There is one tool that I always carry and it is something I believe you should carry too. This surprising tool has multiple functions and can be used to complete everyday tasks but can also be used as an effective protective device. It is not a firearm or a knife. It is a tactical pen.
Why carry a tactical pen instead of a knife or a firearm? Here is my rationale: The aforementioned weapons should be trained with as often as possible so you can avoid injuring yourself or others. People who buy and carry firearms and knives but never train with them are extremely dangerous people. The tactical pen allows you carry a tool that can be used for routine activities (like taking down notes, signing checks, etc.) or as an effective weapon. Tactical Pen's come in many forms, shapes, sizes, and even colors. They are extremely easy to personalize and will last you a long time. They are also extremely cost effective compared to many knives. My tactical pen is pictured above. It is a black Smith and Wesson pen. Some tips on tactical pens:
1) Train with them! Hold them in your hands often and see how the grips feel. Hold it in every possible way you can think of so you can find the most optimal grips. Some grips will be obvious, others not so obvious. Experiment so you can discover which grips feel good for you. Grip is vital in actually utilizing the weapon and the time to discover the best grip is not when the attacker is bearing down on you. Discover it now.
2) Practice drawing it from the place you wear it. If you place it in your pocket and then get attacked sitting down, that is a bad time to discover you cannot deploy your pen. Practice drawing it from standing, sitting and lying down (face down, face up and on both sides). Just as grip is vital so to is the ability to draw and deploy the weapon. It will do you little good if you cannot access it so practice drawing often.
In summation, I advocate the pen largely because it is more difficult for you to injure yourself than it is with a firearm or knife. Also, not all situations warrant a knife or firearm. The litigation that will ensue when you stab or shoot someone can also be avoided if you have other weapons to call upon. In other words, if a firearm is your only option and you shoot someone unnecessarily because you had no other options, you could face serious legal (not to mention moral) ramifications. The tactical pen is a great tool to add to your daily carry items for that reason. It gives you more options.
In addition, there are many places you cannot legally carry firearms or knives. Knives are also subject to varying laws regarding their length, method of deployment, etc. There are no such restrictions with the pen. You can carry it virtually* anywhere and are thus always armed. The pen may not look like much but having been on the receiving end of the tactical pen before, I can tell you from experience that it can inflict immense pain if you choose to do so.
Even former CIA Officer, Jason Hanson, founder of http://spyescapeandevasion.com/ carries tactical pens. He is someone who has lived the life of a warrior and he knows the value of the tactical pen. Does he advocate firearms and knives too? Of course. However, he understands the value of having weapons like the tactical pen for situations where it is not legal to carry firearms (and the other situations I already mentioned). I encourage you to visit his website as he has many outstanding resources for citizens who are concerned about protecting themselves. He is able to offer a different perspective as I have not served in the CIA. Warriors gather the best information from many sources, from many teachers. Do this.
If you have any more questions about tactical pens email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live in the Battleground,
*I say virtually so that I will not have people mad at me when they discover the one place you can't carry them. I have yet to travel to a place that won't allow them but that does not mean those places don't exist. Ultimately, it is up to you to do your own due diligence when it comes to carrying any weapon.
The picture above is of a Claymore mine. This weapon has inscribed on it's face, a very powerful three word phrase which is one that is embraced by warriors all over the world. It is a phrase that I have embraced and use it to motivate me when I am faced with challenges. The phrase is simple, yet evokes imagery that is compelling and fueling. The acronym is F-T-E which stands for: Front Toward Enemy.
This is one of the Warrior Speaker's motto's. It is a quick phrase that can be said when one is feeling down, oppressed, or beaten. Remind yourself to keep your front toward your enemy. Warriors know that many times in battles, you will not feel "up to" fighting. The enemy however does not care that you feel this way. Who is the enemy? It can be an assailant who has broken into your home or it can be that alarm clock sounding off annoyingly at 5am for your workout. Whichever it is, you put your front to your enemy.
The majority of us in this country will never be faced with a serious deadly threat. Your enemy will appear in different forms besides that of a hooded attacker in a dark alley. Your enemy may be the sweet tooth you have that is costing you your health. It may be a challenging In-law you face every time you have a family get-together. It may be your job that you know deep down isn't what you were meant to do but you must do in order to pay the bills and keep food on the table. Whatever it is, you face it. You stand up and boldly face it. Like a warrior you face your enemy in whatever form it appears and you make sure that your enemy knows you will not give in; that here is no surrender in you.
