Tag Archives: conflict prevention

Mindset

So, I’ll start by asking a question here, What exactly is “The Mindset”? I often see many talk about having a good mindset, having the mindset to deal with threats, etc. etc. So, what does the mindset entail exactly then?

See, the main, the basest mindset that every living creature on this planet has, is of Survival. Survival at all costs. Even sexual reproduction was evolved due to Survival being programmed into the genes of complex multi-cellular organisms, from reptiles to mammals, every creature has a survival instinct.

For us humans though, it gets a bit more complicated, see, maybe our stone age ancestors got by on the same survival instinct back in the day, but we, as we’re today, are not the same as we were a few hundred thousand years ago. Today, there are a lot of implications for having a total survival based mindset. It has consequences on a societal level and legal and moral level as well. Think about making a choice between saving you and some stranger from being shot, who would you choose? What about the aftermath of that choice, if you chose you or if you chose them? Both will lead to destructive aftermaths.

The thing about having a particular mindset is to have an appropriate mindset according to where you are, who you are and when you are and taking into account the future of where you will be. Military personnel will have different mindsets, but even then, different military personnel will have different mindsets, for example, a Marine would have a different kind of mindset, but a Military Police would have a different mindset, but an administrative clerk in the Military will have a different mindset, and a General will have a different mindset, etc. and so on.

Now this is just talking about the military mindset. What about the mindset of a police officer? Can their mindset be the same as a soldier? Well, that would depend on many different factors wouldn’t it? Firstly, where they are, do they have a desk job? Or are they out on the street? If it’s the second one, are they in a low crime or a high crime area? Both will require different mindsets, mind you. High crime will require high level of vigilance and the officer will have to be extra careful if they are talking to someone, or pulling someone over, but in a low crime area, even though, threats may exist in those areas as well, maybe some violent individual has crossed into that part of town, either way, in that area, having high vigilance might cause an overreaction in a small matter that didn‘t need to be escalated, leading to an unnecessary negative outcome. Here’s the thing though, even in the high crime area, a police officer cannot have the same mindset as a soldier in combat. Because killing someone by sniping them, may lead to extreme consequences. When soldiers do so, they are following orders, their goal is to fulfill the order given to them by their superior. In a police officer’s case, they have to make the decision themselves, there are no superiors giving them orders at the time of a violent situation. Their mind will need to process everything and make a decision as opposed to a soldier following orders, they already know what they have to do, of course that doesn’t mean that a soldier just blindly goes into combat, no, what I mean by that is the end goal is much clearer to a soldier in combat, than to an officer in a possible life threatening situation.

The mindsets, as a result will change a lot between these two. One has to make decisions based on the orders given to them and are often with a team and back up, and possible aerial support and complete the mission by any means necessary. The other, is on their own, often have no back up or the back up is minutes away, and has to take everything into account, and make a decision that will alter their life regardless of what happens.

Two extreme situations, the threat, the violence is often very high in both situations, but the mindsets required to navigate through those situations, will differ. They have to, in order to make sure that least possible damage occurs to the individuals involved those situations.

Now those were extreme situations for professionals, but what about a normal everyday individual with no experience with violence, suddenly coming in contact with a violent situation? What about their mindset? Well, as I wrote earlier, regardless of what or who you are, you have survival instincts ingrained into your genetics. The only difference is that the above mentioned professionals, have trained to cultivate a certain mindset appropriate for their professions as a necessity, but an average individual, with today’s availability of food, clothing and shelter, don’t need to have that survival instinct, they have everything they need to survive, and as a result, will not have cultivated that mindset. So, when they come across a violent situation, the only response their brain knows, is nothing, which translates to freeze response. The brain cannot access the genetic area where survival is programmed, due to not having accessed it before. So, an average individual’s mindset is basically composed of, going to work, eating, coming home to their family, maybe having a little fun, watching t.v., going on a holiday, having sex, shitting and sleeping, not necessarily on the same day and in that order, but yeah, that‘s the gist of it, they don‘t need constant vigilance, they don’t want it and they don’t even know what it is.

On the other hand, take a violent individual, who has experience in really hurting someone. Let’s say a home-invading serial killer/rapist. I’m purposely taking that extreme example here to contrast the previous one. Well, this individual, has most probably their whole life hurt others to get what they want, to intimidate and then mutilate because it makes them feel like a god who is in control of life and death. They enjoy the rush of seeing someone writhe in pain, they get off in seeing children cry and make their mothers cry harder. This individual in their whole life has seen and done violent things that would make someone like the above, puke in their mouth. This violent individual is most probably searching for a new victim because he/she is bored and wants to feel the rush. So, at this point, let’s say they come across an average individual, following him to his house. Now, this average joe, not having the vigilant mindset that of a soldier or a police officer or even just a trained civilian contractor, etc. doesn’t notice the stalker and leads him to his home, giving the stalker, an easy target. Now what kind of mindset will this violent individual have? This one will most probably be a psychopath, so lack of empathy, an adrenaline junkie, probably an addict, narcissistic, manipulative, pathological, most likely delusional, extremely violent, will do anything to get what they want, etc. etc.

Now, based on the above description, what chance does an average joe stand against someone who is far more experienced, far more skilled in violence and far superior in a predatory mindset than himself. How does he protect his family? By training, you’d say. Fine. Yes, that makes sense, but unless he can be trained in the next few seconds before he and his family are slaughtered like cattle and eaten, training now isn’t gonna do much, is it. What can happen though, is the natural survival instincts in him, the pre-programmed survival response, might be triggered, because now, not only his life is threatened, but the life of someone who will help carry his genes forward and a part of him, his child, are threatened as well. It might be that he himself may not survive, due to lack of his brain’s ability to respond, but chances of his family surviving, would be increased. It might even happen that a response may be triggered in his wife, and she might help in taking down the predator as well. Strength in numbers just might give them a chance.

