We all make some kind of plan to deal with life’s various challenges. Whether it’s the short term for minor or routine tasks like preparing the next meal or the grand, long term goals like those for your field of work or career. This should clearly should also apply in our pursuit of personal security and well-being.
To elaborate, I once heard someone reduce Sun Tzu’s thesis on strategy, the “Art of War” into three kinds of “knowing.” These would be know yourself, know the enemy and know the terrain.I tend to agree with him even though it may sound too simplistic. The aim of this article is to help define and establish the basis for your Personal Defense Protocol (PDP) which is your personalblue print of your overall defensive readiness. Anticipation creates planning and planning enables favorable outcomes. In this case, it’s for your own survival.
To know yourself or taking stock of your strengths and weaknesses is obviously the first step. It should be an unbiased assessment recognizing what you are capable of and what you are not, to reveal areas you could improve on. If for example you realize that while you may know a couple of “self-defense techniques”, you find yourself gasping for breath though when training. This reveals a need to build-up your cardio-resistance. If you feel you are unaware or unsure of what to do during an emergency, taking-up a First Aid or related course is worthwhile. Furthermore, preparing yourself goes down to deeper and personal levels, like in the often overlooked aspect of mentally preparing beforehand to deal with the onset of emotions you will go thru when a likely threat or incident actually happens (“psyching yourself up”). Likewise, checking one’s attitude or behavior may also prove useful. If you find yourself getting into a lot of unwanted conflicts, a long hard look at yourself to find out how and why you attract trouble or tend to be hazard-prone could save you from further harm.
To know the “enemy” is next which is appraising the potential threats or hazards that lay ahead, both from human wrongdoing or from calamities. This again requires a realistic look of not only at what danger/s there are but also how likely it would be, its capability or intensity, and the possible outcome or effects. If it’s foreseeable, it boils down to not allowing yourself to be exposed or vulnerable. Naturally, the higher the likelihood of injury or even death, the more thorough the preparation. An incoming severe storm can be your enemy so to speak, so monitoring how strong it is and the likely path it will take allows you to plan if you can weather it in your home or need to evacuate to safer ground.
Finally, to know the “terrain” takes into consideration the environment or setting you find yourself in. We may operate in several sub-environments daily in addition to our main one, which is usually the home. These include:
Domestic (usually the main one)
Transient (vehicle or mode of transport)
Communal/Social (mall, church, theater)
Leisure (gym, bar, restaurant)
Marginal/peripheral (both soft and hard copies of documents, files, records, receipts, even PC or internet activities or other "traceables/trackables")
Note that while we don't really occupy our files and documents, they are technically considered as sub-environments since our relevant data could be stored in them and thus can be identified as POV’s which could be targeted or tracked. If you are a traveling salesman, you will likely find yourself in a transient environment a lot more rather than in an actual structure. It’s therefore wise to regularly maintain your service vehicle and make sure it’s road-worthy and have an emergency kit stocked. A teenage boy could be known to divide his time between school and leisure sites, with the domestic scene only minimally. If he goes missing, searching for him will be less tedious by focusing on these said locations that he frequents.
The terrain also refers to more than the location’s physical features or structural lay-out. It also includes the time and conditions which could either aid or hinder your survival and the resources you could possibly exploit. Familiarizing ourselves with these locations as much as we can enhances our chances of surviving. When was the last time you looked at the trunk of your car for instance? This relates to the case of certain abductions when the victims were forcibly put inside the trunk of the car. What could you possibly do in the dark, hot and unfamiliar confined space? Could there possibly be a tool or any implement there you could use to open the trunk lid? Another is when going to a suburban-to-rural area where the housing and their arrangement (i.e. – away from the main roads) are markedly different from the urban, linear, glass-and-concrete setting you’ve been used to. What would be your reference points if you needed to hide or escape from such an area?
The knowledge you gain from these three “knowings” makes it possible for you to adequately equip yourself with the right gear or resources that also fit into your lifestyle patterns. As most ordinary civilians can not carry firearms for instance, one must adopt other appropriate and legal tools or devices to defend themselves like pepper spray. This also extends when assembling the right kind or purpose-built family emergency kits for your area. As logistics dictates, having the right gear and resources makes surviving a lot easier.
Developing your PDP requires taking on a larger holistic and realistic view of your public and private life and its periphery. This assessment takes into account the sum total of your personal attributes, the potential threat/s or incidences that will realistically occur, how best to address or manage them, and the factors or working conditions affecting or impacting your plan within your immediate environment.
In summary, these are things to consider for your PDP:
- It should be based on a realistic (i.e. - scenarios you are likely to encounter) assessment of your needs and circumstances.
- It should be fairly simple so it can be executed readily and quickly when trouble or emergencies do arise.
- It should be "doable" and concrete enough to train, practice or at the very least simulate. Consider them as your “life preservation drills.”
- Most of all, it should as much as possible be a holistic approach. By this I mean that it should integrate mechanical, psychological, logistical and environmental elements into your overall defensive readiness. If this can be accomplished, it creates a lot more options rather than just merely reacting physically (This would be further explored in another article on “The Killer T’s”).
Observing our PDP regularly and functionally integrate it to the best that you can in your daily living is the closest thing to having 360-degree, full-spectrum, 24/7 protection.