Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Don't Look At The Floor or You'll Soon Be On It

I used to train in boxing quite bit years ago. Like everyone else I wasn't very good when I started, it took a lot of effort to get there. Sometimes you had to take a hit to give one. Sometimes you just had to let your hands go.

One of the lessons I learned early on was keep your head up don't stare at the floor coming in swinging. My coach would always say:"If you look at the floor you'll soon be on it." When you’re moving in to throw those blows you can't just do it blindly because you’re afraid. You gotta keep that head up so you'll see those counter punches coming or you'll probably get dropped with an uppercut.

I often think about boxing, as many have, as a great metaphor for life, especially the statement "Don't look down at the floor or you'll soon be on it." I think it has many true connotations. So often in life people go off half cocked. I have written several articles talking about this.

Very recently I did an article called As the World Implodes: When People Put Their Agendas Ahead of the Truth.  Basically a guy was running from Police Officers then shot at them. When they shot back he was hit and died. An entire neighborhood held protests accusing the police of shooting an unarmed man. They went in swinging without looking. They didn't have all the facts. Now, after the gun has been recovered it appears as though he actually shot himself to keep from going to jail. 

It happens all the time. Just because someone is boisterous and passionate about what they are saying doesn't mean they have a clue what they are talking about.  You can go after someone but your facts need to be straight.

I saw an interview on YouTube very recently. It was Bill O'Reilly interviewing Bill Mahar about religion. Bill Mahar is a famous comedian who also happens to be an atheist. He was basically trying to say that religion is bad and a lot of the stuff in the Bible isn't true.  Now, I'm a spiritual person myself, I believe in God but I'm not big on organized religion. To prove the Bible preached violence he quoted a saying from the Book of Deuteronomy. It was basically the part where it says you should kill your neighbor if you catch them working on a Sunday. Bill Mahar went in swinging with his head down.

As many of you know, in the Christian religion the Old Testament is basically used for parables only and life lessons, it isn't literal. The laws governing the religion are found in the New Testament only. If he had taken the time to research that and know the subject he was speaking on he wouldn't have made a bogus uneducated point. If you’re going to use aggressive speech you better know what you’re saying. It's like police kicking in a door before checking to make sure they are at the right house (trust me it happens).

Before you attack a problem you need to understand the problem. When guys try to modernize martial arts more often than not they go into it with preconceived notions of what will work and what will not. They believe their traditional art to be superior to others so they invent ingenious solutions to nonexistent problems. So they have great defenses against the wrong attacks. They never really understand the problem because they never make the attempt. You can't teach a person who already knows everything. They go in without having all the facts about real attacks then invent a crappy unrealistic system so they can sell it to you as the newest stuff when it is just someone swinging with their head down.

We've all heard sports metaphors before. We know there's a much bigger reason to keep your head up. As time goes on it seems the world becomes more and more violent and people care less and less. With so many things going on to make you feel bad, keeping your head up can be harder than it sounds. The fight we are in is both metaphorical and literal at the same time.

Sometimes I hear folks talk about the innate good in all people; the people who say that need to lift their heads because there is no such thing as innate good in all people. Some people are good and some aren't. Some have had their heads down for so long they are disgusting.

I'm gonna date this article by mentioning some current events. Recently there was a terrorist attack in Norway. It was a horrible tragedy and our hearts go out to them. The people there will pull together the same way we did during the 911 tragedy. They will be uplifted because of it. People will help because it is a big thing. We are there for the big things but it's the small things we falter.

In July singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment. She had a long history with drugs and public aggression. The belief, true or not, was that she wasn't a very nice person. When the story was posted on the internet the replies varied. Most talked about it being such a waste which is true in the context it was said but better words could've been used. A lot however went out of their way to say she was a junkie and who cares and that they hoped Lindsay Lohan was next. These are the people that you have to worry about. They have their heads down and can't see the truth. These are the ones that will drag you down to their level and make you suck as bad as they do. They have their heads down so that is precisely why you need to keep yours up. Makes it easier to knock them out.

Now I know this is getting off subject a bit but its bothering me and I want to address it. I want to answer the question posted by a lot of these jerks today. The question of who cares? I would venture to say a lot of people care. I'll continue to use Amy Winehouse as an example. She had to have parents right? I know she was married at one point. She had family and friends who are devastated right now as I write this commentary.

