Basically, when confronted with danger, our survival instincts demand that we get away. Generally that means run like a pack of Hell Hounds are after you! However, since running isn’t always an option, i.e. when you’re cornered or have someone to protect, we also have a part of our brain screaming at us to fight the attacker.
Generally speaking, unless you have good reason to stand your ground, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the “Run like hell” part.
And that’s fine, if you can get away, go for it. It’s never a good idea to be the tough guy who gets put in the hospital because of his pride, and in most areas, the law requires you to utilize every avenue of escape before self defense is viable in court. But there is one problem with the fact that we primarily want to run instead of fight, and that’s the fact that when we choose to (or have to) fight, we still have that voice in the back of our head screaming “RUN AWAY!” That’s, in large part, what makes us panic during a fight.
So what can you do about it? Well, here are two things I recommend.
The first is to learn some basic fighting skills, it doesn’t have to be fancy or difficult, in fact quite the opposite.
Just something that you can fall back on when faced with violence. Something that makes you feel like you aren’t just “prey” for the guy attacking you. I recommend something along the lines of Street Fighting Uncaged or Krav Maga Online. Both are highly effective but quick and easy to learn. And once you are comfortable with those techniques, you’re going to be a lot more confident in yourself!
The other way is to practice panicking and calming down, the idea being for you to get accustomed to feeling panic and learning to control it. Okay, sounds easy enough, just one problem… How do you get yourself to panic? Well, if you’re me just walk into a room with a giant spider. Bam! Panic city! But for all you non arachnophobic people out there, here is a simple exercise you can consider.
***WARNING! FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY! ATTEMPT AT YOUR OWN RISK! BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!***
Okay so this is fairly simple but a bit dangerous. You need to trick your brain into thinking that you are in danger; here’s how. Map out a large square to walk around (or go to the gym and walk around the inside perimeter), walk a lap normally just to warm your body up some. On your second lap hold your breath.
Keep holding your breath as long as you can. As your brain starts to be deprived of oxygen it’s going to start to panic. When you feel the panic, start breathing again. Obviously this can be dangerous. But you can get yourself a little used to the feeling, plus you start to associate stopping panic by breathing.