Active Shooter (Part 2) - Hide, Fight

(Gershon Ben Keren - Sun 26th Jun)

Although running and disengagement are preferred strategies (or tackling an active shooter, in the first stages of an incident – see the previous blog for reasons and details), the situation may not always allow you to implement them e.g. the shooter/killer is advancing towards you along the exit route you have chosen, etc. This may mean that your most effective strategy is to try and hide from them. This may simply involve remaining unseen and letting them pass you by, or it could involve possibly barricading yourself into a room, so that they have difficulty gaining access to you, and move on looking for easier – and more plentiful – victims, etc.

When you “hide” there are things that you should understand about your environment. One of these is the difference between cover and concealment; cover offers you protection from bullets, concealment merely obscures you from the gunman/shooter’s view. Fortunately, most shooters don’t understand the difference e.g. if you were able to barricade yourself into an office, during an act of workplace violence, it is unlikely that in a modern building, the partitioning wall between you and the shooter would offer much in the way of protection i.e. a round from a rifle would quite easily pass through it, etc. However, most people operating in a state of high stress and duress, won’t make this calculation. It should also be remembered that an active shooter is looking to kill as many people as possible, and shooting rounds, at the unknown may see them run out of bullets; firing into what may be an empty room, is not a good way to conserve ammunition that could be used against targets that can be sighted. In saying this, should you conceal yourself in this way, it is advisable to stay as low to the ground as possible, and make no noise whatsoever. If a shooter hears a number of voices he may feel it is worth his time, to try and gain entry to the room and/or take pot shots through the wall.

There are few objects that actually offer you true cover, and most of these are found outside of buildings, such as the engine block of a parked car (position yourself next to/alongside the front wheel of a car), or a concrete pillar that is used to support part of a building – don’t trust the decorative pillars that you find in many shopping malls, to stop a bullet.

If you work in an office that has a door, which is not lockable, and want to be able to secure it, get yourself a rubber door wedge (the type that are used to prop doors open) – in fact get two. They will probably not stop a determined assailant, however they may create enough of a problem that the shooter moves on to easier targets. Don’t make the mistake of positioning yourself behind the door to add weight to the doorstops, and prevent the gunman from coming into the room; this would probably be the time, when they shoot through the door at you. I will talk a bit later in this article about where to position yourself, if you select this survival option.

It is also worth noting that there may come a time, when your best survival option is to give up your hiding/concealment place, and make for an exit. If you hear a shooter trying and get into your room, and then move on in a direction away from an exit route you could use to make an escape, it may be worth your while giving up what has in a particular instance saved you, so that you can get to actual safety. There is nothing to say that once the shooter has dispatched the easy target, he won’t be coming back for the harder ones. An office or school room, unless it has reinforced walls, and anti-breaching locks (ones that require a breaching round to break them), is unlikely to stop/prevent a committed attacker from entering.

Psychologically, it is extremely difficult to give up something that has worked in the past, and accept that there will come a time when it won’t work i.e. our natural way of thinking is, engaging this action and behavior in the past, saved me, therefore it is a proven and effective solution, which means I should stick with it indefinitely. Unfortunately, attackers change their tactics and methods of assault; they educate themselves, etc. Blocking/Barricading yourself in a room, may work when there are other easier targets present, but once the supply of readily available victims starts to thin, the shooter may revise their plan and come back. Many active shooter situations in buildings, whether they are nightclubs, schools or office buildings, last for hours. What may have been given up in the moment, could become the subject of interest later. Being able to recognize what worked in a particular instance, but isn’t a universal solution, is applicable for all survival situations, not just active shooter and rampage killer ones.

Your hide option shouldn’t, unless absolutely necessary, compromise your ability to fight, and here is a truth worth remembering; active shooter(s), are not armies with unlimited resources, they are restricted by both time, numbers, and ammunition. They are not a foe, who can rampage indefinitely, nor resupply or re-equip themselves – what they bring to a particular location, is what they are restricted to using. They are an enemy with limited supplies, and time to maneuver. This means there is sometimes the chance and the opportunity to engage with them successfully. You are not facing an army, you are facing an individual, or at most a few. Fighting is an option, and the way you hide/conceal yourself can radically increase your chances of success.

