Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 8

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 7"

The Master Warrior is seated on a rock, eating a bowl of oatmeal. I wait as patiently as I can. The oats are not mushy, but chewy, and he eats them the traditional Scottish way, with salt rather than sugar.

"Y' know, Clodhopper, that the English used to look down on the Scots for eating oats. They thought of oats as fodder for horses. That's why the English produced such strong horses, and the Scots produced such strong people. Now, what brings you out so early?"

"I have a question, O Master Warrior. I've been wondering . . . how would one get his womenfolk interested in learning self defense?" Without a word, the kilted Scot deftly locked my wrist and easily took me to the ground. He stood over me.

"Why are ye lying down, lad?"

"Because . . . you forced me?"

"How much force did I use?"

"Almost none."

"Then how did I force you to do anything? Think."

"Well, the pain was so great that I fell down."

"You chose to fall?"

"I guess I did."

"Then I didn't make you fall, but I made you want to. If you can learn to make someone want to without the pain, Clodhopper, ye'll have the answer to your question."

There is a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. As a Christian Martialist, you do not want to violate the trust of your womenfolk by crossing that line, even for their own good.

Successful politicians learn early to operate by a code that voters never seem to catch on to: "Be sincere whether you mean it or not." That is a manipulative attitude far-removed from the Apostle Paul's exhortation "that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ." (Phil. 1:10)

That word exhortation is an interesting one. It means to urge. In fact, Paul lists exhortation as one of the gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:6,8). I believe that effectual exhortation implies the ability to motivate others to do what they ought to do.

What motivates people in general, and women in particular? Advertisers will tell you that the 3 big motivators in marketing are sex, greed, pride and fear. Successful marketing campaigns will appeal to one or more of these "primal motivators".

Never let such manipulative techniques play a part in how you deal with the people in your life.

Human Motivation

I see four primary factors in motivation: emotion, reason, ethics and destiny. Fear and joy are emotional motivators, and not necessarily bad ones. For example, the promise of future joy was a motivational factor in Jesus' self-sacrifice.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross . . . . (Hebrews 12:2)

But joy was not the only -- nor even the primary -- motivator. Christ went to the cross out of obedience to the Father, an example of duty. (Luke 22:42) He also went because it was His destiny to do so (John 18:37).

Also, don't forget His great love for those whom He redeemed. It's not one of the four factors I listed because it is so rare as a pure motivator in human life. We find it in stories of uncommon sacrifice, as when a mother lays down her life for her child or a soldier gives his life for his buddies.

Sometimes, people think they are using love as a motivator when they actually are not. "If you really loved me, you'd do this." That's not motivating through love; it's a shoddy attempt to motivate through the emotion of guilt and a sense of failed duty.

When dealing with your womenfolk, it's better just to assume the love. Women are extraordinarily protective of their children, for example, because they love the little tykes (even if the tyke is 50). But this fact is neither a pry bar nor a hammer.

You can't say, "If you love little Algernon, you'll want to train to protect him." It sounds reasonable to you, and you see a logical connection. She would see it as a blatant attempt at using guilt for leverage.

In fact, the whole attempt to motivate should come at the end rather than at the beginning of your persuasive endeavors.

The Art of Salesmanship

If you want the lady/ladies in your life to take an interest in self-defense, you are selling something. Your product is an intangible, an idea.

Ordinary salesmen know that the first step in selling anything is to create a need. They give demonstrations of what the "little marvel" will do as they paint word pictures of how wonderful your life would be if you only owned one. They bolster their demonstration with facts, statistics and stories of changed lives.

Before you know it the prospect(s) want one. They have a felt need for the product. From there, it's just a matter of a few good closing techniques, and you walk away with a "little marvel" as the salesman walks away with your money. That's how sales are ordinarily made.

Rob Jolles has written a book for the extraordinary sales person. It's called Customer Centered Selling (check your local, public library). His method does not begin with a contrived attempt to "create" a need in the customer's mind. Instead, he listens to the customer explain his needs.

But that will be the subject of another post.

"O Master Warrior, I thank you for helping me with my problem."

"Indeed, Clodhopper, meeting your needs is one reason I'm here, isn't it?"

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 9"

Friday, August 29, 2008

Knife Defense Followup

After watching Jim Grover's knife defense video clip, Stephen poses an excellent question.

