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Old 04-14-2008, 09:20 PM   #27
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Re: What is "combat"?

Bill wrote:

The mentalities are what's especially interesting to me. I have observed that in a low intensity conflict (let's say, the aggressive drunk in a bar scenario) you are in a state of mind where you're operating on some instinct and yet you still have some cognitive influence. You decide how to handle the situation, but the execution of your actions are dictated by your training and habits.

In a situation where your survival might be threatened or you are extremely angry, an interesting thing seems to happen- you revert to what I call "observer mode" where you are acting purely on instinct and are almost watching from behind. It's almost like, "Oh, look what I'm doing. How interesting." Your thoughts have no influence on your actions and probably you have to reconstruct the event later just to know what you did.

I have heard from people who've been there, that in extremely high stress combat (desperate, hand-to-hand combat) there is often yet another state of mind. This is the "last stand" mentality I referred to earlier. Your animal instincts are directing your actions and even though you have characteristically given up your hope of survival and a future, you will do anything just to keep fighting. Time slows down. Nonessential functions are shut down and a strange sense of calm is described by people who've experienced this.

The "anything" you'll do to keep fighting here, plus the actions your instincts direct in the first two scenarios are what I'm getting at. I'm suggesting that if you train distinctly for each of them you'll have clear and appropriate responses and your actions will be optimal, as long as you correctly discern the situation you're in.

What do you guys think?
I don't know if I follow you too well on this line of thought or if I completely understand your thought process or catagorization of things.

Not saying you are necessarily wrong here, but I don't really know how to answer this directly.

I suppose I don't delineate things quite that far. I don't get in bar fights, so I can't say I would know what mentality would occur there.

Also, I don't fight violently over domestic issues where emotions run high and anger comes in to play.

As a soldier though we apply the same emotion and skill I suppose through low intensity conflict (LIC) all the way up to High Intensity conflict (HIC). You simply condition and train to respond appropriately based on what is presented to you and what the ROE call for.

Sure the level of fear and andrenaline may increase, yes things may slow down or may seem sureal to you. It is why you must train and condition yourself physically and mentally to respond in training.

If you don't do something in training, you probably won't do it in battle when there is not time to think about it. Training becomes habits, habits become automatic.

well trained habits are not instincts.

On "doing anything to survive":

That has not been my observation Watch some of the knife attack videos, most people seem to be in a state of denial and still processing what is happening, they never fight back they join the "fetal fight club" or watch themselves get stabbed as they sprawl their hands out to stop the attack.

Watch the early UFCs for another good example. Several fighters joined the FFC. Once their basic game plan was broken, they had nothing but instincts left, and they curled up on the floor in a tight ball to protect themselves.

I had a lady a few years ago get her arm caught in a subway, passengers stood around looking at her still processing it. Sheep....instincts.

You can have all the cognitive processing and rationalization you want too, but it may not matter if your enemy is controlling you. You will always be processing it one step behind him.

So, it boils down to habits and things that are ingrained at the muscle memory level. Train as you fight.

It is about increasing the intensity and stress level as far as you can and maintain acceptable levels of safety (or acceptable levels of risk) replicating the conditions you will face. You then work on the things you need to do in those situations conditioning the responses until they are ingrained. You can then call them "skills".

Skills may be "instinctual" but they are not "instincts". Some of the skills will be like riding a never forget. Others are perishable and you must train them over and over again in order to retain or improve them.

Anyway, that is my experiences. I don't know much about the Mentalities etc. Some people or mentally and physically tough, and some chose not to be. From my experiences "giving up" is a decision that you make on your on accord with free will. Either you do or you don't.

Physical stamina is gained through working out, that is all I can say about that. EIther you have it or you don't. there are varying degrees, of course.

Their is a linkage between being mentally and physically tough as well.

So, you have skills and habits, you choose to be mentally tough, and you develop/condition your body to be able to bring yourself to the fight....everything else is the situation presented.

That is how I see it basically.

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