Several years ago, I had a chance to attend a weekend seminar teaching Target Focused Training, which is the self-protection plan the author of the book I'm reviewing today designed.
My response to a lot of the content of this book, Survive the Unthinkable, can be found in my review of that seminar, but almost five years out, I appreciated having the chance to review the material I studied that weekend by reading this short volume.
Larkin's theory of violence is simple: violence is rarely the answer; but when it is, it's the only answer.
I can't say he's wrong.
Thinking about violence is unpleasant, and the author, Larkin, agrees that it should be unpleasant. Finding violence unpleasant means that we're normal, well-socialized people. Prevention, walking away . . . that's always the best idea, the best choice.
When it's an available choice.
But when someone who is asocial is perfectly willing to use violence against you, you don't want your socialization to prevent you from fighting back.
Here's a piece of his argument:
If someone is determined to kill you, you must place injury to ensure he can no longer hurt you . . . Violence has no place in everyday life . . . This book is not about becoming a violent person; it is about placing injury on a person who is trying to attack you so that you may survive . . . [violence is] a very narrow tool good for only one thing, and that's shutting down a human being who intends to attack you. But if you are going to place an injury, then you must be prepared to employ it full force . . ."
A lot of this book is dedicated to convincing you that fighting back (even going on the offense!) is good, and required, and not sociopathic. But only when absolutely necessary. I appreciate both his insistence on violence being a useful tool and also his insistence that it's rarely the right tool. That balance there is important, I think.
The last bit of the book is dedicated to telling you how to be effective in your application of violence. I wish this section was a bit more expansive, but if you pay attention, you'll get a lot of good information. Effective violence doesn't require you to be big and strong. It requires you to have intent and information.
Not a fun topic at all. But a very necessary one. I've found that since having this training, I've been much less anxious about the possibility of being attacked, simply because it helped me decide how I'd respond. Having already made the decision of what you'd do if takes away uncertainty, and taking away uncertainty really lowers anxiety.
Recommended - not for fun, but for the good information.
Peace of Christ to you,
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