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Episode #17 Transcript - The Misconceptions of Violence and Self-Defense with Wim Demeere

Kelly: [00:00:00] Wim Demeree has almost 40 years of training in several martial arts and self-defense systems to include some that you may have heard of Kung Fu Tai Chiwan, Sancho, Muay Hai, MMA, et cetera. He has been a full-time personal trainer since 1994 and has occasionally worked as a bouncer. In his words, he had a non-eventful military service.

Still, thank you for your service, Wim. Wim has been a national champion multiple times and won a bronze medal at the 1993 Woohoo World Championship. San Chao, and if I said any of those words wrong, listeners, I apologize ahead of time. But Wim has shared his knowledge with literally thousands of people as the author of numerous instructional books, self-Defense videos, and his podcast titled Wiim Demere’s podcast, very original whim.

He is the owner and writer of one of the oldest martial arts [00:01:00] and self-defense blogs. Wims blog.com. So welcome to Thrive unafraid Wim, Doug and I are so excited to have you on the show. In fact, even before I could bring you up as a potential guest, Doug, was, we gotta get Wim on the show. So I’m so glad that we were able to find time to make this happen, even with the different time zones.

Wim: That’s fine for the time, Susan. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Doug: We’re glad. So, Wim and I’s, Venn Diagram of networks are pretty closely connected based on a number of mutual friends. But clearly if he’s been doing this for 40 years, he must have started at age one or two because. He may be the most youthful 40 year expert in self-defense that we’ve had on the show.

So we’re grateful to have you here, Wim.

Wim: Thank you. I did turn 51 this year, so this, it’s probably my webcam that is really good in hiding all the wrinkles.

Doug: Well, age is just a number anyway, right? We’re just figuring it all out and doing the best we can to take care of ourselves. And it’s [00:02:00] actually one of the things we wanna do is better prepare people to go out and face the world around them. And I know you’ve been doing that for a number of years and we’re grateful for it.

So, you have been teaching on this for a long time, and we’re in this episode, we’re gonna bring in a slightly different approach. I think we’re gonna focus a little bit on the male side of things because of your area of expertise. I’m not gonna ignore the female side. Kelly’s gonna ensure that.

But you wrote a blog post a decade ago in 2013, that turns out to be one of your most read and most popular blog posts and it’s eight self-defense tips for a man. Right?

Wim: Yes.

Doug: And I think that’s…

Wim: Go ahead.

Doug: No, I was gonna say, I think that’s a great place for us to start our conversation talking about that because, based on the title, you’re expecting to learn how to fight back, and that’s not right.

Wim: No, there’s not a single physical technique that I talk about in that blog post, and that was kind of [00:03:00] the whole point to drag out the conversation towards something wider than just the narrow scope of physical techniques. They are important obviously, but the goal is that you shouldn’t have to need them.

And when, when you look at self-defense, it’s much wider than what is just, what people like to see is the fighting techniques. I mean, you guys obviously talk a lot about situational awareness. That’s a huge part of it. There are other components and I wanted to write something that was a little bit broader than what was being covered at that time.

Again, this is 2013, so, blogs were getting pretty big then starting to get some traction as opposed to what we have now. We have a lot of professional bloggers and so on that was getting there at that time. But in the martial arts and so defense world, not that much. So being the contrarian that I am, [00:04:00] I wanted to write something. I don’t see that many people writing about this stuff, so let me write about that.

And my blog is mostly for me a way to just get things outta my head that I’m thinking about. So it’s just me thinking out loud and then just putting it out there hoping that somebody finds a use for it.

Doug: But if I were to distill it down, and I want us to go through each of ’em, but if I were to distill it down at, at the core of it is the best fight is the fight you never get into. Right? And so it’s in essence either learning how to avoid it or learning how to extricate yourself from it before it ever gets to a physical violence perspective. Right?

Wim: Yes. And that, complement very well what you guys often talk about and it’s prevention, awareness and so on. It all blends together. It’s not just one thing and it’s just not, not just one tip. And I do make it clear in the article that a tip is just something to help you out and help you get started.

It’s not [00:05:00] the a full instructional manual. It is not training. It’s just like, think about this. Try it this way. See if that works for you. That is all that I’m doing in that article. And like I said, I just wanted to go a little bit deeper into aspects that I thought at that point in time weren’t really discussed as much on blogs to be precise.

Other people, we talked about that before we started recording. Mark Jeong, Lauren Christensen, all the people were, have been writing about all these topics for a fair amount of time before I ever did. So it’s not that it wasn’t out there, but on the internet itself.

Doug: Hmm.

Wim: In my recollection, and again, like I said, I got punched in the head a lot when I was younger, but in my recollection, it wasn’t that much about this kind of stuff.

