Developing the proper Combat attitude of mind
'It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog'!
This above saying can certainly hold true and I have seen it displayed many times not only in the controlled arena of the training halls but also on the streets.
The perception that big goes hand in hand with tough is not always true.
Another favourite quote of the uninitiated is 'Look at the size of that bloke, I certainly wouldn't want to tangle with him'!
Now there are big guys out there that are monsters but I also have known big guys who couldn't give your grandmother a decent fight!
You must begin to get rid of the 'look at the size of him' mentality and re-programme your thinking. Sure, still be respectful and wary of a large man but don't be intimidated or feel that he must be superior to you in all departments.
Don't let fear convince you that if you get into conflict with such a person you will not stand a chance. These negative thoughts will always creep into your mind. The more you train physically and mentally to control them the better you will become.
Start thinking small can be dangerous, small can be intimidating, and small can be ferocious when needed.
Think of the animal kingdom, some of the most deadliest creatures in the world are small, spiders, snakes, frogs, insects. Even large predators know when to avoid these creature because they realise they will have 'bitten off more than they can chew'.
Look at dogs like a pit bull or Jack Russell. Big dogs give them healthy respect and plenty of distance as they realise their fighting qualities, you can be the same!
Also remember some large people will use their height or body bulk as an intimidating safety net to keep others from them but although the house may look big and strong underneath the foundations are weak and one good wallop could send the lot crumbling to the floor!
So how can you start re-programming your thoughts along these lines?
You must firstly examine yourself and find out what sort of person you are, then you can begin to re-mould yourself.
Basically I have found there to be 3 types of small person.
One is a person that is quiet and reserved who keep themselves very much to themselves. They lack belief in their abilities because of their size and try to avoid conflict because they feel they are weak and cannot handle it.
The second person because of their lack of physical presence has to make up for it by being loud, cocky and arrogant. They feel this will get them noticed and this is their safety net or mental suit of armour. I am sure you all know somebody like this?
Thirdly the type of person you want to become.
Again quiet and polite, friendly but commands respect when needed. Will know the point where he will not be taken beyond and will communicate it in no uncertain terms!
Will avoid conflict at all costs. But when cornered and has no alternative will be able to flick on that 'killer instinct' switch and become a dangerous and formidable opponent until the threat is removed.
You have to work to master being that type of person, you have to gain that quiet confidence so that if trouble comes your way and there is no avoiding it you will be able to handle it.
This confidence comes through training in proper combat techniques that suit your build and stature. As you progress and learn the feeling of control and confidence, your abilities will develop.
Remember though never be brash, arrogant or big headed and don't under-estimate anyone. Just channel that burning inner feeling of how to cope with a violent and dangerous encounter if it happens.
After self-belief you must learn to build ruthless determination. The next essential ingredient. Once you decide on defending yourself you must go at it a 100%. All thoughts of defeat, injury and pain to your own self must be blotted out and never enter your mind.
If you let these thoughts enter your mind, you will lose the confrontation.
You have to keep on fighting like a savage animal until the attacker is incapable of further action. Don't hold back - see that he is stopped.
The law forbids you to take revenge but it permits you to prevent. Do what you have to do to prevent the assault. Let's face it your attacker is not going to be worried about your welfare. If he is physically bigger and stronger you must not allow him a chance to get into the fight. You may only get one chance so make it count, swarm and overwhelm your opponent.
If you get punched, kicked, grabbed, keep fighting! Don't let the mind give in; as soon as it does you will be beaten. Most fights finish because one of the participants has mentally given up, not necessarily because of their physical injuries.
If after you receive a few blows your mind says 'this hurts, he's going to kill me here', your body will react to and give in. Don't let this happen. Be ruthless and dogged.
Think positive, I will win, I cannot be stopped; I won't be hurt, I will defeat you no matter what!
This sort of determined outlook will give you a distinct psychological edge; it will also give you the advantage to win!
Remember a big guy who chooses to attack you is 100% sure he can beat you. His physique is I'm bigger so I'm better. He sees you as no threat and doesn't believe you can harm him. Blow his stupid and over confident attitude out of the window along with his senses. Turn into that pit bull; blitz him from all angles with blows. Overwhelm him with sheer desire to win and ruthless fury. Make him suddenly think what the hell have I taken on here?
Can you recall a part in the film 'Jurassic Park', when the guy who stole the dinosaur embryos was trying to get away, when he was confronted by what looked like a small playful dinosaur?
Him believing so, didn't treat it with the respect it deserved. Then suddenly it turned into a ferocious, poison spitting, man-eating nightmare!
By the time the guy realised what he was up against it was too late! Get the idea, remember how people might perceive you then prove them wrong.
You see psychologically you have turned the tables. There's nothing worse than when a supremely confident fighter suddenly finds himself on the receiving end of punishment rather than dishing it out! Some don't know how to handle it and won't be able to readjust quickly enough.
