What you believe can get you killed!!
On September 28, 1994 at around 1 a.m. the cruise ferry Estonia became one of the worst maritime disasters in history. 852 out of 989 passengers and crew members died in the Baltic Sea. There were many things at work against the passengers. They were far from shore, there were very rough seas, the water temperature was cold enough to cause hypothermia quickly and rescue took a long time to arrive.
The cruise ferry Herald Of Free Enterprise sank as well just outside the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. 193 of the 539 crew and passengers on board perished. Experts and rescuers were baffled by the number of dead. The water wasn’t that cold, the seas were fairly calm, it happened in shallow water just off shore and rescue helicopters arrived within 28 minutes. The leading expert in the field, John Leach, believes these people died because they believed they were supposed to. They had heard of other large ships capsizing and knew there was always a huge death toll. They believed that they were doomed so they were!

In August of 2004 a thirteen year old inner city youth was at a summer camp for underprivileged kids in New Hampshire. The youth and a counselor came across a black bear and took off running. Soon the counselor realized the youth was no longer with him. When he found him the poor kid had said he was too scared to run, soon developed breathing difficulty and died. The official reason for death was stated as basically scared to death. The youth believed he was a goner…even though a bear had not killed a human in New Hampshire since 1784.

If you have followed these blogs you know where this is heading! What we believe about self defense and fighting can get us killed as well. I was told about a tragic incident in a club in Florida. For some reason this club decided, on the same night, to have country and western on one side and hip hop on the other. One of the good ol boys was stabbed and killed by one of the hip hoppers. It turns out that the good ol boy was known for bar fights. His fun was going to the club on weekends and getting into a scrap. He started a fight with a guy and believed that everyone knew the rules to a bar fight. It was just two guys having fun and beating on each other a bit. The hip hopper came from a different society. A fight to him was combat and somebody usually got killed….he was gonna make sure it wasn’t him. The man who died believed he was in a bar fight with the usual “monkey dance” rules and his opponent believed he was in a fight to the death. Only one of them could be right.

There is a famous martial artist who is teaching a handgun defense as a forward roll towards the gunman to come from underneath the gun and twist it free. This instructor is teaching his students something that will get them killed….and they believe in his technique becaust he is an “expert”!

In SGT Rory Miller’s book Meditations On Violence he talks about a time he was sparring a black belt at a school he was visiting. When this person delivered a backfist to SGT Miller’s nose they stopped and yelled at him for continuing. He didn’t understand so he asked the black belt what it was that he done wrong. The black belt replied “If I would have broken your nose for real the fight would have been over.” SGT Miller told the black belt “I have had my nose broken three times in fights and I can assure you that I never stopped, I kicked the guy’s ass”. This black belt’s instructor had his students believing that breaking an attackers nose would end a violent altercation. If, in the real world, his students would have delivered a hard shot to the nose they would have stopped because they believed the fight would be over…and they would have gotten hurt.

I recently heard of a person who got into a fight at a bar. He went to a gym that taught BJJ “for the street”. He took the guy to the ground and jumped guard as he had been taught….and was stabbed several times with a knife. The only reason he didn’t die was that none of the stabs hit anything vital….grace of God.

I’ve said many times that when someone approaches an instructor to learn self defense they are literally putting their lives in that instructors hands. To teach crap from a system because it’s your system is pathetic. If someone gets to a place where they need what we taught them to save their lives and their families lives it had better be the best, most up to date, most battle tested tactics and techniques that we can find to teach! I’m all for pride in a system but if you are claiming that your system is the ultimate in self defense, it had better be. The only reason a person believes what he is teaching is the best is because he is teaching it. If fate would have had him in another system he would think that’s the best. Don’t let your pride get people hurt! BE SAFE!


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