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#296477 - 10/25/06 09:38 AM The Hunters Mindset
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
“You don’t do that do you?” said my Instructor as I parried off an attack from my training partner and then countered with a strike to his face.

“What do you mean “I don’t do that?”? I just done it didn’t I?” I respond very confused.

“On the Door when you’re working. You don’t do this!” he replied cheekily mimicking my “tappy tappy” parries.

“Well… erm… I was avoiding the punch and setting up the counter!” I explain.

“Throw an attack!” he commanded.

Before I managed to raise my fist just above the waist level and shift my weight forward to deliver the power he was on me. His fist was occupying the space my stomach had previously happily sat in and my body was spinning into a heap on the floor.

“Does that resemble something closer to what you would do on the Door? Would you generally let someone try to hit you before doing something?” he smiled.

“When you put it like that… “ I ponder.

“… then why train something you don’t do?” he interjects.

“Errr… “

“You’ve been there, you’ve done it and you know what works! You preach pre-emptive watch-a-ma-callits all the time yet you don’t train the right mindset to be pre-emptive! You’re training yourself to be a victim!”

“Training myself to be a victim???” I bleat whilst trying to process the bombshell I’ve just taken straight on the noggin’.

“It’s a mindset thing. You’ve got the tools and drill them, but you don’t drill the mindset needed to use them. Let’s take your stereotypical self defence application. I throw a big haymaker… in fact let’s even make it a ‘reality’ based one and stick a big stonking boxing glove on so I can hit you really hard… so I swing at you with total spite and venom. What d’ya do?”

“Well… I’d jam the arm up and go for the throat, eyes or something vital to take you out quickly!”

“So you’d wait for me to throw a huge swing at you before you took me out of the game?” he asks.

“Well… “

“You’re a victim! He’s got control of the situation and forcing you to react! That’s not pre-emptive! That’s training your body to become a victim!!!!” he interrupts.

He gives me a few seconds for this to sink in.

“You see we have to become the Hunter not the prey! You know what the definition of prey is, don’t you?” He grins.

“The one who’s being hunted?” I reply.

“No… the one who is eaten! At the beginning of combat there is a split second where the fight can be taken. There is a unique window of opportunity where your opponent switches into ‘Fight mode’ just prior to an attack. That’s where 99% of fights are won and lost. It’s that window that we hunt. In combat it is the only thing we are concerned about. We become predators and that unique window is our prey!”

“When I train I’m not the prey though… especially when we go hard!” I proclaim in defence of my own training.


“Well, I think so?” as I feel my faith start slipping.

“You train to respond once your opponent has attacked you. The mindset of your training is set up to respond and work off attacks. Sound about right?”

“Well, yes. I guess.” I sheepishly answer.

“Then your training to fight off the back toe aren’t you?” he says softly.

“Yeah, well… I never really thought of it like that before!”

“We should train to control the conflict, not respond to it. A predator hunts his prey and the prey responds. The ball is in the predator’s court. You see all this talk of pre-emptive striking is fine, but few train the intention and mindset to do it. They’re lambs pretending to be wolves. The hunter will act swiftly, cleanly and decisively when taking out its prey. The prey, well… gets eaten!” he laughs.

“OK, I think I understand but can you ‘Hunt’ when the adrenaline is kicking and you’re totally crapping yourself?” I ask as his cheery expression changes to one of quiet consideration.

“Well… “ he pauses, “You’ve got to understand what causes you to ‘totally crap yourself’ as you put it!”

“Which is?”

“The unknown. Not knowing what’s coming next. If you’re busy thinking about every possible thing that they could throw at you then of course you’re gonna be scared. When I hunt someone I don’t worry about these things as I already know the outcome!”

“And that would be?” I ask the obvious question.

“They get eaten! The only thing in my mind is taking them out. I pick my target and take it. There is no thought or hesitation, I just take it. With that simple and powerful thought in my mind nothing else matters. I don’t give a damn what they say or what they do, I just hunt!”

“And what happens if they don’t need taking out?”

“They don’t get eaten!” he chuckles.

“OK, how do you know whether they need eating or not?”