That being said, logically, if it’s a sudden invasion, which it usually is, who has a greater chance of winning here? The predator with experience and the willingness to be violent or the one who hasn’t come across anything remotely violent since he had a small fight in high school, which was broken up by the principle. Did you say the first one? Well, in that case, you’re the predator, aren’t you? You are the serial killing home invader, because that mindset came from him doing that for years, he wasn’t trained in it. If you said, the second one, well, that’s because you most probably are one of the individuals with that mindset, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, this is the normal mindset according to the time we live in, you don‘t need violence to survive, to get food or fight over territory, you can just buy a home or rent it, so the violent nature has no use of it in your daily life, unless you‘re a professional who deals with it as a part of your job. That being said, it does not mean that the second mindset won’t win against the predator, why? Because external factors will play a role in the outcome. Plus another factor will play in, it’s the most important and the most natural one, it’s your preprogrammed survival instincts. You were made to protect yourself and your genes. Since now, not only you, but your gene pool is threatened, chances are you will fight back and probably even win, you may not survive the ordeal, but your family does have a chance. People with zero training have survived career criminals and done incredible things. They have surprised themselves. When the survival instincts have been activated, even the most calm people, are capable of extreme violence in order to protect their own.

So, a question here based on all of that. Which mindset is better to have? The very first one of a soldier, the second, of a police officer, the third of an average joe or the fourth of a predator, or an unmentioned fifth one, of a trained civilian? The answer isn’t as simple as one might think, you see, if you chose the last one, the trained civilian one, well, it’s not the best answer, why? Because, first, that mindset, doesn’t technically exist, and two, let’s face it, many “combatives” instructors who do train civilians, basically either give you a mindset of a soldier or a mindset of a criminal, there are some who even try and give you the mindset of an action movie star, avoid them like the plague!

Very rarely someone even tries to get close to something like a trained civilian and even then, it’s still more physical violence oriented, which again doesn’t take into account other factors involved before, during and after, the legal, the moral, the psychological, the societal, environmental. They are just trained like they would a police officer or a bouncer. Maybe a lock or a joint there or a punch and a palm heel strike there.

So when people say ‘have a proper mindset’ what exactly does it mean? Well, I don’t know what they mean, but for me, it’s having the basest need to survive. Having the on and ‘off switch’ in you. I have even written an article about that before. For me, it’s not training like a soldier, or a police officer or a career criminal that helps, but instead training like a survivor that does. I don’t need to know how a sniper rifle works, I’d love to know out of sheer curiosity, but not because I want to snipe people out of existence. Same way, I don’t wanna learn how to arrest people, that’s not my job, it’s the brave people’s job.

My only job and my duty is my survival, my protection and I prefer to train that way. But here’s the thing, it’s not just physical survival, that’s where this differs from the above mentioned complete survival instincts from the stone-age times, no, since there are consequences of our actions, our actions should be based on survival from all aspects of today’s society, such as legal aspects. I prefer to have a mindset where I do and don’t do things to keep myself safe from all possible angles beforehand, before the violent situation has even come across me. I develop my mindset, according to my situation and my needs. This is the same thing that should be done, that should be trained, you train as per your situations and your needs. You are not training for violence or to counter it, you are training to educate yourself on what violence entails and how you can avoid it and keep yourself safe from it and from all fundamental aspects of dealing with it. Safety and survival of your genes is important and what your mindset should be and is naturally, it definitely should be that fundamentally simple, but as we have evolved, our societal constructs have evolved with us. As a result, we need to evolve in our methods of being safe to suit those constructs. Taking into account all those factors which would affect us beforehand, during and in the aftermath, is what’s truly a modern survivor’s mindset.

Well, that’s it. Hope I got my point across. Thanks for reading.

Linguistic Barriers And Some Other Safety Issues While Traveling

So, in today’s post, I’d like to talk about a pretty common problem while traveling, at least for those who aren’t multi-lingual. The problem being not able to speak the native language, which sometimes leads to miscommunication, which often leads to some sort of trouble arising, from a minor one like wrong hotel booking to a major one like an escalated confrontation. I’m going to write about the latter one today, since that is much trickier to handle than a wrong booking.

Firstly, I want to address a simple fact that is true whenever we travel. You see, most of the times, when tourists visit a country, they stay in the “tourist areas” of the country, in specific areas of a popular city, for example, India has Delhi, Mumbai, etc. Thailand has Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, etc. America has Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, etc. etc. These tourist areas are usually very low crime areas, they have all sorts of points of interest for the tourists to enjoy, great restaurants, attractive shopping locations, beautiful and/or historic landmarks, and so on. But sometimes, some tourists, due to curiosity or simply wanting to see more than what they are offered in these created paradises, often get out of the “designated tourist areas” and out of the safe zone created by the local authorities to give tourists a pleasant experience and go explore the “non-tourist” areas of the country, in “non-tourist” cities, a.k.a areas that are not as safe for people who don’t know the localities, which basically holds the reality of the country the tourist is visiting.

Now these places are usually where most tourists victimized, the side of the countries that the local governments often try to hide in order to bring more money via tourism or due to national pride or to hide the ineptitude of the governments in dealing with the crimes, poverty, education in their country.

But we’re not here to discuss politics or anything even remotely close to it. No, we’re here to discuss how you traveling to a country and going to a place where people may not speak your language (not fluently at least, I‘ll get to this point in the next paragraph), can affect your ability to keep yourself safe from not only violent threats, but also from con men.

