The Mindset to Survive and the Will to Win

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Combat Training Principles — Secrets For Staying Alive When ‘Rules’ Don’t Apply

“A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he’s not a man of action. You must act as you breathe.” – Georges Clemenceau


So what was lacking in the training of the 3 survivors mentioned in my last newsletter?

To refresh your memory we had a seasoned martial artist, a woman who attended numerous self defense workshops, and a 10 year veteran police officer with extensive defensive tactics training.

Each survived their violent encounter but none of them survived and won. My question to you was what was lacking in the training of each of the survivors?

Well according to the literally thousands of responses you readers gave me, here are the top 2:

1) Mindset
2) Will

Mindset by far was the most popular response. Often it was coupled with another term like “aggressive-mindset.” Most who responded with this answer felt the survivors’ training failed to develop the proper mindset to survive and win these encounters.

Those that offered “will” as the lacking ingredient usually stated that the training of the 3 survivors failed to provide them the “will” to use violence.

Some of you provided some very well thought out responses and your efforts are much appreciated. This exercise helped me to confirm that most people are being led off track by buzz words and tough talk favored by many chest-thumpers in the self protection industry.

All the talk about ‘mindset’ in this industry makes everyone sound the same. Most people still believe you need to be in a certain ‘state’ to be able to respond to violence. Color charts are drafted and everyone feels good about how to get ready to ‘kick some ass.’

And then there’s ‘will’.

Some people stated that the 3 survivors lacked the will to do injury and this was a failure of their training. But how do you train will? Think about how useful will is when it comes to things like losing weight or working out.

Believe me, many in this industry will tell you that’s exactly what to do. They’ll lecture you on mindset and come up with numerous drills to ‘install the will-to-kill.’

But neither mindset nor will is what lacked in any of the survivors training.

Large amounts of the training in all 3 of the survivors’ cases were devoted to proper mindset and will. Yet, as properly noted by you, it was not there when they needed it.

That is because mindset and will are NOT training objectives.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Proper training develops everything needed to survive and win. The problem is there is very little proper training offered to the general public.

We just got word from a TFT instructor traveling through Europe who saw an old training partner. This training partner was short and obese and had not trained in years yet recently he survived, and won, a violent encounter with 2 thugs.

When asked what happened he said he was in the city walking home one night when these 2 thugs, much bigger than he, jumped him.

The instructor asked what happened next.

The training partner said, “I knocked out the first guy and ran after the second but I got too tired and couldn’t keep up, so I just walked home.”

The instructor asked if there was any more to the story and he said “No.” He’d just been attacked by 2 thugs and he pretty much treated it as no big deal, even though this was his first encounter with real violence outside of ‘training.’

The fact that he was trained properly provided this man with the ability to survive and win a nasty criminal encounter against 2 bigger, stronger and faster thugs.

Here’s the thing. He wasn’t concerned about mindset nor did he have to rely on will to take action.

He was never told his obesity was a detriment to his ability to injure someone. He was given the skills necessary to get the job done using his human machine not by trying to look and move like some athletic instructor.

When the time came for him to use the skills, he was able to easily recognize the situation and apply his training. He didn’t need a color chart, to talk tough or to practice sticking his thumb into oranges to have the will to attack the eyes.

When his time came, his training worked seamlessly in the real world — something that didn’t happen for the 3 survivors in the last newsletter.

So be wary if you navigate the world of violence relying on mindset and will.

Neither of these, together or alone, provides you with the proper training. And it’s proper training that seamlessly gives you the necessary elements to survive and win, something many hope to tease out of the ‘mindset’ and ‘will’ debates.

So now the question becomes, “How do we know what proper training looks like?”

I’ve written about this in the past but as we dig deeper into the subject of “not just surviving but winning” I’d like to hear your take on what you think proper training is.

And as time permits, I’ll answer selected questions.
Submit your questions at:

Until next time,

Tim Larkin
Master Close-Combat Instructor,
Creator of Target Focus Training

“When Violence Is The ONLY Answer”

PS. Check out the newest TFT DVD Series “Throwing: The Art of Head Trauma, Dumps, Drops & Throws. Throwing (with its smooth motion and flowing arts) has long been regarded as the premier technical skill in the realm of fighting. Here’s how to make it happen.

(c) Copyright 2007, The TFT Group[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Tim Larkin

Self-Protection Expert & Founder of Target Focus Training
Author of When Violence Is The Answer

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