How do you train for the psychological portion of a confrontation

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Explorer, May 2, 2010.

  1. Explorer

    Explorer Blue Belt

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    I know we all train hard to handle the physical portion of a confrontation but I'd like to know how the community (the MT community, of course) likes to handle training for the non-physical part of a confrontation?

    Over the years I think I've found a couple of principles that help some:

    1. Conflict isn't the enemy ... it's an opportunity to effect positive change.
    2. In the verbal portion of a conflict it's helpful to begin with the end in mind. Which means, I need to figure out what my preferred conclusion is to this confrontation and work toward it.
    3. If the attack does come ... welcome it. It is yet another opportunity to effect positive change.

    I'd love to hear (read) how everybody else thinks about these issues.


    Best Wishes,

    Explorer
     
  2. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    This thinking is the end result of many years of training. My instructor always taught that we learn self defense, so we would not have to use it. As I look back at my younger years, a lot of conflicts, mine and others were based on insecurities. Once you bridge the gap of physical confrontation with years of training, it opens doors of resolution not seen in earlier years. True self defense, is based on the unseen and the unknown, and happens in an instance. All else can, and should be, resolved through verbal means. In the end I feel that our enemy is insecurities, whether ours or theirs.
     
  3. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    I have not been in any confrontations that did not have a preface. Ie.e first there was a verbal + non verbal communication. That is where you can gain control over things if you have some street smarts / skill at cold reading. I am not a real expert at these things, but I know enough to get by and to read people in conflict situations.

    Look at the way wolves compete for leadership. Much of the fight is posturing and psychological. Even if it gets physical, the winner doesn't usually rip out the throat of the winner. People also have some of this animal behavior. If there is the risk of a violent conflict because another party is intent on kicking your ***, then it is very difficult to avoid physical conflict. I have never been in such situations.

    However, if the confrontation started because of other things (e.g. the saving / loss of face) then non violent solutions are possible if you can think fast enough / talk well enough to fix the situation. Also your body language does play a very big role. I have been in those situations before and can say I did well.

    If winning is defined in terms of beating the other guy, then I never did. If winning is defined in terms of getting home alive, unharmed, without needing to look over my shoulder from then on, then I won each and every of those encounters.

    EDIT:
    The following are good threads to read on this topic:
    http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=84962
    http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=84834
    http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=84927
     
  4. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    For the psychological aspect of fighting, our teachers train us to practice from an emotional state. We (are supposed to) practice every technique from a state of fear (this guy's gonna kill me!), anger (this guy's gonna kill my family!), indifference (I don't want any part in this nonsense), confidence (You cannot stop me), and compassion (my drunken uncle is complaining about the government again!)

    Since all real fights are emotionally charged, we should practice from those emotions.

    On a non-fighting side to this, each combative lesson contains a principle both used for fighting and also for life lessons. For example, the lesson of "entering" teaches us the importance of seizing opportunity when it presents itself and not letting a chance for success pass us by.
     
  5. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    I think it's also worth mentioning that psychological conflicts that never go physical have just as much power to wear a person down and do them lasting harm. I think we all carry a vivid memory of some bully or abusive teacher from our school days. And we all know the laser-like precision with which our parents can push our buttons. So as a matter of self defense, it's important for a martial artist (or anyone!) to prepare themselves for that kind of impact as well.
     
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  6. Explorer

    Explorer Blue Belt

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    Good stuff guys. Thanks for your reply's. Do any of you have any drills for strengthening your psychological/philosophical skills?
     
  7. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I would say that putting yourself in situations that will simulate the confrontation, is the best way to reach this goal. Now, I'm not talking about going out and getting into fights, but going scenario based training drills, such as Peyton Quinn does with his RMCAT program. Its all about the proper mindset. :)
     
  8. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Master of Arts

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    Get in a bar fight once a week. That will train you one way or another.

    Other than that, make sure you are justified. Not only in a court of law, but in your heart. And then go for it in the fight with everything you have.

    Deaf
     
  9. repz

    repz Green Belt

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    Well, if the students dont feel insulted, throwing some harsh words around in an aggressive manner during techniques can further help simulate the streets.