You see I want to share a truth to all you people with your heads down. All death is tragic. Death is a lost opportunity for the dead as well as the world around them. For people who have had a bad life it means they have no more chances to make it better or improve. Personally I always pull for the underdogs. It's my way of saying f@#k you to the powers that be.

When someone dies like that their future actions can no longer inspire us. Good, bad, or indifferent we can't learn anything from them anymore. We only have that short span to inspire us in one way or another. They are gone and those opportunities are gone with them. What if she finally kicked drugs? She was very talented. Would she have inspired others to get off drugs? Would her newer music inspire someone else to be a singer? We'll never know that because she's gone. That's what I mean by lost opportunity. When someone dies we all lose a chance at something because none of us know the future. How many of you have lost someone you wish were here right now? I would venture to say all of you. That's the answer to the question, who cares? So lift your heads up for once and see it.

As I talked in other articles about Personal Empowerment and You and Do You Have Dreams To Remember? Self confidence is important especially when there are so many people who want to take it from you; it should show you the value of it. In this life it's full of people that want to tear you down. We must educate ourselves to these basic truths to defend against them. When the ignorant come in swinging to take us out you have to know your stuff and be confident. Do be like those people. Don't look at the floor or you'll soon be on it.

To find out more about Stonewall Tactical Defense Systems visit http://www.stonewalltactical.com/index.html

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Startle Reflex: In Defense of the Truth

A few years ago a friend and mentor of mine, W. Hock Hocheim, wrote an article called, A Startling Study In The Startle Reflex. Hocheim used nothing but facts in the article. There were no opinions just true scientific data. This was done to counteract lies that were being told to the public for marketing reasons. There was a lot of bogus information out there about the startle reflex and a lot of people lying about it on purpose to sell courses even though they knew that it wasn't true. To this day people are still lying about the startle reflex to try to get people to take their course and disparage instructors who tell them the truth about it. 

Now, Hock tries to have some diplomacy in his articles, he teaches the public and it's smart not to step on anyone's sensitive toes and burn bridges, I think anyone should be able to understand that. However I teach mainly police and don't care who I p**s off so I'm gonna tell you like it's gonna be and to those that don't like it you can just go in a corner and cry like the sissy’s that you have become.

I'm not going to regurgitate all the data that Hock has already published, you can read all about it in his post. I am however going to shed a little more light on it for you…

Back in the 1930's tests were done to activate the ‘startle reflex’ when the subject was spooked by an audible stimulus. Now, to put that in basic terms I'll give you an example. Let's say you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. You know how in the winter furniture creeks sometimes due to the cold? So you’re walking down that hall half asleep and you hear that popping sound… It scares you and you drop down and your arms shoot out. We've all done that, me included.

All that this test proved in the 1930's was that you did what you were already going to do when you heard that noise. That was it. It had nothing to do with combat or seeing punches coming at you or anything of the sort.

Fast forward to the 80's: You’ve got some guy going around telling people that his system is better than that of others because he teaches defences from natural reflexes – the ones that you would do anyway. Yup! you’ve guessed it, shooting the arms straight out and diving for it. He did this knowing that data had been disproved in the 70's and that it had nothing to do with visual stimulus but he just lied and taught it anyway.

If someone starts bashing on you, you’re gonna stick your arms out anyway so let's go with it. Now today people claim he never said that and he tries to backtrack on it but he's said it many times and many people including myself have heard him say it.
Now I'm not saying that you won't stick your arms straight out and dive for it. You very well may do that. You may also squat and dump in your pants. You may clutch your chest. You may break out running. You may not do anything at all. You may cover in some way. I've even seen some stiffen up like a board and just fall down. If it's heading towards your head you may swat at it. If it's on the ground you may jump or lift a foot and stomp it.

The simple fact is, and the point of Hock's article, is that nobody and I mean nobody knows exactly what every single individual person will do when startled under every single random condition the almighty God could possibly invent. Nobody has that knowledge. Not me, you, or anyone else for that matter. So for any person to stand in front of a crowd and tell them all exactly what they will do when scared is a joke and a farce. If someone tries to tell you that then run because they are either a liar or they are ignorant.