So, let’s start with an example here. Let’s say you go to a country where your language is spoken, but not in areas outside of the tourist zones, not very well at least, now in those areas, people may lack the education necessary to even speak the basest level of the language or it might be that your language is simply not one of the native languages spoken. (I haven’t specified a specific language because I don’t want to create some needless and possibly incorrect stereotypes about some countries). But of course, since I’m typing in English, the primary language I’ll use as an example is that. Now, most people in just about any country do speak English, but there are still places in the world, where only a handful of people speak English and it’s not fluent or even close to it. Although, with the digital age growing, maybe that won’t be an issue in the future, but it is currently, so bear with me and don’t take anything I write to illustrate a point, personally.

Now that we‘ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll get back to my point, so let’s start off with a situation, let’s say a tourist wanders off into the “non-tourist” area and is exploring. Now maybe that area is not as safe as the tourist zone is, and there is a very high possibility that the tourist will stand out as an outsider, a foreigner to the locals, some tourists will appear totally clueless, in other words, obviously easy to fool. Unless you know how to be a ‘gray man‘ and know the local area very well, which is applicable to professionals traveling frequently due to work, but this does not apply for a tourist on a vacation buying all the local t-shirts and wearing them proudly, while taking pictures of everything they come across, so it’s safe to say that certain features always stand out in tourists like a sore thumb. Here’s where you are easily identified as a potential mark.

Now, let’s temporarily skip the stuff that will occur between them identifying you as a mark and making their move on you, whether it’s a full-on ambush or just luring you into a trap in the pretense of some lucrative offer, etc. Of course, you identifying the predator, will reduce your chances of becoming a victim, just keep that in mind, but let’s say you failed to do so, now the assault, or mugging, etc. begins.

Let’s just draw up a scenario here, okay?

A guy, friendly as ever, walks up to the tourist, “Hello friend! How are you? You come from out of town?”

Tourist replies, “Hello, I‘m fine, yes, I am in fact. I was wondering if you can tell me where I can find a good places to visit in this area?”

The guy replies, “Oh yes! I know place, very good food, I take you there okay? Come!”.

Tourist thinks, he’s found a friendly helpful local individual, so follows. Let’s ignore the fact of what the tourist should’ve done.

Continuing, the guy, brings the tourist to a small building. Not seeing anything special, not a landmark, not a restaurant nothing special, the tourist now begins to feel a little like things are off (intuition perhaps? Yes it is).

Now, what’s the above situation leading up to?

Well, Possibilities;

1- The guy really was friendly, and he brought him to a local place that cooks excellent food, it‘s just not an official restaurant, but a backdoor food place kind of deal?

2- The guy has brought him to something entirely different than what was asked for, maybe an adult entertainment location where they serve food, due to miscommunication, as the guy doesn’t speak the language well and didn‘t know what the tourist meant when he asked for a good place to visit?

3- The guy has brought the tourist into an ambush after identifying them as a mark and called ahead to his accomplices?
Well, if you’re lucky, it’s gonna be the fist one, if you’re not as lucky, it’ll be the second one and you’ll have a funny story to tell, but if you are hilariously jinxed, then it’s most likely gonna be the third one and here‘s how that will go.

Let’s say the tourist is wearing a nice watch, good shoes, has an iphone, some cash, maybe some jewelry.

Tourist- “What is this place?”

Assailant- “It‘s a good place! You have money? You give money, you get good price.”

Tourist- “What? What’s going on? Good price for what?”

Assailant- “You give me money, I bring you to a good place, now give me money.”

Tourist- “I’m sorry, I’m not giving you any money, you have brought me nowhere”

Assailant- “Ay! Give me money! Give me money!” and then gestures to the pockets, to the watch, etc.

(Now I‘m gonna use a different language here, since I only speak 4 languages, I‘m gonna use the one that is native to me, which is Hindi vs. English).

Assailant- “Saala ache jage peh lay aaya aur paisa bhi nahi dey raha hai! Nikal paisa! Arey paisa dey mujhe! Teri ghadi, chain, phone or jooteh bhi! Agar paisa nahi dey raha hai to yeh sab dey! Chal jaldi kar! Nikal! Dekh kya raha hai?!” his tone of voice is now aggressive and is gesturing to your watch, phone, chain, shoes, etc.

Tourist- “I don’t understand what you’re saying!”

Assailant- Takes out a razor blade or a knife, “Are pocket meh se paisa nikal or mujhe dey! Money! Money!” gesturing to and patting the pockets.

By this time, the tourist is well aware of the fact that he’s being robbed, so now in fear of his life, he will take out whatever he has and gives it to him or he might try to fight, but let‘s take the first example for now.

Tourist- Takes whatever he has and gives it to the mugger. “This is all I have”.

Assailant- “Bas itna hi? Or nikal! Are chal aur dey! Jootey or ghadi bhi! Shoe shoe!! Give me shoe! And ghadi” gesturing towards the watch. “Aur bhi nikal! More more!!”

Tourist- “I don‘t have anything else on me”.

Assailant- “Atm! Come to atm! Paisa nikal ke dey!”

Now, mostly, if the mugger thinks the loot is enough, they will run away. But in some robberies such as above described example, the muggers have often taken their victims to the atm to get the money out or they kidnap the victims, put them in a vehicle (if available), take their atm cards and drive to the atm to get the money out themselves.

Of course during the panicked state of mind, and factor in the fact that nothing that’s coming out of the mugger’s mouth makes sense to the tourist, except the gestures the mugger makes. Understanding these gestures and the tone of voice are what’s gonna help the tourist not make the situation worse and get them stabbed.

Since the initial aggressive behavior, the assailant has gone from using broken English to basically complete Hindi, which is more comfortable for him to speak due to it being his native tongue. For English readers who can’t speak Hindi, the above sentences are going be gibberish, except a few words, right?

