Reaction: An Essay About Street Survival Mindset
by Ed DellaCroce, WDK Director, North Carolina
Editor's Note from Steve Amoia
Officer DellaCroce has been associated with WDK for many years, and has been a frequent contributor to Slayer News. His essays are based upon his extensive experience and training in law enforcement and martial arts. State Directors are encouraged to follow his example and contribute their expertise to our membership.
There are no rules or referees in the street.
Approaching my 35th year in the Law Enforcement field I find myself reflecting. Changes in my mindset have caused many survival skill adaptations. Some techniques from yesterday are no longer valid today. In some respects, there is a correlation between Law Enforcement and Kenpo-style Karate. Constantly evolving, adapting to new situations, as they occur.
What has not changed over the years is the art of reaction. A technique practiced in Martial Arts which allows us to respond naturally. We must condition our mind and body to become one. If diligently practiced you will amaze yourself with the response your body will produce.
Art of Reaction
The tragic Columbine Colorado massacre, on April 20th. 1999, shocked the conscious of America. It was a wake-up call. A reality check to reaffirm the mindset of many has changed. What was once abnormal, has now become the norm. At least in the sick minds of many criminals. Columbine caused Law Enforcement to develop a program called, Rapid Deployment. This program is aimed specifically at response in a school environment to an active shooter. In the past Law Enforcement officers were taught to wait for backup. Now officers train to respond, react and neutralize the threat as a lone individual. Officers have been retrained to act without hesitation. They, if necessary, become a one person SWAT, Special Weapons and Tactics, responder. At my place of employment our Police department is very well trained in Rapid deployment. We experience realistic reoccurring training throughout the year. It only takes a few times being shot with high powered rifle, hard plastic training ammunition, to get your attention. I call it "The ultimate motivator."
Be Serious in Training and Alert in the Street
Take your training seriously. If you give a 20% effort, then how can you expect a 100% response on the street? Training is not only physical, but mental as well. Review training videos or read Defensive Tactics books. We become what we feed our minds. The Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) said it best. “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
In a real life street encounter, you must become your own SWAT responder. Stay focused and be alert to your surroundings. Do whatever is necessary for survival, but do not overreact. You must find a balance between a simple block and punch versus a deadly force response. For a survival mindset, you must be prepared. If you are not capable to seriously injure an attacker, then you are already defeated. An unexpected punch launched at your face cannot cause you to stop and think. Asking yourself if you should execute an inside scoping block, or a rising block, is an inappropriate response. The late Grandmaster Edmund Parker, (3/19/31- 12/15/90) father of American karate, once stated a very profound quote. “He who hesitates, meditates in the horizontal position.”
Reaffirm Your Mindset
Today we must all perform an updated review of our skills. Reaffirm your mindset. A positive attitude develops a positive mind. Tell yourself daily, “I am a winner.” Remind yourself that you can and will survive a bad encounter. Before I report for Police duty, I recite my own personal motivation speech. I tell myself, “Today if I am involved in any situation I will remain in control. If I must fight, I will be right. I will fight with the skills of a Martial artist, the tenacity of a Tiger and the endurance of an athlete. No matter what the circumstance are, I will not allow fear to over power me. I will not be intimidated by anyone or anything. I will survive. I will fight to the very last breath that I my body possesses.”
If you are a religious person, reaffirm your pledge to God. Since changing my survival mindset, I have recited my personal pledge since 1998.
Believe in yourself and survive.
WDK Director, NC