Doug: Right. Well, and you, it’s applied learning, I think is what, since you’re talking about it’s how to think about things, the first tip you talk about is forget what you see on the screen and there’s a [00:06:00] meme that goes around right now where people say something along the lines of, you can tell that, this generation never got punched in the face before because that there is something to be said about learning some of these lessons the hard way.

And most folks who’ve been in a serious fight don’t ever seek one because they are not nice experiences.

Wim: Yeah, there’s, there’s this old saying, or I dunno if it’s, it’s actually a true saying. They, it’s often ascribed as a Chinese saying that when two tigers fight, one dies and one is mortally wounded or very seriously injured. I think that’s a good way to describe it. And even better ways is something that Mark Young wrote in one of his books where he talks about, I think he calls it the Highway of violence.

I describe it a little bit differently than he does to make my point. And let’s just say that, you’re just driving onto the highway [00:07:00] and that is mile zero. You’re standing still and you start, gathering speed and driving faster and faster. Bit by bit, mile zero, your starting point is there’s no violence. You start driving a little bit, you go 10 miles an hour, you are on that highway of violence where it keeps getting more intense, worse, and the consequences get bigger and bigger. Everybody has a point where they’re like, this is it for me. I don’t want to go further than that. So it could be that you are basically, the borderline for you is somebody punches me, I’ll punch back, but that’s all. Somebody else will say, well, I’ll grab a weapon to equalize myself and I’ll grab a chair to bust it over your head. Somebody else will say, well, I’m further down that highway ’cause I carry a firearm, a knife, or something else. Somebody [00:08:00] else is even further down that highway. And he says, you won’t even get a chance to draw your weapon because I will take you out before you do.

And you keep on going further and further. Down that highway where it gets more and more extreme. If you have no experience with violence, it can be the case that you enter into a conflict that you could have avoided, but you didn’t for a variety of reasons. And you, your endpoint that you will not go beyond is not even the starting point for the person in front of you.

Doug: Right.

Wim: He’s gonna start way, way, way further down the line. So there’s this, this mismatch of intensities, of mindset of not just experience, but also a willingness to take things a certain way and to go beyond certain things that are far away from conventions in modern Western societies.

That this can be a horrible, horrible experience for [00:09:00] you if you are. The person, the first person I described, the one who is not willing to go all that far. And if you look at all violence with that in mind, the absolute best choice you can make is to not engage in it because you don’t know who you have in front of you and how he looks, how tall he is or big he is or tiny is.

It doesn’t matter. I have seen some of the most ferocious people being much, much smaller than I’m, and very basically innocent looking. And I’ve seen tremendously muscular and big guys just, just crumble at the first, resistance that they get and anything in between that. Now mind you, I have seen big guys who are clarifying as well, but the point is that you don’t, you don’t know, and it has nothing to do with what you see in front of you.

It has everything to do with what does that person bring to the table when it comes to violence, and you will not know until it kicks off.

Doug: So there’s no romanticism in violence. Right? And I [00:10:00] think that that’s, forget what you see on TV is designed to get people to not take what they’ve seen in films or, or shows and which may present it in this hero. way, and there is no R. It’s blood and it’s gore and it’s bones and it’s, it’s brutal and there is no romanticism in it.

Wim: Yeah. And on my podcast a while ago, I interviewed Mark Decos, who, Famous actor and, and just a lot of Mar really good martial artist by the way. And a great guy to boot. And he has done a tremendous amount of fight scenes and so on. He’ll be the first to tell you that this, this is a movie.

That’s it. Or it’s a TV show. His stars in the, the Warrior TV show right now and his spectacular action. But that is not how a real fight happens, or if it does, it’s going to be, I did crazy things when I was younger and got into fights and, I [00:11:00] was flexible enough to do that kind of stuff and strong enough and, and I trained a lot.

I wouldn’t do it now because I’m too old for that. So there is some truth somewhere buried in there, but it is usually the exception, not the rule. And it is twisted in such a way that it looks excellent on screen, but it is far removed from reality. And if that is all the information that you take in, When it comes to violence, that’s how you form your worldview.

When it comes to violence. Sooner or later you’re going to, how should I put it? Reality is the wall, all ideologies crash into and themselves. always wins no matter what you think violence is like, you’ll see what it is when it actually happens, and Hollywood has done an incredibly poor job at portraying violence correctly because it’s not very cinematic usually.

Doug: No, Kelly, do you think [00:12:00] women Kelly, think about violence on screen in the same way that men approach that problem? Because this particular tip feels very male oriented and because all of us have watched movies and gone, oh, I could kick his ass. Right? How do women approach that?

Kelly: To answer your question directly, no. I don’t believe women even like to view violence typically on screen. Those type of movies don’t entice them because they can’t see themselves as the Jason Stathem or Jason Bourne. But one thing that was interesting as I was reading through the blog, If you have no actual experience with violence, you will form your opinions about it somehow.

