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Dr Tammy McCracken - Everything has a failure point


As Randy King likes to say: always and never are false gods. You have heard the worship of these gods.
They sound like:
·  The Three Techniques Every Woman Needs 
·  The Self-Defence Skill That Never Fails
·  The Only Technique You’ll Ever Need
Slightly more sophisticated worship traditions sound like:-
·  This will work every time
·  If Y happens, X will always get you to safety
·  If the technique isn’t working right then you are doing something wrong

Most women who train on the mat have heard this last point at some time or other. It’s a common response to a question expressing doubt or difficulty with a “sacred cow technique”. 
Once in a while there is a random moment when “always” or “never” creeps into my thinking and teaching. As much as I may personally believe it at the moment, the physical universe is sitting like an old man on a porch in a rocking chair quietly smiling. 
Here’s one, “don’t get moved to a secondary location” and this is an implied always or never. The statistics for survivability in attacks that move to a secondary crime scene are staggering. As in staggeringly poor and close enough to feel like it’s a never. I know there are people who have survived and I know some of them personally. They are my evidence that this god of mine is inconsistent at best.
This evidence doesn’t change my conviction or how I teach responses to secondary crime scene removal efforts by a threat. Not acknowledging these points can get anyone into a heap of trouble. The least of which is damaging our reputation when a student stumbles upon information to the contrary and it doesn’t take much to understand how tragically this contradiction might cause. 
Even the most deeply tested skill has a failure point. There is an elegant beauty in this truth. It also means that even the most “laughed at” skill might sometimes work. For instance, is tickling someone a good self-defence technique?  
I watched it work once and I watched a novice student get completely physically overwhelmed on the mat in a seminar while working with a highly trained martial athlete. She tickled him and he was so startled he jumped back two or three feet. In a reality situation, this would have bought her time and space for escape. 
However this does not mean I’m going to teach it as a go-to. It merely highlights how fluid what works and what doesn’t work really is and the danger that a binary approach to self-defence creates for both student and instructor.