Monday, July 9, 2012

The Most Important Skill for Self-Defense: Mental Preparedness

Mentally preparing yourself for an attack of any kind is the most important, and sadly neglected, part of anyone’s training. People can learn the physical moves that are necessary to protect themselves in a relatively short period of time, but it can take years to learn how to be mentally prepared to pull the trigger or strike with deadly force. Few people appreciate the importance of this skill for self-defence.

Ready or Not Here He Comes
One thing you can bet on if you are ever attacked is that your assailant is mentally prepared. He has thought through what he is going to do and psyched himself up, so to speak. He is alert and ready to ruin your day, whereas you are asleep in your bed or just walking down the street thinking of everything other than self-defense. Your attacker is like a raging bull and you are like a little fluffy white kitten with sleep in your eyes.

Fighting is not second nature to us humans. We have to be taught to go from the mindset of the kitten that is helpless to that of a tiger that is perfectly capable of protecting himself. Bottom line is you have to be able to go from your normal nice guy persona to a raging tiger in a split second; that is how you will be able to keep yourself form being injured, or worse.

The Flick of the Switch
In any self-defense situation whether you are armed or not you have to be able to go from relaxed to ready like the flick of a light switch; it has to happen that fast. So how do you learn to do that? When you go to shoot your gun for example, do not be casual about it.

You set your gun down on the table at the firing station and take a few steps back. If your gun is holstered that works as well. Take a moment to collect yourself. Think about something that stirs deep emotions for you. Think about your children if you have them. Think about your wife or husband. What would it feel like if any one of these people were violently murdered? Bask in the anger that comes to the surface. When you feel that rage you step up to the firing line and grab that pistol and shoot. If it’s in your holster draw and fire the moment you are in the firing zone. Imagine the person who killed your loved ones is standing in front of you with a gun drawn. Focus on that anger as you fire with your own weapon.

Then when you step away from the firing line take a deep breath and relax while thinking about something that gives you peace. When you step up to the firing line again make that switch to anger about someone who has hurt you or your family. Do that over and over again. Step up, get angry, step back and relax. You can do the very same thing if you are practicing martial arts. Be relaxed and calm before you enter the training area. The moment your foot steps onto the mat you get angry. You are training your mind to make the switch from mild mannered kind person to a precision fighting machine that can protect yourself and your loved ones. With some practice it becomes like the flick of a light switch. You can turn it on and off at will. If you are ever attacked you just flip the switch.

The Element of Surprise
One of the most important principles of self-defense is the element of surprise. Ever hear of someone disarming an attacker with a gun drawn? It’s not because he was faster than a bullet; it was because he did what was unexpected. Let’s take that gun example.

If someone has a gun pointed at you, you need to get within arms- length if you can. If you have determined that your assailant is going to pull the trigger you attack. You knock the gun away and strike with a deadly blow. The key here is surprise. By attacking you are doing the least expected thing. If your assailant thought there was even a remote chance of you knocking his gun away he wouldn’t be close enough for you to do so. When you attack, his brain has to go through the following steps in order for him to pull the trigger.

Acknowledge you are actually attacking him.
Sift through a number of possible responses
Decide upon the response
Act on the decided course of action
Your attacker has to do all that before you ram your finger in his eyes or crush his throat. Bottom line is you don’t have to be faster than a bullet; you just have to be faster than your opponent. Action takes fewer steps and gets a head start. Now I’m not saying go and try to disarm an armed attacker. I just want to demonstrate how effective and important the element of surprise is.

Close Cousins
I bring up anger because fear is its close cousin and it’s easy to swap one for the other. Fear causes you to hesitate or even fail to react at all. Fear makes you slow and saps your strength. You have to be able to take that fear and turn it into anger which can be your friend. Anger gives you strength and focus. Anger gives you the courage you need to do what you have to do to stay alive. Like the light switch you have to be able to flick it on and off on command. You remember that next time you step on the mat to train or step up to the firing line and draw your weapon. When you are finished training, take a deep breath and relax; your job is done.

Adam works for the Gun Safe Store AND teaches firearm safety. The gun safe store has a wide variety of gun safes and pistol safes.

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