That’s exactly what happens to most victims in an actual situation in a country where their language is not spoken widely, when they hear them talking. This is not just about one country, this can be applied to any country that doesn’t widely speak your native language. Hell an Indian who doesn’t speak English well or doesn’t speak Russian at all can be victimized in Russia or the US or UK or Australia and not understand what their assailants are saying, at least not fully, unless they follow the gestures, tone of voice, body language, etc.

It is actually a pretty common fact the assailants (and even people who are angry) often revert to their native tongue, which they’re more comfortable speaking. If you don‘t speak the same language, you’ll have to solely rely on their gestures, where they point at, their pitch and tone of voice, to know what they intend to do, etc. Which is where most people are either killed or beaten to the brink of death or even raped (but that‘s a different type of crime, as opposed to mugging, so let‘s stick to our current example for now).

So, why do they get beaten? Well, there is no one reason for it, there are many variables that determine the reasons. But miscommunication is one of the most common reasons. If the instructions in the form of gestures and tone of voice, aren’t picked up by the prey, the predator who wants control of the situation, will be frustrated. Finally, for them it will be easier and more convenient to just take you out and take whatever they want from your downed unconscious/dead body than wasting more time playing the mime version of 20 questions with you. This will not only, not waste their time, but there are also less chances of them being seen by anyone.

This is why learning to identify physical as well as verbal cues not only helps you identify threats, they also help you during an already out of control situation. If you follow the instructions and give them your watch, phone, etc. Chances are they will run away after. Of course, if they want more, I.e. you, then it’s a different situation, in which case, you also need to be able to identify their intentions from the way they behave, from their tone of voice or lack thereof as many predators will avoid conversing with their victims, if they‘re intent on harming the prey, it dehumanizes the prey further. Aggressive words are often used to intimidate the mark into giving up their valuables.

In the above example, chances are that the mugger introduces a knife early on in the mix, maybe the mugger is intent on using it or maybe not, but will, if presented with resistance or maybe is incompetent enough to not be able to if over-whelmed by the prey’s actions, there are still chances of the victim being cut, slashed or stabbed in either of those possibilities. There is an extreme amount of uncertainty of how the assailant might react. But one thing is for sure, if the tourist gets aggressive when the situation could be resolved without aggression, the chances of the tourist being stabbed or beaten by the mugger and his possible accomplices will significantly increase, even if they have to chase you down the road till they catch you. Remember, from an evolutionary psychology perspective, this is their domain, their country, their territory, you are an outsider, and they won’t tolerate being dominated by an outsider, so the locals will be extra aggressive to an individual who is from out of town, if they try to fight back with aggression. This is also true with bar fights. Locals are more likely to be extra aggressive towards rude and aggressive tourists in a bar/club confrontations, than they would be to the local individuals, especially if it involves local women as well (another topic, but still related).

Due to the linguistic barrier, the already dehumanized target becomes something even less to the predator, so the hesitation to cause bodily harm is now almost completely gone. If giving away your valuables saves your life, do it. If it’s your life they’re after and you have no escape or room for de-escalation or reasoning, then you won’t lose anything more if you do fight back, but may lose your life, if you don‘t. Prevention and Avoidance is something I always advocate, but if you fail to do so, then ‘Desperate times, call for desperate measures‘, will apply here. You need to be able to assess the situation in its entirety, and calculate the most effective solution to get through it without being harmed. That is something that I cannot write and show you, as an actual situation has too many factors and variables that just can’t be explained in writing. Focus on principles of survival instead. Focus on improvisation, focus on efficient problem solving. Focus on identifying a potential threat. Focus on finding an out.

There are various possibilities and many possible situations that can occur while you are traveling, but only if you’re not careful. Don’t let this scare you. Traveling can be extremely enjoyable and it broadens your horizons, if you’re smart enough to be safe while doing so, which is quite simple if you use basic common sense of not getting out of the safe tourist zones, especially created so the tourists can enjoy themselves.

The above example is based mostly on a mugging. Certain other types of situations require different approaches, which includes sexual assaults as well, but certain principles like identification of verbal cues, tone of voice, gestures, remain similar.

Finally, I’m gonna write down some bullet points below for you to keep in mind before and while you travel;

  • The first and best thing to do is to not get out of the tourist safe zone. It has all the local attractions, restaurants, entertainment, etc. for you to enjoy. So remain in it, but if you do want to go out and explore the country in it‘s entirety and actuality, never go alone, either go in a big enough group that is a hard target due to sheer numbers (6-10+) or ask the hotel staff to recommend you a trusted guide, but still don’t go alone with the guide, remember everyone is for sale, and you are in a foreign country, where you don‘t know anyone. This applies especially if you’re from a rich country.
  • Another thing you can do is learn the local police numbers. For example, India has 100, USA has 911, UK has 999, Thailand has 191, Singapore and Malaysia both have 999…so on and so forth. Just look it up and set them in your phone contacts before you go out.
  • Know the local crime rate before you go to a country or a city or a locality.
  • Know what crimes are prevalent in which areas.
  • Know which areas are most susceptible to what kinds of crimes; I.e. cons, assaults, muggings, sexual assaults, kidnappings, etc.
  • Know the cultural mindsets of the locals and alter your behavior accordingly while communicating with them.
  • Know which areas are guarded from the crime infested ones and stay inside them.
  • Search the local safety measures, like CCTV’s, Security, Secure Transportation, etc.
  • Search for the local police station and hospital and research how efficient they are.
  • Get a hotel that is in a very low crime (I.e. petty crimes) to virtually zero crime rate area.
  • Have at least some knowledge about the local language. Even if it is just the fundamentals, so that you’re not completely lost and oblivious to it.
  • Know which gestures and social mannerisms are considered offensive or rude or aggressive in the local culture and avoid doing them in public (some cultures forbid showing affection in public or wearing certain type of clothes in certain areas considered holy to the locals).
  • Respect the local traditions and laws or the locals will get aggressive or at the very least not be very hospitable to you. Remember, you’re a guest in someone else’s country, regardless of the local flaws, it is not your place to judge and decide what‘s right or wrong for them.
  • Be cautious of the tone of voice you use. Polite tone is universally considered positive, so stick to that.
  • Never be too obvious with anything of value, don‘t wear things that are or look expensive.
  • Never carry cash or at least not too much of it (if you absolutely do need to) and never take it out in public view. Get to a secure, out of sight place, then take the cash out.
  • Be cautious of the local cons. Always arrange your transportation, your guides, your accommodations and food arrangements, and your overall itinerary, from a trusted and positively reviewed travel agency in your own country, avoid hiring unknown local help/guide/transportation without checking the legitimacy of that individual, with the hotel that you‘re staying in and avoid going anywhere alone with them, try to gather up a group, if you do decide to do so (as stated above).