Question: If your life or the lives of your loved ones was at stake, would you risk spending time in jail for anticipating the attack and defending against it? I know I would.

I am not a lawyer, nor should anyone take the following as legal advice. If you need legal counsel on this matter, speak to an attorney.

What will happen in front of a judge is anyone's guess. Does he like the way you look, do you come across as arrogant, etc.? Also, are there witnesses? (Could work for you or against you.)

Nevertheless, the training I've received in more than one state has claimed that the legal system works on the reasonable individual principle. In other words, how would a reasonable individual react in the same circumstance?

"Your honor, he wouldn't show me his hands, and he kept advancing toward me, even though I told him to stop -- twice! I didn't want to hit him, but any reasonable individual in my shoes would conclude he and his (wife, daughter mother, sister, etc.) were in danger."

Under cross-examination, you might expect to be asked if you train in martial arts of any kind. At this point, I think it may help if you can truthfully say that a large part of your training focuses on methods to avoid and/or evade violence.

So, you should train with your partner in pre-fight tactics. Practice your posture and your words for when you believe an attack is imminent. If necessary, re-read Defeat Your Assailant's Will.

I have read that a woman using good pre-violence tactics in the face of imminent attack can reduce her chances of assault by 50%. Go thou and do likewise.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Knife Defense Video

In "Poetry and Other Deadly Pursuits" I made the point that a fight is a fight is a fight is a fight. In the video clip below, Jim Grover (a.k.a. Kelly McCann) demonstrates that principle. The introduction of the knife also introduces some tactical considerations, but his technical response looks a lot like any other self defense situation.

Things to look for:
  • The legal question of assault vs battery (when does attack begin?)
  • Where should you look in ANY potentially violent confrontation?
  • Look for what Tony Blauer calls the SPEAR, and I refer to as the combat wedge (see my "Startle Response" series of posts)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

For Your Amusement

Thanks to Stephen for drawing my attention to the site. The folks over there think they have discovered a means of rating blogs (G, PG, PG-13, R) by an analysis of the words they contain.

They rate WARSKYL:

"R" Restricted -- Under 17 requires accompanying parent or guardian.
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
  • punch (9x)
  • knife (7x)
  • dangerous (3x)
  • gun (1x)
By those standards, a Louis L'Amour novel would be XXX rated.

I always thought my content was more PG-13. ;-)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Avoid, Evade, Escape

The Christian Martialist sheepdog prepares himself to protect his flock, whether his church, his family, his neighbors, etc. That protective mindset is a little different from the self-defense mindset.

In terms of personal security, your mindset goals should be: 1) Avoid; 2) Evade; 3) Escape.

Avoid -- You avoid violence by not going where it happens or is likely to happen.

Evade -- You evade violence by removing yourself from potentially violent situations.

Escape -- When violence seeks you out and you cannot avoid or evade, you must neutralize the threat long enough to escape the situation. At this point, your physical self defense techniques come into play.

Note that most self-defense instruction prepares you for the last-chance point in the process. It emphasizes the life raft rather than how to keep the ship safe and intact.

The mindset goals I have outlined, by way of contrast, are the self-defense application of Paul's exhortation, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:18)

When you undertake the responsibility for protecting others, the goals do not essentially change. But the emphasis and practical outworking do.

Let's examine that in another post.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Knockout Punches

Today, I'm giving you another article by Keith Pascal. He makes the point that knockout punches are only for fights in which your life is on the line. Let me add that if your life is not on the line, it's a 90% probability that you don't need to be fighting. Fighting for your life is valid; fighting for your ego is not.

In addition, what he says about punching also applies to open hand strikes. Enjoy

Knockout Punch Danger - The Simple Punch Knockout Punch Danger - The Simple Punch

By Keith Pascal

Have you ever typed "how to knock someone out with one punch" or "knockout punches" into a search engine, like Google? Were you searching for a free article on these power punches?

Recently, I read an esoteric article about developing a single, knock-out punch.

The author was OK, when he talked about "brain rattling." It's that jarring motion that often cause a total knock out in boxing. (I think I would have been happier, if he had explained the dangers of knocking someone unconscious by rattling the brain against the skull.

Knockout Punch Dangers Missed By Author

Where the esoteric author stepped over the line was when he started discussing hitting the temple. Sure, the advice read as though it was lifted from one of my ebooks or ecourses on devastating punching, minus all of the warnings.