If you have to hide, you should alter your environment to be in your favor, not your attacker’s. If you can darken the room, do so; this may involve pulling down blinds, smashing lights, etc. You will have time to let your eyes adjust to this light level; your attacker will not. Don’t underestimate the effect or value of doing this, the Civil Aviation Authority doesn’t. If you’ve ever been on a plane that’s landed at night, you will have noticed that they dim the lights on landing. There is a very good safety reason for this: if the plane crashes and people have to evacuate the plane, it is understood that survival chances are reduced if people have to adjust from full light to darkness – you want to decrease the shooter’s chances, by making them make this adjustment. If you can upturn a table or desk, so that they or their gun/rifle bump into this as they enter, all the better. The more things that the shooter has to process, the easier it will be for you to tackle them.

To tackle them, stay low, by the door. It is likely that they will have their rifle high, so as to be ready to shoot anyone they come across etc. Positioning yourself to be under their rifle, as they enter the room, will make it difficult for them to turn and train their weapon on you. This will give you the opportunity to rugby tackle them from the side, whilst staying under and behind their weapon. Your goal is simply to take them to the ground, smother them, and strike them till they are unconscious/incapable of continuing the fight. If there are others who can assist you, have them positioned behind you, to add weight of numbers to your attack.

As always, the sophistication, the planning, the strategy, etc. comes before the attack. Once you attack, it should be simple, violent, and brutal; it gets little simpler than a rugby tackle and a beat down (one reason most street thugs are so effective – simplicity with aggression). As with any type of violence, you should want to avoid it e.g. disengage and conceal yourself (preferably with cover) etc. but when it is inevitable, you should do everything beforehand to increase your survival chances, whether it is an active shooter or another type of aggressor.

Share on Facebook

Active Shooter - Run, Hide, Fight (Running)

(Gershon Ben Keren - Sun 19th Jun)

I’ve written about Active Shooter and Rampage Killing scenarios before on this blog, however I’m going to write about these types of incidents again, but looking at some of the misconceptions, around different strategies, and how the “Run, Hide, Fight” approach, although fundamentally sound, could actually divert people from implementing effective solutions.

To the untrained individual, the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy, can, at first glance, seem to present these three options in a hierarchical fashion i.e. it is better to run, than to hide, and better to hide than fight. However there are situations, when both running and fighting may both be equally effective options. When I conduct active shooter seminars, one of the drills I use to illustrate the point, is as follows; a shooter with a training rifle stands about 10 feet away from a group, they then start “shooting”, shouting “bang” every time they pull the trigger. The group then charges towards them, whilst they continue shooting, and the number of shots i.e. “bangs”, are counted. In most scenarios, the shooter only gets off three or four shots, before the group reaches them, indicating the point at which they’d be able to control and subdue the shooter. It is also worth noting that in the drill, the shooter doesn’t have time to pick targets, they are just shooting indiscriminately into the group i.e. none of the shots are placed. If you reverse the drill, and have everyone run away from the shooter, when the shooting starts, more shots are fired overall, and the shooter has time to place them. If you compare the casualty rate in both drills, running away results in more casualties, (plus the shooter is still active), rather than fewer. In the scenario/drill, both running and fighting are options, but if taken at face value, the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy would advocate a course of action that would lead to a higher casualty rate.

There are obviously issues surrounding a group tackling a shooter. One of these, is that everybody in the group needs to know that they should do this, and have confidence in the fact that this is statistically a better survival strategy. It is, however, by far the quickest way of taking on a shooter. Of course some people will likely get shot (however without tackling the gunman, the shooter will have more time to hunt down victims, etc.), but because the incident will be ended sooner, they will receive medical help, much more quickly than if an active shooter is still at large. In the most recent incidents, it has taken three to four hours for the emergency services to be in a position to tackle a shooter – that may mean three to four hours of bleeding out, seriously reducing the chances of survival (one of the reasons that knowing how to treat gunshot wounds, either to yourself, or others, is an important part of surviving an active shooter incident).