It doesn't have to be the arm thing it can be any startle reflex. I don't want to just bash a certain group. If someone tries to tell you there's only one possible startle reflex, regardless of what they say that reflex is, they are wrong. If they tell you everyone will always jump....they don't. If they say everyone will punch...they won't. I could go on with this all day.

The fact is people; there is no perfect technique because attacks are so random. This is why concepts are more important than techniques because concepts can adapt to us. You have to conform to techniques and try to make them work and they may not be right for your size, shape, or whatever. However, a concept will conform to you and your needs.

In my 34 years in martial arts I've seen a lot. I've seen people demonstrate a kick to the groin and a follow up when the guy bent over forward from it. I've kicked a couple of people in the nuts and they never bent forward, they actually fell straight backward. I've seen people tell others - I can enter a certain way and slam a forearm to the brachial plexus and it'll knock them out. Then I've seen people take 5 or 6 hard shots to the brachial plexus and never even acknowledge it and fight harder.

People are different and they react differently. There is simply no way to predict it. All these techniques you see against a startle in martial arts classes are learned techniques built into muscle memory. They aren't necessarily natural for everyone, they may be natural for some and unnatural for others it just depends on the person.

My advice for instructors is to pick something simple that makes the most sense based upon the type of system you teach. You have to have a starting point to work from. In what I do we use a cover and level change because it sets up what we do on the entry very well. To some it feels very natural and to others it feels odd for whatever reason. We work it hard and they get it built in then they love it and it works incredibly well for what we do.

If I was you I'd stop worrying about what the big names do and just pressure test everything and find out what works best for what you do there is no magic technique that is going to work for everything, we all just do the best we can to the best of our ability to try and help people.

What works for me may not feel right for you and vice versa but at least that's honest. We didn't get into this to follow someone else's dogma we got into it to be leaders in our community. So put together something great and get it out there and help some people. As far as Hock's article is concerned, it's a great article with a lot of great data. Keep your eyes on the prize and don't take things out of context. Have a good day.

To find out more about Stonewall Tactical Defense Systems visit http://www.stonewalltactical.com/index.html

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Nothing works all the time, Everything works sometimes...

"Nothing works all the time, Everything works sometimes" - W.Hock Hocheim

It's a very profound statement if you think about it. It's simple....but profound. It's the way a good technique should be if you really think about it. It has depth and can be used for more than one purpose and mean many things. I remember the first time I ever heard it in Decatur, AL a couple years ago at a clinic taught by Hock Hocheim, a mentor of mine. He says it at the start of all his seminars. Now I'm one of these guys that think a lot, probably too much. If I come up with a tactic I then try to come up with a counter; then a counter to that until I can't even think of a counter anymore. This statement means a couple different things to me and I think everyone should learn it and understand it. Below I'm going to list a few ways that I apply this statement in my career and hopefully enlighten some to the value of it.

1. It’s just flat out true - You take the craziest most unrealistic technique you ever saw and you can find someone on YouTube being knocked out by it. However, just because it works for one person doesn't mean it will work for everyone. As a police trainer I see this stuff all the time. I see some of the worst courses you could think of with the craziest things. However, you can go on the websites for these courses and there will be all kinds of testimonials from officers that used that system and it worked for them.

As trainers and coaches if we are striving for the safety of those we teach it's best to use tactics or concepts that are most likely to work for everyone consistently. That's our job. When people use these high risk low reward systems and they work it can keep bad systems around and make it harder to convince departments to upgrade to a better system even if that bad system is failing for everyone else. In a way for them it's about perspective. I had a meeting with a police chief locally a few months back. He had done one of these big national courses that in all honestly most departments are abandoning because of its low success rate in the field. However he loved the course because he'd used a couple of tactics from it that had saved his life in his career. He's spent 40 hours in that class and learned 4 or 5 really good techniques.

Now to my ears that's evidence of a bad course not a good one to spend that much time in a class and 4 or 5 useful things is all you got but he was convinced. He was convinced because nothing works all the time, everything works sometimes and those times it worked for him. You may run into people sometimes that think they see a flaw in your system because of something in their background. If that happens and it will; remember that statement and don't blow it off.
Maybe what they are saying is unfounded but maybe since they came from a different background they see something that you missed. It could be a chance for your system to grow and have more depth so when someone else thinks they see the same flaw you'll have an answer for them. Then again they may be full of crap but you should at least think about it.

