Solving Any Problem, Violent or Otherwise, Can Best Be Done While Remaining Calm.

I’ve known several highly qualified people over the years that repeat a version of this ideal.

It’s echoed in “the teams” from virtually all the branches of the military, rescue divers cling to this mantra, and adrenaline junkies follow this concept like a religion. The truth is, I’d rather not die trying to solve a problem. But, the other truth in this quagmire is a simple one: you will certainly die trying to solve a problem if you lose your cool, that is, fail to be calm.

In being calm, we function at much higher levels and have a much higher rate of success from virtually any activity – physical, mental, or emotional. And, while being calm during a high stress event with a massive adrenaline dump can be difficult, it can also be practiced through training and mental rehearsal. The stress drills associated with your Krav Maga training is a good example.

There’s a larger point, however, that I’d like to make in this regard. Stress can be caused in small and large ways through variation in training – creating the unknown (in a sense). This process can play out purposefully as instructors design and deploy drills. But, perhaps the best training in this context can come from unexpected results during drills – where attackers do something unexpected. Often, in the classroom setting, this will result in a “do-over.” Where the defender stops the drill and asks the attacker to perform in a certain manner.

However, dealing with the unexpected and unorthodox and/or training through the drill to a logical completion point despite the unexpected – realistic or not – can be excellent training as the defender must react in real time. This kind of opportunity in training essentially interrupts the flow and requires the defender to solve problems that demand immediate solutions. This learned process combines several skills including recognition, diagnosis, prescriptive action, and physical response – moving the defender from disadvantage to advantage over a very short period of time.

In this process, the defender learns to be responsive in real time, solving problems across an ever-changing feedback loop. Once the process has become ingrained and the defender’s responses have become effective, the process of learning to “die calm trying to solve the problem” has taken root. Increased mental rehearsal and exposure to other manners of stress will only assist in further developing this invaluable skill.

In the end, we all need to be at our best when facing the worst.

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