And no matter how much you tell yourself that it’s just a movie, your mind is still absorbing that information subconsciously. And when I thought about that statement, I thought about what is the female perspective that is portrayed in Hollywood? They’re [00:13:00] typically portrayed as the victim that horrible things happen that they need to overcome because violence sells, right?

Very, very rarely is the woman her own hero in her own life, without any assistance. I mean, it’s changing. I do see that more and more coming out in Hollywood, but for the longest time it was, oh, you’re a woman. You’re the one who dies first…

Kelly: And to me, that’s what gets stuck in women’s heads.

Is that you’re gonna be a victim. So it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re still gonna lose. And I don’t like that because to me it’s, no, there’s lots of other options. But to the point, violence sells, when nothing happens because you avoid danger because you walk away because you don’t let your ego get involved and you don’t escalate.

Well, that’s not sexy, that’s not something that Hollywood, Michael Bay makes blow up movies about. It’s [00:14:00] walking away. But that’s the smartest option. And so often that’s the option women have that will let them walk away with the least amount of damage with, their whole and intact body with no parts hurt or damaged.

And so that’s what I thought about when I said how we absorb the information that Hollywood feeds us.

Doug: Yeah, and I think that, I think that, you’re right. You wanna avoid creating that subconscious narrative that says that I’m not responsible for myself, I’m not capable of being responsible for myself. The one of the themes that I saw in this post, Wim, that you created, is that self-awareness and focus on ego and not letting ego drive your decision process.

And Mark has talked about the monkey dance and, things like that where we escalate things quickly based on, you [00:15:00] know, that, can you talk through some of that?

Wim: Yeah, the, so the whole point of the, of the post is that I’m mainly talking about social violence, not criminal violence, because that is a different category and different, I wouldn’t say rules apply, but different methodologies, different solutions are there.

Doug: Real quick define the two social violence versus criminal violence for our…

Wim: There’s different ways of defining violence. I mean, you, you could talk about interspecies and interspecies violence. You could talk about social violence, criminal violence. 

Kelly: That’s a whole nother…

Wim: …spend a few hours. 

Doug: When you say criminal violence, you mean people that are out there and committing violence in furtherance of a criminal act or, something like that as opposed to social violence, which is violence that’s in, that’s maybe organically developing between social people in a social environment. Incidental not planned in the same way.

Wim: In many regards, an easy rule of thumb, I think is, that you look at it as social [00:16:00] violence very often has two people fighting, quote unquote. And, if it’s criminal violence, typically there is no, fight is an assault. It is an ambush, but somebody doesn’t want to fight you. They want something from you and they wanna take it from you.

Whether that is something physical, whether is that, whether it is your body, you, whether it is some sort of psychological torture that they wanna inflict on you, whatever it is, they want something. Or it could be that they have taken too many drugs or they are unbalanced to begin with and the voices in their head are saying that, okay, dude, this is not just today.

I shared a blog post from a retired police officer who talked about, the criminal mindset says, out of the blue things can happen, but, but there is actually, criminal intent somewhere in there.

Doug: Okay.

Wim: With social violence, typically it’s things that are getting out of hand. And that could be a variety of things.

Could be a typical bar [00:17:00] fight guy bumps into another one, spills his beer, and it escalates into violence. Somebody looks at somebody the wrong way. Somebody looks at his girlfriend the wrong way, and all these, I mean, the tropes that we see in Hollywood are actually in that regard, I think very accurate.

The stupidest things happen and for the stupidest reasons, stupid in the sense of as a mature human being, this is not what you should be doing. If, you’re a teenager who doesn’t know any better and it’s the first time you get drunk over here, the legal drinking age is lower. So I can say that. And you end up fighting with somebody.

Yeah. That’s something we’re not surprised of. If you’re doing that in your forties, maybe reconsider your life choices.

Doug: And so I think from the listener’s perspective, as they approach those two different forms of violence, criminal violence and social violence at one level, social violence is the one where they’re gonna have to make more active decisions to stay out of [00:18:00] trouble. Whereas criminal violence is something where they need to be thinking about how to be prepared for something that happens to them, right?

And so this post definitely falls into that category because we do have things that we are in those situations in restaurants or bars or on the street where a small match, will, can, can set a flame, that, that gets people going. And so thinking through how to actually de-escalate or off ramp from that highway of violence, is important.

Wim: Yes. And that’s main reason of that blog post and all the tips that I gave. It’s just basically things that you can do to avoid the issue. Whether it is being aware of your surroundings, whether it is how you come to that situation. We talk a lot about situational awareness, alright?

