*Editors note: Photos and article have been shared with the permission of AMTAC Shooting.
The more I teach good Americans to protect themselves and their families, the more I am learning that mindset is something that we have to weave into every aspect of our training. Mindset is not about a talk or a formula, although both of those are helpful. The proper mindset is something that takes time and effort and is something that we will be continuously working towards until we die.
As a man, you should not show emotion to physical hardship, discomfort or pain.
I am not saying that as a man you should not show emotion period. What I am saying is that you should be in control of your emotions, not losing your temper or behaving rashly.
Be intentional about showing the emotions of love, physical affection and empathy when appropriate. Phrases like: “I am so cold” or “ouch that hurt” are things that your wife, your children and other men should never hear come out of your mouth.
How does this relate to fighting/combatives? Imagine for a minute that you are in the Coliseum in Rome and that you are condemned to fight to the death. No weapons. Now imagine the biggest scariest guy that you know or have seen fight (Fedor Emelianenko comes to mind). This man is your opponent.
The fight starts, and after a few minutes of moving around and trading blows, you have an opening. You drop your weight and send the hardest right cross that you are capable of sending. You opponent grimaces in pain, shakes it off a couple of times and gives you the boxers nod. What is going through your mind?
When I visualize this, I think to myself that if I can rock my opponent with a solid shot like that, I can repeat this a few more times and put him down.
Now picture the same scenario, same opponent, same hard right cross and now your reaction is nothing, he gives you the “cold face” and continues to move as though you did not strike him. What is going through your head now? In my mind, I am wishing I had weapons. Everything here is the same except for the reaction that your opponent gives you.
In one scenario you are gaining confidence and being built up by your opponent’s shameful display of emotion, in the other scenario your opponent is continuing his attack on you mentally by not showing emotion.
Leakage is another common thing that I see
usually around mil guys when shooting steel and missing. Go to Master Chim’s page to hear some great analysis of leakage. Guys will be cussing like sailors while shooting very fast and missing. Cursing does not make you shoot better.
In order to hit a target, we need to execute two things. The sights need to be lined up on the target and we have to squeeze the trigger properly. Cursing does not make you do those things better.
If you miss multiple shots, it should trigger the correct response of doing a very short mental reset, and then talk to yourself “front sight, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze….”.
Finally, there is something that happens in almost every class I teach.
Guys are on the line shooting. Hot brass flies through the air and lands on their arm, their neck or goes down their shirt. What follows with the untrained is some version of the “brass dance”.
Now, I am very blessed with heads-up students and have not had a student do anything grossly unsafe during a “brass dance”. So, why do I bring it up? It is all part of mindset.
In July of 2016, a father was at an indoor range shooting with his 14-year-old son. They were in the far left shooting lane. At some point, while the father was shooting a piece of hot brass bounced off of the wall next to him and went down his shirt.
During his reaction to try and shake out the brass (the “brass dance”) he accidentally shoots and kills his son.
Let that sink in. That is almost the worst thing I can imagine. I don’t know the man who did this, but I am willing to bet that he had the mental and physical strength to not react the way he did.
What he lacked was the mindset.
Next time you are training and a piece of hot brass lands on your neck, let it burn you, focus on your front sight and squeeze the trigger.
Make good hits. Take pride in the fact that you are man enough and in control of your emotions enough to fight through the pain and continue to focus on the task at hand.
My mindset comes from my faith, my years of training, time in the military and Sayoc Kali. If you are interested in developing your mindset come train with me or train with the guys that I have served with and or learned from: