Over the years I have written a number of articles and blog posts and spoken extensively on the philosophy of training to win versus training to survive. I still hear officers and trainers around North America talking about officer survival, and training to survive. In violent confrontations I still see officers focused on survival and not on winning and it bothers me.
I have a great deal of admiration for officers who survive violent encounters. As a trainer however, I always have to wonder if the outcome could have been different if we (we being the collective training community) had trained the officer to win instead of just to survive.
Winston Churchill addresses this concept very well in the following quote which I use in my presentations on Harnessing the Winning Mind and Warrior Spirit:
“Victory at all costs,victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
Sir Winston Churchill
Some of the take aways from Churchill’s quote include:
- Winning takes work.
- Winning is not an easy path.
- Sometimes you have to overcome fear in order to prevail and winning.
- Survival is a by product of winning.
Training to win has multiple components:
- Training to a level of competence and confidence in skills, tactics, legal authorities, knowledge of when you can use force will help you have that ‘aura’, that presence that tells a subject “if you mess with me you will lose”.
- Training to stay in the fight and fight until you have won, even if you are injured.
- After the fight have the ability to self treat wounds and take action to save your own life.
- Possessing the ability to articulate why what you did was reasonable based on totality of circumstances.
We need to stop talking about survival. We need to stop teaching officers to survive. We need to teach officers to win. This is not semantics. This is life and death.