The last post promised some ideas to help inoculate yourself from the skill killing effects of survival stress. We discussed the effects of an elevated heart rate. In a violent encounter, your heart rate can accelerate to over 220/bpm in 3 seconds! Are you ready to deal with drastic changes in your vision, loss of fine/complex motor skills, and the onset of cognitive processing deterioration? If your answer was “no”, you are not alone. Most people are unaware of these effects. If one does not know this will happen, it can be terrifying to feel your body acting in such unfamiliar ways!
The first step in preparing to efficiently handle a dynamic combative encounter is to understand what is going to happen to your body and brain. This removes a good part of the fear, because you are expecting it! These negative effects are one of the reasons violence is such a powerful force! It shuts down, those who are not ready! Hence, one of the things I have said for years… “To defend against violence, one must be comfortable with it’s delivery, it’s power, and it’s consequences.”
I recently had the opportunity to put this to use. Someday I will share more of what I do, but for now, I will just put the pertinent details in a nutshell. This is not about me, rather it is about helping good people be mentally prepared! I had the task of forcefully requiring a young man to go a facility. He had cut another guy with a knife earlier in the day. As I contacted him, it was immediately apparent he was not going to meet my expectations of cooperation! He had a knife, based on the knowledge of the earlier assault, my priority was to take possession of the knife. I ended up throwing him down, controlling him with body weight and attempting to handcuff him. As I was working on controlling his hands, I noticed I was experiencing the following effects:
- Increased Adrenal Activity – He was 140 pounds, but he felt more like 40 pounds. I was able to move his body weight easily. I felt like the Incredible Hulk!
- Increased Heart Rate – I could feel, and hear, my heart beating in my head.
- Accelerated Respiration – I was breathing fast, short breaths. This led to the next point…
- Limited Aerobic/Anaerobic capacity – started to feel gassed just 20 seconds into the fight.
- Slow Motion Time/Auto Pilot – kind of helpful, actually! Helpful, because I have been here before, and I did not have to think about priorities or what to do.
- Sweaty palms – Makes everything slippery! People, guns, door knobs, everything gets slippery, especially if you add a little blood. Gross, I know, but the purpose here is to give you “heads up” on what to expect and prepare for.
So, what did I do? I took deeper breathes, in through my nose, out through my mouth. Just controlling my breathing made a huge difference! Controlling my breathing lowered my heart rate, restored my anaerobic capacity, and brought increased mental clarity. I laughed internally, because I had just been reviewing all this material for WhiteChocolateNinja, to share with you!
In a violent engagement, three things will provide some comfort and will let you regain your skills, clarity, focus and safety. Let’s call them “Survival Comfort Foods.”
In my situation, the only “combat comfort food” available was Time. It doesn’t take long, in a fight, before you are starving for a “comfort food” snack! In this case, the way I bought TIME, was to simply pin my opponent on the ground, and when he tried to reach or fight, I applied a pressure point or two. This allowed me time to assess the situation, there was other chaos, people, etc. demanding my attention. Once I was comfortable with my immediate safety and my partner’s safety, I was able to plan a course of action and instruct my partner on our next steps.
We live in a society which is becoming increasingly dangerous. I live in a relatively small town in Oregon, in the last week, two local girls were taken from a store parking lot and raped, and an acquaintance was car jacked 2 nights ago. Seeing such news can cause us to fear, the dudes in the mugshots usually look pretty mean! I hope you will join me in refusing to live in fear! Danger has been present for all of human existence, we can address the scary stuff in life in a healthy way and still experience joy and pursue the heck out of happiness. Study, become dangerous, that is the healthy way to address fear.
Does the Rottweiler care if a Chihuahua “gets all up in his grill?” No, he doesn’t! No matter how loud, menacing or ferocious the little fellow acts, the Rottweiler has a deeply rooted knowledge he is infinitely more dangerous than the yapping Scooby snack. That is my goal for you! I want you to research, learn, practice, drill, train, and meditate until you too, have a deeply rooted knowledge, that, you are dangerous! Dangerous, not a thug way… rather, dangerous like Superman! Dangerous, yet controlled, principled and living by a code, The Warrior’s Code.
Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it. I am honored.
God Bless You, and God Bless America!
Become Dangerous, my friend!
P.S. Long ago, as I started my journey to becoming dangerous, my dreams changed. No longer was I chased or falling. I was kicking butt!! It was awesome. Since I was a little boy, I was terrorized by a dream of my house being attacked by Indians (sorry PC crowd). Then, during a time when I was learning much about martial arts and firearms, the Indians started to lose! No longer was I cowering behind the bushes, I was out getting some! This has continued for years, I WIN in my dreams! However, sometimes I still show up to Jr High in my underwear….