“You’ll know! Train hard and train your Hunters mindset. As you become a better Hunter your confidence will improve. You’ll no longer be governed be your fear and anger, but instead by clarity and confidence. Most people lash out uncontrollably out of fear or anger. The Hunters actions on the other hand are purposeful and controlled…. “ he pauses as my eyes start glazing over.

“Perhaps we should just concentrate on teaching you to hunt for now. I’ll leave the deeper stuff once your ears have stopped smoking so much!”

“Cheers!” I smirk just as my brain starts approaching critical mass!
Gavin King
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

#296478 - 10/26/06 03:58 PM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: Gavin]
Xibalba Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 499
Loc: Lansing, MI, USA
Great post, Gavin!

Your instructor sounds like mine..."I am not worried about what you are going to do to me, I am only concerned with what I am going to do to you!"


#296479 - 10/26/06 04:36 PM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: Gavin]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Excellent, thought-provoking post, Gav. The question of "mindset" is very important, and something that I fail to train in a meaningful way. Much to ponder!
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#296480 - 10/27/06 06:36 AM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: MattJ]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
Glad you liked it Matt. To be honest I don't think very many of us train this mindset properly. We'll say we do, but until we feel the difference. I'd say hand on heart that 95%+ of my training prior to this very recent insight (of which Bossman from the forum I have to thank for it!) was wrong. It just wasn't the way stuff works in the real world. I've been fortunate (unfortunate???) enough to have had a few opportunities to try my stuff out, but still trained it wrong!

It sounds like such an easy concept to put into practice but mentally and emotionally it takes a lot of training to uncondition the "victim state" we've already trained ourselves into. When we hunt it engages a different part of the brain one that our concious brain struggles to supress. Our concious brain likes to be in control so it can process and evaluate everything... it thinks in terms of techniques and what if's! It's extremely clever but in terms of taking action it's about as quick having a board of directors decide what to do next. The part of the brain we need to utilize in combat is often referred to as the reptilian... it's small and stupid but bloody good at getting things done fast. It doesn't feel fear or anger just responds instantly to what is.

Also once you start training to hunt and look for that window of opportunity you'll start spotting the microscopic reactions that an opponent gives off just prior to attacking. We have a natural in built ability to spot these reactions, but unfortunately our training and lifestyles seem to inhibit these instinctive talents rather than hone them.

A friend of mine who studies Yiquan sent me some interesting stuff after I wrote this article which is pretty much along the same lines (albiet from a much deeper understanding!). Yiquan actively trains it's guys to spot and react to this subtle reactions given off prior to an attack and minimise the window reaction prior to their own strike. Again many of us will say we train likes this, but in honesty it is a by-product of our training and could be developed to a much higher level if specifically drilled. An great quote from one of the pieces went along the lines "The attacker should throw first, you should land first!". They've taken the level of research down to studying how the Central nevous system fire's up prior to attack.

Sounds very deep, but if start looking at the way people move just prior to launching you'll start noticing the tell tales signs, shoulder dipping, posture adjustment, and other physical attributes. With time you'll start spotting change in breath, eye movements, muscle twitches and other more subtle stuff. It all has to be done at a subconcious level though otherwise it is useless for actual combat, but by shutting off the big slow thinking brain the non-thinking part can process and react so quickly that you'll develop what will seem like a pre-cognitive ability. Nothing mystical about it, just developing and training the body to higher performance. Again most of us can already spot these things as a matter of course, but we are drilled to wait for the attack to come in before we do anything. We have this self imposed step that delays our combat ability - mental when you thing about it isn't it?

Perhaps I'm waffling a little too much now! I can feel people nodding off... now you see why I've switched to writing stories rather than standard articles!
Gavin King
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

#296481 - 10/27/06 07:11 AM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: Gavin]
Ives Offline

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 691
Loc: the Netherlands
Nice one Gavin!

We had a discussion like this last week during class.

#296482 - 12/12/06 12:05 PM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: Ives]
shaolinmonkuk Offline

Registered: 12/10/06
Posts: 24
Nice article. I enjoyed reading it.

