Archive for the ‘Psychology of combat’ Category

A recent article was published in the Wall Street Journal regarding how higher economic status may be linked to unethical behavior.  It quotes a study that was conducted by Berkley.  Here is the full study.

So why should us urban survivalists care about what people think about those in a higher economic status?  Because, you may be one of them; or be PERCEIVED as one of them.  Again, so what, why should you be worried?

We at Zenshin LLC, do not care much for politics, be we care about and study human behavior.  Our last post was about surviving a gang attack and the victim of that attack was described primarily as a driver of a Range Rover SUV.  The news outlets focused not on the victim as a person but on his status (what he was driving).  All you need to do is keep track of the talking heads and there is a serious trend to demonize those that have money.  Again, we do not care if this is justified or not, but it does add to the possibility that one’s socio-economic status may now be a factor in determining whether you are targeted individual.

Those who have money just are not helping.  Take this rich girl for example. She basically says “Let them eat cake.”  Well, we know what happened to the last person who said that.


She went on a rant that went viral about how she is sick and tired about being put down by poor people.  Here is her rant.

So I ask you, when there is a black-out or a natural disaster and a mob forms because they felt they were left behind and not treated fairly because they are poor, who are they going after?  Other poor, left behind, disenfranchised people?

So where do you fall in all of this?  Check below to see (2010 statistics).  Note, half of this nation’s wage earners make less than $34,338.  That is potentially a lot of angry people going after the top 25%.  If you are in the top 25%, I would worry.  The top 1% can afford to get on their planes and get out of dodge.  What are you going to do, get in your Range Rover SUV?

percentage earners

This YouTube video recently had over 11 million views.  It discussed how wealth is perceived and what it actually is.  The general population actually thinks there is greater equity and they are better then they really are. Now, with videos like this, people are now being educated on where they stand on the wealth inequity scale.  Over 11 million people watched this video. It’s not going to be pretty.  The question is, what are you going to do?


We left off with the topics of:
Fleeing a mob via a motor vehicle
Surviving a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones

These two parts of the motorcycle attack are the most difficult.

Fleeing a mob via a vehicle should be easy.

Whether your attackers are on foot or on motorcycles, the combat formula applies. The rule of combat is “all other things being equal, the bigger stronger person wins.” So it should be easy, the car wins. You can flee by simply driving away or if your attackers are stupid enough to get in your way, use the mass of your vehicle and run them over. Unfortunately, this is why urban survival is different then surviving in the wild. In the wild you have to worry about these types of animals:

In the urban environment you have to worry about these:

motorcycle wife

The victim of the motorcycle attack in NY fled after he was attacked and as per news reports ran over one of the motorcyclists.  Here, the attorney for that motorcyclist run over by the victim comforts the wife of the motorcyclist while announcing a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed against the victim driver.

So, it’s not that simple if you consider that if you flee one attack you may have to face another.  You may want to consider the phrase “better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6.”

Surviving a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones:

To survive a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones, you have to consider the psychology of combat, your physical abilities, your fighting capabilities and the environment.  At Zenshin LLC, we teach that there are typical psychological responses both the aggressor and the potential victim display.  If you can interrupt that learned response you have a great chance of disrupting the attack long enough to escape.  Of course, being physically fit is important, more important is knowing what your physical limitations and  strengths are so that you can increase the odds that you will make good combat choices.  Above, I stated the rule of combat is “all other things being equal, the bigger stronger person wins.”  There is a second part of the rule that says, “although it is possible to change that outcome with skill and environmental factors.”  Train everyday and when you are not in combat, practice how your environment may help you.

The planning you do now may help fend off all types of animals that may want to do you harm.

Ever since the motorcycle gang attack in NYC

motorcycle attack

people have been discussing how such a thing could happen and how to prevent these attacks from happening again.

Here at Zenshin LLC we analyze these attacks with a view toward survivability. We assume that these attacks will occur, it is just a matter of when. The news is full of examples. This is just the latest one.

In our Psychology of Combat series we discussed briefly how understanding the psychology of the gang can be used to protect yourself. You can read that post here.