2. It’s a warning to the arrogant - The reality based self defense community can be filled with the most egotistical arrogant people in the world. They know the real truth about everything, but they are the only ones that know....yeah right. It would take 100 RBSD instructors to change a light bulb. 1 to actually do it and 99 to say they could've done it better and they'll have scientific studies to back it up too. They could go on for hours about how you should've tilted your hand more or applied more force when you pushed up and they'll make sure to unknowingly be as condescending as humanly possible when they do it. They just seem to have conveniently forgotten to never say never.

The technique everyone seems to jump on is high kicks. Now I personally am not a fan of high kicks and I don't teach them. With my background being Jujutsu when I see that leg in the air I'm thinking their balance is mine. In the confrontations I've been in I make sure I stay too close however so I'm not in kicking range. That's my perspective but it doesn't mean they could never work. I think for the average person it's too high risk of a technique because of the position it puts you in. However someone like Bill Wallace could kick you in the head all day.

I've grown to hate threads on boards and face book groups. I rarely post in them anymore just for the simple fact that people love to take things out of context so they can jump on them and make themselves look more intelligent than others that are trying to do the same thing. It's transparent and it makes me angry. Throw a discussion about high kicking into one of those threads and it's like dumping blood in a shark tank. I would caution them to remember this statement. It'll keep you honest before you open your mouth. We preach all the time that attacks are random and we don't know who the attacker will be. If you preach it then you should apply it to all your logic. Once again high kicks have a very very low success rate but that doesn't mean that someone couldn't kick your beak around like Daffy Duck.

To think that it could never happen is ignorant and could someday be your downfall. Not because someone might kick you in the head but that dismissive attitude will affect how you build your courses and how you apply your concepts as well as how you prepare others. Before you get on your lectern to pontificate remember the statement. Then remember that you’re not as smart as you think you are..

3It's a disarming and diplomatic tool for trainers - I teach people from all kinds of backgrounds. Sure when I was younger I had a short sighted view of things like a lot of these other guys around. However I always tried to be honest with myself and put the people I'm teaching first. When I go to teach a seminar I don't know the background of everyone that's in there. If I go in there with a dismissive attitude about certain martial arts bashing them and silly things like that and how this and that is BS then I'm blowing an opportunity. If someone from that style is there they are just going to shut down and tune me out. I'll never get through to them. You can't just go in there and talk to people that way and tell them something they've worked their butts off in is crap. If someone had done that to me the first thing I'd think is this guy doesn't have much teaching experience he's too immature.

You open your seminar with the statement it's diplomatic. You allow them to clutch the thing they hold onto and by not taking everything away from them you get their ear. If you have a better way and you’re a good teacher they'll find it on their own you don't have to say that stuff. Be diplomatic when they ask questions about how it fits in with the thing they do. Always be positive and helpful. Build....don't tear down. This gets back to the negativity and dismissive attitude sinking you. If you still want to be negative and are thinking well I don't want those idiots in my class... then you’re the idiot. You shouldn't be teaching because you don't care about the people you only care about your dogma. Remember the statement.

I want to thank Hock for making that statement and I hope this short article even though I probably went to deep and over thought it will enlighten some of you in a small way. Thank you for your time.

To find out more about Stonewall Tactical Defense Systems visit http://www.stonewalltactical.com/index.html

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Martial Artist v Black Belt

This is something that has been on my mind for a long time. I've wrote similar articles in the past but it's been awhile. I'm talking about the dumbing down of martial arts in this country until they are no longer martial.

There are too many dishonest people involved in what we do who are being dishonest with themselves if they don't believe that they are dishonest with the people around them. The divide between martial artists and black belts has gotten wider and wider as time has gone on and I feel the need to stand up and speak on it once again because I believe in what I do. Most of all I believe in the truth and I hate to see people being lied to and ripped off.

To get to the point right off let's look at the definition of the word Martial. Merriam-Webster defines martial as:

1: Of, relating to, or suited for war or a warrior;
2: Relating to an army or to military life;
3: Experienced in or inclined to war: warlike.

