Visualization: The Cheapest Self-Defense Training

by Tommy Grant

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There are always companies trying to sell us new ways to train. Sometimes, the new technology is helpful. Things like red/blue guns, laser trainers, VR guns and airsoft/simunition are both great for safety and great for quality of training. Sadly, there are also plenty of systems for sale that don’t pull their weight. Sometimes, they’re just too expensive. Other times, they don’t provide the benefits they promise. Occasionally, you’ll even find training aids that fail on both counts.

But, there’s one thing none of these companies, good and bad, will tell you: that some of the best training you can give yourself doesn’t cost a dime. Without an instructor, a single round of ammunition or even a gun, you can vastly improve your preparedness for emergencies and self-defense situations. The only thing it costs you is a few minutes of your time and a reasonably good imagination.

That having been said, it’s easy for the imagination to run wild. You can’t just imagine wild situations you’d never face, make yourself the hero of the story and then cheer yourself on in your own mind like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. You have to exercise a little bit of discipline for visualization and imagination to be truly useful.

Personally, I like to use news stories for this, because they provide information from the real world that you can use to put yourself in the people’s shoes. Things like a mugging, armed robbery, or a home invasion all happen in the real world, so seeing how it went for someone else gives you a great starting point.

With a realistic scenario in mind, you can next consider what you’d do to respond. Again, you have to be realistic and think about possible responses that are real instead of responses that are fun but not really possible to pull off in the real world. As you think about how you’d respond, you’ll probably start to see gaps in your preparedness. For example, if someone is going to kick your door in, would you get any good from a gun two rooms away?

Next, you can go beyond making plans for bad situations and look at ways to prevent or mitigate the situations. For example, can you beef up your front door to prevent it getting kicked in? Would you benefit from a better locking system? A camera doorbell? Other cameras? All of the opportunities for improvement require you thinking about where the weakest points are.

Another thing to do is put yourself in the bad guy’s shoes. Imagine you’re the guy attacking your house, for example. What kinds of things would ruin your day and make it less likely that you’d choose a house to rob? What things would catch your eye? Knowing all of this can be extremely helpful and help you figure out what you should do.

If you approach imagining bad situations in a systematic and productive way like this, you can get the most good from it. Given the pricing (free) and the time needed (very little), it’s a deal no gun owner carrying for self-defense, or even people who don’t carry at all, can afford to pass up!

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