The text below is an English summary of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s Presentation, National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, May 17, 2016. This presentation took place following the granting of a Doctor Honoris Causa in Humanities to Professor Chossudovsky by the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN)
The original source of this article is Global Research
The world is at a dangerous crossroads. The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The US-NATO military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.
America’s hegemonic project is to destabilize and destroy countries through acts of war, covert operations in support of terrorist organizations, regime change and economic warfare. The latter includes the imposition of deadly macro-economic reforms on indebted countries as well the manipulation of financial markets, the engineered collapse of national currencies, the privatization of State property, the imposition of economic sanctions, the triggering of inflation and black markets.
The economic dimensions of this military agenda must be clearly understood. War and Globalization are intimately related. These military and intelligence operations are implemented alongside a process of economic and political destabilization targeting specific countries in all major regions of World.
Neoliberalism is an integral part of this foreign policy agenda. It constitutes an all encompassing mechanism of economic destabilization. Since the 1997 Asian crisis, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program (SAP) has evolved towards a broader framework which consists in ultimately undermining national governments’ ability to formulate and implement national economic and social policies.
In turn, the demise of national sovereignty was also facilitated by the instatement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, evolving towards the global trading agreements (TTIP and TPP) which (if adopted) would essentially transfer state policy entirely into the hands of corporations. In recent years, neoliberalism has extend its grip from the so-called developing countries to the developed countries of both Eastern and Western Europe. Bankruptcy programs have been set in motion. Island, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, etc, have been the target of sweeping austerity measures coupled with the privatization of key sectors of the national economy.
The global economic crisis is intimately related to America’s hegemonic agenda. In the US and the EU, a spiralling defense budget backlashes on the civilian sectors of economic activity. “War is Good for Business”: the powerful financial groups which routinely manipulate stock markets, currency and commodity markets, are also promoting the continuation and escalation of the Middle East war. A worldwide process of impoverishment is an integral part of the New World Order agenda.
Beyond the Globalization of Poverty
Historically, impoverishment of large sectors of the World population has been engineered through the imposition of IMF-style macro-economic reforms. Yet, in the course of the last 15 years, a new destructive phase has been set in motion. The World has moved beyond the “globalization of poverty”: countries are transformed in open territories,
State institutions collapse, schools and hospitals are closed down, the legal system disintegrates, borders are redefined, broad sectors of economic activity including agriculture and manufacturing are precipitated into bankruptcy, all of which ultimately leads to a process of social collapse, exclusion and destruction of human life including the outbreak of famines, the displacement of entire populations (refugee crisis).
This “second stage” goes beyond the process of impoverishment instigated in the early 1980s by creditors and international financial institutions. In this regard, mass poverty resulting from macro-economic reform sets the stage of a process of outright destruction of human life.
In turn, under conditions of widespread unemployment, the costs of labor in developing countries has plummeted. The driving force of the global economy is luxury consumption and the weapons industry.
The New World Order
Broadly speaking, the main corporate actors of the New World Order are
• Wall Street and the Western banking conglomerates including its offshore money laundering facilities, tax havens, hedge funds and secret accounts,
• the Military Industrial Complex regrouping major “defense contractors”, security and mercenary companies, intelligence outfits, on contract to the Pentagon;
• the Anglo-American Oil and Energy Giants,
• The Biotech Conglomerates, which increasingly control agriculture and the food chain;
• Big Pharma,
• The Communication Giants and Media conglomerates, which constitute the propaganda arm of the New World Order.
There is of course overlap, between Big Pharma and the Weapons industry, the oil conglomerates and Wall Street, etc.
These various corporate entities interact with government bodies, international financial institutions, US intelligence. The state structure has evolved towards what Peter Dale Scott calls the “Deep State”, integrated by covert intelligence bodies, think tanks, secret councils and consultative bodies, where important New World Order decisions are ultimately reached on behalf of powerful corporate interests.
In turn, intelligence operatives increasingly permeate the United Nations including its specialized agencies, nongovernmental organizations, trade unions, political parties.
What this means is that the executive and legislature constitute a smokescreen, a mechanism for providing political legitimacy to decisions taken by the corporate establishment behind closed doors.
The corporate media, which constitutes the propaganda arm of the New World Order, has a long history whereby intelligence ops oversee the news chain. In turn, the corporate media serves the useful purpose of obfuscating war crimes, of presenting a humanitarian narrative which upholds the legitimacy of politicians in high office.
Acts of war and economic destabilization are granted legitimacy. War is presented as a peace-keeping undertaking.
Both the global economy as well as the political fabric of Western capitalism have become criminalized. The judicial apparatus at a national level as well the various international human rights tribunals and criminal courts serve the useful function of upholding the legitimacy of US-NATO led wars and human rights violations.
Destabilizing Competing Poles of Capitalist Development
There are of course significant divisions and capitalist rivalry within the corporate establishment. In the post Cold War era, the US hegemonic project consists in destabilizing competing poles of capitalist development including China, Russia and Iran as well as countries such as India, Brazil and Argentina.
In recent developments, the US has also exerted pressure on the capitalist structures of the member states of the European Union. Washington exerts influence in the election of heads of State including Germany and France, which are increasingly aligned with Washington.
The monetary dimensions are crucial. The international financial system established under Bretton Woods prevails. The global financial apparatus is dollarized. The powers of money creation are used as a mechanism to appropriate real economy assets. Speculative financial trade has become an instrument of enrichment at the expense of the real economy. Excess corporate profits and multibillion dollar speculative earnings (deposited in tax free corporate charities) are also recycled towards the corporate control of politicians, civil society organizations, not to mention scientists and intellectuals. It’s called corruption, co-optation, fraud.
Latin America: The Transition towards a “Democratic Dictatorship”
In Latin America, the military dictatorships of the 1960s and 1970s have in large part been replaced by US proxy regimes, i.e. a democratic dictatorship has been installed which ensures continuity. At the same time the ruling elites in Latin America have remoulded. They have become increasingly integrated into the logic of global capitalism, requiring an acceptance of the US hegemonic project.
Macro-economic reform has been conducive to the impoverishment of the entire Latin america region.
In the course of the last 40 years, impoverishment has been triggered by hyperinflation, starting with the 1973 military coup in Chile and the devastating reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s.
The implementation of these deadly economic reforms including sweeping privatization, trade deregulation, etc. is coordinated in liaison with US intelligence ops, including the “Dirty war” and Operation Condor, the Contra insurrection in Nicaragua, etc.
The development of a new and privileged elite integrated into the structures of Western investment and consumerism has emerged. Regime change has been launched against a number of Latin American countries.
Any attempt to introduce reforms which departs from the neoliberal consensus is the object of “dirty tricks” including acts of infiltration, smear campaigns, political assassinations, interference in national elections and covert operations to foment social divisions. This process inevitably requires corruption and cooptation at the highest levels of government as well as within the corporate and financial establishment. In some countries of the region it hinges on the criminalization of the state, the legitimacy of money laundering and the protection of the drug trade.