 

Remember, if you follow the local rules, if you stay away from the non-tourist based areas, if you acquire the necessary and useful details about the place you are gonna visit beforehand, if you plan your itinerary with the travel agency beforehand and arrange a legitimate and safe transport and guide (if you so wish), your travel experience will be much more pleasant, enjoyable and much more safer than it would if you are negligent about the little, but important details. A little caution goes a long way, as far as enjoyable travel is concerned, or just in general really.

 

I’d like to share a bit of my personal info when I traveled, it was for my training and research, so I regularly used to go out of the tourist zones and virtually lived in those areas and as a result often used to come across unsavory trouble, especially when I looked for it and certain kinds of individuals who did not want me there. So this article, in part, is also indirectly based off of my experience of not staying in the designated tourist zones. Anyway, just thought I’d share.

 

Oh and this article is geared towards a civilian traveling to another country, not a professional on a job. Certain things in that context will change, but as stated before, many principles will remain similar (read above for which ones).

 

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading! And if you’re gonna travel, safe travels!

Common sense tips for social situations (Women)

The following points are kind of obvious things, but sometimes we miss what’s obvious so, when that happens, I, Captain Obvious! Comes to the rescue!

Here are some common sense tips for women, most of these would apply to young women.

  1. I’m gonna put this at number one because I think this is the most important, yet the most neglected and it‘s included in the men‘s common sense article as well, which is to always keep your hand over your glass or bottle. Once you’re drugged, you lose all ability to make any coherent decision.
  2. Avoid eating or drinking something given to you by someone, this is especially true for young women in colleges. Even if it’s packaged and not open, a syringe is enough to drug it without opening it.
  3. When you go out, try and go in a group of close friends, and stick with the group, do not get separated, due to any unforeseen circumstances, if the group does separate, try to at least stay with one of your friends, it’s better than being completely alone. This can apply to young women in schools and colleges as well as women who have jobs or if you‘re just going to social events, etc.
  4. Another equally important point is to avoid any conversation or any engagement with an individual you don’t feel comfortable around. You don’t have to talk to anyone you don’t feel comfortable around.
  5. Keep your phone handy and emergency contacts on speed dial.
  6. Turn on the GPS in your phone if you’re traveling or if you’re gonna be out late. This can backfire if you already have a stalker, but if not, it can be used by the authorities to track your location (as long as you have the phone) in case of an emergency (one example for that is, abduction).
  7. Which brings me to my next point, try not to stay out too late. That’s such a dad thing to say, right? Well, it has its merits. Especially in areas where sexual assaults and molestations and verbal harassments are a frequent occurrence.
  8. If you’re at a club or a party, avoid engaging in any violent confrontation, including a verbal one, it doesn’t take long for it to escalate if a single wrong thing is said to the wrong individual.
  9. Avoid public transportation after dark, if the public transport runs empty after a certain time of day. If you can afford it, get a car, drive. It’s the safest option as long as you gas up your car and maintain it properly. If your situation doesn’t allow that. Get a cab service like OLA or Uber, I’d personally recommend OLA if you’re in India or call someone you trust, maybe your spouse, if they can, to drive you.
  10. One other obvious, yet simple thing is to not always wear headphones with loud music or movies playing. No headphones.
  11. Don’t carry objects like taser or mace unless you know how to use them in a violent situation. Most of these aren’t effective against many threats anyway, at least not the most store brand ones people usually buy, but it will be effective enough against you if you don’t train to use it, the same thing you bought to protect yourself will be used against you. It will backfire in the worst possible way. Carry a gun where it’s legal, or a knife, but knife is almost never legal in many countries. So, basically just avoid carrying weapons, unless you are allowed and you know how to use them. Improvise if the need arises.
  12. I know most will hate this, but in certain situations, even though it’s painful to do so, if someone passes a derogatory remark about you, avoiding them and walking away is the best way to deal with it, especially if there is no help around or if they’re in a group. Chances of this situation escalating are enormous if not handled properly.
  13. This point connects to the previous one, even though I said not to engage, there are times and places, where you can and should engage to set boundaries. Setting boundaries, especially verbal boundaries is something that not many women feel comfortable doing, because of the social obligation to be polite. But remember, saying NO is not a bad thing. So, if someone is making you uncomfortable or someone crosses your personal space boundary, you are fully within your rights to tell them to go fuck themselves…politely, by saying NO. NOT INTERESTED. I’M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THIS. STOP. Any of those will do, just take the context into account. ‘NO’ can be said in many ways, but at the end of it all, it still means ‘NO’ and nothing else. If this happens in work place, report it if it’s severe and continuous harassment, or give them a warning, if it’s not continuous or first time or an isolated incident, but still inform someone about it and warn them that you will report it, if there’s a next time. If this happens in college, warn the individual that you’re not comfortable with their behavior and want them to stop, if it persists or if your warning is brushed off, immediately report it to the concerned person who handles these matters. If this happens in school, warn the individual then alert your parents the same day. Remember, you don’t have to get someone kicked out or fired for a remark, unless the harassment has happened more than once, is continuous and severe and you fear for your safety. If it’s a first time, a simple warning is sufficient, if they brush off your warning and, then you may alert someone about this, and if it continues after that, you are justified in taking action of informing the concerned person. There are stages, which, if you overshoot, will not only ruin someone’s life who had no intention of hurting you, but will also reflect badly on yourself. Not to mention, if it severely damages someone’s life, there’s always a potential for payback/revenge. No one wins. Think logically, not emotionally, even if it is difficult to do so, especially in situations like these. Please try and avoid the worst possible outcome. Remember, saying NO, is not wrong, but wrongfully using excessive force is dangerous to everyone involved, and I‘m just not talking about physical force.
  14. This is something I wanted to include at number one, but it’s not as understated as many of the other above, which is, Trusting your intuition. It is the most important thing when dealing with potential threats. When you feel something or someone is off, it/they probably is/are, walking away from that environment, is the best decision you can possibly ever make.
  15. Another important one is, learning to distinguish between intuition and paranoia. Paranoia comes from irrational fear, but intuition comes from experience, training and carefully analyzing the environments and behaviors of individuals in your immediate vicinity. If you pick up odd behavior, it probably is likely there’s something wrong. Learn to recognize patterns in normal behavior so you can spot abnormalities in unusual behaviors.
  16. Finally, an obvious one I’d like to add is, just generally, Use common sense.

