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non_descript
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 28 Nov 2013
Posts: 12

Styles: Wado Ryu

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:56 am    Post subject: Mental training for self defense - how to? Reply with quote

For some time now I have been reading in this forum but I am a new member so I apologize if I am going over on already discussed topic.

Self defense is a topic that has interested me in a long time. I know that on the street things are very different and very ugly and could even turn deadly.
I do realize that the first seconds of the attack are critical especially if you are not a big person (like me - 5'3" and about 115 pounds) and don't want to end up in bear hug or situation where someone double your size is on top of you since getting out of it will be nearly impossible. So what I want to ask you about is how do you think a person could best prepare for street attack so he/she won't freeze? I mean mental preparation. A lot of self defense seminars and trainings include environment awareness, useful techniques but it will all mean nothing if the second you are attacked your brain freezes.
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tallgeese
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 6851
Location: McHenry County, IL
Styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Gokei Ryu Kempo Jutsu, MMA, Shootfighting, boxing, kickboxing, JKD, Pekiti Tersia Kali

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First up, welcome to KF! Glad to have you.

On the subject, it's always a good topic to go over. For developing combat mindset there are a lot of things to consider.

First up, and I won't dwell, but make sure that you're training in a system that has the tools you need for self defense. They training methods need to line up with your goals as well as the tools they are teaching. On this note, they have to be tools that work for you. There are plenty of guys that can throw their shin up to an attacker's head. I'm not one of them. So, no matter how effective the kicks of certain systems might be it's not something that would be time effective for me to try to employ. So take a look at your goals, physical attributes, and the school you're at to make sure they all come together.

Now, let's more on to how to develop that skill set to a functional level under stress. First, those skills that match your goals and are good tools for your goal must be drilled to the point of unconscious competence. Your body must respond without thought or you'll never stand a chance of getting it to work under duress. That means that you can't get tired of repping the basics. That's gonna be your life when it's on. Don't get bored with going over and over things. Those unconscious reps are mandatory. You must do it so that you can't get it wrong.

There's a saying that I'm paraphrasing that essentially is: Good people practice until they get it right, great people practice till they can't get it wrong.

That's what you want to strive for in this case.

Next, and you touch on it in your post, think about filling in gaps that you might have that cause you to question your competence. So, if you're worried about being stuck on the bottom by a bigger person, train in a grappling art. Dig into BJJ and go until you've got that answer. My opinion only, if you've been around for a bit a blue belt at BJJ you've gotten a lot of self defense answers from the ground perspective.

If you're worried about weapons, spend some time working with arts that make you defended them.

Once you've accounted for this, integrate them. Work the different aspects of your background against each other to find their strengths and weaknesses and how to blend them. This make you more tactically competent AND makes you more confident in your skill set. Psychological studies tell us that the more confident in a skill set one is the better they are to perform that skill under stress.

Now we come to the meat of your questions. How to take this and get it ready to work real world. Stress inoculation is your friend in this instance. You're going to take those skills and try to work them under stress against resistance. You'll start at low resistance and work higher.

Check out Grossman's works, On Killing and On Combat to really get into the principles of this and how to use it. The idea is that you're building the traits of combat veterans into individuals who have not yet experienced fights thru training.

Lots of this will be based around simulation training or scenario based training. Simulation training is taking a part of a skill set and putting it into a realistic situation while scenario based training is the complete skill set done with realism. The beginning to end of the encounter.

There's lots of good ways to do this. Adding physical exhaustion prior to simulation training is a good start. So pick a drill, do sets of HIIT training then go and run the drill live. Do this by rounds.

Add external stimuli as well. Kill the lights, add strobes, blast music, ect. All these will add stress to your response.

Conduct "box drills" where you put a box (or loose bag) over your head. Have a partner armor up and give them some parameters to attack with (say, knife, gun, tackle, punch, or no attack at all) A third partner will then pull the box and make you respond. This kind of spontaneous response will build discrimination and mindset.

Do circle drills where you are in the middle of your partners and they get to attack you from any angle, one at a time, and try to surprise you. Then respond. Then all multiple attackers.