This motorcycle incident is a very specific act but illustrates the several ways in which we have to focus our attention when dealing with mobs. In this case these subjects come up:

Driving through a mob
Being attacked while in a car
Fleeing a mob via a motor vehicle
Surviving a gang attack alone and/or while protecting loved ones

Driving through a mob is the easiest to discuss.  It’s simple, don’t do it.  Drive over to the side of the road and yield to the mob.  Look for the best possible location to move over.  Keep in mind, some places are not conducive to protecting yourself.  Be aware of where you go at all times and where you can exit if necessary. Do not allow them to engage you.  The most important thing is to keep moving.  If you keep moving they have to move with you.  This means even just driving 5 miles an hour, moving back and forth, in circles or in reverse.  They will have difficulty dragging you out as long as you are in motion.

So they caught up with you and they start attacking the car.  In this instance, they smashed the windows and punctured the tires.  How far can you drive on flat tires?  Pretty darn far!  So keep going!  As the mob starts smashing the windows you have to assume they are going for you next.  The most important thing to remember now is to ensure that the doors are locked.  If the doors are locked they can’t drag you out.  Hopefully, you are still moving so it would be that much more difficult.

Check out our next post for ideas on fleeing a mob and surviving a gang attack while protecting your loved ones.  In the meanwhile ask yourself this question….What do you have in your car to protect yourself and your family?   Comment with your answers and why you have what you have.

Be safe

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security published some helpful information on surviving an active shooter scenario.  Many thanks to my friend Ted for sending it to us.  Feel free to comment after you watch the video and read the information on the site.

Here is the link to the Alabama DHS webpage that has additional information:


The video below is a security camera view of an actual unprovoked attack on a 16 year-old girl in the UK.

The victim was interviewed after the attack and gave this account.

The perpetrator was subsequently arrested.

This girl is an innocent victim and did not deserve what happened to her.  Given that the attack was caught on tape, it gives us a rare opportunity to learn from it. So now we can discuss both the actions of the perpetrator and the victim.  This does not mean that I believe the victim is any way at fault. The only one who is at fault is the person who perpetrated this crime against her.

There is one constant to predicting human behavior.  A person’s past behavior is a good indicator to a person’s future behavior. There are of course some exceptions, such as when a person strives and works on their own personal growth. Most people, unfortunately do not.  So when we have opportunities like this to dissect a crime between one victim and one perpetrator, we take it.  Knowing a little bit of history between the victim and the perpetrator allows us to predict what may happen in the future to others under similar circumstances.

For instance, the victim recounts the interaction between her and the perpetrator before the attack.  This interplay, whether conscious or unconscious, led the two of them to the end result.  Although there may not seem like a lot of interaction to analyze here, there is.  Unfortunately, discussing it all will take up more space than would be permissible in this blog.  However, we can look at one very crucial time in the attack and analyze it.  The moment just before the perpetrator attacks.

Slow down the video (you can press pause a few times). Look at what happens as the perpetrator comes within a few feet of the victim.  What does the victim do? (it’s okay, go back to the video.. I’ll wait).

She clutches her handbag……….  What does this mean?  It means she was aware of a danger prior to the  physical encounter.  She may not have actually been conscious of this danger but she reacted to it by protecting her possession, her purse.  Remember what I said earlier about human behavior?  The victim throughout her life probably had many more experiences protecting her property then her physical self.  So when she felt a danger, she did what she had learned to do, guard and protect her property.  That is why at Zenshin™ Urban Survival Training we teach the Psychology of Combat.  We teach our students to identify and pay attention to their unconscious driven behaviors that often help them “see” a danger before they are consciously aware of it.  With this extra time, we then teach them the best way to react.  Although this was an unprovoked attack, the victim had some time to react.  She did… she clutched her purse.

What would you have done? What are you doing to prepare your loved ones in the event this happens to them?

The debate goes on….

Are we a product of our biology and genetics or do we learn to be the people we are?  For urban survivalists, this debate is a very important one.  At Zenshin™, LLC we teach the Psychology of Combat so that students can use how their opponents think in order to prevail against them.

