A few years ago I thought up an easy-to-remember acronym. Well, more precisely, I re-purposed an easy-to-remember acronym. CPR, as it’s commonly known, stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It’s an emergency procedure performed to restore blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest, so it follows that my re-appropriation also describes a life saving course of action in the form of three tactical essentials needed to survive any self-defense encounter.
This tactical CPR stands for: Confident attitude, Predetermined tactics, and Rapid response.
When it comes to winning, humble confidence is ideal. Cockiness and overconfidence can get you harmed; humility helps. But you’ve got to have confidence. I believe that confidence comes from training and mindset.
It comes first from being comfortable with your weapon. It comes as you move towards carrying, handling and operating a gun as if it’s a part of your body—an extension of your arm. Confidence comes from knowing the law, preparing your mind, experiencing challenging training and knowing that you can work under pain, confusion and chaos. Confidence also comes from being able to trust the man or the woman beside you, when working as a team.
Confidence helps us fight when we need to fight and be patient when we need to be patient. A confident attitude gives us the right mindset needed to win and survive deadly confrontations.
Predetermined tactics is a fancy way of knowing what’s going to happen in the future. It’s not mind-reading; it’s forecasting and anticipating threats. Most defensive work is reactive, that is, in self defense situations, we react to the actions of others. But you can still gain a tactical advantage in these situations if you can identify the right cues (which also means maintaining vigilance) and you already know the appropriate defensive response.
Like a shortstop who assesses the number of outs and where to throw the ball if it should come to him, determining what will happen before it happens, can cut down on lag time (i.e. time you could get killed or injured during) drastically. This skill is learned in two ways: (1) actual training and experience, and (2) “what if” mind-gaming.
Simply put, if you have a plan before it happens, you can react more quickly than if you had no plan at all.
“R” is the last letter though hardly the last in importance. The ability to react quickly is a nonnegotiable talent when it comes to survival in any context. Granted there may be times when it is necessary to wait for just the right moment or even hesitate for just a few seconds in certain circumstances, but when you decide it’s time to act, you must act and be fast about it.
You need speed. You need to act with violence and aggression. You need to act as if your life depends upon our rapid response because it does. When force is justified and your adrenaline dumps, you need to shoot fast—faster than the guy trying to kill you.
The CPR acronym, be it of the tactical or more famous medical variety, refers to some of the most basic tactics of human survival in the face of an emergency. Don’t forget it.
Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time professional in the art of self-defense and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training. Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.