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How can you train it out of you?

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by bdickens, Oct 9, 2008.

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  1. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Member

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    I see in your second post that you are talking about reacting aggressively (your word) to a threat rather than side-stepping it. The problem is the same, and thankfully you recognize the problem and are therefore asking how to best change. Recognition of the problem is a huge step in the right direction. A lot of guys never see the problem until they have a lot of free time to reflect on it. There are some places that give a young aggressive man the time to reflect on his behavior and perhaps change it. Popular spots include a courtroom, jail, prison, intensive care units, and the morgue.

    There was a time when I was the same sort of young man. I understand where you are coming from. I don't want to sit here and keyboard anaylze you, so I will analyze myself. I wanted to test my limits, find out what I was capable of, accomplish what I thought was a win. I didn't care if I ended up bloody or battered. I didn't have family or responsibilities. In a nutshell, I was living in the moment, striving to do what I thought was right, and willing to fight to accomplish it. Call it maintaining proficiency if you like.

    I think overall, it's a maturity thing, and also something we gain from military service that doesn't translate well to civilian life. Over time, I saw other young men much like myself get stabbed, shot, crippled and killed. That didn't bother me much, or rather, it didn't slow me down much. I knew my mortality, I just didn't care. Then I got married and had children.

    I knew how quickly my imagined invulnerability could change to a life changing injury or death from seeing it happen to friends. I grew up an orphan. I did not want my children to grow up as I did, without a father. My decision to be a father outweighed my ego. That did it for me. I chose survival. I would do what it took for me and mine to survive these situations as unscathed as possible.

    I highly recommend that you read Marc MacYoung's work. Purchase a few of his books on street survival. Go to one of his classes or seminars if you can. I don't think anyone can argue that Animal is not one of the most competent street fighters alive today. He will tell you the most important thing is to know when to fight and when not to. He is an advocate for fighting when necessary and settling a dispute over a beer when you can. There is no doubt that Marc can and will crack skulls, but he will be the first to tell you that if he has to fight, he did not handle the situation appropriately.

    Consider learning to de-escalate and resolve conflict nonviolently to be a skill you are deficient in. It can be a new tool to add to your defensive portfolio for when you have neither the time or inclination to duke it out. Then set about learning how to do it. If you believe you already know how to do it, then learn how to apply it to challenging situations.

    Finally, I recommend that you ride along with some EMTs or do a bit of night work in the ER. When you see people shot, cut up, maimed and killed because they fought when they could have de-escalated and walked away, your perspective changes. I hope your wife and family will become important enough to you that you will work towards adding these skills to your tool box.

    Sorry for the long post, there are no easy answers. Sometimes it's just how we are wired, and we need to reroute a few circuits and install some additional software. PM me if you like, don't expect me to be convinced that unnecessary aggression is the right response though.
     
  2. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    I had to word that rather harshly, I'm afraid, but I won't apologize for it because this isn't a joke - I used to be that guy as well. Now, if you were a single guy it would be less of a big deal, but from what you've said you have responsibilities to people other than yourself, and part of maturity is dealing with those priorities first rather than just blindly doing whatever you want to do.

    Exec-protection training - the real deal - gets the mindset ingrained to think about people other than yourself, that their safety comes first; most people can't do this, but I'm hoping that if you did, it would make you view your spouse as your principal, your protectee, which in turn would make you less likely to get involved in something silly.

    Best of luck, anyway ;)
     
  3. Soap

    Soap Member

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    I've found that a good old fashioned brush with death will clear up your condition just fine. :)
     
  4. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    Thanks to everyone who offered useful suggestions. I think some of them will point me in the right direction.
     
  5. ChrisVV

    ChrisVV Member

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    What was the book called?
     
  6. Treo

    Treo member

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    The Book Of Survival by Anthony Greenbank.

    For wilderness survival I would recomend "Survival With Style" by Bradford Aniger or

    " Survival In The Outdoors" by Byron Dalrymple
     
  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Frankly, it sounds like you LIKE the way you are and are even proud of being that way. I'm not saying you're wrong, but it's not the kind of attitude that drives a person to change.

    The first step is to realize what happened to nearly all Congressional Medal of Honor winners and decide if that's a satisfactory result.
     
