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Death in battle is a function of time
The longer troops remain under fire,
the more get killed. Therefore, everything
 must be done to speed up movement
                                         Gen. George S. Patton

The Will To Fight
(and how effectiveness undermine it)

On This Page:
Effective Movement and the Will to Fight

Patton's comment about getting the troops out from under fire as quickly as possible needs to be incorporated in your training goals. The longer you are engaged the greater your chances of injury. We're not even talking about winning or losing here. No matter if you win or lose, in a protracted conflict you will be injured. The shorter the conflict, the less your chances of sustaining injury. But the issue also goes deeper than that.

Carl Von Clausewitz in On War Duration of Battle wrote the following:
If we consider the combat no longer in itself, but in relation to the other forces of war, then its duration acquires a special importance. This duration is to be regarded in a certain extent as a second, subordinate, success. For the conqueror the combat can never be finished too quickly, for the vanquished it can never last too long. A speedy victory indicates a higher power of victory, a tardy decision is, on the side of the defeated, some compensation for the loss.

Read that paragraph again with the thought that one of your biggest strategic goals in any conflict is to remove your opponent's Will to fight as quickly as possible. He needs to know as quickly as possible that when it comes to violence "he can't there from here."  By letting him know that violence will not get him what he wants, an opponent often loses the Will to fight. As long as an opponent believes he can get what he wants through violence and has the ability to attack, odds are, he will also have the Will to attack.

While that is all nice and theoretical, how does it manifest? If your opponent has the Will to attack, then even if you strike him repeatedly he will continue to attack. And why not? Your moves have not removed his ability to attack. In fact, they might have encouraged him to attack harder. After all, if he "cranks up the volume," it increases the chances that either your resolve will crack and/or your defenses will fail. In either case you will stop hurting him. In short, by coming in faster and harder than you can effectively prevent, he will have won. In this case, his ability to attack you is driven by his will. Both of which are oriented on achieving his goal by attacking you. Keep that in mind, it is important. As long as he is still in possession of both ability and Will, he's going to keep on coming.

The previous example is the most basic manifestation of why effective movement is important. But what about a more subtle, secondary success? What we calla secondary victory .Maybe not a victory, but a success that allows the person to retain his Will despite being defeated? These conditions are not only far more common, but also far more complex. As such they are a major factor of continuing problems. He will be coming at you again at another time.

Ever wonder about people who fight cops? Quite honestly, there is no way they are going to win. But what he can do, is achieve a secondary success. Even if he loses -- if he can drag it out and make you work -- then he can consider it, if not a tactical victory, then at least a moral one. By making you work hard, he has achieved a form of victory. A secondary success that reinforces his willingness to engage you again at another time.

And if not that, he has proven to himself that he has, if not the ability to win, the ability to make you suffer. Which, in many cases, will be considered a success by a certain kind of person. Among like minded individuals his status has gone up because it took five cops to put him down.

In another manifestation of this idea, let's look at a bully (although it also applies to many criminals as well). Often a bully will pick and choose his time to act. It is a tactical decision that allows him to act without interference from outside sources (e.g. an authority figure). The sudden and unexpected entrance of such a person affects neither his ability or Will to attack, but only his choice to do so. He'll wait until later to attack his victim. Realistically, even with the authority figure there the bully could still attack his victim. It is the complications that would arise from such an act that serve as the deterrent...not the bully losing the Will or the ability to attack. He will instead, abide, maintaining both Will and ability but waiting for another time.

In doing so he also gains a psychological advantage over the bullied, who is now terrified about what will happen when he/she is caught alone, outside the safety of the authority figure. It is important to realize that the bullied, feeling that he does not have the ability to effectively counter the bully, also lacks the willingness to do so.

But, compare the bully's behavior towards a victim against how the bully acts towards someone he knows has both the willingness and ability to resist his bullying? If not the ability to do a serious smack down on the bully? Often just the mere presence of such a person will cause the bully to not only become quiet as a mouse, but to quickly leave the area. The bully is afraid of attracting that person's attention. With this in mind, you should always pay attention to when wanna-be tough guys are being well behaved. Usually something bigger than them is in the neighborhood.

This is why you need to effect his Will to attack you. Take away the Will to attack and the attack doesn't happen.

The most effective ways to influence his Will is through his ability to attack.

Take that away and all but the most foolish will start looking for other strategies to get what they want. And for those who don't, it doesn't matter because you have taken away their ability to effectively attack. They think they're in control, but they're coming at you exactly when and where you want them to. When such a person foolishly attacks, it is your effectiveness that will convince him of the error of his ways. When you put someone down with effective movement you rob him of secondary victory.

These are realities about how the Will and the Ability to attack influence not only each other, but also have a profound effect on long-term courses of behavior. These are not airy fairy ideals, they are serious considerations you must understand and factor into your strategies, courses of action and just as importantly your training goals.

Many subtleties and complications arise from this idea. Subtleties and complications, that if you do not take into consideration and learn how to use in your favor, will inevitably lead to your defeat. In an altercation, that which you do not control, controls you.

Effective Movement and the Will to Fight
A number of years ago, Marc was in Sweden doing a seminar. Picking a participant out of the group he had the following conversation. "Attack me"
"I don't care, just attack me"
The man launched a fast and savage attack...and he fell down. Being helped up, he looked at Marc and with wide eyes asked "How did you do that?"
Marc replied "Simple. You did three things to attack me once. I did one thing that attacked you in three ways. While you were preparing to attack I was attacking."
He paused for a moment before saying "I understand" What Marc later found out was that this individual was the head of a martial art style in that country and Marc had just dropped him in front of five of his students.

Oops. Not a cool thing to do.

 But that is an example of effective movement in action. A very well trained martial artist suddenly found himself whirling and twirling and in a place where he had no idea how he got there. Effective movement that does this, has the same demoralizing effect as telling someone in a bar that you are going to kick their butt and the entire bar stands up to fight you.

It just takes the wind right out of your sails.

There you were thinking you were in control of the situation and all of a sudden things go horribly wrong. One moment you were punching, expecting to hit someone and the next you find yourself spun, facing another direction, controlled and put into a off-balanced position and the only future you can see is great pain. And this made all the worse by the fact that the person who, just very easily did this to you, is now calmly explaining that if you try that again, he's going to get upset.

All but the most foolhardy, recognizes the fact that someone who could put them into that position without any stress or strain, is not someone who it is safe to tangle with. When you realize that the only reason you aren't toast is because this person's good graces and self-control, the Will to fight just kinds of evaporates like water on a hot griddle. Why? Because the only thing between you and a world of hurt is that person's self-control. Do you really want to push it?

That's if you don't hurt him, but sometimes you do have to hurt someone. Another analogy, is a person who is expecting to get shot by a BB gun, may decide to attack anyway. In fact, the pain from taking that pellet might even spur him on to attack. What the person was not expecting however, was a blast from a shotgun. An effective move followed by another effective move will literally overwhelm someone with a degree of shock that he didn't know was possible.

For example a person who is expecting to engage in a draw out fight with you is expecting pain, but he figures he can at least give as good as he gets. In other words, a secondary success; even if he loses he made you suffer and work. That is if he isn't expecting to win outright by attacking. What he is not expecting is his first move to result in him getting sucked face first into an oncoming elbow. This tends to destroy both his ability and Will to fight.

In the most extreme circumstances, an attacker will never have the chance to start engaging in defensive flailing. Before he can hurt you, he's done and on the ground. You don't need six lethal blows, your three effective moves has ended the threat.

This is why our training motto is, no mater what level of force you are applying: It is over in three. When you learn effective movement that is not an impossible standard.  


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