I would hope lethal force self-defense isn’t useful in your everyday life… As we say at our courses, we sincerely hope you never have to use what we’re teaching.
But like a fire extinguisher or handgun, when you need it, nothing else will do. You don’t buy one looking forward to the opportunity to use it—it will be a very bad day if you DO need one. You buy a fire extinguisher or a firearm for the peace of mind that preparedness brings.
Back to the original question: Can lethal force self-defense training be useful in daily life? Or is it, like the fire extinguisher and handgun, essentially useless outside of extremely rare cases?
Let’s take a look at the opinion of one of our clients.
Rusty G. of Tucson writes:
“I took your weekend San Diego seminar last year. One of the best lessons in the course was learning to differentiate between social and asocial violence. I would imagine that, like me, most students would rather rush over this subject and get to the ‘real stuff.’ It turns out that, at least for me recently, this was definitely one of the most important of your teachings.
My wife and I encountered one of our neighbors, the neighborhood troublemaker, on our morning walk last week. He was upset about some decisions that I and other board members had made and got in my face about it. When I told him to get his finger out of my face, he responded with ‘Try me, just try me.’ He was obviously trying to provoke me into striking at him so that he could get me arrested and put in jail. It was all that I could do to control myself and put my hands in my pockets and walk away. (My wife said she was proud of me for doing this!) I train very hard and would have had no trouble taking him out, but TFT has definitely taught me to recognize when this is necessary and when it is not appropriate. Before studying with you guys, I probably would have just decked him, and would have been writing this from a jail cell.
Thanks for teaching that ‘violence is rarely the answer, but when it is, its the only answer.'”
Not only is Rusty’s experience common among our clients, but for us as well. I’ve found that the real daily utility of this training is understanding the difference between antisocial aggression (intimidation, posturing, looking for a fight) and asocial violence (seeking to seriously maim or kill you).
This understanding has given me the freedom of choice of whether or not to “play along” when someone’s looking for an ass-kicking—and the smart answer to that is always “no.” It has allowed me to see it coming, recognize it for what it is, and then head it off at the pass.
This is why we teach that difference and make it a key part of our courses. Knowing how to hurt people is only going to be useful to you on that rare very bad day. For the rest of your life, being able to avoid the avoidable—and have the confidence to back-up your resolve—is where this stuff is truly useful.
Rusty had the knowledge and skills to lay the guy out. He also had the wisdom to know that the situation he found himself was not what he was training for. How did he know? Because there were other solutions available. And using a solution other than lethal force self-defense kept him and his wife out of harm’s way while neatly side-stepping criminal and legal problems.
While letters from people who’ve survived life-threatening violence are gratifying, chances are good they’ll never have to use lethal force self-defense again. But it’s letters like Rusty’s that let us know we’re truly making a difference in people’s everyday lives.
And that’s the whole reason we’re here doing this: To show you how to save your life when nothing else will do, and how to save yourself wear and tear and trouble for all the rest of it.