I was first exposed to this book by a fellow martial artist who recommended it as a means to better understand violent situations. My primary interest was to gain knowledge with regard to the psychology of violence, how and when to de-escalate, and how to determine when it’s essential to fight back as opposed to retreating. Rory Miller’s book certainly doesn’t disappoint. Rather, it provides insight based on Miller’s many years of real world experience as a corrections officer and martial artist.
Miller divides the book into seven sections that each address a different aspect of facing violent encounters. He draws upon his vast experience working in a maximum security prison to provide the ready with a wealth of information.
He takes us through the psychology that often drives perpetrators of violence, advice on how to think when facing an encounter, the affects of adrenaline and stress hormones, and an analysis of how predators think and act. He also provides valuable advice and drills to help the reader adapt their training to the realities of violence.
Miller concludes with a chapter on the after-effects of violence, addressing what to expect and how to deal with its psychological effects.
I highly recommend this thoughtful book for any law enforcement officer, martial artist, or anyone who wishes to gain additional insight into the psychology of the violent mind. Miller’s wise words can be extremely helpful for understanding better which martial arts techniques will actually work in the real world, how to recognize the psychology behind a potential attacker, and can enable the ready to think more clearly should they be faced with a violent situation.
Even for the law enforcement officer who has drilled many such scenarios repeatedly over the course of years of experience and training, I believe that Meditations on Violence will be an fascinating read.