How Honed Are Your Split-Second Decision Making Skills?


I was watching some security camera footage of a nightclub stabbing recently, and I was shocked at how fast the attack went down.  In fact, I needed to watch it twice before I finally noticed the assailant jab at the victim.  The whole thing happened so fast that the victim didn’t even process that he had been stabbed for at least 20 seconds after the fact as well.  What stuck with me the most after viewing the footage was that it only took a second for the victim to go from being completely-healthy to being in fight for his life as he bled out internally.


I also started to wonder how quickly I could react if I found myself in a similar situation.  That’s not a lot of time to see an attack coming and come up with a way to neutralize the threat, and it’s also a sobering reminder that my self-defense skills may need a bit of development.  Naturally, this got me thinking about how things can go from being normal to life-threatening in a split-second, and how important it is to be prepared to act appropriately when those moments come along.


Lives are saved or lost based on decisions that people make with little thought beforehand.  We come across survival stories all the time about how seconds count and quick-decisions got people out of whatever trouble they were in at the time.  There are also plenty of tales of woe that have tragic endings because of delayed reactions, indecision, being paralyzed with fear or simply making the wrong judgment call.  Needless to say, how we react, and how quickly we react in a crisis can have direct impact on our ability to survive.


Planning Pays Off

Planning, practicing, drilling and learning how to deal with emergencies without giving them a second thought is one of the most-important skills that we can be developing.  Understanding how to respond to a variety of threats without hesitation is something that primarily a learned behavior as opposed to an innate capability.  While a lot of us have good instincts, many of us need to develop them through practice, and all of us have areas of weakness that can use a little bit of improvement.


Yet, despite the fundamental importance of practicing and developing skills, this is something that few people really prioritize.  This is to their detriment, and their chances of survival are greatly-diminished as a result.  Don’t be one of them.


Reaction Time Matters

Our reaction times to emergencies depends on a lot of factors, but being prepared, confident and ready to act appropriately without hesitation can improve our odds of getting out alive.  Remember that material and resources are only helpful if we survive long enough to benefit from them.  Skills are more-important.  Make sure that you’re honing yours so that you’ll be in a better-position to overcome a threat that comes out of nowhere.


Fortunately, the victim survived despite being critically-injured.  If he knew some very basic self-defense skills, there’s a chance that he could have avoided being stabbed in the first place.  If he had some more-advanced skills, he probably could have neutralized the threat as well.


Take some time to test your reaction time to a variety of scenarios and think of ways that you can become faster.  Each time you practice or drill, you’re cementing these things in your mind, and this will enable you to react automatically, and hopefully appropriately, when decisive action matters most.



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