 

So, that’s about it. These are some basic common sense tips to know to make sure you remain safe in social environments. Thanks for reading!

Common sense tips for social situations (Men)

Today I’ll write down a small list of common sense points to keep in mind so you can avoid getting into trouble in social situations.

  1. Pretty simple one; Avoid confrontation when you can.
  2. Don’t aggravate the situation any further. Control your temper and Deescalate. If you already are in an unfortunate and unavoidable situation. (Which is less likely to happen if you don‘t hang around the wrong kinds of people, refer to point no.10).
  3. This relates to point no.2. Don’t say anything to aggravate the already angry individual, especially by telling them to calm down or challenging them to do something.
  4. Have a polite, friendly, calm demeanor. (This is just a basic societal mannerism).
  5. Don’t let your ego do the talking, especially when you can‘t back it up with actions.
  6. Think before you say anything to anyone, especially if they‘re someone you don‘t know, because you don‘t know how they will react to it.
  7. Never drink so much that doing something stupid seems like a great idea.
  8. Never drink so much that you can’t stand without doing the mambo.
  9. If at a party, be careful of what you eat or drink, always keep one hand on the glass or bottle.
  10. Don’t hang around individuals who are trouble magnets or trouble seekers.
  11. Many social fights have started due to an individual being disrespectful to someone or someone’s girlfriend or wife. So as a general rule, be respectful towards women… and people in general, unless given a reason not to, in which case, slowly back out and walk away rather than engage, you don‘t know what the other individual is capable of.
  12. If you’re going to a club or a bar, be respectful to the security personnel there, they‘re just doing their job, it’s a hard job, so don’t make it any harder for them. If you do, you will have your ass handed to you on a silver platter and you’ll ruin their day in the process. No one wins here.
  13. Follow the establishment rules, everyone is there to have fun, not witness your drama.
  14. Now this one should be common sense, but hey, so are all the above points, so here it is, DON’T DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL.. or anything you wouldn’t want everyone on the internet to see, ‘mkay?
  15. This one is the most important one (and the most obvious one) – Use common sense.

To sum it all up, it finally comes down to one thing, as Marc MacYoung put it, “Don’t be an asshole“. Oh and the other saying as well, the one about not going to stupid places, where stupid people do stupid things.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for reading!

Training Tip 2

Verbal and Body language Training Tip

 

Use firm tone of voice, not aggressive, learn to calm your emotional trigger response while talking to an aggressive individual. Never tell someone to calm down. What to say depends on the context and gravity of the situation, so think before talking. Learn to use proper body language, make it so it does not appear aggressively challenging or dominating nor does it make you appear as someone to be bullied and dominated, it should be strong enough to convey you’re not someone who will be victimized without a fight (if necessary). Never use challenging terms such as “What are you going to do? Kill me? Hit me?” etc. etc. Give clear verbal commands. Keep your eyes in all possible directions to detect an anomaly; i.e. multiple assailants, concealed weapon/s, witnesses, escapes. No direct eye contact, but don’t look down, look straight, not up, chin should not be up, that showcases pride and territory dominance. Don’t take a fighting stance. Don’t stand too close to the other individual and don’t let them get close to you, it’s an invitation for a sucker punch or a stab. In a social situation, try to give the other individual an out to save face in front of their peers. Try and calm the individual by letting them know the fight isn’t worth the reward (this can backfire if not phrased properly).

 

Tell your training partner to not act like one and be aggressive in verbal language with you. To scare you and activate the stress response in you, to provoke you emotionally and try to get you angry, to activate adrenaline and as a result, your Flight, Fight or Freeze response. Play ambient sounds here as well, while doing the scenario, as you need to be used to the distractions that will occur in an actual social setting, the surrounding noises, yells, screams, etc will distract you and that might be the moment you get the first hit. So train to be more focused on the threat, while being focused on the surroundings. Pay attention to the sounds in the background while talking. Remember them, then after, describe them at the end of the training. See how accurate you are. You need to be able to multitask. Try creating some other physical distractions as well, get some people to walk by or try and get your attention to distract you, see how focused you can remain while talking to the main threat. This will also help you remember things better during and after the situation. It can help you describe the situation better in the aftermath when you’re being debriefed by the police officer on scene.

