Canadian actor, Corey Haim was pronounced dead at 2:15 AM on March 10, 2010. Hopefully I’m not breaking this news to you for the first time, like I did to my wife a few hours after it happened. She thought I was kidding.
Best known for his 1980s Hollywood career as a teen idol, Corey appeared in a number of films such as Lucas, Murphy’s Romance, The Lost Boys, License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream.
By far, my favorite Corey Haim movie was The Lost Boys (and Lost Boys: The Tribe, even though he only cameo’d during the credits in the sequel).
In The Lost Boys, Haim played Sam Emerson, whose family recently moved to Santa Carla, California, a coastal town plagued by gang activity and unexplained disappearances. Which ends up being vampires.
During the course of the movie, Sam meets The Frog brothers, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan, who are self-proclaimed vampire hunters. They give Sam a vampire comic book to instruct him on how to defend against and kill vampires. Eventually Sam believes the brothers, and the rest of the movie continues with the guys trying to kill off the vampire gang and save the Emersons. We probably all know how it ends.
For the most part, I think more people would know how to handle a vampire or zombie attack, rather than defending themselves against a human assailant.
Sure some of the tactics differ depending on the actual vampire movie, but the traditional standbys are pretty well known and accepted. For sake of argument, lets just use crosses, holy water, garlic, wooden stakes and sunlight.
I would wager a bet that just about anybody could have come up with this standard list, and would know how to use each item on a traditional Hollywood vampire. Let’s face it, even if you don’t like vampire horror movies, you have seen or heard enough about them to know this without thinking very hard.
Zombie self defense in traditional horror movies is slightly more involved, but I’d also bet that once you heard the methods, it is something you would remember. Killing a make believe zombie is memorable because it is unusual and uncommon. Seeing a zombie movie and learning the techniques is one of those “I’ll never actually need to use this, but for some reason this is burned into my mind because it is interesting.”
Think of all the other stupid meaningless trivia stored in your bin of useless knowledge. You will never forget why the chicken crossed the road. You will always remember what came first, the chicken or the egg. Ok, well maybe not that one.
But what about some simple tips about defending yourself or loved ones from a human being with criminal intent? Rapist, murderer, run of the mill thug wishing to do you harm?
To be honest, even if you can recall Tips 1-8 out of the list of top 10 self defense tactics, you may not be in any better shape than if you splashed the thug with holy water or crushed garlic (although garlic juice to the eye wouldn’t be pleasant.)
Not even the Hollywood vampires will follow a standard script, just like certain vampires in certain movies will act differently when exposed to certain tactics. Just ask Corey and the Frog brothers.
Self defense is much more than memorizing a set list of moves. You need to train your mind and body to enter a dynamic state of awareness and a dynamic course of action. No two attacks or scenarios will ever be the same.
Without getting into a ton of details in this post (more to follow), truly your best line of self defense is recognizing a potential threat well in advance, and avoiding the situation altogether, before it even happens. When possible.
In the cases when this is not possible, and a situation wasn’t noticed until the last minute, or no forewarning was given, you need to employ a dynamic course of action.
Dynamic means ever changing, depending on any new environmental variable that is introduced. Go with the flow, but know who, what, where, when and how. This is not following a set script. This is having a well defined bag of tricks, if you will. Depending on what happens, you need to be able to employ a custom solution, and if some variable changed mid stream, you need to be able to quickly adapt to that change, and dynamically change to a new appropriate course of action.
Think of something you are really good at, such as your job or even your favorite hobby. How many times at work do you effortlessly “put out fires”? Big or small, things of all sorts go wrong or unexpectedly at work, and with out batting an eye, or with only minimal effort, you solve the problem and carry on with your day. These actions are normal occurrences, or things that you have trained to handle over and over again. Or you have enough working knowledge and experience that you can dynamically adapt to any given situation and take care of it.
Let’s categorize three types of home handyman. The professional, the handy-around-the-house husband, and the totally clueless.
The totally clueless person may call a professional electrician to come change a burnt out light bulb. The handy-around-the-house husband may be handy enough to install a ceiling fan in place of a ceiling light fixture. The professional electrician would be able to convert a fuse box to a circuit breaker box and rewire the home if necessary. Of course there are also several other in-betweens. It all depends on how comfortable that person is with what needs to be done, and how dynamic the actions of the person are if something else happens.
What happens if the husband successfully installs the ceiling fan, and then 1/2 the house’s power goes out? Can he fix it or does he call the electrician? Break out the Time-Life Home Improvement book and see what happens.
On the street, you can’t break out a manual, and calling a professional is not always practical. Hopefully you have enough self defense know how to get by. Depending on the situation, you may need to come out swinging. You might need to play along and wait for an opening to attack or flee. You may be able to just hand over your wallet and end it.
But you have to have the bag of tricks down and be ready to adapt to the situation, without going all deer in the headlights. You don’t necessarily need to be a 10th degree Grand Master martial artist either. Have a plan, have some options, be handy-around-the-street. Practice in your head, practice in person.
I’ll follow up over the next few weeks with some ways to turn some traditional self defense tips into a dynamic self defense mindset. It’s not that hard, doesn’t require taking a lifetime of devotion to gain martial arts mastery, but it can help you think like a professional martial artist and take charge of your personal protection.
Self Defense – Defending one’s Self. – Go with the flow, adapt, overcome.
Be Safe, Be Prepared. Rest In Peace Corey.
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