If you think about the things that strike fear in our minds, it is typically tantalized with the unkown… ignorance… “what will I do?”… these insecurities well up inside of a person when they are apprehensive about what’s around the corner.
Horror flicks use this all the time. What your imagination draws on its own canvas is often more fear inducing than the actual image on the screen.
In this week’s blog I want to communicate two methods of dealing with fear that will make it both less intimidating and, most prominently, allow your perception regarding fear to change so that you can embrace a level of comfort whereby fear becomes an asset to you.
Hope that last statement is not lost on you. If it is, let me state it more clearly…
…fear can be your friend.
This process of harnessing fear as a benefit begins with the education of your personal defense arsenal. Like anything in life, you can entertain any level of commitment to such an effort as you choose. You also will reap the rewards, when necessary, that reflect your level of commitment. Being rooted in Arkansas tradition, we tend to say, “you reap what you sow”.
So here’s a couple of options I offer as starting points.
Build your personal defense arsenal.
- Gain a defense to a right cross or haymaker.
The right cross, or John Wayne haymaker, is the #1 attack that will come your way in a scuffle. Everyone thinks they have the magic George Foreman heavy handed wallop that will drop anyone, anywhere. Of course, these are uneducated fighters… which will also play to your benefit… but you need to be ready for that attack. Here’s two solutions (there are many) to said attack.
Option #1: Parry the punch.
To translate that, get out of the way… step off-line… use your hand to pass the attack to your inside. The first benefit here is NOT getting hit by the punch, of course. The second benefit is getting to your opponent’s outside, and eventually his back. When you get behind your opponents back, you have a vast number of targets you can take him down with, damage and/or create immense pain. You also remove yourself from the immediate threat of his most dangerous weapons to strike you with… his arms, hands, elbows, feet, knees etc. Be careful, he can still rear head butt you!
If you aren’t sure of how to attack him from the rear hitting painful targets, I suggest you pick up another of our Fight Fast videos. Perhaps Nir Maman’s Israeli Combat Course might be in order.
Option #2: The triangle block.
This requires a bit more quickness, comfort and practice on your part. However, it is achieved by throwing both of your hands, as they are nearly touching in a triangular or arrow formation, towards the attacker’s right shoulder and impacting his shoulder and upper arm to take the momentum away from the punch. This offers you several options for counter attack. You can wrap his arm with yours and head butt him. You can wrap the neck into a guillotine choke. You can elbow strike him easily… knee to the groin/diaphragm/bladder… you are also set up for several throws or takedowns as well.
The key is to go forward towards the punch and attack that shoulder to “disarm the strike”.
Tactical Knowledge and Practice
Reduce the Damaging Effects of Fear
Knowing some pain rich targets to strike, and knowing which tools to effectively strike them with will NOT necessarily eliminate your fear, but it will give you options to turn towards in that lightning strike of a moment when you need them most. More clearly stated, it gives you the opportunity to manage and act on your fear induced impulses.
The 2nd step towards harnessing your fear…
Gain both comfort and respect for fear. Fear is a natural instinct that you have as an animal. (That’s right, you are an animal!) The same instinct that raises the hair on the nap of a dog’s neck is the same fear that gives you that little feeling that something is not quite right in your surroundings.
Most people have experienced that moment when they knew something was awkward… out of place… or not quite right… and your fear allows your brain to realize it even before you can consciously pinpoint the exact reasons why. Neuroscience even has a name for the phenomenon and it is studied in depth at Universities the world over. It’s called “thin-slicing”. Google it if you like.
You should not attempt to eliminate fear. It’s providing you with a benefit of letting you know when you should be concerned. Also, it can recruit and create a serious dump of adrenaline that will decrease or eliminate pain, increase your strength and speed, heighten your senses and focus your attention on that which must be dealt with. These are all just portions of the “fight or flight” syndrome which hits your body at a rapid pace when faced with the onset of fear.
Experienced officers and military field operatives can explain to you the “30cc check” response to fear. Few of them speak of this event, but anyone with real world experience can tell you just how immediate the rush of fear induced fight or flight hormones will ready the body for the proper response. This is the body’s elimination response to fear that causes operatives to urinate without control.
Adrenaline and the fight or flight response to fear is incredibly powerful and purposeful.
The element of fear that most people get nervous about is the “freezing fear” or “deer in the headlights” kind of fear that paralyzes people from action. While no one can ever promise or guarantee some complete lack of fear in you, I can state clearly… from both personal experience and from research as well… that with knowledge and training provide options and understanding that allow you to recognize “what” is happening, and thus the freezing element of fear is diminished, if not eliminated entirely.
In fact, operators have repeatedly stated that a fear impulse jolts them into step by step action. This appropriate response is amplified greatly through realistic training and the ingrained practice of striking targets with techniques.
Understand this… experiencing fear does not mean that you are void of courage.
Courage is deciding to act in spite of the fear.
Knowledge of how to respond, attack and handle tactical situations provides you with the confidence to employ courage with fear as the initiator or spark plug.
And as the owner and operator of TRS Direct and Fight Fast I’ll state this to you…
…you do not want your first day of training,
to be the day after you discover you really need it!