learning to stay calm in a combat situation (warning: i mention paintball)

learning to stay calm in a combat situation (warning: i mention paintball)

This is a discussion on learning to stay calm in a combat situation (warning: i mention paintball) within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I played paintball for the first time today and it really got me thinking. I realize that it is unfair to try to compare a ...

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Thread: learning to stay calm in a combat situation (warning: i mention paintball)

  1. #1
    Member Array CharlieMike's Avatar
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    learning to stay calm in a combat situation (warning: i mention paintball)

    I played paintball for the first time today and it really got me thinking.

    I realize that it is unfair to try to compare a paint ball match with real-life defensive shooting. Through paint ball, I think I learned something about myself that I need to work on to become a better shooter.

    Before each round, I was relatively well composed, I had a pretty clear mind and I could think about strategy and technique.

    As soon as the match started and paint balls were whizzing by, I lost my composure. A few times, I completely abandoned a plan I decided on. When waiting behind a barrier for an enemy I knew was coming, I noticed I was hyperventilating. A few times I experienced the myopia that I've often read about.

    As the matches went on, I would eventually feel more comfortable (breathing would slow down, I'd could think more strategically, &c). I talked with some of the experienced players and was told that these responses are common and they eventually go away.

    I still did okay. I shot a few people and was shot a few times. it was fun! I wonder though, how close these responses are -- the panic, hyperventilation, and myopia -- to how one feels when in a real combat situation and how does one learn to over come them?

    My question is:

    How do I learn to stay calm and collected in a self defense/combat situation?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
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    I would think the more you practice and the more comfortable you are with being in those situations, the better you become. The person who is in it for the first time is at a huge disadvantage. That is why the BG have such a tremendous advantage in a robbery scenario. They have probably done it a 1000 times and are comfortable with the process, if you will.

    Keep practicing. You might also want to consider airsoft.
    Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse or Rapture....whichever comes first.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruertar View Post
    I realize that it is unfair to try to compare a paint ball match with real-life defensive shooting.

    As soon as the match started and paint balls were whizzing by, I lost my composure.
    It's completely fair to compare/contrast the two. Paintball, Airsoft games, Simunitions and other live-fire, force-on-force training situations can be about as close to being shot at as you'll ever get. They have value, in that sense.

    Specifically, they can help you understand where some weaknesses and strengths lay, either in terms of composure, movement, use/misuse of cover, and so on. Though, without guidance by decent instructors, you might well not pick up on what's missing.

    How do I learn to stay calm and collected in a self defense/combat situation?
    The one crucial element is, IMO, ongoing, effective training with those who know far more than you. Training, not merely practice.

    Frequent, varied training, excellent instructors with strong guidance, realistic scenarios ... all of it can help.

    I'm sure some of the instructors in force-on-force / simulations training will be chiming in.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruertar View Post
    ...

    How do I learn to stay calm and collected in a self defense/combat situation?
    IMO paintball and airsoft are good. Martial arts tournaments or something similar are better because you could break something if you screw the pooch (whereas paintball and airsoft you only risk minor irritation - welts/etc). YMMV.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    They aren't even close.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supertac45 View Post
    They aren't even close.
    As previously suggested, simulated training is about as close as one gets to the reality of actually being shot at. Though, in reality, it isn't close, as you say. Still, short of going out to be shot at with live rounds by people trying to kill us, it's as close as we get.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  7. #7
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    It gives a slight indication on how you will react, but like Supertac45 says, it isnt even close.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruertar View Post
    My question is:

    How do I learn to stay calm and collected in a self defense/combat situation?
    It is true that experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson. A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

    Winston Churchill said it best and many vets would agree- "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result". That's not paintball.
    Last edited by semperfi.45; March 30th, 2008 at 11:33 PM. Reason: Post posting afterthoughts after posting.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    I won't attest to being in combat or ever being shot at. But I don't think I would compare the two. However, getting back to the OP... The answers seem good. But overall I just think that knowing how you deal with stress and how to handle adrenaline dumps are good ideas. Beyond that - I'll leave the advise to the pros.
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  10. #10
    Member Array Brian@ITC's Avatar
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    I think that knowing your life is on the line is probably a lot more stressful than just getting hit with paintballs or aisoft bb's. Yes, you can become more "comfortable" through training even with Force on Force traing. And when I say comfortable, I am referring to confidence. However, being over confident can be a bad thing! Being too complacent can be a bad thing.

