Develop your Internal Triggers – When to take action…

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Developing Your Internal Triggers:

Picture this. An electrician is standing on a step-ladder working on a ceiling light. There’s bare wires exposed and he asks you “Is the light switch turned off?”.

What’d think would be his reaction if your answer was “well… kind of…”? He’d probably get off the ladder and check for himself. He can’t put his safety on the line. The switch is either on or it’s off. There’s no grey area about it.

That’s exactly how you need to think about your “Internal Triggers”. You set up your switches beforehand and when one of them is tripped, you automatically take some kind of action. The point is to be mentally prepared with personal guidelines in place to deal with a confrontation BEFORE it ever takes place. Grappling with these questions during a confrontation is like trying to “figure out” where the rip-chord is after you’ve jumped from the plane (“hmmm… where is that thing…”) Yeah… you got it… splat.

So I’ve developed a list of questions that are a good way for you to start laying the groundwork for your internal triggers. Take your time and think through scenarios. Make up your mind about what would trip your trigger and what you’d do… then solidify your decisions and internalize them. Because my own research – as well as my own life experiences — shows that “lack of confidence” is actually a “lack of knowing what to do”.

Think about that for a moment.

Consider the things in your life that make you feel insecure. Doesn’t it almost always boil down to simply not knowing exactly what to do? Be honest with yourself. Because it’s impossible for a book… a video… or any form of man or beast to change you into the kind of confident, decisive person you want to be — without your cooperation.

So I developed the following questions – and I want you to dig deep on these. This is where “knowing exactly what to do” begins. It transcends fighting because it develops a sense of “knowing exactly what do to” that touches every aspect of your life. People will start noticing “something different” about you. They can’t quite put their finger on it, but they like what they see.

1.What’s worth fighting for?

We tend to be committed if the reason is “bigger” than us. Stuff like protecting a child… a woman crying for help… a family member in danger. These are bread-and-butter reasons for which most people are willing to fight.

But – like I suggested – you’ve got to “dig deeper”. It’d be nice if the world was this black and white. You’ve got to ferret out those grey areas and turn them into black and white in your own mind. Don’t leave this to chance. Start the process. Do you fight when insulted? How bad does the insult have to be? What about verbal threats?

Now I personally know enough about “taking care of business” to seriously hurt (even kill) someone if absolutely necessary. I’ve got nothing to prove, so I don’t fight over embarrassments or slights. If I’m insulted I stay cool… perform a quick inventory of his open targets… check for anything in his hands… glance around for any of his “buddies”… escape routes… nearby “improvised weapon”… recheck open targets… and so on.

I occasionally smile. He has no idea. I like that.

I don’t reveal my cards until it’s absolutely necessary, and in most cases it’s never necessary. There are a lot of idiots that aren’t worth my time (or yours). I leave it at that.

On the other hand, if I were in the position of platoon sergeant ordered to lead men up “hamburger hill” under heavy fire, then simply shrugging off a direct insult would most definitely damage my ability to lead. I would fight (and risk death) against any man challenging me at that moment only because of the incredibly high stakes involved.

My point is that fighting for dignity is not something that can always be dismissed.

Of course that leads to the question…

2. When is “saving face” worth fighting for?

As I’ve suggested on more than one occasion, there are times when maintaining “Alpha” leadership and control are imperative. Cops, soldiers, high-level management, and other such situations require that you can command a place in your subordinates mind. This standing or authority can be easily shattered by “backing down” when challenged and so sometimes fighting is necessary if you want to maintain that status. It’s called “protecting future loss”.

Let me give you another example. “Dennis” (this is a true story) is a senior fire fighter responsible for “managing” the response crew at the scene of 911 emergencies. He and the crew face dangerous and volatile situations where people can and DO get killed. Fires, health crises, chemical spills, shootings, car accidents, you name it, they respond to it. So it’s imperative that police, paramedics, and especially his fellow firefighters follow his orders without question. It isn’t some cool “macho” game – this is absolutely necessary. Without a clear “pecking order” of decision-makers, chaos, panic and death can easily rule the day in an emergency. This isn’t theory.

Okay… so during a dinner at the firehouse, one young rookie fireman (a “big dumb kid” as he was described) made numerous subtle cutting remarks to Dennis. Hmmm… seems innocent enough. A couple of good natured “put-downs” to add some light humor to the firehouse. Much of the crew laughed along with the jokes… and even Dennis chuckled at bit. Problem was that the rookie continued on… and wandered over an “invisible” line.

Without warning Dennis suddenly slammed him into the lockers with a choking forearm to his throat. The crew shut-up… the shocked rookie struggled, squirmed, and apologized… and a few awkward moments later order was restored.

But the question still remains… was risking an all-out fight with a larger younger firefighter worth the risk?