This author talked about Dim Mak (The Death Touch) as though it were just another intellectual discussion for his web site.

Is he so naive that he doesn't understand that a sharp blow to the temple can kill someone?

Hasn't he read about the fatal accidents that have happened to actors when they fire blanks or rubber bullets at their temple?

Punching to the temple is very dangerous.

The Responsibility of Knowing How to Knock Someone Out with a Single Punch

This may sound as corny as a Spiderman movie, but with the knowledge of being able to knock someone out every time comes the awesome responsibility to ... avoid knocking someone out!

My philosophy is "Those that can, don't. Those that can't ... claim that they can."

How to Develop a Single Knockout Punch

Look, you don't need to learn a punch to the temple, in order to knock someone out. Don't risk it. Don't risk the life of another in an attempt to "knock someone unconscious."

It just doesn't make sense.

If you need to incapacitate someone in a fight, you have a lot of options. A light tap to the groin for example, may or may not cause someone to pass out. Either way, you will probably successfully defend yourself.

I could give other examples, too. Just think vulnerable areas.

I agree that devastating punches are very useful ... but you need to know how to use them. Most fights don't warrant such a risk.

Your life would have to be in dangerous before you'd consider such a drastic move as a "knockout punch."

For an article on solo training in the martial arts, read
Martial Arts Solo Training.

Here's a site about really punching harder and faster... Free Punch ebook.

Keith Pascal is a martial-arts writer and has taught martial arts for 25 years.

Article Source:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Carrying in Church

You may recall that I have touched on some of the issues involved in church security in posts like "Gravelbelly Confesses" and "Do Your Christian Service Tactically". I also commented on the incident at New Hope Church in my posts, "Jael's Daughter" and "Tactical Training".

Getting my CCW is on the "to do" list, but in South Carolina, it costs money for the class & then the permit. As a consequence, I do not carry in church. I do (normally) position myself tactically at the rear of the sanctuary, between the two most commonly used entry points.

Recently, L.T. (my barber!) sent me a link to a SIGforum discussion about carrying in church. There are tactical and ethical considerations that will provide a Christian Martialist sheepdog with plenty of fodder for thought here:

Carrying in Church

Notice the comments about the Vietnam vet pastor who did not want anyone carrying a firearm in "his" church. Sad. However, I found the sheepdog's respectful compliance with his shepherd's wishes to be outstanding (shiny!).

Always remember that, although your first allegiance is the Heavenly Shepherd/King, you demonstrate that allegiance as you remain under discipline to His earthly appointed representatives.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Combat Slap Practice

Saturday, Merrianna & I got out the focus mitt, and we practiced the combat slap (or cupped hand strike). We started out in slow motion to get the coordination of the movements down. We worked a little on eliminating telegraphing, as well.

In the video (see "Combat Slap, 2"), Jim Grover seems to step forward with the foot opposite to his striking hand. Merrianna & I discussed the dynamics of stepping with the same-side (like Bruce Lee?) v. opposite side (like a boxer?) foot. One seems to be a little faster, and the other seems to deliver more power.

Perhaps the question will resolve itself with a little more practice.

I'd be interested if any of the readers noticed a difference like that. I'm deliberately withholding which foot gave which results so as not to influence your subconscious expectations.

I like the combat slap for the same reasons I like the palm heel strike: it's a powerful blow that can be delivered at very close -- i.e., grappling -- range (where most of your opponents will have difficulty generating power).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 7

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 6"

Here's an interesting comment from WARSKYLMOOT, the discussion forum over at

It's strange: my mother seems to think I'm in terrible danger if I'm alone, or whatever. She's against me walking anywhere at night (even when I worked at night). Just things like that.

Now, I don't want to sound like I'm trying to be all macho, but I'm 19, 6'4", and 200 pounds. I'm not the easiest target. Sure, there are always dangers, but if I were a criminal, I think I'd pick someone else. Surely, I am in no more danger than anyone else. And, one thing I always like to point out: women are by their very nature in more danger than men, because a whole class of criminals attacks women, and not men, for sexual reasons.

So, what's frustrating is that my mother and sister seem to think they're safe alone. Yeah, there are two of them, when I'm just one if I'm alone, but still, I try so hard to get this across to them, and it simply isn't working.