    Also, inducing nervousness, like testing, or even competetition, can rack up the nerves. Its not really in the same league as the emotional crisis of a street encounter, but it might have some good nerve management training in there somewhere.

    And this is something I have been experimenting with. It might just be a personal thing, and might not work for everyone, or it can have no benefits at all and is something like a placebo effect except as a training tool. But I always felt very, very, very loud music booming in your ear, while sparring or performing technique, simulates similar sensations of a real fight. Its like the million voices that tell you to run (maybe simulated by the music which is loud gives you the sense that you have to leave the room, or the lack of concentration as your selective hearing is going haywire) is constantly forcing you to concentrate on the fight even though it is very difficult to do so. I might be doing a bad job of explaining this, but I have always put thought into this. I always described past fights as fighting but with loud annoying music blasting into my head.
     
  10. dosk3n

    dosk3n Green Belt

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    The main problem I have is that my adrenaline starts pumping an dI start shaking. Ive always managed to talk my way out of a situation but Im not sure how I would react if it came to the actual fight.

    I fel that my adrenaline will take over and I will forget everything I have been taught to a degree and just end up swinging my arms.

    However I am also worried the oposite will happen. I remember that when I was a child and at school one time I got really angry and went to hit someone but before the hit landed I for some reason I really slowed down my hit so that it wouldnt cause any damage and was more of a tap than anything. I have no idea why this happened so somtimes I get worried I would also do this in a serious situation.

    However without getting myself into a fight Im never going to know what is going to happen.
     
  11. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Really? This is how you are taught? Honestly, I'm incredibly surprised by that, as this is the exact opposite of any Japanese based system I have ever encountered.

    A common theme in Japanese arts (especially in Ninjutsu) is the concept of mushin, in which you strive to quieten your mind and emotions against such things. Any emotional extreme will influence your perception, and not for the better. This is where we get such phrases as "blinded by rage", "frozen with fear", even the seemingly positive emotions making us see (falsely) through "rose-coloured glasses". In fact, the only time I take my students through training with these emotions is to demonstrate how limiting it is to your power, speed, accuracy, and more. Really a very bad idea to have it as a goal, I feel.

    The way we approach these concepts is to practice by first putting ourselves in an adrenalised state, then practice calming ourselves (centering ourselves, attaining a mushin state), then practice the technique. This is combined with a lot of attention paid to the effects of such things as emotional influence, adrenaline, and so on, as well as the psychological aspects. Then, as everything, it's repetition, repetition, repetition.... focusing on the mindset at all times. This, really, is the way things have been trained in Japanese Martial Arts for centuries, just with different vernacular.
     
  12. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Good points. The scenario training that I mentioned above, is IMO, designed to do this. Obviously its still in a controlled setting, but the 'badguy' is doing everything in his power to put you in that mindset. Yelling, swearing, insulting your family, physically pushing you...all to get you in that 'state of fear' but I also believe that the goal is, as you said, to get yourself back to that calm state.
     
  13. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Yep, that kind of thing is something we use in scenario training (ramped up depending on rank. experience, etc, but everyone gets at the very least a taste...). We then use visualisations for methods of training it solo. They are interesting.... and mean you can train this way anywhere and any time.
     
  14. Explorer

    Explorer Blue Belt

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    Has anyone done any role playing based on concepts put out in books like "Verbal Judo"?
     
  15. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Another great book believe it or not would be Norman Vincent Peale's "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

    I've only been in a few actual fisticuffs in my life time. Have had dozens of verbal battles and there is where I learned that unless you outwit your opponent and come out on top, either more intimidating or defusing the situation you're going to come to blows.

    Verbal confrontations are basically the bluffs and working one's self up to a big enough huff to actually throw the first punch. It is during those moments of near or full heated exchanges that will actually decide if physical action will take place. However I've seen and been subjected to immediate and without warning a full blown physical fight. But in my experiences it's rare. Someone else may recall getting jumped without warning more than once or thrice in their life. But in my own experiences it's happened only twice.

