geek. A cook or a foodie, depending on who you ask. An omnivore. A pragmatist. An autistic who is not young enough to have been diagnosed as such. A dreamer. A worker. And now, a blogger. I’ve got a lot to say, and a whole weird virtual world to whom to say it.

And I’d like to believe, I’ve got a better grasp on grammar than most folks.