What advice will help this conscientious young man who obviously cares for and is concerned about his mother and his sister?

I think we've pretty much established that men and women tend to think differently about personal security issues. Men think of safety in terms of fighting off aggressors. This comes out in the young man's comment

Women, on the other hand, think of safety in terms of freedom from aggression. Could it be that this difference in attitudes is the reason the mother worries about her son? Let me give a true story as an extreme example.

Over 30 years ago, I asked a mother where her husband and grown son were. She told me they had gone -- I don't remember where. She followed up with the comment, "I always worry when those two go somewhere together, that they're going to get into trouble."

I replied, "You mean Patience and Prudence? Get in trouble? Nah!" I meant it as a joke, because neither of them was patient or prudent. The father was a WWII vet and strong as an ox. The son had spent a few years in the Marine Corps, and he'd had some martial arts training.

They both knew how to "take care of themselves" and when they were together, they did not back up for anyone. No doubt, they thought this made them "safe". The wife/mother saw it from a different perspective.

She thought their overconfidence (or downright challenging) attitude would invite rather than repel violence. I'm wondering . . . does the writer of the comment above have a mother who senses some of the I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude in him? And maybe she interprets it as a liability rather than as an asset.

He assumes the role of the competent, confident male who can handle trouble, thinking this should comfort his womenfolk. They see his mindset as dangerous and are troubled by it. What to do?

For what it's worth, here's my advice:

First, I would recommend that you immediately cease all talk about self defense with the womenfolk (& save it for another phase in this campaign). Second, I would recommend that you immediately start reading everything you can get your hands on about awareness/avoidance (a/a) of violence, with the intention of becoming an expert. (One article or even one book does not qualify you as an expert.)

I'd start with The Gift of Fear -- don't let the title scare you ;-) -- and follow it with Tiptoeing to Tranquility. The VHS video Safe in the Street mentioned by James 3v1 in his comment on "Sheepdog Strategies, 6" is a must-see for awareness/avoidance training.

As soon as you begin your study of a/a, you need to start practicing what you have learned. You must practice each security tactic daily for at least two weeks for it to become a habit. After these become ingrained, you're ready to begin a soft sell of personal security to mom & sis.

You must begin to model personal security behavior to your mother and sister. You know your mother worries when you go out alone, so you begin by telling her about the safer route you are taking, where you plan to park, and/or how you have planned the path of the walk to your destination. You may even preface your first such announcement with an apologetic, "I recently realized that I've been taking some unnecessary risks when I go out, so I'd like your opinion on where & how I plan to go this evening."

Let the ladies know that you're not doing this out of some paranoid fear, but that planning for safety just makes good sense to you, like looking both ways before you cross the street. Then when you're out with them, you can make a/a suggestions like, "I think we should park here. We'll have to walk a little farther, but there are lights here, and it's not so deserted."

Just be careful not to pontificate. Keep each comment in the form of a suggestion. And leave the books you've read lying around. They may get curious about the change in you, and pick one up to investigate.

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 8"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Free Combat Course

Cheap is good. Free is better. That little motto is true IF AND ONLY IF the item has value. There are people on the net who offer free e-books that are just a waste of time to read and a waste of space on your hard drive.

I have recommended Keith Pascal's free materials in the past because the information he gives away is better than what you'd pay someone else good money for. Yes, he uses his free material to promote the books he has for sale, but there's nothing wrong with that.

It's like the lady in the supermarket who gives you a little bit of sausage on a toothpick. She does it in hopes that you'll like the taste and buy the product.

I cannot understand why any Christian Martialist would not snap up any offer, if it's both free and good. That's just what Keith Pascal's 9-part combat course is -- free and good.

Each lesson is short, to the point, and designed to improve your combat skills. Here's the link to sign up for it:

Free Combat Course

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WARSKYL Conference Announcement

On October 11, I plan -- as the Lord wills -- to be in Peoria, IL for the WARSKYL Conference. The cost for attending is being kept low. It may be raised a little if more than 80 people come, and the coordianators have to rent an outside facility, but it will be reasonable, in any case.

Don't come expecting to see Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. (For them you'd pay a lot more.) Do come with the expectation that, at the end of the day you will have the knowledge and tools to statistically reduce your chances of becoming a victim of violence by at least 95%.

