Saturday, July 23, 2011

Combat Psychology - Confusing An Attacker ... .

Why You Never Have the Upper Hand in a Fight

Thugs in the street very rarely have any formal training in martial arts or self-defence and yet they still manage to get the best of most people (including those that do have training often) when it comes to brawling. In fact put a street fighter in the ring with most martial artists and it's still not even clear who'd come out on top. In part this is down to experience - thugs and street-fighters get into scraps on an almost daily basis and obviously pick up a few tricks. More though, it is down to the psychology; they have learned the art of intimidation, they have let go of their fear and they have that 'killer' instinct that most people are lacking. Furthermore the very nature of a street fight if you're the victim will put you at a disadvantage. You see if you're attacked they have the element of surprise, they have the experience, and they have chosen to initiate the fight (thereby being able to pick a time that suits them). You'll be shocked and upset while they'll be psyched and ready to go. Then you'll still have to wait until they actually throw a punch before you can defend yourself (otherwise it's not 'self defence'). This is why it's normally the psychology alone that makes a victim lose a fight to a thug - most of them are lanky, thick and badly coordinated.

While that killer instinct isn't something that you can learn from an article (so I'm wasting my time writing this one theoretically...), and you're not going to go around starting fights so you have the upper hand, there are thankfully several ways you can use your own psychological techniques to get the best of your attacker and you can develop at least a more pragmatic attitude to confrontation.


Stop Pulling Punches

It's a fact that everyone naturally pulls there punches. Even when you think you are hitting someone with your full force there is a mental barrier that is preventing you from using 100%. This is actually the reason that insane people often seem inhumanly strong - because their mental barrier is missing. It's also the reason that you hear stories of children getting trapped underneath cars only for their mothers to find the strength to lift it off of them. In a fight this mental barrier becomes even more apparent. Most of us are averse to violence and will start to feel very uncomfortable when someone starts threatening us. A lot of things run through our minds - we don't want to hurt them more than necessary, we don't want to be 'unfair or unreasonable' and further more we don't want to get hurt ourselves. The attacker however has no such qualms. For this reason a lot of us don't only pull our punches - but become frozen and fail to punch at all - and it's because you're worried about them ridiculously enough.

First of all then, forget about fairness straight off. If they're threatening you then you are perfectly within your rights to spark them out. They deserve it. If you are in any way nervous about hitting them they will sense it and make their move more confidently. You must be willing to respond in kind if called for. The best and fairest thing to do in this situation would simply be to punch them straight in the face they minute they invade your personal space or do that swaggering walk. However most of us aren't willing to do that. Thus we need to be a little more tactical than our thug friends. Surely you can outthink a thug. More on that later, however if you can switch off your common decency a little it will help you out.

Next you need to try and eradicate any fears of getting hurt yourself as that can often cause you to hold back; if it's between getting stabbed and damaging your knuckles I know what I'd choose. One way I overcome this is to pretend I'm the Terminator. In my mind I just imagine being invincible, walking unstoppably towards my target and letting blows bounce off me like rubber. Another psychological technique that's actually used in sports as well is to imagine you have all of your strengths and all of the strengths of your opponent and it's amazing how effective this little bit of self talk can be. Similarly you can pretend you're fighting one of your friends (and practice doing so) so it won't seem like such a big deal. Right so so far we've got the following advice: get over your urge to not cause bleeding (yours or theirs) and use alternative attacks to just punching. Another great one is to grab the head and twist it to the left or right violently which forces anyone to drop to the ground.


Thugs Are Predictable

Unfortunately brave and unique though you now are, you're still essentially going to be waiting there to be hit at. The good news is though that this is easy to defend against as almost every thug has the exact same first move - the right hook. Thus you can be ready for the first attack the minute you're concerned you're heading for fight territory. If they do that swagger-y walk or enter your personal space or act 'too' friendly then the minute they flinch cover the right of your head or duck. This is what we were talking about early when we said 'outsmart' the attacking thug.


Using Weird Attacks

From here go for the head twist, a kick to the groin, a kick to the kneecap or something other than a straight punch. Even just slapping them hard across the ear can daze and confuse them so that you can make your get away or follow up with the face twist (another psychological element that's hard to cross is moving in to their personal space which can be intimidating to longer range attacks will work well). Anything where you push or pull the head works excellently to take someone down if you're quick and forceful as it's unexpected and far from their centre of balance. Alternatively cover then leap backwards to put space between you after you've been hit - these thugs tend to be fairly slow delivering punches and will pause between attacks, especially initially. This gives you time to plan your next move. Many of these simple but unusual attacks will work well even if you do get hit - as hook punches are fairly week and usually lack technique. Again from here you've got the green light to go in with one of these other attacks.


Psychological Games

There are other little tricks you can use to throw the balance and get the psychological element back on your side. For example, simply shouting out loudly before you punch someone can shock them enough that they will freeze - thugs just don't expect it so make it loud and sudden. Similarly yelling 'help' really loudly though a bit pussy-ish will draw attention to you all and put them on edge (shouting any noise continuously can work well and will put them out of sync). Another great one is to attack mid sentence. This can be your sentence or theirs but if you go: 'Look mate I don't want any trouble here, I'm willing to le-' and then punch them straight in the face they'll be completely unprepared to defend as it's human nature to wait until the end of a sentence. You can even just try charging at them as fast and brutally as possible which they won't know how to react to - then throw them down by hitting them on the top of their chest or neck as you barge into them. Another fantastic one is to throw your lose change hard at their face if you carry it in your back pocket. This will distract them and confuse them and hurt and you can follow up with a punch. They won't expect it - no one expects to have money thrown at them (and it's poetic and ironic if they were going to demand your cash...). Another option is to run and climb and throw other items thereby using your environment Jackie Chan - style. Again they don't expect it and get this - you jump over a railing and to follow you they have to jump or climb over it too. You just wait the other side and knock them off every time they try to.


Shock and Awe

Regardless of which of these defences you use take this message as the one you need to learn - the two things that make you vulnerable in a fight are the fear of hitting someone and having to wait for the first attack. If you can get over these things with a guaranteed counter that you're not afraid to use and some clever ways to unsettle the opponent and ruin their 'pattern' then you're in with a good chance. Similarly learn to control your fight or flight response. Furthermore think about the predictable pattern that a thug uses and expects - break out of this and take them out of their comfort zone. This is far more useful in a fight than learning and perfecting hundreds of moves and counters - most of which you'll be far to frozen to use otherwise.


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  2. Vry useful fr a non violent person lyk me....who is strong but mentally week to react violently....

  3. hey it was really knowledgeable.. i think it'll be useful for everybody who'll read this blog.. you'll laid out everything so precisely.. good work man.. :)