MAY 27, 2021

Skill Set: Sudden Violence

Any and all of these may be used as weapons.

Most people have a sanitized concept of violence. Unless you’ve been involved in an attack – violent assault, law enforcement, military service and such – it’s hard to understand just how sudden assaults occur, the short distances involved and the timing. In order to combat violence, you have to become familiar with the details.

Violent attacks in real life are nothing like in movies or television, which is where the majority of the public gets their information on the subject. The antiseptic screen version we see is like a ballet. Everything is choreographed, practiced and perfectly timed. The bad guy initiates the attack, getting in a few shots, then pauses to give the good character time to get a few rounds fired. These back-and-forth exchanges occur for several minutes. The hero receives a major blow, recovering just in time, cheating certain death and finishing off the threat. We see all this as a third person, from the camera’s choice of angles, in slow motion with perfect lighting. There is nothing “real” about it. (By the way, this applies to “reality” television, too.)

Real attacks are normally a surprise; the offender has already selected their victim. The majority of violent actions materialize at very close range. There’s usually some type of physical assault, so we’re talking about arms’ reach distance. This normally occurs in a low-light environment, although more and more assaults are taking place in the daylight. And, unlike what we see on the screen, you’ll only have a few seconds to solve the problem.

Predators hunt prey. “Weak,” is the term you often hear. Their victims are unaware. They don’t have a clue what’s going on around them, much less that they are being hunted. When the attack occurs, the victim is “surprised.” Their defense, if any, is launched only after recovering from the shock of what’s happening to them. Paying attention to your environment is the key to avoiding danger. At the first hint of possible danger, you avoid and escape, or prepare to defend against an attack.

The shock of the attack is increased with the amount of physical violence. Physical attacks are the norm – like the surprise round house to the side of your head. There’s a big difference between getting hit in the head by someone wearing sparring gloves, the experience we get at the dojo, compared to uncovered meat and hard bone striking you at full force. You may be knocked to the ground, and have to fight from there as you work up to standing. Impact weapons and knives are more common than firearms attacks. Blood appears. Yours or theirs? The threat may even use their car or truck as a weapon. Winning the fight relies on not being surprised by anything that takes place.

Once the attack starts, you’ll only have a few seconds to defeat the threat(s). Remember, they already have a plan; you have to respond without delay. When forced to fight, the amount of violence you use must be enough to stop the attack. There’s no time to apply plan A, then wait to see if that works before going to plan B, C or D. Using violence against another person is a hard concept for people to think about, much less actually performing it on someone.

Surprises come in two formats, good and bad. To avoid the shock of an actual attack you’ve got to become familiar with reality. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you. At the first hint of trouble – don’t second guess your initial “warning” – you avoid, escape or prepare to defend. When forced to fight, expect to get hit, cut or maybe shot. Yet, regardless of what happens, you must remain focused on defeating the threat(s), and in a timely fashion. Your training and practice must reflect reality, focusing on the skills needed to defeat a sudden, aggressive attack.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, has a regular column in American Handgunner and makes some cool knives and custom revolvers. Visit Shootrite’s Facebook page for other details.