Using FEAR Tactically

I was speaking to a psychologist friend of mine and he told me something fascinating. Apparently from the day we are born we all have two fears built into us: 1. A fear of falling. 2. A fear of loud noises.

Knowing this makes me think of how it can be applied to self-defense. First, if we are afraid of falling, it stands to reason that when you go to throw someone else, chances are when they know they are going down, they will latch on to whatever they can like a leech - namely you, and try to stop you from throwing them, or take you down with them. Perhaps for this reason sweeps would be more desirable than throws since you have a little more distance between you and your opponent and it will be more difficult for them to grab on to you?

Second, if we are all hard wired to be afraid of loud noises, wouldn't kiyaing or yelling while attacking (not before because that would telegraph your intention) be beneficial? The loud noise would cause the adversaries brain to pause for a moment which may give you an extra advantage in your attack. This is similar to the "trick" of asking a question to distract your adversary just prior to launching an attack.

Have you explored these avenues in your experimentation or heard anything about these two fears?

Actually I think that that is the reason behind the Kia in Karate and other similar Martial arts. Another strategy I used and heard of others using is shaking the opposite hand in which you are going to use to strike. It should take your opponents eyes off of your torso, or eyes (which are usually the place they look @ to read your attack) Its kind of like that old Basketball trick I've seen used for the dying seconds of a basketball game, where there is a last second shot and the ball is going to be inbounded and some one from the inbounding team will actually get on their hands and knees and start barking in which every player from the opposition will just stand and watch not keeping their eye on the man they're supposed to Guard!! Hence, an uncontested winning basket!! neat huh?


Interesting thoughts. Throws and sweeps are not among my most fav. street tactics and in my opinion should be used when the situation demands it and not because you [generic] like them.

"The height of strategy is NOT doing your best move but rather the worst move for your opponent"

Before you try to throw someone or should someone tries throw you, consider this:

The most difficult guy to take down is the grappler/striker who does not 'fear' the ground and is willing to apply his striking tools if confronted standing.

Some TCMS Rules & Maxims:

100% of all fights that go into a clinch started standing.

Grapplers must learn to strike. Strikers must learn to grapple. Street fights can be won on the ground, but should not be fought there, if at all possible.

Strike whenever you can, grapple only when you have to.

A fast light shot is a lot better than a missed hard shot.

As for the Kia. Always hated it. Aside from the reality that often times in a really high stress violent situation many people experience 'auditory exclusion' - so much for that.

But yelling before an attack can do several things:

1. It certainly can work to your advantage if the person freezes [IF].

2. It may trigger the coveted startle/flinch reaction and your target disappears faster than you can say "SPEAR SYSTEM".

3. The yell forewarns your opponent and he belts you in the mouth just as you finish yelling just in time to start screaming :-)

Just some late night thoughts for you.


Isn't the kiai for focussing power, too (well, for fucussing the mind (which controls the movement) on the movement)?
Thus it may distract you from what your opponent does. I believe it is important to exhale with every move supposed to be of any sensible speed, but the scream might very well become more distracting to oneself than the opponent. The loud noise will startle yourself, too, right? You're prepared for it, but if it really is a basic fear than the preparation will do nothing for you.

The problem with an opponent trying to cling to the thrower will only arise, if you're not using the momentum of the attack (sorry, I'm a JiuJitsu-hardliner when it comes to throws). Don't throw a standing (read non-moving) opponent. If he's of some weight it will be such a nuisance to get him off-balance that it just doesn't pay.

During a sweep you'll usually be grounded making a perfect target for kicks...sounds too risky for me (plus the emotional disadvantage of being grounded in front of a standing attacker).

Just some additional thoughts...


In his book, Strong on Defense, Mr. Strong suggests
that many times, a victim was able to mobilize him/herself by screaming...

Any thoughts/backups on this?


I have the book by Mr. Strong and I think it's very good.

If yelling helps someone take action and defend themselves whereas they would normally remain passive and allow themselves to be attacked then certainly it's a good thing. Although one would hope it was not the necessary component to cause them to take action (what if you were grabbed from behind with your mouth covered so you couldn't scream?).

In terms of you being startled by your own yelling, I don't think it works that way. It's a noise coming from outside yourself that startles you because the brain, not knowing what the cause of the sound is, causes you to flinch instinctively to protect yourself. Your brain knows the source of your own yelling, so it doesn't cause instinctive flinching. Just like if you try to slap yourself in the face, you wouldn't flinch because you know if you are going to hit yourself or not. Chances are you probably don't even blink. But if someone else acts like they are going to slap you, your reactions will most likely be different.

I was running with a group of about 20 up in the mountains of Big Bear, California, during the beginnings of a thunderstorm when suddenly a VERY loud thunderstrike errupted what sounded like directly overhead. EVERYBODY instantly hunched their shoulders and crouched down when the noise happened.

Perhaps yelling will work. Perhaps it won't. It would be interesting to see if any research has been done on it.

Just a thought: The flinch can be tailored to be an aid in self defense (and the flinch is hard-wired, too), so nothing speaks against using screaming in a self-defense situation. Maybe something can be tailored to that, too. I see the objections Tony has pointed out, too, and I think I wouldn't want to go screaming into everybody's face (at least during training)...

But those thoughts about hard-wired reflexes (I think reflexes are always hard-wired?) are very interesting! I'll have to dig deeper into that, too (goes a little with primal fears and the like).