Manipulating Bad Guys Mindset Part II

“If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”
Sun Tzu The Art of War

In Part I we looked primarily at the legal battlefield problems of stirring your adversary to anger.  In this post we’ll unpack how this is also a terrible idea on the physical battlefield.  We’ll also look at winning strategies on the physical battlefield and how we want to manipulate the bad guy’s mindset.

The late Col John Boyd, a military strategist who is touted as having changed the Art of War, gave the United States Military, business, and the rest of us winning fundamental principles.  Perhaps the most famous being the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act). Some have called this a decision making loop.  Boyd purportedly learned from interviews with retired German generals that words like offense or defense don’t really matter as much as a word like initiative.  Initiative is a winning principle!  Boyd taught in essence that a man or an army ought to “preserve our capacity for independent action.”  What does that mean?  It means we want to preserve our ability to act juxtaposed to constantly reacting.  When the timing is correct we begin acting in such a way that our adversary is constantly reacting. We use fast transitions which reset our adversary’s OODA Loop. That’s what getting inside his OODA Loop means to reset it in such a way that he’s confused because what he’s seeing or experiencing was not expected. For instance a robber turns in 90° simultaneously drawing, brandishing, or pointing his firearm (act) to begin dominating. But because he doesn’t immediately begin shooting at that point he’s in the decision making stage. When you initiate an unexpected transition he is instantly moved from deciding back to observe. Whatever that looks like it really needs to be unexpected. Unexpected things often cause temporary hesitation. So he sees and he’s striving to understand what he’s seeing or experiencing. That’s part of orientation. Before he can figure things out you’re transitioning again driving him hard and fast back down to observe. There’s an old saying ~ things speed up near the end. With a proper understanding of OODA things need to speed up which only serves to confuse him more. When done correctly he spends most of his little remaining time cycling through observe-orient, observe-orient, observe-orient. He begins to experience discouragement, despondency (losing hope), and ultimately despair (all hope is lost). Maybe he drops the gun, knife, or club at which time you cease defensive blows; or maybe he doesn’t. Time always tells the tale.

A few excerpts from Robert Coram’s book:

“Germany’s blitzkrieg attack against France in 1940 and the Israelis’ lightning fast raid at Entebbe Airport to free hostages seized by Uganda. In both instances the ability to transition quickly from one maneuver to another was a crucial factor in the victory.”

“Once the process begins, it must not slow. It must continue and it must accelerate.”

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

I have to make a distinction here.  Humilitas First teaches another principle that ties in, interconnects, and compenetrates with initiative and that principle is called relative superiority.  Think of this like a violent kind of momentum.  Relative superiority must be both achieved and maintained which means a person has to understand things like subject factors and weapon factors for an honest accurate assessment of what is needed to win the fight. For instance, if a woman small in stature were to try to defend herself with empty hand techniques (punches, kicks, etc) against a man of large stature who is bigger, faster, and stronger she would decisively lose that fight regardless of what myths Hollywood puts forth for our belief.  However, put a firearm in that same woman’s hand and she then has the capacity for independent action.  She can absolutely dominate and win a deadly force encounter against a man regardless of how big, fast, and strong her male adversary is.  Without the firearm she does have the capacity to seize the initiative and land a punch or two though her efforts would stall out and she would fail to achieve relative superiority.  To win the fight achieving relative superiority is required but it also must be maintained.  If the balance of violent momentum should shift back to the unjust criminal aggressor (in this hypothetical the man) then the man wins the fight.  Even with the great equalizer (a firearm) should the woman deliver one defensive shot and then stop no longer possessing the will to continue shooting the threat; she would fail to maintain relative superiority. The man could then close the gap, take the firearm, and do whatever he wants with her.  That is an example of the violent momentum or relative superiority shifting back to the unjust criminal aggressor.  

“Once the process begins, it must not slow. It must continue and it must accelerate.”

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

Looking at the physical battlefield, why would it be a terrible idea to provoke to anger a sociopath or psychopath (an unjust violent criminal)?  Criminals don’t care about social norms or laws.  They don’t have the same spiritual, mental, or emotional restraints as law abiding citizens.  Making an unjust criminal aggressor angry means he’s going to seize the initiative sooner.  If he’s also bigger, faster, and stronger or has friends then you are going to get seriously hurt or killed sooner thereby losing your capacity for independent action.  Is it a good idea to make your adversary afraid?  It depends.  For instance if I were to see a deadly force threat spinning up early enough to draw, present, and give loud verbal commands then I would do precisely that.  In many if not most circumstances proximity and time are going to be on his side because he gets to decide if and when he pulls out the weapon to rob you of your goods, freedom, or life.  There is also the question of whether the bad guy believes I have the fortitude to pull the trigger.  If he believes this is merely posturing then he may test that and make you pull that trigger.  Some bad guys will flee and some will make you prove it.  Now I’m talking about a situation where you clearly have the upper hand because you were in that rare circumstance where you were legally justified in brandishing or pointing your weapon at him and giving loud commands.  What happens when you don’t have the upper hand and he perceives you going for a weapon?  Your action is going to push him towards panic and his own action.  At this point we’re probably going to be in a gunfight at point blank range so we both may get shot and we both may die.  