“… At the time Sarah Kershaw wrote the article for the New York Times, the use of psychotronic warfare, the process of using non-lethal weapons which emit electromagnetic frequencies and target the central nervous system, leading to disruptions in the normal activity of the brain, was illegal against US citizens.
According to a report in the Abreu Report (3), in 2013 the legality involving mind-control weapons and techniques in America changed when the National Defense Authorization Act 2013 was passed. The report refers a document obtained by FoxNews.com, which describes a program established by the US government involving the hiring of what is known as a ‘Behavioral Insights Team’.
The document was emailed by White House senior adviser on social and behavioral sciences, Maya Shankar, to a university professor with a request that the paper was sent to those interested in joining the team.
The essence of the ‘Behavioral Insights Team’ was that it was designed to “Subtly influence people’s behavior” by experimenting with various techniques. Such mind-control techniques would tweak the behavior of humans…..”
“… Dominican Today (5) describes the Pinergy Commercial Group as jumping from an unknown plastics company to the subject of another Dominican government scandal with a “hidden contract.”
Major equipment from New York which had been built by General Electric, the defense contractor of the Pentagon, had arrived at the Punta Catalina facility, states the Abreu Report. Furthermore, the documents involving the equipment sent by General Electric to the secretive third plant had been “heavily classified” by the Dominican government.
An anonymous source, who claimed to be affiliated with INFOTEP, the Dominican government’s militarized technician-training division, told the Abreu Report that Sarah Kershaw had inquired about the exact nature of the equipment sent to the Dominican Republican plant by General Electric’s research factories in New York. Ms. Kershaw, had apparently inquired as to whether the equipment and facility were related to psychotronic warfare.
There is speculation among some Dominican groups that the equipment did not actually come from New York, but was sent from a secret Pentagon research center,” writes the Abreu Report…..”
“… keep in mind just how hard it is to regulate neuroscience and neurotechnology during this time of great discovery and expansion. Ethical ideals can be developed to shape guidelines and policies that are sensitive to real-world scenarios, but the flexibility of these approaches also means that they are not conclusive. Those charged with monitoring potential threats must be constantly vigilant in the face of changing technologies and fuzzy distinctions between medical and military uses, all while navigating the complexities of the health-care industry, political and military ethics, and international law. In light of the work ahead, it remains to be seen just how well the nations of the world will rally to face the neuroweapons threat.”
[The following technique is pervasive in our manipulated society where this type of abuse system is rampant on large scales as well as by individuals, well worth studying up about in order to be familiar with it and thus empowered to identify and stay free from this insidious crippling phenomenon. – Zen]
Unfortunately, there is a good chance that we have all been gaslighted by someone at some point in our lives, even if it was just on a small scale by someone we barely know.
Sadly, many fall victim to it within their intimate relationships, or even in dealings with “friends” or family members.
There is also a high chance that we will have failed to spot someone was playing this insidious mind game with us and until we fully understand it, there is a high chance that it could happen again.
One of the main reasons we may not recognise it is that many of us will fail to believe those we trust and love are capable of manipulating us (it is this denial that keeps the dynamic going.) Also, the gaslighter will most likely be highly skilled at covering their tracks, keeping things subtle and being a skilled master or mistress of deception.
Gaslighting is one of the most extreme, dangerous and effective forms of emotional and psychological abuse and is mostly carried out intentionally. Gaslighting is a game of mind control and intimidation that is often used by narcissists and sociopaths as a way of controlling, confusing and debilitating someone.
The term gaslighting was coined in the 1938 play Gas Light and the film adaptions that were then created helped to enhance its popularity.
In the play the husband used forms of manipulation in an attempt to drive his wife crazy, for example he deliberately dims the gaslights in the house but told his wife that she was imagining it. With the use of various tricks he tried to convince his wife that she was going insane and also that she was losing her memory.
The whole intention of gaslighting is to decrease someone’s self-esteem and self-confidence so they are unable to function in an independent manner. The person being gaslighted will eventually become so insecure that they will fail to trust their own judgment, their intuition and find themselves unable to make decisions.
Eventually the victim will become so unsure of what reality looks like that they become completely dependent on their abuser. The abuser will appear to the victim to be the only one to have a clear grip of their mind and also of what is going on around them.
The abuser will systematically and frequently withhold information and then deliberately alter facts to disorientate their victim.
They may also remove things from certain places and then deny doing so to destabilize and confuse the other person.
The abuser will refrain from mentioning specific details and then convince the other person that they had told them, so the victim thinks they are losing their memory or their mind.
The abuser will say something then ask their victim to repeat what it is they have said. When the victim repeats clearly word for word, the abuser will lie to say they haven’t said a particular word, or that they have spoken it in a different tone of voice to that of which the abuser heard. For example, the abuser may say something angrily or aggressively, but when the victim gets upset, they will completely deny having used this tone, quickly changing their voice to a gentler and calmer tone. The abuser may then accuse their victim of deliberately trying to hear everything they say in a negative way—even though the abuser knows they deliberately wanted to appear as aggressive and negative.
Often, the abuser will want to create levels of distrust within the relationship to make the victim feel they either are cheating, or would cheat at the first opportunity. They may say things to make their victim feel insecure and jealous, for example, deliberately mentioning a certain person in a way that makes it sound as though there is more going on behind the scenes. When the victim questions this, the abuser will accuse the victim of having trust issues and this will falsely further confirm in the victim’s mind that they have serious insecurities and also, that they are extremely paranoid.
The abuser will make up very convincing lies to deliberately upset the other person and then call them names, mock them and put them down for getting upset and for overreacting. The abuser will also make light of anything that the victim feels is important to make the victim’s opinions, life-choices and thoughts seem juvenile or that they are inferior to their own. It is likely that the abuser will laugh at or sneer at their victim, but when questioned, convince their victim that they were imagining it.
Some warning signs that gaslighting is taking place:
Apologizing. A victim of gaslighting will constantly be apologizing for doing things wrong, even if they have done nothing wrong. Feeling sorry for everything means that the accountability and responsibility for all perceived wrong-doings has been claimed by one person—the victim. This ensures the perpetrator remains innocent and the victim is continuously guilty.
Can’t Make decisions. The victim will find decision making increasingly difficult, as they will feel that whatever they choose will be the wrong choice. Everything they do or say is wrong, so they feel that they are no longer capable of making rational decisions about anything, so they will leave it up to their abuser. This just gives the abuser even more power and control and prolongs the toxic dance that is taking place between the two.
Change. Change is not always easy to notice, since most change happens bit by bit, so the process can feel very natural in some ways. However, if the victim thinks back to who they were before the relationship and who they are now, they will probably see significant differences.
Confusion. Victims of gaslighting will often be in a constant state of bewilderment and confusion. They find it very difficult to trust their own mind, and constantly doubt their thought process. Their instinct fails to kick in because whenever it does, it is very quickly told that it is wrong, so it becomes a silent tool that ensures the gaslighter remains on top of their game. The victim will know that there is something seriously wrong, but they will find it extremely difficult to work out what. The person being gaslighted will always be wondering if they are overly sensitive as they always feel triggered to react to the gaslighter’s behaviour.
