The Psychology of Confrontation

The Survival Podcast will return to our regular broadcasts beginning tomorrow 5-12-10.  I am in my last day today of the filming of Advanced Ballistic Striking with Val Riazanov.  I have really missed doing the show for the past few days and there won’t be one today but I have to say training and working with Val has been worth it.

While I won’t have a show for you today I wanted to share something that will be in future shows with you that Val and I have been discussing during the last week.  That being the psychology of confrontation.

Val of course hails from the former Soviet Union, well to be more precise The Ukraine making he and I brothers both as former soldiers (on opposing sides) and of a common national heritage.  For those that are not aware my family came to the US right as the Communist Revolution began during WWI.  During his youth Val was part of the Soviet Olympic Judo Squad and later joined the Russian Army, eventually becoming a trainer for both Russian Special Forces and the KGB in unarmed combat.

This gave him a unique view of the Russian mentality of combat from organized sports to actual real world combat.  His view was summed up to me this week as follows,

“In the west they teach you to win, you train to win, you attempt to win a fight, a match a battle or a game.  It doesn’t matter what you are doing you try to win.  Hence when your life is on the line your mind is on winning.  So you fight hard, you attack your attacker and you get very aggressive.  We were trained to be aggressive as well but in a different way.  Our primary focus was survival, in a match survive to the next round, in combat survive the bullets for another day, etc.

With this focus our minds were conditioned to always remain calm in an attack, relaxed as one can be, taking care to defend yourself and look for the opponents weakness.  With patience the weakness always shows and by surviving you eventually are given the opportunity to win.”

Some of the most profound words I have ever heard!  I will be discussing these and many other concepts I picked up from Val over this week when I return.  Until then, keep on living that better life.

~ Jack

11 Responses to The Psychology of Confrontation

  1. Looking forward to this type of podcast, Jack!

  2. I too am looking forward to you being back! What Val said on survival, “With patience the weakness always shows and by surviving you eventually are given the opportunity to win.” really struck a cord with me. I have noticed the same mentality with my Chinese inlaws. They approach playing games, especially Mah-jong, the same way. They also seem to have the same view on life as well. Good stuff Jack!!

  3. Wait, I hope that is 4/12, not 5/12!!!

    Please make my day and say 4/12.

  4. Great stuff Jack.
    Val is a wise man.
    I have spent the last couple years on email trying to lead my brother and one of my sisters to a more libertarian way of thinking. It has almost worked. One point I was stressing with them last week was that we can’t focus on “winning” the presidency in 2012 or on any specific candidate on any level. What we have to focus on is surviving so we can keep fighting. Libertarians are used to losing, but by surviving each battle we will win. I used North Vietnam as an example. North Vietnam didn’t need to win the battles. They just needed to keep fighting and survive. And they won.
    Its odd how many times I talk to someone about something and then I see you just covered it.
    Keep up the great work, Jack.

  5. Tomorrow will be 4/13.

  6. That explains why the current undisputed heavyweight MMA champion of the world, Fedor Emelinanenko, fights the way he does – calmly waiting for an opening, and then explosively seizing that opening, often taking damage up to that point…but it usually only takes him landing that one well-aimed strike, and the fight is over.

  7. Wow, quite a quote to think on. Thanks for the update on things. Can’t wait to hear your next episode… you’ve totally gotten me hooked!

  8. Chad AKA The Coyote Kid

    Hope you got a lot of work done Jack. I\’m looking forward to hearing the podcasts about these ideas on confrontation. I went back and listened to the podcast about systema that you did about a year ago or so and it was pretty fascinating. Take care until then!

  9. Durham aka Daemonpi

    I wanted to say the quote kind of stems the accepted national identity. Americans generally strive toward a goal knocking barriers out of the way, aka fight to win; whereas the russians are very stoic, persevere inspite of barriers and conditions, aka fight to survive. While I think it admirable to be stoic it is also admirable to strive toward a goal, and both systems of thought are simultaneoulsy promoted with your show, are in now way mutually exclusive, and often widely overlap. Anyway, food for thought.

  10. The Equalizer

    Interesting difference in American vs. Soviet paradigms. In my mind, survival is winning. Wonder if Soviet’s lack of resources compared to US has a bearing on this mindset?

  11. Modern Survival

    @The Equalizer

    I think like many you are not taking the concept in the right context.

    Of course the Russians wanted to win, this philosophy came from Val’s time with the Soviet Olympic Squad it is about individual confrontations. It is about not committing to early, being patient and observing your opponents responses and using their commitment against them when they make an error. It is also about with drawing when they made a solid commitment that would be to their advantage and then moving back into position again and again, and again until they make a mistake.

    It is not survival as opposed to winning, it is winning through survival and patience. Does it work? Try looking up the number of medals won by Soviet Olympians.