Dear Brendan,

Here is the follow-on piece to Combative Mindset.  This second piece will focus on what is commonly known as The Killer Instinct.  The dictionary defines Killer Instinct as a ruthless determination to succeed or win, or an aggressive tenacious urge for domination in a struggle to attain a set goal.  Sigmund Freud has called this your “It” factor.  This intense source of energy exists in all of us and is indeed an essential piece of the puzzle that goes hand in hand with the combative mindset that then creates the WILLINGNESS to step up and do whatever it takes to win the fight.  Everyone’s access point is set at a variable level. What may trigger this instinct in some people may not be enough in others. There is a documented case that illustrates this to good effect. The incident involved an aggravated robbery that turned to a brutal rape after a man broke in to the house of a single mother. The woman was unable to find within herself what was needed to fend off her attacker, and instead gave in without a fight in the hope that the ordeal would be over quickly. Why this lady gave in without a fight or struggle was unclear but as soon as her attacker had finished and decided to turn his attention to her eight year old daughter, everything changed. As soon as he made his way into the daughter’s room, within literally several seconds of opening the door of her child’s room, the attacker fell to his knees grabbing his neck in a desperate attempt to pull out a pair of scissors that were rammed into his neck full force by the child’s mother. In this real world example it is clear that the threat to her child was indeed enough for this lady to access her killer instinct to a high enough degree to protect her own. This is of course an extreme example, but such an example is necessary to illustrate the first point that killer instinct does indeed exist in every body and secondly that most if not all of us can relate to the fact that we would absolutely be prepared to do whatever it takes to protect the life of our own child or loved one.

Once we can acknowledge the fact that this powerful resource of energy exists within each of us, we must then decide how best to make use of it in a combative/violent situation. The ideal goal would be to fine-tune this energy into an on and off switch that we can control. If all options to avoid and escape, verbally dissuade, or physical posture/present fail and the situation is now about to become combative/violent, then as previously discussed your initial introduction into the altercation must be significant. It must make use of the 3 essential elements of speed, surprise/diversion and aggression/violence of action. These elements combined with the WILLINGNESS to do whatever it takes to win the fight are what make up the essential core or power base of our vital pyramid MIND SET.  The next element we need to add to this equation, once the decision has been made to attack, is our TACTICS, which in this case are pre-emptive, continuous attack with forward pressure. This is the exact point where the switch is flipped and killer instinct is brought to bear. SKILLS are the physical attributes/tools that we employ to end the combative/violent situation and terminate/finish the threat quickly and surgically.

We can use training drills that make use of the basic gross motor skills/strikes that we practice that will allow us to put all these elements together. All you need is a piece of impact equipment such as a heavy bag, focus mitts or a kicking pad/shield held by a partner and your imagination. All training drills should consist of basic gross motor skills/strikes.

For those who have difficulty switching on their killer instinct/aggression, you will need to add the most powerful resource at your disposal, and that is the use of your mind through visualization or mental imagery. Bruce Lee summed up the Combative mindset when he said ”If you just heard that one of your friends got badly beaten up, you would probably sit down and have a think about what you are going to do about it. If however you came home one day to find that someone had beaten your grandmother senseless for the price of her pension, then something inside you just goes BAM!! There is no thought you just want to destroy the mother f**ker!”  So use this example, close your eyes before your training drills and imagine whatever it takes for you to flick on the switch then blast the pads with your continuous assault for no more than 5 seconds with as much intensity and killer instinct as you can muster, then switch it off as you finish. The object is to create a controlled explosion of focused aggression.  Remember to focus on the following strikes.  Hammer fist, knife hand, chin jab, face smash, open hand/cupped hand strike, head butts, knees, elbows, and low line kicks such as the round kick, oblique kick, spike kick, push kick, etc.  Find what works best for you.  

I want to take a moment to discuss in more detail what I mean by deception and the element of surprise or diversion.  I’m talking about the use of trickery or smoke and mirrors.  The idea/intent is to mislead, misdirect and confuse someone.  This is a method of deception that can create the opportunity to eliminate a threat pre-emptively, thereby putting an end to a potential violent altercation quickly and surgically. There are two main ways that we use this art of deception and they are by either misdirection, in order to create a distraction or through brain engagement, where we ask the aggressor a brain-engaging question just before we strike.

These methods are used to line up an opponent by using the fence/hands up/talking with our hands as we control space/distance and then say something like ”so what are you trying to say?” we would follow this an instant later with a well practiced strike to the jaw that would put a surgical end to the situation. This method can be applied to any preferred pre-emptive strike that you choose, as long as you stick to the main principles of controlling space with your fence, talking with your hands while using deceptive/misleading dialogue.

It is important that we ask a question that requires a response, such as ”what’s this about?” What’s your name?  Why are you doing this?” at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter whether the question is relevant to the situation at hand or if it is totally abstract, so long as it makes the aggressor/attacker think of a response, whether he intends to reply or not. What we are looking to do here is to engage his brain for a split second so that he is not thinking about his intention to attack but instead is focused on what you have just said. This will create the window of opportunity that we need to strike. This will also act as an action trigger for our attack that will take away any indecision on our part of when to attack.