So cultivate this mind, set and show no fear, even if your stomach is churning over inside, channel the feeling positively, except them and make them work for you. Wear the mask of a cold and calculating veteran of many such battles. Stare at your opponent with blank, expressionless eyes, like shark’s eyes, pull your lips back in a grim determined smile. All these tactics will unnerve your attacker.
Think again how the pit bull will have no hesitation or fear when attacking a larger dog than itself.
That's because it has an inner belief in itself and a will to win, so can you!
Another component to the whole picture is developing a 'killer instinct'. This is the ability basically to finish the fight, to resoundingly defeat your attacker.
You must strive for this, make no mistake your attacker given the chance will finish you, whether it be beat you, stab you or kick you to a pulp!
The days of fair play are gone, the hardened mugger or psycho street fighter will not worry about stooping to the lowest level to beat you.
Unfortunately you may have to stoop even lower to defeat them!
But remember you are doing this for a different motive than them, you are doing it to defend yourself, your family, your loved ones, whatever the case maybe.
You must have no compulsion to going in and ruthlessly finishing the fight, do not let them off 'the hook' you may not get a second chance.
Once they realise you can look after yourself and the essential element of surprise is gone, they will up the stakes and the intensity of their assault, so finish it!
You may say it's not in your nature to be aggressive and that you despise violence. I also hate violence if it can be avoided then fine, but sometimes it comes knocking at your door and you can't hide from it.
Then you have got to summon up courage and defiance and fight back.
Today's society unfortunately is a violent one, robbery, rape, muggings, murder, kidnapping, and terrorism, down to road rage and domestic squabbles. Today's street fighter or thug is different from yesteryear. He may come into the confrontation totally 'crazed' on booze, pills, or drugs.
Nine times out of ten probably armed or 'carrying', he is a biter, a gouger and a stamper, he will not back off when you hit the floor, he will carry on stomping and kicking.
He is a psychopath. You cannot plead to his good or moral side, he hasn't got one, he is an animal, make no mistake.
So when the chips are down and it's you or him who is going to survive, it has to be you, no question!
The killer instinct can be switched on or off at will.
It can lie dormant inside you as you go about your everyday life but when trouble looms you can switch it on instantly. I liken it to having a monster inside you that every now and then you will let off the lease to have the run of the place. But when the job is done it is chained safely back up again. You must never let the monster escape or control you; you must be its master and have control of it at all times. To hope to control another person you must first control yourself!
All these fighting components must come under the heading of 'fighting spirit', or controlled aggression.
Never anger, rage, or out of control. It's not about letting the 'red mist' come over the eyes and 'loosing it'.
In that case you will use precious energy up with no result, you will blindly wade in to deeper troubled water and finally drown!
Look at some of the World Class boxers in their prime like Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler, Duran, Leonard, Benn.
When their opponent was in trouble, when they sensed victory they were in there and took the opponent out the game but although it was ferocious it was still controlled and when it was done they switched it off.
Former World Middle weight champion Marvin Hagler had a fearsome reputation in the ring and was a terrific finisher but outside the ring was said to be a quietly spoken gentleman.
This is what you must strive for, if these boxers aforementioned had hesitated in those crucial times it would have cost them their titles and a fortune of money. If you hesitate it may cost you a higher price, your life!
You can have all the best fighting moves in the world but if you haven't developed the right mental attitude it is like having a handful of bullets but with no gun to fire them!
The techniques are a hollow shell without emotional content.
If you still doubt your ability to develop these attributes then quietly sit down for a moment and visualise your worst nightmare. For instant being held at knife point and being forced to watch your wife being raped or your children beaten.
Visualise now some faceless fiend that you fear pulling up in a car outside. He's huge, aggressive and has a reputation for hurting people. He's now walking up your drive. The doorbell rings and you unexpectedly answer the door and he pushes his way in. Your wife is in the kitchen, your kids asleep upstairs. What are you going to do?
Can you honestly now say you cannot conjure up the necessary mindset needed to survive? Of course you can, you have no choice!
If by even reading these words they have conjured up feelings of fear, repulsion, nausea, panic, then take the opportunity to channel these feelings positively to fight back and win!
Fear is natural, everybody gets it, and it’s how you control it that's the key. Under pressure you will get the 'fight or flight' syndrome! The body is preparing and priming itself for confrontation, it is a primitive animal, survival tactic that dates right back to the beginning of time.
Don't be frightened, if you have to fight it will initially powerhouse your body and give you super charged strength and speed but it won't last long until you will get the down side of the adrenaline rush, exhaustion.
Most live confrontations will happen quickly and not last long, so channel the adrenaline into a burst of controlled aggression and take your assailant out.
More about the bodies functioning under stress later.
When you carry the right mental attitude you will surprise the larger assailant and defeat him. But you must have belief in yourself that you can do it. What you lack in physical size make up with the heart of a lion!
A favourite quote of renowned Self Protection expert Geoff Thompson is that you should train to be 20 Stone up in the mind, not in the biceps.
This excellently sums up what this chapter is all about.