Your mindset is one of the determining factors in you actually using that awareness correctly. If [00:19:00] you’ve been having a horrible week, you’ve got a fight with your spouse, you just got laid off. One, your kids is sick, and being obnoxious doesn’t. You have to be paying attention to what’s going on in the parking lot of the supermarket.

Is that guy actually standing there looking at me or is he passing by? And so on. And then he does come towards you and you are not in the mood to be defensive minded and be like, I’m gonna handle this correctly and avoid the situation. I spot it. But my mindset is not where it needs to be.

This, it’s called being human. We all have those days, right? And it, a lot of the tips that I give are talking about how can you avoid ending up in that position where what I bring to the table is a big part of what escalates it towards violence. So the prevention is done mostly on my part and it has to do with worldview.

It has do [00:20:00] with how I view myself and something that, again, I’m getting old. So, because I noticed that this is called conservative thinking. I don’t consider myself a conservative, but, and not in the American sense. To be clear, I’m Belgian, I’m European for the audience. So here it means something else.

But the point is that this doesn’t use, didn’t use to be something exceptionally special to say is that, we get this idea of you’re baby, then you’re a child, then you’re a teenager, then you’re an adult, and that’s it. We’re done. No, the growing and the working on yourself keeps going. You’re supposed to keep on working on, getting, hopefully getting more educated, getting smarter, learning more about yourself, learning about the world, learning how to navigate better, get it, getting the most bang for your buck, so to speak, from your own personality, your own character, and so on.

So you don’t end up banging against the wall with your head the whole [00:21:00] time because you made a stupid mistake that you actually already learned when you were 15. So the growing continues, and that’s kind of what   all those tips are about is that this is what we’re supposed to be doing as adults.

Make sure you don’t end up in that situation.

Doug: One in there that’s kind of counterintuitive, at least from a male’s perspective. And we’ll see what Kelly says on this is to get over yourself. And I have heard my mother and several of the other women in my life tell me to get over myself, so I get it, but that’s not a natural place for a guys typically.

Wim: No, no. The main thing about that is, one thing I’ve been saying more and more the last few years is that of people have this idea, well, I shouldn’t have to, or I have a right to which you do. I don’t argue against that at all.

Doug: But that’s entitlement too…

Wim: Yes, but, but even if it’s true, even if, I mean, [00:22:00] you shouldn’t have to learn self defense.

You shouldn’t have to teach women’s self defense. I get attacked for that online nowadays. I’m like, you’re right. You shouldn’t have to. But unless you have a magic wand that in the meantime you can erase all violence against women, it’s gone forever. If you don’t have that wand, then you are actually advocating for more women to get hurt.

Doug: Mm-hmm.

Wim: Because you’re taking away tools that can help them. That’s what you’re doing when you say don’t teach them, teach the men not to hurt the women and so on. We have been trying that for years. Teach thieves not to steal. We, we do that and we punish them if they do, but it’s not working.

It’s theft still happens. Violence is likely to happen. And the point is that if you, if you have this mindset of having this chip on your shoulder about whatever it is, that is your thing, is that is going to attract people who will take you up on, up on that offer, that they see that chip there, and they’re gonna come after you for that.

Why? [00:23:00] Because they have maybe bad experience with somebody who is like that, but you are showing the signals that you are sending or they might having this bad day in which they are looking for a fight or some small social friction happens and this spark of a potential. You have that chip on your shoulder and they maybe have one and those two don’t really collide well together, and all of a sudden it escalates.

Whereas, if I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t really, and I can’t stand X, Y, or Z when it happens. So when you see X, Y, Z happening, you know that you are likely to not be thinking all that reasonably and that you’re emotional and so on, right? Get over yourself. It’s not always about you.

The other guy is the hero of his story and you are the villain. You’re the bad guy in history and vice versa. And you [00:24:00] know, if anything, It’s true in Hollywood is that we have this, this narrative in our head is that, good guy, bad guy, and so on. The best stories are those in which that bad guy also has redeeming qualities and that we understand why he does that.

Okay? Apply the same to you and the other guy that you’re potentially in conflict with. Seeing something from the other person’s perspective I think is a valuable skill. It’s in these polarized times that is, a rare skill, sadly. But if you wanna stay safe, it’s one of the best skills to have.

Okay, why is this guy here? And he might be, can I swear on this show or do you guys prefer me not to?

Doug: Oh, Kelly swears all the time, so.

Wim: So you, you there, there’s this really fun, well fun, depends on your idea of fun. But a website or, a form I think is Am I The Asshole. And you go there and you ask a question like, this is situation and this is what I did or said, am I the asshole?

