By Ernest Emerson
“One who stands with his convictions never stands alone”
Over the next 12 weeks I will be discussing 12 basic principles applied to the most intimate and deadly of all human interactions, Hand-to-Hand combat. These principles are distilled from decades of experience and thousands of analysis of deadly attacks. Out of all of this study, I began to see patterns and commonalities that manifest in both outcomes of these scenarios, those where the victim of the attack survived and those in which the attacker prevailed and severely injured or killed the victim.
This is the first installment in a series of articles, a course, on the strategies and tactics, the principles and concepts that you must know, that you must use, that you must embody, in order to insure your survival when you are against the odds.
These are the same subjects that I teach in seminars and courses to civilians, law enforcement and elite military units all over the world.
“There is great moral satisfaction when, in a decisive moment in time one is able to mete out clear justice without hesitation or debate” – Ernest Emerson
The Bottom Line
The true bottom line of this series of discourses is to teach you how to survive a violent, deadly attack. It is a survival fighting course; it is not for sport or tournament fighting. It is not designed to beat or defeat your opponent (although that is most often the outcome). It is designed to give you the tools to survive. This does not mean that you will not get hit, cut, broken or even severely injured. What it does mean is that everything you will learn is geared to enabling you to survive a violent attack. You must enter into the study of this course from the point of view that the end result of any attack could be your death. It is only with this clarity of purpose that you can, without hesitation employ the techniques and embody the concepts so that they give you the best use of the tools to survive. A photo cannot convey the intensity and violence with what they must be delivered to be most effective. If you think you can hit hard you must hit 10 times harder. If you think you are fast, you must be 10 times faster.
Forget the dojo, forget sparring, and forget the tournament or ring. Forget the teacher, the rules or referee. Imagine that it is 1:30 am on a Saturday and your car has broken down in the worst part of the worst city in the world. As you step out of your car, you see the three predators that are going to rape your wife and daughter and then kill all of you. They’ve done this before and totally without conscience they are about to do it to you. At this time, there is nothing else in your life that matters. There are no safeguards. It doesn’t matter if you are the most powerful CEO in the world or a gas station attendant. The only thing that exists in your world now, is you and them. The only tools that you have now are your physical skills, your wits and your most powerful natural weapon; the will to survive. In most cases, it is the only advantage you posses.
Out manned and out gunned, your resolve may be the only deciding factor. You may even need to sacrifice your life to save your wife and daughter. This is the mentality that you must draw upon and develop during the study of these discussions.
And, this is the violence that, God forbid, you may have to confront some day and if you do, you must be prepared for this level of pure evil, both physically and mentally, in order to survive it when, and if, it ever enters your world.
You’re the Only One You Can Count On
In a time of real crisis, when your life is truly on the line or if you are ever involved in a life or death struggle with an armed attacker, a fight to the death, you will immediately come to the realization that it is just you alone against the attacker, nothing more and nothing less.
Even if you are protecting loved ones, teammates or innocent bystanders, where others may be involved, it will still boil down to just you and the bad guy. And if you are attacked in a parking lot or outside of some dive bar, you will really be alone, very alone.
Human beings are in general, by nature, social creatures. We congregate; we surround ourselves with friends, family and even strangers because it is comforting. In nature it is the stragglers who are singled out as potential prey.
Our society further supports this comfort zone with safeguards such as Police Departments and Fire Departments who will come to our aid in a time of need. They form our safety nets. As a whole we as a society have off-loaded our personal responsibility for safety to someone or something else. And as a result, psychologically, we have let down our guard and exposed our soft underbelly. We have come to rely on all of these factors for security and we know they will come to our rescue when we are in trouble.
Or so it would seem. In reality, it is highly unlikely that a serial killer, rapist or mugger is going to attack you in a crowd. In reality, a serious attack or fight is started and finished in less than 8 seconds. How long is 8 seconds? Just ask any Bull Rider and he’ll tell you just how long 8 seconds can be. Actually, most of the time a fight is over in less than 4 seconds, but most people won’t believe that. They’ve just seen too many movies. In reality, there is not going to be a police officer standing across the street. In reality, if you are attacked no matter what the circumstance, you are going to be on your own. Consider this scenario. You’re walking down the street with your buddies and out of the blue you pass some guy, he starts wailing on you. How many punches, could he throw in the 3-4 seconds it would take for your buddies to pull him off of you? How many knife strikes could he have thrown?
Does any of this change in a combat environment? Hell no. In fact it is worse. Not every mugger has the preliminary intent to kill you. But, if you have to go hands on with any enemy soldier in a combat environment, you better know he is trying to kill you.
I hope that you are coming to the realization that your survival in a deadly attack scenario ultimately rest squarely on your shoulders alone. You are solely responsible for your own survival. Safety nets, buddies, teammates or police responders will not be there to help you. If you are currently of the mindset that someone or something will be there to save you in your time of need, to come to your rescue, then you’re going to get hammered.
But, if it is true that you are responsible for your own survival, and that you believe it so, then you can start to do things to change the circumstances in your favor. You can start to manipulate the environment of a conflict. You can change the dynamics of a violent encounter and you can affect the sequence of events to sway them in your favor.
As you may have surmised by now, I am describing a mentality, or a mindset more than anything else and it is the first step in a progression of steps you must take in a readying yourself to react correctly when faced with the imminent threat of extreme physical violence.
I will be discussing, and you will be learning, that there are certain ways you can think, certain ways you can conduct yourself and certain things that you can do which will give you the tools to survive if and when you ever come face to face with the most terrifying of all experiences, mortal combat with another human being.
If you are now decided that yes, you are solely responsible for your ability to survive, which is the essential first step, then the next question is; What is the next step? What are all of the steps? What are you going to do about it? Take heart, for there really are certain things you can do…
Stay tuned for the next installment: The Warrior Mentality – Developing the Warrior Spirit