If running, is deemed to be the most effective strategy in a particular situation, it is necessary to consider the best ways to move away from a shooter. An active shooter, whether motivated by hate, or conducting an act of terrorism, is looking to kill as many people as possible, before somebody stops them – usually the security services. This means that they are likely to pursue groups that flee, rather than individuals, as this guarantees a higher kill rate, and requires less accurate shots; aim a gun at a group, and you’re likely to get a hit, etc. Groups, are also less agile and nimble, and move at a slower rate, making them overall easier targets, than individuals. Because of this, one survival tactic that a group can employ, is to scatter in different directions, creating a lot of individual, moving targets. This is a tactic that many social animals and birds use, to distract and confuse predators e.g. if a flamingo in a flock identifies a predator, such as a cat or similar, it will sound the alarm, and the entire flock, will start to take to the air in different directions – the individual bird that the cat might have been stalking, may no longer be a viable target, and the cat will need to reassess a suitable target, from among a number of fast moving birds; something which is a much more difficult proposition. It may be that the “group” lacks this training, however it is something that an individual can employ if they are caught in a group that has been targeted; breaking away in a different direction from the group.

Although active shooter scenarios are fast moving and dynamic, it is useful to assess what is actually happening e.g. it could be that the main group are being shepherded and herded, towards another shooter or an exit that has been booby trapped. There is a big difference between simply running away from danger, and moving to safety; and it is the second of these two options that you should be trying to take. Moving away from the group, may give you the time to make an assessment of the scene, and allow you to exit via a less obvious route (you should also be aware that an exit route is also an entry route, which could be used by a second shooter, etc.). If there are no obvious points of concealment or cover, then lowering your profile against a wall, may give you some time, as most individuals when in predator mode, will be shooting at targets that stand out/are silhouetted, or are moving. This is obviously not a long term strategy, but it may be advisable in the initial moments of an incident, where you are trying to assess what is happening, rather than blindly following, and replicating, what everyone else is doing.

Panic is what happens, when you try to do everything at once e.g. you just need to get away from the shooter at whatever cost, etc. If everybody else is panicking, because the group doesn’t know how to act, behave and/or operate as a single unit, you probably don’t want to be caught in the middle of that. This means making your way to the sides of the group (allowing people to push past you as they move forward), and start to get to the edges of the group where you can peel off, and start to implement your own survival strategy.     



Share on Facebook

Working Under Pressure

(Gershon Ben Keren - Sun 12th Jun)

To have a realistic chance of surviving a real life confrontation, you must be used to training under pressure; this is something that those who practice combat sports, such as MMA, Boxing, Judo etc. are used to doing – competitive sports teach you a lot about functioning under pressure, where you have an opponent who is going to try and deny you the time, space and opportunity, to do whatever it is that you want to, or are trying to do. This “pressure” has many parallels, to the pressure that a real-life attacker, will try and do, such as putting you in such a disadvantaged position that your only choice, it would seem, would be to acquiesce to their demands, or capitulate to their assault etc. – a big difference though between real-life and the ring, is that there’s no bell that starts the encounter, and lets you know you need to be ready (the bell effectively rings the moment you wake up). I had a conversation, this week, with a student, about training under pressure, and the way that it changes your outlook on what is possible, and what remains as theoretical. His observation was that the most relevant Akido Instructors, were those who had first studied Judo i.e. they knew what it was to be put under pressure, deal with non-compliant opponents (who also had their game-plan), and not be given the luxury of time to execute their techniques. For our Krav Maga training to be realistic and effective, we must introduce “pressure” and stress into our training – and because reality is a much more complex landscape and environment than the ring or the cage, we must introduce different types of stress, pressure and duress, than that which is experienced in sparring.

One area of pressure training, where a lot of Krav Maga training, gets it right, is applying physical stress through fatigue and exhaustion. Once the initial adrenaline burst/shot runs out, what you are left with is not just your base level of fitness, but the consequences of the adrenal dump, which is extreme fatigue. Being able to operate under the pressure of physical exhaustion is a necessary survival skill – as is having techniques that can be recalled when in this state. A lot of people will talk about the benefits of being adrenalized, such as increased pain tolerance, an increase in strength and cardiovascular performance, and not acknowledge the costs and the toll that it takes on the body. Although it may give you 15 seconds of “superhuman” power, it may be due to the social nature of violence, that a good 10 seconds of this is used up in the pre-conflict phase, as your aggressor prepares themselves emotionally by posturing and making threats etc. This is one of the reasons why it is worth acting preemptively against such an assailant; whilst you are adrenalized, and they aren’t yet ready to launch their assault.