Dennis thought so. There was a direct challenge to his authority and doing nothing would have eroded and damaged his standing with the crew. He needed to act quickly reestablishing who was giving orders and who was taking them. Dennis was willing to risk death or permanent injury to “protect future loss”.

It’s important remember that the young rookie could have fought back fiercely. Even a fight that starts with playful banter can end in permanent injury or death. With that in mind, go through a list of scenarios and predetermine situations in which you would fight. Protecting loved ones is clearly something most guys are willing to risk fighting for. Protecting “future loss” is not always as clear.

3. Who will suffer if I do nothing?

Most guys understand that there can be serious consequences to fighting, but what about doing nothing? First of all, the phrase “doing nothing” sounds as if you’re an invisible man making no decision at all – allowing the winds of fates to simply roam the universe freely. Wrong — don’t fall into that quicksand.

As it pertains to fighting “doing nothing” is an active decision to not challenge another person. Doing nothing IS a decision… not the absence of one. You’re simply choosing to do nothing.

Sometimes doing nothing is a great decision… sometimes not.

Start breaking down certain situations, determining where “doing nothing” is wise or when it could get you or loved ones hurt of killed. What if an adversary is holding a family member hostage? “Doing something” — such as hastily charging the hostage-taker — may get your loved one (or you) killed. But what if he then attempts to pull them into a car? Well, few people return alive from that kind of abduction, so doing nothing is not a great option.

Start breaking down and categorizing those gray areas into on/off switches or “triggers”. Black or white. Yes or no. Go or no-go.

4. Who am I responsible for?

Another thing to consider is who will be affected by you being permanently injured or killed in a fight. I’m trying to give a wake up call here. I had a friend – a big guy – who played “John Wayne” and broke up a fight between two little guys — both of whom wanted to fight. His reward for getting involved? He had the ligaments of his knee completely torn apart by a kick.

Turns out that one of the “little” guys was a Muay Thai kickboxer.

In the end my friend had to undergo many painful surgeries and the loss of his job. If you asked him today if getting involved was worth it he’d answer — without pause — “no.” It was poor decision because the fight was between two people who wanted to fight. It wasn’t a good choice to get involved.

Remember that your decision will affect your entire family.

5. When is protecting my personal freedom important to me?

Okay… I’m not talking about fighting Communism here. Let me give you an example. You’re sitting at a coffee shop with your family when some punk approaches and says that “that table is my favorite. You’d better move.”

I personally know a LOT of guys who’d fight in that scenario. But, let’s give a little twist to this. Let’s say the same punk approached you with a GUN in hand while demanding that you move from the table. Suddenly, retaining that table doesn’t seem so important, does it?

Well, that’s the way you’ve got to start looking at this. How did you know in the first scenario that the man wasn’t armed? You don’t. Now, there’s no right or wrong answer here. I only want you to consider why you wouldn’t give up that table in one situation, but you would in another.

Now, we are by nature social animals, so saving face and protecting your personal freedoms may be extremely important at times. But let me give you another example.

My son’s 14-year-old friend “Bobby” was confronted by a bully on a number occasions and decided that running and telling the authorities was the thing to do. It got the bully and some of his friends suspended from school, which made them very angry. The result was more harassment and threats — which led to yet another suspension from school. That got them even MORE angry… which led them to harass even more… Okay, I’ll bet you’re getting the idea.

This situation had escalated so far out of control that it soon became clear to Bobby he could be hurt or killed – especially considering that many of today’s young people are willing to use lethal violence. So, was the initial choice not to fight the right one? Well, only Bobby can answer that one. It’s not always clear cut. This is another example of “protecting future loss”.

6. Am I willing to hurt this person?

I don’t ask this to create a sense of bravado (“you’re damn right I’ll hurt him”) but to help you with the instant decisions you’ve got to make during a confrontation. In a dangerous street confrontation, if you answer “no” to this question then your plan had better be to escape. Because how can you possibly “commit” to any kind of “disregard for his well-being” that’s required to win a street fight. You can’t. And since this is a “dangerous street confrontation” I wouldn’t use “control and restraint tactics” in this scenario unless you have a damn good reason – like you’re a cop making an arrest or something.

On the other hand if your answer “yes,” then you can move forward with your plan of attack.

And finally, if you’re answer is “I dunno”, then it sounds like you’re deciding to “do nothing” – which means you’ll be unable to commit to running or fighting. This is the worst of all positions to be in.

In the end, having clearly defined Internal Triggers allows you to build pre-determine decision points on what you’d do in certain situations. Have your parachute prepared before you get on the plane. This is the key to opening the door on a new sense of confidence. 

Tring Krav Maga can help you build this confidence, we’ll teach you to recognise situations through various scenarios in our training classes.  Self Defence is more than just physical moves, so increase your confidence and join Tring Krav Maga – see our website or call us now on 0845 094 8805.

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