One Life Defense's Violence of Mind Lecture

RJ Boyer

After Action Review for One Life Defense’s Violence of Mind Lecture

Date: Sunday, September 10, 2017
Time: 0900 to 1800 (A full eight hours in the classroom)
Location: F3 Tactical, Chantilly, VA

Up front I am going to say that this is going to be a slightly shorter AAR than I normally write. Since this class was a lecture, the more I type, the more of Varg Freeborn’s special sauce I will give away and the whole idea of an AAR is to provide more information to those of you who are reading this so you can decide on if you want to take this class or not.

The class was held in the classroom at F3 Tactical and I want to give a huge shout out to Jimmy at F3. He opened up his store to us on his one day of rest and stuck around the entire day answering our silly questions and selling a few trinkets and nick nacks. The classroom was perfectly sized, but make sure you bring a jacket or sweatshirt since it was a bit cold (and yes Jimmy, we found the thermostat and we are just complaining because there is nothing else to complain about.)

The lecture started right at 0900 with Varg welcoming us and asking us to introduce ourselves and let him know why we were in the class. I think he said something along the lines of ‘Tell me what threat you want to learn from me about.’ My answer was the High Order Predator. I wanted to learn more about the thinking, learning, always adapting threat. The intro showed that as always, we had an interesting mix of students. Some security folks, one LEO, some govt types, and a lot of just “normal” people. Please note that I use the term “normal” as a good term. Varg says over and over again that he focuses his teaching to the non-LEO, non-Military individuals.

Varg also stated that he wanted the lecture to be more of an open and involved discussion to ensure that everyone got what they needed out of the course and that he could use those conversations and lessons to modify his lecture.

He started off the lecture with the statement that everyone talks about Violence of Action, which is great, but no one discusses that in order to have Violence of Action, one needs to have Violence of Mind. By that he meant that an individual has to have thought of these topics before and have ideas straight in their minds in order to be able to respond. Varg then brought up the question of defining our mission. This is central to all of Varg’s training. In order to effectively training, prepare, and improve ourselves, we must first know and fully understand our mission.

A large part of the conversations throughout the day talked about the high order criminal and their constant desire to judge the Return on Investment of their actions. Will an individual who is running a criminal empire risk jail to rob one individual for pocket change? But will a highly effective low order criminal who is being managed, directed, lead, by a high order criminal take that risk? The discussion then moved into the difficulty that many in the training and protection communities have in recognizing skill in the predator and criminal. In order to understand how they act and their capabilities, you must be able to recognize their strengths just as much as their weaknesses.

We then moved into Varg’s opinion of the use of a knife in a self defense situation. He has made his views very clear in Primary and Secondary Modcasts in the past, and he provided some very sobering personal stories giving more context to his teachings.

Next we covered the idea of conducting a Risk Assessment. This is getting into Varg’s special sauce, so what I will say is he has a very interesting way of explain the age old model of Risk = Criticality x Threat x Vulnerability. We also discussed the danger of individuals and their dedication to causes and the threats that might cause. He then moved into what make the normal “good” person vulnerable to a predator.

Moving along we covered the idea of deterrence and if it works or not in the real world, and then how one would go about building the proper training program and developing the correct mindset for self defense.

As I said, since this was a pure lecture class, I am glossing over a lot of the details. What I want to get across the most is that if you are looking for a lecture that gives you a paint by the numbers, first you do this and then you do this and then you buy that equipment, and then you defeat the threat, you do not want this lecture. This is a thought invoking class that makes you self-examine your ideas and plans and processes and beliefs. That makes you customize what Varg has taught you to fit your needs and life and thus you really do learn, understand the lessons and use them to start the process to start change. Not a bad way to spend an early fall Sunday.