Being timid when you're skilled?

Mr. Blauer,

I consider myself relatively skilled when it comes to defending myself. From my experience, I am confident in most any fighting situation you'd commonly run into at a club, bar, etc.

However, whenever someone bumps into me, or hits on my girlfriend, etc., I always try to diffuse the situation to the "enth" degree. I mean, I REALLY try: apologize, buy the guy a drink, apologize again, etc. When doing so, I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach like "what if you have to fight now, what will you do" and "please back off, I don't want any trouble."

After the situation calms down, I look at myself and wonder why I didn't act tougher or take a bigger stand against jerks that have nothing better to do than pick on people who they think they can get a rise out of, or who are just having a decent time out. Do you know what I'm saying? I know its not worth it to fight, but I always end up kicking myself in the a-- because at the time, I try to befriend these idiots. Half the time, I KNOW I could beat these guys. But, it really takes a lot to get me going.

IS this normal? Have guys ever come up to you and acted like they wanted to pound your face for no apparent reason? What do you do?

I've been a long-time reader, but this is the first actual post I felt would contribute to the Mental Edge, and look forward to your insight!


Well, Rattler:

I am not Tony. I do not claim to have had personal instuction from him (N.B. there ARE some poster here who have had this instruction; I'm just not one of them); just from some of the tapes, the PDR manual, and e-mails, etc. He does prefer to and will answer questions himself.

But while you're waiting for Tony, from my understanding of the TCMS CFD 3D philosophy; congratulations, you are already in synchronicity with his teachings.

The 3 D's are Detect, Defuse, Defend. If you can Detect danger well enough in advance to avoid it, you've won!

Part 2

Defuse: "Those Who Talk Can Be Persuaded To Walk." Ancient Asian wisdom from that ancient Asian: T. Blauer. You already are doing this. This has several things in its favor:
1) It just may work. Tony says that over 60% of conflicts can be avoided or defused. Do it right (if possible; not always, unfortunately) and you've won! Congratulations!
2) It is ethically, morally, tactically and legally defensible. Assuming any witnesses and that a) they have 3 synapses working at the same time; b) not all of them will lie for the Other Guy intentionally; c) they will remember who was the aggressor, you've established that you are not the Bad Guy, the Rude Dude, the one egging on the fight. You've created a context within which legally you can win! Congratulations again!
3) "Tactically defensible?" Yes. If Detection And Defusing have not worked, what have you done? You have not tipped off your opponent about any skills you may have nor have you let on that you are a disaster waiting to happen to him. YOu now have him underestimating you! Tony has an entire videotape dedicated to what he calls "The Science Of The Sucker Punch." I could not possibly do it justice in a paragraph: essentially it tells you how to lower your opponents guard while non-obtrusively keeping your up and being more ready than he.

You WILL hear from Tony.

Post often and early; welcome aboard!


Sounds like you're just a really nice guy and don't want any trouble. Nothing wrong with that. You're confident in your abilities, so there is no need to feed your ego by standing up to people and showing them how tough you are. Better to be too nice than to be a bully.

Good tips from STUDENT & RAPTOR and I agree with what Raptor said. You sound just like a real, good person.

Just so you know, I have found myself, many times, asking why I was so nice ot that jerk. In the past, there have been many times I've layed awake at night, staring at a ceiling wondering 'what if?' or 'why didn't I do that?'

You also sound like you're your worst critic [in a positive way - though it can be tiresome], but continue being instrospective and philosophical, evolution is a natural directive and only those who think about why & how evolve.


Read the CAN DAVID STILL BEAT GOLIATH post I wrote, too.

I know that nothing is worth fighting about. Fighting is a matter of bettering something (no, not battering :).

But there is a limit... when you have to give up too much of your personality to stay out of an upcoming fight. This usually means though, that your personality is not calm enough and that it doesn't radiate sufficent self-confidence. I firmly believe that those are aspects worth working at at least as much as on physical skills (as concerning Tony, I think I'm trying to kick-in open doors (german proverb, sorry)).

Well, if I'm a good person, it really takes one to know one :)

Tony, if I had read your David v. Goliath post, I might not have written this post in the first place. It answered a lot of my questions, especially about the self-intimidation question that I raise quite a bit with myself. I imagine other scenarios that shouldn't enter into my head.

