Powerful Tip To

Aid Visualization

MIKE Franz is the first formal student we had when we moved to Seattle, Washington. Now a third degree black belt in American Combato, this now retired carpenter, former U.S. marine, and Vietnam combat veteran is still going strong . . . some 37 years after beginning training!

Quite coincidentally, during the course of a lesson recently, Mike mentioned something that we feel should be passed on to every serious student of close combat and self-defense. It is something we had never thought of previously, yet it made immediate good sense when Mike said it. Pertaining to the use of visualization when training, Mike advised us that when he trained he found training in the dark helpful in enabling him to visualize. And while we certainly have experienced the advantages gained from handgun shooting (combat-point) in the darkness of evening or nighttime, and we had in the past occasionally held training classes at night, we never considered that those who find visualization somewhat difficult to achieve when training solo, could benefit by training in the dark! Thank you, Mike!

Obviously, when we say “training in the dark” we do not mean pitch blackness. Nobody can attack you in pitch blackness, anyway, so don’t foolishly isolate yourself where you cannot see your hand in front of your face in order to train. But do shut off the lights if you train indoors, or avail yourself of some training in darkness outdoors, when the sun goes down. If you have a problem visualizing this might be just the thing you need to help yourself improve this critical practice.

Everyone can and does visualize. You do so when you daydream, whenever your mind wanders, and most vividly of course, when you are asleep. What is necessary (and we insist that it is necessary) is that you learn to visualize deliberately and intensively when you train, with and/or without weapons.

Visualizing is imagining. And the human nervous system does not distinguish between actually experienced and vividly imagined events. You program your nervous system beautifully when you train yourself to visualize and use visualization correctly when you drill in your skills. And you do not run any risk of injuring a practice partner.

For obvious reasons serious combat and defense techniques must be practiced with exceeding care and control when working with practice partners. Otherwise mayhem will result. It is essential that combat students train assiduously to attack the adversary’s eyes, throat, neck, sternum, solar plexus, knees, shinbones, insteps, kidneys, spine, bridge of nose, philtrum, ears, with all-out ferocious force and concentration. There must be a single-mindedness about the self-defense student’s focus so that he really programs himself ––– in a crisis ––– to use what works reliably, and what will save his life, or save the life of a loved one. Immediate ruthless, all-out force ––– with followup ––– is crucial. We are not talking about competition now, please remember. We are talking about being attacked by dangerous, experienced, quite possibly armed felons whose purpose is to knock out, maim, or kill. Otherwise, we are not talking about close combat and self-defense. If you are not in danger, keep your hands to yourself. If you are in danger, ANYTHING goes ––– and it goes right now, this instant, using the element of surprise whenever possible, and every ounce of speed, brutality, strength, and will-to-destroy you can muster. There is no round two, no re-match, and there are no “fouls”. Just win!

This kind of attitude is the appropriate one for saving innocent life and stopping gregious, violent felons. And proper combat techniques are dangerous. They are calculated to maim, to cripple, to blind, to kill, if necessary in order to save innocent life.

Such skills must be drilled over and over and over and over. It is not sufficient to “know” that suddenly ramming your extended fingers into an adversary’s eyes and then breaking his leg with a side stomping kick “is a good technique”. It must become your technique . . . it must become something that, by attacking you, your enemy “draws out of you” and triggers into immediate action. This takes repeated, ongoing practice; focused, hard drill, and the instillation of attack mindedness to the point where you rest easy, knowing that you will attack anyone who attacks you with the ferocity of a jungle cat.

Training with partners is important. But it isn’t enough. The techniques must be repeated powerfully, repeatedly, seriously, with the sense that you are doing them in defense of your life, or of the life of another. That’s combat training.

Bruce Lee once wrote that you should practice your techniques like you were battling with your worst and most dangerous enemy. Unfortunately, that becomes a little difficult when you’re working with a training partner. Yes, you benefit from such practice, but you still know that the individual against whom you are “defending yourself” is a friendly training mate. When training solo, however, visualize whomever might make you able to destroy a human being. Perhaps some scumbag your read about in the news. Possibly someone who had bullied or attacked you in the past. Just make sure that when you execute your techniques you are on a WAR FOOTING! Do it for real! And do it that way as often as your personal schedule will permit you to train and to practice.

Self-defense is war in microcosm, as we wrote back in the ealy 1970’s. It has nothing to do with sportsmanship or competition, or match fighting. Feel that. Get with that. Psyche yourself up so that you train with that resonating in your mind and stimulating every cell to maximum destructive effort!

Visualization is one of the greatest training tools to assist you. Boxing coaches admonish their charges to see their opponent in front of them whenever they shadow box. Bayonet training in the Marine Corps always entails making that dummy real, and “killing” him! Go after your enemy and destroy him!

If your solo practice has been, up to now, mere “by rote drill” with little fighting spirit, sense of danger and desperation, and ––– essentially ––– mere exercise, change that right away!


And see if it helps if your turn out the lights when you do it.

Good luck.