 

There are a lot more details and much more to this, but this covers the very fundamental level training tips you can utilize to deescalate a situation that doesn’t need to get worse.

 

For avoidance, just don’t go to places or hang out with individuals who are always looking for a reason to fight and you’ll be safe.

 

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading. Any questions or want to ask more details on this training tip, write them down in the comments.

Women’s Day Seminar.

So in a “short” (wink wink, not really short) article today, I’d like to tell a story of the seminar I did. It was originally 1hr, which got extended to 2 due to me having to explain more than I thought I would and due to my incessant talking when I teach. I always encourage people to ask me questions, even during the session, it just helps me to teach better and provide more info, another reason why it got extended.

So, all was going good, and a participant, told me that they were taught these “simple techniques” to deal with “attackers” in another seminar with a Martial Arts instructor (I think most will see where this is going after reading that) she went through some time ago and she wanted me to teach her some similar ones in 1hr.

Now in my seminars, I focus more on prevention than fighting as it’s a scientific fact that you can’t learn the physical techniques, even gross motor and form neuromuscular pathways by utilizing neuroplasticity in one day in just an hour. You especially can’t learn them and retain them in an adrenalized situation and expect to use them under stress, and if you never practice it again after that day, you can be sure that you will waste time thinking more than you should, rather than acting in the moment.

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So anyway, even though I wanted to yell, I remained calm as an instructor should, and I asked, “Which techniques?” “Can you demonstrate?” “Even just one of them would suffice“ Their answer? “I can’t exactly remember which ones, but there was hitting with hammer (I think she meant hammerfist) and scratching (gouging she meant.. I think) and they were simple” I mean.. what the actual f-word man?! Does this not seem odd to people when they say these things? It’s like they’re brainwashed so badly by these instructors who have never had any experience with actual violence in their whole lives and teach people on how to survive it by looking up some idiotic “safety tips” on the internet via google or maybe their seniors passed some down to them when they were certified as an “expert black belt instructor god” and is a part of the curriculum and then charge a lot of money for it. They are actually blind to these obvious things and misinform people as a result. It’s so sad…

Now in the above example, this was a calm situation in which she couldn’t remember those “simple techniques”, I wonder what would happen in an actual situation where she wouldn‘t even be able to recall her name. Here’s the good thing though, I did explain to her about how the logic is flawed here and she kinda understood, at least I hope she did, for her safety’s sake.

Not to mention I did my infamous “Who here is willing to kill and would be capable of killing another human being up close and personal with a knife?” bit, which of course, the way I describe a stabbing (the way it actually occurs and not the way people think it does, all clean and stuff. See my other articles or posts, or some of my fb posts, I think I‘ve mentioned it once or twice about what happens or at least the gist of it), so, yeah, no one seemed to want to feel metal penetrating skin and human blood spattering across their face.. Huh… go figure.

Oh and the countless imagined “scenarios” that came up today, one after other I kept tearing them down and they kept bringing them up, but bringing up fictional solutions to imagined problems is something that I don’t do. I’m a realist, as you know, if you’ve read my posts or know me personally. So, in the end, logic prevailed and many did grasp the concept of prevention being better than cure.. or prevention being the cure itself (Credit to Barry Drennan from Fairbairn Protocol for that piece of wisdom).

Besides all that prevention training, we also did some situational training, just to give them an idea of how the dynamics would work, in car/cab/taxi services like OLA and UBER, how their systems work and some general common sense tips like seating position in the car, some verbal communication skills, etc.

Anyway, all in all, I think it was a good seminar, I had fun, it looked like the participants had fun too, and as long as they understood even the fundamental concept of what I explained to them, which I think they did, because they said it and repeated it when I asked them a few questions about it, about prevention and why it’s necessary to focus on it, especially when you just have one hour to learn and the fact that you’re not gonna continue training after this hour is over. I really hope they did. I think, overall, I would chalk it up to being a success and good thing that I was able to clear up some misconceptions, and since there were like 60+ women there, I see it as 60x success!

I’m just glad that all the participants were so open-minded and willing to listen, to accept and learn, to let go of any misconceptions, and the fact that they asked questions, is what I loved the most, some of them might’ve been off, but the willingness to ask questions, is the first step, then asking the right questions is next, which many did as well. See I don’t mind if someone doesn’t know something in depth, what I mind is those who aren’t willing to keep an open mind, to accept the fact, that they don’t have all the answers, hey, I don’t, but that’s okay, that’s why we learn, that‘s why we train, that‘s why we ask questions. So I’m really glad I got to do this one today, it really was awesome.

I don’t usually write articles about the seminars I do, but I was possessed by a rant angel and it just spilled out and I did.

Oh and I got this super cool improvised wea…I mean a pen! For the seminar I did! Yay!

