If life is an adventure, then being verbally or physically assaulted, followed, attacked, or shot at can cause fear while you are on your life journey. Wouldn't you agree?
The typical response to sudden stress is said to be fight or flight, but the other physiological reaction is to freeze. When you freeze, your brain and body temporarily shut down, and you do not flee or fight back; instead, you remain motionless. To overcome this crippling reaction, you must first identify your primary fear triggers and learn how to manage them.
In this article, I will discuss three underlying fear triggers: ignorance, inexperience, and lack of faith, and what you can do to manage them.
I define ignorance as the lack of knowledge. When confronted with a difficult person or situation, it is natural to raise your internal alarm. Your mind and body can start to imagine unfounded threats, jump to strange conclusions, and even push you to react inappropriately. It can cause an increase in adrenaline levels and the release of endorphins in the body. For example, what if someone made a derogatory remark or insulted you? Is that a genuine threat? If you make it into something much bigger than it is, you may respond with excessive force out of ignorance. The correct action is to walk or drive away.
Fortunately, you can overcome ignorance by gaining knowledge. The fastest way to gain understanding in defense is to learn firearms, fighting arts, and fitness.
The more proficient you are with your firearm, the more insight you will gain into your mindset as a weapon. The more you practice fighting arts, the more familiar you will become with moving and defending yourself in close-quarter combat situations.
The more you build a fitness foundation, the more relaxed you will be to make moves with minimal effort. When you combine all of these elements in a realistic, comprehensive training methodology, you will find it easier to overcome fear when it threatens to paralyze you. As a result, it is critical to train in random-based scenarios where you can develop a knowledgeable foundation of options.
Creating a knowledgeable foundation of options for your consideration can take many forms. For example, take note of all possible entrances and exits when you arrive at a new location. Consider how many people are around you at all times and their energetic posture.
Consider how comfortable you are with your firearm. Consider range training and dry-fire scenarios. Consider running mental strategies while driving, working, walking around your neighborhood, or relaxing at home.
All these techniques and practices will add to your knowledge base, improving your ability to respond to an emergency effectively.
Shooting at paper targets or punching the air in a martial arts class has benefits; however, practicing your defensive strategies in a semi-realistic setting will increase competence and confidence. Consider the first time you fired a firearm: it was probably a little frightening. But the more time you spent on firearms training, the more comfortable you became withdrawing your gun, aiming it, and firing accurately. If practice improves you, this is true for handling medical emergencies and physical attacks.
Running semi-realistic scenarios with a partner or a group of people with defined roles (for example, who is the scenario's instigator, aggressor, or bystander) is an excellent way to gain experience in dynamic situations. When should you draw your dry-fire dummy gun or fight hand-to-hand? Dynamic repetition training will help you learn when to draw your weapon and when not. Dynamic repetition is, in my opinion, an excellent training method.
As a result of this type of repetition, your knowledge and skills will improve. When a real threat arises, you will know how to avoid or confront the danger.
I remember learning karate, earning belts, and learning kata, a set combination of positions and movements performed as an exercise. Sparring was also frowned upon in the traditional sense, as the Sensei would not allow anyone to hit another person. Nowadays, karatekas, karate practitioners, compete in Kumite, or freestyle fights, as part of a sports competition with sparring gear.
I also studied full-contact Systema Russian Martial Art as well as Krav Maga.
On the one hand, we didn't wear any protective gear in Systema. Systema taught me to slow down, recognize energy, heal the body through constructive touch, be brutal with preemptive strikes, and transfer energy while eliminating tell-tale signs.
On the other hand, we used protective gear and equipment in Krav Maga. Here Krav Maga taught me how to move quickly and destroy anything that comes my way through self-defense and all-out attacks.
My martial arts training provided me with a solid foundation in knowing how to send, receive, and absorb strikes through dynamic movement, which assisted me in developing a proper mindset and perspective of personal defense.
Similarly, your firearm training should not solely focus on taking static shots at a piece of paper. Instead, consider shooting from dynamic positions such as crouched, kneeling, seated, prone positions, or on your back or behind cover. This approach to your firearm training will broaden your comfort zone and help you stay calm and in control when danger strikes and fear tries to seize control of your mind and body. Your brain will remember and process these training experiences.
LACK OF FAITH
Fear and faith go together for almost all humans: the more significant your faith, the lower your fear, and vice versa. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by fear, it is generally a good time to improve your confidence.
Ignorance, inexperience, and doubt are three underlying causes of fear. When chaos hits where you have to defend yourself, you have no choice but to rely on your skills, knowledge, and experience to manage the chaos more easily. So, where does your faith come into play?
According to the scriptures, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Your faith is a very personal experience. To build and maintain your level of faith, you will need to draw on your beliefs.
That is why I teach what I train and train what I teach; because iron sharpens iron. From my perspective, ongoing and consistent training is an excellent source from which I draw a significant amount of faith, exposure, and know-how. Regardless of religion or lack thereof, the time you invest in your skills will instill confidence in you. That way, you will know what to do if confronted by a home intruder, carjacker, or predator.
BEGIN RIGHT NOW
Firearm Safety, Tactical Training, and Preparedness
Numerous stress and fear-reduction techniques are available to you; the key is to learn about them ahead of time. An effective tool for dealing with fear is to do one thing - take one step in the right direction.
Take one action, and another will follow; before you know it, you'll be unfrozen and ready to flee or fight. Take the first step, whether you search for additional techniques online or stick to the few listed here. It will be a more significant step than you realize.
You can overcome some of your limitations by learning more about firearms, fighting arts, and establishing a solid fitness foundation. In doing so, it is my hope that you understand firearm safety, tactical training, and general preparedness. Not only will you improve your mindset to mitigate life-threatening situations, but you will also be able to work towards finding a path to safety while decreasing fear so you won't freeze.
Written by Hasan Harnett
Hasan teaches people how to protect themselves, loved ones, and others. He is a leader and holistic self-defense coach who has integrated fitness, fighting arts, and firearms into a comprehensive system for the everyday person seeking superior defense training and intelligence.