An area of “pressure” training that often gets overlooked, is threat recognition and decision-making. Being able to think clearly, understanding what information is pertinent and relevant for your survival, along with what is not, and/or may be peripheral to your understanding of a situation, is an important and necessary skill. Being able to assess and make effective decisions, and plans when under pressure, compared to panicking, and trying to accomplish everything at the same time, could mean the difference between surviving and not. In sophisticated active shooter scenarios, it may seem that there is not time to take on board information, and simply acting, such as running away from the shots is the only option, however it could be that the shooter is “shepherding” or “funneling” you towards something, such as a booby trapped door, another shooter etc. Being able to recognize threats, understand what information you have, and what you may need, in order to survive the danger, you are in, and come to effective decisions is a key skill to have, as is the ability to create time and distance for yourself. Rather than simply giving students the opportunity to practice techniques, we should put them in situations where they have to make decisions under pressure – decisions that may involve non-physical solutions as well as physical; we don’t want to create robots who can only follow one line of thinking, but rather individuals who can assess risk and danger, and formulate strategies for mitigating and dealing with it – and more importantly to do all of this under pressure.

Pain is a type of pressure, that students need to be able to work under, and there is both a right way and a wrong way for conditioning students to be able to operate under pain and discomfort. When I’m talking about pain, I’m not talking about injuring students, but conditioning them. Too often this type of training is done in such a way that fear becomes associated with pain. I have seen school teach sparring, as if they are trying to replicate a train crash, with two students, padded up, whaling at each other in an uncontrolled manner – arguably to replicate a street fight (not the purpose of sparring). To condition people to deal and operate when in pain and discomfort, fear and anticipation, has to be removed. The first time students at my school take the gloves off to spar bare-knuckle, there is a level of fear – after a few minutes though the fear goes, when the realization sets in, that there is little difference to being hit with no glove on, to being hit with a 6 oz glove etc. The pain, is not physical, it is mental – when people get hit in a real-life confrontation most of the pain is shock and surprise rather than physical, and when students can understand this, they begin to understand the different components of “pain” and what parts of it can be managed mentally. Training under the pressure of pain, largely involves teaching people to manage their fears and emotions, rather than physically conditioning them to taking a beating.

The different “pressures” that exist in a real-life confrontation, can’t be trained all at once. If this was the case, classes would just be a series of real-life fights, in a sterile matted environment. Rather, they should be trained individually, and possibly in conjunction with others e.g. decision making whilst exhausted etc. When students are taught to operate under different pressures, they start to acquire the skills that are necessary to deal with real-life violence – without this, they are simply running through a series of choreographed movements.    

Share on Facebook

Dads Dont Know

(Gershon Ben Keren - Wed 8th Jun)

For those of you who haven’t been on social media for the past 48 hours, you probably haven’t heard of the Stanford sexual assault case, where student, Brock Turner, was found guilty on 3 counts of sexual assault, against a female student, and sentenced to a six-month imprisonment in a county jail, of which he may only end up serving three. The case has generated some controversy for a number of reasons, one of which is the leniency of the sentence (6 months is a fraction of the possible 14 years he could have served for his felonies) – compare this with the case of 16 year old Brian Banks who was wrongly convicted of rape, and consequently faced 41 years in jail for the allegation. He ended up with a 6-year sentence, of which he served 5 years and 2 months, only being released when his “victim” admitted that she’d made the story up. The difference between Banks and Turner? Banks was an underprivileged young black man, Turner a privileged young white man. Apparently, Turner coming from a white, privileged background, isn’t prepared for the realities of prison in a way that Banks was, and so should serve a lesser sentence.

If the judge’s veiled comments about Turner’s background and “unsuitability” for prison weren’t enough to spark controversy, Turner’s father wrote a letter, in which he pleaded for leniency on the sentence, arguing that his son had already received enough punishment through the emotional distress caused by the case, and that he shouldn’t face a custodial sentence based on what, in his words, only amounted to “20 minutes of action”. Brock Turner’s father, in his letter, told the judge that he knew what was best for his son, and that wasn’t prison, and that his son’s experience could serve as an education about promiscuity and drinking.

As I write this, I don’t even know where to begin. Both the judge and Turner’s father, have so far ignored the victim’s plight in all of this – ignoring a 14-page testimony that describes how the assault had scarred her, and taken her previous life away. It seems that the judge and Turner’s father see Brock Turner’s future as more important than hers, and whilst hers may have been taken away, it would be a travesty to take away his. As for the comments and remarks about this being an educational experience concerning promiscuity and drinking, Brock Turner’s victim was unconscious when he assaulted her, and so I can only assume that his father is referring to his son’s drinking and “promiscuity” – and that by promiscuity, he means having sex with someone against their will.

