Combat Visualization

Combat Visualization is the formation of mental images or pictures to improve your self-defense skills and abilities. By frequently imagining yourself in various horrific self-defense scenarios, you are mentally familiarizing yourself with the look and feel of combat. As a result, the stress and "shock" of fighting (armed and unarmed) is significantly reduced. In essence, you are conditioning and programming your psychomotor system to respond effectively without freezing up or going into shock.

Research has proven that visual imagery causes brain activity identical to that produced by actual combat experience. Even if the image is unrealistic or surreal, your body will produce a response that stimulates every cell in your body. This is particularly important for people who want to become combatively desensitized but have never experienced actual combat.

Nevertheless, for visualization to work, you must make certain that your mental images are very clear, strong and consistent. You actually have to try see, feel, taste, smell and hear the visualized scenario. Effective visualization requires peace and quiet, so you'll need to find a place, free from distractions, for at least 20 minutes.

Every visualization session must be undertaken in a relaxed state. To attain a state of relaxation you need to sit in a comfortable chair or lie on the couch or bed. If sitting, make certain your back is straight, arms uncrossed, and your feet are both on the floor. If lying down, place your arms at your sides.

Next, close your eyes and breath slowly and deeply for approximately two minutes. Then, tense every muscle in your body all at once. Clench your fists and feet. Tighten your jaw and facial muscles. Don't forget your shoulders, chest, back and legs. Hold this tension for approximately 10 seconds and then let go. Allow the tension to flow out of your body all at once. You are now ready to begin visualizing.

WARNING! Always remember that combat visualization is never a substitute for physical training. You must be able to physically perform the tools and techniques of self-defense before you can imagine using them. Remember, combat visualization is a cognitive function that can range from everyday reality to surreal fantasy. Even if your mental image is unrealistic or logically impossible, your body will still respond as if the event is actually taking place.

Your "Combat" Mental Movie

Start you mental movie with yourself in a dangerous environmental setting, perhaps walking through an alley in some dangerous part of the city. Make certain to recreate the whole environment (i.e., sights, sounds, smells, people, time of day, weather conditions, specific buildings or landmarks, etc). For example, feel the frigid night air rush your face. Envision the dilapidated brick buildings menacingly surround you. Allow the stench of urine, vomit and street garbage to assault your nostrils when you walk past the drunken wino. Listen to the sound of cars driving in the distance or hear an alley cat cry from hunger. Remember you need to see everything in vivid detail.

Next, conjure up an ominous figure lurking in the shadows, slowly approaching you. Give him strong physical characteristics. A tall and powerful mesomorph. Begin visualizing his hard and chiseled face and work your way down his massive torso to his thick, oak legs. Smell the stench of bad breath that radiates from his mouth. Give this redoubtable enemy a criminal motive and a deep voice to express it. Feel your heart rate escalate and your adrenaline surges through your veins. Don't forget to visualize critical tactical factors, such as the assailant's range, positioning, and weapon capability.

Visualize a complete reversal in your mentality - the killer Instinct side. Watch yourself transform into an emotionless and vicious combatant. Your mind is razor sharp and focused on the confrontation. Your chest expands as oxygen fills your lungs. Thick veins rise from your temple as your face grins with confidence.

Imagine your criminal adversary threatening your life. Then, without hesitation, you unleash a storm of violence. See yourself move inexorably forward with a brutal compound attack. The offensive techniques that you choose are entirely up to you; however, be certain that they accurately relate to the range, angle, target opportunity and "use of force" justification presented by the enemy. Hear the opponent shriek in pain as you dislocate his shoulder. Feel his warm blood splatter on your knuckles as you strike his face. Remember to see yourself making all the right moves for the situation at hand.

Try visualizing this scenario at different mental speeds (slow, moderate, fast). And don't forget to experiment with different real-life combat scenarios. Change the environment, circumstance, adversary(s), range, criminal motive, etc. Be creative and remember that no two fights (armed and unarmed) are every the same. If you find that you have difficulty holding the mental images in your head, consider writing a script of your scenario before you begin.

Warning! Be certain that every visualized scenario is legally and morally justified. Never, ever visualize unjustifiable or indiscriminate violence. While mental visualization works best for people with vivid imaginations, anyone with the will and desire can master it. Just fifteen minutes of visualization per day will produce significant results. Good luck and train hard!

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Sammy Franco
Founder & President
Contemporary Fighting Arts


Combat Visualization. Copyright 2014, Contemporary Fighting Arts. All rights reserved.