    Most confrontations will begin with an accusation and an adamant refusal to admit a wrong (even by the accuser). Others are just moments of (literal) temporary insanity, i.e. a person drunk at a bar or pub you are presently in and they just happen by your bad luck to choose you to take their mad out on and come up with an imagined insult to which they must defend their or another's supposed honor.

    It is within these critical moments that a fight can begin or be defused. How well will depend upon the verbal skills and quick thinking of the defender. I always talk about how much I admired Bugs Bunny in his art of subterfuge or double talk and misdirection and usually manages to escape the attempted violence of his present antagonist (be it Elmer Fudd, Wyle E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam, Marvin Martian, or whom/what-ever the writers have pitted him up against). But there is a lesson to be learned from that... be of quick wit and thought and find ways to get out of the predicament or situation you're in without lifting a finger to defend yourself. He was the cartoon world's version of the Bruce Lee axiom "The mind is the greatest weapon."

    A lot of verbal exchanges usually include "I'm gonna kick your ***" or
    "...beat the **** out of you" or whatever their imagination comes up with, this is usually followed by posturing and movements that I call the "C'mon!!" dance.
    Out intimidating someone can be accomplished provided you are willing & capable of (carrying out) whatever threat/warning you give. I've made guys bigger than me back down by simply widening my eyes and giving a little crazed smile, and speaking calmly with that hint of suppressed excitement as if I was thrilled to death to actually fight someone. Nobody in their right mind fights a crazed person... no matter how small they are.
    More often than not I will try to calmly talk my way out attempting reason and not allowing my (personal) buttons to be pushed. But of course say something about my momma ... :idunno: sorry, we're into it in the worst way. :uhyeah:

    As with all training ... brain training and relying upon strict realism and personal experience AND a clear understanding that not everything will go as your mind has scripted. Careful on the spot planning of what's about to come out of your mouth should be tantamount if you expect to come out ahead... thusly... THINK then speak.
    Being willing to give in, in spite of the rightness of your position, i.e. quitting while you're ahead or even while THEY'RE ahead may save you from physically getting into it. Sometimes... ok, LOTS of times people just want to win without raising a finger this is deep down inside while outside they're big macho guys, because everyone I honestly believe is terrified of getting hurt... deep down inside they are. So biting a bullet and letting the other guy win and think you're a big wimp/coward/p****/whatever! will keep you from getting into a physical altercation. YOU just have to learn to deal with it and find the bright side that you won't be questioned by police for putting the guy in the hospital thanks to your years of MA training.
    Are you like Marty McFly from "Back To The Future" ? Can't stand being called "chicken!" ?? Get over it... if you know the truth of yourself then you know that you are the better person no matter WHAT they say.

    I learned how to fight so I wouldn't have to. I also learned how to THINK and be aware. I learned how to NOT get myself into situations where I may have to fight. I learned the fine art of being passive-aggressive in order to defuse a potentially volatile situation. I learned how to assert myself to intimidate or reason with someone to avoid a fight. I learned how to NOT get on the bad side of people. I learned how to THINK before I speak and remain calm no matter how many buttons the s.o.b. is pushing. I learned to be confident in my (MA) abilities and let it show by standing up to whomever is trying to antagonize or intimidate me. I learned how to know when to admit that I'm wrong even though I might NOT be ... if it will make the other happy and go away. I learned that I will get over it.

    Hope some of that helps.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  16. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    Practice your confrontation skills (verbal, mental and physical) while winded.

    When you're winded, you experience
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sour stomach
    • Limited higher brain function
    • Shaking limbs

    When you're nervous or adrenalized, you experience
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sour stomach
    • Limited higher brain function
    • Shaking limbs

      The physiological states are identical. If you practice what you know while winded, you'll be used to using your knowledge while nervous.

      Just advice from a high school drama teacher I still use and teach to this day.
     
  17. BLACK LION

    BLACK LION Black Belt

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    Some very profound words enclosed here gentlemen, thank you.


