In violent incidents there is a reaction I see everyday.
"S/He [fill in the blank] me.
I can't believe s/he [fill in the blank] me."
I wish that I had a nickel for every time I've heard a victim tell me that he or she "couldn't believe" that the attacker had assaulted them.
It seems to always come up during interviews on stranger assaults. "He hit me. I couldn't believe it."
And this is not just Suzie Soccermommie. Some weeks or so back, a very large, fairly well-trained young male officer in my department had a smaller, older inmate rush him from inside a cell; this officer just stood there staring at the inmate.
Fortunately, another officer was nearby, who dropped the inmate like a sack of potatoes, but I asked the young officer why he didn't do anything.
I knew the answer before the young officer said it: "'Dawg, I couldn't believe he'd do that."
Several years ago, Reno and I were bouncing in a violent little club. One of our bouncers was working the floor, when a bar patron suddenly walked up and -- out of the blue -- landed a haymaker on the bouncers cheek. The bouncer stood there in shock and watched his assailant turn around and do a victory dance for his buddies right there in front of the bouncer.
Bouncer didn't do a thing.
I walked up to the bouncer to check on him, and he said -- you guessed it: "He hit me. I can't believe he hit me."
Part of your combat mindset training has got to be dedicated to eliminating -- or at least reducing as much as possible -- this disbelief, this shock.
And, if you're smart, taking maximum advantage of it in your attacker.
The best way to do this -- and the only effective way that I, personally, know of -- is to prove to yourself that you can fight after getting hit.
You have to know, not only in your head, but you have to know in your blood and you have to know in your bones and you have to know in your guts, that if you get hit, you can fight through it.
Sometime during your training, you have to put on the padded headgear, put in the mouthguard, put on the gloves, and take some hits.
If your training does not include some form of safe full-contact sparring, then you are not training for combat. All that you are doing is dancing.
This is one of my biggest complaints regarding martial arts schools. The bouncer in my example above actually possessed a black belt in a widely-regarded martial art.
Up until that guy popped him on the cheek, he had never been punched. He had never done anything more than tap sparring.
And he had been issued a black belt, and was an assistant instructor.
Boggles my mind.
On the other paw, the majority of critters experience the same kind of shock.
I have had multiple, multiple critters tell me that "citizens don't fight".
Most critters know that if they go up against another critter, or a cop, there's going to be a fight -- but experience has taught them that if they go up against Joe Sixpack or Suzie Soccermommy, those folks going to be too busy in the I-can't-believe-he-hit-me trance to offer any meaningful resistance. And since their victims have never fought back before, they expect their crime to go the same way it's gone the past twenty, or fifty, or hundred times.
And this can be used to good effect -- if you have the right mindset.
As an example, well-dressed young lady stops at a package store on the way home to buy a bottle of wine.
As she is exiting the store, one of our long time Usual Suspects grabs her arm, shoves her against the wall, and demands the usual.
What he got was a bottle of understated, yet complex '95 Seville Estate Shiraz bounced off his ear, which rather neatly dropped him onto his butt on the sidewalk.
His not-quite-a-victim runs back into the store, calls 911, PD show up, and what's the first thing the critter says after being mirandized?
"She hit me. I can't believe she hit me."
He'd been doing this kind of thing for twenty years, and she was the first would-be victim to haul off and hit him -- and it just flat blew his mind.
Those moments of disbelief -- that I-can't-believe-she-hit-me shock -- gave her enough time to escape and get help.
Something to keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen.