On Preparedness

I went to my gym this morning to squeeze in some bag work and lesson planning before going to my son’s elementary school play.  A passerby stopped in to visit about what it is I offer at Idaho Krav Maga.  During the course do our conversation I told him the bread and butter of IKM is self-defense.  That’s my passion, and I think what I do is valuable to myself and others.  He was a nice guy, a guy I wouldn’t mind having on the mat.  He asked some smart questions, and he asked, “Why do you feel so strongly about self-defense?  You live in Boise.  What do you think is going to happen?”  Nothing.  If I thought my neighborhood was unsafe, I’d move.  If I thought something was going to happen on my morning run, I wouldn’t run.  If I thought something was going to happen at my children’s school, I wouldn’t send them to that school, and I wouldn’t visit it, either.  The unexpected happens every day, though, and I’d rather have the tools to deal with the unexpected than to not.  It’s why I train in Krav Maga.  It’s why I train with and carry a gun.  It’s why my car, my home, my health, and my life are all insured.

Let me tell you a story.  A friend and I took our children ice skating last summer.  We did not expect anything bad to happen, but I still packed all the things I always pack with me.  There is always a well-stocked first aid kit in my car, filled with everything from tourniquets and blood-stop to tweezers and Snoopy band-aids.  My friend and I were watching our kids skate when we noticed a girl fall.  She sliced open her hand with the blade of her skate.  Nobody stopped to help her.  The ice was turning red with her blood. I ran to help.  My friend ran with me.  This skating rink had NO FIRST AID SUPPLIES that the staff was aware of.  I applied pressure to the wound and held the girl’s hand above her head while my friend ran to my car to get my first aid kit.  The girl was faint and in mild shock.  She lost a lot of blood. The staff did nothing.  I asked for medical tape and was handed scotch tape.  Using paper towels and then supplies from my first aid kit along with elementary first aid skills, the bleeding stopped.  The girl was ultimately taken to the urgent care by the adults in charge of her (who also were unprepared to deal with an emergency).  I didn’t leave the house expecting this to happen.  I didn’t go looking for an emergency.  I did leave feeling prepared for the unexpected, and I’m glad I did.

I hope nothing ever happens to force me to use my Krav Maga training or my firearms training.  I would rather not strike or shoot another human if I can avoid doing so.  Hoping I don’t have to, though, isn’t a plan.

I’d rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it.

The Unpredictability of Man, Beast and Nature

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.

Tracie Ide

What is Krav Maga?

Krav Maga (pronounced “krahv mahGAH”) is an effective, modern, and dynamic self-defense and fighting system. It is designed to be practical and intuitive for people of any age, shape, or size. The techniques expand on your natural instincts to develop skills quickly and effectively, while enabling you to address attacks under any scenario. You will learn how to defend yourself and your loved ones, while gaining increased awareness and instinctive reflexes.

The Ifs of carrying a gun

As a self defense instructor, I am often asked whether I recommend carrying a firearm for personal safety.  I do, but with many “ifs” attached.

A gun can be an effective self defense tool, if you are willing to invest in learning how to handle the gun proficiently and safely.  Hitting a target is not easy.  Hitting a target when you are under stress and duress is damn hard.  It requires learning the basics of marksmanship and practicing them on a regular basis.  If you make the decision to carry a gun, first make the decision to find a qualified instructor and train.  Set aside time and money, and commit.

A gun requires care and maintenance.  It is your responsibility to learn what makes your gun go bang, how to keep that gun running smoothly, and what to do in the event the gun fails to do so at any given time.

Carrying a gun on your person means you are choosing to be responsible for keeping that gun on your person securely.  How and where will it be carried?  Are you practicing getting to the gun quickly and presenting it quickly when the need arises?  Have you considered what might happen if someone tries to take it from you?  Have you considered the legal ramifications if you use the gun in self protection and everything goes smoothly and the threat is stopped?  What if everything goes horribly wrong and an innocent person is injured or killed?

The decision to carry a firearm is one that requires careful consideration, commitment to training, and acceptance of immense responsibility.  Don’t make it lightly.