In addition, all the teaching will come from a Biblical worldview perspective. This is unique (or nearly so) in the often uncertain world of "Christian" martial arts. This event is a natural for home education families who are looking for a Christian educational experience.

Also, there is at least one other speaker lined up -- someone who has practiced both jujitsu and iaido. He will briefly address a topic that is absolutely essential for any Christian thinking about self defense -- loving your enemy.

For details, email Colton at:

richardthelionhearted at gmail dot com

I'm sure that he can also suggest other attractions that may be of educational interest to yoiur family, as well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 6

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 5"

Women . . . or, let me say many women (not necessarily all or even most) . . . many women feel vulnerable, but they do not want to be told that they are vulnerable. So, then what do they need? How about Spiderman?

Exactly! A woman needs to know that whenever she's in trouble, her man will swoop in on a strand of spider web and rescue her. Just as Spiderman always rescues Mary Jane.

Wrong. That's what guys would like to think that most women want. Actually, the guy who thinks he's tough enough and skilled enough to fight off an army of villains probably provokes more fear than comfort in his womenfolk.

A lot of women see macho posturing as the cause of much violence, not the solution. And to a certain degree, they're right. Women tend to suffer violence from unprovoked assaults. Men ginerally suffer from violent confrontations because they've been goaded into fights.

Let's apply this:

Here's Wannabe-Man (a legend in his own mind) walking down a not-so-well-traveled street with his girl. They're going to a concert of Baroque chamber music. And there are three seedy looking guys loitering at the corner, up ahead.

Girl says, "Let's go back and take Main Street to the concert hall.

W-Man replies, "Nah, this is shorter. Don't let those guys bother you. I can handle 'em." W-Man ignores her insistent pleas, they make it past the loiterers, and the couple have a time of silence.

He's thinking, "I guess now she knows that she's always safe with me. What a hero I am"

She's thinking, "I can't believe he put us both in danger like that. What a jerk he is."

Then W-man just can't understand why she doesn't listen to him -- the expert -- when it comes to personal security and safety.

Sheepdogs are always ready to battle the wolves. But they don't herd the sheep through a wolf pack just to prove the point.

How about you, gentle reader? If you're like most males, there lurks at least a little bit of Wannabe-Man in your soul. It's a parody and a perversion of the calling to be a sheepdog, and if you're smart, you'll apply yourself to its extirpation from your inner man.

A major change of attitude may go a long way toward getting your womenfolk to pay attention to what you're saying. But we're not done, here. Not yet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Gates of Brass

This missionary hymn is based on Isaiah 45:2:

I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.

It depicts the greater conflict into which our King and Commander has called us. It is sung to the tune All Saints by Henry Stephen Cutler.

Lift up your heads, ye gates of brass,
Ye bars of iron, yield,
And let the King of Glory pass;
The cross is in the field.
That banner, brighter than the star
That leads the train of night,
Shines on their march, and guides from far
His servants to the fight.

A holy war those servants wage;
Mysteriously at strife;
The powers of heaven and hell engage
For more than death or life.
Ye armies of the living God,
His sacramental host,
Where hallowed footsteps never trod
Take your appointed post.

Though few and small and weak your bands,
Strong in your Captain’s strength
Go to the conquest of all lands;
All must be His at length.
Those spoils at His victorious feet
You shall rejoice to lay,
And lay yourselves, as trophies meet,
In His great judgment day.

O fear not, faint not, halt not now;
Quit you like men, be strong!
To Christ shall all the nations bow,
And sing with you this song:
“Uplifted are the gates of brass,
The bars of iron yield;
Behold the King of Glory pass;
The cross hath won the field!”

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Combat Slap, 2

Continued from "Combat Slap"

Here is a video of Jim Grover (aka Kelly McCann) teaching what he calls the cupped hand blow. I've posted on this strike under the name combat slap.

Watch this video and compare it to the one in the first post. See the similarities? How about differences? By putting both instructional videos together, you get a broader range of application for the strike.

Do the two instructors contradict? If so, which seems best to you? Why?

Continued in "Combat Slap, 3"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 5

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 4"

"If it doesn't work, hit it with a hammer, and if it still doesn't work, get a bigger hammer." It is part of the typical American male psyche to think that the 8lb sledge hammer -- as opposed to the 12 -- was made for delicate work.