  8. Treo

    Treo member

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    Actually they didn't all die, I'm not sure if even the majority died
     
  9. JesseKM

    JesseKM Member

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    What you're describing is an automatic agressive response to possible trouble. Who says that's bad? There are of course circumstances where it ends up being highly detrimental, but a very large part of self defense and other combat training is invested in trying to TEACH someone to be agressive.

    Your problem seems to me to not be that of being too agressive...merely that you are not able to control it the way you have to in a combat situation. My advice would simply be to try to see it as something you switch off and on. When you hear gunfire around the corner it needs to be OFF so that you can evaluate the situation. When a mugger jumps out of an alley it needs to be ON to deal with the immediate threat. When you're using a gun it needs to be dialed way down so that you can deal with the threat at a distance accurately. When you're using a knife it needs to be way up so that you can overwhelm your attacker. My personal rule of thumb is that the closer your opponent is then the higher your level of agression needs to be, but there will always be situations where you need to adjust that. Learn to harness it just like any other tool.

    There are an infinite number of scenarios that you could run through. In half of them your immediate agressive response will save your life. In the other half it will end up killing you and your loved ones. It all comes down to how good your discernment and judgement is. If your agression keeps you from being able to evaluate right responses to the situation then you need to do some serious thinking and training.


    I have in the past had two situations (that come to mind quickly) in which I reacted very agressively and bravely...and stupidly. During the second situation I almost got shot by an officer who thankfully acted much more inteligently than I did. Looking back there's no way I could have blamed him if he'd reacted differently. He was reacting to an alarm at the restaraunt I was working at and I when I heard the situation I reacted by trying to reach my employees. It was a false alarm. I passed out coupons and thanked everyone all around. Looking back however it was complete stupidity for me to take off running in the presence of an officer responding to an alarm. Brave? Yes, but stupid also.
     
  10. Erik

    Erik Member

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    "So, any ideas about how I can train it out of me?"

    I recommend beginning by educating yourself on various examples, preferably relevant ones, of times where default aggression has produced negative results. The realization of possible results, besides success, given similar circumstances may be all you need to shift your paradigm.
     
  11. bobbarker

    bobbarker Member

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    Best way to learn the stove is hot is to get burned. Try not to get yourself killed, but getting your butt kicked would go a long way towards teaching you to avoid confrontation when possible. I've been in the Marine Corps 4 years, I've been in country, and I still have no desire to go looking for a fight. Problem with fights, is someone often gets killed. I don't want that to be me, and, since you've got a 50-50 shot, I try and avoid the fight and improve my odds. Even if there are no weapons involved, and it's a fist fight, it's pretty rare to walk away from a fight without getting hit. Doesn't make my face feel any better knowing I kicked the crap outta him. If you can come to realize that, you're golden. Not saying you gotta run from a fight, but avoiding looking for one is a good idea.

    And as always, the first step is admitting you've had a problem. Congrats on taking the first step.
     
  12. abrink

    abrink Member

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    I myself often react aggressively to MOST threats also. Keyword is most. Some threats are meant to be side stepped like the guy in the bar that's saying he can kick anyone's [ ]. Other threats are meant to be handled aggressively. Such as the ambush situation you mentioned. When ambushed, one must meet the threat aggressively. The enemy expects you to retreat. If you don't and instead act aggressively, you will catch them off guard (hopefully) and eliminate the enemy force.

    I often have to control myself and not confront the guy in the bar that's saying he can kick my [ ]. Self-discipline is the key.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2008
  13. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Fewer than I thought. My informal "study" indicates that about half of the MOH recipients in WWII received it posthumously.
     
  14. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    Enough with the medal of honor stuff already. If the people still fussing about that had been following the whole thread and paid attention to my third post, they'd have seen that I said was trying to be funny.

    I was trying to avoid making this story time but here is one that illustrates my typical kind of reaction:

    About seven years ago my (now) wife and I were watching a movie on TV in the front room. There is a big bay window in the front and our cars are parked right in front of it. Anyway, we're watching the movie whan suddenly we are blinded by bright lights and there are scrambling sounds out front!

