Saturday, July 19, 2008

Defeat Your Assailant's Will

When you read the article by Dave Grossman that I linked to earlier this week (you did read it, didn't you?), I hope you thought about how the tactical aspect might apply to the individual's self-defense situation. Can you use what you learned to defeat your attacker's will?

The average orc seeking a victim looks for easy prey. He wants someone who does not have the will to resist. From the time of his very intention to commit a violent act, he knows he does not want a contest of the will.

Up until I entered junior high (middle school), I had been in very few fights. Then for about a year and a half, I fought on a rather regular basis -- by my choice, but not by my preference. In other words, I fought because if I didn't, my aggressors would have beaten me, anyway.

Years later, as I reflected on those dark and threatening days, I realized that no one has ever challenged me to fight because he wanted to fight. I haven't had many challenges since those days, but they tend to fall into a pattern: the challenger was either 1) posturing for his ego or to get what he wanted, or 2) wanted -- for his own perverse reasons -- someone to beat up.

Wanting a fight and wanting to beat someone up are two different things. Outside of the boxing and MMA arenas, very few guys really want to fight (okay, maybe hocky, too). Everyone else is just looking for a victim.

Willingness to fight goes a long way toward shutting down a lot of challengers. But there's a psychology to it. If he's posturing & you start posturing, each of you will puff himself up bigger & get louder. Once the process starts, it has already escalated to the point where neither of you will back down for the sake of ego, even though neither of really you wants a fight.

Your first and best option -- especially when dealing with a stranger -- is tactical retreat. This orc is challenging you because he has an edge, and he knows it. Whether his edge is a literal edge (knife) or just a Sunday punch, he's confident because he's used it successfully before.

Don't meet this guy's challenge, if you have an out. If retreat is not possible, then you must defeat his will to fight as much as you need to defeat his strength and skill. You also have to establish your role as the one on the defensive in the eyes of witnesses.

So, you assume the defensive posture, and you loudly say, "Stop! Leave me alone." At this point the orc thinks he has you up a tree. Then you ask a simple question:

"You're not going to let me out of here without a fight, are you?"

His answer may be something like "!@#$% right I'm not," or he may suggest that he'll let you go if you do something for him in return that you absolutely will not do (especially if it involves your wife or sister). It makes no difference; as soon as he makes his intention plain, you hit him.

Then you keep on hitting him until you've neutralized the threat.

Your question establishes two things:
  1. You want out of the situation without a fight;
  2. He's forcing the fight on you.
This is your way of piercing his psychology of intimidation. You also launch into an attack that he's not ready for -- he's still working himself up to it when you light into him.

Here you should use the psychology of combat to further turn the momentum in your favor. Grossman's article mentions two closely related points in this regard: noise and the close proximity of the enemy.

The noise alone does not work at a distance, but it will magnify his disorientation as you move in on him (see "Controlling Adrenaline Stress: The Battle Cry"). You see, his experience is that his victims try to get away, or try to move out of range. If he grabs them, they try to pull away.

Unless you encounter an expert grappler, he will find it disconcerting when you move in on him. (That's one thing I like about jujitsu -- it conditions you to fight at distances most people find discomfiting.) The loud sound of your battle cry should increase your advantage exponentially -- both by what it does to him and what it does for you.

The combination of great noise and proximity to the enemy has spelled victory and defeat on the battlefield for millennia. A street fight is merely a microcosm of battle -- close quarters combat for two (unless the orc has help). There is no reason you shouldn't use these battle-proven tactics on the street.

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