Don’t Fight Fire With Fire- Be Like Water My Friend.
When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember the fire department usually uses water. – Unknown
Violence in medicine is real. There is no denying that fact. This phrase When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember the fire department usually uses water could not be more true when being confronted with the violent encounter on the job, or any use-of-force for that matter. In our DT4EMS Escaping Violent Encounters (EVE) courses we are preparing staff for the four battles contained within every violent encounter.
These 4 battles (Mind, Street, Media and Courtroom) are the metaphorical equivalent of the fire. Think of each area all requiring a different amount of water to deal with the amount of fire faced with or maybe the source in which the water is obtained. Trying to meet any of them head on and attempting to beat them with their own specialty is not usually the best course of action. (i.e. Trying to out-box a boxer or out-grapple a grappler) Instead, use water (tactics) to deal with fire (techniques).
Unlike any other profession, in emergency medicine, we have to make a split-second decision as to if we are dealing with a patient, truly needing our help, or an aggressor/attacker who does not. Without formal training to deal with an on-the-job violent encounter, staff have a history of making erroneous decisions and suffer dire consequences.
When you are talking about or training for on-the-job (in medicine) self-defense, your mindset must be different than that of winning a fight. Too often people confuse winning in self-defense with winning a fight. Those are two completely different ways of thinking and training. Take a look at the image below.
When I first heard the “When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember the fire department usually uses water” statement my mind immediately went to an old quote from Bruce Lee-
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
Don’t Fight Fire With Fire- Be like water my friend.