I have an 8-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. She’s a typical lab in that she is always happy to see you, and she will eat anything. She is a well trained girl, having been trained in collapsed structure search and rescue for a couple years. She loves to tug on toys, will search and fetch a ball for hours, and has really nothing to be too uptight about. To further understand her nature, you should know she lives with 12 chickens. Yep. Peacefully. Happily. In fact, one chicken, Goldie, is her bff. I come home and find that the dog has let herself and Goldie into the kitchen by opening the patio door on a regular basis. She shares food with the chickens. In all her life, Phoster has never bitten anything. Until today. I was puppy sitting a very young West highland terrier pup this morning and took him out to meet Phoster. The pup merely nosed in the general area of Phoster’s food bowl, and Phoster bit him. Her nature changed in the blink of an eye. What I thought I could predict became the unpredictable. What I knew to be true suddenly became a lie.
The pup is going to be fine, but as I sit here waiting to find out exactly how much damage my “she would never bite anything” dog did, I can’t help but think how unpredictable everything is and why that is the heart and soul of why I teach and train Krav Maga. Man is unpredictable. Beast is unpredictable. Nature is unpredictable. Just as my dog lashed out so quickly and suddenly, so does nature. The person sitting calmly in the airline seat next to you that suddenly erupts in anger. The guy that smiled so widely and bought you a drink and told you how gorgeous your eyes were and then slams you against the bathroom door and raped you. Life is unpredictable.
Violence can erupt at any time. Now, some of you will argue and say there are always signs. After all, my dog is just a dog, a food driven, territorial creature accustomed to having her yard, her home, her breakfast a certain way, and I disrupted that. We can predict hurricanes and even earthquakes to some degree. There are cues that Mr. Congeniality will get angry when he doesn’t get his way. That’s all true. However, how could I predict that this puppy on this day would be the thing that pushed my dog to her point of lashing out angrily and violently? I couldn’t. We are often wrong about the strength of a storm, and earthquake prediction is general at best. That’s why training is so important.
What type of training? Start with emergency medical training. It is by far the most useful skill you can acquire. The situations where it will apply are limitless, from things as innocuous as cuts and bruises on your children to car accidents or active shooter incidents and even animal encounters. Follow the medical training with preparing your home for disaster readiness. Do you have stores of good and water, energy, medications, etc? Take stock today. Then, seek out self defense training. GOOD self defense training will include situational awareness training. Without situational awareness to avoid violence you will often be too late to use self defense skills. The author Gavin de Becker says in his book The Gift of Fear, “It’s better to detect sinister intentions early than respond to violent actions late.”
Admit to yourself now that you absolutely could get caught by the unpredictable nature of man, beast, or nature, and prepare.