Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mental Preperations

  At our school, we teach “Self/Life-Protection”. We don't (really) participate in tournaments, not that we have anything against them, we just don't (it's not our focus of study). Many times our students are and/or have been, Law Enforcement hence, our instruction has been channeled towards an eminent (probable) “Life-protection” application. We don't accept youths (under 16) without pre-approval.
  Additionally, we don't do point sparring. We only practice our technique's with a serious “mind-set”, knowing that our students may very well need the training (to survive). With “that” being said, I thought it important to present the following information (which most of our students are already familiar with).
  With every defensive situation that the student may find him or herself in, there exists the possibility of dying. Although most situations will not necessarily be thought to be such, nor necessarily begin that way, the wrong hit on you, at the wrong angle, or the wrong pressure, could end with the possibility of your death. This needs to be accepted, and understood. Anyone can die in any encounter. People have been executed for murders, which they did not originally intend to commit, don’t become one of those victims. 
  Your intent of training should be to survive. You need to be able to follow these traits in order to do so. There exist 7 of these (basic) Defensive principles. These principles have been presented by several persons previously, I happen to find most of them to (usually) be valid in/for any defensive situation. They are from Jeff Cooper's “Principles of Self-Defense”. Although his book deals (mainly) with shooting, I feel that in varying degrees, they (the principles) could be applied to any situation of “self-defense”. 
Those principles are as follows:

This trait is the one that is most often ignored. It has become politically incorrect to “prejudge” people. In the final hour, political correctness is a trait that is to be left at the door. When operating in the real world, when you are out, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS. If you see a situation that looks hazardous, assume that it is! And treat it as such, and/or avoid it.

  Criminals look for individuals that are acting oblivious to the world. Be aware of whom and what is around you at all times. You needn’t advertise to everyone that may be with you, that you are constantly watching your back. Being aware can avoid situations to begin with. 
When the situation begins, decide your course of action. Right or wrong, make a decision on a course of action, and continue it. Criminals work on a premise of surprise. If you begin to act in a manner that shows that you have a “plan”, this disrupts any set plan that they (the criminals) may have. All of your moves and actions must show a determined plan of action. It's For this reason, you should consider what you would do in case of an attack before hand (during one's practice sessions), consider how you would react and what your actions would be BEFORE an attack ever happens. Run any “what ifs” through you mind before any situation ever occurs.
This does not mean run around like a mad man (or woman). It means, when you respond to an attack, you must use all of the energy you can muster. It means when you attack, attack until your unable to attack anymore. Not with random strikes and motions, but with continued techniques.  

Speed is a result of training, and practice. Although it is common for mistakes to be made with the acceleration of technique, with consistent practice of technique, these mistakes will be minimal. But when speaking in terms of survival, speed is more of a mandate. Speed will produce power; your aggressor will not expect speed. Hesitation will most often spell your demise.
When an attack comes, one must not panic. As stated already, form an instant plan, and begin to implement it. This “coolness” will be interpreted by your assailant as confidence. Carry on with your attacks, unaffected by your assailant’s actions. Be precise with your techniques. Be constantly thinking about the situation and modify your plans to adapt to changing events.
This means that you should not show, nor give pity towards your assailant. This person has attacked you, you have the possibility of dying. This assailant deserves no quarter. There is no “ethical code” of combat. Only the winner/survivor can tell the end story of the assault. If you find yourself in control of a situation, then and only then, can “alternatives” be considered.
Often, the mere show of resistance, and providing a counter-attack will be a surprise in and of itself. More than anything an explosion of action on your part will surprise and thereby cause a hesitation on the part of your aggressor. This trait alone can very often “make or break” your defense.
  Consider your possible actions and reactions before a situation or the need ever arises. Imagine every possible scenario before it actually could occur. Think of the worse situation that you could find yourself in, and consider what you could/would do. If you are doing this right, you should come up with situations that you have no chance of winning. That’s why you consider the possibility of it occurring, by imagining it before "it" (actually) ever happens (and therefor, will avoid putting yourself into those situations).
  Your first thought may very well be why would I need to think of all of these situations? All I have to do is avoid them to begin with! And this would be a great course of action…IF it were actually possible to avoid all the evils and poor decisions that will occur in our lifetime. Unfortunately though, Bad situations can often find us through no fault of our own (as opposed to us finding them).
  The reason we teach our students to “think ahead” (visualization) is also done for the reason of avoiding panic. Panic is a “condition” which anyone can find him or herself in. The student should understand that “Panic” is nothing more than being in a situation and NOT knowing what to do.
  It is often “miss-explained” as being part of the “fight or flight” instinct. Fight or flight is a misnomer (and an invalid concept as it is presented in most “self-defense” situations). It is commonly being presented as a situation that an individual will (either) run away (blindly), with total disregard to their actions, Or, that they will begin fighting (anyway that they can). It doesn’t really happen (in that manner) in the wild (much less amongst humans) And it certainly doesn’t apply to humans (not in that way anyhow).
 With this considered, by not having a plan in mind, it can naturally make a person choose to flee a situation (until they can figure out what to do). Unfortunately, this is always taken into account by a criminal who means to do you harm. They will immediately make it clear that they have a plan, and will follow it. Panic, can be minimized (or even eliminated) by simply “planning ahead”, If you haven’t thought about what you’re going to do (BEFORE becoming involved in a situation),when it does happen, you will panic.

 Not every situation will be decided by who can provide the greater power, speed or complex technique. Very often, it will be the person who has the superior plan (or at least the ability to follow through with one).

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