Mostly, I was after the answer that even fighters and martial artists of your caliber struggle with jerks like this on a daily basis. I don't do MA's for a living, but I can only IMAGINE how some guys want to dethrone these martial artists because they are completely jealous of their knowledge.

Mr. Blauer, if you read this again, what about the point Lockz raises in his post about when its time to give up the forgiving personality and start throwing punches?

Thanks for the insight. It is VERY appreciated. It's good to have someone of your knowledge and skill on this forum.


Hoi Rattlesnake!

I think that line is a very personal one (the laws DO set some limits, though). But I eagerly await some input from Tony on this topic, too!



The 'limit' is determined by one's capacity. As Lockz writes 'Evolve' and that is the key to tolerance.

**If you cannot defuse yourself, how can you hope to defuse another?**

The reality is that shit happens - but that flows both ways.

There are a lot of threads on performance, fear, adrenaline and -especially- the law in the Mental Edge this week.

The moral of all this is:

Do what's right for you. But before you choose, be sure you have done your homework and that includes not mistaking an adrenaline dump for cowardice or anger for ethics!!

Manipulation of behavior & self-delusion have accounted for many errors in judgment. But training, education, learning from other's errors all end up in your melting pot of spontaneous decision making and stirred thoughtfully can inspire un-common wisdom.


Thanks for the insights guys.

It is greatly appreciated.

Lockz, great point, would like to see the "threshold" theory discussed further.

Take care

Now there's a point I didn't really consider... the "capacity" as Tony calls it.

Great thought! Of course you have to determine what you could possibly handle. I believe it would be pretty natural to stay friendly for a longer time, when your, er, "target" is 6'8" at 300 pounds. Then again... I'd stay friendly long with a couch-potatoe, suffering from malnutrition, too.

It's a little hard for me to truly judge my possible reactions or span of patience, since I never came across a situation, that couldn't be defused by words and/or a little psychology (postures, positioning, etc.).

I believe a way to push me closer to break into action would be a possible multiple-attacker situation, where I'd have to make an example of bad defeat of the first attacker (there has to be some attack) to scare away his (or discrimination here :) buddies. Another reason would be to avoid being ringed by them... but it takes an open eye for that and some proper tactics. At that level of development you would possibly be aware enough not to get into such a situation. But sometimes they just wait for you...



Another situation I can think of off the top of my head is assault of your girlfriend or wife (not necessarily a violent strike, just a push or shove). I think that would break my "capacity" in a lot of ways!

I think I'd stay calm in that situation. I have a huge advantage, though: My girlfriend (soon wife) practices JiuJitsu herself (next week 2nd dan, so there's some experience and technical skill already).

But I see your point. There's enough other family members that wouldn't be able to properly defend themselves. But I'd rather try and educate them how not to be shoved...


Wouldn't want to mess with the g/f!

That's cool. I try and show my g/f stuff too.

I think I'd stay calm if a jerk grabbed my g/f's ass or something, but not physical harm.

Think of some more, will you? I'd like to get this discussion going again.


Hi 'Snake!

Sorry I can't respond faster, but I'm afraid the world keeps spinning and makes us post at seriously different times...

Yeah, I guess when it comes to physical harm to my g/f or relatives, I'd be hard pressed not to rip the adversary apart (if she leaves me some :). But since we've been taught very intensively to do what is necessary and nothing more (control is the key, not creating a bloody mess), I think it would come down to a quick way of subduing him/her (lock/choke/punch).

I'd always be concerned not to drop to the emotional level of the barbaric jerk that is always ready for action (well I'm always ready for action, too (sort of); but I never WANT to fly into's always a last retreat (and I mean retreat, it is nothing to be proud of (sorry, belongs in the thread "on heroism")(what an assortment of brackets)). THAT would bother me longer than a black eye...

A problem with teaching my students techniques and tactics to defuse a situation is, that their minds tend to lock onto "defusing". They completely forget that there might be some physical force building up that might unload any moment. It is very easy to catch them unaware when they are trying to solve a situation peacefully. As usual, there has to be an equilibrium. Try to teach that to todays "I'm-focussed-on-this-and-that"-society!

I still believe that a calm mind is the most effective (and terrifying) weapon we can have (and one that's terribly hard to build and keep sharp; or to pass on to students (be it relatives or not)). But the willpower and mindset necessary to develop that weapon are the first steps to attaining it!