Okay, translate that into your daily [00:25:00] life. You might be the asshole. And I know situations in which I was the asshole that I remember. I shouldn’t have done that. Okay. Well, I’m lucky that it didn’t escalate. Sometimes it did, but in many cases I got in one piece. Figure out what turns you into the asshole. Get over it. You might be rightfully angry at the other person. You might feel justified in doing something or saying something and so on. I’m not saying you can’t, I’m only saying that if you do that, you have to understand that you are on the highway of violence that we talked about and you’re picking up speed where will then, maybe nothing.

Nobody knows many situations. The other guy says, the other person says whatever, and they cuss you out as they walk away. Sometimes it ends with violence and goes pretty far, and you will only know which one it is when it’s over. That’s the problem with violence.[00:26:00] 

Doug: One, as I’m listening to you, I’m, I’m struck by the importance of self-awareness, right? This, and struck by the importance of ownership of your choices, your thoughts, your, your actions, and that somebody who doesn’t have either of those two things will inevitably find themself outmatched.

Likely in a situation where they’ve lost control with possibly, catastrophic consequences because they don’t know that, they don’t have that ability to think through the permutations of this. They don’t have the ability to see the humanity in the other person. They don’t have the ability to detect, their own ego and it’s leading them down a path.

Wim: Yeah. And the issue with that is the again, and that’s why we get to the tip number one, get, forget about Hollywood, is that if you have this limited view of where violence can lead, then [00:27:00] you might not have, you might not see an incentive to avoid it. You might, well, He can’t say that, or, who the hell does he think he is and I this and that, and I, it is my right, blah, blah, blah.

And you engage in something that you don’t know how bad it can end. If you’re so engrossed in your own ego. It’s like you said, you are out of control. If there’s one thing that I think all military minds will agree with, all the great ones, is that if the enemy is not in control of his troops, then you can control them.

Apply this to a one-on-one situation or apply this to anything else. And you find the same is true.

Doug: Yeah. So if you’re not in control of your own brain, then somebody else can control you.

Wim: They can use it against you. They can lure you into traps. They can make you do whatever they want you to do. I’ve seen it happen over and over on, I have a Patreon that I’ve been doing for five years, which is kinda like a membership site.

And I do each month [00:28:00] a violence analysis video in which I take, real footage, CCTV footage, cell phone footage, actual event, and then we analyze what happened and what can. That means that I’ve seen not hundreds of thousands over the years of events. And in many cases, you have exactly that situation where somebody’s ego is out of control and they’re face to face with somebody who doesn’t care.

Who is actually going to use a knife that is slowly palming by bringing his hand to the back of his, of his pants and staking it out, and he’s just waiting for the moment to be in the right range and the right situation to stab the guy, which is a situation I’ve, it’s a video I have seen and many similar examples.

The other guy thought he was in a fist fight…

Doug: Right, right.

Wim: …in front of him said that he’s disrespecting me and he needs to pay the ultimate price for that. Again, much further down the line on that highway of violence.

Doug: [00:29:00] Yeah, they did not, they did not come to that conflict with the same understanding of why they were there or what it was gonna take to get out of it. And you can be, you can have all the skills in the world, and if you’re mismatched. By a poor understanding of how you got there or why you’re there, it may not matter.

Just like if the other person is fighting as if they have nothing to lose because they don’t, that can tremendously tip things in their favor.

Wim: Yeah. This is one of, one of the situations that I, that I have seen develop often as well is that like you just said, the ego takes over, but also people, for instance, from a certain social class, Are used to living in their own social class with certain norms and, and things are, are standardized, whereas they are then all of a sudden coming across somebody from a very different social class.

Doesn’t have to be lower. It can be higher as well, where there’s a very [00:30:00] different approach to life and different standards apply.

Doug: And different cues.

Wim: Yes. And if you don’t recognize those because you are so enveloped in your own outrage or anger or whatever it is. It’s going to be difficult to avoid, a peaceful end to that situation if, especially if, if your ego takes over and, and one of the most difficult things to do is to slow down your ego when it is basically writing checks your ass can’t cover.

Yeah.

Doug: Right de de-conflicting yourself and bringing yourself back down can be a challenge. And I think it’s added to it. If there’s others, that are there watching, et cetera, there can be a lot that feeds that narrative that makes it harder to back down.

Wim: Yeah. Yeah, it’s true.

Doug: Can, so in your tips, you talk about Peyton Quinn’s rules, right?

And some of them are not necessarily self-explanatory in a sense. You talk about, facing a threat from another [00:31:00] individual, don’t ignore him, but  at the same time, paying too much attention to ’em can also be an escalator as well, how, how does somebody find the right balance through that?

Wim: That’s the difficult part because that, that takes experience. The thing that I would suggest to people is that you will, throughout your life, see a situation that develop in front of you or close to you. Pay attention. See what happens, what are the dynamics, what’s involved, and it is resolved peacefully.

