Thursday, November 13, 2008

What if...

you faced a situation that you couldn't win? A circumstance or adversary that would crush you if you went toe to toe with them. What then? How would you endure... Persevere... escape... survive... Sometimes when we come up against something there is no win or lose. There is survive or not survive. Live or die. Escape or be conquered. This could be physically, psychologically and/or emotionally. Sometimes when someone "win's" they really lose because their psychological make up cannot withstand the trauma. This is often called "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." It happens when someone is put in a highly stressful environment often dealing with violence, death, and/or the fear of them. The person could be on the giving or receiving end of this spectrum. Many of our soldiers & Police officers get this disorder after serving active duty in some type of a crime or combat zone where they were subjected to an intense amount of this type of experience.

How does this effect you and your training? Well, these are some of the issues we were talking about this past Saturday when I was out in Jersey training with Jack Hoban. We talked about these factors and how it is important to train with these things in mind. How to train in such a way that gives us and those who train with us, the opportunity to escape not only physical injury, but also psychological and emotional injury. Like I said before, sometimes even when you "win" you could lose. The soldiers coming back from Iraq are the "winners." They are the ones who may have personally conquered and eliminated many of our (their) enemies, yet they are scarred for life emotionally. Some are not able to handle the emotional trauma of it and they end up hand grenading their own personal lives. Why?? Are we meant for all of this violence? If we are than why does the human psyche so often get damaged by it? What happens when we can't justify the death and killing?

I can remember some personal experiences that I have had in my past. Although I was not in a war I did came face to face with a few extremely violent attacks in which I managed to escape intact, yet I had nightmares about them for years that stretched into over a decade after the actual events occurred. Why? Wasn't I the one who successfully defended myself from the clutches of the baddies? Wasn't I justified in defending myself? Then why the nightmares? Was it only about what could have happened to ME, or was I also traumatized by what I did to THEM? This was no ring fight. No competition, no glory, just violence and survival. The odds weren't in my favor, both of these incidents involved large, angry men with weapons. So weren't my actions justified? Didn't I have the right to live and not be threatened or harmed? My answer to myself is simply "yes," I did have the right to physically defend myself, but it came at a greater psychological cost than I would have imagined. It wasn't a direct conscience thought to respond in the manner in which I did in either circumstance, but because of my training I did respond physically and I am confident in at least one of the two incidents that my response most likely saved my life or at the very least a trip to an intensive care unit. I don't regret either outcome, because I was able to go home to those I loved, yet the violence that I performed even justifiably came with a cost. An emotional price that I was to pay for years to come. I've never forgotten... So I can see from both a personal experience and in the eyes of some of our soldiers and officers that sometimes even when you win you lose! Violence is not the way, even though sometimes it seems to be. We often revert to it only to be reminded later of the true psychological and emotional cost.

Thanks again Jack for the great training. I am looking forward to seeing you again next month!

~Craig

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