    But you probaly won't find a lot of people who are comfortable when bullets are being fired their direction intended for them.

    There are many benefits to playing paintball or airsoft. It can teach you a lot.

    CONFIDENCE is the only way to remain calm. And confidence only comes through training. TRAINING A LOT IN REALITY BASED TRAINING. IMHO, no other training is going to prepare you for a real life situation such as reality based training including Force on Force training which is really part of reality based training.

    With confidence in your abilities you can remain calmer than those who are not confident. It is possible to prevent adrenaline from taking over by remaining calm. BUT, this takes A LOT of practice!!!

    Fear is a natural thing for ALL of us. Anyone who isn't scared is lying or mentally ill. We must control our fear and not let our fear control us!!!

    Train hard, train often, and train REALISTICALLY!!!
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    As previously suggested, simulated training is about as close as one gets to the reality of actually being shot at. Though, in reality, it isn't close, as you say. Still, short of going out to be shot at with live rounds by people trying to kill us, it's as close as we get.
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

    The most important benefit of ANY sort of simulation training that includes pain as a stimulus is stress inoculation.

    It almost certainly won't ELIMINATE the negative effects of stress in a real-world situation, but it will REDUCE them, which is a desireable thing.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Cthulhu's Avatar
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    You can get a similar feeling with competitive shooting, particularly if you're a relative newbie, like me. You'll have your gameplan all laid out, spent hours with dryfire practice, but when that buzzer goes off and you're racing the clock all that can go out the window.

    Use what you have available to the best of your ability, but realize the limitations.

    -JT

  13. #13
    Member Array austin's Avatar
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    Given that most civilian encounters are over within a few seconds, paintball/airsoft is a valid way to train for these short-duration encounters in order to develop your reaction and gun handling skills.

    Anything over a 4 seconds and the usefullness ends. You will then develop bad habits that will get you injured or killed in a real running fight.

    If you want to know what its like, join the Army/Marines with a combat arms MOS and get a slot in a unit slated to deploy.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    How do I learn to stay calm and collected in a self defense/combat situation?
    You wont , with that being said well you wont , no matter how it may appear to others . Now i wont go out and say that any FOF training is bad , be it paintballs , arisoft , rollplay yelling bang bang or whatever . However dont think that it makes you an any way ready to be in a gunfight . From my experience i will say this .. you will default to training , you will not magically overcome the lack of training . Any training that you do where folks are shooting at you is better than no training . You wont have a problem remembering that it is not a paint ball incoming if you are in a fight lol . Once you get over the " OMG this ******* is actually trying to kill me " stage you will likely do well , assuming said ******* has not succeeded in the mean time . Dont kid yourself most LE like most military never see a gunfight and them that do for the most part dont want to talk about it much . I know i dont . I will say train anyway you can .. be it paint balls with a group , or fof with a school . train anyway , because when someone is shooting at you its funny what goes thro your mind , and funnier where you actually * are * physically are when you remember to notice someone is shooting at you .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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  15. #15
    Member Array Brian@ITC's Avatar
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    I don't know that anything makes you "ready" to be in a "gunfight". Again, this is where confidence is going to be a critical issue in maintaining your composure. What you cannot do is lose control because you are afraid. In actuality, we are not talking about a "gunfight", we are talking about a life threatening situation involving a gun, knife, baseball bat, or an unarmed assailiant(s). A life threatening situation is just that regardless of the "tool(s)" being used. DO NOT FORGET THAT!!! Again, this is where realistic training and confidence are critical. Both of which will maximize your chances of survival in a confrontation.
    Brian K. LaMaster
    President, Innovative Tactical Concepts, LLC
    Instructor, Counter Force International
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