Ignorance is not a sustainable paradigm in violence professions – Marc MacYoung

SSgt Grizzly Bear has a saying “Ignorance is not a sustainable paradigm in violence professions.”

Unfortunately bad information from your instructor can (and will) get you killed, hospitalized, imprisoned or sued. While I hope and pray that nobod
y I teach ever has to use the information, I know that some of them will find themselves in the meatgrinder.

I owe it to them –to the best of my abilities — to prepare them to recognize the development and avoidance of violence. But failing that to come through it with minimum damage both to themselves and whom they had to use force on. Then comes the aftermath of success, be that police, legal charges or — worse — revenge.

Do I sound elitist to other instructors? Frankly I don’t give a fuck. Partly because most people who will interpret it that way are guilty of sending students out into the street unprepared and dangerously overconfident about their skills and knowledge.

Hell, I have to go back and explain to countless people that ‘self defense is a legal term.’ It does not mean what your martial arts instructor, your SD guru or tactical shooting instructor told you. It is a legal standard your behavior must meet given the circumstances and the level of danger. I didn’t make this up. I didn’t discover this secret. It’s part of our legal system. 

If you don’t want to stay inside these boundaries then I advise you to learn how to dispose of a body without getting caught. And whether or not you play within the law or out of it, you’ll need how to deal with the cops. Yet, somehow while I see a lot of people claiming to be able to teach you ‘self defense’ I don’t see too many people covering these details.

Now a common complaint I hear from those who haven’t been there is the elitism of those who have. While understandable because an appeal to authority is not the basis of a solid argument, at the same time those who haven’t been there don’t get to redefine ‘self defense to mean what ever they thing it means — much less involves. So there’s legitimate basis for complaint from both sides. Oh wait, I already wrote something about building bridges on that front

In the same way I see entirely too many people saying how important situational awareness is, but not teaching anything about it. Not just bad information, I mean nothing. Gee, just how important is situational awareness? Well it’s saved my life on more than one occasion. So as you might guess, I’m a big fan. Here’s the rub… I can tell you specifics of the environment, the circumstances and how I knew what was going on. 
Now as someone who teaches it as part of the program, I can break it down into workable parts that someone can use to fast track this important survival skill. 

Someone asks me to teach them situational awareness I can immediately rattle off three questions
1) For what kind of environment?
2) For what kind of circumstances?
3) How deep do you want to go?

The answers to those three questions will determine the details and the depth we’ll go into the subject. 

Now with that in mind, I’m going to ask you to explain (without using my terms) what it is that you teach as situational awareness. Or think it is.

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