Expect to get hit when you train like this. That's okay and it's not failure, it's training and it's reality. Thing WILL NOT go to plan under the stress of a real fight. Learn here how to adapt to it.

There's a ton of drills out there. Do some research and be creative. Keep your mindset at all times. Use this kind of training to identify holes in your game and then go back to the start of the process. Learn skills to fill them, rep them to death, integrate them, then pressure test them.

Lastly, exercise the intellectual side of developing mindset. When you're not in the gym spend time in the stuff you need to be reading to build and understanding of mindset and how it works:
Warrior Mindset by Asken, On Combat and On Killing by Grossman, Sharpening the Warriors Edge by Siddle, Living the Martial Way by Morgan. Don't forget the classics: The Hagakure, Book of Five Rings, Soul of the Samurai. All of these are good as well as plenty of others. I'm always looking for more material, you should be as well.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Keep training and keep us posted.
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non_descript
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 28 Nov 2013
Posts: 12

Styles: Wado Ryu

PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all let me thank you for the detailed post and for taking the time to write it!

I already have been doing some of the things you said for finding the right skill set that works for me. This is why I don't limit myself to only one style of MA and I constantly research for different techniques and look into other arts, too. The downside of the situation is that I live in a small country where martial arts are not well developed and most of the dojos emphasize on the sport side of it. But with a willing partner you can always try out drills that are not taught in the dojo. I also work a lot on conditional training because I know that stress and adrenaline drain you out very quickly.

I also try to find good readings about the vulnerable points in the human body so I can incorporate them in my drills. I have read some materials on the topic but if someone could recommend good books I would appreciate it.

Recently I read GSP'a book "The Way of the Fight" and there he talks about fear and how if you learn to use it it could turn into your friend. Very interesting view point. May be this could be useful for me. By nature I am very calm, non aggressive person and I don't know if this could work for or against me in a self defense situation. Some people say that the thing that "gets them moving" in such situation is the anger of "how dare you try to hurt me". And I am not sure if I have this kind of anger in me. This is why I want to work more on developing the right mind set. I will definitely look in to the recommended readings.

Thanks once again!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14301
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tallgeese wrote:
First up, welcome to KF! Glad to have you.

On the subject, it's always a good topic to go over. For developing combat mindset there are a lot of things to consider.

First up, and I won't dwell, but make sure that you're training in a system that has the tools you need for self defense. They training methods need to line up with your goals as well as the tools they are teaching. On this note, they have to be tools that work for you. There are plenty of guys that can throw their shin up to an attacker's head. I'm not one of them. So, no matter how effective the kicks of certain systems might be it's not something that would be time effective for me to try to employ. So take a look at your goals, physical attributes, and the school you're at to make sure they all come together.

Now, let's more on to how to develop that skill set to a functional level under stress. First, those skills that match your goals and are good tools for your goal must be drilled to the point of unconscious competence. Your body must respond without thought or you'll never stand a chance of getting it to work under duress. That means that you can't get tired of repping the basics. That's gonna be your life when it's on. Don't get bored with going over and over things. Those unconscious reps are mandatory. You must do it so that you can't get it wrong.

There's a saying that I'm paraphrasing that essentially is: Good people practice until they get it right, great people practice till they can't get it wrong.

That's what you want to strive for in this case.

Next, and you touch on it in your post, think about filling in gaps that you might have that cause you to question your competence. So, if you're worried about being stuck on the bottom by a bigger person, train in a grappling art. Dig into BJJ and go until you've got that answer. My opinion only, if you've been around for a bit a blue belt at BJJ you've gotten a lot of self defense answers from the ground perspective.

If you're worried about weapons, spend some time working with arts that make you defended them.

Once you've accounted for this, integrate them. Work the different aspects of your background against each other to find their strengths and weaknesses and how to blend them. This make you more tactically competent AND makes you more confident in your skill set. Psychological studies tell us that the more confident in a skill set one is the better they are to perform that skill under stress.

Now we come to the meat of your questions. How to take this and get it ready to work real world. Stress inoculation is your friend in this instance. You're going to take those skills and try to work them under stress against resistance. You'll start at low resistance and work higher.

