It’s a new month, a new start, and a new InRangeTV video! In this episode, I explore the common advice of spiking your keys out in your fist so that you can more effectively and painfully hit someone trying to attack you. It’s something I’ve talked about here in an earlier post, but unlike the written word, video lets me do a few extra things, like actually show how it works or doesn’t work.
Well, in this case, Chuck Haggard of Agile/Training and Consulting demonstrated for me, and I waited until afterward to give it a try. Let’s just say that everything I guessed about this particular tip ended up being true.
It turns out that you don’t in fact need to have tried every single strategy for yourself in order to understand whether it works or not. That’s a good thing, because it can get expensive to do that, not to mention the risk of injury to yourself or the friend you’re “testing” with, depending on the exact tool or technique you’re trying. Getting useful results can also be difficult if you don’t understand how to safely conduct those tests or even exactly what you’re looking for. Setting up ways to tell if something is a viable self-defense solution can be hard if you don’t have enough background knowledge to see how it’s supposed to work and what counts as effective. It’s also not always helpful to try to test it yourself because if you do have that background knowledge, you might already have a pretty good idea that the effort isn’t worthwhile because you’ll already know it won’t work well.
Fortunately, if you aren’t sure, there’s an alternative to trying it out: find out from someone else. Part of my preparation for each of my InRange episodes is to consult with other experts to learn their relevant experiences and opinions. It’s important to keep an open mind when you do this, instead of only looking for people who agree with any predetermined conclusions you may have because your pretty good idea might be wrong. You also need to make sure you’re working with a slate of folks who actually do have relevant background and knowledge to speak authoritatively to the particular concept you’re wondering about. That’s not always as easy as it sounds, and that’s why I’ve spent quite a bit of time here at OHO talking about how to identify true experts in what you want to know.
One big thing that helps? Learning a little bit about the hows and whys. As you explore each new-to-you option you run across, try not to focus on the headline of whether or not it’s effective. Instead, spend some time with the reasons why it does or doesn’t work, and when and where and how. Jump down those rabbit holes and cross-reference each new piece of information with what you already know and what you learn from your own experiences and from other experts. That knowledge will help you start figuring out what you’re looking for when you see a new tool or technique, and give you an idea up front of whether it will or won’t work. It will also help you know which experts to ask and who to ignore. You’ll need to stay humble about where you’re at on the knowledge and experience scale, but this is exactly how you become an educated consumer and perhaps, one day, an expert yourself.
If you pay attention in this episode, the bonus lesson for you will be seeing some of this in action as I talk about the origins of the keys-in-fist trick and compare it with where it came from: lowly brass knuckles.