    Training starts in the mind. One must learn to clear out the clouds so one can focus. One cannot focus on the greater path if the ego clouds the mind. Most likely there are many so called good martial artists out there with extensive training thats aimless...all becuase the wrong things are important. A potential warrior must learn first that he alone is unimportant compared to the creation around him. Once one realizes they are merely a grain of salt compared to the universe they can begin to let go of all the worldly ties and the overbearing weight of ones ego or personna.
    Rid oneself of the "Ego" and embrace the Super-Ego. The warrior path is greater than the warrior and the mission itself.

    Bruce Lee said in an interview..."Be ultimately honest with oneself".
    I believe if you can begin your training being ultimately honest then you can begin to let go of the ego with the understanding the honesty brings.

    Its hard to explain but it seems that if you accept the selfless path the need to use the mind to execute becomes null and a natural flow of some sort seems to take over....wether it is instinct or what have you I dont know... All I know is that when I am "plugged in" there is no mind, essentially.... just focused primal energy.


    Excuse the rant
     
  18. teekin

    teekin 3rd Black Belt

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    This will be quick but you guys are driving me crazy with this "Ego" stuff
    This is quick and dirty

    ID- The child, instant gratification, primal urges, I Want, only concerned with self, capable of wonder and delight, and play, very spontaneous. Primitive needs eat, sleep, sex, fight, acts on impulse, narrasistic

    Ego - The adult. The Self. The self as it Wants to be seen. I AM The one who strives. This is self image, the "Who" of who am I. Who we project to the world, this is our "inner" self.

    Super-Ego - The Parent. Who I Should be. All the masks are kept here The critical voices telling you how it Should be. Can set goals to pull self to a higher level or endlessly criticize and cause illness. This is social pressures interalised.

    This is hugely simplified and represents what Freud though early on. Well this is my interpretation anyway.

    So now Black Lion, can you see why your post confuses me? Perhaps you can rephrase?

    LORI
     
  19. Em MacIntosh

    Em MacIntosh 3rd Black Belt

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    For diffusing the situation, it's a balance between self-effacement and not appearing to be a victim. Learning "hot" words that agitate a potential aggressor and avoiding them. Learn really quickly how much reason they care to see because you could be wasting words regardless.

    As far as the adrenaline dump, try familiarizing yourself with the desperate feeling. I don't recommend daredevil stuff or picking fights but learning to psych yourself and calm back down. The more familiar you are with the feeling the more "comfortable" you'll be.
     
  20. kaizasosei

    kaizasosei Master Black Belt

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    Train the psychological by collecting life experience without going under too bad. Almost no way to train it because the attacker and the defender most often have a deep psychological possibly spiritual bond and are affected by one another. So as they say in japan, sodefuriai demo tasho no en just brushing sleeves with someone there is some destiny there.

    I think the best way to prepar for conflict. Most important is the nonphysical aspect of hostile communication(the bulk and worst of all). Like some savoirfaire it is a very delicate and strategic matter where the rule goes something like-he who reaches for the sword dies by the sword.
    Death by provocation.

    More than often fighting is actually really unnecessary and it appears like there is something deeper at work, for all fighting. So the goal would be the harmony of hard and soft in the mind. This can only be achieved by making the first step and realizing that heaven and hell are much closer than we often think.


    I personally have felt very strengthened from the various spiritual activities-such as chanting and meditation on the many buddhas and deities.

    Lastly, it is unavoidable that we will all be different in this regard with different backgrounds in relation with experience and dealing with violence. That is why you will never know in yourself unless you experience it. As a kid you can cry, as the more powerful you can fight, as a thief you can run. But unless you're mind is resolute you will be overpowered by strong will and not know which action is best or feasable, and still in the realm of perspective. And even if your mind is strong, you'll probably still feel something like a stone or a storm in the stomach every time. So one actually has to be aware of biological aspect.

    Know procedure. You must know the order of things in heaven and the natural procedure in order to be able to think strategically. This is the greatest and requires concentration and collected mind. -most difficult.

    My sister and i are both emotional types ... i have had to really work on myself to keep **** at bay.

    Be happy. It's all just craziness...



    j123
     

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