If I use the term “ferocious resolve”, am I referring to some type of animalistic behavior? Why yes I am! It is the innate survival instinct we all share. It is part of the winning mindset that you need to develop to win an all-out battle against another human aggressor. A physical confrontation is a battle; a foray into chaos. These conflicts are often sudden, extremely violent and can be relentless until one of the parties is incapacitated, or to put it bluntly, DEAD! You do not want to be the party that becomes the contents of a body bag; developing the sensibility of ferocious resolve is imperative to your survival.
Let us dig deeper. What more can we say about ferocious resolve? Well, creating a good definition is a bit tricky. To borrow a term from NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), ferocious resolve is a “state.” Marcus Wynne says “a state is a combination of two things: your physiology, or your body chemistry and neurological working; and your internal representation.” Simply stated, your state is everything that is going on in your body and mind at any particular moment in time. A few examples of state might be happiness, fear, worry, boredom and alertness; each one is a mode, if you will, of being, encompassing the physical and mental aspects of your existence. It is critical for you to learn how to properly manage your state before, during, and after an assault. You need the ability to function in the chaos. What will you fight for? You are the only one who can decide this answer, and it is best to consider it now–not while you are embroiled in a fight for your life. Here is an awesome quote from the father of Combatives:
“When you’re caught, you’re down, and you’re a goner if you don’t ATTACK…And keep in mind, it’s ‘Gutterfighting’: any means, fair or foul, to save your life”. — W.E. Fairbairn
Some people refer to ferocious resolve as the “Eye of the Tiger” or the “Will of Steel.” I like to think of it as your ability to do whatever it takes to win, not just survive, but WIN! I am all about winning. If you come face to face with an attacker, you must have the pre-determined mindset of going until your attacker is beaten down and no longer poses a threat. Metamorphose from the prey into the predator; it is this mindset or state, and the willingness to attack the attacker that will help you to prevail. As my good friend, Gary Klugiewicz says, “Be nice, until it is time to be mean, and then be nice again.” These are wonderful words to live by. Once the threat is neutralized, calmly seek a protective position, perform a self medical assessment, and call for the authorities to assist you.
How exactly do you develop this mindset? Well, it takes will, a decision, and practice: the will to live, the decision to do what must be done, and the diligence to practice so that your mind is set! Unfortunately, this type of mindset is not usually taught in most martial arts training facilities. I strongly urge you to go out and a find a competent self-defense instructor. Ask him or her about predator mindset and how to develop it. If they have no answers for you, then seek out someone else. Proper mindset and basic awareness skills are critical to your self-protection; seek an individual who has knowledge in these areas. If you cannot find one locally, then the next best place to start is to read and study the book No Second Chance by Mark Hatmaker. I can promise you, if you will invest a few short weeks digging deep inside this goldmine of self-defense information, you will certainly learn how to develop and use ferocious resolve.
Some people already possess an active, strong survival instinct, or a will to live. Nevertheless, it is latent in all of us, no matter how deeply buried, and can be developed through practice. By our very nature, we are predators; human beings are the superior predators in the landscape. I have an exercise for you. Begin with an offensive maneuver that is familiar to you. For example, let us focus on a front choke attack. With your eyes closed, imagine a strong adversary putting his hands around your throat. Feel his vice-like grip squeezing and compressing. Feel yourself getting a little dizzy from the lack of air. Does this enrage you to the point of igniting into explosive action–it should! Smell him. Imagine his appearance and his facial expressions. What is he saying, or what sounds does he make? Notice the anger welling up inside you. This is a deep anger propelling you to stop this senseless act of injustice and to harm this person. He has no right to end your life. You are completely justified in your use of force because, obviously, he is intent on hurting you; otherwise he never would have attacked you. Once you feel the state of anger (how it feels in your body and your mental representation), I want you to imagine yourself exploding into action. Imagine yourself releasing his grasp on you. See, if you can, and feel your body moving from a first-person perspective. Imagine yourself pounding him violently with a hammer fist, a palm heel, or whatever you desire to use. Imagine him shrinking away or falling down from your powerful and ferocious onslaught. Remember that he brought you to this dance; he chose you and made the conscious decision to attack you. Imagine yourself feeling no pity, but righteous rage until the moment he is no longer a threat. At that critical moment, when he is neutralized, imagine backing off, finding a protective position, scanning for additional threats, performing a self medical check and phoning the authorities. Allow yourself to feel good about being able to protect yourself. If you are inclined, you can continue imagining the scenario to the point at which the authorities arrive, you articulate the event with confidence and clarity, and you are released. Imagine being back at home, drinking an adult beverage, and relaxing in your recliner!
The above example is just one exercise; a guided imaginative tour on solving a problem and a great way to begin developing the mindset of ferocious resolve. The beauty of this scenario, or any that you create, is that it can be practiced anywhere. Inform your imagination as much as possible with real-life details. The late Charles Nelson, a fantastic self-defense instructor, made a habit of collecting news clippings about violent crime and used the details as teaching points for his students. Involve all of your senses to paint the entire picture of state. The more senses you involve, the more real it feels to your mind as an experience. Many people, including law enforcement officers, have won in lethal encounters because of options and scenarios they considered prior to the event. For that matter, many people win in life’s events because they have rehearsed their performance beforehand. Never underestimate the power of your imagination to accomplish anything. Too many of us get rusty-as children we are often conditioned out of utilizing the creative facility of imagination. Begin your practice now; hone and utilize these mental constructs towards development of your own ferocious resolve. If you ever find yourself in a critical situation that endangers your life, I want you to win, because your life truly matters.