Author: Manny OG
Previously, we talked about Target Awareness and striking of “high value” targets that would drop your opponent in seconds. If we were to teach an untrained person, we wouldn’t spend much time teaching him techniques… or explaining some silly stance… or anything like that. We’d spend that time showing him exactly where to attack his adversaries “softest” targets.
Ask any Golden Gloves boxer and he’ll tell you that one of his primary targets is the side of the chin – and it’s NOT because he wants to break his opponent’s jaw. It’s because he knows that one good shot to the side of the chin will “snap” his opponent’s head and probably knock him out. He may not understand all the medical and physical reasons why this happens – but he does understand an unconscious opponent gurgling at his feet means victory.
So combining a well-selected open target (the side of the chin) with any number of effective tools (a right cross, an elbow, a rolled up magazine, etc.) is the secret. It’s a powerful combination that’s hard to beat.
Here’s a mental exercise that will help with your “targeting”. Make up a list of high-value targets (you can use the above basic list that we’ve just provided you), then start playing your own “visualizing” game. Focus on the targets areas of innocent civilians on the street, at the bank, in the grocery store… wherever (though you may want to avoid focusing on anyone’s groin for too long). Consider how you’d attack those targets if you were suddenly forced into a confrontation.
Alright… this may sound like borderline paranoid behavior, but we’re not asking that you start attacking innocent people. Just get yourself used to the idea of roaming through a checklist of any individuals open targets. The reason is that when and if a
confrontation ever does occur you’ve become accustomed to quickly checking available targets. It’s become second nature to you.
Creating “Decision Points”
Let’s move on to one of the most critical skills to winning a fight – being able to act decisively while under pressure.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a fight is to “deny” that you’re even in a fight. The confrontation doesn’t start with a punch to the nose, it starts when your intuition tells you “something’s wrong” (something called “combat awareness” or the 3 L’s). We already talked about allowing fear and intuition to work for you, so we won’t go into it again.
But here’s the problem: When you’ve got some pissed off 6’5” drunken rugby player yelling profanities in your face — it’s difficult to make snap decisions. As we discussed in “Dealing With Fear” one of your body’s “automatic” responses during high stress is to drain blood away from the brain’s cortex (responsible for rational thinking), which guarantees a loss of “higher thinking” (the reason why many those flashy martial arts moves suddenly fly out the window).
The solution is to create clear “Decision Points” — beforehand. This will help make decision-making more automated for you under stressful conditions.
The idea isn’t new. It’s something that fighter pilots (and private pilots as well) have been using for years. All pilots are trained to follow specific procedures when trouble hits. It’s a “map”, or formula, that guides them through proper decision making under stress. Why? Because when the wing’s on fire… with hydraulics failing… oil pressure falling rapidly… and passengers screaming in terror — you want the pilot to be coolly involved in critical decision-making rather than getting caught up in unproductive panic. It’s the only thing that’ll possibly save the plane and passengers.
Admittedly we’re not teaching you how to deal with air disasters. But believe it or not facing a dangerous confrontation on the streets is very similar. Why? Because once again you’re dealing with a brain under extreme pressure. You’ve GOT to have a series of decision points – an automated checklist if you will – that reduces internal chatter, and eliminates the need to “figure it out” at a time when your higher thought processes are in lock-down. The idea is to simplify your decision-making process.
Alright, here are the two signals that should help you set up your first decision point beforehand so you know when the “fight is on”; verbal and non-verbal. Verbal – This is the mostly the first major indicator that trouble is at your doorstep. Here are two specific verbal cues that you should look out for:
The “Threat”: “I’m gonna zyx@%# you up!” Okay… this may seem so obvious that it’s not worth mentioning. And we wouldn’t mention it if our research didn’t show that MOST inexperienced fighters do nothing in the face of serious verbal threats. They often stand by and take NO action. Even if you suspect you’re dealing with an emotionally hijacked individual and decided to allow him to simply “blow off steam” you’ve still have analyzed the situation and took decisive action. But a bully or emotionally hijacked individual (rarely will you get open verbal threats from a Predator), often uses the verbal threat as a way to “ramp up” his confidence and emotions (much like the poke in the chest) meaning that things can escalate fast. Think through various scenarios and what would trigger you into decisive action.
The “Sudden Silent Treatment”: If your opponent has been talking, talking, and talking and then suddenly becomes quiet, it means he’s entered into an internal dialog on what he’s about to do to you. As one of our instructors put it “Fighters don’t talk and swing at the same time”.
Non-Verbal signals have to do mostly with body language scenarios like shoving, finger jab, target gazing, chin drop, etc. We will talk about these in detail in Part 2.