    We both flew into action. I was sure someone was out there and meant us harm (there's some questionable apartments down the road). Shelley teleported into the bedroom and grabbed the phone. I made it into the kitchen closet in about two steps and got my Ruger P89DC out of the cabinet. As she dialed 911, I went out the back and made my way around to the front. Looking around, I saw that the headlights of Shelley's truck were on. I turned them off and went looking around, pistol in hand. Fortunately, no one was around. Once I had cleared the area, Shelley called back and sheepishly told the dispatcher, "never mind."

    Reconstructing the situation, we figured out what had happened: she had left the window in her truck down and one of the cats (probably Julius, RIP) had climbed inside and stepped on the combination switch, turning the high beams on. The scrambling was him slipping off the steering column, fighting to regain his balance and jumping back out.

    It took a while for the adrenaline to wear off.

    Aftarwards, I realized that wasn't the smartest thing to do. At the time, however, I just acted.
     
  15. Corporal K

    Corporal K member

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    Looking around in the front yard does not make you so crazy-brave that you have to be "re-trained".

    I've "sprung into action" many times. I don't think it warranted a CMH (and yes, I read the whole thread)
     
  16. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    Byron,

    First, there's a problem with just recognizing how many posthumous Medal of Honor recipients there are. You have to recognize the probably results of a pattern of behavior. Many of the recipients who lived through the action that resulted in their receiving that honor later died in action doing more heroic and recklessly brave actions. At least one of the recipients of two Medal of Honor awards was later killed in action during an activity that could have possibly led to a third.

    Colonel Dyess of the USMC in WWII was one of them. To read his citation, he was killed during the action. Actually he wasn't. Colonel Dyess was killed in action the following day.

    Sooner or later the odds will catch up with anyone if they continue patterns of behavior where the odds are in play.

    I'm a similar type as you describe. And still am at 54 with physical deficits. So maturity won't necessarily change your makeup. (The idea of me claiming maturity would make many roll while holding their sides.)

    You might look at adding to your tool box though. Possible intruder in the yard? Get a dog. Doesn't have to be a Rottweiler. It can be one of the Chihuahas that thinks it is a Great Dane. Let him check the yard out. After the intruder stomps him, it's your turn. And you know he's there. Get security lights with motion detectors.

    Think of various scenarios that you might reasonably face or have faced. Then think of ways to handle those or similar situations without leaving your butt swinging in the wind.

    Now, I don't have a dog or security lights. Basically, they can intrude in the yard all night long. I do have a plan if they come in the house.
     
  17. loneviking

    loneviking Member

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    I'm with the handful that say 'you don't need to train it out of you'. You need training so that when the SHTF (as it will) you have a fighting chance of coming out of it alive. I'm 48, and you're darn right I'm going out to find out what's lurking in my yard. I've been doing it all of my adult life and I don't see any reason to stop now.

    As for fights, I'll do whatever I can to laugh it off or walk away---and so far, that's worked.
     
  18. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Member

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    I think its just some pre-mordial male instinct to dominate. I have the same deal, although I am probably considerably younger. I find though, that when things actually get deep I can distinguish between what I should let myself do and what I shouldn't.
     
  19. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, let's see. You can read this:
    ===

    The Charge of the Light Brigade

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    1.
    Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    "Forward, the Light Brigade!
    "Charge for the guns!" he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    2.
    "Forward, the Light Brigade!"
    Was there a man dismay'd?
    Not tho' the soldier knew
    Someone had blunder'd:
    Their's not to make reply,
    Their's not to reason why,
    Their's but to do and die:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    3.
    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley'd and thunder'd;
    Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.

    4.
    Flash'd all their sabres bare,
    Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wonder'd:
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right thro' the line they broke;
    Cossack and Russian
    Reel'd from the sabre stroke
    Shatter'd and sunder'd.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    5.
    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volley'd and thunder'd;
    Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro' the jaws of Death
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.

    6.
    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honor the charge they made,
    Honor the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred.

    Copied from Poems of Alfred Tennyson,
    J. E. Tilton and Company, Boston, 1870
    http://poetry.eserver.org/light-brigade.html
    =========================

    That's one approach.

    It's always been in my nature to flank rather than attack frontally. I can't say why. I suppose I was born that way, or else I learned it very early along.

