Combat attitude is everything in self-defense.

Combat attitude is a neutral state of mind and body. You are not fearful nor are you aggresive.

Your body is in a neutral posture ready and waiting for anything.

What happens if you square off against and opponent in a fighting posture as so many arts train you to do?

  • First, you put your opponent on guard. You are warning him that you know how to fight. Instead of thinking he has an easy victim he knows he has a fight on his hands. So maybe instead of trying to punch at you, he escalates to knife or gun. True, he might back off, but probably only if you looke scarier and meaner than he is.
  • Second, you are telling your opponent what style of fighter you are!
  • Lastly, you have lost your own element of surprise.


I like to stand in what is known as a natural posture. This is often called ‘standing’ by non-martial artists, but we will call it ‘natural posture’.  Keep feet lightly planted ready to move quickly. Hands and arms hang loosley to your side. Head calmly pointed forward looking at your opponent. Mentally, stay neutral in your thoughts and emotions. Don’t be angry or scared. The intent is to project that you will defend yourself at all costs but only if your opponent acts. Look straight ahead at your opponent or opponents and calmly stand there. Do not look into his eyes. Instead focus on his nose allowing your peripheal vision. Don’t get into a shouting match. Just wait, be the calm in the storm. Let your opponent come to you at which time you act.

Keep in mind that if you are jumped or attacked it will most often happen while you are doing what? Walking of course or standing there minding your own business. This is when attackers think you are most vulnerable. So train to react to being attacked while you are walking, standing, sitting, lying down, etc. This is real world and how it will happen. Another article on this topic will follow soon.

Personally, I have ended two situations with this method of combat attitude. I’ll try to keep the examples short.


Example 1:

There is this park where we trained out in Flagstaff, AZ. Twice a week and often on weekends you could find us there. After my instructor and I went seperate ways I was training with one of our students. Dressed in our camo BDU pants and black gi’s. Not far from us was a young teen sitting at a picnic table, with his head down. Probably sleeping. We didn’t pay much attention as we were doing our own thing but at one point 5 older guys came walking by and as they walked by the picnic table they all turned and started pounding on this poor kid. My friend Doug instantly yelled ‘Hey’ as he had a freaking, scary booming voice. They all turned towards us. Doug and I closed the gap as the young kid took off running. Then we stood there, natural posture and waited. Didn’t say a damn thing but we stared them down with combat attitude. They kept mouthing off with normal crap punk teens like to say. Didn’t phase us. This was our park, our intent was not to let this crap happen at our park.  Not long after they left yelling how they would be back with more guys, etc, etc.

Doug and I looked at each other and shrugged. Went back to our training. I can assure you are heart rates were up there. We are human after all. The combat attitude is about not being aggresive or being scared. Doesn’t mean that inside deep down you aren’t scared shitless. Ask any solider or cop. They are scared, but they do what they have to do. That is combat attitude.

Oh yea, they did come back. Couple guys had chains, others had sticks. Again, we relaxed into combat attitude ready for anything. When they realized we couldn’t be intimidated they eventually left. You see, guys like these, they like easy targets not a couple guys dressed up and ready to play, as we obviously did know what we could handle them. They got no emotion our of us, no verbal confrontation. Verbal confrontation will always make things worse…in case you didn’t know 🙂

Example 2:

So, this experience was definitly not as dramatic. Totally different kind of situation actually. I was riding the public bus up to Walmart one day while still living in Flagstaff, AZ. I was seated towards the back of the bus. I noticed this shabby looking guy trying to talk to this pretty young lady. It started to become obvious that she was agitated and was trying to ignore him. There were a number of people all around them but not a single person spoke up in her defense. I watched for  a few more minute to see if anyone would say, well, anything. Not a single person. I was about to move up closer to the front but we were pulling into the Walmart. The young lady got off the bus and so did the guy who wouldn’t leave her alone. I followed as I was getting off the bus as well. As we get of the bus I notice she is staying by the bus stop, probably to catch another bus. This dude again started hastling her. Again, not a soul spoke up in her defense. I strode up to the fellow planted myself with combat attitude and intent in my eyes and said ‘Is there a probem here?’. Thats all it took, he mumbled something and after looking me over walked away. Situation resolved.  I wasn’t in a gi nor wearing combat fatigues which I wore like all the time back then as we trained all the time. On top of that, particularly back then, I was a scrawny dude who probably looked like a teen. I was in my late 20’s. I like to believe the intent that I projected made this fellow cease and desist.


Final thoughts:

I was still in shock that no one spoke up to tell the guy to stop pestering the girl. Have we as a people really become so un-caring or perhaps so-scared that we aren’t willing to speak up in someones defense?

This is my mission, to teach warrior values and skills for situations like this. Simply speaking up will solve a situation probably 80-90% of the time. We train to handle the other 10-20% as best as we can. We are warriors, it is our place to protect and defend the those who cannot defend themselves.


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