Have No Preconceptions — About


ONE of the most detestable characteristics of people (from our viewpoint) is the inclination of so many of them to jump to conclusions or assumptions about people and subjects that they have not the slightest firsthand knowledge of, and about which they have done no real research and exerted not the least amount of effort to inform themselves about.

This is a major problem when training for close combat and self-defense. It comes up in different ways, and it affects the student very adversely. We hope that we can affect you and your thinking, so that it does not jeopardize your odds of defeating an enemy and saving your life — or the life of a loved one.

No matter what your habits may have been in the past adopt the following policies —— read: rules —— so that from now on you are guided not merely by clear thinking (sometimes you may be guided by subconscious mental guidance, over which you have no control) but by accurate, true, proven and long-established reliable facts and basic premises. Then, when you go on automatic (i.e. subconscious) pilot in an emergency you will not be flailing away pointlessly, but will instead be functioning like a war-machine, which is what training should to a degree make you.

1. NEVER judge anywhere you are or visit or need to go for any reason as “safe”. Never assume that it is “dangerous”, either (unless of course you have received intelligence alerting you to that known fact).

Assume that anywhere you are, visit, or need to go MAY be dangerous. Always keep that little reminder flashing in the recesses of your mind. To be lulled into a state of complacency is to be rendered dangerously helpless should a dangerous threat arise —— and it could, no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing.

When you realistically stop pre-judging environments about which you have no relelvant, current, accurate information —— no valid threat assessment —— and just acknowledge that there is an equal chance of everything being lethally dangerous as there is of everything being a grinding, boring drag, you’re properly set, mentally. You’re ready for anything. To enjoy the passivity and relaxation; or to deal with the dangerous threat.

2. Since you cannot meaningfully assess anyone without knowing him and taking pains to scrutinize his behavior —— obvious and subtle behavior, both —— don’t try to do so! We love the admonition from whoever it was that first said it to: “Be courteous and respectful to everyone you meet, but always have a plan to kill them.”  How we wish we had first said that! It perfectly summarizes the attitude of a well-conditioned, correctly trained, realistically-oriented close combat/self-defense student —— an American Combato student. We certainly acknowledge that even when trouble arises it is not always — or even “usually” — necessary to “kill” the troublemaker or violent type, however we trust that our visitors have the common sense to appreciate that we deliberately state the “worst case exrtreme” to make a point.

In no sense and by no stretch of the imagination is the intention of this to achieve anything in the individual’s psychological and tactical development, save a committment to readiness at all times. An ideal, perhaps; but we believe a possible one of attainment, and in any case a worthy and valuable one to keep on pursuing with relentless tenacity!

3. When facing someone from whom you expect a strong possibility of trouble, do not attempt to “figure out” what his move will be, should he attack. In other words never mind how — specifically — he intends to attack. When you are fortunate enough to have the benefit of an approach about which you are aware, and of a likely aggressor before you who is about to strike, CLEAR YOUR MIND. The saying in Ch’an (“Zen”) is: “If a thought comes into your mind, throw it away.” This, by the way is the entire relation between martial arts and Ch’an; do not allow yourself preconceived thoughts. Keep a blank mind so that your opponent’s attack will be correctly and instantly perceived, and —— in the case of those who train in our way of American Combato —— so that your preemptive riposte will explode instantly, and in effect by initiating his attack, your attacker will trigger his own destruction.

4. Never underestimate anyone. If your attacker is a teenage girl, there is the possibility that she is insane, abnormally strong, psychopathically motivated, dangerous, and (for whatever insane “reason”) bent on murder. Don’t frown. If you doubt that this is possible you are a fool, and you have learned nothing of the reality of unprovoked violent attack, and the criminal mind and the violence it is capable of rationalizing and driving the body to do!

Just because the fellow attacking you appears to be your physical inferior, do not assume him to be so! Your attacker is, at the very least, dangerous because he is violently anti-social and lacks maturity, civilitiy, and impulse control, and a respect for human dignity and well-being. That’s enough to enable him (or her) to cause your maiming or death in certain instances, and you must not ever be so naive to permit that to occur. And you have ironclad proof that at least this much is true simply because you are being attacked.

5. Never forget that you must always respect yourself, too. While not allowing yourself to assume arrogance or over-confidence, never forget that if you stay in reasonable shape, make it your business to master genuinely reliable close-combat techniques and tactics, and maintain an attack-minded mental state, conditioned to go all-out and crush an enemy without a tremor of hesitation and without mercy if and when necessary, then you are a formidable threat to any adversary; and it behooves you to appreciate this fact. Remember, no attacker picks you thinking that you will be giving him serious trouble. Nor does he know what you have learned and developed, or what you are willing to do to him.

6. Never allow yourself to be convinced that there are any guarantees or certainties in real combat. This should make you desperate in any emergency, and that’s exactly what you want to be! You want the adrenaline pumping, the gross muscular system of your body ready to tear down walls, and your attitude prepared to destroy King Kong! The more expert you become physically, the more your mental readiness should snowball in its magnitude. In the instant of perceiving that you or a loved one is in danger your entire being should transition into a “murder-machine”; you turn into a wild, inhuman animal; an animal bent on the utter destruction of whomever is now attempting to prey upon him.

The last thing you want in any emergency is the kind of idiocy that leaves you assured that victory is certain to you, because you’ve got a bag of martial “tricks” that you’re going to pull on the scumbag dumb enough to attack you.

Self-confidence is a correct and quite valid objective in training. But realistic self-confidence, never “cockiness” or failure to believe that you’re going to need to really go after your enemy and take whatever beating you need to take, if you intend to destroy him.

Treat any dangerous encounter or violent emergency realistically. Bring every ounce of your power, skills, strength, speed, and will-to-destroy to bear —— and do it INSTANTLY in one great surprise explosion. Make no assumptions about your adversary save that he must be stopped, and he and that which happens to him during the stopping, doesn’t matter one iota.  One hundred percent of you and your skill and will is now required to fulfill that vital task.

You can always ratchet back if, after you go after your attacker you see that he seeks to escape, has given up and has lost the will and the capacity to further harm you, etc. or that your retaliatory actions have knocked him senseless and harmless immediately. In all of these not-to-be-expected-or-anticipated events, fine; once you have stopped your attacker, stop. But for God’s sake and the sakes of your loved ones no less than yourself, WHEN YOU UNDERTAKE TO DEFEND YOURSELF YOU GO TO WAR! YOU WIN THAT WAR! AND YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THAT’S WHAT SELF-DEFENSE IS ALL ABOUT.

Kapish? Let’s hope so.