Sunday, January 08, 2012

Trained and Determined

There are many ways to try to quantify the uncertainty of what happens in a violent encounter.  One way I use to explain is via the phrase "trained and determined".

Trained and Determined has several aspects.  First of all, we have to look at ourselves, which is the part of the equation we can control.  Being traing and determined means that we have received proper training.  Not just a knowledge of technique, but also training to develop appropriate reflex and response, manage stress, use psychology, have a sense of caution, and physical conditioning, In short, we have developed every aspect of ourselves as warriors.  Secondly is determination.  This means our commitment to being someone who survives an encounter.  It means not giving up - knowing there is always something that can be done.  It means developing a confident mentality and willpower that allow us to do whatever is needed to realistically assess and ultimately overcome the situation.

The other half of the equation which we cannot control are these attributes in our attacker.  While many systems assume an untrained attacker, it is always wise to accept that someone willing to attack you might have training at least equal to your own.  There is a big difference between a bar brawler and an MMA cage fighter (or skilled CIA field agent).  In our training this means exploring the highest percentage reversals/counters of our techniques and training to flow when things go wrong.  It also includes continuing to develop our knowledge through practicing with people of diverse martial backgrounds.

Determination is the second factor.  As I wrote in other posts, often the attacker's primary motivation is not harm you or kill you.  It is to get your property or money, to show they are not intimidated, or to express their anger or fear.  These need not be life-threatening results.  By contrast, a determined attacker (jealous husband/wife or suicide bomber, for example) may be unwilling to accept anything less than your injury or death.  In such cases, we have no choice but to respond as needed to protect our safety or the safety of those around us.  In this case, being proactive is completely justified.

Poorly trained assailants make mistakes.  In the case of Twiggy Fromme, for example, failing to charge the slide of her Colt 1911 .45 auto meant that President Ford survived her attempt to assassinate him.  The successful assassination of President Kennedy, by contrast, shows what can happen when an attacker is both trained and determined.

Lack of determination (or lack of training, for that matter) help us a lot, but can never be relied upon.  We must assume until proven otherwise, that any attack on us is done by a skilled attacker with the express intent of causing us bodily harm and train accordingly.  Hopefully none of us will ever be in this situation.  

In the meantime, how well "trained and determined" are you??

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