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A written episode of colton's hand-t0-hand combat podcast


The Life Line

If a man calls me names, I smile. If a man screams and kicks in the street, I laugh. If a man throws rocks at my house, I call the cops. It's their job to reprimand the world, not mine. But, if a man is threatening my life and/or the lives of my family or friends, and I believe he is capable in the moment of following through with his threats, I flip the switch and turn on my 'Killer Instinct'. I don't show it externally. I simply define the line, within the numerous variables available to me, and focus my intention 100% on ending the conflict. I decide that no matter what - no matter if my nose is broken, my head is cracked, my lifeline is less than a minute from running out - I am going to take the assailant out of commission. Do I mean kill him? NO!  It could be necessary, but highly unlikely. I define this as 'Killer Instinct' - in actuality, it means to Execute the Threat (ETT), no matter the cost.

It's a very simple mindset.  People commonly believe fighting is an agreement to 'brawl'.  But, to a hand-to-hand combat technician there is no such thing. Brawling is for people with egos. We have none.  It's through this psychological stillness that we've already determined our intent - to Execute the Threat.  And, to do so only within reason.

The ability to turn off ego/fear/distractions and move forward toward the annihilation of an imminent threat is the most important attribute in your training. If you grasp this concept and commit fully to ETT, while living the simple RMA (Reality Martial Arts) truth that in the street there are no rules, you will be close to invincible.

In his teachings, Tony Blauer shares a story about a man whose farm house was broken into by a lunatic with an axe. The man instinctively grabbed the weapon with his bare hand, which ultimately deformed it.  But in the process, he was able to disarm the assailant, who fled. A psychologist later interviewed the farmer and asked, "What led you to grab the axe with your bare hand?"  The man replied, "I knew that as long as I held onto the axe that it wasn't going to be hurting my family." Very simple. Very powerful. And innately in tune with Executing the Threat.

'Killer Instinct' may require sacrifice. I'll go further to add that the ultimate 'Killer Instinct' is peace with death. Scary thought? I know, but keep the cup empty.

The greatest commitment to ETT is the willingness to lose one's life. And so I'll ask you, are you willing to lose your life to protect it and those you love? Kind of sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I'll say it again, are you willing to LOSE your life to PROTECT IT and those you love? The choice is yours. It's one I made about three years ago. And, the answer for me is yes.

I stumbled upon it when Richard Ryan introduced me to a concept entitled Worst Case Scenario (WCS).  He believes we should train for the Worst Case Scenario under any and all circumstances. If we agree that the psychology of a fight is of utmost importance, then it seems we should also agree that the WCS, when contemplating the extent of 'Killer Instinct,' is the ultimate manifestation of that - the ability to sacrifice one’s own life.

I’ve spent many nights alone in the studio wondering what it means to fight. I believe we must have a desire to live. Acceptance of death is not the same as the desire to die. We don't have the desire to die - I hope no defender ever does -but, if we are at peace with our choice, then I believe we can truly live in the moment of the fight as we face our greatest fear… death.

This commitment should NOT invoke recklessness, nor promote old concepts such as the idea of suicide to remedy loss of honor as the Samurai once believed. It should arouse CLARITY. Place yourself above the chess match and see what needs to be done to win the game – without worry of sacrifice. Winning is surviving, while protecting those we love. And if surviving isn't part of the equation, it might be that winning is just protecting those we love. Regardless, it doesn’t matter because we've already faced and trained for the WCS.

Take this peace with death and point it toward the one who is looking back at you with a hunger to own your lifeline, while possessing the desire to prevent that from happening wholeheartedly.  When you commit to this, you will have achieved the ferocious, but humble 'Killer Instinct.'

In order to prepare for this commitment, in your mind, propose situations in which you'd be willing to sacrifice your life. Know where your line is. Know when and why you'd be willing to cross it. My commitment to warrior-hood has to do with more than my self-defense practice. It’s how I live on a daily basis. That's my choice as a man. I would die for my word. That's why I do not lie, I do not cheat, I do not steal because if I did and was confronted then I would be willing to lose my life for it. To me it's the purest form of life, and the most honorable.  Even if you choose not to make the same commitment with yours, the fact that you have now considered your line between life and death makes you that much more dangerous to the predator. And that's key! Rather than being the hunted, become the hunter.