Here’s one pathway to intellectualize about violence, meaning to run some concepts around our brain. The goal is clarity.
This frightening image, received visually, might be overwhelming for the first moments of intake. It is so foreign to most of us, we are in momentary disbelief. But then we quickly correlate it to images in our existing info bank, to realize — oh, yes we are, at the very least, familiar with this creature. It’s just a fish. And we relax and behave accordingly.
But when life threatening violence fills our vision and more likely all our senses, there is overwhelm: absolutely nothing is familiar, nothing is relatable, nothing is believable, especially if we are injured. And we behave accordingly — we freeze, a bunny in the bushes.
The most emotionally hardened, seasoned SWAT dude(ess) can freeze when confronted with disbelief. It’s the prior training that kicks him back into action, to break the freeze. Hopefully he defaults to the result of hours of practice dedicated to achieve action against the threat, overcoming hesitation.
Self Offense Application. Can we injure the predator in the moment of chaos?
LEARNING LEVEL 1. Front Brain. We attend listening learning, for example a lecture, and we understand intellectually the process of delivering injury to a human to save our life. How to dig out an eye.
LEARNING LEVEL 2. Disturbing Experience. We experience the mechanics
of delivering eye injury, for example a seminar involving a demonstration. We put our finger a digit deep into a plastic skull eye orbit. We even perform a careful, slow-mo practice on our training partner.
LEARNING LEVEL 3. Hard Wire. We physically practice ad nauseam, our tools to their tissue, with all the combative choreography, replicating the injury just short of damage.
We literally produce new neural pathways allowing muscular coordination. And equally important during training, we tap into the midbrain, home of intersecting emotions, the residence of our own violence potential.
So 3 levels. Makes sense: effective training codes for all levels. We relate it to learning calligraphy, a free throw, or fly casting. And we behave accordingly, until we realize that the moment we are training for is violently unfamiliar. Our next breath into action must deliver injury.
One of my students, a recovering victim, compared this incremental process as renovating her killometer.
Be safe. Train for clarity.