To train this response we need to associate our selected question with our favorite strike/s and bring it to play each and every time we practice on the pads, bags and with our training partners. This then becomes part of our practiced game plan.  The other way we use deception/diversion is through misdirection. This has been around for many, many years and has been used by everyone from WW2 veterans to the mob. I’ll note a movie that will be coming out soon about the Kray brothers.  The notorious Kray twins were known to offer someone a cigarette and then a light then as they lean forward to light it they would punch them hard in the jaw which was by now slightly open, and knock the individual completely unconscious. A similar method has been use by special operatives in WW2 when people would carry a metal cigarette case, which would be held flat in the palm of the hand and then rammed hard into and through the jaw, chin-jab style as the recipient leaned in for a light.

Here are a few excellent methods of deception through misdirection that I believe will be value added to you. Please stay thirsty for anything combatively functional. The first was discovered by accident while practicing chin-jabs with a partner. One of them needed to cough to clear their throat and put out his hand onto his partner’s chest and said ”hold on” as he turned away to cough. We have developed this idea and turned it into an excellent deception technique.

The hand to the chest acts as a fence that will give you tactical/situational awareness of where your aggressor is and what his intentions are, the slight turn away is done while still keeping your opponent in view and is used to set up your strike from an open or closed hand held in front of your mouth to cover as you cough before exploding forward and through the opponent’s face with your strike.

The next one makes use of misdirection by engaging the aggressor’s attention in the following way. As the verbal argument starts to escalate make a quarter turn away from your opponent as you place one arm across your chest as if pointing to a rip in your shirt by your shoulder, this is a discreet way of chambering for an Ax hand strike, as you do this say something like ”What do mean? Look what you’ve done to my shirt.” From here drop step forward and explode into an Ax hand strike to the aggressor’s neck area.

One final method is to use language and dirty fighting techniques. As the argument starts to escalate, take your hand up to your nose and blow snot into your hand, from here make a motion as if to flick the snot at your aggressor’s feet. As he reacts in disgust to your action, explode into and through him with your main artillery strikes. This could also be used to buy you just enough time to draw an improvised weapon such as a pen, steel beard comb or a cell phone etc. to use as an impact weapon.

I want to close this piece by articulating the importance of delivering every strike with power/force and bad intentions.

We must deliver the maximum amount of impact to our attacker’s body through our strikes. We must understand the mechanics of the drop step and body torque as a means to increase impact force as do the modern Combatives Instructors of our time. The following are five principles of power development; it is theses principles that will make your technique an efficient means of employing FORCE/POWER.

I want you to remember the following acronym, SWAMP.

S – Stay relaxed
W – Weapon first
A – Acceleration
M – Move in the direction of the strike
P – Plunge your body weight into the technique.

Stay relaxed. Staying relaxed is essential for your body to move swiftly and economically. For explosive movement you need to stay loose, the more relaxed you are, the faster your limbs will move and the harder your strikes will be. Concentrate on being relaxed before you explode into any technique.

Weapon first. We want to move the weapon first in order to deliver the strike without telegraphing our intentions. As Bob Kasper says ”Let him feel the technique before he sees it.”  This is especially applicable to our main artillery pre-emptive strikes, which is of course what we should always seek if we have no alternative left but physical violence.  Forget chambering for a strike and avoid facial expressions, just throw your blow from wherever your weapon/tool happens to be.

Acceleration. Accelerate forward off the back foot for a fast delivery.  Once your body is moving, continue moving as fast as you can and don’t stop until the man is down.  Remember that tense muscles move slower so stay relaxed and accelerate through the target.  When you throw a technique, throw it fast.  Accelerate, and keep accelerating until it’s over.

Move in the direction of the strike.  In order to put your body weight into a strike you must move in the same direction.  Your body weight at speed will create power and force through the target as long as it is moving in the same direction.

Plunge your weapon/tool into and through your target accompanied with your full body weight behind it.  In order to do this you must be applying two other principles:  Moving the weapon first and moving in the direction of the strike.  To plunge means to throw all of your body weight directly into the strike before your mass settles.

Shock relates to the effects of our impact delivery to the attacker’s/aggressor’s body and the effects this will cause to the Central Nervous System (CNS) as well as the damage caused to him physically, mentally and emotionally.  Our aim should be to create complete sensory overload to the recipient through our own body dynamics, mental and physical commitment to put the man down by striking continuously with bad intentions.  This is what I like to refer to as removing the threat/target from the battle space.  FIND-FIX-FINISH

BLUF:  Whatever you have to do.  Just find an excuse to WIN! 

Remember to train with a purpose.  True fitness is task oriented.  Train for the mission/fight. 

You must train with a definitive mindset, a brand of defiance.  Go into the dark places of the mind and come out stronger, ready to do battle.

“To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives.  Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.”

If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.  -Thomas Sowell

The difference between combat and sports is that in combat you bury the guy that comes in second.” Unidentified Navy SEAL

Some where out there right now someone is preparing for the day you both shall meet, how prepared will you be?”

Superior gear will never make up for a lack of training or attitude.

Prepare to win the fight.

Your Friend,