Archive for the ‘Combat Mindset’ Category

Another week in Africa and many more lessons for those interested in protecting themselves and those near and dear to them…

Two CCTV type videos have prompted this post, both from different situations, yet, both connected… and sadly, both examples showed situations that could have been avoided… in any combat system the phrase “the way you train is the way you react” can often be heard echoing around the training space… many times it falls on deaf ears, until that one day when the students asks themselves how they would have reacted… sometimes.. if they are honest with themselves they may re-look at how seriously they take their time in class.. other times the student can answer with an affirmative outcome… the difference can be seen in the training room… those that put themselves into the scenario and react as if the training knife or gun is real are the ones preparing for success!

The CCTV footage was posted online, and as different as they may have been from each other, the lessons are the same…

The first lesson: Pass your interview!

The “interview” is the pre-situation phase where the attacker/mugger/etc selects his target, this can happen at a distance (e.g. strike, rob and run or purse snatching), or, up close (bully/paedophile/rapist/etc), arguably, if it is a close up interview this means that you have already failed the first interview and are now in the second interview and the warning bells should be loud and clear!

So, how do you pass the first interview?
Firstly be vigilant… situational awareness is the key element!
Many people are very aware when driving their car, looking out for other vehicles, dangerous driving, pedestrians, motor bikes, etc… but that awareness disappears when they stop driving… why? the purpose behind the mind-set is to keep one safe…
I am not advocating a state of perpetual expectation, this would eventually lead to negative mental state, I am suggesting a positive, confident state of awareness that lead to a survivor or success mentality, this in itself, apart from the very real benefit of identifying possible threats, will also affect your body language and the appearance of being alert and ready, and this is how you pass the first interview, by not appearing to be a victim!


The second lesson: Respond immediately!

The first time to react is right away!
Do not wait for a “better” moment to present itself as any subsequent time will probably be to the attackers advantage as they have initiated the scenario and are already one step ahead of you!
And linked to this lesson is the issue of denial… Many victims state that when things started unfolding (before the actual attack/robbery/abuse/etc) they couldn’t believe it was happening to them, classic denial response, even during an event, while it was actually happening to them, they still maintained a state of disbelief and denial!

The fastest route out of this trap is ACTION!
The first action is to make the decision, then go for it!
At this point how you have prepared for this moment will determine how well you execute, remember, the way you train is the way you react, this applies through all possible phases, awareness, avoidance, escape or engaging!


Be aware, be safe!



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What is Reality Based Training?

Posted: October 19, 2014 by Tony Hardy in Combat Mindset, Philosophy of Survival

There seems to be some confusion regarding the notion of “reality based training”…

Too often I hear about stories of “real training” that involves students getting beaten up or injured, now don’t get me wrong, I think there is a time and place for some good hard sparring, and whether this is your preferred level of intensity or if you use it as a gauge to test your own response to the situation, this is not reality based training, at best, it is a possible tool in the arsenal of reality based training…

Reality based training, and of course teaching, is focused on presenting techniques and trained responses that will work when it is needed… usually this is when adrenaline has started coursing through your veins!

Your body has a natural freeze, flight or flight (in that order), this is a limbic response that you have no control over once it kicks in… when it kicks in may vary from person to person, but, once the limbic system activates it you are on the roller coaster and cannot get off!

What many combat systems tend to forget or avoid is the fact that once adrenaline starts doing what it is designed to do  (called the Adrenaline Stress Response or ASR), which is to prepare the body for an encounter by getting the heart rate up, providing the chemical reactions to allow for our survival, what is most important to be aware of is that the main responses it enables us to perform are gross motor movements (just look at the animal kingdom, the same limbic system exists there, animals either freeze to blend in and camouflage themselves, or prepare to flee or charge… none of these require fine motor skills, just gross motor movement), the first thing we lose is fine motor skill, and this is the main issue… inside the training hall we are in a fairly comfortable state of mind, sometimes under a little pressure, but not really fearing for our lives, so, any techniques we learn that require too much of an exact execution (e.g. a very specific pressure point that needs to be struck by a single finger/knuckle, or, a finger lock required to throw or incapacitate the opponent) becomes a liability as this just isn’t an option by the time the ASR has kicked in.

Always put yourself in a fight or flight space mentally and ask yourself if you will actually be able to execute the technique being taught…

2013-11-09 10.22.53

Keep it real!

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With the advent of competitive sports the pressure to maintain the “edge” has gained tremendous attention, there are, however, aspects that we can capitalise on that are not only limited to competitive athletes… in fact… as combat athletes ourselves, I believe we have a greater need to use these techniques as losing in our arena doesn’t just mean not getting a medal…

Visualisation has been regularly used by many athletes to improve their performance under pressure and increase the outcome of a given event, in our case, we have the same needs, but, obviously under different scenarios!

This concept has been referred to by various name… meditation. Guided imagery, mental rehearsal, etc. regardless of the name used, the results are proven and can greatly affect how we perform should we ever find ourselves in a situation requiring action…

Play the “what if” game… this allows you to use everyday situations to provide fuel for visualisation, keeps you attentive and allows training to take place throughout the day, not just with our fellow Kravists (or whichever martial art you may subscribe to)…

The next time you pull up to the robots, determine any threats, play through a mental rehearsal of how a situation could first be avoided, then if it escalated into a confrontation (window smashed, gun threat, etc), or, this game can be applied to others as well, for example if someone else is under threat and it falls up yourself to intervene, how would you approach it, what are your options, did you scan for any accomplices? Is your angle of approach good? Is your stance ready? Etc, etc, etc.

To get the maximum benefit from this technique, engage as many senses as possible (the brain doesn’t know that it is not actually happening, hence the benefit of a trained response), try and imagine the sounds, the sensations, feelings, smells… Make it as real as possible in your minds eye to create the correct trained response…

With these techniques we are in no way advocating violence or aggression, just preparation and survival by ensuring the best possible result, and of course, make sure you get to class regularly to fine tune your craft!

Isaac, A. R. (1992). “Mental Practice- Does it Work in the Field?” The Sport Psychologist, 6, 192-198.

Martin, K.A., Hall, C. R. (1995). “Using Mental Imagery to Enhance Intrinsic Motivation.” Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 17(1), 54-69.

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