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Thankfully, most of us that train in the Filipino Martial Arts (or Silat, etc.) do not have to employ our skills in life and death matters. That does not change the fact that we should train and mentally prepare ourselves for these situations. Many of us have had to utilize our skills in less than life threatening situations, and a large number of us know people that have found themselves in mortal danger.

I wanted to convey a couple of "personal" instances where all constraints were off and lethal force was warranted - if not justified. Many of you know that my father's side of the family lives on or near White Earth reservation in Minnesota. The open hostility that exists between the "whites" and "natives" is scary at best and horrifying at worst. It is even worse on and near other reservations.

Around two years ago one of my young cousins was walking home by himself. He was an extremely large kid around 6'4 and 245 lbs of muscle. He was 16 at the time. He is also very obviously "Indian" in appearance. On the way home he was jumped by a number of guys. The beat him with bats, crow bars, and chains. They then drug him behind their truck/car to the railroad tracks. They put him on the tracks for the oncoming trains to finish their work. Luckily a passerby saw him and drug him off the tracks seconds before the train got there. He is now faced with a life time of handicaps and mental disorders. The attack was precipitated for no other reason than he was "Indian."

Another cousin was leaving a local casino and was blindsided by a bat to his temple. He now suffers constant migraines and is blind in one eye. The two incidents happened within a few weeks of each other.

Yet another (female) cousin had apparently stolen a "white" girl's boyfriend. A group of around one dozen people showed up at her house and began destroying all of the vehicles that were there. My brother was staying down the street with another relative. They grabbed a couple of clubs and headed out their door to investigate. They were greeted with a loaded rifle aimed at their heads. My brother instantly recognized the threat, and turned around to leave - forcefully keeping our relatives head turned back towards his house. My brother later related to me how it was a feeling he never wanted to experience again; having a rifle trained on the back of his head.

The point is no matter how unlikely it may seem, there are instances that we must steel ourselves to meet. Probably the most important aspect of these situations is awareness - being aware of impending danger and working to prevent it. In the first case, the first couple of hits were to the back of my cousins head so he was less able to fight back. The same in the second. Could any of us engaged our skills and techniques to dispatch the attackers? Regardless, we must train for these situations and more.

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Comment by Marc Lawrence on August 17, 2010 at 12:18pm
The first rule of self defense is self awareness! Recognize situations before you get yourself into the situation, learn to recogize traps & ambushes. I use to work rural fire & EMS. just because it is in the country does not mean it is not violent. I have seen this here in California, as well as Montana when I was a maintance contractor after College.
John, your stories is case in point- 1. an areas of racial tension, 2. active violent crime takes place routinelly. 3. Local drinking & Gambling establishments are typically place of problems. 4. Possible use of drug and or alcohal by parties involved. 5. poverty with a history of violent crime. These are the classic indicators that these areas would be routinelly hostile and dangerous. I am sorry to hear about the things that happen to your relatives. I remember from being on a Res. town that Cowboys, Indians, loggers and Miners all liked to drink & fight as past time. They were the ones & there wives or girlfriends who got into these situations routinely. We had two type of poor people in these towns-1 went to church, kept good company and rarely had to deal with the local police. 2 were at the bar, involved in drug or alcohal problems kept bad company and were routinely dealing with the local police.
If I was put into the situation of having to be there it would be 1) avoid places know for drug and and alcohal use, 2) avoid areas known for violent crime, 3) keep good company work with people who are level headed- Go to church instead of a bar or Casino. 4) Alway go places in pairs or group 5) Always go armed and train for situations. 6) Be ready for situations by observing people for the problem makers but only respond when theated with physical force. 7) If required to act do not stop until the other party in netralized. 8) Establish a permiter of defense for the house as well as the grounds.

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