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Combat mindset.

I will start this small article with a part from an interview that Antony Cummins , author and historical researcher, was giving to a history magazine. This intro is very important because it will help you better understand what real combat means or better said, what the real combat mindset must look like.

"One thing I do believe is that people do not quite understand how bloody samurai war and life could be. Not only did they kill other samurai, but they could do it in cruel and barbaric ways and the gore did not stop at death. The samurai are a head hunting culture and they relish in the decapitated head and their entire reputation and income can be transformed through the acquirement of human heads. They cut off ears and noses, peel the skin from faces, burn people alive, torture, crucify and crush their bodies.

The samurai and military master Natori Masazumi says that young samurai must observe and witness executions and bloody matters and become accustomed to the smell of human insides. This is to stop them from vomiting in times when they have to actually encounter such dark things when they are working for a lord. There are multiple way samurai do this, tests of bravery into haunted places, visiting execution grounds at night, looking at the decapitated heads, decapitating dogs and criminals, eating red rice after witnessing bloody deeds, these are all a part of the lore behind samurai training.

I would say that dark tales were not created to train the samurai, but they were an ever present wall of doom looming in samurai culture that helped them form their bonds with death. The relationship samurai had with death was close, it was forever at their side, when a samurai went faced war, he actually used objects and wore clothes that had an association with death, as in old Japan there were certain ways of doing things, such as tying knots to the front or rear, constructing things in the opposite ways, drinking in certain positions, examples such as these were symbolic of death. A samurai did not want to die, they did not try to find death as fantasy would have us believe but they did try to gain victory so but they must set out having made peace with death and they dressed for the occasion." - Antony Cummins

Throughout the annals of human history, the tradition of amassing human skulls as trophies has left an indelible mark on various cultures worldwide.

The custom of collecting skulls as trophies dates back millennia, with evidence found across continents and cultures. For many warrior societies, the act of decapitating an enemy and retaining their skull served as a tangible symbol of triumph and dominance. It was a ritualistic display of prowess, marking the victor's conquest over their foe and asserting their status within the community.

The Symbolism Behind Skull Trophies

While the practice of collecting skulls as trophies may seem barbaric to modern sensibilities, it held profound symbolic significance within warrior cultures.

  1. Power and Dominance: At its core, the act of collecting skull trophies was a display of power and dominance. It signified the triumph of one group over another and asserted the victor's superiority on the battlefield. In societies where warfare was endemic, the possession of enemy skulls elevated a warrior's status and earned them respect and admiration within their community.

  2. Spiritual Beliefs: In many cultures, the human skull held spiritual significance, representing the seat of consciousness and the essence of life itself. By collecting enemy skulls, warriors believed they were harnessing the power and essence of their vanquished foes, imbuing themselves with their adversaries' strength and vitality.

  3. Intimidation and Warfare: Skull trophies also served a strategic purpose in warfare by instilling fear and terror in opposing forces. The sight of a display of severed heads was intended to demoralize enemies and deter them from engaging in battle, thus granting the collecting warriors a psychological advantage on the battlefield.

  4. Communal Identity: Beyond individual glory, the collection and display of skull trophies reinforced a sense of communal identity and solidarity within warrior societies. It served as a visual reminder of shared victories and collective strength, fostering a sense of unity and cohesion among warriors.

While the practice of collecting skull trophies has largely faded into the annals of history, its legacy endures as a testament to the complexities of human warfare and cultural symbolism. It serves as a stark reminder of the lengths to which humans have gone to assert dominance, display power, and commemorate their victories in battle.

If we look the ways in which a young samurai warrior must build his combat mindset (observe and witness executions and bloody matters and become accustomed to the smell of human insides, tests of bravery into haunted places, visiting execution grounds at night, looking at the decapitated heads, decapitating dogs and criminals, eating red rice after witnessing bloody deeds) we can have a small glimpse of what type of training we need to do in order to achieve a real combat mindset.

Of course that we live now in times that don't require anymore so extreme practices, because you are not anymore on the battlefield and still there are people in this moment fighting in the front lines. Also, the stability of this modern society is in danger so you can find yourselves in the near future on a battlefield. Even if you are not in war, to be able to defend and protect the ones around you against the modern violence (terrorist attacks, active shooting, robberies, physical assaults...) requires a certain mindset. This type of combat mindset can be developed in two ways:

  • direct contact with violence

  • training your mind

I want to underline again something that many times I am telling you. For the majority of civilians that were not having a direct contact with violence it will be very hard to have the right response in a violent encounter if they are not first developing the right mindset.

