I CAN’T DO THAT! – Terry Trahan

One of the biggest problems in self protection and teaching is a practitioner either doubting themselves, or not giving themselves permission to do what is necessary to survive an incident. Some of this is to be expected, especially when you start training, and as you progress, you start shedding the doubts and other things that hold you back just through changing mindset due to familiarity.

However, sometimes these things remain, or are encouraged, by the instructor. It can be due to the training model, or done because of the ego of the teacher. This last one is particularly insidious, as it sets you up to be subservient to the instructor, and worse, to fail in a real life encounter.

I have a simple thing I think, and tell my students, to overcome this.

Simply put, I train and work at this to save my ass. I don’t need anybody’s permission other than my own to survive. I don’t care what other students, teachers,or anyone else thinks, this is about my survival, not about tradition, ego, nothing else. I give myself permission to do anything and everything I need to do in order to survive and win. This includes in my training. I will listen to the instructions, and perform them the best I can, but I will do it with my goal of survival in mind, take advantage of how my body works, even if it ‘violates’ the form or way being taught. You should do the same, if your goal is surviving a conflict, and not just perpetuating a system.

Sometimes this is a case of not being confident in the material being taught, and sometimes it is a case of your subconscious knowing that what you are learning is not effective for meeting your goals. This is a case where you have to personally look at it, and probably get outside input from people that know personal survival. We happen to have a wide base of knowledge here on CRGI, and across the rest of the internet, so this has become easier over the years, but it still requires being honest with yourself, and what your goal truly is with your training.

Another way this comes out is questions about morality or legality in an actual confrontation.

Firstly we will discuss morality. In a bone breaking, widow making, survival fight, there is no morality beyond surviving. If you have gone through all the pre fight steps, tried to de-escalate, E&E, negotiate, and all the rest, and it is still being brought to you, your only morality is being the one that goes home to your family or tribe. This is NOT carte blanche to go overboard and be a murder ape on the guy, but it is a form of permission to do what you need to do to be the survivor and “winner” of the fight. Unless you are a stone psycho, you already have a moral compass that you have been exercising since you were a child. You, more likely than not are a decent person. This doesn’t automatically get flushed down the toilet when the adrenaline ramps up. If I accept someone into our tribe and start training them, that means that person has met the standards for our group. That means that I have faith that this person has a good head on his shoulders, and can make proper decisions, and not go Ted Bundy on somebody just because a fight happens.

Secondly, it always seems to happen, a question comes up about legality, whether it is a technique, or if it is a tool used. First, everything is illegal somewhere, the more effective a tool is, the more likely it is to be either illegal or heavily regulated.

This is something that you are going to have to make your decision about ahead of time, give yourself the permission to either use something or not beforehand. If you wait til the time is at hand, you will needlessly double clutch yourself. As with all things related to fighting, in the middle of a fight is never the time to make a decision about fighting. Nobody else can answer this question for you, and you need to figure out what you are willing to do too make sure you make it home if that moment happens. My personal choice may or may not fit for you. As I have stated before, my number one rule is I don’t give a fuck, I’m going home. That should tell you where I fall down on the question of legality. I will do whatever I can to avoid, escape, de-escalate, negotiate, whatever it takes, but once that switch is flipped, I will be the one sleeping in my bed with my wife that night. No matter what, how, or with what.

That is my decision, I am comfortable with it, and I am not a lawyer or legal professional, so I am not offering any advice here, I am just opening your eyes to this, and encouraging you to study and make your own.

Just remember, this boils down to our desire to make it home. You are already a good decent person seeking more information to educate yourself better. You have permission to win and go home, and you have the wisdom to decide what you will do to affect that.

Think about it, figure it out, and then go on with life, and don’t worry about it.


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