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Unconscious Bias

Unconscious biases are generally associated with social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness that effect workplace productivity. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs. We are used to hearing about them everywhere but not self defense. 

 A Bias is a prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another usually in a way that’s considered to be unfair. It's a predisposition toward something. Often it's unconscious. In self defense they are generally tied to a certain style, system or method of defending yourself. Because we are unaware of them, they are dangerous because they affect us without our even realizing it.

In today's violent society, the trend is toward getting a concealed carry so that you can protect yourselves against a violent attack. You see on social media all the time, "If they had a gun, this never would have happened." The belief/bias is that having a handgun would solve any violent encounter. It is their "go to" method of defense that is to be used in every situation... While a handgun is a great option in many violent situations, it is not always the best option. For example, if you are five feet away from an attacker who is armed with a knife and you go for your gun when he attacks you, chances are that he will stab you multiple times before you ever get your gun out. An unconscious bias toward a handgun will cost precious time as we initially think to go for our gun and then switch to going hands on.

We can be biased toward a certain fighting style or range. BJJ, Krav Maga, MMA, taekwando, boxing, concealed carry, knife fighting, wrestling and the list can go on and on. Grapplers want to grapple. Strikers want to strike. We unconsciously want to go to our perceived strengths, to what we are most comfortable with. The problem is that in combat, you are best served to fight to your opponents weakness, not your strength. (‘The height of strategy, is to attack your opponent’s strategy” -Sun Tzu ) They say, never grapple with a grappler or strike with a striker. It is much more advantageous to just look for the closest open target and get your closest weapon on it. If you have a bias, you will bypass the opportunity for what you unconsciously favor.

We can be biased toward a certain side (strong hand/weak hand or side). But what happens when the scenario doesn't favor the use of that side? What happens when you can't use that side because of injury or where you're positioned? Worse yet, what happens when using that side in the scenario makes you vulnerable to an attack or strike from the bad guy? What if your opening to strike is on your "weak" side that you don't favor and because you don't use that side it leaves you without an option to attack or defend? Your bias can leave you defenseless and that is why you can't afford to have a favored (biased) side. You have to practice  and become comfortable using both sides. 

The answer to the problem of unconscious biases is first to be aware that you have them. Once you know that you have one, work to rid yourself of it. Work on both sides so that you are as comfortable on one side as you are on the other. Train different ranges and styles so that you can use the one that is best and then train to look for the closest target and to put the closest weapon on that target quickly. If you conceal carry, develop hands on fighting skills to supplement firearms training. Remember, not everything works all the time and their is no perfect technique to always employ. 

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