Withdrawn. The one being gaslighted will become withdrawn and often reclusive as they feel so low and beaten down that they have little confidence to socialise with anyone. The victim will feel safer spending time alone than with other people, as when those around them question what is wrong, or what is happening within their relationship, the victim just will not have the answers to justify what is going on.
Due to either depression or severe anxiety, the victim will find it extremely difficult to function normally within society or even with close friends or family. The abuser at this stage has won the battle for control, as without anyone to confide in the victim will find it very difficult to work out that it is the abuser that is causing the damage. The abuser will not want anyone to figure out their game, so, they will work hard to make sure their victim becomes alienated from anyone who could offer support.
Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the abuser has complete control over their victim so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate.
The gaslighter wants to appear superior to the one being gaslighted. By making their victim feel completely helpless with very low self-esteem, the abuser has complete domination over them, so they are very successful in manipulating their victim to get whatever it is they want. This can range from simply having their ego stroked by feeling like they are significantly better than the person they are with, and at the extreme end to being able to gain financial, sexual or material benefits as their victim feels too emotionally and mentally weak to fight back.
There are many reasons that someone would gaslight someone else, but it is always done for personal gain. The abuser has very little interest in their victim, other than using them for their own twisted benefit. When the victim becomes so low down that they are no longer of any great use to the gaslighter the relationship will die out. The abuser will distance themselves by ignoring their victim and using silent treatment as an intense form of emotional torture.
The victim will have no idea what to do to please or satisfy their abuser, and will often try anything to win over their abuser to regain the affection that was shown in the beginning stages. By now though, it is far too late. Any little amount of respect that the abuser had for their victim will have been completely depleted and it is very unlikely that the dynamic will change again.
The abuser will often walk away from their victim leaving them with a deep sense of frustration, shame, guilt, anger and often riddled with anxiety and depression. The victim is usually left in a vortex that they will struggle to climb out of, however, this will be compounded by a deep sense of relief that this vicious dance is over.
The abuser will walk away with a great feeling of satisfaction having won each and every battle and will move onto their next innocent victim with even more skill and experience, so they can begin this horrendous war once again.
The victim will very likely need counseling and a huge amount of support to build themselves back to a stage where they have confidence and can trust their own mind and intuition. It is imperative that the victim realizes that they have been a pawn in a very nasty game so they can let go of all the blame they have placed upon themselves and become familiar with the warning signs so that they do not fall victim again.
Anyone who has come through this type of experience will feel debilitated at first, however, they will only be temporarily weakened. They will bounce back stronger than before, having learned painful but valuable lessons along the way. The most important lesson—having complete faith in their intuition. As difficult as it is to accept, there are always red flags and warning signs in the initial stages.
When these signals show up, this is when we must trust completely in our instincts and never fail to listen to what our gut feelings are telling us. Our fight or flight reactions are there for a reason—to prevent us from entering into dangerous situations. When we feel an urgency to take flight—fly.
The plan to integrate nations into continental trading blocs is not a new idea. In Dr. Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope, reference is made to the plan of the Third Reich to create global trading blocs, which itself is an older British Royal Society plan. Daniel Estulin, in his The Bilderberg Group and Shadow Masters provides detailed investigations into both Bilderberg and its many-headed Hydra organization, exemplified in Captain America 2: Winter Soldier. Founded by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, as well as numerous other Atlanticist elites like David Rockefeller, Paul Van Zeeland and numerous other media barons, corporate heads, bankers, and countless other people better than us. This year’s (2015) meeting is scheduled for this week, June 11-14th in Telfs-Buchen, Austria.
1955 Bilderberg document highlighting the coming European Union reproduced in Estulin’s Shadow Masters.
[If you click on the link, it will be larger than if I load it here.]
In other words, what the banksters planned in secret in 1955 was made public in 1993, having been implemented in gradual, incremental stages. Indeed, it was the post-World War II era that created all these entities – the U.N., Bretton Woods and the IMF and World Bank, etc. All of these entities, including Bilderberg, are part of the same power structure that coordinated the last century’s wars for the sole purpose of a world government, all of which is spelled out in Quigley’s CFR archives-based tome, Tragedy and Hope. Thus, while the populations still think their national governments are at war with other nation-states and market economies are driving economic surplus, the reality is that most nation-states are subsidiaries of the Atlanticist power bloc whose sights are set on the dismantling of Russia, as Estulin’s Shadow Masters details.
Like last year’s Bilderberg meeting, the whispers are this year will discuss the implementation and rollout of artificial intelligence. 2015 has seen a tremendous push for the acceptance of automation, from robots in the workplace, to driverless cars, to implantable microchips. Transhumanism is now a buzzword, and we in the alternative media community have been vindicated countless times in calling attention to the unified agenda of selling the masses on the acceptance of the new religious ideology. JaysAnalysis has highlighted this takeover plan from older Pentagon documents, as well as its selling point in countless Hollywood blockbusters (and here).
Kurzweil predicts that humans will become hybrids in the 2030s. That means our brains will be able to connect directly to the cloud, where there will be thousands of computers, and those computers will augment our existing intelligence. He said the brain will connect via nanobots — tiny robots made from DNA strands. “Our thinking then will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological thinking,” he said. The bigger and more complex the cloud, the more advanced our thinking. By the time we get to the late 2030s or the early 2040s, Kurzweil believes our thinking will be predominately non-biological. We’ll also be able to fully back up our brains. “We’re going to gradually merge and enhance ourselves,” he said. “In my view, that’s the nature of being human — we transcend our limitations.”
The over-arching plan is the complete trans-cending of limitations, be they law, gender, nature, time and space. However, while this unified agenda has all the weight of the Fortune 100 and transnational banksters behind it, the Gospel of the transhumanists has one big problem – as long as humans are a finite mind with a limited point of focus in the psyche, there will always be limitations. Man’s promethean desire to overcome limitations through alchemical techno means is all predicated on naturalism, and naturalism isn’t true. Transhumanist “immortality” is a deception that, even as life extension (an actual, positive goal) becomes more advanced, will not be offered to the masses. The same people meeting at Bilderberg desiring immortality are the same people behind mass dysgenics, global drug running and the rigging of global markets. Why would you trust liars to give you eternal life? Truly people will believe anything.
The unified plan is also outlined in one of its architect’s most famous dystopian novels, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In his 1932 work, the future envisioned is entirely under technocratic control, where breeding is controlled by the state through cloning, sterilization, and the abolition of monogamy, property history, tradition and culture. Huxley’s famous Berkeley speech outlines the strategy – the very thing Bilderberg desires to implement, and even describes mass mind control, brainwashing, and the mass pharmacological neutering of the future genderless Morlock masses. Huxley referred to it as the “final revolution” – the revolution against man himself. It is a unified plan.