#296483 - 12/18/06 05:21 PM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: shaolinmonkuk]
kyokushinkai Offline

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 327
Loc: Prince Edward Island , Canada
I can understand how the hunters mindset could work on the battlefield.. but in S-D.. If for example your in school or a bar and your walking through a crowd you bump into a guy and he pushes you.. You can A) wait for him to swing
then counter and attack. Or you can B) Notice him begin to swing and send your hand barreling into his face cart-wheeling him into the crowd.

Now look at this from the eyes of the witnesses.. They may or may not have seen the guy push you and even they did. They still seen you hit him first.

Are you going to try and convince the Judge and Jury that you've trained your subconcious brain to pick-up muscle twictches and subtle body movements and you knew without a doubt he was going to assault you.

I suppose however you could trap his incoming arm and put him to the ground.. actually that being the predator by waiting for the hunter to move.

I don't see how you can be the hunter unless it's a life or death situation; without being the initiator of the attack ( in others eyes ).
"Using a spoon to row a boat is clearly the act of an idiot." Cord

#296484 - 12/18/06 11:08 PM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: kyokushinkai]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Often, a pre-emptive strike is allowed by self defense laws. You DO NOT have to wait to be attacked.
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

#296485 - 12/19/06 04:50 AM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: kyokushinkai]
Gavin Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Southend, Essex, UK
If you control the situation from the offset you'll act appropriately. Once an attack has been initated you'll be on your back toe, swinging from the rafters and from pure panic with a total lack of control. Remember being pre-emptive doesn't mean that you have to punch, kick or elbow. Locking, holding and other subduing techniques mean you can pre-emptively subdue and aggressor before they get a chance to start firing. When you feel threatend that is when you legal right to self defence applies. For the benefit of witnesses always tell them you don't want to fight. Use phrases like "I don't want to fight you, I really am not comfortable with you standing the close to me. Please back away." etc. Most people at this stage slip into panic mode and their movements become stuttered, weak and nervous... this is picked up by your attacker and will probably fuel his aggression. Using the Hunters mindset completely changes the energetics of a situation your body language changes, your whole intent changes... your attacker will also pick up on this. A large proportion of the time this alone is enough to convince someone that they are better off hassling someone else and you get the back peddling threats "You're a f*cking dead man!" or "You're lucky!"... I always feel lucky when they threaten me whilst walking backwards.

Having work the Door for nearly five years week in and week out I've never once been arrested *touches wood* and have seen this mindset work 1000's of times. Both myself and colleagues switch to the role of dominate alpha when we are taking control of a situation, which is what you need in any self defence situations, regardless of the level of threat. Remember we are dealing with the primitive part of the brain here and this needs primitive tried and tested methods to get through.

Most Martial Artists I've ever meet can't hunt in the dojo, let alone on the street and as for life threatening situations. And besides I'm not stupid enough to presume that a situation isn't life threatening. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Make sure you're training to be the wolf and not the sheep. The confidence this gives you should be enough to disuade your casual trouble maker that you're best avoided. Coupled with awareness and common sense you should avoid the majority of trouble.
Gavin King
Follow me on twitter @taichigav

#296486 - 01/03/07 12:44 AM Re: The Hunters Mindset [Re: Gavin]
jamestkdkungfu Offline

Registered: 01/28/06
Posts: 113
I know excatly what you mean, i never really had a name for it but you just turn off your thoughts but you still think. Its like in the words of Bruce Lee "I don't hit, it hits all by itself". In competition this happens too, and also sadly to say in a few street fights this has happened to me. the ones where it didnt happen i lost, i thought too much and let my fear get the best of me. Fear is the greatest battle you will ever face, weather it be competitions or in serious life threatening situations and we have to train with intent or it will not be as helpful as we believe. When I trained in some self defense classes the inscructor would always preach to strike like you mean it. It was surprising to see how many people don't attack with meaning when they train i hate to admit it but there was only a few times i hit that bob hitting bag thing like i thought i was in danger. It is indeed true it is hard to train this way both emotionally and mentally. I suppose its our way of thinking, it will never actually happen to me, which so many of us are acustume to believing

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