Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Get that "Killer Instinct" (Part 2)

You've seen the movies and heard the stories from the Mighty Achilles to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. 
Folklore and Hollywood will have you believe that everyone who puts on a uniform is a trained killer, and anyone with a Black Belt is a lethal weapon. It's a myth that both martial artists and soldiers gladly let you believe, my self included.

Everyone thought Achilles thighs were vulnerable in his new armor

Having the ability to KILL doesn't make you a KILLER.

Knowing how to injure, maim and kill doesn't mean that you'll be able to at the moment of truth. 

Thinking that YOU SHOULD be able to do this has lead to HUGE performance expectations that have resulted in self doubt and lack of confidence in your WILLINGNESS to defend and protect yourself and your loved ones, but don't worry, I'm going to fix all that. 

Know this: the "killer instinct" has been blown out of proportion.

S.LA. Marshall uncovered the truth about killing
A man by the name of S.L.A. Marshall, the chief combat historian for the US ARMY during WWII and Korea discovered that only about 2% of all soldiers had the capacity to kill on command without any post traumatic stress disorders or PTSD.

In fact the firing rate in WWII and Korea was an astonishing low 55%. That means that only 55% of soldiers fired their weapons in the direction of the enemy. Only 10% of soldiers actually aimed at the enemy.

Yet by Viet Nam things began to change.

Firing rates went up another 25% and now they are near 90% plus.

The questions we want answers to are:
Why were soldiers trained to kill, refusing to kill?
How did the army overcome this problem?
How does this information pertain to your training?

Why were soldiers trained to kill, refusing to kill?

Human beings, like any other species, have always been reluctant to kill one of their own kind.

It's not natural for any species to want to do this. It doesn't make any sense from a primary survival standpoint. A species would become instinct if every mating or territorial dispute was a fight to the death.

Animals of the same species NEVER fight to the death.

Violence and anger do not make you a killer.

You will get mad at another human, you'll even fight another human, but you won't want to kill another human.

Humans have 4 ways to handle conflict:

1. Flight or run away
2. Submit or Shut down
3. Posture
4. Fight

Most animals, especially humans, engage in posturing. We make our selves look bigger, we point fingers and talk trash. Think of two dogs. They bark, they raise the hair on the backs of their necks. They'll even nip and bite but IMMEDIATELY stop once dominance is established. You literally need to train a dog to want to kill another dog.

The same posturing has been seen in war. Over the centuries troops will have battle cries, drums and bagpipes, banners and flags. All to intimidate and weaken the enemy before the fight.

As a species man would simply rather avoid a fight.

In war, most casualties in war come from long range weapons. Artillery, cannon balls, bow and arrows and long range missals have always done the most damage.

Killing the enemy face to face is NOT something humans enjoy.

Most deaths in ancient Greece came after the enemy was routed.
In Ancient Greece when armies would clash in the phalanx formation it was mainly pushing and shoving. There were no real casualties when the armies clashes FACE TO FACE. It was only when one army was routed that the deaths occurred. I was much easier to kill another human being from the rear, than face to face.

During the American Revolution and Civil War where armies would line up in formation and fire at one another, the death rate was only about 1 per minute or two. This extremely low for trained soldiers standing at only 30 yards from the enemy, especially since the musket was accurate up to 75 yards!

As mentioned before, Marshall found that only about 2% of soldiers could kill on command and live with the consequences. The rest suffered from some form of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
For years PTSD was thought to be caused by fear of death. But it's not the case since people who have been exposed to the same risk of death have not exhibited PTSD.

During WWII civilians of both England and Germany were subjected to massive carpet bombing and air raids. They experienced not only loss of life, but loss of everything they ever owned and yet the cases of PTSD were no higher than during peace time.

It is only soldiers ordered to kill at close range who experienced PTSD. It was because the soldiers HAD TO KILL, that caused their stress.

How did the army overcome this problem?

Better training methods through inoperative conditioning.

We created training methods so that the soldier doesn't "think" about what he's doing.

He just acquires target and fires. These core skills are repeated over and over again.

But the ability to operate a weapon wasn't enough. Soldiers though out  history have been well trained. There was clearly something missing.

The targets they were shooting and how the targets were presented was the key.

We all know that if the targets were LIVE that would trigger the soldier's aversion to kill and if they weren't real enough the soldier would not perform.

During Vietnam the Army went from Bulls-eye targets to Silhouette targets. Now the soldiers were being conditioned to shoot at more realistic shapes. 

Later those targets became more life like and the surroundings changed from the range to the field where simulations were set up so targets would appear in an environment like the one the soldier would be operating.

More "realistic" surroundings = better performance.
A "Kill House" used by Colombian Spec Ops

Now soldiers are trained to move, target pops up - shoot target, keep moving. They do this so many times that they can complete the action "WITHOUT THINKING".

The key point here is that the targets are "humanoid" and NOT human. Because we need to circumvent your aversion to kill another human being.

How does this information pertain to your  SDTS Training

Your target is something that resembles a human being. Heck we even have you dress him up.

Your conditioned response? He comes in range - you attack with a programmed set of core, gross motor skills at 100%, just like you would do if attacked.

Like a soldier you train those skills until you can do them in your sleep.

Like a soldier you will simply react with a conditioned response when placed in a specific situation. 

In essence, like a soldier your SDTS training is programing a specific response to a specific trigger.
Soldiers are trained to move, acquire the target and shoot the target.

You're trained to establish distance and attack or flee once that distance has been breached. 

You can't predict what he's going to do, it is a punch, a stab, does he even mean you harm.
 However, you do know where he's standing and that's all you need to know!

At the end of the day you develop a skill set and a reaction that can be interpreted as a "killer instinct" but all we're doing in the SDTS is conditioning you to respond in a specific and consistent way in dangerous situations.

Will you become a mindless"killer robot"?  You wish. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. You're instinct will tell you whether or not your in danger. Then you actually switch from your fore brain to your mid brain (that's a whole other article) then you react.

Remember, there's no such thing as tough, there's only trained and untrained.

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross
The Self Defense Company

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