I’m Not Going to *&%^$!# Die Today!

Winning a fight for your life and surviving one depend on both psychological preparedness and well practiced self-defense skills. Psychological preparedness for combat survival requires four key elements: Situational Awareness, Positive Self-Talk, Fear Control and Mental Rehearsal.

When you are mentally and psychologically prepared for survival, you are tuned into reality. And the reality is that the world is a dangerous place. In the real world, being unaware of an immediate threat, being unprepared to effectively deal with it, or being in denial that it can happen to you, all mean not surviving the encounter.

Good girls don’t go looking to be attacked. As the saying goes, “If a fight finds its way to us, it will not be what we want it to be, it will be what it is.” What that means is that we have to be psychologically as well as physically prepared for worst case scenario.

Violent criminals are terrorists and terrorists are violent criminals. Both are cowardly opportunists. They choose easy marks. The best defense against an attacker is a decisive, aggressive, lighting quick, ruthless and vicious counter-attack that takes your attacker by surprise.

One step for cultivating the combative mind set for survival is to repeat the following ideals into your subconscious mind:

  • I pay attention to everything around me
  • I will let no one slip through my guard
  • If physically attacked, I will immediately counter-attack like a tiger and destroy my attacker.

    The first key element is Situational Awareness. This means being your own bodyguard. It means learning the Color Codes and training yourself to tune into the appropriate level of awareness to the circumstances being presented.

    The second key element is Positive Self-Talk. Self-talk is the voice we all have in our heads that tell us what’s going to happen and what we are going to do next. The bottom line, if you self-talk says you can’t do it, than you probably can’t and won’t. But if that conversation is positive and reinforces your training and conviction that you can do it, you will do it. So, when in a fight, you must tell yourself that “I’m not going to ------g die today!”

    The third key element is Fear Control. Fear is not necessarily a nuisance to be ignored, denied or stuffed away. Fear is a feeling that should be acknowledged and then responded to as a signal that there may be a threat or problem that needs to be dealt with. Fear is your body’s and mind’s automatic response to a perceived threat. When fear hits, the first thing we need to do is to learn to control our breathing to avoid shutting down all other systems. Breathe through your nose to a count of 5 and forcefully exhale to a count of 8, blowing stress and tension out. The breathing controls the adrenaline dump and allows us time for rationale thought. Next, utilize your self-talk as to your next steps as you’ve planned for them in your self-defense training.

    The fourth key element is Mental Rehearsal. This is like a dry run through situational scenarios that allow you to practice employing all the techniques you’ve learned. This is your game plan. It lets you mentally “test” how the scenario will play itself out. Mentally visualizing and rehearsing next steps helps control the fear factor and allows your subconscious mind to kick in when you are confronted as it already has a “game book” to play by.

    Courage is defined as having the nerve, tenacity and determination to win a fight. It is not about fearlessness. It is about keeping your cool under stress and acting tactically and intelligently. Fighting is a mental game and the more prepared you are, the better the chance for survival.


    Angie M. Tarighi has been teaching women’s self-defense for over 20+ years. She holds two black belts in Kempo & Combat Hapkido; is a certified Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Instructor; is a certified International Police Defensive Tactics Instructor; is a certified Workplace Violence Prevention Specialist; is a certified Kid-Safe Network Agent; is a certified Women-Safe Network Agent; is a Professional Speaker; and a Reiki Master.