Tiger McKee writes for The Tactical Wire. His column on mental control during and after a violent confrontation is absolutely a must read. Your emotions must be controlled, while you make appropriate defensive decisions/actions thoughout the violent encounter. Having said that, it bears noting that merely “reading” about a topic or watching a video of a skill does not adequately commit that experience into the subconscious mind for use during a stressful encounter. Vigorous, first hand experience does that. Read the entire article.
In most fights you’re staring out behind; the threat initiates the attack. It’s a sudden, violent assault. A complete surprise. When the cues are seen in advance you have time to prepare, avoid or escape. The key to winning a sudden attack is taking control of the situation. You have to force the threat to react to you, and once you have control don’t give it up until the fight is over.
In order to react to the threat you have to buy time by forcing them into a reactive mode. Your reaction should set them back to the beginning of their OODA Loop. (OODA Loop) There are various ways of doing this. One of the best is moving. For this to work it must be a surprise to the threat. Movement is usually immediate. There are situations that require you “playing” the victim until your window of opportunity opens, but the longer the threat has control the fewer chances you may have. Don’t telegraph you intentions by looking where you want to move, displaying tentative actions or anything else that indicates what you’re about to do. Remember, it must be a surprise.
Another way to put the threat into a reactive mode is to upset their physical balance. Most confrontations occur at close distance. With the proper technique it’s easy to disrupt the threat’s physical balance. These skills to accomplish this are simple, easy apply and very effective. A lose of physical balance normally puts the mind into a reactive mode. This buys you time to move, creating distance and drawing your weapon if necessary.
Once you have the threat in a reactive mode you must maintain command of the situation, constantly forcing the threat to react to you. This may require aggressive actions on your part, pressing the defense until they decide to break off the attack or are no longer physically able to continue. It’s only called “self-defense” because we did everything to avoid the confrontation or had no other choice but to fight.
You’ve decided to fight, to resist the threat. When you initiate the response it must be a dedicated, aggressive defense. You cannot give the threat an opportunity to flip it back where they are in control. This means you’re looking for cover, a more advantageous location and/or putting good hits on the threat. Anything to keep them having to observe and cycle through the OODA loop. Once you have control don’t give it up.
At the same time remember there is a fine line separating “defensive,” justified actions and becoming the “aggressor” in the confrontation. There are numerous cases where the “good” guy started out completely in the right. Then, because of actions they committed after the immediate threat or problem was solved they became the “bad” guy. Once you cross that Rubicon it won’t matter who or what started the confrontation or how long the threat’s rap sheet is you’re going to pay the penalty.
In order to respond immediately and forcefully you have to cultivate the proper mindset. Study, and become familiar with the “norms” of violence. Trying to develop a fighting mindset while under attack is going to be difficult; it may be impossible. You also must learn and know when to cease or turn off your aggressive, defensive actions.
Developing these skills and the appropriate mental attitude requires training, practice, and plenty of thought. Learning to control your actions under stress is difficult. Learning to take control of a situation requires even more study. Invest your time wisely.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of “The Book of Two Guns” – http://shootrite.org/book/book.html writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk’s DVD, “Fighting With The 1911 – http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org