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“It’s not rocket surgery!” A funny notion and obviously not a real thing but the image made all of us taking the MovNat Combatives Certification laugh. We heard some variation of this line throughout the whole course as Vic tried to drill into us the importance of the simple moves we needed in order to survive an attack from one or multiple people. That was the basis of the 2 days we all spent learning how to protect ourselves from being attacked. It was an amazing experience and I can say I am far more prepared to defend myself and my family.

The biggest thing I would say all of us learned was that all of the “rules” that we are use to seeing with fights on TV go out the window when we are actually being attacked. These rules are usually the same; no biting, headbutts, groin shots, etc. The attacks we prepared for though are the ones where an individual or multiple people are seeking money, property (including your own body), or to simple kill you. Most people push the idea of that happening to them out of their mind because they either don’t think it will happen to them, someone else will help them, or because the notion that someone would do that is to disturbing to think about. The skill of being able to protect yourself is like fitness in the sense that some people can push the notion of needing it away from their mind until they absolutely need it and then usually its to late.

Vic explained how even some people who have been taking some form of martial arts their whole life are not prepared for certain things such as being sucker punched and then jumped by multiple people. In a high stress situation you are more likely to forget all of the moves you’ve been practicing as your fight or flight response kicks in and your vision begins to narrow, your hearing begins to diminish, and time begins to slow down. Of course taking martial arts for many years will leave you way more prepared in general but the moves we were showed are the essential ones needed to survive.

Vic showed us some videos of people being attacked and we all let out audible groans as the individuals in these videos were beaten brutally. He pointed out that we all identified with the victim, which is what most people do, but when those videos are shown to inmates they talk about what they would have done as the attacker. That was eye opening as we all play the role of the victim asking “why is this happening to me?!” instead of becoming the attacker and reversing the role. Most attackers have picked a person out of a crowd because they seem weak or distracted which seems to be most people these days because we are all so involved with our phones we forget to be aware of our surroundings.

We focused on 3 main targets the whole time: eyes, throat, and pelvic floor. These all are very obvious targets but for some reason people forget to attack them in a life or death fight as they are still adhering to the basic rules they think are applied to fights. We all had to change our mindsets to go into survival mode where we are truly fighting for our life. We practiced vary simple moves to defend ourselves from being attacked with blunt or sharp objects, guns, being attacked from behind, sucker punched, tackled to the ground, attacked by multiple being and many others.

One of the intense tests Vic put us through was making each person exhaust themselves with various exercises then once we had no energy left we had to strike a punching bag that looked like a person while 3 people hit us. Now during this we had the option to get tased, sprayed with pepper spray, or both! The purpose of this drill was to show you how you brain responds under a high stress situation. I went last and chose the taser because after seeing a couple people get pepper sprayed I knew I didn’t want that problem. The taser hurts don’t get me wrong but you can keep fighting unless you’ve been shot with the taser gun which we didn’t have to do fortunately! After that we had to calculate our heart rates, do a breating exercise and then see how much it dropped. It’s amazing how basic math becomes difficult when under high stress and that was part of Vic’s point. The cops will hopefully show up and they don’t know who is the bad guy so you have to be of sound mind to communicate effectively with them.

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to take this certification and have become more aware of my surroundings. I will say the first couple nights I couldn’t sleep because I kept running situations through my head that we had covered. Vic drove it into our minds not to play the “what if” game because we just need to focus on learning our attack points. I have been showing clients some of these moves and hope to integrate it into my practice as part of the natural movements skills I teach. If anyone is interested in more information you can contact me or anyone from DEEP, which is a MovNat affiliate gym where the certification was held.