A little of that attitude goes a long way when you're doing everyday maintenance -- like watch repair. But real disaster results when you use the metaphorical hammer to drive points home to your womenfolk. Especially if they've been hurt by the "women are helpless" message of certain subcultures.

Even a woman with a healthy self-confidence will be put off by, "Me Tarzan; you Jane."

I remember a rather diminutive woman in our jujitsu class. One day, when she was still a white belt, I was working as her partner on wrist escapes. She confided in me a problem she had at home.

"My husband wanted me to show him what I learned in class, so I told him to grab my wrist. He just grinned at me, as I tried to escape, but couldn't."

As you know, any new technique requires partner cooperation, at first. Then gradually, as you learn the mechanics of the technique, the partner ceases cooperating, becoming passive. Then the partner resists, and, finally, the technique is placed in a dynamic give-and-take context.

This woman was still in the cooperating-partner stage, and her husband used her inexperience to "prove" his male superiority. Even a macho jerk is still a jerk.

I asked her if she had snap-kicked his groin or poked a finger in his eye (all Goshin Ryu techniques are taught with such diversions) to distract him. She said, "No," that she would never do that to her husband. In that, he is blessed -- he is a providentially blessed, egotistical moron.

My point (hand me the 12lb sledge) is this: If a woman in your life resists learning to defend herself, it's a better than 50/50 chance that YOU ARE APPROACHING HER ALL WRONG. You can't approach her the way you would another guy and expect her to say, "Okay, let's go." It doesn't work.

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 6"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 4

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 3"

What is it that keeps Minnesotans from preparing for blizzards, keeps Floridians from preparing for hurricanes and keeps Californians from preparing for earthquakes? All of them face high likelihood of an interruption of normal services during a natural event.

Some call it procrastination. But I think procrastination is just one form of denial. "The prospect of a life-threatening event that could, in a moment, take away all I've worked and saved for is a scary prospect. If I don't think about it, I won't have to face that fear."

This is little different from the woman who does not want to think about self defense. The prospect of physical -- and especially sexual -- assault is terrifying. Especially if you see yourself as essentially helpless.

One cultural entity -- evangelicalism -- in our society has perpetuated the idea that women are helpless. That fatal and unbiblical idea blossomed with the rise of Romanticism in the 19th Century. It depicted women essentially as weak, not-very-bright ornaments whose twofold purpose was to bear children and to ooh and aah over the accomplishments of the males in their lives.

One of the weaknesses of evangelical churches is that they have unconsciously adopted some of the Romanticists' idea of women into their worldview. One result is that they don't quite know what to do when they encounter strong, intelligent, capable women. Some either suppress or repel these women while others abandon a Biblical stance altogether.

At any rate, I blame Christianized Romanticism in Church and society for the ideas of weakness and helplessness that haunts many women's mindset. And the very men who want to protect them often exacerbate the problem. But that's a topic for another day.

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 5"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 3

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 2"

If you live in a Northern region frequented by winter blizzards, you'll know what I'm talking about. The news station announces, "tonight we will see the biggest snowstorm of the season," and suddenly the grocery aisles are clogged with people buying the staple items (including a lot of bread and milk).

The same phenomenon appears in hurricane alley in the Gulf states. People rush out at the last minute to buy plywood to cover their windows. Store shelves are cleared of drinking water.

Doesn't it seem crazy for people who live in areas where natural disasters periodically occur, and who often have experienced them firsthand, not to prepare ahead of time?

Yet, only a tiny percentage of people have the foresight and take the initiative to put away a two-week supply of food and water along with a camp stove, flashlight, radio & some batteries.
All of that would fit under a bed, even in a tiny apartment.

It's a peculiarity of the human psyche that the overwhelming majority do not do it. We dance right up to the edge of disaster before we take note & decide to do something.

Is it any wonder that so many of our womenfolk do not choose to prepare for self-defense in violent situations? They are simply manifesting a common human trait. In another post, I want to explore the mindset issues that I believe lie behind the trait.

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 4"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Warning to Christian Martialist Sheepdogs

You did not want to kill him. He had put you and your loved ones in jeopardy of your lives, and you had no other choice than to take his life. You did everything right, morally and legally.

Now the police want you to make a statement. Just routine, you understand. The officer is a nice guy, and has made it obvious that he understands and is on your side. So, you tell your story truthfully and simply, right? And then, you wind up behind bars.