The research in the fields of Criminology and Victimology generally view the actions of both the criminal and victim as learned responses to outside stimuli.  We know through experience that these reactions to stimuli are fluid and change based on what feedback the criminal and victim receive from each other.  At Zenshin™, LLC  we teach our students what those learned cues are in both the aggressor and the potential victim so we can then prepare them to either avoid an aggressor or successfully prepare to engage them.

This is why the Nature vs Nurture issue is important to urban survival.

What if we were predisposed to be a criminal or victim?  Can someone biologically predisposed to being a criminal, unlearn it?  If we know that a person is biologically predisposed to be a criminal, can we take measures to avoid or successfully engage them early on?

There is some interesting new research on this topic. This research uses babies to ascertain if they are born with a sense of morality or is it learned.   Since criminals are considered to be amoral, this is some very interesting and handy stuff. Check out the video below.

Click Here for the video




the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship.

We left off in part one talking about perspective in our decision making process.  We looked at adding the perspective of a third-party, thus adding another dimension to our perspective.  This additional perspective will help us make better decisions when in conflict.  But, is there a way we can still increase our perspective?

Let’s just say that while in conflict, you were able to stop time for a moment and fly up higher to the edge of a ridge overlooking your conflict.  Would your perspective change?  Yes, of course.  This perspective will allow you to see your opponent, your BFF, a greater sense of the terrain around you and it will also allow you to see in the distance.  If you are able to see in the distance you can see threats before you see them on the ground.  In effect you will be able to see in the future.

The intent of almost all decisions is to predict the future. Great!  If only we can freeze time, climb up on hills, we will greatly increase our ability to make better decisions while in conflict.  We can’t literally do that, but there are ways we can gain better perspective in conflict.

1.  Accept that there is uncertainty in conflict, but that uncertainty is true for all.

Often times we are in conflict in areas that are uncommon for us.  The MMA fighter has no problem getting in the ring but fears the courtroom the same as the lawyer has no problem in court but fears the octagon.  When we are in areas that are unfamiliar to us we feel less certain of the outcome.  Fear can be blinding and hinder our perspective. Accept it and move on. Uncertainty will have no bearing whatsoever in the eventual outcome of your conflict unless you let it.

2. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly.

It is said that in physical fights we revert back to fighting the way in which we fought our last fight.  For instance, if you are 30 years old and the last fight you had been in was in 6th grade, you will fight like you are in 6th grade.  If we consciously take an honest mental accounting of our strengths and weaknesses we can then plan a strategy for defense or offense. Let me emphasize you must make an HONEST accounting of your strengths and weaknesses.  I have in the past overestimated my weaknesses and have paid the price.

3. Have short-term goals and long term goals and act accordingly.

Ask yourself, what do you want and when do you want it. Looking at short-term and long-term goals forces us to make decisions on a time continuum.  Often we are concerned with specific bits of time.  Today, tomorrow, ten years from now.  Instead we should be thinking of time as a continuous flow. As you move along in the conflict things will change, it is inevitable.  Those changes will not be so dramatic; they may ebb and flow or increase or decrease.  Keeping a clear set of short and long-term goals will give you a better perspective of time and help you decide when to change a strategy, if needed.

4.  Pick a course of action based on 1,2 and 3 and plow through, if it doesn’t work change your plan and plow through.

This is harder than it seems.  If you are fearful (see#1) then you are also hesitant in your actions.  Make the best decision you can make given all of the information you have at the time, then plow through.  If you see that you need to change your actions based on your strengths, weaknesses, goals, changes as a function of time (people get older, tired, etc.), then change your actions and plow through.

I remember when I was going through my horrific divorce.  I was scared I was going to lose my kids, I did not know how the system worked, I had no confidence in my attorney, I was literally frozen and getting battered. I decided to take a break and went on a retreat to a Buddhist monastery.  While there, I asked a  monk what I should do.  He said that I should make a decision, then put all my energy in that decision.  No doubts or worries.  Just plow through.  So, I’ll add…..Fight and when you’re tired, rest.  Then fight again until you are successful.  Acknowledge and appreciate each victory, learn and move on from each defeat.  It’s a matter of survival.