As a child who was bullied, I remember one occasion where myself and the ringleader of the group who bullied me, were sat down to try and resolve our differences. There were no differences, I was being bullied. All the teacher was concerned about was trying to get somewhere, where my bully (and his group) could be helped, so that they could stop continually assaulting me. The focus was on him, not me the victim, and it wasn’t about punishing him, but about reforming him. It seems that a similar mistake, and misdirection (on a much larger and more serious scale) is occurring here. Do I want to see Brock Turner be reformed, from being a sexual predator? Of course, if he served the 14 year sentence he should have, he’d be back out in society at some point, and it would be better for all if he was a non-predatory, rather than a predatory, individual. However, he should still be punished for his actions, and his victim given whatever sense of closure that they could take from this. My bullies were never properly punished for what they did, and because of this I was left with no trust in the educational system, or teachers in general to be able to deal with bullying. This verdict, may have caused Turner’s victim to lose all belief in society, the legal system, and everything in her world – that will take a lot to come back from, as well as from the assault itself. The judge in the case, along with Turner’s father, have done nothing to help his victim in her recovery.

The main point I would like to address in the case, are two comments that were made: one by the judge, and one by Brock Turner’s father, in his letter. The judge stated that he didn’t believe that Brock Turner was a risk to anyone, anymore, and Turner’s father stated that he “knew” his son. Both obviously know nothing about sexual predators, and if you are of the opinion that Brock Turner, is being punished for 20 minutes of madness or “action”, that doesn’t reflect who he is, you are wrong. All too often, those accused of rape and/or sexual assault, claim that they misread the signals that their victim was giving them, or that they were suddenly (and out of character) overcome by emotion, etc. They do this to try to get those who judge them to accept that they’re not really criminals, and shouldn’t be treated as such. They will make the argument, that it was just a “mistake”, and after all everybody makes mistakes, don’t they? This argument may convince a judge and/or a parent, but anyone who has either worked with sex-offenders and/or studied them will know that this isn’t true. Rape and sexual assault are born out of masturbatory fantasy. Those who commit sexual assaults, fantasize about them, and plan them. If Brock Turner’s father wants to reminisce about how his loving son used to cook meals for him, he may want to spend a moment thinking about what thoughts might have been going through his son’s head, as he day-dreamed, stirring the sauce, etc. Brock Turner’s mind contains dark fantasies. He may not have planned to find an unconscious woman on that night, but he’d had the fantasies about how he’d control and exert power over her, long before. These would not have been fantasies he’d have shared with his family, however this doesn’t make them less real or dangerous – and those fantasies haven’t gone away, nor are they likely to. If the judge in this case doesn’t think Brock Turner will rape or sexually assault somebody in the future, he’s out of touch with current research. There are a few categories of sexual predator who may only commit one assault, however Brock Turner doesn’t fit those profiles.

I don’t deny that Brock Turner may have been a star athlete, a great cook, a loving son. He may have done great works for charity, helped others, etc. He may have been the greatest guy to sit at a bar with and have a drink, a man who loved animals, etc. He may have been all of these things, and yet he was, and still is, a sexual predator. No sexual predator is going to announce themselves as such, and many are skilled at hiding who they are and what they do – Pedophiles are very skilled at appearing as upstanding members and often pillars of their society/community, without anyone knowing who they really are.

I would caution Brock Turner’s father that he does not know his son. He knows that side of him which he is presented with. He didn’t/doesn’t know him, or relate to him, as a sexual predator. I understand the fatherly desire to not want to accept that this is part of his child’s personality, however it is not safe for society to do this.

I would hope that Brock Turner’s sentence is changed, and that the Judge and the Father take some time to actually study and take advice about sexual predation, so that justice is served, the education that everyone needs be given, and most importantly so that his victim can gain some type of closure, and be able to start rebuilding her life. The pain and damage that Brock Turner caused can never be undone, however an appropriate sentence may help in the rebuilding of his victim’s world.     

Share on Facebook

Muhammad Ali

(Gershon Ben Keren - Sun 5th Jun)

There have been few sportsmen or women as charismatic or influential – both inside and outside their sport – as boxer, Muhammad Ali (January 3rd, 1942 – June 3rd, 2016). Below are four lessons, that I believe Ali’s life, and career, can teach us about surviving real-life violence.

