Self-defense is a fight for your life. The only way to ensure you come out on top is preparation.

self-defense training

Have you ever heard of having a combat mindset? Let me give you the best advice I can to help you save your life. Read, consume and absorb Principles of Personal Defense. Jeff Cooper, the founder of Gunsite, wrote this book and it costs less than 20 rounds of good defensive handgun ammunition. For those who will not take my advice or whose wallets are as tight as a barrel bushing on a 1911 — with apologies to Col. Cooper — I’ll summarize.

  • Alertness: Be aware, be ready; bad things can happen at any time. Live by the Gunsite (Cooper) Color Code.
  • Decisiveness: Counterattack now! Do not tarry. To ponder is to perish.
  • Aggressiveness: Go at it like you mean it.
  • Speed: Be sudden, be quick. Be first.
  • Coolness: Keep your wits. Don’t lose control of your emotions.
  • Ruthlessness: Strike with all your strength for every blow. Shoot them to the ground.
  • Surprise: Do not wilt, do not cower, and don’t be predictable. Fight back.

This, in brief, is the mindset you must have for self-defense. An acquaintance believes in luck, and if it did exist it would be a wonderful thing to believe in. But luck seems to have a way of showing up at random. And, randomness, while it might be acceptable in sports, love and hunting, is not acceptable in a self-defense situation — when your life is on the line. As it’s been said, luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Prepare your mind — get the combat mindset — and when opportunity or bad timing puts your life on the line, you’ll be lucky.

When I think of how you should approach a self-defense scenario, I think of my grandfather, a farmer turned moonshiner, turned entrepreneur, and later a member of the local Board of Education. He never got past third grade, but when I was growing up, he was the smartest man I knew. When Grandpa wanted you to get after a job with unwavering commitment, he would say, “Get at it like you’re killing snakes.” I can think of no better way to describe the response a violent attack should elicit from you.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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