(Title Courtesy of SDC Instructor Tom Powers)
If I asked you to pick up a garter snake, unless you had a fear of snakes, you would most likely walk up to it and simply pick it up. You know the snake is harmless and even though it may bite, it won't do any real damage. But then I asked you to pick up a king cobra, you would probably look at me like I'm out of my mind.
The same holds true for defensive tactics. Most methods of martial arts and self defense work is because the world is mostly filled with garter snakes. They're somewhat harmless to mildly dangerous people who may look scary to someone who doesn't know the difference between a copperhead and a corn snake but at the end of the day, would rather back off than withstand any physical pain. They're the local bully at the bar, the gym tough guy or the junkie trying to get over on you. They chest bump you on line or take your parking spot. They're the person who gets a little froggy, but will back down if properly threatened or receive a little pain. The garter snake can be handled easily. Against a garter snake, a lot of martial arts, verbal judo and self defense methods will work. This is why martial arts still survive. Most people simply don't want to fight if they think they're going to endure injury, embarrassment or legal ramifications. While most people talk about fighting, they'll avoid it when push comes to punch. And give the old "He's not worth it" line.
Martial arts train you for garter snakes and against a garter snake a lot of what you're doing will work. Personally, I don't give a shit about garter snakes, I train for king cobras.
A king cobra is that 1% of society that doesn't give a damn about me, my life or my family. He doesn't care about the consequences of his actions. He's experienced in using violence to get what he wants. He's an apex predator and will use whatever means necessary. He's cunning, knows all the angles and will have you boxed in as soon as you as you give him the chance. You can feel his presence when he walks into the room. He cannot be ignored.
I train for that guy and that guy alone because I know if I focus on the king cobra, I can handle the garter snakes with ease. Compared to a cobra, the garter snake is a rubber stick. Most people would just as soon avoid the king cobra all together. Wise move, but what if you can't? What if the cobra stands between you and survival?
If you're not training to deal with cobras you're already admitting defeat and submission. You are saying that you will eventually roll over at the first sign of a 100% certified bad ass. And if you're willing to accept that defeat, than good luck to you, I will continue to talk to the people who prepare for the worst.
If you haven't been pitted against a true sociopath predator...it's one of those, if I have to explain you wouldn't understand. I have dealt with cobras and am better for it. It's funny, I've come in contact with them more through my personal life than my professional. When I had my bike shop we did some dealings with some outlaw bikers and attended their functions. Needless to say, most went without incident while a few did not. God bless my wife for dealing with me...
There's nothing better than standing up for what you believe in and being able to protect the people you love. It's like the day you stood up to the bully (only multiplied by 10!). Remember how you felt inside? Like all was right in the world and you could do know wrong. Standing up for yourself against true danger is a feeling every man, woman and child should know. It's a feeling of real self worth and there is nothing like it in the world.
Chances are you'll go through life and only play with garter snakes. I truly wish that for everyone. Unfortunately, the king cobras are out there and you don't know if you have a king cobra or a garter snake until it's too late.
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company
Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.
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