Active shooter training has become a hot topic of conversation in North America. According to Gun Violence Archive‘s definition of a mass shooting – any incident in which a gunman “shoots or kills four or more people in the same general time and location” – there were 345 reported mass shootings in 2017 alone. The attack on Las Vegas can be recalled as one of the most recent and deadliest shootings in modern United States history. Meanwhile, the total number of individual gun-related incidents in 2018 has already reached 1,906, marking a total number of 569 deaths and 991 injuries.
With this evident issue warranting concern across the country, many martial arts studios have introduced active shooter training programs to better educate and help defend their communities. Here, we discuss how to evaluate whether active shooter training is fitting for your school.
Why Offer Active Shooter Training?
Gun-related incidents have stimulated an increased interest in active shooter training classes. Supporters of active shooter training classes believe that those on the ground are considered to be first responders, as most incidents are often over within 10 to 15 minutes. Since many active shooter incidents are ended by force, proper active shooter training could potentially help neutralize the situation.
Active shooter training — similar to martial arts training — can also help build the confidence of the student. Through in-depth training, students can develop the skills needed to react in an appropriate fashion. Enacting scenarios with your students can help them think dynamically, in response to a real-time active shooter situation. Many classes focus on disarming shooters and hand-to-hand combat, with an emphasis on the ability to decipher when to react, run, or hide.
The Other Side to Active Shooter Training
Others have challenged active shooter training and argued that it should not be taught at martial arts schools. One of the biggest concerns is that students who are too young are being taught to fight back, in the event that one of these unique situations should arise. Contrarily, supporters of active shooter training classes believe even children should learn to do something during an incident, even if it’s evacuating the area.
Since active shooter situations present a completely unique kind of self-defense, it is important to understand the difference between martial arts training in general and self-defense training that is specific to an active shooter scenario. Active shooter training is a type of specialized training; instructors must be specifically qualified to teach it. Though martial arts training can help students be more aware of their surroundings and understand how to escape from a dangerous situation, traditional martial arts training should not be used in an active shooter situation, as it is not equivalent to active shooter training.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Ultimately, one thing that most supporters and detractors of active shooter training classes agree on is that students should only attack when there is no other alternative to keeping oneself safe. Using force as the absolute last resort is a tenet in martial arts training, so there is an important synergy between disciplines. As the philosophy embedded in martial arts merits self-control and discipline, fighting back is clearly underlined as a student’s last resort. Understanding when you should react is the most important takeaway, whether or not you have active shooter training.
If you manage a martial arts school, you may have noticed an upsurge in new students seeking self-defense classes, in the wake of tragic events that have taken place in North America. By providing classes specific to active shooter incidents, you may be able to gain some long-term members, who choose to pursue further training in other forms of self-defense.
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