Overcoming Fear in a Self-Defense Situation
By Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.
How do you overcome fear in a self-defense situation? Basically you don't, you learn to use the fear instead. Making it a tool that you shape not allowing fear to control you. All fine and dandy, but how do you go about learning how to use fear?
Let's examine what fear is. Fear is an emotional response to stimuli either eternal or internal. Fear has certain physiological responses.
Increased heart rate
Introduction of epinephrines into the body which constrict capillaries, increase strength and increase speed.
There are various mental responses to fear
Freezing up. Not being able to move at all though your mind may be telling to run, block, fight!
Anger. Anger and fear are very closely related. A reaction to fear of anger will at the very least help you to survive better than freezing up, but it could also inhibit your thought processes and get you killed.
Trained reaction to fear. Your body relaxes, your mind focuses. Adrenaline increases your strength and speed making you a very dangerous individual.
I've personally spent a long time studying fear and it's various physiological and psychological effects on individuals. I've developed a very good method of dealing and working with the fear response, which directly and indirectly over the years has saved my life from avoiding car collisions to defending my life.
There are two different ways of training to use fear.
1. Place yourself in life threatening situations on a regular basis.
This method has the disadvantage of ending your training career at an early start.
2. Place yourself in life threatening situations on a regular basis mentally.
This method has the advantage of extending your training career while at the same time possibly saving your life.
Many martial artists spend their lives learning to block and strike. Going through situation after situation. Attacks from the front attacks from behind, from the side, multiple attackers.
Some martial artists don't even practice these scenarios. Assuming the same defensive reaction from the front will work from the side and from attacks from behind. Some martial arts instructors when asked "what if" by their students will simply say, "just don't put yourself in that position". If that were the answer there would be no need to take self-defense at all. Just don't put yourself in that position.
For those martial artists who do practice situational self-defense training, many of you are not allowing for the mental aspect of a physical attack.
Mental preparedness for a physical attack, I believe, is even more important than the physical side of preparing for an attack. Why do you think it is that a trained martial artist would fear a seasoned street fighter (weird term). Because the street fighter has been in real fights. The few tricks he's picked up to win a street brawl have actually been executed by him under the mental stress of a life and death situation Most martial artists, fortunately, have not had this misfortune.
My Method of Emulating Fear
Let's look back at the physiological effects of fear once again.
Increased heart rate and respiration are two major physiological responses to fear.
A tensing of voluntary muscle groups is another, more so in the untrained individual.
If you emulate these three physiological responses to fear, you will be on your way to emulating it mentally as well.
So first a slight tension of voluntary muscle groups. Now increase your breathing. Short shallow breaths are best to emulate this physiological response.
Now to The Mental Aspect
You need a padded up live partner. For this drill I would often take an air shield and tie it to the front on an advanced student.
You need to have enough mental control to remember to strike only the air shield of your partner.
Now your partner must do some acting as well. He/She must look both in the face and body language as though they intend to hit you and hurt you. Even emulating the foul language you might hear from an attacker in an attempt to intimidate you would help.
Now you put it in your mind that your partner is not your partner. He's a stranger that intends on doing you harm, mugging you, raping, beating you senseless and unless you defend yourself and hit this !@#$ just as hard as you can and don't get hit yourself that's just what's going to happen.
Start with a prearranged attack and counter-attack, but, put it out of your mind that you actually know what's going to happen. Feel the fear and tension before the attack, then block or evade like you mean it, like your life depends on it and counter-attack (eventually at the same time naturally). Takes turns doing this with your partner. Be careful not to get so carried away you hurt him. Remember it's his turn next.
Now from here perform the same mental and physical preparedness and move to my one step sparring variations you can find in my printable ebook Bringing The Martial Artist Out from Within. Continue to strike just the air shield for now.
Now put some pads on and remove the air shield. Do one step variations again. Same mental stress of a real situation, but strike anywhere and pull the technique so you don't hurt your partner.
The combination of striking the air shield full contact and pulling the techniques on your partner when striking anywhere help prepare you both mentally and physically to strike full contact anywhere on your attacker, under the stress of a life threatening situation.
Ready to Become More Dangerous?
Start again with all of your self-defense drills. Emulate your fear for at least 10 seconds to put yourself in a life-threatening mental attitude.
Now consciously relax your muscles. Make your breathing slightly faster than normal to emulate a threat, but make it deeper as well as if you were trying to control rapid breathing.
Now start again and add a mental aspect to begin working with your fear and stress. Begin again with your drills and this time take your fear and turn it into anger. It's not the final solution yet, but it will give you a better chance of survival than being frozen in place solid.
Turning fear into anger takes practice, but isn't that hard to accomplish. As I said earlier the two emotions are very similar. Basically this can be accomplished with an example such as this;
Instead of, "Oh my gosh, this stranger wants to hurt me!"
You change it to something like, "WHAT!? THIS SCUMBAG LOWLIFE WANTS TO HURT ME! I'LL SHOW THIS !@#$!"
Now add your rapid breathing to this and slight muscular tension and remember YOU'RE ANGRY!
Now do your steps to relax and attempt to control your breathing while remaining angry.
After you can successfully emulate anger whenever you want to now take your final step.
Start again with your self-defense drills. Follow all of my above steps, but now empty your mind! Void it of emotion. Let your well trained reflexes from various scenarios take over guided by subtle consciousness and thought. You may need to practice a meditation exercise for this which you can find in my printable ebook Step by Step Learn Internal Energy Strikes with the bonus section Taking Strikes and Coming Back for More.
You must be careful not to hurt your partner during any of these drill phases.
Don't forget other scenarios as well adding the fear factor to them as well.
Street clothes on
Those of you who have read my printable ebook Solo Martial Arts Drills, when you do your 10 minute workout, do you always make sure you have enough room and everything is out of the way? Always? Why? Is that the way it will be if a burglar enters your home.
"Just a minute I have to move this chair"
Do you ever grab a nearby "weapon" (a shoe, a belt, whatever) and begin using it as part of your training?
Think think think.
The more situations you can think of the more you will be ready for as many situations as possible both mentally and physically. To a slightly smaller degree, you can also apply your fear training to your solo drills training as well.
This training method, when done properly, will take a lot out of you. I do not recommend using this method all of the time, but definitely put it in your training schedule and practice the method on a regular basis.
For more information on utilizing your fear factor to increase your chances of surviving a self-defense situation see my printable ebook Bringing The Martial Artist Out from Within http://kirkhamsebooks.com/MartialArts/ or my downloadable video Self-Defense and Over Coming Fear http://kirkhamsebooks.com/MartialArts/Martial_Arts_Videos/
Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.
About the Author
J. Richard Kirkham is a dual certified teacher and martial arts instructor. He has expertise in alternative teaching methods and positive reinforcement methodology.
Article Source: http://www.simplysearch4it.com/article/37688.html
|If you wish to add the above article to your website or newsletters then please include the "Article Source: http://www.simplysearch4it.com/article/37688.html" as shown above and make it hyperlinked.|
| Some other articles by Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.|