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FEAR - How big a factor ??

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by Stepaway, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Stepaway

    Stepaway Citified

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    I've just bought a Glock 23, signed up for a basic course and a cch course. BUT I've never been in the service or LE and none of the material I've found so far says much about being scared *****less when somebody points a gun at you. How do you train for that - I can only imagine. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
     
  2. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

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    Okay, stay with me on this one....


    Fear is vastly over-rated as a disabling device. It's overcome by training, rehearsal and resolve. For example, the vast majority of men at Normandy were going to their first dance. They went, and dealt with horrors that you'll never have to even consider. They didn't freeze or fall apart, and they came out the other end of a battle that lasted weeks. The raw material in you is not lesser than in your grandfather, and you're wholly capable of getting through an encounter that's going to last seconds without choking.

    Training starts with the mechanics. You nail down your weapon's manual of arms, and you do several thousand reps of all the variants of your drawstroke. You dry fire until the proper trigger-stroke is reflexive and not something that you have to ponder on. Then, you shoot until you have recoil managed and can put your rounds into a proper target at proper distances, determined by your personal situation. A match or two, where you have the real opportunity to look like a moron in front of others, will train you as to the effects of adrenaline. Pay attention to that, and remember that the shakes going away aren't you mastering adrenaline, but rather you becoming comfortable in the match setting. That may not translate to the real world.

    Rehearsals are mental training. Through the magic of youtube and liveleak, you have the ability to see dozens of real fights and learn how they unfold. What if that were you? What if it happened during your daily life? What if you were injured? You should "what-if" yourself a hundred thousand times. Into rehearsal I'll lump academic study. Grossman's On Combat is mandatory reading, and will teach you all about how your body may react to the threat. Then, you can prepare yourself and not be distracted if time slows and sounds disappear.

    Finally, resolve. The one emotion guaranteed to overcome fear's mindkilling is anger. That righteous indignation is something that you can start to tap into during rehearsals. Jackhole has no right to hurt you. How dare he? He has no right to leave your wife without a husband, your children without a father, your mother without her son! How dare he? Go look at you kid asleep and decide, now, that no street thug is going to make him an orphan. Do that often, and learn to fully understand your blessings and the weight of the duty you have to protect them. The greatest thing you have going for you in a fight is that you're fighting to protect innocent life while the jackals out there are looking to take it. They may be in better shape, they may be hardened criminals, they may train more than you, they may be on a suicide mission, planned and rehearsed. You, on the other hand, are the one standing between them and what deserves to be protected. That moral high ground matters, a lot. It's vital that you maintain it.

    These things can be trained into you pretty quickly, all things considered; sustainment and refinement is a life-time endeavor.

    Fear? Your body may shake, puke and crap as it's burning off the adrenaline surge. Doesn't matter if you've won. You're not looking to banish it and be fearless, that's insane. You're looking to move with it and use it as your ally.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010

  3. Stepaway

    Stepaway Citified

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    Outstanding advice - much appreciated, thanks.
     
  4. deadcalm4u

    deadcalm4u overkill

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    Sam - do you work for FedEx? cause as always, you deliver..:wavey:
     
  5. Glock-it-to-me

    Glock-it-to-me Catching liars

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    Years of martial arts training have enabled me to remain calm in bad situations. This is most un-nerving to a BG as they prey on fear.

    A book that was required reading in gymnastics:
    "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz M'D.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  6. sciolist

    sciolist

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    I've never had a gun pointed at me, but have been in 4 or 5 situations where I did not expect to survive. These were all environmental and logistical problems that required major physical effort to overcome, and for which I was pretty well trained.

    My experience is that you just execute according to training and let the chips fall. Fear can be a pretty good motivator, but effective training keeps you on task.

    So, I don't think one trains to overcome fear per se. I think one trains to have a constructive game plan, and that pushes fear to the side.
     
  7. David Armstrong

    David Armstrong

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    As I posted in another thread:
    Training, experience, visualization. Get training in what a proper reaction would be. Focus on a few techniques and get good at them. Go to friends, family, gyms, etc. and experience attacks under controlled conditions. Visualize the situation. Go through it in your mind, from initial attack through your reaction and successful conclusion.
    What you want to avoid is your brain locking up because it doesn't know what to do. Training, experience, visualization give your brain a base to build from: "OK, we know about this and this is the way we are supposed to handle it" instead of a "Oh my gosh, what is happening and what should I do" reaction.

    Sam got it right. Fear is not the big problem. In fact, some argue that fear is a major motivator for most actions (I don't necessarlily buy into that idea), thus we are regularly working through the fear, or as Sam said, "Fear is vastly over-rated as a disabling device." The more the brain is prepared for the less the fear can disable.
     
  8. Stepaway

    Stepaway Citified

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    Ok, I think I'm starting to understand. I need to train physically and mentally until I can respond to my most probable threats by "simply" reacting. Easy to understand although I'm sure it takes many, many hours to training.

    However, I don't yet understand the "decision" to respond. From what I have read, most likely the BG will be choosing a time and place to his liking and I will have approx 2 seconds to 1. Recognize the threat 2. Decide which trained response is appropriate (e.g. non lethal or lethal) 3. React in time to minimize the harm to me or my loved ones.