“… The transocalypse is an even better confluence of cuckoldry to watch collapse. ACLU director Maya Dillard Smith helped push the cognitive dissonance that gender is a social construct and if a giant man with a deep voice says he’s a woman, he is. If said woman wants to use the ladies’, only a fool would stand in her way, right? It sounds reasonable on paper, until a couple of weeks ago when Dillard Smith’s daughters were stuck with two bosom buddies who were so clearly male, it left the ACLU director with a huge pile of “questions for which [she], like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer.” She quit and the bully from The Simpsons went, “Ha-ha.”
Bathrooms are fun, but you can’t eat popcorn in the loo. Sports is the ultimate entertainment and nowhere is the myth of equality more evident than when it’s slapped in the face by the meritocracy of athleticism. George Costanza would like to play in the NBA and it seems mean to say no, but Jewish actors playing neurotic Mexicans can’t jump, “Sorry, liberals.” Trans sports isn’t about a new kind of woman competing in women’s sports. It’s about men competing in women’s sports. Guess what happens when you do that. The women get obliterated. One of the more intense examples of this happened exactly a year ago when a dude with tits who calls himself Fallon Fox pounded Tamikka Brents so hard she was knocked unconscious. “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life,” Brents complained afterward. Once again, the people insisting men are women and women are men are left with blood on their hands.
The charade has continued unabated since then. In April of this year, 60 Minutes reported on an incredibly gifted female athlete who got a swimming scholarship at Harvard. She then decided she was a dude and they dutifully moved her over to the men’s team where she went from ruling to sucking. This is where America is headed, by the way. Watching zirs fellow athletes high-five zir and try to ignore the scars where ze had zirs tits removed is a perfect example of how determined we are to ignore what is right in front of us. Feminism and gender equality are really about taking the miracle of childbirth away from women and turning them into shitty dudes.”
The following documents were obtained from a variety of sources who contributed copies of documents related to the Bilderberg Group from academic institutions. Documents contributed to the collection are sometimes photocopied and in other cases photographed page by page during visits to academic institutions, diplomatic libraries and legal archives including the Presidential Library of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Harvard Law Library, the National Archive and the archive of former State Department official and member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee Robert Murphy held at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
The term “left of bang” is a meme(a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme), the presence of which is increasing, given the heavy focus on American militarization.
It was recently used by the four-star Army Ranger who had recently assumed command of U.S. Special Operations Command.
The focus for the term is on tactical operations of that nature, which will be touched upon briefly by reference to the book, but I will also explore its use by civilians in the more mundane worlds and moments, especially those potentially violent. And I’ll take a look at how it might have been a factor in some recents news events. I’ll wonder out loud why it doesn’t have a role in the larger worlds of strategy, foreign policy, and culture. And then I’ll examine how it might be of value to you and your family as you encounter an emergency threat to your household.
The term undoubtedly arises from the threats in Afghanistan and Iraq from IED’s and other combat encounters. The new applications being sought are in the development of technological applications by IT wizards in the rear echelons of the military-industrial world.
What follows is a lot of reading. Hopefully, you can return to it in chunks as you attend to the rest of your life.
“At a time when we must adapt to the changing character of conflict, this is a serious book on a serious issue that can give us the edge we need.”
—General James Mattis, USMC, Ret.
“Left of Bang offers a crisp lesson in survival in which Van Horne and Riley affirm a compelling truth: It’s better to detect sinister intentions early than respond to violent actions late. Left of Bang helps readers avoid the bang.”
—Gavin de Becker, bestselling author if The Gift of Fear
“Left of Bang is a highly important and innovative book that offers a substantial contribution to answering the challenge of Fourth Generation war (4GW).”
—William S. Lind, author of Maneuver Warfare Handbook
“Like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Left of Bang isn’t just for the military. It’s a must read for anyone who has ever had a gut feeling that something’s not quite right…be it walking down the street, sitting in a corporate boardroom, or even entering an empty home.”
— Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of The Lion’s Gate, The Warrior Ethos and Gates of Fire
“An amazing book! Applying the lessons learned during the longest war in American history, and building on seminal works like The Gift of Fear and On Combat, this book provides a framework of knowledge that will bring military, law enforcement, and individual citizens to new levels of survival mindset and performance in life-and-death situations. Left of Bang is an instant classic.”
–Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman, U.S. Army Ret., author of On Combat and On Killing
Besides reinforcing many of the observation and detection techniques explained in Gift of Fear and Just 2 Seconds, Van Horne and Riley add some new concepts and terms to push our Moment of Recognition (i.e. identifying Pre-incident indicators of violence or PINs) to the left of the assassin’s bang.
When it comes to detecting PINs, the authors introduce two new terms, “baseline” and “anomaly.”
• Baseline. Establishing a baseline is digesting all that’s normal in our environment. (Normal is relative of course, as normal behavior at a funeral is different than normal behavior at a rock concert.)
• Anomaly. Once the baseline is established for that particular environment, observed behaviors that seem out of place within that environment are labeled anomalies. “Whenever there are things in our environment that do not happen but should, or do happen but shouldn’t, we have an anomaly.”
Note: For our purposes, anomalies and PINs can be interpreted as the same.
The book gains traction with me when Van Horn and Riley explain that a PIN (or anomaly) can be classified under one of six behavioral domains. By understanding and considering each behavioral domain, it becomes even easier to find PINs that might otherwise be hidden.
The Six Possible Domains for a PIN:
1 Kinesics involves body language. Non-verbal expressions, postures, and gestures that communicate someone’s current emotions and possibly their future intentions. (Kinesiology is studying the body’s motion.)
◦Anomaly (or PIN): Everyone in the crowd is smiling, except a man with clinched fists who stares at you and then back at your protectee.
2 Biometrics involves the uncontrollable and automatic biological responses of the human body to stress.
◦Anomaly (or PIN): That same man is sweating on an otherwise mild day.
3 Proxemics involves groups of people and the interpersonal distance, or proximity, between groups and individuals.
◦Anomaly (or PIN): Other people in the crowd seem to be distancing themselves from this man.
4 Geographics involves reading the relationship between people and their environment, or geography, enabling us to identify who is familiar and who is unfamiliar with an area.
◦Anomaly (or PIN): The man doesn’t appear acquainted with the social customs of the crowd; he appears uncomfortable with all that’s going on around him.
5 Iconography involves symbols, or icons, that communicate an individual’s beliefs and affiliations.
◦Anomaly (or PIN): He is wearing numerous religious symbols that differ from the typical members of the crowd.
6 Atmospherics involves the collective mood and behaviors, or the atmosphere, of a situation or place.
◦Anomaly (or PIN): The energy of people in his immediate vicinity differs from the rest of the crowd; people around him seem a bit uneasy or nervous.
I encourage all protectors to remember that Suspects Exist Everywhere (SEE) and to observe crowds, vendors, visitors, and others while considering each behavioral domain. In doing so, it will become even easier to find PINs that might otherwise be hidden. And when we do spot a PIN, and then another, and then another, it’s time to take action.