This is the meaning of the word martial. The word itself is Latin meaning from Mars (not the planet, the God of War). Yes people, that's right - it's not Asian and no, martial arts absolutely did not originate in Asia. Actually there is some evidence that there were no canonized arts in Asia at all until after the campaigns of Alexander the Great. That of course is up for debate and not relevant to this article. So we now know the word itself implies that the person is either in the military or they are basically a fighter in some form or at the very least prepared to fight.

I like to sit around sometimes and listen to the old timers talk about how martial arts used to be. They talk about how back in the old days people would spar bare knuckle and you had to be able to fight to get your ranks. Everyone earned everything they got.

I know on my way to my Judo black belt I won a heavyweight championship on a State level, got a shoulder dislocation and one good concussion to go with it. You bet I earned my rank. I didn't have it easy but if everyone could have something then it wouldn't be worth anything would it? I think you see where this is going.
As technical director for an international organization I’ve visited a lot of schools and seen a lot of programs. I don't visit a lot of those schools anymore because frankly I'm just disgusted. I saw schools doing techniques on the same level at black belt that weren't much better than the white belts were doing. I saw an instructor in Madison, AL once change an attack because the wrist lock he wanted to use wasn't working against a real attack. So instead of using the technique correctly or trying it a different way he changed the attack to something unrealistic.

I was helping another guy in the area once. I'd go in and show these techniques and better ways of training to produce better students. They'd all nod and talk about how great the techniques were and I'd feel like I got through somewhere. I'd go back the next week and they weren't implemented. I'd give them more time then bring it up. I'd hear something like umm yeah I remember we talked about that last week. Well you know talking doesn't fix anything.

I gave him a link to my articles and he read a few. This guy actually sent me an email back saying he agreed with what I was saying but he was just trying to teach these students how to defend themselves he wasn't trying to develop Navy SEALS. He couldn't understand that he wasn't really teaching his students anything and what I was telling him was the basic information they'd need to defend themselves at all.

You know I once went to a Jujitsu school that didn't teach nage waza because they were afraid it would scare potential students and run them off. Yes I'm serious that actually happened.

Most use the excuse that they are just trying to empower people and build good character. This is a load of crap and a complete insult to anyone's intelligence. They actually want us to believe that you have to lower the bar on quality to make someone feel better. Well you know, the US Military has made a lot of men out of boys, do you think they shy away from rough training?

The fact is they are lying to people. It's all about money plain and simple. Martial arts aren’t for everyone and should not be for everyone. Martial arts are for warriors. Teaching someone crap to make it easier to fill your schools is not about character it's about money so you need to stop lying to yourself and others.

What you are teaching is not martial arts and you are not a warrior; you’re just a fabric salesman. Yes that's right; there is a huge difference between a black belt and a martial artist. If you spend more time going to marketing seminars than you do working on your program to make it better then you are not a real martial artist. You’re just a low rent con artist that takes advantage of people and fills them with a false sense of security. You are not helping anyone but yourself and you are disgusting.
These jerks have people so brainwashed it's mind boggling. You go in and try to help them out and they just looking at you like you dropped a load of dung on their circle jerk. Some people just don't want the truth; they only want the perception of it.

They'll come after you too if you stand up and fight it. I've had them go to the Hanshi of the organization before and say bad things about me and they even held up my 6th dan promotion for a year in Jujutsu but I finally got it anyway. You know I'd rather actually be somebody than just look like somebody any day. People, use your common sense. If you do not have to work hard for something then you’re not getting anything. Now, building character is important, don't get me wrong, but that can be instilled with any program. I recently wrote an article called Don't Look at the Floor or You'll Soon Be On it which used boxing as a great metaphor for positive life lessons. Can you imagine the looks someone would get if they claimed they studied boxing but never sparred? That doesn't even sound right.

Some others use the excuse that they are standing by tradition. This is also wrong. These arts were originally developed in ancient times for military use. The fact is, like any military, if those techniques weren't working they'd change them. They aren't going to die on the battlefield for loyalty to some technique, but apparently some instructors think it's alright for their students to die for them now.

If martial arts doesn't deal with modern problems and modify and change over time then they become a stagnant museum piece. They are no longer a living art. No art deserves that fate. I'm not saying go in there and bash skulls every night but you have train people to develop the attributes of the art that can work in a very real way. You should always pressure test your techniques. Your loyalty should only be to the people that walk through your doors and put the faith in you that you can teach them how to reasonably defend themselves.