Thanks to G.N. for the links to a class presentation at Regents University Law School. It may change how you interact with the police from now on.

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

The unwarranted assumption, as we are taught in our civics classes, is that the police enter every investigation with an open mind, searching for probable cause that leads them to suspects. Then they weigh the evidence to see if there is enough to charge the suspect with a crime.

The truth is that police officers have all the same limitations and prejudices as other human beings. If a woman is murdered, 90% of the time it's the husband or boy-friend. If your wife dies violently, who becomes the #1 suspect? Operating on that assumption, the officer begins to look for evidence to convict you.

Let's go back to the scenario at the beginning of this post. The very fact that the orc is dead, makes him the victim in the eyes of too many officers. "Police suspect that the killing took place over a drug deal gone bad. Film at eleven."

This because the "victim" was a known drug dealer.

Now, add to the mix the fact that people who carry both guns and Bibles are viewed as dangerous extremists in many quarters of the law enforcement community. Perhaps you are still clutching your own Bible as you say, "We were just coming out of prayer meeting, when this deranged person accosted us with a knife."

"Sir, do you often carry a gun with you to church?" Uh-oh, extremist alert!

And that's not even considering the legal problems of shooting someone armed with a knife. Judges & juries have been known to see that as use of unnecessary force -- after all, he only had a knife. Yep, it's ludicrous, but it has happened.

It isn't what you may have been taught. It definitely isn't right. But your innocence may not protect you from overzealous police and prosecutors. So exercise your right against self-incrimination -- respectfully -- until you speak with your attorney.

And pray. 'Nuff said.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 2

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies"

"She" could be your wife, daughter, fiancee, mother, sister . . . any woman you care about.

You look at your watch. She's never been this late before. You try her cell again, and you get the same recorded voice, "This party is not available . . ." Did she turn it off? Is the battery dead? Or . . . ?

The meeting at church was over hours ago. Where is she? You go over the possibilities in your mind: car trouble . . . a flat tire . . . took one of the other ladies home & lost track of the time . . . .

You deliberately shut out other possibilities. The insistent ones that hover about the edges of your consciousness with a silence that echoes in the pit of your stomach. WHERE IS SHE?

She never listened to you about taking a self-defense class, and she always put you off when you wanted to take her to the range to teach her how to use a handgun. In total frustration, you now teeter between anger and fear.

Then, headlights come into view in front of your house. Is that she . . . ? Or is that a police car . . . ?

We're Christian Martialists, and we are protective of the women we love. That's why we get so frustrated when they refuse to take the proper steps for their own safety.

In a future post I want to analyze why some women seem so averse to thinking about self-protection from possible violence. Today, however, I want to suggest a first, small step that may start that special gal thinking in the right direction.

It's a book by Keith Pascal called Tiptoeing to Tranquility. He calls it a parable because he wrote it in story form. It's about a woman with a teenage daughter who firmly rejects the idea of martial arts, but who does not feel safe, even in he own neighborhood.

Then she meets someone who gives her and her daughter lessons in living safely and tranquilly in the modern world. Further into the story, there is even a soft-sell on taking formal self defense lessons.

As with any book like this, there will be some areas with which the epistemologically (look it up) self-conscious Christian does not agree. Page 40 is a case in point.

On page 40 he refers to Soren Kirkegaard, the father of Existentialist philosophy. In that place he asserts that faith is uncertain. If he had also read Cornelius Van Til, he would realize that without true faith, nothing is certain.

Farther down the page, he makes a comment that indicates he may be familiar with Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I interact more or less extensively with that work's insights and flaws in my book, Christian Methodology.

Perhaps I'll have an opportunity to discuss some of these matters with Keith, sometime, but for now let me say that the value of this book to you and particularly to the special female(s) in your life is worth it. (BTW, I have often used the areas I disagree with in a book as an occasion for discussion and learning with my wife & daughters. This increases, not decreases, the utility of a book.)

Tiptoeing to Tranquility is just a baby step in the right direction for those you care about, but it is a step, for your peace of mind and theirs, that you want them to take.

In fact, if the woman in the story at the beginning of this post had read, heeded and practiced just the first (non-martial) piece of advice described in the book, I believe the odds would have increased by more than 90% that the headlights in the drive were hers and not those of the police.

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 3"