And if in fact your enemy is a hooded attacker who means to do you harm, you face that enemy too. You place yourself between them and your family and you face the enemy with a firm look of immovability and resolution. For if you will not act, who will? If you will not face your enemies, who will face them for you? Do not be deceived into believing there will always be a superhero to come "save the day." The truth is, real life superheros exist in the form of people just like you. Men and women who boldly stand up and face real world enemies and problems; those are the superheros. You can be one of them, and it all starts with facing your enemy.
On this Warrior Wednesday, I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and boldly face the enemies in your life. Your alarm clock, your sugar craving, your feelings of inadequacy, your dwindling finances; whatever the enemy may be. Know that you can choose to be a warrior and that you can conquer all those things. And it all starts by placing your front toward your enemy.
The missing ingredient: the 1 thing our culture needs more of to enable success (hint: it's not what you think)
Today I want to share with you the missing ingredient that if utilized more frequently and appropriately, would facilitate and enable a greater number of people to achieve success than are currently doing so. This ingredient is a simple one, but extremely potent. It is an ancient ingredient and is always utilized by a warrior or a warrior trainer. Too much of this ingredient is fatal, but if this ingredient is not present at all, that is also fatal. Fatal to character, fatal to proper development, and fatal to the proper forging of the warrior spirit which is necessary to survive and carry on through struggles. The name of this ancient ingredient is pain.
Pain in the appropriate and well rationed amounts, is absolutely essential to forging a warrior. Can you imagine training to fight but never fighting? Training to fight but never being hit or impacted in any way? Look at this way: can a football player properly prepare for the season if he were never to receive and give impact? "Let's just do calisthenics coach. We don't need to actually practice tackling or being tackled." This player would be scorned by the coach. And rightly so. "How do you expect to be ready if you don't ever get tackled or tackle someone son?" Exactly. The football player must feel the impact, feel the pain.
The pain I am referring to is not one of debilitating injury. It is the pain appropriate to one's task. A football player must be tackled and tackle others. A soldier must be hit, feel some pain, in order to simulate combat. Modern day soldiers are often shot with rubber bullets, airsoft BB's and other devices to deliver some pain so that engaging in a shooting conflict is more realistic. Shooting down range is not enough. You must shoot down range while being shot at. And since the military isn't fond of killing it's own troops, they cannot return fire with real cartridges, so they opt down the pain level to deliver an appropriate dose: BB's, rubber rounds, etc.
Your life is no different. You must feel an appropriate amount of pain in order to facilitate success. If you are too pampered and are never made to struggle (feel the pain) how will you persevere when things get tough? You won't. You will give up. You will surrender; and life is merciless. If you surrender to life, it will do with you as it will with complete and utter disregard for you, your feelings, your desires and your happiness. A warrior knows this. This is why the warrior trains. This is why the warrior embraces pain, not injury. People who train to be injured are (in Warrior Speaker's opinion) foolish. But people who train to avoid all pain are missing the point. In a real fight, you will get hit. You will trip and fall (or be thrown down). You will get scraped, you will get bruised. If weapons are involved, you will get hit, cut, shot with them.Therefore, you must be able to experience pain and continue. You must be able to feel pain and persevere because if you surrender, your enemy (and life) are merciless.
Warrior Speaker sees very many people in relationships today act as if they should never feel pain in a relationship. This is incorrect. Real love will hurt. Real love requires sacrifices to be made (i.e.: you feel a certain pain to achieve a goal, the happiness of another). Having pain in a relationship does not mean you should pitch the relationship, it could very well be the forge that you must go through to come out stronger on the other end.
I know this was true in my case. I went through a relationship that was extremely detrimental to my spiritual, emotional and physical health 6 years ago. It was very painful, many mistakes were made, and it ultimately resulted in a break-up that hurt me deeply. However, had I not gone through that forge, I never would have known what things NOT TO DO in a relationship. Having that experience (pain) in my past, I am succeeding immensely at my current relationship because I know what not to do. The teacher was pain. Had I not experienced the pain of loss, the pain of being vulnerable and being hurt, I would never have valued what I have now nearly as much. Was pain comfortable at the time? Of course not. But was it necessary? Yes. I am now in a mature, reciprocal relationship where we both openly communicate our likes, dislikes, grudges aren't held, and we both cater to the other's love languages. It is wonderful. But I only know how to do that because I have the previous experience of pain.
