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What Skills Do I Really Need to Win a Violent Confrontation?

November 01, 2007  |  by - Also by this author

Stay Fit: Violent confrontations will happen and you will need strength, agility, and endurance to win.

Keep yourself in good physical condition. Weight training and running are excellent exercises to develop one's strength and cardiovascular conditioning.

Serious consideration should also be given toward studying some form of defensive tactics. Among the collateral benefits of arduous martial arts training is the opportunity to develop excellent physical and mental conditioning while acquiring skills that may prove invaluable in a life or death situation. A well-thrown punch or finely executed kick can come in handy in the absence of other lesslethal weaponry. And because it's likely that any fight will end up on the ground, you should consider learning ground fighting skills.

But remember, using your fists or feet is usually not your best option, and it can imperil you. Punching a suspect could break your hand, or tear open your skin over raked teeth and put you at risk of an infectious disease.

Know Your Weapons: You will have a veritable arsenal on your belt while on duty, including Tasers, pepper spray, chemical agents, striking instruments, and firearms. Know when to use each weapon. And as illustrated in the movie "The Untouchables," never bring a knife to a gunfight.

Using the right tool for the job can save your life. Using the wrong tool can get you killed. A few years ago, rookie El Paso Officer Angel Barcena attempted to incapacitate a suspect armed with a .38-caliber revolver by firing his Taser. The probes missed their target, and the suspect fired two shots, hitting Barcena once in the back of his leg near the buttocks. The shot severed an artery, eventually killing Barcena. The lesson here is plain: Never hesitate to use deadly force when deadly force is required. Always know what weapon to use in any given situation.

And know what that weapon is capable of. Know the range of your pistol. Know the effectiveness of your OC spray.

And always have a plan B when your weapon doesn't have the desired effect. Realize that as effective as a Taser can be that you always need a plan B when deploying it. The probes can miss their target; the batteries can have a weak charge, and you need a plan B. Realize that some people can fight through the effects of OC spray. Have a plan B.

Advice From the Past

The Chinese warrior philosopher Sun Tzu lived more than 400 years before Jesus Christ. But he summed up what it takes to win any violent conflict when he wrote: "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then try to win."

In other words, the best way to win a violent confrontation is to be prepared to win it.

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