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Discussion Starter #1
I don't have a scenario to ponder per se other than the weighing out of the perpective that anger can either add or detract from a fight.

On one side of the coin, I can see where being angry clouds your judgement and thinking so a clear thinking adversary may easily frustrate you and make you pay dear for your mistakes that you make out of cloudy thinking. On the other side of the coin, I can see the motivation and determination that anger can lend to a fight. There's a lot to be said for the determination of someone intent to either do harm or fend off danger. I do not believe that I would fight with near the intensity if I'm fighting for something in which I'm not invested. I think that this may be one aspect that makes a LEOs job so difficult. He, for example, may have to subdue an angry patron of a domestic assault and other than being motivated to keep himself from getting hurt, he has no real drive to over come his adversary. The angry husband or whomever he may be, is full of anger and determination and has that much more will to overcome someone trying to prevent him from achieving any kind of objectives he may have.

What are your thoughts? Does anger help or hinder you in a fight? If you had to be involved in a fight to defend yourself, would you want the fuel of anger to feed off of or would you want the calm and clear mind that is capable of tactical thinking?

Do you know of any specific examples where you saw anger helping a fight and or a clear example where being angry hindered a fight?

Thanks for your contributions,
DCG
 

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Imho it is an advantage. Has drawbacks though, like tunnel vision. I was always told by those more experienced that the adrenalin flow was necessary or to delay contact until you had it. I think anger is one mechanism to use to tap into adrenalin???
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Imho it is an advantage. Has drawbacks though, like tunnel vision. I was always told by those more experienced that the adrenalin flow was necessary or to delay contact until you had it. I think anger is one mechanism to use to tap into adrenalin???
That would make sense. I've never heard of that before but I don't doubt it one bit.
 

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I think adrenaline comes from fear, and anger doesnt set off adrenaline, adrenaline is set off by the adrenal glands, producing the fight or flight reaction when you , and your body knows it is about to be hurt or die, before the fight, you should be nervous, and adrenaline will kick in after you swing. Or, atleast it does for me, everytime ive ever fought, most of the time, i forget how it happened due to this.
 

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Some anger is good. Moderation is the key in most things though. The old saying 'blinded by anger' is true. Uncontrolled it can get you killed. It cause you to forget how to fight.

Michael
 

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There's a kind of anger that for lack of a better term could be called "righteous wrath," which basically means that on a deeply personal level you are extremely offended by what's happening. I find that this kind of anger seems to know what to do on it's own. It doesn't need to be called up or directed. If it needs to be icy, it'll be that. If it needs to be hot and explosive it'll be that, too. It's the real, actual scary type of anger, as opposed to when some people try to 'trump up' or 'put on' anger in order to be scary. I think it comes from basically trying really hard to do the right thing and be honest as a way of life. I've honestly had more than one personal experience of people just not wanting none after getting a whiff. That said, the more training you have, the better. I don't think it could work if I couldn't actually fight if it came to it.
 

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For me...fear is more paralyzing...anger is what would drive me to act/react...I'm a pretty laid back person and in order to use as much violence as needed to subdue my attacker I would for sure be angry. Be angry that this SOB doesn't want me to see my wife again, angry that he wants me to die on his terms rather than God's, I think anger definitely produces an adrenaline dump and if the situation arose I would be both afraid and angry and I just hope in that moment I can control it well enough to go home at the end of the day. I don't think it's something that can really be trained for though, perhaps except for intense military training. I'm certainly no expert though this is just my gut reaction to the question.
 

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Controlling anger is sometimes very difficult to do even for the best and most well-trained people; and more often than not, your anger easily becomes your enemy's advantage because it makes one tend to hastily lash out without thinking and open themselves up for the enemy's planned counter-measure. Muhammad Ali was probably one of the greatest "provokers" of anger to break his opponent's concentration and make him throw a hasty punch in anger that (being anticipated) was easily avoided and left the opponent wide open for a well setup counter-punch.

Granted, anger gets the adrenaline flowing and hypes the body for action, but anger also puts the mind in an agressive mode that flies in the face of controlling and de-escalating a situation and/or remain alert for a possible escape route. Instead, the anger can easily take you out of the "self-defense" arena to become the agressor yourself and possibly initiate or escalate something you may not have done if you weren't angry.

On the other hand, the person I respect the most is one who's scared to death because his/her adrenaline is also pumping the body to the max, but all of their senses are focused entirely on the threat itself and ready to react in a split-second with deadly accuracy to the first hostile move rather than blindly lashing out in anger. As a combat veteran who's been through countless meatgrinder firefights, I can assure you that myself and most everyone else was scared to death the whole time. Most would get angry when it was all over, but the few who got angry and lashed out during the firefight (e.g. at the sudden loss of a buddy) were almost always immediately cut down themselves as a result.