There’s no violence. Fine. Okay. What do you think created that ending to that situation? You have friends, family members who are so on. They experience something and they get all excited and they tell you, okay, start asking questions. What did you say? Then what happened then? And this and that?

And we have to recognize that there will be some embellishment and that it’s or somebody who won’t remember from the adrenaline. Try to learn from other people. That’s free. It costs you nothing [00:32:00] and you learn a tremendous amount. And like I said, there’s plenty of online footage of actual situations that do end up with deescalation. So,  learning from that is the first thing when it comes to everything about self defense, if you don’t have the experience.

Nobody has all the experience. One of the things that I like to say is that you are not Ari’s God of war. It’s not everybody. There’s not one person who has experience with everything that is related to violence. Just doesn’t exist. The, specifically, the tip that the rule that Quinn gave about do not ignore him, I think applies tremendously to women.

Doug: Hmm.

Wim: Because of, in many societies, women have, they’re not allowed to be violent.

That is not, that is not the standards. It’s not ladylike to be violent and so on. Now, things have changed over the years. I have seen, and, again, we get to different social classes and  [00:33:00] substrata of society. You will find different rules and you will find women who are ready, willing, enabled to use violence.

Doug: Incredibly.

Wim: But in general, I’m, I’m oversimplifying, for sake of argument, you will find that more than than not, women have been more or less programmed to avoid violence. And one of the ways in which they avoid it is to ignore that it’s happening. And you can see that. And again, many many online videos show this kind of dynamic where this guy is harassing this woman and she just keeps on walking, pretending she doesn’t hear.

Doug: It emboldens him.

Wim: Yes. Sometimes he stops, sometimes, ah, not worth it. But in another situation, it emboldens him. Ignore him. Doesn’t mean that you have to stop and then face the guy head on. That’s not what that means. It means that you have to accept that there is a situation developing that you need to pay attention to. [00:34:00] Pretending it doesn’t happen, starts in your own head, and then communicating that to the person who is creating the conflict is an important step.

Doug: I think…

Wim: Go ahead. No, I just wanted to say it because at that point you communicate, okay, I see you. I recognize what you are doing, which ups the ante for him a little bit more, he has to make this equation of, do I continue on this path, or is this the wrong person to do it with?

And there have been plenty of studies that have been done with that where they ask criminals, they show them video footage of people walking down the street. Who do you pick as a victim? This, this, this and this person. And all the criminals pick the same person. It has to do with body language the way they hold themselves.

Doug: Predator prey thing, right? And so part of this is saying don’t act like prey.

Wim: Yeah, in nature, how many of the relationships. Start with the predator, going after the prayer, the pray, seeing that and then pretending it doesn’t happen.

Doug: Right?

Wim: They [00:35:00] run, they fight, they hide, they freeze sometimes to try to avoid being a target, to avoid being seed further.

But when push comes to shove, very few of them will just let themselves be mold to death. I’m not doing anything. Once the clause and the fangs come out, they will try to typically get away. Which is a good thing to do here. So it starts by don’t ignore him. Don’t ignore the problem.

Doug: I think too, the last tip on that particular section, leave the other person a face saving exit. That can be tough.

Wim: It is because then we get back to ego.

Doug: Right

Wim: And then, then we get back to, well, who do we think we are? If we let this slide?

Doug: And if you’re giving him a face saving exit, that may mean subsuming something of yourself in order to do so. But that then leads to your next one, which is sticking to your mission, like knowing why your knowing, what your why is is the rubric that [00:36:00] lets you make all these decisions.

Wim: Yes. The whole point of giving somebody a face saving exit is, I think I can illustrate this, but I have, an old, again, an old blog post and it started how to make absolutely Sure you get your ass kicked. There’s this young American lady, and I think she’s in France, I think she’s in Marsai, if I’m not mistaken.

I could be wrong. And what starts it, we don’t know, but it starts with her basically talking trash a little bit to a couple of local French guys. And, something happened, they must have said something, something weird probably, and she says something back and this and that. And then they start walking away and she has now her exit and they have their face saving exit.

And some, I think one of ’em called, calls her a bitch or something along those line. She did some say some other insulting stuff in French that she probably didn’t get. [00:37:00] But then she comes back and she says, yeah, I am a bitch. And she throws a glass of water in the guy’s face, and then he comes back at her and leg kicks her.

So she falls on the ground and he’s kicking her like he would kick a man. He’s not holding back. And then the video ends with her screaming and lying on the floor. It’s one thing, standing there and engaging in basically an escalation, a verbal escalation with a group of guys by alone themself. Because her friends were a little further back. It’s quite something else that once you have the exit once, ’cause everybody’s going their wrong way.

They’re walking away, you’re walking away and then you turn around and you go back and insult the guy and throw a glass of water at him. I don’t care if you’re justified, if you feel like is this something that I am entitled to do? Even if you are, I’m not gonna argue with that. It can only inflame the situation more.

