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Thoughts on Combat Pyschology

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    Thoughts on Combat Pyschology

    Combat Psychology: Zone Theory and Types Violence

    For purposes of this discussion, an area or a situation, can be described as "Green", "Yellow", or "Red". Green is a safe zone. You can relax. Yellow is an alert zone. Be on guard and prepared for potential violence. Red is a danger zone. Shit's going down.

    Likewise, for the purposes of this discussion, we have three different types of violence. Sudden violence, unexpected violence and anticipated violence. Understanding and adjusting your natural reaction in each zone, and in each situation is key to survival.
    Sudden violence will be defined as violence that takes place in a yellow or red zone without warning or notice. Ironically, for the well trained, sudden violence is the easiest type to deal with. There is no room for nervousness, for exotic plans or strategy, for fear, or any of the other things that tend to sabotage actions in violent situations. Your reaction, fight or flight, will most likely be instantaneous in this setting. If you wish to change your reaction, drilling is key.

    Unexpected violence will be defined as sudden violence in a green zone. This can be a particularly dangerous scenario as it can cause a "What the fuck?" reaction instead of a proper fight or flight response. This is due to deactivating the combat protocols in the anticipation of safety. This effect can be particularly devastating to security professionals. "Clocking out" is of course necessary, but if you're still in the area which you were securing, you want to remain on yellow.

    Finally, we have anticipated violence. This is violence that you can see coming a mile away. While advanced notice can seem like an advantage, it can also lead to a decrease in performance. By allowing for nerves, doubt as to the course of action, doubt as to whether or not violence will actually occur, anticipation can lead errors in judgement.

    Now, the psychology spoken of here isn't universal, but each martial artist should understand their own unique reactions with these different zones and scenarios. If you don't know, then your technical ability is virtually useless.

    Big difference between most types of training and unexpected stress training.

    To your point, people who don't train for the situation where someone grabs their throat or grabs their shirt often freeze when it happens.

    Also, social pressure can cause otherwise capable people to take inaction or wrong action.

    Social animals are strange in their behavior sometimes,
    sometimes responding with submission reactions when the situation is actually one of true violence (life and death).


      The preemptive strike's a funny one. It can be the best option for problem solving when naughty people are abroad but legal and social issues can often stifle it which is obviously a shame.

      As for the op; It's why I rate combat sports over the more staged arts, skills and drills are tested under pressure with controlled violence and it's easier to control adrenaline, fight-or-flight etc.


        I agree on preemptive strikes. Great tool for getting the job done when things are obviously going sideways. Not a great tool for staying out of trouble. If you can catch them AS they make a move, that can be helpful.

        As for combat sports, IMO they're essential in learning how to fight. However, it's not a place to stop learning.


          I was reading this earlier.

          and then, more apropos to your topic:

          perhaps a bit tangential, but, certainly related (part 1 is for context, part 2 is more related).



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