Honesty; It’s such a lonely word – Terry Trahan

In pursuing our lifestyle or hobby of self protection, it is very easy to fall prey to the fantasies and untruths that pervade this industry. What I hope to do is point out somethings that can keep us on an even keel in our training, and avoid some of the hassles that can occur when unreality takes over.

Train to handle what happens most, and you’ll be able to handle most of what happens. ~ Marc MacYoung

Marc introduced me to this saying when he first started training me, and ever since then, I have used it as a guide to how realistic I keep my outlook and training.

Before Marc, I had a lifestyle where what happened most were shootings, stabbings, multiple attackers, and they happened fairly often, so naturally, my training was more brutal and aimed at ending these kinds of conflicts quickly.

Then I became a bouncer and security escort. My most common attacks and, most importantly, responsibilities changed. Now it wasn’t a matter of being counteroffensive, it was about spotting trouble sooner and heading it off. If that wasn’t possible, my job now meant that I had to be more lowkey and subtle in my responses. Gunfire, explosives and fire are not subtle.

Finally, after I left that life altogether, and I became a ‘civilian’, my landscape changed again, and I had to worry mostly about regular crime occurring, and not blowback from my actions. Yes, I still had to be wary of revenge from the past, but not as an active motivator.

It took me a long time to reach this level of honesty with myself, and to alter the way I train, and what I teach, but the handy little saying Marc taught me has been a helpful meme to keep me on track.

Two is one, and one is none…

How often have you heard this saying, whether military, RBSD, or EDC collectors, it is bandied about with abandon. And on the surface, it is a good thing to keep in mind. I myself still carry multiples of certain items. But I do not do it blindly. I look at my risk factors, my environment, and my proclivities, and make a decision based on that. Over the years, and through my lifestyle changes, I have severely cut down on the amount stuff I carry, and mostly now, it is focused on medical and emergency stuff.

We need to be able to look at what our needs are and carry what we deem appropriate for the mission, day, or season. Don’t let anyone make you feel unprepared for not carrying a jeep full of tactical gear when you run to the corner store, your life is yours to live, and you should take all factors into consideration, not just the oddball chance of a terrorist attack occurring down at the Stop and Rob.

Case in point. I know a lot of people who are into firearms. Most of them recommend carrying semi-autos, and several magazines. I’m all for that, for them. For me however, that doesn’t fit my assessment. If I carry, it is a simple snub nosed revolver and a couple Speed Strips. I don’t see me being involved in an active shooter event, or terrorist/gang attack. And if I am, my goal is to get me and mine to safety, not engage the enemy and hunt them down. I am being honest with myself, my background, equipment, and needs. If I receive newer, different information, that conflicts with my present, I will reassess my position. But I won’t change just because everyone else says different.

All fights go to the ground; or a knife always beats a gun at 21 feet

Once again, these are great rules of thumb, and we should pay attention to them. But remember, they are guidelines, not hard and fast rules.

Anybody that ignores striking because they are told groundwork is all you need, needs to do a reassessment quickly. Both are events that may happen, and both need to be trained, within the fight continuum. No, not all fights go to the ground. I say this after years of fighting and watching them. But you know what, enough do go to the ground that you need to be familiar with it. And most serious instructors will tell their students this.

The same goes for weapons. As much as I am a ‘knife guy’, I need to know all ranges and categories of weapons; guns, knives, impact, flexibles, etc. To just concentrate on one does me and my students a disservice, and leaves us vulnerable.

In closing, all I am encouraging is honesty in your thought process and approach to training. Even if your conclusions are different from mine, or everyone elses, it is your life and your fight. You have to live with it, not anyone else, and the only person you should please is yourself in this arena. So, examine your conclusions in the light of reality, and do it often. The world is everchanging, as are we, and we need to keep up, or become irrelevant or dead.


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