Are you a 'Sheepdog'? Wolfhound'? A 'Good Wolf?' Something else? Nothing at all? ....

Are you a 'Sheepdog'? Wolfhound'? A 'Good Wolf?' Something else? Nothing at all? ....

This is a discussion on Are you a 'Sheepdog'? Wolfhound'? A 'Good Wolf?' Something else? Nothing at all? .... within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Labels Written by CR Williams Suarez International Specialist Insructor Are you a ‘Sheepdog’? ‘Wolfhound’? A ‘Good Wolf?’ Something else? Nothing at all? Does it matter? ...

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    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    Are you a 'Sheepdog'? Wolfhound'? A 'Good Wolf?' Something else? Nothing at all? ....

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    Written by CR Williams Suarez International Specialist Insructor


    Are you a ‘Sheepdog’? ‘Wolfhound’? A ‘Good Wolf?’ Something else? Nothing at all? Does it matter? I think so. Here’s why.

    Who’s behind you?

    That question was actually the original title I had for this article. I ask it because for most of us, even if we are alone and isolated when an attack starts, there is someone, somewhere, who is depending on us to stay up and stay alive and to go home to them. Sometimes, I think, some of us have different attitudes about what we’ll do and how we’ll do it if the fight comes to us when we’re with those we care about, as opposed to what we’ll do and how we’ll do it if we’re alone at the time. I don’t believe you should forget that you’re learning to fight, preparing for the fight, and training to fight to protect someone else besides yourself, whether they’re three feet or three thousand miles behind you at the time.

    That concept fits the idea that is labeled as ‘Sheepdog’. Some use that term, as described in the section ‘On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs’ in the book On Combat by Lt. Col Dave Grossman, to describe those who chose to go about armed and ready to resist those who would bring evil to those who are good. You, the sheepdog, have a group…a ‘flock’…and you are on guard for them. Whether they are there, close to you, to guard is irrelevant to the fact that you are on guard for them. You protect yourself when you’re alone because it protects them.

    Some people in the self-defense world scoff at the use of the term ‘Sheepdog’ to denote a defender of any kind, or of the use of any label to denote a role such as the one we adopt in defense of ourselves and others. I think they may be mistaken about doing this. I think labels can be useful and may be (sometimes) necessary. Labels are word-symbols and mental keys to imagery and emotion and lists of attributes that we tie, positively or negatively, to the label. Labels represent the list of attributes that we want to adopt and maintain and strengthen. We remember the label easier than we can remember the list of attributes that it represents, and if we ‘tie in’ to the label mentally and emotionally, we can use the label to bring up the attributes and capabilities we need when we need them. The label, in some cases, becomes the foundation, the rock that we stand on and drive off of as we go to meet the challenge we are facing, or the wall that our back is to that stiffens us against that which cannot be allowed to pass. But understand it’s not the label itself that does that. We have to develop the attributes and talents and capability that the label represents to us, or else the label is a lie. But in the times when we are threatened with our own doubts and forget our own capability to deal with the challenge, the label can be the key to remembering what we really are and what we have worked to become and what we can do to meet that challenge.

    The words, “I AM (INSERT LABEL HERE)” can have power beyond imagination or comprehension by those who have not actually seen their effect.

    BUT: As labels are positive things, they can also be negative things. Some ways a label can hurt and not help you would be: If you take the wrong label
    for yourself (I’m not a Sheepdog for example. It would limit me to try to be just that.); if you make the mistake of thinking that taking the label gives you the attributes it represents. (Like some who think that a piece of equipment is a substitute for skill, some think that a label, either one they pick up or one given to them, awards them the attributes and skill without them having to work for it. The realization of the mistake where we live in the self-defense/fight-for-life world is often painful and sometimes fatal); or when we hang on to a label for too long.

    The last point merits a separate paragraph. Not everybody needs a label, and not everybody needs to hold on to a label forever. I dare to say that no one should seek to remain within the boundaries prescribed by some, if not every, label, and that everyone should strive to move beyond any label they take on or are given with the goal of becoming simply everything they are again. Miyamoto Musashi, he who is called sometimes the ‘Sword-Saint of Japan’, spoke first of elemental labels—Ground, Water, Fire, Wind—and then of the Void, which both encompasses the others and at the same time is none of them. Masaaki Hatsumi, in his earlier writing and teaching about what is now called Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, spoke of those same elements, each one encompassing certain characteristic of attitude as well as technique, and then of Void, where all was encompassed and all was discarded at the same time. What these two masters of their respective disciplines spoke of, we should be striving to become…both with, and without, defining labels.

    In the same way we initially learn patterns to learn concepts and then (hopefully) grow to the point where we discard the patterns and are able to adapt the concepts to whatever the fight brings to us, so also we may initially adopt or accept labels in order to help us adopt and maintain helpful and necessary characteristics and attributes. The danger is that we become too comfortable inside of that label and never expand beyond the definitions it imposes. Then, when something demands something else, some other attribute or characteristic of us, we are faced with defeat, with failure, and perhaps even with death.

    “DAMMIT, JIM, I’M A DOCTOR, NOT A…!!!!”

