You hear much from shooters, preppers and trainers about “mindset” – but little about what that really means to them. I also notice that terms seem to get mixed rather easily. The two I want to chat about is “Warrior Mindset” and “Combat Mindset”. While many trainers use them interchangeably, I confess to be a bit of a stickler on “words” and want to point out the differences between the two states of mind. (all IMNSHO, of course )
Warrior: a man engaged or experienced in warfare
Combat: a fight or contest between individuals or groups
The term “warrior” applies to the individual and implies that that individual prepares for – and engages in – warfare. Or, in our case – possible engagements with bad guys.
“Combat” refers to the actual engagement or fight. Preparation is past, you’re in the “Red” Zone and may well be fighting for your life.
The terms are not interchangeable. So let’s chat about each specifically:
Warrior Mindset: For most in the military, this is simply their way of life. Everything from the clothes they wear, the work they do, the physical training they engage in and the job they are assigned revolve around and prepare them for . . . war. It is their environment – their calling, and it feels “natural” for them to do these things.
For a civilian – preparation for war is not natural. And yet, that is what personal defense is all about – war against an individual or individuals that have determined that they are going to harm you. So, as a civilian, as a shooter and as one who has decided to expand your skillset to allow you to better defend yourself, your family and your friends – there is much in the warrior culture that will benefit you.
Physical fitness: Let’s start with the basics. If your body won’t respond to your demands, things will not go well – either in combat or training. If you are out of shape – I’m not going to harp on you about it, just encourage you to get moving – walk, exercise, eat better, reduce your drinking, stop smoking . . . . we all know the list. Yet, now, the stakes are higher. You’ve chosen to be a warrior – time to suck it up and act like one.
Clothing: I would encourage you to dress in such a way that permits you to carry your weapon each and every day. While slinky, low cut, form fitting clothing may show off a woman’s body, they do little to allow you to strap on your weapon every day. And while those high heels sure set off your legs – how fast can you “get off the x” while wearing them.
As for guys – same arguments really. Tight clothing to show off the “six pack” (I wish – heavy sigh), they also print your weapon rather nicely as well. Crappy shoes or flip-flops provide the same challenge as spike heels – they slow your movement.
Clothing appropriate for the weather will insure you can operate for as long nas you need it biting cold or blistering heat. Add a small backpack to your daily routine to carry a days rations and a couple of bottles of water, perhaps a spare magazine or two – and your clothing is rounded out.
Lifestyle: This has more to do with how you see the world around you. Acknowledge that to many – you are simply a target, an opportunity. If you are simply a blissful boob your chances of standing out to a bad guy are much higher. If you live in condition “yellow”, work on keeping your awareness level high enough to note possible threats or to catch odd movements in your field of vision, your chances of survival go up.
It has to do with how your drive, where you drive, where you live, who you associate with, how your home is laid out, what’s in your cupboards, on our shelves. It’s about adapting a lifestyle that acknowledges possibilities while not becoming a tinfoil hat wearing, hasmat suit wearing freak. You KNOW the difference, now – do it.
Weapons Training: You have already chosen to get some level of weapons training. You probably started out with the basics, spend range time and maybe even have “moved up”. Good. Keep it up! Plan your range sessions and track them. Learn your weapons – clean, disassemble and reassemble them, work on different shooting positions, shoot with a wide range of weapons, attend trainings by different instructors (I suggest you do at least one advanced training a year – yes, I know they’re expensive) . . . . . . There are simply NO SHORTCUTS . . . . . TRAIN!!!
Warrior Mindset – it’s simply a new way of life.
Combat Mindset: Combat Mindset is all about the “Red Zone”. For whatever reason your vigilance failed you. You stepped around a corner, bad guys have broken in your doors, someone has pulled a gun in the convenience store, a distraught person has walked into church with a shotgun, a guy in black with a gas mask was entered the theater . . . . it’s on!
The Red Zone is where death happens easily. Hesitation guarantees a trip in a Ziploc. Instant reaction reduces this possibility . . . . It is that place where your mental training on the range comes into play. The fast – easy draw, the focal alignment down the top of the slide, the confident trigger press helps change the odds in your favor.
During the 5-10 seconds of actual combat there is no “thought” simply action. Engage the bad guy with everything – your gun or your knife or your flashlight or your knees or your head or your hands or your teeth . . . . Red Zones are those places where a single person is typically the victor and the loser becomes the chalk outline on the floor.
Combat Mindset is that tool that you use to ensure you fully engage your bad guy, that you fight with every skill you have learned and every physical and mental resource and weapon you have at hand. It’s what insures that you . . . . .
. . . are the survivor.
So, to me – they are two distinct mindsets. The Warrior Mindset is about lifestyle and preparation for possible threats. Combat Mindset is how you respond to the Red Zone.
You need both to go home at the end of the day . . . . .