    My favorite Special Forces recruiting poster from decades gone by is a picture of a green beret with a WW2 commando dagger lying atop it. It's captioned, "People join us, not because we are different, but because they are."

    Well, some people are just different- in different ways. The thing is IMHO to make your differences work FOR you and not against you. If you're a natural born member of the Light Brigade, then perhaps something like a session with Southnarc might help- not to overcome your natural inclinations, but to learn some ways to observe precursors, to practice verbal judo, to give yourself some options other than charging right into the face of the situation.

    hth,

    lpl
     
  20. wep45

    wep45 Member

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    nothing wrong with being aggressive at the right time..do you need to activly engage every encounter that presents itself. participate in only those battles that you really need too.
     
  21. BullfrogKen

    BullfrogKen Moderator Emeritus

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    I'm still not sure you understand the mindset of the vast majority of the people who won that award, or others like it such as the Navy Cross.

    It wasn't because they were foolhardy, or over-brave, or super-aggressive.

    Those kinds of guys are often also discipline problems, and don't interact well within the team. The platoon leader recognizes him, and tries to contain him because he does stupid things that get other guys killed.

    The vast majority of the guys who are given those types of medals talk about just doing what had to be done. And in almost every single story they are clear to point out anyone else there would have done it, but they just happened to be there when it needed to be done. Most of them are pretty plain, ordinary guys that did what was necessary because they loved the men they served with, all of them were in a bad spot, and he had the opportunity to do something about it.


    As far as your situation. Hopefully maturity helps, and you'll have the time it takes to let that set in before you do something that carries irreversible consequences.

    You need to practice some self-discipline. Hyper-aggressive and foolhardy acts suggest a lack of self-control. I'd suggest finding some ways to learn self-control outside of ways that also teach you ways of learning how to fight.

    If you like martial arts, Akido is a good one to consider. It has no strikes or punches, and teaches the student to learn balance with himself and the world. Discipline your mind.



    I've had to have this conversation with someone else. He nearly shot me, and my friends in a live-fire training exercise. I looked him square in the eye and said, "Acting recklessly, 'on instinct', and without self-control is dangerous to everyone around you. Until you learn to discipline yourself, I'm not training anywhere near you."
     
  22. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    I think you maybe need to go back and reread my posts without reading into them. Clearing the area around the house (to give one example) when you think someone is out there ready to kick your door in is not "hyper-agressive" or immature. Maybe not the best tactical strategy, but hardly "hyper-agressive" and immature.
     
  23. Corporal K

    Corporal K member

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    bd - YOU made the CMH comment. Now you have to take the responses like a big boy. Don't compare your behavior to that of heroes if you don't want your comments scrutinized.

    Somehow I get the feeling that Randall Shughart wouldn't have posted "How can you train it out of you?" on a gun blog.
     
  24. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    You started by saying that you wanted to train yourself out of the behavior you described, but you've spent the rest of the thread defending your behavior.

    About a week ago, someone on this thread suggested that perhaps the real problem was that you liked how you were and how you behaved and that change wasn't likely to come as long as that was the case...
     
  25. Odd1

    Odd1 Member

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    I do not know how to train it out of you.

    I would say your mind is your primary weapon.

    Think first, so you can avoid what you can.

    If it can not be avoided, well, fight to win, period.

    Someone is going to throw a blow, okay, maybe it could not be avoided, game on.

    Someone in your backyard, wait him out. Turn on lights (get them if you do not have them), call reinforcments (police), do not go on the offensive against an unknown number of opponents with no knowledge of thier arms or capabilities.

    Comparing threats and responses in a normal home setting to threats and responses in a war time setting is not really a fair comparison.

    In Iraq, you do what you do, mission, orders, buddies, many other variables.
    Not saying I do not care for my guys, but having my spouse at my six will not put me through the same thought process as clearing a building with a squad of well armed and trained professional soldiers. Either case, if it is game on, so be it.

    Not jumping on you, just saying combat is different then thinking through other situations in routine life.

    Nothing wrong with be ready, make sure a hasty mission anyalsis happens before you make that call. It could be hasty, just think, if possible.
     
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