It's a sad development of our society. Teaching people that the bar will be lowered for them and they don't have to work for what they get is not a good lesson. We are living in tough times and need realism more than ever. We need warriors not pretenders.  A black belt is not necessarily a martial artist anymore. There are a lot of good instructors out there; it isn't just about money with everyone. Some of us are still out here living and breathing this stuff. My name is Paul Green and I'm proud to be a martial artist.

To find out more about Stonewall Tactical Defense Systems visit http://www.stonewalltactical.com/index.html

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

More on the Bystander Effect...

LAST month I presented an article called Kitty Genovese and Me. It detailed the study of a murder in New York in 1964 where a young lady was stabbed to death in front of a bunch of people and it was believed no one did anything. Some studies were done about it and it was named Genovese Syndrome after the murder. These days it's more commonly known as The Bystander Effect. 

A while back I noticed the FBI had done a recent study on it and put it on several sights. Recently in my peer group there has been a lot of discussion about it and people wondering what they needed to do and when to act. Some still don't understand the psychology and what it really means to act and what it says when you’re just a bystander. Even though we covered pretty much the whole thing in the original article I feel a follow up is needed. Watch the below videos before we continue.


These are some of the more well known incidents as of late. I want to draw your attention to the top video. This is a great video to accompany the first article. It breaks down exactly what we talked about towards the end of that article though some of the terms may have been slightly different. Everyone wants to pass the buck and conform to the crowd. Everyone thinks someone else will act (diffusion of responsibility) but if one person acts it breaks "The Effect" and others help as well. It is my belief that you need to be that one person that helps. This is a blog for martial artists. We didn't spend all those years of training to do nothing with it. If you have the ability to make a difference then you should be compelled to make a difference. The biggest enemy of the bystander effect is the knowledge of it. If you know about it then you should not fall victim to it. You should know that others won't act and that you should act

On another note in that video you can see that when people think that person is a member of their peer group they feel compelled to act. I think it took someone six seconds. In the first article we called this Biker Mentality because that article dealt more with violent attacks and the idea that if you fight one biker you have to fight them all. If a person is in their group they will help. However it isn't always a violent event as we've seen. Someone could be sick or injured and need help. The bystander effect applies just as much if not more to these situations. Many states have followed suit of countries like Canada and Australia and adopted Good Samaritan Laws. These are laws that protect people from being sued if they help someone in good faith and something goes wrong with it. Other states are even going further and looking at passage of Duty to Rescue Laws which make it a misdemeanour to not intervene when you see someone needing assistance and do nothing. States realise they have to do this because they realise that people today are morally bankrupt and it must be done

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem – Malcolm X

I believe the above statement to be true. I can understand fear. Fear is something we all deal with and there are a lot of things that can go wrong. However, courage is not the absence of fear it is the overcoming of fear. Giving into fear is called being a coward. I would rather die like a warrior than live like a coward any day. If you witness someone in the process of being killed and you do nothing then in my eyes you’re just as responsible as the murderer. If someone is injured and lying on the ground begging for help in a public place and you don't know first aid then call a 911[999 in UK] and stay with them until help arrives. I believe being a bystander is one of the worst things you can be, especially if you have the ability to help them.

Are we talking about two people arguing and just jumping up into someone's business? Of course not, let's get a little more specific now and put this in the right context:

If you witness a mugging you need to understand that money and belongings can be replaced. This may not be a life or death situation. If you feel that you have to do something then draw attention to the mugging keep a safe distance and call them out. These guys just want to get the money and run quickly. If you’re pointing out the mugging and yelling they may just run off. You don't want to just run in on someone with a weapon. Unfortunately in one of the videos above a man found that out the hard way. Then, when he was lying there and dying the Bystander Effect took effect in a disgusting display. As I said before, people are morally bankrupt and you cannot depend on them. That video made me sick.

You see a married couple arguing. Don't just get into that as they will more than likely turn on you. If anything, if they are getting loud tell them to quieten down then maybe they'll actually stop arguing. There are laws about public disturbances you know. However, if one puts their hands on the other I believe you should intervene to stop an assault. Just don't personalise it.