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If you’re wondering what’s the point of this article? Well, many points actually;

  1. One about the misconceptions, confusions, misinformation and disinformation in this field.
  2. Another is about people’s dangerous mindsets about what violence actually entails.
  3. Third is the problem of people just forming fictional solutions to problems they create, rather than forming helpful ones that would solve or at least reduce the chances of them becoming a victim of actual threats.
  4. Fourth would be attending a seminar for an hour or two, every three or six months or so, won‘t actually make you proficient in physical combat, especially not under a stressful situation, so rather focus on using some common sense and focus on prevention, especially in a relatively low crime city like Mumbai.
  5. Fifth would be, no one wants to deal with the consequences of using a knife, but still want to learn to use it (irony at its finest).
  6. Sixth would be logic prevails, if people are willing to listen and accept.
  7. Seventh, actuality is different from your truth and reality.
  8. Eight, I talk a lot when I teach.
  9. Ninth, Too much ego in the Martial Arts field. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s too male dominated as well (kinda ironic that I, a male, is writing this, yes, I see the irony here), especially here and not many are willing to admit they’re wrong ever. (Although, not all Martial Artists are that way, I don‘t generalize, ever. And for those rare exceptions, I have the utmost respect, they know what Martial Arts are actually about).
  10. Tenth, I wasn’t criticizing the participants today, they were unbelievably awesome, and willing to ask and learn. What I was criticizing is the number of b.s. information on this subject that’s in this field, mostly propagated by those who claim themselves as experts, but have no shred of idea what violence actually entails (that includes the consequences of it).
  11. Eleventh, when you attend a seminar or a training session claiming to teach self-defense, don’t just blindly accept what the instructor tells you, see if it’s logical, ask them questions to elaborate more, the more you ask, the more you know. Just ask the right questions to get the right answers. See if what they teach makes sense, you don’t deserve to be fooled by a money grubbing scumbag, you deserve the right information, especially if it pertains to your (and your family‘s) safety.
  12. Twelfth, we also discussed that in a male dominated field, most instructors will show you things that pertain to the confrontation types that men come across, not the types of situations that women do.
  13. Thirteenth, as instructors, we are seen as individuals who provide knowledge on how to be safe, it’s our responsibility to deliver the best quality of training that is practical and tailored to the different types of individuals we train.
  14. Finally, fourteenth, all my articles have some sort of a point, even if I have to dig them up out of nothing…(lol not really though, it’s all up there in the post 😉 ).

Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading. I was actually just gonna rant about this on facebook, but it got too long (as usual) so…it became an article…eh..

Happy Women’s Day and Stay Safe, readers (and non-readers)! 🙂

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Training for actuality of violence

When most people, especially instructors are asked whether they train realistically, their answer is usually ‘yes’. But when you see them do their “realistic stuff”, it seems pretty far and out of touch from reality. It seems that their concept of reality is different from the actuality of it.

 

Recently, I asked an individual a simple question, “How, would you say, a real violence training should look?” The individual replied in a very cliched way and went on about how the opponent should come at you aggressively, yelling and stuff, etc. I asked him in return, “Would you see it coming?” He didn’t have a proper answer, but yet tried to say something and ended up saying just “Yes”.

 

Now, here’s the first problem of things with this. Most tend to see these things from a purely physical perspective. Not many seem to focus on the pre-violence situation. No verbal cues, no tonal changes, no physiological changes, no physical positioning, no symptoms of ASR, etc. etc. In fact, most don’t even acknowledge it even exists. Which kinda poses a problem when we are “training for violence”, doesn’t it? I mean if you don’t train to see it coming, what are you preparing for? To get out barely alive and half dead?

 

So, realistic training? What does that entail? Well, if you ask me, the drills should focus more on the pre-violence cues than anything really, physical aspect of it should not be choreographed, no matter how “aggressive” the other guy is, (let’s be honest here, he‘s really not truly angry or aggressive in most cases). Superficial aggression is utterly useless, you don‘t have to kill them, but all of the pseudo aggressive and “hard” movements are nothing but taps in actuality, are you really gonna learn how it feels to get hit by being tapped on your chest? No, you are not.

 

Let’s take a situation here, if I am in a big fancy Martial Arts studio, and I’ve been told to rush and charge this guy in order to demonstrate “the harsh reality of violence”, and I charge at him, but the guy knows I‘m coming, ‘cause, you know, He Told Me To! He‘s READY for his “moves”, there is no sudden jolt to his nervous system, no emotional stress, no adrenaline dump, and I didn’t try to get a rise out of him by calling his mom an individual who asks money for pleasure, not to mention, I‘m not gonna actually make contact here, it‘s gonna be an acting show, a choreography with taps that look “hard”.

 

So my questions are, “Is that really reality?” and “Are we really showing the actuality of it or are we just showing what we think and we want people to think is reality?” I mean in an actual assault or an attack, very rarely people do see it coming, and even when they do, they’re still overwhelmed by the sheer aggression, it’s sudden, our hands are shaking, our legs feel weak, our stomachs are churning and we’re basically too busy crying and asking ourselves questions like, “What the hell is happening?” and “Why the fuck is this happening to me?”

 

I’m pretty sure, that most who just train for their kind of “reality”, where the guy they know is coming, charging at them without any purpose, without thinking about any of the events leading up to the escalation of the situation and violence, that kind of individual will not only, not see the threat coming, but they will crumble under pressure due to the aggressive nature of the actuality and suddenness of violence, as they won‘t see it coming like they did in their fancy studio. Not to mention, fail miserably to deescalate the violence in the first place due to lack of verbal skills necessary to not provoke the guy even further by challenging or insulting him.

 

So, my opinion here is that, the best training is something that encompasses every subject related to violence, which includes not only physical, but verbal, psychological, emotional, biological, societal, moral, consequential, tactical and a very important aspect; Legal.

 

As far as the physical training goes, scenario training is great, but without purpose, it loses it’s purpose, which is to mold your brain to handle and resolve or combat threats if/when you come across them by utilizing our brain’s neuroplasticity. Blindly creating aggressive scenarios without any situational context and escalation, is just inviting more trouble and is not training for the actual thing, it’s just training for more senseless violence. So please, Train street smarts and common sense, rather than senseless violence.

 

Finally, my question to you, the reader; What are you gonna train for? ‘The reality of violence?’ or ‘The actuality of it?’.

 

Well, that’s it. Thank you for reading.