Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Psychology of Combat

This blog is dedicated to the development of the individual Christian warrior's spirit (and skills) in subordination to God's Law. The article I'm recommending here lays a foundation for understanding combat mindset, but it does so as preparation for a discussion of tactics (maneuver warfare). Although the article goes beyond the scope of the individual combatant, it offers much insight to the Christian Martialist willing to read, study and comprehend.

Willingness to fight an assailant who attacks you or an innocent third party implies the possibility of taking the assailant's life. This is a grave and solemn matter, not to be taken lightly. You need to understand the stresses on the human psyche at the moment of truth, lest you become the victim.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has provided deep and practical insight into these matters in his books On Killing and On Combat. I hope this long (34 pages) article by Grossman will motivate you to get his books -- which deal with the warrior as an individual -- and read them. Here is the link to his article:

Defeating the Enemy’s Will: The Psychological Foundations of Maneuver Warfare

Caveat: The author's evolutionary presuppositions are evident both in his books and in this article.


Stephen Boyd said...

I'll try to read the article later on today. Thanks for the link!

I read part of On Killing but I didn't finish it. It seemed to deal with the psychological aspects of offensive killing and that's why I didn't finish it. Since my combat experience will probably only be in self defense, I really don't feel like I need to learn the same things that people who kill offensively do. There is a huge psychological difference between defensive and offensive killing. I wish to learn to defend myself and others but not become desensitized to killing.

What do you think? Is this a valid concern?

I would like to flip through On Combat, however, that seems to be more dedicated to tactical subject matter.

Gravelbelly said...

Reading the book will not desensitize you, and it will probably give you greater insight into the problems associated with killing whether "defensive" or "offensive".

I recommend you finish reading it, even if it's just to be able to understand any veterans you may run into who are coping with their own decisions to kill.

"On Combat" is aimed at helping the warrior deal with what Grossman & Christensen call the toxic environment of combat.