Two drunks get in a fight at a bar. They usually have bouncers that break that stuff up. However if they don't and the fight gets out of hand with one getting the upper hand in a big way where a serious injury may take place then yes intervene. As we have learned in the above videos if you break the cycle you'll most likely have help once you do intervene in that type of a situation. Unfortunately not always, but in a more social setting like that I'd bet on that help if it was me (I was a bouncer for years I've seen hundreds of those situations).

A guy with a broken arm falls by himself in a hallway and can't get up and you’re a woman he asks for help.

Now those of you on your game will know I picked this specific scenario on purpose. In an above paragraph I talked about assisting someone who was injured in a public place like the one demonstrated in the first video. As some of us know serial killer Ted Bundy used this exact scenario to lure women into the hallway to attack them. In a private closed off area like that you should just ask them to be calm while you go and get help, then get help quickly. Not everyone who falls in a hallway is a serial killer faking it. If you’re a guy you can save face by saying you have a bad back or some crap like that later on, just don't go into that hallway alone. Since there wasn't a crowd this isn't really the Bystander Effect but some critics will try to take it out of context and make it that way.

The point is that in these situations there are things that you can do. Maybe you’d handle it slightly differently but at least you’d have helped resolve the situation in a reasonable way.

There was an incident not too long ago on Facebook where a girl posted that she was going to kill herself. Her friends posted back but no one went over there to stop her and she committed suicide shortly after. It's a myth by the way that when people are vocal about suicide that it means they just want attention and won't do it. Once again, that is a myth. In that situation just someone going over there to talk to her may have saved her life. This is what I'm talking about. This is the more common form of the bystander effect. We talk about more violent events because that is the subject matter of the blog but this is the more common form.

It is something anyone can help with. Don't stand by while someone dies. To do so says negative things about our society and you. If you stand by while someone dies you'll stand by during anything. We can be better than this and our society can be better. Asking an entire society to change overnight is not realistic. However asking an individual to make a difference is not and a society is made up of individuals. People who stand up for those that need us shouldn't be the exception they should be the rule.

Some say the police tell you not to get involved. The ones that tell you that only say that for liability reasons it has nothing to do with it being the right or wrong thing to do. If it was wrong to do it then states wouldn't be looking at passing duty to rescue laws making it a misdemeanour not to do it. We can make a difference and you can make a difference if you are reading this. I'd also recommend reading the original article if you have not done so. As you may have read in other articles like Beware of the Fallout and The Double Edged Sword of Empathy, I'm not a bystander and I don't think you should be one either. Links for the mentioned articles will be provided at the bottom of this one. As I said in the first article you now know about the bystander effect. There is no excuse


Now be somebody and make a difference! Thank you for your time.

To find out more about Stonewall Tactical Defense Systems visit http://www.stonewalltactical.com/index.html

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Kitty and the Bystander Effect

Hi! My name is Catherine Genovese but my friends call me "Kitty". I'm 28 years old and the oldest of five children I worked at Ev's Eleventh Hour Sports Bar in Hollis, Queens, New York. My parents moved away when I was 19 to Connecticut but I stayed. Do you like my dress? I had to wait a lot of tables to buy it. I used to be pretty but now I'm gone. I was murdered on March 13, 1964 I was walking home from work a little after 3 am when this man named Winston Moseley stabbed me. I screamed, "Oh my God he stabbed me!" No one came to help. Thirty-eight people watched me die and no one ever tried to help. One man even turned up his radio to cover up the sound of me screaming. My killer actually left me alive but was so surprised that no one called the police or came to help that he came back 10 minutes later and finished me off. He's in prison now but he's still alive, but I'm gone forever.
Winston Moseley

Do I have your attention now? A lone individual will generally step in if someone needs help it's called a bystander intervention but that isn't the point of this article. This real murder case kicked off a lot of research where scientists couldn't believe this could actually happen, but it did. It's called the Bystander Effect. It basically means that the larger the group is that witnesses a violent event the less likely it is that anyone will do anything to help even if the person obviously means it.