So you had a solution in which [00:38:00] there’s no violence and we get back to the road, the highway of violence, we dunno where it ends. So you were off the highway, you step back on again and well, why would you do that? Well, like you said, it’s difficult. And if you give somebody else a face saving exit, or like the old saying is, give your enemy a golden bridge to retreats.

Okay, here you go guy. There’s the best possible exit you could have. Go right ahead, take it, it’s yours. Then it’s very difficult sometimes for the, for that enemy to say, no, no, I want to keep on fighting and potentially die myself. And, and this is , a wartime analogy that applies just as well to, to.

Civilian context in which you can let the other person have the last word. It’s fine. And this is not new. I mean, Dale Carnegie’s, what is it? How to make Friends and Influence people. He says that that was over a hundred years ago. I think it’s like you don’t always have the last, have to have the last word, or you don’t have to have the last insult.

Doug: And another subtext in that [00:39:00] is you can still be right and still get your ass kicked because there’s no, there’s, there’s no connection between entitlement and being right. And, freedom from consequences because the rule, everybody’s playing by different rules, right?

Wim: there, there’s an analogy that I’ve been using for, for a long time and, and, not that long ago I saw the perfect video of an actual event in which that happened and I, I posted it on, on my Facebook page and it’s a dash cam footage of a guy stopping at Zebra Crossing to let this guy cross the road.

And on the other side of the road, there’s this, I think this little girl. Maybe she’s six, seven. I don’t know. But just, just a child crossing the road and all of a sudden that guy speeds up and grabs her and gets to the other side. And then this other car just comes racing over where the girl just stood ’cause he saw a car stopping.

He was not interested in stopping, so he just floored them, passed him by on the left hand side, had that man who was just mining his own business, business [00:40:00] crossing, crossing the street, not done that. That girl would’ve been dead. She would’ve been crushed. Would she have been legally in the right to cross the street?

Absolutely. Was that guy the driver wrong? Absolutely. Should be jail. Him Absolutely, totally in agreement. She’s still dead and yes, it is your right to cross at a zebra crossing when some lunatic is flooring it and coming right at you. Is it the best thing to do? Maybe not. We teach our children to cross at a zebra crossing and to look both ways anyway.

Why do we do that? Because we recognize that in certain situations there will be drunk drivers, idiots. And, and, and for a number of reasons, people who will actually keep driving if they see you there. Over here, you are legally obligated to stop when a pedestrian shows the intent to cross the street.

Not even have taken the first step, but they show the intent that they’re gonna cross the street. You’re [00:41:00] supposed to stop. You still look both ways. And it’s that mindset, I think is very important when you apply to your own safety. It’s that, yes, I shouldn’t have to take this insult. I should be able to say something back, but what does that get me?

Doug: Right.

Wim: And then we get to the last one, stick to your mission. The last step is what is your mission? What’s your goal here?

Doug: Right.

Wim: Pick one. Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be mine, but you need to have a goal.

Doug: At least part of your goal has to be to continue on because you can, if your goal is to enforce that right at all other costs, you may lose the, you may, lose the ability to even have that opportunity because you had that right to cross the street using that one. As an example and lost your life because you chose that to think that other person was gonna abide by your right, and that may not be their mission.

And so there can be conflict [00:42:00] that has to get managed through that. And so your mission should help you navigate that conflict.

Wim: Yeah. And, and it’s this overarching theme that you have in your life, which is something that you should try to figure out what is it could be different for, for everybody, but it, what is that thing that this is how I view things. This is what I want. For me, it’s very simple.

I write in that article, it’s just every time that I get up and I leave the house, I wanna get back safe and sound to my loved ones so that I can continue to have an awesome life with them. That’s it. We’re done. It’s not that difficult.

Doug: That was my question. So was that your mission that you put in there? Yeah.

Wim: Yeah. So, and, and it encompasses everything.

I just wanna do fun stuff with my girlfriend, with my kids, with the with my friends, with my loved ones and so on. Have a good life. I’ve had plenty of adventure and adrenaline when I was younger. I don’t have a need for more. And now it’s, that’s just the whole, the whole point. [00:43:00] Let me rephrase that differently, to something that, a lot of the men in the self-defense world, and unfortunately women as well, have this thing that is still going out there, rather be judged by 12 than carried by six, which I think is one of the stupidest things you could say.

Who said that? It was only those two choices.

Doug: Right. It’s a false narrative.

Wim: It’s a completely false dichotomy. You, you, you don’t need to view things that way. There’s, nowadays you should assume that you are being videotaped or somebody’s got a cell phone out and filming what you’re doing. You should assume that eventually it gets to the courts and justice system, not assuming that is, I think, naive.