Taking Action. After confirming multiple PINs on an individual, I advocate taking these three steps. (Only move to the succeeding step if you deem it necessary.)
1. Report the individual to other agents and onsite security.
2. Question the individual and look for additional PINs throughout your conversation; for example, ask to see the contents of his backpack.
3. Detain the individual (if necessary) or ask him to leave (if necessary), using law enforcement and/or additional security (if necessary). Also ask for his name and take his picture.
Note: Sometimes just one PIN — depending on the situation — is enough to incite your immediate actions. Again, always use your judgment and experience, and seek the input of other security professionals on site to help govern your actions.
The US Army offers “Advanced Situational Awareness Training”, which includes “instruction in human behavior pattern recognition and analysis” to prepare soldiers to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills in order to anticipate an event before it happens.
I’m guessing there are a large number of people in the alternative media currently involved in the development and use of similar skills and approaches in order to detect false flag attacks before they occur.
“It’s better to detect sinister intentions early than respond to violent actions late.”
“Patrick Van Horne and Jason Riley, co-authors of Left of Bang, are former active-duty Marine Corps officers and instructors who helped enhance and evolve the Combat Hunter training program at the Marines Corps’ Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, VA. Their specialty, and the focus of the book, is “how to read the human terrain through an increased understanding of human behavior” across all cultural lines.” The book “encourages you to “thin-slice” a situation. That is to pick up on telltale patterns and assess a suspect’s intentions “with just a thin slice of information,” sometimes no more than one important cue snagged “with just seconds of observation.”
“Perfect decisions are not always possible, they concede, but “more than 100 scientific studies have demonstrated that people can make incredibly accurate intuitive judgments with just a little” input.
The final 50 pages of the book are devoted to how you “put it all together” to make decisions most likely to be valid and take action so that “bang” never occurs…..”
Need a short visual lesson? Watch that segment of The Assignment where the character played by Aidan Quinnn is trained in an old prison in Quebec. Want to bring it closer to your home, to your life? Go here: modernsurvivalblog.com/5-drills-for-situational-awareness, the source of the featured image above. Take a clue from that picture which shows the individual in a “situational awareness bubble” and get your attention away from the cell phones, androids, and other absoptive distractions in your culture and surroundings until you are seated in a secure environment.
This important piece of reading, besides being deeply instructive in a parallel way, introduces the concept of mindfulness, discussed in depth in my e-book “Summon The Magic” over at BoyDownTheLane, and notes one of its chief sources (aside from an orientation to Buddhism), Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer.
This article, written for law enforcement officers, is an extension of the same thinking. What I like about this is that it specifically zooms right in on the concept of attention, another essential tenet in “Summon The Magic”. And it seems to be a good simplification or reduction (the essence of) some of the concepts taught to LEO’s from the OODA loop. There’s a discussion about decision-making research, the four pillars of observable behavior, and the “Baseline + Anomaly = Decision” template.
Dave Maass from EFF says, “Right now, NIST researchers are working with the FBI to develop tattoo recognition technology that police can use to learn as much as possible about people through their tattoos. But an EFF investigation has found that these experiments exploit inmates, with little regard for the research’s implications for privacy, free expression, religious freedom, and the right to associate. And so far, researchers have avoided ethical oversight while doing it.” “NIST’s research involved profiling people based on their religious tattoos, exploited prisoners, and handed private data to third parties. And they did all that without going through the proper review process”
What struck me as I read some of this material was how closely it was analogous to some of the concepts I’d read about in reading about the discipline of aikido, concepts such as metsuke(“… metsuke opens the door to the next level of understanding. Metsuke creates a sense of concentration, of being “in the moment” … that sense of immediacy and mindfulness is fundamental to the effectiveness of the techniques that we learn…”).
Another term that emerges from within the martial arts is that ofzanshin, “the continued state of spirit, mental alertness and physical readiness to meet the situation”. Note how many teach the maintenance of that kind of mental alertness throughout the entire day.
Time, Space & Mind: The Three Dimensions of the Reactionary Gap
By Jeff Brooks
To strike your opponent successfully you need to enter through a gap in his defenses. If your opponent’s defenses are sound, you cannot enter and you cannot strike them. There are a variety of ways to enter. You can crush the defenses. You can deceive your opponent into misplacing his defense and so take advantage of an opportunity where he is exposed. You can perceive a weakness in your opponent’s posture or awareness, or both.
In medieval Japanese budo these openings in the opponent’s defenses, these opportunities to strike, were called “suki.”
The idea of suki has been discussed at length in several famous books on Japanese swordsmanship. The classic medieval Japanese text, published in modern times as one of the essays in “The Unfettered Mind,” was actually a letter written by Zen monk Takuan Soho addressed to Yagyu Munenori, sword master to the family of the Shogun, the military dictator of Japan at that time.
Takuan was a very influential person, abbot of one of the chief Zen temples in Japan. He was equivalent in influence to a Pope in medieval Europe. He was a retainer of the military government. He addressed his comments to the senior instructor in the most prestigious military art in the highly militarized world of his time.
His comments were ostensibly a discourse on swordsmanship, but can easily be read as advice in Zen practice, using swordsmanship as a metaphor. In his letter he applies Zen insights and theory to the practice of swordsmanship. Takuan did not practice swordsmanship himself. He may have been motivated by a desire to persuade the leaders of his nation of the practical utility of Zen in the life of the samurai.
Takuan talks about avoiding “suki” by means of the “mind abiding nowhere.” This is an application of the theory underlying the Zen practice of “samadhi” – the cultivation of mental stability and clarity in seated Zen meditation – to the practice of combat with swords.
D.T. Suzuki, one of the leading importers of Zen to the west in the early 20th century, cites Takuan’s letter and analyzes it, in his famous book from the 1950’s “Zen in Japanese Culture.” Suzuki was a scholar, trained in western philosophy, but also in the practice and theory of Japanese Zen.
Both Takuan and Suzuki emphasize the identity of the mind that is completely free to respond unhindered to the demands of the moment with the mind that is immovable – not deflected by either stimulation or impulse.
Both Takuan and Suzuki seem to take for granted that a suki arises as a result of a mental flaw – a gap in attention or alertness. As acute as their observations are, this presumption is one-sided, probably due to the fact that these two commentators were not martial practitioners and had a psychological bias to their analytical approach.
I have seen less-experienced fighters go to the other interpretive extreme. In a sparring match or a confrontation, these individuals look for a physical “gap” in the defenses of the opponent. Waiting for a physical gap to open up, their fleeting opportunity is lost. They lose initiative and fall into a reactive mode in which they respond to their opponent’s initiative and lose any advantage they may have had.
Their analytical prejudice is physical – they neglect other aspects of combative engagement.
Today in martial arts and police combative training we work with the same set of phenomena as medieval Japanese martial artists did. The opportunity to take advantage of a suki or gap in an opponent’s defense, and at the same time avoid a window of vulnerability to open in our own defenses, arises in three dimensions of experience simultaneously: time, space and mind.