A lot of accent and energy is putted in the physical training, learning techniques, moves, drills and without any doubt this are very important. You need to have the skills but you need to have the right mindset to be able to operate that skills in a life or death situation and not only in a training environment.

So how you can create that mindset if you did not have a direct contact with violence? I will give you some ways that can help you.

  1. Watching real violence footage (knife attacks, shootings, physical assaults). This method will help your brain to accustom with the brutality and reality of violence. No Hollywood movies, only raw bloody brutal situations. In this way you also can understand that are things in the self defense industry today that will not help you in that type of situations.

  2.  First Responder Volunteer (Ambulance). This is something that I was also doing it in the past, but for me in that period it was more from the medical perspective(to have more contact with civilian trauma medical situations). In different European countries and not only, you can become a volunteer for the Ambulance personnel. You enroll as a volunteer and you have a specific number of hours on the week or month depending on your time, in which you basically go with the professional paramedics with the Ambulance. You will not be able to do I don't know what kind of procedures, but you will help them and assist them. After you can also make a course and continue as a volunteer but with more attributions. What has to do this with the combat mindset? More than you think! By doing this you will be exposed to real trauma medical cases from bad car accidents, stabbed victims, death people and so on (I was listing some of the things that I find important). Your mind will change and you will be able to control your emotions much better after being expose to this situations. If you go back to what the samurai young warriors were doing it is very similar in essence but more easy to be done in our modern society.

  3. Using visualization techniques in your training. If you are doing your solo training drills, stabbing with a training blade a training dummy without involving visualization it will be only a mechanical procedure that in reality will not help you. You need to understand that when you practice, that training blade is a real blade and that training dummy is your real target that wants to take your life and kill your love ones. When you stab you must see with your mind how the blade is penetrating the targets body and how blood squirts out of his neck. You must have that aggressiveness, being a monster, a beast. Even if at the beginning you only act like in a role, in the and your mind will become that Beast! You can use visualization in any type of scenario that you make. Can be an active drill scenario or a static meditative exercise. For example: you sit comfortable, eyes close without anybody to disturb you and you focus your awareness on the breathing process. You visualize yourself being home, sleeping in your bed with your wife. The child is sleeping in another room. Suddenly you here the entrance door. You wake up, you take your weapon and the medical trauma small bag. The wife is going fast in the child room, barricades themselves and calls emergency. You take a tactical position between the room of your family and the rest of the house. Having the advantage of knowing your environment you maintain your position and protect your love ones. So this is a simple example based on a plan that you already have. The scenario can go far, the home invaders are coming towards you, they are armed, you open fire, they open fire... you eliminate the need tourniquet application, and so on.

  4. Hunting, gutting and butcher a big game animal. This is another way of building your mindset. The process of hunting and especially the moment in which you press the trigger of your weapon or release the arrow from your compound bow, is a very powerful moment, in which your mind is taking the decision to kill! That is a big decision, now understand the complexity when we talk about killing another human. Gutting the animal with your own hands, dragging the entire load of guts out of the animal and using your blade to penetrate and cut true muscles, fat, tendons and other tissues it will be more close to a real stab and real use of the knife than 10000 repetitions on a training BOB dummy.

  5. Meditation and contemplation on death. This is an old practice that you can find it from the beginning of civilization. I was sharing in the past many ways of doing this type of practice.

  6. The last one for this particular article is to contemplate on the idea of the Protector and what separates a Protector(you) from a criminal minded individual that already is prepared to take a life or to use violence. This is the motivation behind your training, behind all the time that you decide to invest in preparing yourself. Why you do this? Because your family, your wife, daughter, son, girlfriend, people around you that are vulnerable to the evil of society can be protected by you and people like you!

Stay safe all!


5 comentários

Rom 13
Rom 13
22 de mai.

I was going to bring up deer guts but you beat me too it. Fun fact, (Langley Outdoors) used to use fish as balistics targets. I personally need to try to figure out isinglass for primitive knife glue. Matie I have a request for a youtube video on spiked weapons. In one take you said the puncture was a no go because the organ can still function, but spiked tools are the fastest avaliable in most situations. Try batoning =). Pieces of fence, screw driver, OSS pitchfork tine. I use a triangle file with a razor sharp pyramid tip axe handle wrap. The number 2 pencil gets a mixed rep head hunting but soft areas should be no problem. The…


Excellent read. Antony does good work!


Really good information and a brilliant read thankyou


Shawn Coleman
Shawn Coleman
11 de mai.

Great article. A topic seldom discussed in the self protection circles. Thank you for your time and effort


Thank you

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