Will there still be events that are not recorded? Obviously, yes. But especially in an urban environment, you are very likely to be recorded and not necessarily what happens that will exonerate you. But what happens when you [00:44:00] are beating up that guy in your righteous fury? And that’s all that the video shows.

And then you’re gonna have to explain to a court, well, no, actually I was justified. Yes, but that’s not what the video shows and yes, but videos lie. Yeah, but we don’t care, sir. This is the only evidence we have. So it’s, it’s having this, this mindset of does this help my mission getting into the fight with this guy?

What in it for me? And if your mindset says, well, I’m not taking any chance. I’ll just shoot that guy. Okay, well, good luck with that. I mean, eventually you’ll end up shot yourself or go to jail. That just you, you’re rolling the dice. It’s just a matter of chance. Sooner or later, you’re gonna shoot the wrong person in the wrong situation.

Or you could have more than one solution to every violence related problem and say, well, I’ll work on deescalation, I’ll work on situational awareness. I’ll, I’ll work on empty hands, cell defense techniques. [00:45:00] I’ll work on something as simple as shoving that guy away. So he goes back several feet.

Flying off balance doesn’t even have to fall, but it would be great if that happens while you turn around and start printing the other way. And then he has to make the decision. Do I actually want to chase that guy? And if you’ve been working on your fitness, which is an integral part of keeping yourself healthy and safe, you should be doing it anyway.

You should be in better shape than that guy.

Doug: Right.

Wim: If you’re facing a stupid drunk in a bar, who’s picking a fight you should not have that much trouble in just giving the guy a quick shelf as you run out the door.

Doug: So, I’m gonna wrap it up for our listeners here ’cause we’re running out of time, but as Wim has talked through this Wim is an expert in violence. So it may seem odd for our listeners to hear somebody talking about how to avoid violence and, and you’re not saying. Never apply violence.

There are times when you may have to, and, but what you are saying [00:46:00] is think through it. Think through what it takes. Think through who you are, think through your intentions and, and know how to respond as a situation specifically unfolds. Keeping your mission in mind, which invariably is to get home and get back to, to your life because your life does not revolve around this one violent moment.

And if it does revolve more around that one violent moment, it is almost invariably a really bad moment that will change your life forever.

Wim: I totally agree with that, and if you, if you look at it that way, I think you will be able to get into the head space in which you avoid many of those problems. If you’re like, this is not what my life should be about, if that is what your life is about, you are in a very violent lifestyle.

And you know how this eventually ends. It typically ends with somebody, very seriously injured, dead or imprison.[00:47:00] 

Doug: Yeah.

Wim: That’s typically how that goes. And if, if that’s what, if that is your, your worldview, you’re like, I’m okay with that. I can only see that I wish you the best. I’ve seen  how that ends with, with many people, if you choose a different path, I would say, well, then there’s tools out there that you might wanna use to avoid falling into that trap of that violence presents and, and it, it’s by far more impossible.

That said, when you are faced with violence, there is no need to become somebody’s punching bag.

Doug: Right.

Wim: One of the things I taught my children is that you don’t start fights, but if somebody attacks you, you have my permission to end the fight. And if any teacher or principal punishes you for it, I will be there defending you, providing you did not provoke that fight.

If I find out you did, I will punish you harder. Then how, no matter how hard they will punish you,

Doug: [00:48:00] Right.

Wim: my kids hardly ever got into Pfizer was, they were, they were attacked a few times here and there, but then, stood up for themselves and,

Doug: We taught the same to ours. Yeah.

Wim: This applies too obviously to adults.

There are situations if somebody wants to harm you, you don’t have to just take it, but what you do physically speaking in response that there’s a whole, So there’s a whole cornucopia of possibilities out there. There’s a buffet of choices, and you have to find one that, that you can make work, and that is not just lethal force or just, complying with whatever demands that that person has, or just taking, taking the punishment.

You might not be able to endure that punishment because you don’t know when it stops. So if you accept both sides of the story, I’ll do everything that I can to avoid it. And then, some of the tips that I wrote might be helpful for that. But if I can’t avoid it, I would try to be effective.

Then I think you have what it takes [00:49:00] to fulfill that mission, should you choose to accept it. Cause the mission impossible just came out to keeping yourself safe and, and living an awesome life basically. That should be the goal for everybody. I think. Just live a great life.

Doug: And that is our, our, our goal here with this podcast, right? Which is to empower folks to thrive unafraid. And go out and live that life. So, Wim, thank you for joining us. Listeners, we appreciate you joining us with as well. We’ll have links to all of Wims, materials and websites in the show notes. And, we really appreciate your insight and your expertise.

For our listeners, remember Thrive unafraid and stay sharp. Thank you.

Wim: Thanks for having me.