The dimension of mind has several aspects. One aspect is alertness. This is a cultivated ability to maintain a clear and stable focus on the matter at hand, without being distracted by parts of reality such as the opponent’s body, elements of the environment or by one’s own thoughts, emotions and impulses. This ability is developed. You have to practice stability and clarity under pressure, just as you have to practice physical technique, to increase your strength, speed, endurance, balance, focus, etc.
Another aspect of the dimension of mind, however, is not trained but inherent. Although it can be modified slightly it cannot be eliminated. So if we are aware of it, and know how to use it, we can take advantage of this flaw in our opponent’s ability to respond to our attack. This aspect of mind is called the “reactionary gap.”
An unanticipated arms length attack is almost impossible to stop. That is why as a police officer you are taught not to permit a subject within your “reactionary gap.” The reactionary gap can be described in space – as a distance of six feet from an empty hand opponent, let’s say, or it can be described in time, 300 to 500 milliseconds for a normal person, to perceive an opponent’s motion, interpret it and respond to it.
A major league baseball player has a reaction time of about 100 to 150 milliseconds, much faster than an average person, but still slow enough for a skilled pitcher to get a well-thrown breaking ball past him.
A famous test of the reactionary gap in armed encounters is called the Tueller Principle. The idea came out of a court case in which an officer shot a knife-wielding subject at what seemed to the jury to be a great distance. Upon testing the by defense, it was shown that a knife-wielding subject could close the distance on an officer with a holstered gun and kill the officer before that officer could draw his gun, from a distance of 21 feet or greater. And that was an average subject and an average officer. Given a subject who is a fast runner, or an officer whose attention is divided or is slower in drawing his firearm, that reactionary gap can open to 30 or 40 feet or more.
The effectiveness of any response to threat stimulus will depend on the sharpness of the attention of the responder, but also upon the mental habit of responding to attacks, and the physical skills that will permit the body to perform accurately, with strength, skill and speed, under pressure.
We will respond, successfully or otherwise, in the dimensions of time, space and mind.
When old books describe becoming “one with the opponent” they are not recommending that you become the same as that person, indistinguishable from him or with the same objectives or methods as him.
The injunction in that poetic phrase is to close the gap between your mind and his mind, between your body and his body. With practice you can intuit how quickly he can respond… you can sense positions in which you can close the distance to him and execute a technique in an unexpected way… you can feel when you can enter his reactionary gap without opening up one of your own.
This does depend on taking the initiative, courageously engaging without doubts and scruples. But it does not mean plunging heedlessly in, needlessly jeopardizing your position, like a kamikaze on a desperation mission.
I worked with a group of new trainees who were asked, on the first day of training, to take one of their instructors to the ground. The instructor was highly skilled. Although they did not have the concept of “finding a gap” it was evident that the trainees could not find a gap in their instructor’s defense. One by one they lunged at the knees or hips of the instructor, with a mixed martial arts type of approach. Each one failed to achieve his objective.
Over the course of the training their skill did increase and they were able to take command of the confrontation, even when faced off with some highly awesome instructors. And one of the things these trainees learned which allowed them to be effective was to never abandon control of the situation, plunging in while neglecting the qualities of the moment, without an objective for each action, without regard to the outcome of the encounter.
The body has to be trained and skillful. The mind has to be stable and strong. The will must be resilient – neither impetuous nor hesitant. That way we can assure that we will perceive and exploit the suki in our opponent’s defenses without opening any gap in our own.
Sun Tzu (the famous Chinese philosopher) does not use the medieval Japanese terminology, nor does he fall prey to either extreme of strategic analysis – too much emphasis on the psychological or too much emphasis on the physical. But he does, throughout his classic book “The Art of War”, address this very issue: how best to recognize and exploit the weak points in your opponent’s defenses, while avoiding exposing your own.
Physical strength, endurance, flexibility, adaptability, and mental discipline are all attributes of a true survivor. Unfortunately, they are also attributes that are often neglected by the average survivalist. The popular assumption is that if you have sizable food storage and can shoot straight, you are ready to rock-and-roll. Reality has some harsh lessons for those with this mindset. The first and most important weapon in any prepper’s arsenal is his own body; strong, healthy, and well taken care of. If a person’s body is left to decay, no amount of gear is going to save them in the middle of a crisis situation…
Hand-to-hand combat training is sometimes treated with cynicism amongst preppers who have spent all their lives enraptured in the world of firearms. The common retort is “Why use my hands when I have my Glock…?” Indeed. Why should we? Perhaps because one day we may not have a weapon in our possession during a dangerous circumstance. Should a survivalist simply give up because he loses his gun or he runs out of ammunition? I think not.
The concept of survival in the midst of collapse and calamity is not necessarily dependent on having all the right tools at all the right times. Sometimes, you have to improvise, and the only tools you can always count on are your hands, and your (hopefully well oiled and attuned) brain. Martial Arts training hones and refines these assets to perfection, and also teaches the mind to deal with the stresses and fears associated with combat. In fact, 95% of success in martial arts revolves around learning to accept the idea of someone trying to kill you, so that you can move past the terror of the scenario and deal with it calmly and logically. Adrenaline, tunnel vision, and unchecked emotion are the true enemies in any fight. We defeat ourselves long before our assailants ever touch us.
Another concept within martial arts that I find fascinating is the philosophy of Bushido, which is often mistaken as a brand of Eastern religion. Instead, it is a kind of warrior’s code; a way of dealing with adversity in one’s life. Struggling with obstacles whether self created, or created by others, requires balance and the ability to take control of the problem and apply one’s own terms instead of the terms other people try to set for you. It is about leading the battle, instead of being led, while staying true to your conscience. In the end, we should feel no need to prove anything to anyone but ourselves. Traditional martial arts still contain elements of Bushido within their methodology, and I believe such practitioners are some of the few people left in the world who operate on a legitimate warrior’s code; something we desperately need in our culture today.
I have studied multiple forms of martial arts for over 26 years, and have found many methods that would work well for the worst survival situations, and plenty that would be utterly useless. When I started my training classes for Liberty Movement individuals and families in Northwest Montana, my idea was to combine all the strategies that I felt were intuitive, easy to learn, and quick to utilize. My goal was to help students to become physically capable of self defense within a very short period of time, without running slapdash over important factors like mental strength and intelligent application. I feel that the program has done very well so far. The following is a list of styles that I use in my curriculum…
Shotokan Karate: Shotokan is a Japanese martial art using movements derived from defense methods common in Okinawa and streamlined for easier application. At first glance, Shotokan seems stiff and impractical, but this is not the case. Shotokan training is extremely intense, and the sparring matches can be brutal. Deep stances and sharp strikes train the body to hold ground even against a larger opponent. Shotokan practitioners can take physical damage unlike any other style I have seen beyond perhaps Thai Kickboxing. As the student advances, the stiffness disappears, and their strikes become coldly logical and precise, almost like a killer robot…….no….seriously. Shotokan is a perfect foundation art for beginners in self defense. If they can handle this style, they can handle anything…
Thai Kickboxing: Thai is world famous for its fast devastating steamroller type strikes and the ability of its practitioners to take a hit and keep on going. For a crisis situation, it is imperative that the survivalist be capable of absorbing and moving past the pain of a fight. In the street, it may be a matter of life and death, or it may be a drunken adolescent brawl. In a SHTF scenario, it will ALWAYS be a matter of life and death. There is no such thing as a hand to hand fighter who can avoid every attack and come out unscathed. Plan on getting hit. With the heavy arm to leg blocks of Thai Kickboxing that act as a kind of self made brick wall, along with devastating leg sweeps and knee breaks, this artform is perfect for the dangerous possibilities of collapse.
