We have to admit that we spend a lot of time and energy preparing for the combat event. We rigorously train our minds and bodies for what we believe “could” happen to us.  When faced with the situation our training pays off ten fold. We move through our conditioned responses without conscious thought.  We subconsciously respond to the attacks and perform flawlessly.  We work through the stress and overcome the attack. In essence, we “WIN” the event.  But, our struggle does not end there.

We need to prepare ourselves for what happens after the combat event takes place.  Many would focus purely on the combat itself.  However, when we are forced to cause injury to another person it can have profound affects on us.  In addition to that post event stress, there is the physiological impact the stress itself had on our bodies.  We put fourth 100 percent of our combat abilities and fatigued our bodies completely. We may have even sustained sports related type injuries.

When we consider the aftermath of combat, we need to consider it all.  We need to give our bodies time to repair any damage suffered from the attack, or sustained by using our muscles to their maximum capabilities. Our response to the event can cause exhaustion as well as concerns about what we were forced to do.   Treating the body is the easier part of the recovery equation.  We need to consider how our mind responds to the event.

I submit that we need to think about the techniques we train on and their desired effect.  We need to accept the potential for injury and the significance of the injury. For example, when faced with a life or death situation we may choose techniques that can result in the death of our attacker.  We need to accept this before the event takes place.  If we don’t, they may have a more profound impact on us following the event.  For example, many officers in law enforcement have been forced to use deadly force against a subject. They make the right decision, use their firearm successfully, and the attacker dies as a result. Unfortunately, some officers do not consider this outcome and they experience great difficulty in dealing with the decision after the fact. This results in them leaving a career they loved.

I am not suggesting that we should want to seriously hurt or kill someone, but we must be “willing”.  We must prepare ourselves for the outcome. We need to understand the effect stress will have on us following the event and ways to cope with it.  Most importantly we need to be sure we accept that we do during combat is necessitated by the attacker and a direct result of the decisions “THEY” make.