During my service in the military, I developed a passion for hand-to-hand combat. I immersed myself in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga; so much so, that I was training about four to five days a week. Ritually saying Bruce Lee quotes to myself and watching Jason Statham movies over-and-over again; I dreamed of becoming a “Human Weapon.” Ya, I know. I think all the subliminal messaging from the martial arts movies and protein I was drinking was getting to my head a bit. Nevertheless, I was confident that I could handle myself if I was put in the position where I needed to. That was, until, we ran a close-quarters-combat (CQC) drill with my platoon.
The rules were simple:
- 1-on-1 starting on your feet.
- No strikes unless combat went to the ground.
- Strikes must be open hand. (trust me… they hurt much more than you think)
- No strikes to the back of the head.
- All submissions were allowed.
- Combat ended only if someone quits, taps out, or can physically no longer fight.
“Who wants to go first?” The CQC instructor asked the class. Being in a platoon of Airborne Infantry (“Death from Above”), many of the guys jumped at the opportunity to kick the crap out of each other. Two of equal size were quickly selected and they squared off.
While dropping a taser onto the mat, the instructor yelled, “use your surroundings!”
It started off fast with both guys getting great submission attempts in while also landing some heavy strikes. Then, at about two minutes into the bout things took an interesting turn. While dropping a taser onto the mat, the instructor yelled, “use your surroundings!” The bout suddenly turned into an all-out scramble for the taser. As they struggled to keep one another from reaching the taser, the instructor announced that it was a low grade taser used for training… but, that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Finally, one of them grabbed the taser and hit the guy in his rib cage. Watching him cease all motion as the voltage ran through him made my confidence take an immediate nose dive.
“If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan accordingly”
“If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan accordingly,” the CQC instructor stated. “Now, who’s next?” The ever-rampant number of volunteers reduced to zero while everyone in the class was still trying to process what they had just witnessed.
What the CQC instructor said rang through me deeply, but not only in the literal sense he was intending it to. What others may have just taken as preparation for the battlefield or your typical bar fight, I took this very differently. I wanted to start applying this philosophy to every aspect of my life. Whether I was studying for my next exam or interviewing for a job, I wanted to start overcoming my challenges with the result of landslide victories. That meant I needed to know anything and everything that was going to be on a test. I needed to know every probable question the interviewer was going to ask me. I needed to overcome all of my challenges and obstacles like I planned on fighting dirty. “Out-Thinking and Over-Preparing” became my mantra and is still a common practice of mine till this day.
So, the next time you find yourself giving a presentation to a group of people that could very well decide where your career will take you, be sure to ask yourself, “Did I find myself in a fair fight?” Because, if you did… you didn’t plan accordingly.
Author: Patrick Skinner
Co-Author: Evan Steele