The greatest thing to remember on this forum is that we are not combat military or LE exercising an orchestrated tactical/agressive mission; instead we are people who mind our own business and carry only for "self defense" when the use of deadly force can only be justified in a court of law when there is absolutely no other option of avoidance - including running as fast as you can.

Remember the key words "I was afraid for my life". If you should drop the hammer while angry or even appearing to be angry, then your "fear" and legal justification for the use of deadly force suddenly becomes legal fodder. Anyone finding themselves getting angry in any situation needs to make a sudden reassessment and backoff because, if you aren't scared to death for your life, then something is wrong with the whole "self defense" scenario.
 

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Anger isn't a factor IMO if I am attacked. Saving my own life is. Anger wont dictate what happens there. Anger comes after that. For me, I get angry when I have time to think about what has happened. If I am attacked, I will react. I won't have time to "think about it" until the situation is either over or in my control. The other option would be for the attacker to have control. Fear would then be the dominant emotion. Uncontrolled anger at that point could lead to a bad decision and get me hurt or killed.
 

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There are many things to like in Eaglebeak's comment above and they are worth careful consideration. Copperjacket also raises the important point that "anger" may mean a range of different things. So when we say "anger" in this context, we should all be in agreement about what is meant.

If a person has created a situation such that you are forced to employ violence, then you should be angry. You should be righteously p*ssed off that someone has been so callous and stupid as to drag you into the lowest, least-civilized activity. It's insulting and debasing to you, personally.

There is a difference between that and blind fury. One focuses your intention and the other is a distraction.

You need to train for combat and practice fighting regularly if you want to be cool and in control of a physical engagement. That's important because powerful, accurate and well-timed strikes require a kind of relaxation you can't achieve if you are emotionally swept up in the turmoil of harsh anger. Whatever benefits severe anger confers are erased by the loss of control and concentration needed to be highly effective in a FoF situation.

On the other hand, if your opponent is in the grip of great anger, he or she will likely not have finesse or skill, and behave impulsively - missing opportunities and targets. The more training you have, the better your odds of directing traffic and creating the outcome that you want.
 

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I feel anger can blind good judgment. As I have had more than one altercation, where a fight was inevitable, I do not get angry, I think there is a difference in getting angy and getting mean. It is all a mindset to me. If you push me to a fight, I will get mean. If you kick my butt I will get angry. I will do whatever is necessary to win a fight, hope that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
All very good points made here. Thank you for sharing your views. I agree that anger can be a good motivator but it needs to be controlled. I work with clients that have anger issues and I tell them that they will either control their anger or their anger will control them.

I agree that there are times when you should or need to retreat but retreat is not always an option for some people. I can think of the elderly and disable, for example, as being candidates where retreat is not a real option. Both will pretty much have to stand his/her ground. I saw a headline today that said something about a 90 yr. old man being robbed...for a second time in a matter of a few weeks(?). He's not going to be able to run and I'm pretty sure he won't be doing any acrobatic maneuvers to avoid harm. I think for someone in this position, getting angry might be the only thing to save his life if he can get a temporary adreline boost to stove off someone that's not as motivated because he's not fighting to save his life.

At the same time, however, I can also see how saying you were "angry" during an attack might give bad impressions to a jury of your peers if you find yourself before them trying to justify your self-defensive actions.
 

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Anger is bad before the fight starts. It gets you into trouble. After the fight starts you need to tap into it and let it flow. <--- This advice speaks specifically to a HTH fight, not a gunfight (I have no practical experience with gunfighting). You do need to maintain just enough control over your anger to know when to turn it off but other than that, let it go.

As a youth I was a fighter, or more correctly, a street brawler. In my town fighting was a skill you learned early and used often. I can tell you from first hand experience that rage gives you strength and it stops you from feeling pain. It can also make you stupid, but once you are in the melee it's a usefull tool.

As an aside I can also verify from personal experience that adrenaline restricts peripheral vision and reduces situational awareness. Adrenaline can also cause the loss of short term memory. Most of the time after fights I had a hard time remembering the details. Many of the memories are remembered more like still photos than like normal memories.
 
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You're not going to control any emotions in a fight usually, unless there's time to prepare or it's playing out for quite a long time. What you can do is learn how to fight with aggression and overwhelming violence and how to work n critical thinking when emotions are clouding your normal thought processes. These are the things that help you prevail in a fight of any kind.

I know a few people on this forum hate this word, but training is how we learn to do this. Not at an indoor range on our own, but by attending classes that focus on mindset and problem solving. Learning to think clearly when all else is blowing up around us is something we should be working on.
 

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Explain to the jury how you shot the BG because you were angry. Then explain how you shot the BG because you were in fear. See which argument sways them best in your favor. Use whichever emotion works best for you, but keep it to yourself.
 
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