What's Your Plan?

By JJ Simon
Published on Oct 14th, 2014

Late one night I was awakened by an argument in the street outside my home. This isn’t unusual. Even though I live in rural area, the spot in front of my house has several late night domestic disputes every year. When this occurs, I usually wait a few minutes to see if the people work out their differences and leave. Sometimes this happens, but on one occasion a man and woman got in an argument in front of the house early in the morning and the man just left her there. In that instance, I checked to make sure she was ok. She had a phone and was calling for a ride.

In this most recent dispute, the fighting couple had stopped their car in the road just past the corner of my property. My dogs will usually alert me to something strange going on day or night. Oddly this time they didn't. I waited my customary few minutes to see if these people would work out their differences and leave. This time the fight didn't end. So, I went outside to address the issue. As I walked out my front door, I saw the man had pinned the woman in the back seat. He was physically assaulting her. She was screaming that he was hurting her and to please leave her alone.
With no conscious judgment, I yelled “Hey” as loud as I could and made my way across the yard. My yell changed both their attitudes. As I approached, they immediately went into a story of how they had lost her phone and were looking for it. I made it to the corner of my yard and stood there. I recognized they were embarrassed and surprised. Enough so they got in their car and left.
I started walking back to the house and had an attention-grabbing thought. I am a person who trains in and regularly discusses martial arts and life safety principles. I did many, many, stupid things while addressing this situation. I could have, should have, devised a strategy before intervening in that argument.
Here's my list.
I went into the situation with no idea of what I wanted to say. I had no script for dialogue. I have been told by a friend in law enforcement that asking people that you surprise if they need medical assistance is a friendly and disarming way to address them. The belligerence I displayed by shouting at them, could have escalated an already out of balance situation and triggered aggression from them. I could have told them that I was calling the police just to scare them away.
I didn't know who was outside or if they were armed. I have a back door and a large storage building in my back yard on the same side of the yard that the argument was happening. I could have gone out the back door, to the corner of my barn and assessed the situation. I could have verbally addressed them from there while being hidden from sight and somewhat protected if the arguing couple began using projectile weapons.
I had no escape plan as a backup, if the situation went wrong. I could have unlocked the back door with the foresight that I could flee. I could hide behind my barn or run to my neighbor’s yard which is 8 acres and make my way to the back door. These ideas didn't even cross my mind.
I left my house to investigate without any weapon. I could have chosen to bring along a gun, knife, stick, a sword, or a dog. There are numerous pros and cons to carrying each of these weapons. Each choice requires consideration. There are so many variables that addressing them in this article would be difficult. Some of these concerns have been covered in my previous articles (see Choosing a Knife and Impact and the Offensive Weapon). There are moral questions to carrying any weapon into a possibly violent situation that you’ll need to answer for yourself. Learn from my mistakes; plan your strategy before stepping into potential danger carrying a sword!
Only in walking away did I realize that by doing none of those things, not having a strategy, I had put myself and my family in danger. Danger that was potentially greater than the simple unknown situation I had walked into. By reacting, instead of taking mindful action, I had left myself with no options. Next time, I’ll have a plan.

Filed under Philosophy and Opinion

Author Bio :: JJ Simon

JJ Simon has studied the Martial Arts for over a decade. In October of 2010, he tested for, and earned, his black belt at TheMALC's annual Residential . Mr. Simon has studied meditation since 1990 and has completed a number of Meditation retreats from 3 to 30 days under such noted teachers as Lama Surya Das, and in the Shambhala training tradition created by Chogyam

JJ has acted as a meditation coach for friends and martial arts associates since 1992. Mr. Simon is a tattoo artist of some renown with some 20 years of experience in the field. He owns Explosive Tattoo South in Salisbury, MD. JJ is also a painter, knife maker, and the Artistic Director for The Martial Arts Learning Community, Inc.

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