If You Take Credit, Will You Take the Blame?

by | Nov 9, 2022

Over 28 years of teaching violence prevention and self-defence, I have unfortunately had many students tell me how they have survived violent encounters.

Now, you might ask why did I say, “unfortunately?” If they survived, that is fantastic news. Maybe I look at it differently or even incorrectly, but I never consider it good news that someone had to “survive” a violent encounter.

I am happy they are alive, but I also know that it does not end there as some happy ending to a story. Often these stories lead one to a life filled with future trauma if they don’t get the proper help.

On another note, I find it irresponsible when an instructor takes “credit” for their student’s survival. Yes, you may have provided the information they used, but were you there to help them? Far too many instructors use these stories as opportunities to promote themselves. I am okay with using stories like this to talk about the importance of the training, but when one uses it as self-promotion, I have some problems.

And how can I express that best? With this question.

“If you are going to take credit for a student’s survival, are you also prepared to take the blame?” If they get harmed or worse, are you not responsible in that case, or does it only apply when the results meet your needs?

As instructors, we may be the conduit to the information. Still, we are not the ones experiencing the emotion, violence, adrenaline, fight or flight, and to think we can control how our students react when we are not there is the ultimate in teaching from a position of ego, not empathy.

Am I overthinking this, or do you agree? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Chris Roberts

Founder, SAFE International