Check out Grossman's works, On Killing and On Combat to really get into the principles of this and how to use it. The idea is that you're building the traits of combat veterans into individuals who have not yet experienced fights thru training.

Lots of this will be based around simulation training or scenario based training. Simulation training is taking a part of a skill set and putting it into a realistic situation while scenario based training is the complete skill set done with realism. The beginning to end of the encounter.

There's lots of good ways to do this. Adding physical exhaustion prior to simulation training is a good start. So pick a drill, do sets of HIIT training then go and run the drill live. Do this by rounds.

Add external stimuli as well. Kill the lights, add strobes, blast music, ect. All these will add stress to your response.

Conduct "box drills" where you put a box (or loose bag) over your head. Have a partner armor up and give them some parameters to attack with (say, knife, gun, tackle, punch, or no attack at all) A third partner will then pull the box and make you respond. This kind of spontaneous response will build discrimination and mindset.

Do circle drills where you are in the middle of your partners and they get to attack you from any angle, one at a time, and try to surprise you. Then respond. Then all multiple attackers.

Expect to get hit when you train like this. That's okay and it's not failure, it's training and it's reality. Thing WILL NOT go to plan under the stress of a real fight. Learn here how to adapt to it.

There's a ton of drills out there. Do some research and be creative. Keep your mindset at all times. Use this kind of training to identify holes in your game and then go back to the start of the process. Learn skills to fill them, rep them to death, integrate them, then pressure test them.

Lastly, exercise the intellectual side of developing mindset. When you're not in the gym spend time in the stuff you need to be reading to build and understanding of mindset and how it works:
Warrior Mindset by Asken, On Combat and On Killing by Grossman, Sharpening the Warriors Edge by Siddle, Living the Martial Way by Morgan. Don't forget the classics: The Hagakure, Book of Five Rings, Soul of the Samurai. All of these are good as well as plenty of others. I'm always looking for more material, you should be as well.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Keep training and keep us posted.

Solid post!!


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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14301
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

non_descript wrote:
First of all let me thank you for the detailed post and for taking the time to write it!

I already have been doing some of the things you said for finding the right skill set that works for me. This is why I don't limit myself to only one style of MA and I constantly research for different techniques and look into other arts, too. The downside of the situation is that I live in a small country where martial arts are not well developed and most of the dojos emphasize on the sport side of it. But with a willing partner you can always try out drills that are not taught in the dojo. I also work a lot on conditional training because I know that stress and adrenaline drain you out very quickly.

I also try to find good readings about the vulnerable points in the human body so I can incorporate them in my drills. I have read some materials on the topic but if someone could recommend good books I would appreciate it.

Recently I read GSP'a book "The Way of the Fight" and there he talks about fear and how if you learn to use it it could turn into your friend. Very interesting view point. May be this could be useful for me. By nature I am very calm, non aggressive person and I don't know if this could work for or against me in a self defense situation. Some people say that the thing that "gets them moving" in such situation is the anger of "how dare you try to hurt me". And I am not sure if I have this kind of anger in me. This is why I want to work more on developing the right mind set. I will definitely look in to the recommended readings.

Thanks once again!

Solid post!!



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tallgeese
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 6851
Location: McHenry County, IL
Styles: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Gokei Ryu Kempo Jutsu, MMA, Shootfighting, boxing, kickboxing, JKD, Pekiti Tersia Kali

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anger isn't really needed. Emotion, will, mindset, these are important. Anger can cause adrenal response but it's not really THE motivation you need. I prefer a professional, worker like attitude towards the matter. However, aggression must be met with aggressive action. There is a real difference between anger and aggression.

Fear is a powerful emotion, and one we all have. And it's one that can be useful and has been in the human condition for some time. If you're interested in the subject, check out "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker. He has some excellent insight into the matter.