Western Boxing: It’s not an Eastern martial art, but Western boxing teaches incredible punching power. Eastern martial arts focus on speed in order to inflict damage, but the bottom line is that Western boxers hit harder because they assert more body weight behind their punches; I have seen it, I have felt it, and I have dealt it. Of course, it is more important to learn speed and timing before learning to hit hard. The most powerful punches in the world are useless if all they do is sweep the air. Western boxing is an incomplete fighting system, but a fantastic addition to the survival martial artist’s repertoire.
Jiu Jitsu: Jiu Jitsu is a grappling martial art from Japan, though you wouldn’t know it by the way the Brazilians have commercialized and franchised it. Jiu Jitsu is indeed the flavor of the decade for self defense, and though I feel it has been way overhyped, it is an incredibly effective style for ground situations. That said, let’s be clear; Jiu Jitsu is actually a very limited fighting style, especially when you’re not in a cage and you are confronted with more than one attacker. Survivalists should learn grappling techniques so that they know how to defend against takedowns and return to their feet. In a real combat situation, you NEVER try to go to the ground on purpose. Multiple opponents will decimate you within seconds while you are trying to put a choke hold on the guy in front of you. Add a knife into the picture, and purposely jumping into close quarters with the intent to “grapple” will be a death sentence. Successful fighters will always combine Jiu Jitsu with other artforms in order to round out their abilities.
Hapkido: Hapkido in my view is the perfect antithesis to Jiu Jitsu and any other grappling art for that matter. It should be at the top of every survivalist’s list of fighting methods. Hapkido focuses on joint locks, joint breaks, using centrifugal force, pressure points, eye gouges, throat attacks, etc. Generally, it is very difficult for someone to grapple with you if you break their fingers, wrists, hyperextend their knee caps, or crush their wind pipe. One twisted wrist could put a dedicated grappler or wrestler completely out of commission, which is why you never see these methods used in the UFC. The fights would be over quickly, and the sport’s flavor would be lost. Knowing how to counter grappling using grappling is fine, but knowing how to utterly disable a grappler is better. As a survivalist, it is important to learn both.
Eskrima / Kali: Filipino in origin, Eskrima and Kali revolve around stick and knife training, and some of the deadliest blade wielding martial artists on Earth are known to originate from these styles. The point of practicing the Filipino arts is not only to learn to attack with edged weapons, but also to defend against them. Knowing how armed assailants, trained and untrained, will move to harm you gives you a distinct edge. Understanding the motion of a knife strike allows the defender to create or close distance effectively, while timing arm and wrist locks to reduce cuts and control the knife hand before serious damage to your body is done.
Taekwondo: A Korean style, Taekwondo has received a bad rap over the past few years as an “ineffective” martial art, but usually this criticism comes from people who have never actually practiced it. Like Jiu Jitsu, it is a style limited to a very particular range of attacks and scenarios. Taekwondo focuses on kicks to the extreme. Sport Taekwondo is not a practical measure of the style’s use, and this is where its tainted reputation comes from. The truth is, Taekwondo has the fastest and in many cases the most devastating kicks in the world. The use of kicks depends on the mastery of the fighter. If he is fast, and precise, then his strikes will make his opponents feel like they’ve just been hit by an oversized utility van. If he is slow, and unfocused, he will be tackled to the ground like a rag doll and pummeled in an embarrassing manner. That said, one well placed kick can crush ribs, crack skulls, and knock an opponent into dreamland before he ever knew what hit him.
Jeet Kune Do: Created by the venerable Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do’s philosophy is to adopt what works, and set the rest aside. It is essentially a combination of the short range tactics of Wing Chun combined with the long range tactics of Japanese and Korean styles. Jeet Kune Do’s goal is to be a truly complete martial art, and so far, it has proven itself in this regard. If you can only practice one style of self defense, this should be it. Some people attribute the adaptation methodology in self defense to MMA, but really, it was Bruce Lee that pioneered the idea of studying multiple styles and modernizing martial arts. Because of his efforts, the offensive and defensive capabilities of Jeet Kune Do are astounding, and perfect for the survivalist delving into the world of hand-to-hand.
Ninjitsu: When I was a kid back in the 80’s, the ninja was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I think the allure of it was its simple mythology; if you could learn martial arts, and get your hands on a black mask, you could be a superhero. No need for radioactive spiders or genetic mutation. You were a man – in a mask – with badass fists of fury, and that’s it. Of course, the portrayal of ninjitsu has become so cartoonish that people today scarcely believe it is an actual martial art. In fact, it is, and a very deadly one. The brilliance of ninjitsu really dwells in its “think outside the box” mentality. There is a sort of cleverness and unpredictability to it that makes it so dangerous. Ninja’s in feudal Japan were assassins, but they were also the guerilla fighters of their age. The combat methods of ninjitsu revolve around surprise, and misdirection, which are factors that always work in the survivalist’s favor.
There is no way around it. The Martial Arts make a survivalist better at his job, which is to thrive in the very worst possible conditions. It’s not just about fighting; it is also about developing a fighting spirit. Beyond the utility of self defense, as survivalists we must strengthen our inner world as much as our outer shells. It takes time, and patience, and a willingness to struggle. Any person who masters a martial art has not only shown a dedication to his own physical prowess, but he has also proven he has a mental toughness that will carry him through any catastrophe. That kind of toughness is a rare commodity in America today, and when found, should be greatly valued and encouraged, especially by the Liberty Movement.
“…Atemi [are] often used to briefly break an opponent’s balance (see kuzushi) or resolve. This is the predominant usage of atemi in aikido. A painful but non-fatal blow to an area such as the eyes, face, or some vulnerable part of the abdomen can open the way for a more damaging technique, such as a throw or joint lock. Even if the blow does not land, the opponent can be distracted, and may instinctively contort their body (e.g., jerking their head back from a face strike) in such a way that they lose their balance…..”
Atemi have high value in giving you that moment of distraction or inattention/inability on the part of your attacker with which to pivot to an escape, secure something with which to ward off attack or otherwise defend yourself, or activate some method of alarm.
Many people are uncomfortable with being armed with a weapon, but keeping your wits and your footing in any case is vital. Aikido is a discpline in which you practice movement (“it’s a lot like dancing” ), and superior tactical and strategic movement in tight quarters can give you just enough advantage to reach for your pepper spray, your police whistle, or whatever you have pre-planned to have on hand.
