September 10th, 2015 15:00 EST
Fear and Self-Defense: One in the Same
"Fear is upon us every day whether we know it or not. You might be going to a job interview and feel those churning butterflies in your stomach that make some people want to run for the bathroom or you are walking in a garaged parking lot alone late at night and get that bad gut feeling that makes you a little jumpy and want to run to your car to get in. Fear can be a good thing because it keeps our senses flowing with energy and alert to our surroundings. Its only when you are confronted with a life and death situation and fear encompasses you that it becomes a dangerous thing if you are not mentally prepared to deal with it."
If you have ever studied the Martial-Arts then you must have touched on fear and mental preparation somewhere along the way. If you are faced with a self-defense situation with nowhere to run the first human instinct is to turn around and run away from it. Yes, that is the first thing you should actually do if ever faced with defending yourself (forget the macho fight til I drop mentality) I want to live to fight another day but what if you cannot run away from the dangerous situation? Most people don`t know but to walk or run away from trouble is an advanced technique in the Martial-Arts but if you cannot do so you MUST defend yourself with all your physical, mental and spiritual capabilities.
Let`s say you are out one night at a carnival with your kids and wife. You just had a fun day of riding the rides and eating that delicious popcorn and cotton candy and the thrill of watching your family have fun and your kids` faces light up as they ride the carnival rides. Yes, it`s been a great family day and now it`s time to go home.
As you walk in the parking lot back to your car suddenly out of nowhere three thugs jump out and demand money. You have your family with you so the first thing that runs through your mind is how you are going to protect them first.
This sounds like something off a movie skit but it is not. This is very real now days and worse can happen so what do you do? You fight until you kick the crap out of the three thugs and protect your family while doing it.
I have seen many people training in the art of fighting doing beautiful kicks that look like something out of an art form lesson and look nice like they are flowing like the wind while they throw their punches, kicks, knees and all at the same time having a Karate Gi that is so starched and pressed with creases sharper than a razor blade they look like they are getting ready for a military inspection. This is not going to matter at all to survive a violent encounter unless you are one-hundred percent mentally prepared.
You can train 24/7 and 365 days a year and lose a fight against a punk, thug or someone that has never trained one minute in self-defense unless you are mentally trained. This takes time, practice and preparation like anything in life to prepare yourself mentally.
So you ask, How do you prepare yourself mentally? Good question and here`s the many answers. First thing is you have to accept fear. You have to accept that if you ever encounter a life or death situation that you are human and are going to of course experience fear. I like to call fear the F-word.
In the Martial-Arts we use terms like inner-strength. To develop your inner-strength you have to get out of your comfort zone and experience things that scare the poop out of you. I`m not saying go bungee cord jump off the Golden Gate Bridge or try to cross an Intersection busier than the Daytona 500 while blind folded. No, that would be idiotic and very stupid. I`m saying maybe find things not has hazardous to get you out of your comfort zone and experience a little mind boggling and adrenaline pumping fear.
"Learning to confront fears in day-to-day life and learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable can help us develop our inner strength." (Beecroft, M.)
When you confront fear and overcome it will increase confidence and instill that can-do attitude which will develop and strengthen your inner-strength of confidence. The other factor that goes hand in hand with fear is the adrenaline rush.
The adrenaline rush will inevitably happen when you are in a dangerous situation. It can take the life out of you and freeze your body stiffer than a frozen Popsicle, the heart rate goes sky high, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid, your mouth goes dry and sometimes your muscles become stiff.
Some people have experience it so bad that they have urinated and crapped their britches. The only and most important thing here is during all of this physiological events going on with your body that you take one-hundred percent control of your mind and prevent those thoughts of fear to enter it or the negative thoughts that follow the thoughts of fear.
This is where your mental training will kick in and prevent you from turning from a highly trained warrior to a little slip and slippery slug. Control your mind and thoughts. If you let those fear thoughts flow freely in your head you will more than likely experience the negative thoughts that have you thinking like you cannot win this attack, you are not fast enough, skilled enough or whatever. Not the case at all.
I read where Bruce Lee once said to imagine yourself like flowing water; you become the water and just flow without thinking but just react to the situation. I call it being in the zone, total focus and total concentration on the situation at hand blocking out any unwanted stimulus (a psychological term)
When I train I use what is known as visualization training. When I am working out I imagine being attacked by multiple attackers from every angle. I counter with moves to defend myself without thinking of what move I am going to throw. I react not think. Of course I have been in the Martial-arts for over twenty-years now and have trained myself to perform like this but this is the crucial type of training you must master to be able to defend yourself successfully in a violent attack.
I also train hard on the heavy bag and when I hit it I am punching, striking, kicking and so on it with everything I have. Not only is training this way a great cardiovascular workout and help develop power in your strikes, punches and kicks but it also is a way to train mentally and prepare for a violent encounter if I am ever faced with one.
You also have to kick your mind into what I call, Defense Mode. A lot of Martial-Art Masters call it The Kill Mode but I am for the purpose of this article keeping it a little gentler. This is where I want to tear apart my attacker and punish them for putting me in this unnecessary situation in the first place. This comes again from training through the years on mental preparation but it also comes from the inner-self. When your mind goes into this mode of thinking you don`t feel fear, just a kick butt mentality.
I really don`t like violence. There are many other ways to solve problems than to beat on someone but again we all live in a society that seems to like and suck up violence and there are many idiots out there that need to be taught a lesson and taken down a few notches if not out of our society for good. And those are the problem and violent people we have to watch out for as we go about our daily routine.
I or my family WILL NOT ever become a statistic of violence if I am around because of other problem people. You screw with my family and I have zero tolerance. Put it this way, I will hurt you and hurt you bad. This is the Defense Mode. I have developed over the years of training. I am not out to kill anyone but I will defend myself and family with every bit of confidence, physical, mental and spiritual energy I have.
That`s the other part of the puzzle in the Martial-Arts to control your temper. You never fight when you are mad. Harness that and use it to your advantage but never lose your temper in a self-defense situation. Control your emotions. And keep in control of yourself at all times.
So, train hard, train often and build confidence through developing your inner-strength. We live in a world that is violent and not safe so you need to be prepared every second of the day and night for anything.
Having an arsenal of weapons like a .357 Magnum, 12-Guage shotgun and a load of other hardware helps but more than likely when you are out at the mall, with the family at a carnival or getting off work late you won`t be carrying your weaponry with you. This is where your fists, knees, elbows and feet become your weaponry and your highly skilled Martial-arts training and mental preparedness will help you get back home to your family at night in one piece and alive if you are ever faced with a violent and dangerous attack.
Beecroft, M., (2015) You Are Not Prepared: How to Survive a Life-or-Death Situation, (http://breakingmuscle.com/other-martial-arts/you-are-not-prepared-how-to-survive-a-life-or-death-situation) Retrieved 2015.