Fighting for Your Life in and Around Your Car: Stay Alert, Speed is Security, Don’t Stare at Your Smartphone

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Dear Brendan,

In this message to you I’m going to start covering down on vehicle combative concepts.  This ties in well with the past several letters to you on vehicles, SA and combative concepts.  If you remember we identified a problem in that most self-defense schools/programs were not always relevant to criminal attacks or include real world training.  We also discussed how to close this gap.

I’m going to continue to reinforce the importance of situational awareness at all times.  SA is fundamental to everything we do to some extent.  The bottom-line here is the more aware you and your family are of your environment, the faster you and your family can identify a threat/problem developing.  

What I’m about to say next is not so much directed towards you as it is your family (wife & children).  One of the concerns I have regarding SA and the general public/Joe civilian is simple task fixation in public.  I realize most of us are guilty of this to some degree.  However I want to make you and your loved ones very aware of this as I don’t think most people are aware they are so fixated on some minor task that could ultimately cost them their life.  This is anytime a person is so distracted or caught up in a basic task that they are sacrificing SA.  

Often times the culprit is their smartphone.  You can’t go anywhere and not see someone talking on their cell phone, text messaging or checking email. The list of distractions goes on and on.  Just make sure you remain aware of your environment and what is going on around you. Be careful not to become so fixated that you lose your SA.

Since I’m focusing on vehicles in this message I have to mention the dangers of sitting in your vehicle.  No matter if the engine is running or not. Please know if the engine is off it puts you at increased risk.  Honestly there is no good reason for you to be sitting in a fixed location daydreaming, doing college work/business or some mundane task.  And please tell your wife and daughters not to sit in their car and write a grocery list/to do list or something many women do like putting on makeup that could quickly become a deadly mistake.  You should know by now that you are vulnerable just sitting in a stationary vehicle.  Plus there is no reason you can’t do your business or daydream inside your home.  And please remind the ladies to do their makeup in the safety of their own home/bathroom and not inside their stationary vehicle.  Do not make yourself an easy/soft target for criminals.   

This may all seem simple but it’s easy to fall into these traps of fixation in public places or other unsecure areas.       

I know I have talked with you before about the importance of distance.  I want to continue on this area for a moment.  So per the above we know that SA is key to identifying a threat/problem early.  The earlier you identify a threat/problem the more time you have to react and select the best course of action.  

Here is an example you will want to share with your family.  Let’s say you are driving to or from work or anywhere for that matter.  You notice someone is trying to flag you down on the side of the road ahead.  Now you don’t know what this person’s intentions are.  Maybe he’s innocent and just needs help with a flat tire. On the other hand, maybe he has criminal intentions to do you and your family harm.  But because you have good SA while driving you picked up on this early and have time to run through the OODA loop.  I would advise my wife or daughter not to stop.  They can still help this person by driving ahead a safe distance and calling 911 to inform local law enforcement of a motorist flagging people down for help.  This decision basically comes down to risk verse reward.  The downside here far out weighs the upside concerning the safety of our family.           

Now let’s say you are alone and you make the command decision that you will stop to help this person.  I caution you to first call, text and or email a family member or friend to tell them where you are, what the situation is as you know it, give them the description of the car (make, model, year, color), and the description of whoever is with the car.   How many people are there?  Does it look like a family with small children, a group of college kids, or two dudes that don’t seem to fit into the environment? Every situation is different, but in the interest of time let’s speed this up.

If it turns out that this person or these people have bad intentions they will attempt to close the gap between you and them.  You have to be aware of spacing and distance.  Even if they have a handgun they will want to get close to you as not to draw attention of any passing by cars or draw the attention of any possible witnesses.  If that’s the case, think of yourself as standing on a target. The target is marked by an X. This is what being “On the X” means.

Okay now that you suddenly find yourself on the X what do you do?  How do you fight another man in the backseat of his car with or without a gun to you?  How do you fight a man in the front passenger seat of your car with or without a gun pointed at you?  If you find yourself forced into the back of another person’s vehicle by force or threat of violence with a gun to you, or the person holds you at gun point in your own car and forces you to drive him somewhere.  What I attempt to explain to you here may very well save your life.  The secret here is to take up space.  To use the inside of the car, you may need to put your foot up on the dash, window or else where to get leverage.  It’s using the environment of the car and other combative grappling skills.  With weapons (handgun or knife) remember you should deflect/control the weapon.  Please know this requires real world training.  We can schedule a time and place for a period of instruction that is one on one private instruction or you are welcome to join me at one of the seminars or training courses we are working on. They will be designed around these specific scenarios.  This period of instruction is designed to develop combative skills with firearms and empty hands inside of vehicles.  We design the training around threats and problems an armed or unarmed citizen may face from criminal attackers both armed and unarmed.  We conduct the training in junk vehicles, as damage is likely to occur to the interior and exterior of the vehicles.  Depending on the clients attending and their requirements we may include other types of vehicles such as on a bus, train, or an airplane.  

You may also sign up your wife or children, when we get this up and running.  For women participants we tailor their training to kidnapping and rape attempt scenarios.  The vehicle could be their own, a taxi, or the attackers’ vehicle for training purposes.  

For those that are interested in attending this course or hosting a training event please contact us directly.                 

Your Friend,

-Travis