“… It may seem onerous to prepare yourself and your family to respond to violence, but not doing so is also a form of preparation. Failing to prepare is, generally speaking, preparing very well to do the wrong thing. Although most of us are good at recognizing danger, our instincts often lead us to behave in ways that increase our chances of being injured or killed once a threat emerges. Why can’t civilized people like ourselves simply rely on the police? Well, look around you: Do you see a cop? Unless you happen to be a police officer yourself, or are married to one, you are very unlikely to be attacked in the presence of law enforcement. The role of the police is to respond in the aftermath of a crime and, with a little luck, to catch the person who committed it. If you are ever targeted by a violent predator, whether you and your family are injured or killed will depend on what you do in the first moments of the encounter. When it comes to survival, therefore, you are on your own. Once you escape and are in a safe place, by all means call the police. But dialing 911 when an intruder has broken into your home is not a reliable strategy for self-defense.….”
“When confronted by any attack or problematic incoming energy, the aikidoist doesn’t strike, push back, pull, or dodge, but rather enters and blends. That is, he or she moves toward the incoming energy and then, at the last instant, slightly off the line of attack, turning so as to look momentarily at the situation from the attacker’s viewpoint. From this position, many possibilities exist, including a good chance of reconciliation. Nadeau told us that the very essence of aikido is contained in the simplest blending move. He also told us that the blend could be used to good effect verbally as well as physically. He insisted, in fact, that everything he taught us could be applied to every aspect of our lives. “What you do with aikido off the mat,” he said one day, “is really more important than what you do with it on the mat….. for the aikidoist, the best stories involve practitioners who have prevented the outbreak of violence or stopped violence already under way.
Moving from center while paying attention to both the goal and the path to the goal, thus staying in the present moment, produces a feeling of flow and ease that translates into seemingly effortless power. Those people acting as obstacles are often startled. To experience truly centered power sometimes takes their breath away. In aikido, the word power doesn’t denote power over others.
The remedy is clear. Don’t deny the reality of the problem. Continue to deal with it. But do so from a calm, relaxed center that represents the true strength of the organization. Blend where it’s advisable to do so. Extend from the organization’s strong center through or past the attacker, toward the possibility of a positive outcome.”
Having read the book “Deep Survival” by Laurance Gonzalez, I recognized after the fact how some of the concepts he talks about in the book saved my life when I recognized that I was walking into a situation that, to put it simply and delicately, might not have ended well at all. I extracted myself just in time.
“… Entering and blending is an aspect of mindful communication that is designed to help people break out of habitual reactions to threatening, emotional, or stressful interaction and instead blend with the other’s energy in a way that reduces the conflict and does no harm to you or the other.
Entering and blending involves foursteps:
Align– Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, practicing mindful listening and asking for clarification if necessary, as in “I want to understand your point of view better. Tell me more about what’s going on.”
Agree– Find areas you can agree on , as you begin to look in same direction, as in “If I were treated that way, I’d be angry to”, or “I am also disappointed about this situation”, speaking only for yourself.
Redirect– Team up with the other person and work together to find a way to resolve the situation, as in “We’re both disappointed about the situation. What can we do to make it better?”
Resolve– Explore what might be a mutually agreeable compromise, or just agreeing to disagree, as for example, “If I ate out less, could we get a housekeeper so we could spend more time together?”
Entering and blending also presupposes that you are mindful of your own internal state, to begin with. Giving yourself the space to notice first, rather than reacting immediately. This requires practice, and compassion for oneself:
One way to notice if you’re reacting is by paying attention to your body. If anything is stiff or tense, you’re probably reacting to your own discomfort and trying to avoid or ignore it. Use these physical sensations as a cue to acknowledge whatever thoughts and feelings are there, and bring yourself to the present by tuning in to the breath as it rises and falls. As you become centered and present, you make space to respond mindfully and with greater flexibility and creativity, rather than mindlessly reacting. As always, be patient and compassionate with yourself.
Entering and blending, the high road to conflict resolution.
“… The Aikido philosophy for handling conflict is not responding back directly, but deflecting the energy of the attack and then redirecting it in a more desired way. … I once read Aikido described as body surfing – real body surfing: You connect physically with the person and ride them down to the mat…. Aikido makes you look at your impatience, your arrogance, your meanness, cruelty, clumsiness, cowardice – all those qualities in yourself that you may need to look at. It will show you bravery and compassion, love, joy, and sweetness, and it will showyou those qualities in other people. (Dobson, 1993, p. 16)….”
Preparation is a major component in everything we do. It is a critical element in my e-book “Summon The Magic”. Moriehi Ueshiba, the founder of aikido and the individual revered by many as O Sensei, says in his book “The Art of Peace” that our preparations should be well established as rituals so that, when under pressure, as each item of the progression is completed, it triggers the next item and in so doing sets forth a mental/physical performance algorithm that boosts confidence and provides organization to one’s response to crisis or incoming energy.
We live in an increasingly confrontational world and some of that confrontation becomes violent. Whether it’s road rage, or witnessing a verbal argument in a public place, or actually being involved in acts of ongoing crime like robberies, car-jackings and the like, or simply passively reading about them or viewing their videos that have gone viral, every day you will be provided with a fresh scenario for your own thoughtful review: what would you do?
“You” does not have to be a street tough, a former GI, a martial artist, someone carrying a weapon….
The people I most want to reach with this blog entry is the unthinking housewife doing errands, the elder out and about in the world, et alia.
As has been pointed out, you do not know what you will do unless you’ve pre-thought, taken some training, or done some reading. This doesn’t suggest that you arm yourself; that choice is yours.
But here are several scenarios for you to think about when wondering if you and we are “left of boom”.
The first ostensibly involves a child and a gorilla, but when you re-visit this scenario I want you to think about the parents, the zoo staff, and the bystanders/onloookers. What might each of these done better to be “left of boom”?
The second involves our foreign policy/military current situation via a vis China and especially Russia. “Left of boom”, as we have seen, focuses on tactical scenarios. But what about strategic scenarios?
As you flip through the slides in this pdf-encapsulated slide show, take the lessons and focus off the fire crew and put them on your family: apply them to what may happen and how you and your family can react effectively if, heaven forbid, some disastrous event should be befall you.
There’s a huge world out there that is devoted to SHTF and prepper mentalities and, like the issue of being armed, go there if it suits you.
I think you are better prepared if you take care of effective communications, pre-stage some essential tools and supplies, and once in a while re-enact your own household drill with your mate, your kids and others. One major point that you must consider is that, in dynamic situations, things change. Your perception, your thinking, and your decision-making must keep pace.
As the slide show indicates, there may be others with you whose “presence of mind” may also be tasked. Be sure you have and have regularly practiced an effective rapid method for checking in with one another. Check your attitudes (slide #13).
Be aware of fatigue as time moves on and the stress of the situation does not abate.