    But if McCoy had really been exactly what his label said he was and nothing else, there are times when Captain and crew would not have survived to go on to the next episode, would they?

    As the fictional Dr. McCoy had his labels but didn’t allow them to limit him, neither should you. As he took the label and used it when it was to his advantage, so should you. And as he discarded that label when he needed to and when it was best to do so, so should you.

    Labels, like guns and knives, are tools. Pick them up when they’re best for the job. Put them down when you’re finished with them. Know when you have the right one for what you need to do, and when you don’t. And work to be able to use any of them by not needing any of them to be what you are.

    The people behind you are counting on you to do that.

    You be safe out there. And if you can’t be safe, be dangerous.
    Old School and Bkrazy like this.
    It's gotta be who you are, not a hobby. reinman45

    "Is this persons bad behavior worth me having to kill them over?" Guantes


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    I am the man that becomes the warrior when my life, or the lives of my family are in jeopardy. I am nothing more, I am nothing less. My training and mindset are part of my tool bag. I will use them to the best of my ability to prevail in a fight. This Is my promise to those I love.
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

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  3. #3
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    I understand the concept and how it applies... I don't discard labels, but I feel they are much overused and thrown around so cavalierly that they become tiresome and diminished. Especially within the self defense community, and even more so when you know by the persons demeanor, behavior and attributes that the label they want to be known for doesn't apply.

    A lot of people (especially on the internet, but in real life as well) seem to reach for an identity which doesn't fit who they are, and then become mildly annoying when they are scoffed at or rebuked for claiming what they are not. When I grew up, I always thought labels were earned and bestowed upon someone by another, not chosen and self proclaimed, the way they seem to be in today's world.

    Of course, that's just me... I could be way off base as well.
    -Bark'n
    Semper Fi


    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Bark'n nailed this one. There are too many self proclaimed gurus out there today telling us what to think, who we are, and who we should be, and these are many of those same people who have self proclaimed themselves and eleveted themselves to a position to "educate us".

    I kind of feel sorry for people who do not have a firearms background, and are just getting into the scene. They do not have enough knowledge or practical experience to seperate the reality of there needs with the crap that someone is feeding them. Buzz terminology like "sheep" are quickly digested by new comers, and whoever has the best sales pitch can suck them right in to their own fabricated philosophies and ideas, take their money, and fill their heads with total nonsense. And then after a while you have a person running around with a gun thinking he is the defender of freedom, justice , and the American way. Very dangerous for them, evryone around them, and does not advance the cause nor represent the gun community well.
    mr.stuart and bmcgilvray like this.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Very well put, Glockman. I note with approval that we have little jabber here about "sheepdogs" and "werewolves" and so on. Very little - and the less the better. I would fully support a ban on all such talk here (to be community enforced, of course).
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    +1 to all the above. I am not an "ine" of any type, just a man following his own path, like every other man.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

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    VIP Member Array JDE101's Avatar
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    Ditto to what has been said above!
    Live to ride, ride to live. Harley Road King And keep a .45 handy Kimber Custom TLE II

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    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    I'm A CCer, Nothing more nothing less ; )
    H/D
    A Native Floridian = RARE


    IT'S OUR RIGHTS>THEY WANT TO WRONG
    H/D

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    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    Well I have to say I am what I am "OLD" and if you think about it that says a lot.
    It's gotta be who you are, not a hobby. reinman45

    "Is this persons bad behavior worth me having to kill them over?" Guantes

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Here's my thoughts on the matter:

    While the terminology can be helpful in describing a thought process, it's often overused and ill employed. If someone desires to be a "Sheepdog" I'll be happy to take them out to the Farm. They can run around and bark at the sheep to their heart's content.

    Biker

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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    +1 to all the above.

    But can I keep my badge anyway?


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    Rats!
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    I suppose

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    Senior Member Array wdbailey's Avatar
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    When I think of "sheep dog" I think of border collies and the like. They herd the sheep, bully them, bite them on the rear when they don't go where they are suppose to go...

    That's what I think of a sheep dog.

    I personally find it very condescending to go around refering to other humans, especially those close to me as "sheep". Sheep are stupid, smelly, and despite the implications of the silly label game being promoted in OP are not particularly good at following anything.

    So no, I'm no sheep dog and I don't hang around with sheep if I'm not getting paid to do it.

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    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    oakchas, just noticed you sig line. I like!
    It's gotta be who you are, not a hobby. reinman45

    "Is this persons bad behavior worth me having to kill them over?" Guantes

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I'm 53 years old,If my families lives are threatened,Wife,Daughter,Granddaughter,siblings,I will do whatever is necessary to stop the threat or stay in the fight as long as possible to hopefully allow them to get out safely.There is nothing worse than feeling totally helpless to save a loved one
    garyacman likes this.
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    Senior Member Array TomEgun's Avatar
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    Hmmm I have a sheepdog Named Charlie and he is highly territorial and Preditorial would kill most anything that would make it past our fence into his yard . He is ever watchful and sounds off in an instant if someone is around, a constant guard dog ! as for me I'm just the guy who comes running with a shotgun to back him up :}
    Old School likes this.
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