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Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected Paperback – May 16, 2011
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"For those of us who think we know it all . . . This book is a game changer." (Al Dacascos, Blackbelt Magazine's Kung Fu Artist of the Year, Founder of Wun Hop Kuen Do)
"Lightning in a bottle." (Robert Crowly, Attorney, former Major, U.S. Army Special Forces)
"Straight forward, life saving information." (Mark ‘Animal’ MacYoung, 'nuf said)
"Brutally honest voice about…violence." (Dr. Kevin Keough, Clinical Police Psychologist)
"When you're done reading, read it again." (Lt. Jon Lupo, NYSP)
"Brutally honest . . . from one who has seen it . . . first-hand." (Alain Burrese, J.D., Former U.S. Army, author)
"This book is about reality. Above all, it's useful." (Barry Eisler, best-selling author John Rain series)
About the Author
Rory Miller, former Sergeant, has been studying martial arts since 1981. He's a best-selling writer and a veteran corrections officer. He's taught and designed courses on Use of Force Policy and Decision Making, Police Defensive Tactics, Confrontational Simulations, and he has led and trained his former agency's Corrections Tactical Team. Recently, he taught how to run a modern, safe, and secure prison at the Iraqi Corrections Systems, Iraq. Rory Miller resides near Portland, Oregon.
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Everyone (including me) comes into self-defense from the entry point of “What tools do I need and what techniques do I need to know in order to be able to use them to defend myself?”; martial arts, knives, guns??
This is natural, but eventually, one realizes (unfortunately, too often from harsh experience) that the single biggest problem to be overcome in self-defense (regardless of tools and techniques) is the plain fact that the advantage in a physical combat situation usually belongs to the person with the initiative. And the one who pretty much always has the initiative is the AGGRESSOR, NOT the defender.
This is a very big problem. How does one stay equal with (or preferably ahead of) the actions of the attacker? How does the defender avoid falling into the fatal trap of being a REACTIVE element in a physical combat situation?
Rory Miller points out that reacting to an attack means you are already well behind the response curve. It means that the odds are, you are going to get hurt; badly.
What’s the answer?
Rory Miller addresses this problem head on. Rory supplies some very, very interesting insights regarding exactly what is going on if you are approached by a violent criminal(s). He dissects the anatomy of an assault in detail at the psychological level. He tells you precisely how to interact with a dangerous person, how to LOOK at them (or NOT) and why, how to talk and why certain situations are more dangerous than others (perhaps MUCH more dangerous).
There was an interesting case here in Philadelphia a short while ago where a father was car jacked with his infant daughter in the back seat. The victim complied with the two thugs IMMEDIATELY…..and they killed him anyway.
After these kinds of crimes, people wonder WHY? There is a conventional wisdom out there that if a victim only does what the criminal demands, then everything will be okay.
Rory’s book explains exactly why that supposition can often be fatally WRONG.
For anyone interested in this subject there is another publication available online by the Department of Justice, “Violent Encounters”, 2006. This is the latest FBI study on how and why police officers get killed in the line of duty.
Essentially, the FBI study confirms a lot of what Rory Miller talks about, but Miller’s book, “Facing Violence” goes much further and into even more detail, particularly from the standpoint of practical self-defense responses.
This book is a must read for everyone interested in this subject!
Most people for instance, aren't inclined to kill or hurt someone else but willing to do so if it's a 'life or death situation'. On your own, ask yourself if if you had a loaded gun and some guy was running at you 20 feet away yelling "i'm going to kill you" with a deadly weapon in his hand - would you be able to shoot him? Think about the same scenario with the guy trying to kill your child/spouse/loved on. Many people think in a case this black and white that they could kill the other person without having to put a lot of thought into it. Miller asks you to imagine such a life and death situation, then reframes it - what if it was a little kid doing the threatening, what if it was a pregnant woman, what if it was a mentally-disabled person? What if they weren't necessarily yelling "i'll kill you" but were just approaching in really threatening manner.
In another section, what if it's again clear cut but there are no witnesses? He covers the legal aspects really well - each state has different laws but there's quite a bit in common. Without trying to make any sort of political statement or judgment on the subject, if George Zimmerman had read this book I think it's very likely the outcome would have been completely different. Miller definitely doesn't preach being a wimp or a victim (quite the opposite) but he really gets you to think about the costs and benefits of using violence.
He really goes into a lot of detail about the different reasons people Start problems with other people and understanding these reasons and being able to accurately assess an aggressor's motivation can easily be the difference between life and death. Not every case is that profound but in the same respect, understanding the differences can mean the difference between spending the night at home with your family or in a police station waiting to get bailed out - then sued or forced to deal with a bunch of undesirable legal problems.
I knew I had a lot to learn but his distinctions between the different provocation reasons (Monkey Dance, Group Monkey Dance, Status Seeking and Educational Beat Down) is really worth knowing. If you don't know what these terms mean, if you read the book, I'm quite sure you'll find yourself thinking "Wow, I never really thought about it but yes, that's completely true".
I'll just leave it at this - If I paid 10..25 times the current price for this book I'd still think it was worth every penny. I couldn't put it down the first time I read it and have read it cover to cover twice. I've bought each of his other books and hope to attend one of his seminars someday. Even if you're not someone who runs into much trouble in their lives, even if you are a pacifist, even if you think you'll never have to deal with a violent situation - it's a quick and inexpensive read and I'm quite sure you'll be very glad you read it.
I've played a lot of games over the years -- computer, console, tabletop -- where I've had thousands of imaginary fights. Yet basically no game I've ever seen has ever gotten into the thoughts and emotions that go into a real brawl, and I feel more enlightened for being exposed to this side of things.
Grab this and read it alongside Dave Grossman's "On Killing", which talks about violence in the context of war.