Lastly, here is some footage that depict the box drill I mentioned earlier to give you some idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl5BGhSZ39k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq7dcO5DcmE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsTFGb_5yYw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl5BGhSZ39k

Bear in mind these are plenty of variations of what you can incorporate. These are, for us, highly situational. The attacks and response options should mimic your reality as well.
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CredoTe
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 26 Jul 2013
Posts: 776
Location: Ohio, USA
Styles: Matsubayashi-Ryu (Shorin-Ryu), Hung Gar (Hung Siu Lum)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tallgeese wrote:
Anger isn't really needed. Emotion, will, mindset, these are important. Anger can cause adrenal response but it's not really THE motivation you need. I prefer a professional, worker like attitude towards the matter. However, aggression must be met with aggressive action. There is a real difference between anger and aggression.

Fear is a powerful emotion, and one we all have. And it's one that can be useful and has been in the human condition for some time. If you're interested in the subject, check out "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker. He has some excellent insight into the matter.

Lastly, here is some footage that depict the box drill I mentioned earlier to give you some idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl5BGhSZ39k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq7dcO5DcmE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsTFGb_5yYw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl5BGhSZ39k

Bear in mind these are plenty of variations of what you can incorporate. These are, for us, highly situational. The attacks and response options should mimic your reality as well.


Absolutely! Great post, tallgeese. Those box drills are very intriguing... I've been looking for some good instant response pressure drills to add to my repertoire. These will be a great addition.


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non_descript
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 28 Nov 2013
Posts: 12

Styles: Wado Ryu

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you again for the great post, tallgeese. I have already started doing some of the things you said and reading the recommended books. I find the books really interesting and the drills very helpful.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14301
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tallgeese wrote:
Anger isn't really needed. Emotion, will, mindset, these are important. Anger can cause adrenal response but it's not really THE motivation you need. I prefer a professional, worker like attitude towards the matter. However, aggression must be met with aggressive action. There is a real difference between anger and aggression.

Fear is a powerful emotion, and one we all have. And it's one that can be useful and has been in the human condition for some time. If you're interested in the subject, check out "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker. He has some excellent insight into the matter.

Lastly, here is some footage that depict the box drill I mentioned earlier to give you some idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl5BGhSZ39k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq7dcO5DcmE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsTFGb_5yYw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl5BGhSZ39k

Bear in mind these are plenty of variations of what you can incorporate. These are, for us, highly situational. The attacks and response options should mimic your reality as well.

Very SOLID post!!


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ShoriKid
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 14 Dec 2007
Posts: 897

Styles: Matsubyashi-Ryu, Okinawan Kempo, wrestling, bits of BJJ

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen the box drill in the context of military training, never done that one though. A circle of attackers that get to come at you we called bull in the ring. The instructor indicated the attacker from the blind side of a center person and they defend. It starts with predetermined attacks, single attackers at a time. Progresses from there to free attacks, more than one attacker at a time and so on.

If, near your home, there are mostly sport oriented martial artists there is still hope. Look for smaller schools, those not as commercially popular as others. They may be lower quality, but they might just be out of the sport mainstream. Many self defense schools will be smaller as what your seeking isn't as popular as getting trophies. Secondly, look in the bigger schools and see if there is a smaller group within who are interested in self defense training. Many times there are those training within a sports oriented school who are interested in self defense training. They will very likely be trying to pull together a small group of like minded training partners. They will be as hard, maybe more so, to find that smaller schools. For what you are interested in you are going to have to do some leg work. Be ready to build up your own circle of like minded martial artists. I will bet you they are out there.

Now, what Tallgeese says about anger is correct. When asked how I could hit someone when I wasn't angry, I told them it wasn't part of the equation. And it shouldn't be, even though a lot of people tend to think it has to be. You don't need Jedi like calm. I agree with tallgeese in that a "workman like" attitude is best. Ending the encounter, escaping the situation, getting home safe are the goals. That has to be a primary focus. Getting angry can get you caught up in the monkey dance of punishing the attacker. That isn't your job. When you train and drill make sure that there is a goal with each drill. Put the attacker on the ground. Break away and escape(have a safe zone you have to make it to or a point you must pass). Stall for 2 minutes while someone else escapes. Talk someone down, verbally de-escalate etc. Verbal skills, awareness, physical skills and mind set. All are important training aspects for self defense. The physical side are what we train when the other aspects have failed. It doesn't make them unimportant, but it does mean they aren't the only thing to consider.
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