One of the most self-defeating phrases in the English language. Probably also one of the first learned and most often spoken as well.
And if people aren't proclaiming their own self-made limitations they are busy projecting them on others.
We know that "can't" is lie. Still we claim it as truth in our own lives and force it on others with a ferocity that can range from benign to flat-out criminal.
Time and time again we've seen the lie that is "can't" be exposed for the facade it is...
You can't travel faster than the speed of sound.
You can't travel outside of earth's atmosphere.
You can't run a mile faster than four minutes.
Even though we know, now, that given the right time, about of knowledge, skill, tools and motivation darned near anything is possible, people insist on limiting so much...
I can't be happy.
I can't find love.
I can't get that promotion.
I can't get cancer.
I can't be in an abusive relationship.
I can't watch my family be murdered before my eyes.
That took a dark turn, didn't it?
The act of throwing up a middle finger to "can't" and telling it to copulate with itself is not limited to the positive things we want in life.
"Can't" is as much of a lie when you are denying an ugly reality as it is when you are denying a positive opportunity.
And yet, I see this type of "can't" being propagated in the self defense community. I see if every day in the comments I read on Facebook and YouTube and blog posts all over the internet.
"You can't let him get that close to you."
"You can't let it get that far."
"You can't let someone pull a knife on you."
I've got some really bad news for you: YOU FUCKING CAN!
You may not want to. You may do everything to avoid it. But it can happen. And it can happen to YOU!
And now that it has happened, what are you going to do about it?
Some people respond, having seen you work your hardest to prepare for those worst-case scenarios, by throwing in an extra bushel of "can't" for your dying pleasure.
"You can't get out of that hold."
"You can't hold, draw, shoot, load, etc your gun like that."
"You can't defend against that."
"You can't work that technique."
"You can't survive that."
Well, I'm certainly going to try!
I prepare for the worst-case. I don't believe that carrying a gun and a pocket knife renders me perfectly prepared to combat any foe. I don't live in a fantasy world that makes me believe I can't be taken by surprise or ambushed. I don't believe I can keep every bad person out there at a twenty-one foot distance from me. I don't believe I will be able to perfectly perform every defensive technique I've ever learned at any given time. I'm preparing for the possibility that I might panic, freeze, forget, be sick, distracted, exhausted, afraid but so damned trained I will at least do SOMETHING to the best of my ability to survive.
I've experienced some of the ugliest truth of what CAN happen to me and I've lived through it all to the end that I work my ass off to be as prepared as I can be should I have to face it again.
I share what I do with others so that I might be able to track my progress, be inspired and motivated by those more prepared than me and maybe inspire others to abandon the lies of "can't" in their own lives for both the good and the bad.
Some use that openness on my part as a chisel to try to break apart my own efforts and training. They try to tell me what I'm doing isn't effective or won't work or isn't good enough. They may be right. They may be wrong. But one thing I know to be a fact is that I'm out there doing the work. I'm learning. I'm putting forth the effort. I do what I can do in a way that won't cripple myself or those I train with. Sometimes I do well. Sometimes I get my ass kicked. But always I am learning and working to be that much better, quicker, and fiercer than anyone who might try to harm me. I may never be bigger or stronger but I believe I can train until I can outsmart, outmaneuver or just plain outbluff or outluck someone who thinks they can harm me or mine.
And so I ask... What the hell are you doing?
If you're out there working beside me and doing what you can do in the limits of your own time, money and life, then bravo! We're on this road together.
So many are still hiding behind the mask of, "That can't happen to me." And not all of them are anti-gun idealists either. Some carry guns and hold on to them like magic talismans disbelieving that anyone could get through their "situational awareness." Their eyes are blinded to the dark possibilities of the world. They stand proud and secure in their own illusion of what can't possibly happen but does every day. And still others look at people like me and find nothing better to do than project more negativity because, surely, the little woman can't beat the big guy.
Shit happens. It can happen to you. The bad guy can get to you. And sometimes the little gal can win.