I've worked in private security, bouncing and bodyguard work and, in order to be effective, we have to keep ourselves removed emotionally and psychologically. As situations escalate, a calm and objective mindset is required to make crucial decisions. A violent crisis wants to take away your cognitive thought, because that's always where the solution is found. Of course I've never been in a shootout or war zone, but I do have some experience with violence and security. In my experience, I was always able to keep myself and others safe when I could control my emotional investment, while always had bad results when engaging with anger or fear.
Your first response isn't always your smartest one
When a situation becomes dangerous, you probably won't have any kind of warning or time to prepare. Chaos can takeover a crowd in no less than a second, therefore forcing you into responding immediately. This has been the case, for me at least, in both personal and professional settings. The fastest emotional responses I've felt have been either fear or anger. These are never the right ones either. Just because they're the fastest doesn't mean that's what we'll need to solve the problem. As Deepak Chopra often teaches, we are all responsible, as adults, for our own emotional intelligence. In my earlier days of working in security, the first thoughts that would enter my mind were always "Why is this happening to me?". Avoid this at all times! It's a combination of panic and self-pity and it will swiftly remove your problem-solving skills in a heartbeat. The truth is, the situation is not happening to you. It's just happening. It exists without you, but you might be able to help. Conditioning, experience and meditation will help you control your initial emotional reaction. As my sensei Kevin Secours often reminds us, even acting afraid requires the use of your cognitive mind, therefore helping you remove fear from your decisions. Be logical and objective and you'll start to feel like you can control the situation, even if only in a small way. Fear and anger will prevent your ability to do so. Identify when this is happening and respectfully move past it. Easier said than done, of course, but that's what practice and meditation is for.
Don't make it personal
In a professional setting, the crisis is seldom personal towards you. Even when defending yourself as a civilian, although more likely, it's still often not targeted to you personally. Violence is often the result of the aggressive and desperate people of society, lashing out at anything they think could make them feel better or improve their situation. Analyzing the measure of how personal a threat is is a luxury that we're usually not afforded, therefore not helping our chances of going home safely. Remove your emotions and psyche from the situation, while responding with a cold detachment. This might sound mean, to some, but consider your life, well-being and/or that of a loved one at risk. If anything happened to them or if you were rushed to a hospital, you might look back regretfully at how you handled yourself. As Tony Robbins discusses, you'll always regret opportunities you didn't take more than the ones you did. Of course, he didn't introduce this idea in the context of a fight for your life, but the concept applies here too. Remove yourself from "feeling" any way about the scenario and pursue the solution with conviction.
Aggression seldom beats aggression
Unfortunately, I have experienced situations that were directly personal toward me. As you might imagine, it is much more difficult to control your emotions when someone is threatening you as a person. Sadly, it is that much more important to stay removed. A few years ago I was working in a bar and teaching martial arts on my days off. A student of mine, at that time, had gotten himself into some trouble with some dangerous people. He had to go into hiding and they were so eager to find him that they put a reward on his location. One night, working a shift on my birthday, a group of very large men came into the bar, blocked the exits and asked to have a word with me. They explained to me that someone I had kicked out of the bar a few weeks earlier had told them that I was friends with the person in hiding, hoping to get reward and some revenge on me. They explained to me that if I didn't either help set him up or reveal his location that they would take me instead, hoping he would come out of hiding for my sake. The first thing that popped into my head, when understanding the threat, was to reach for the bat behind the bar and start swinging for homeruns. I calculated that I could take out at least three of them before the car full of extra guys outside neutralized me. I couldn't help think how "unfair" it was that I was being threatened, on my birthday no less, for someone else's mistake. A violent response on my part would also endanger everyone around me as well. The room was tense and I could tell that my customers were uncomfortable. I put my personal feelings aside, explained to them that I wouldn't be able to cooperate and then started listing reasons why involving me wouldn't help them at all. I used every Neuro-Linguistic Programming concept I ever heard of. Having put my emotions aside, it became clear that verbal de-escalation was not only possible, but the only way for anyone to get through the night safely. It took a lot of talking, asking questions that I knew the answer to, ego flattering comments and the resisting the constant urge to fight my way to the door. It worked out, in the end. This was a highly personal attack on my sense of security, resolved by controlling my feelings and responding with logic. This, of course, might be an extreme example, but what's really "extreme" in the context of personal safety and violent emergencies?
At the start of every security assignment I've ever worked, no matter how dangerous, I'd tell my team the same thing at the start of every shift: Stay calm, stay sharp and get home safe.
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Here is a highlight video of a Choke seminar I taught not long ago. It's relevant because defending against a choke is a highly psychological challenge for most. Techniques are only effective when the defender can establish a control over their emotional response.