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Thoughts Become Actions...what are you thinking?

A part of self-defense training and being prepared for anything, is visualizing scenarios and what you would do to protect yourself in each of them.  I have worked through scenarios in my head that involve a home invasion when I’m awake and when I’m in bed.  I’ve imagined fighting from my living room, kitchen, office, bedroom.  I’ve imagined fighting on my feet, pushed against a wall, being bent over a counter, and from the floor to name a few.  I’ve imagined using improvised weapons in each room, escaping out of the windows in the living room, office, or bedroom.  I’ve worked through parking lot scenarios, restaurant, shopping, etc. 


But today I imagined a new scenario, not because it popped in my head to work through, but because while I was home alone and in the shower, I heard a noise.  I admit the first image that flashed in my head was every scary movie shower scene I’ve ever seen…yeah “Psycho” was top of the list.  But then my next thought was, “Really? While I’m in the shower?”  I don’t know about all of you but fighting in my birthday suit is on that list of “things I hope I neverexperience.”  So, after I accepted that might be a possibility I started accessing the situation.  I listened to make sure I was in fact alone in the bathroom, when I knew I was I stepped out and locked the door.  Then I began looking for improvised weapons in the bathroom.  Have you ever stopped to think how you could use a shampoo bottle, toothbrush, shaving cream can, hairspray as a weapon?  You should.  Have you ever thought about possibly having to fight from the shower, while you’re wet, soapy, standing on a slippery surface?  You should.  Long story short the noise was just my phone falling, so with the crisis averted I finished my shower in peace. 


Some of you may be wondering why you would visualize scenarios like this.  Some of you might think this is being paranoid.  No, it’s being prepared. Mental training is important. The fact is, your brain doesn’t know the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined.  With that knowledge, we can take scenarios and run them through our head and vividly imagine how we would respond. In this you can feel the intensity, the fear, the adrenalin dump and work though it.  Doing exercises like this is called mental blueprinting. It causes the brain to create a “map” of responses to certain stimuli.  With this “map” in place, if you face a real threat one day, the brain kicks into gear much faster because it has already created a “blueprint” for this type of stimuli. When we do this, we always visualize winning because we don’t want a negative blueprint.


“Systems that rely on just physical attributes or drilling only partially develop the combat athlete. 

On game day, mind-set will be the determining factor.  The mind navigates the body.” – Coach Tony Blauer, Spear System 


Does this mean you never have to take a self-defense class and go through physical training drills? No. You can visualize how to build a house but if you don’t have the physical skills, knowledge, and tools to build a house you can’t build a house.  Until you hold a hammer in your hand and swing it, you don’t know its weight and length and the balance of it and how that affects technique and efficiency. You haven’t worked to develop your hand-eye coordination and technique. Until you use the hammer perched at an awkward angle, you don’t know how that affects your ability. Visualizing hitting the nail perfectly will help but you need practical application skills too. Same goes with self-defense, if you don’t have the knowledge, skills, and tools you may not respond to a real threat how you visualize yourself responding.


Countless times I’ve read testimony of violent encounter survivors who said that they thought they would fight to protect themselves or react in a certain way if they were ever in a situation like that, but they never actually took classes to develop the necessary skills and the situation didn’t play out the way they imagined. The skinny kid who visualizes punching the huge bully and knocking him out but had never thrown a real punch will probably throw a weak, awkward punch and still lose even though in his mind he won. You can visualize a scenario but until you “pressure test” it in realistic training, you don’t know if it will actually be effective. If you have no strength or technique then you can’t accomplish what you visualize effectively.


If you aren’t training body, mind, and emotions you are missing vital keys to your safety. You must train all the components involved in self-defense. Make sure you are training on all levels. Make sure your training is realistic and scenario specific and makesure you are training your mind too. Battles are won and lost in the mind. You can never train too much!



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