    I understand from your posts how to mentally prepare for those situations and physically train for them but how in the world do I handle the initial recognition and decision sequence in the time available?? I can imagine two extemes: (1) Staring in shock as the BG kills me or mine, or (2) Shooting some poor soul who startled me in the dark and was only reaching for his wallet.

    I am committed to carrying a concealed weapon so I need your input. Thanks.
     
  9. Jedburgh

    Jedburgh

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    I think the first aspect to your training to work on would be situational awareness. If you google COL Cooper's color codes, you can get a decent start on it. The Marines use a similar color system if I recall.

    Having good awareness of your surroundings will alert you to possible danger so that you have more than a second or two to react. It may also allow you to avoid the encounter all together.

    Fear may cause you to "lock up" if you aren't prepared. This is the way I think about violent encounters-when an attacker is trying to stick a knife into your guts, he's going to give it 100%. As you attempt to stop him from sticking his knife into your guts you're going to give it 100%.

    Level of effort will cancel out. The only thing that separates the victor is training.

    Great question.

    DOL
     
  10. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

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    The other aspect of this is time-dilation (stretching) associated with an epinephrine dump in the system.

    Often times it FEELS like everything you do is happening oh-so-slowly. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it's a result of one's body being in a hyper-aware state. The trick is to know what exactly is happening, and don't attempt to "force" yourself to go faster, as the unintended consequence of that is usually fumbling/etc.


    and oh yeah, Sam, David & Jedburgh, covered the whole thing.


    'Drew
     
  11. David Armstrong

    David Armstrong

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    It does take a fair amount of training, but FWIW I don't go for the "simply reacting" idea. I believe in "appropriately responding" and the training will allow that to happen instead of having your brain and body freeze up while they try to figure out the appropriate response.
    Don't know what you have read, but that type of a situation is extremely rare. Most incidents develp over a much longer time-frame. The sudden quickdraw gunfight is the exception, not the rule.
     
  12. Stepaway

    Stepaway Citified

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    Thanks for your comments David. As I say, I don't have any real knowledge or experience. The "two seconds" idea was from an article in the 2010 Handguns Magazine where 3 experienced shooters were reviewing which handguns were best for drawing and shooting. Part of the article discussed how much time you have to draw, aim and fire when you're under attack.
     
  13. inthefrey

    inthefrey Moved on...

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    WOW Sam!
    Made me think of this!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G60DLKsNPQI

    Good job!
     
  14. beatcop

    beatcop

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    Great responses above....

    -stress inocculation is a proven training method. (Boxing, simunitions, etc)
    -"simulated" stress through competition (ipsc, idpa, etc)

    This stuff keeps the brain working with a bit of pressure. Funny though, the feeling of an impending car crash or the words of a dispatcher can get the shaky leg going more than an actual man with a knife...some of it is fear of the unknown. Good luck...odds are you'll never have to worry about it.
     
  15. Maine1

    Maine1

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    Well said, Sam!
     
  16. Glenn E. Meyer

    Glenn E. Meyer

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    Read 'Extreme Fear' by Jeff Wise.

    Realistic training, competition, FOF, etc. reduces the freeze, fright responses.
     
  17. glock192327

    glock192327 Where is eye

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    I've been a member of GT going on a year now. This is the first time I've even looked into this forum..."Tactics and Training".

    Damn, just damn! A tremendous amount of gut knowledge in less than a dozen and a half posts. Really great ideas, options, and experience. Damn. Gotta come back here more often. Thanks.
     
  18. ronin.45

    ronin.45

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    Sam covered everything pretty well. Practicing the fundamentals to the point of muscle memory is a great start. I really recommend competition as a training tool. Running through scenarios gets the adrenaline pumping in a way that target shooting can't. It can't tell you exactly how you will react in a real situation but it will tell you how you respond under stress. Just remember you can never train for every scenario that could possibly unfold. You are already well ahead of the average person because you are thinking. Most shooters, including law enforcement officers, never think about how they would respond to a fear inducing situation. They just shoot thier gun every once in a while and think it is enough to be armed. So you are well ahead of the curve already, good luck.
     
  19. joe_jitsu

    joe_jitsu

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    Sam's post is excellent!

    The best way to "test the waters" with your personal limit is to attend some quality, stressful training.

    LTC Dave Grossman has written a couple of excellent books on this subject. I have "On Combat" and "On Killing" in my personal collection.
     
  20. MTPD

    MTPD

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    The only situation I was ever scared ******** in was my first major race riot as a rookie. After surviving that, nothing bothered me.

    Prior to police work I had been in several shooting and near-shooting situations, both as a young PI and civilian. I never got scared during those situations because they happened too fast to have time to think about it.

    Bottom line: You probably won't get scared, even if it's your first time, if the event happens fast and is over fast. However, if it drags on for some time, like riots do with buildings burning down and gunshots flying all around in the dark, that's different.

    Here is the wierd part, my first big riot situation transformed me! I actually started to believe that BG gunfire could never hit me. And consequently never even bothered to duck or take cover after that when shots were fired. Looking back on it, my illogical "bullet-proof" mindset wasn't too smart, but that's what happened.

    I'm older now, and not that way any more!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010