-        Skills and attributes are more important than techniques

-        Style, comes from character, and isn’t a substitute for it

-        Be, able to back up what you say

-        You need to have an adaptable game plan

Boxing is a combat sport that demonstrates, that skills and attributes are what make the difference, in a confrontation, rather than techniques. As martial artists, and practitioners of self-defense, we can often run the risk of becoming technique collectors, rather than skilled fighters e.g. we want to know the technique for dealing with and that attack or threat, how to escape this and that hold and control etc. This puts us in danger of putting most of our efforts into learning more/new things, rather than developing the skills, that will make us better at what we already know and do. Two skills that are essential for dealing with real-life violence, and that Ali had in abundance, are effective control of range, and incredible movement. If you can’t control range, especially during the pre-conflict phase, before your aggressor launches their attack, you are in all likelihood going to get hit if/when they throw a punch – regardless of how good/fast you believe you are at blocking. If you let your aggressor, control the range and distance between you, they will be on top of you before you have the time to react and respond. Ali was a master of controlling range/distance, staying just outside of his opponent’s reach but close enough, to move in and make his own attacks. He also had the movement skills to do this in a dynamic context. Boxing consists of the jab, the cross/straight, the hook and the uppercut, there really are no more techniques in a boxer’s arsenal. What makes a boxer like Ali, “the Greatest”, was his skills and attributes, that made these work for him.

Ali had style, but more importantly he had character. In today’s world these two often get confused, and we make the mistake of seeing stylish people, as having character, which may not be the case. A person can look good, sound good, but lack any actual substance – when it actually comes to any issues in their life, they don’t have the necessary depth and resolve, to see through what they are facing/dealing with. In 1966, Ali took a stand on being drafted to fight in the Vietnam war, which he conscientiously objected to, stating, “My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn't put no dogs on me, they didn't rob me of my nationality, rape or kill my mother and father.... How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail. Making such a statement shows character, especially when it was made at a time, when there was popular support for the war. As a result, he was stripped of his title, and exiled from boxing – no state would give him a license to fight. This was also at a time, when he was in his prime as an athlete. As his trainer Angelo Dundee said, One thing must be taken into account when talking about Ali: He was robbed of his best years, his prime years. It was obvious that Ali had style, but more importantly he had character, and this was shown both inside and outside the ring. I am a big believer that martial arts training builds character and I would suggest that Ali’s boxing training helped develop his.

Ali was a talker, he was the guy who started the pre-fight “smack down”, insulting his opponents, however he knew he could back up the things he said. Sometimes what he said was for entertainment purposes, but he also understood the psychology behind the things he said. In 1972, Ali was challenged by the basketball player, Wilt Chamberlain, and a fight was scheduled for July of that year. Chamberlain, at seven feet two inches, had a 60-pound weight advantage, as well as a 14-inch advantage in reach; both things which would give him a significant physical advantage against Ali. In a press conference, Ali so intimidated Chamberlain, with cries of “Timber!”, “the tree will fall” etc. that Chamberlain backed out of the fight. Ali, knew how to make his opponents angry, how to unsettle them etc. and he had the abilities to back up what he said. There are times, in real-life confrontations, where what you say, can significantly unsettle your aggressor, and get them to question the wisdom of trying to assault you etc. however at the same time you need to be able to back up what you say, so that your words aren’t empty and unconvincing.

Ali knew how to change his game-plans, depending on who he was dealing with, and the environment he was fighting in. Probably, the clearest example of this was seen in the Rumble in the Jungle, when he fought George Foreman (one of the heaviest hitters that the boxing world had seen), and instead of employing his usual strategy of moving, controlling range etc. he adopted his “Rope-A-Dope” strategy, of leaning back on the ropes and riding/absorbing Foreman’s punches, till Foreman was exhausted. He fought the same way in Manilla against Joe Frazier, as a means to combat his own heat exhaustion, as the fight was conducted in near 100 degree temperatures. Ali, knew how and when to adopt a different game plan, based on his situation. In real-life confrontations we need to do the same, both changing our physical and non-physical solutions to the situations we are in; having only one means/strategy of dealing with conflict is not a universally successful approach.

When we try to understand greatness, and what makes people great, the life of Muhammad Ali, has a lot of good pointers for us. Although combat sports may not completely and comprehensively reflect real-life violence, there are lessons that we can learn from them, and those who compete in them, that will allow us to increase our survival chances.      

Share on Facebook