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Going Cold
On the Unarmed-Armed Cusp in Survival Situations

Recently, David asked me about the frame of mind necessary to carry a knife for self-defense, something I have done for roughly half the years of my life. Below are the basic elements.

-1. Spar with blunt knives, not for realistic scenario training, but on an offbeat dueling context so that you develop a razor-sharp sense of time and measure, always knowing when you can strike or by stricken with a small blade.

-2. Visualization exercise that include, but are not exclusive to the knife, should be part of everyday life and if you let people know you do this they will regard you as insane. When I sat down, after walking from Megan’s kitchen to her dinette, I envisioned the door being kicked in, to which I, without thinking, having done tens of thousands of these, I envisioned taking the two long steps to the door while grabbing my pint of piping tea, throwing it at eye level, punching with the mug, then slashing with the broken mug—and that is as far as I let most visualizations go.

-3. Meditations on using the knife are extended visualizations which should be do during down time, on mass transit, at the doctor’s office, in church while your woman prays for your hell-bound soul by your side…

-4. Relentlessly practice audio-visual vigilance when out and about, whether among cub scouts, nuns, nerds, thugs, pigs, whores, a parent-teacher conference—it does not matter that they are dangerous but that they are there and their combatant ranking is known to you before they are close enough to touch. Yep—psycho!

-5. Ingress egress vigilance, never entering your car, house, job, trip club, etc. with potential combatants within five paces unless controlling the egress point. Look, your every moment you must be of the mind that whoever you are with is the President and you are his secret service lead. When alone, you are a hunted predator. Any other frame of mind leaves you in the random victory position of the wildebeest.

-6. Form an outer line in your mind, which is your go cue for arming yourself, for putting knife to hand, still concealed, never brandished. Mine is a flex line which ranges from 3 to 30 paces depending on the number and menace of my antagonists. You should go cold at this juncture, the weapon reminding you that it is time to be cool, to be as cold as the steel in your hand, to let the shoulders relax in anticipation of action.

-7. Form an inner line in your mind, which, for me is touch, and in the case of a weapon is the range at which it can touch you, and in the case of a group that point at which it forms a crescent or circle on approach, and make that your rip cue, your tripwire to action. This generalizes to empty hand and any weapon of opportunity but based on the “nuclear option” of going live with the blade, a realization which should sober you to the gravity of the situation, that you, in the eyes of society are now the bad guy. You better have a good reason for being that irredeemable guy.

Being a Bad Man in a Worse World

Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival

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