Mindset: Where It All Begins and Ends

Brian LaMaster, president and chief instructor at Innovative Tactical Concepts, LLC (www.right2defend.com) is offering an Advanced Pistol Fighting Level II class at a discounted price as a fundraiser for Buckeye Firearms Association on November 3 - 4, 2007. The class is limited to the first 15 paid participants! Get complete details here.

By Brian K. LaMaster

In order to survive a life-threatening situation one must be well prepared to
have any hope of escaping the situation alive. What is being well prepared? It
simply means having the proper mindset, skills, tactics, and gear. So, let's
start with mindset.

Click 'Read More' for the entire commentary.

Training (mindset)

Have you ever watched the movie The Recruit with Al Pacino (Walter Burke) and
Colin Farrell (James Clayton). Burke says to Clayton, "Everything is
training." I don't know that truer words have ever been said! I try my best to
live by this very saying. Tim Davis, who is Vice President of Innovative
Tactical Concepts, LLC and I were talking one day about skydiving. He had gone
static line whereas I went free fall tandem. I said that I was afraid of doing
the static line thing because what if you get hung up on the plane when the
chute opens. Tim's reply was, "Everything is training." Not the kind of
training that I had in mind, but he is technically correct!

As my last article stated, we would all like to believe that we would react in
a confrontation the way we think we will. However, if you do not train on a
regular basis then you are fooling yourself as to what you can and cannot do.
Unless you train on a regular basis AND under stressful conditions, you will
not know how you are going to handle the situation. Most people will react in
a situation how they have trained to handle a particular situation. Therefore,
if you do not train to handle the most likely situations you may find yourself
in, then how in the world do you expect to survive that confrontation because
you haven't trained to do so?!

You need to train in as many disciplines as you can in order to maximize your
chances of survival. I am not just talking about various firearms disciplines
either. What I am referring to is unarmed combatives, less lethal options,
blades, etc. Someone please tell me other than the popular excuse of "time"
why you would want to limit your options of survival to being dependent upon
drawing and shooting an attacker. Of course, that is assuming you can get your
gun out and use it. Is "time" really an excuse?! WHAT has to happen before you
will make the time to train with your firearm, or learn unarmed combatives?
You don't have to be a black belt in order to defend yourself.

More than likely you are going to be attacked in low light conditions. Low
light conditions will greatly affect your ability to make decisions more than
what you can imagine. Your ability to judge distance, speed, actions of
others, identifying potential targets, is greatly impaired in low light
settings. Until you train under these conditions you will not understand how
greatly they are affected. How many people train at night with firearms and
unarmed combat? It would be safe (and realistic) to say that most people do
not train at night and/or in low light conditions. Why is that? Primarily
because most people do not train much at all and most people do not do their
homework on when most attacks occur.

Awareness (mindset)

Whether or not you are disciplined enough to train on a
regular basis (empty hand or shooting) the primary skill you need to develop
is awareness. Ninety percent of the time awareness alone can prevent you from
facing a situation. But how many people truly practice and develop their
awareness skills? My guess is about just as many that practice drawing on a
daily basis. Awareness is the one of the few skills that you can work on
wherever you go and in everything you do. It kills me that people don't have
to spend a penny on the one skill that is most likely to keep them from harms
way, and yet they CHOOSE not to be aware! Do you realize just exactly how lazy
Americans are from what I just said? To be honest, a lot of people have the
mindset of, "Oh, it won't happen to me." Okay. but what is being aware costing
you and what could not being aware cost you? You see, awareness is a CHOICE.
You either choose to be aware or not to be aware. And not being aware serves
what good purpose in your life?! Sorry, I feel so strongly about awareness and
I could ramble on for quite some time.

A lot of my friends think that I am paranoid. I like to think that I have a
high level of awareness (Condition Yellow, borderline Orange). I guess it is
just a matter of perspective. Do you walk close to buildings at night or on
the roadside of the sidewalk? Are you looking into the dark entryways of
buildings, and/or are you looking at who is in a vehicle or between them? When
you are walking through a parking lot are you aware of people getting into and
out of their cars, and cars that are backing up or coming up on you from

Killing (mindset)

Another thing about mindset is "can you really take the life of another human
being"? Most people think they can take the life of another human being, but
when faced with the task many will hesitate when that time arises. It is so
easy to think that you can. I did for a long while. Now, I know that it is
either them or me and it is not going to be me if I can help it. I have family
and friends that want to see me and I want to see them. There is no way that I
am going to hesitate in taking the life Are you willing to do whatever it
takes to survive? You might end up with an eyeball or two on the end of your
fingers, or a chunk of flesh in your mouth. How far are you willing to go in
order to survive?

Skill and Tactics

How prepared are you for an attack? Do you carry your firearm wherever you go
and legally do so? Do you have unarmed combat skills to handle a situation for
those places you cannot carry your gun? How often do you practice drawing your
gun? Are you prepared to deal with multiple attackers? What about protecting
your loved ones that are with you and against one or multiple adversaries?

In my opinion skill and tactics go hand in hand. You need tactics from which
to build your skills. And skills come from the repetition of practicing your
tactics. Without either of them, you will not attempt to do anything in a
confrontation because you will not have the confidence necessary to try and
pull something off. However, you need realistic and practical tactics designed
for self-defense purposes. SWAT Tactics are probably not going to work in a
civilian situation. If you are good enough you might be able to make something
work. but let's be honest, most of us are far from where we need to be.

Honesty with yourself is something that you must have. Because without you
truly realizing where your skill level is right here, right now, you may never
advance to the next level where you need to be. I would say that the majority
of gun owners (probably close to 90%) never receive any formal training
because they are not honest with themselves about what they can and cannot do.
I finally got tired of people saying they could do "this" or "that" because of
their training or ego. So, I created a five minute video clip that we
call "The Challenge" which will humble you before it is over. You can go to our website and click on The
Challenge link. The purpose of the video is to get people (who have or haven't
received any formal training) to realize how much of a chance they stand
against someone who has a knife and is five feet away, and makes the first
move. In addition, our goal is to get people to understand that going straight
for your gun is not always the best option.

I am totally honest when I say there were no special effects used to speed the
attacker's movement up. To let the cat out of the bag, I am the attacker and I
did the drills several times as fast as I could at the age of 42. So, as if
the results of the video were not bad enough, someone who is younger and
faster. well. watch the video and you will see what I am talking about!


Well, you get what you pay for no matter what it is! You need the proper gear
for whatever you are doing. As far as carrying a gun, you need an accurate and
reliable gun. Personally, I am a die hard Glock fan. Unless you spend $375 or
more, then you are probably not getting a reliable gun. You need a holster
that will perform upon demand. Don't buy anything cheap! Spend the money for
crying out loud! If you can't afford it right now, then save your money for
something that is quality! The same is true with flashlights. Yes, you will
spend a small fortune to get going, but hey, isn't your life worth it?

Train hard, train often, and train realistically! All of which are equal value!

Brian K. LaMaster is a blackbelt in Kobudo and trains in firearms on a daily
basis. Brian is a certified NRA instructor and teaches Ohio CCW courses,
Advanced Pistol Fighting courses, and much more.

Mr. LaMaster is offering an Advanced Pistol Fighting Level II class at a discounted price as a fundraiser for Buckeye Firearms Association on November 3 - 4, 2007. The class is limited to the first 15 paid participants! Get complete details here.

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