James Bulger
Let's look at a few more examples of this psychological phenomenon. 
Left, we have a picture of James Bulger not quite 2 years old. He was kidnapped on February 12 1993 in Merseyside, England, and his body was found murdered and mutilated on February 14th. Witnesses say he was kicking and screaming at the kidnapping afterwards. He was kidnapped in a shopping centre in full view of the public and no one did anything. By the way the photo on the right is an actual photograph of James Bulger being led away after he got too tired to fight anymore. Notice all the people walking by but they aren't even looking? The 10 year old on the right is one of his murderers and the photo is from a security camera. Did no one think his screaming for help was odd?

James with killer
There are many examples of this phenomenon. In 1972 Dr Wolfgang Friedmann, who was a law professor at Columbia University was shot to death in broad daylight and bled to death on the sidewalk and no one did anything. On June 23 last year in Wichita, KS Lashanda Calloway was stabbed to death in a convenience store. Five witnesses just stepped over the body and one even took a picture of Lashanda's body with her mobile phone to show her friends. The police were livid and I don't blame them. Lashanda was only 27 she died later that night at the hospital.

So what in God's name is wrong with these people? The fact is it's all too common. The first lab experiments done on this phenomenon were done in 1968 by John Darley and Bibb Latane. A participant was placed alone in a room with an intercom. They are told they can talk to the other participants in the other rooms from the intercom. They were actually listening to an audio recording and told their microphone would be turned off until their turn to speak. During the recording a participant suddenly pretends to have a seizure. The study found that how long the person waits before alerting the experimenter directly related to the perceived number of participants and in some cases nobody said anything they just ignored it.

There's a lot excuses used for this behaviour. Basically with a lot of people around people tend to assume that someone else will step in and individually fall prey to the same assumption. This is called the diffusion of responsibility. Another example of this is a firing squad where one of the shooters is issued blanks but no one knows which one. This allows each one of the shooters to believe that someone else fired the fatal shot. Some electric chairs have more than one switch but only one of them is connected. This allows executioners to believe they flipped a non-functioning switch.

In a violent attack witnessed by a group the number of people allows each person to believe somebody else should've done something so they don't feel any responsibility for not doing a damn thing. Some may falsely assume that someone else is more qualified to help such as a doctor or police officer. They may fear being a little humiliated by being superseded by a superior helper. They may possibly be afraid of doing a bad job assisting or making it worse and getting sued. Bystanders tend to monitor the reactions of people around them and if they don't' see them helping then they think that maybe they don't need to do anything either. This is called pluralistic ignorance. It basically means that even if someone has a dissenting opinion from a group they don't do anything because they think the groups behaviour is a unanimous belief. Either way it's all a complete mess.

So how do you combat this phenomenon? Think about it this way. If you’re a martial artist or combative instructor and you have the training and ability to help then it's your responsibility to help. We have too many paper tigers in this industry already. Police, military, etc are all great examples of warriors in our society today. However you don't have to be either one to be a warrior. I bet there's something each one of us can do every day to make a difference in our society. We can be educators. We can train people, and by God if you see somebody getting attacked take responsibility and help them!

On the other hand what if you’re getting attacked? Don't assume anyone is going to help you. You can break the diffusion of responsibility by assigning it to someone. Instead of yelling, "Help!" Point someone out and scream for help making it personal. Scream their name if you know it. If I had started this article out by just saying Kitty Genovese and James Bulger got murdered sure people would've thought it was bad but when you see the actual face and know something about them it has a little more impact doesn't it?

This also is the counter to pluralistic ignorance. When one person steps in then it provides social proof that the others may be looking for before stepping in and gets the help flowing. When you scream to this person, give them a task such as call the police. It's the best way to break this horrible cycle. There have been studies to suggest that if you’re part of a group or a group of people perceive you as part of their group, then they will help. A good example is bikers. If you fight one you’re probably going to have to fight them all.

It's my hope that the people reading this article will take this to heart. If you see someone that needs help then help them. If you’re being attacked in such a violent way maybe you know a little more now about what to do. When I first read about the Kitty Genovese Case I was deeply offended. That offense quickly turned to concern as I compiled data for this article. The fact that a group of people could just watch someone die was mind numbing but it probably happens on a daily basis which is sickening. I never knew Kitty Genovese, I wasn't born until 1973, but I'll never forget that case or that of James Bulger. I'll never just stand there and watch someone get violated and neither should you, because after reading this article and having the knowledge you should know......................................