Re: Training against Violent Assault
As a cop of many years, I don't think you can really train for surprise attacks. You can train for particular, dangerous situations which could result in a surprise attack. An example is how officers are trained to approach automobiles during traffic stops. Checking the trunk lid as he moves toward the driver/passenger area, looking into the back seat as he approaches, standing slightly behind the driver's shoulder, gun hand free. Those kinds of practices help prevent big surprises.
Bartenders are really good at picking out cops as they enter a tavern in plainclothes too. Most people will simply walk in and find an open seat. A cop will linger a second at the front door, scan the whole room, and then find a place where it is difficult to get behind him. It takes a lot of practice to stifle that behavior when working undercover too.
Keeping your situation awareness, your zanshin, is, at least in my opinion, the best you can do in a normal life. Depending on where you are, your awareness level raises or lowers. I have a friend in the dojo who delights in sneaking up behind me and grabbing me before or after class. He almost always succeeds in startling me in the dojo. He hasn't been able to get very close outside the dojo however as I'm more aware of my surrounding outside the safe harbor of the training hall.
I think a good and honest sense of awareness is all you can reasonably hope to train for. This might be a great topic for George Ledyard Sensei to weigh in on - he has broad experience in training people in just this area.