NOTE: I am NOT SAYING that people in abusive relationships should remain there. That is the exact opposite of what I am saying. Abusive relationships are causing injury (and can cause death) not simply pain. Injury is to be avoided. If you are in an abusive relationship, I implore you to seek help. This is the topic for another blog, but I wanted to to be very clear on what I was and was not saying. Pain does not equal abuse. The two are very different. Pain can help you grow, pain can help you learn. Abuse is criminal and is not to be tolerated.
In closing, what this generation needs is a dose of pain. They need to be made uncomfortable. We are doing them no favors by coddling them. Why? Because life will not coddle them. The world will not coddle them. Other people may or may not coddle them. Give them appropriate pain now, to avoid disaster in the future. As the picture quote stated at the beginning of the blog: "Pain is the best teacher but nobody wants to be his student." No pain is comfortable at the time. That is precisely the point. Life will not always be comfortable. Only those who can handle and deal with a little pain will be successful. Your relationships will cause you pain. Your job will cause you pain. Pursuing your dream will cause you pain. Standing up for what you believe in will cause you pain. It is unavoidable. And since the warrior knows that it is impossible to avoid all pain, the warrior trains to endure pain; to be able to follow through and carry on in spite of pain. They refuse to surrender to life and pain. Because here is the real secret: If you surrender, you will still feel pain; except now, the pain will be dealt on life's terms, not yours. If you are going to feel pain, it may as well be on your terms. If you must feel pain, feel pain that will be instructional and serve to help you learn a lesson that you can use to further your dream and arrive at the success you desire.
Embrace pain. Embrace discomfort. Become comfortable with pain. Allow it teach you lessons. It will teach you many things if you are listening. Live like a warrior and use pain to your advantage as a great teacher and you will be much farther down the path to success than most people.
Keep moving forward with your front toward the enemy and ALWAYS live in the battleground.
Did you know that there is an ancient battlefield principle that you can use to fortify and strengthen your relationships? This principle is particularly powerful when used in a significant other type relationship. It is simple, yet tremendously effective. Warriors have used this principle for centuries in real battles, conflicts and wars.
The ultimate principle is this: The ability to not take things personally. Let me explain ...
As a commander on a battlefield, you will be taking in lots of information. The survival of your troops depends on your ability to make the best judgments and lead them in the right course of action. This can only be done if you remain as impartial as possible, take in all the information and make the best choice based on that information.
As a commander, many soldiers will be communicating with you about what you should do, or how they feel about this or that course of action. Those troops may not like the commander's choice, and that could hurt the commander if he/she takes that personally. The commander must remain impartial and make the best choice, but most importantly, listen to ALL THE INFORMATION and not discount something because it is uncomfortable. The same goes for your relationship.
Your spouse or significant other will often times present you with a piece of information. It could be that they feel badly about they way you said this or did that or that they would like it better if you did X or Y. Instead of immediately taking things personally and saying something like "Oh, so it sounds like you don't value anything I do/say at all!" Take a moment, draw a deep breath, and really listen to what your spouse/partner is saying. Very often, they are not attacking you, but instead are unhappy with a behavior or A THING THAT YOU DID. A good commander can divorce themselves from the things they said or did in a given moment. If you do the same, your relationships will be far more rewarding in the form of deeper and more meaningful communication.
A good rule of thumb is to always assume that what your spouse/partner is saying to is NOT PERSONAL unless they specifically declare it to be so. Listen to what they are saying. Usually it is something like "I don't like when you DO this," or "I don't like when you SAY that," not that they don't like YOU. We tend to hear the word 'you' and tune the rest out. Don't. Listen to the whole thing and realize they often simply want a behavior corrected or a misspoken word apologized for. Don't take it personally. Remain impartial. Assume they still love you but are upset with the action or word and it often times may turn out to be just that. Keep taking things personally and assume they don't love you, and it may quickly become exactly as you predict.
Living in the Battleground,
The Warrior Speaker
The Warrior Speaker Blog is a collection of warrior lessons Alexander has learned in addition to practical information about protecting yourself and all that you deem most personal.