Defensive Mindset: Never Stop Training

In previous articles I’ve written about Situational Awareness, Command Presence and the Mindset as it relates to planning and preparing for possible life-threatening events. These are very important aspects of surviving deadly encounters but the core to your defense relies mainly on one specific tool. This tool is carried with you every day no matter where you are or what you are doing. The tool is the basis for everything you do in a self-defense situation or everything you decide not to do, depending on the scenario. This tool is your brain, and more importantly, how you allow your brain to function. Survival is a human instinct and everyone wants to survive a life-threatening situation. Your survival instincts will automatically kick in. But, at what level is your brain trained to ensure your survival?

The willingness to survive is natural, but the determination to survive comes at different levels and these levels are trained into the brain to the point where they also become automatic and natural. If you carry about as though there is no chance that anything will happen to you then you are not preparing yourself for the possibility that something might. In situational awareness I spoke about the “What If” way of thought. Without a total dedication of the thought process, your mind is constantly running what if scenarios through your head which in turn begins the “Out” process of thinking. How will I get out of the scenario and not become a victim? You are starting the motion of the Defensive Mindset.

Your Mindset is the most important tool to your self-defense…train your mind so it has a greater advantage to winning the fight. When the threat presents itself, your mind should instantly recognize the threat and step up its game to remove you from such threat. Take the winning stance at the beginning of the threat to let your would-be attacker know that you will do whatever it takes to not be victimized. Take for instance, from behind someone grabs your arm. Instead of a slight tug away from the grab or even turning to see who grabbed you, jerk your arm away and while turning to face them, also take a few steps backward to create distance. This lets the possible attacker know that you mean business.

Most attackers read their victims and are not looking for a difficult fight in order to commit their crime, unless the attack is personal. You need to relay to them that you are not an easy target and that you will do whatever it takes to survive this encounter. Your mind needs to believe this and this comes from training it constantly. This will eventually become natural and without a conscious thought.
Almost always, I have a firearm with me, and I can honestly say that I do because I never want to be in a situation where I wish I had it. But it is only an additional tool. I don’t feel safe only when I have my firearm. I always have my brain and it has been conditioned through many years of training to operate with total situational awareness while conducting myself with a command presence and relying on my number one tool to get me through any threatening situation, my mind.
Try the process when you are out and about:

Carry yourself with a Command Presence that portrays that you will not be a victim. Stand tall, don’t slouch, speak clear and confident.
Be aware of your surroundings, then broaden that scope to a further distance than your accustomed to without forgetting to look up.
Pay attention to details. Weird shapes under clothing, a person’s demeanor, what’s approaching you, what’s behind you.
Run “What if” scenarios through your head. What’s your “Out”? What additional tools do you have to assist in that out? I.E., knife, pen, weighted purse, pepper spray, firearm, car key to the eye?

If a scenario begins, like the grabbing of your arm from behind, react in a slightly more defensive manner than your accustomed to. Not like Bruce Lee, but in a manner that if it is coming from a threat then you’ve taken the first step in your defense. After time you will find that your feeling of safety will increase dramatically.

Oz Johnson is the owner of, Johnson Group Tactical, a Phoenix based Firearms and Tactical Training service.
For any questions regarding my article, please email:[email protected]
Oz Johnson/Lead Instructor