If you plant the seeds for anger or fear in the mind of your unjust criminal adversary it is likely he’ll seize the initiative by acting violently early, first, and often.  With anger it will be due to his rage while with fear it will be due to panic.  The last thing that I want an unjust criminal aggressor with a weapon in his hands to do is to go first.  What emotion or mindset would I want an unjust criminal adversary to have at the time I initiate a vigorous defense?  If I have time & distance then I want to say or do things that cause confusion of mind. 

 “The LORD will smite you with madness and blindness, and confusion of mind.”  

Deuteronomy chapter 28: 28

One of the definitions of madness is a state of frenzied or chaotic activity.  If I can create some chaos which will be very distracting to him, that’s what I’m going to do.  For instance say a stranger follows one of my adult children home and now he’s confronting my child in the driveway.  I might activate the panic button on my parked car in the drive which causes the horn to incessantly sound which covers the noise of me opening whatever door he can’t presently see. If it’s nighttime the headlights and tail lights are also flashing creating this artificial frenzied and chaotic activity. This is not going to be within his set of expectations.  He’s having to observe frenzied or chaotic activity which will buys me time in his confusion (orientation) to move to a position to see his hands. Innocents can create artificial chaos and use that to their advantage in escaping, rescuing, or just winning the fight. Think of this like a poor man’s flash bang when circumstances permit.  Blindness in a self-defense sense works if I’m not the initial target. If I found someone to be highly suspicious guess where I’d like to be? Behind him. Legitimate self-defense or defense of others is not a sport – it is a matter of life or death. So I’m never going to seek a fair fight. Seeking a fair fight with an unjust criminal aggressor, sociopath, or psychopath is for amateurs, outsiders, and mere tourists. That is a gross error. I’d want to acquire a position where I can see him but he cannot see me.  In most dealings with unjust criminals the primary goal is confusion. Why? It’s going to be more common than you having the opportunity to use artificial chaos or superior rear positions when you’re transiting through society. In essence he’s studied the terrain, funnels, and choke points and you’re going to have react to things as he develops them. I want him in that place that he’s never seen or imagined and doesn’t know what to do next.  Why?  Hesitation.  There are opportunities to avoid or to win the fight within hesitations.  Time is a precious commodity in any kind of pending violent confrontation.  I’m looking to stack time my way even if it’s precious milliseconds or just a few seconds.  The farther out we can identify a potential pending problem the more time we have but in an urban area or inside of a building we’re talking about seconds rather than minutes.  

What if I don’t have time & distance?   For instance say I was distracted and didn’t see the potential threat developing or he is just that good at setting an ambush and now he’s three or four yards away turning to face me simultaneously drawing and presenting a gun which all happens in less than one second.  What now?  What do I want the bad guy thinking in that circumstance?  I want him thinking this robbery is going to go exactly like every other robbery, just another easy day.  In other words I’m initially complying.  I might comply the whole time and just be a good witness.  The criteria for that decision is too much for this post.  Suffice to say I want his mind to become complacent or overconfident so that he believes all is well and he lowers the gun from pointing at my chest or face to pointing at the ground.  He’ll want to do this to avoid witnesses seeing this and calling 911.  I just need to help him do what he already wants to do.  My initial compliance helps him do this. Why do I want him to be complacent or overconfident?  Because I’m looking to renew my capacity for independent action.  I’m looking to improve my situation so that I have the option of STOPPING the threat by simultaneously moving offline, drawing, presenting, and shooting thereby initiating a defensive surprise party.  Maybe I move left, right, and/or like a retreating Bill Drill. It depends. It depends on things like which hand he’s holding the gun with and the terrain find myself standing on.

“Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant,” Sun Tzu. 

Confusion buys a temporary kind of hesitation which stacks milliseconds in your favor.  If defense is the decision then the best chance I have of this ending as a shooting (not a gunfight) is to use surprise, speed, and violence of action.  These three make up the last of Humilitas First 12 Principles for Legitimate Defense.  When a violent attack cannot be avoided we want to seize the initiative.  We go first, second, and we go last! 

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