Combat Mindset for The Empty Hand Warrior

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Ryan
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Combat Mindset for The Empty Hand Warrior

Post by Ryan » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:26 pm

Combat Mindset for The Empty Hand Warrior

Combat takes many shapes and forms. At its most rudimentary level combat between humans is a violent physical engagement without weapons. At its most sophisticated level it involves armies with weapons of mass destruction. Regardless of the size of the conflict one thing is constant and that constant is the man on the battlefield. The successful outcome of the battle is always reduced to that one variable. That constant (the warrior) has to embody certain qualities, that without, makes the combatant no longer a warrior; but rather, a victim of the opposition’s imposition and will.

What does it take to be a viable and effective warrior? The simplistic answer is: “big, strong, skilled, aggressive…” However, the answer is not that straightforward. There are many elements that are important, that without, leaves the fighter with a chink in his armor. As most have probably witnessed, a smaller man can beat a larger man if his skill-sets are superior. Strength can be overcome with applied leverage; and, aggressiveness can be overcome with sustained determination and circular awareness. The most important factors are: mind-set, skill-set, and stamina.

Let’s look at mind-set and consider its elements. First, a fighter must have courage, or heart, as it is usually described. A courageous person is not the same as a fearless person. A person that displays courage is willing to face their fears and act in a manner that is appropriate for the situation, despite their fears. A fearless person, though they may display bluster and aggressiveness, is usually not aware when they are in trouble or traveling down a perilous path of self-destruction, nor will they act in manner that is calculated or objective.

Courage is usually innate but it can be cultivated through experience. The more experience one has, the more confidence they will have. With confidence one can feel sure of oneself and consequently be more willing to face their fears. Moreover, if one is confident through experiential learning, even hypothetical war-gaming and autogenic conditioning (visualization) then they are more likely to cope with the psycho-physiological limitations that can be imposed by the fight or flight reflex. The fight or flight reflex can have many limiting effects on a person such as loss of circular awareness, degradation of fine motor skills, and a host of other psycho-physiological issues.

The second element: skill-set, runs a close second to mind-set. Let’s face it; if you don’t have any tools in the toolbox you’re probably not going to get the job done regardless of how courageous you may be. You need to learn and know the basics of hand combat. The adage “advanced techniques are the basics mastered” is a true and applicable statement. Most effective fighters and world champions reach their acclaim with a few masterful techniques, and occasionally they will attain a victory by exploiting a serendipitous opportunity with a difficult and rarely practiced method. To be a champion-warrior, train the way you expect to fight, and you will fight the way you have trained.

The third element of hand combat is stamina. When mind-sets and skill-sets are equal, which is often the case in a pre-arranged contest, particularly professional combat, the outcome is usually reduced to stamina. He who has the conditioning and endurance – including mental endurance – to sustain the fight beyond the adversary’s ability, will usually, as a minimum, bring the fight to a neutral outcome or a victory for oneself even if they are under powered. A fighter should focus on aerobic capacity, flexibility, and applicable power. Aerobic capacity will enable one to recover faster after an energy surge and it will help maintain lucidity of the mind – the key ingredient needed to maintain a circle of awareness. Flexibility is important for speed, range of motion, and somatic resilience. Range of motion is essential for avoiding injuries. This can be a problem for some muscular individuals, particularly those that do not stretch their muscles regularly.

Lastly, applied power refers to one’s ability to direct their physical power effectively. Weight training develops muscles in a uniform and linear method and largely depends on tuning the nervous system to balance the weight so it can be moved with stability and fluidity. Strength training that focuses on core strength and leverage is preferable because it accounts for erratic and asymmetrical power-dependent movements as well as it capitalizes on leveraging power through economized effort. For example: The power of an effective punch is not derived from the arms, shoulders, or even the waist as many falsely teach. The power of a proper punch originates at the feet particularly through the raising of one’s heel and/ or the pivoting of the foot, depending on whether it’s a straight or circular punch. The same principles apply for ground fighting except that one can also use their adversary’s strength and imbalance to facilitate counter-balance and exploitation of the adversary’s disequilibrium.

Remember, any deficiency in one or more of these elements leave the fighter at a disadvantage; the consummate warrior trains the way he is going to fight and he will invariably fight way he has trained.

By Dale Comstock. Ex-Delta Force Operator.

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CQB-TEAM Education and Motivation.

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"Anyone with a weapon is just as deadly as the next person."
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