Episode 4: Going Mental: Mental Model Application

In this episode, we provide greater color on the practical application of mental models. In personal protection terms, how it can affect your ability to prevail in a violent encounter. Remember, mental models, are comprised of your Individual Experiences, Cultural Experiences, and Institutional/organizational experiences.

We highlight a recent fight between two 14-year old girls in Brazil where one girl (or her mom, depending on where you source your information) brought a knife and used it to repeatedly stab and slash. This is a perfect example of mental models and getting inside your oppositions OODA loop. One girl was anticipating some type of fistfight; she came prepared for a fist fight; she entered into a fist fight. The other girl came prepared to prevail; she entered into a fist fight (showing the opposition what she anticipated); then she accessed and deployed a knife; she also came with her mother; her mother entered the encounter. The mental models of these two girls were in opposition. However, the girl armed with a knife and mother came better prepared. 


One of the best discussions on mental models I've heard can be found here:

The Fog of War by Chris Hicks

Fog of War slide deck

Mental Models are incredibly important. We could easily spend several podcast episodes covering them. What is critical to understand is the importance of mental models not only as representations of how you perceive the world but also how others perceive the world. This is your initial access point to operating inside your opposition or teammates OODA loop. 

Immediate Action Combatives "Biting to Defend against Triangle Choke"



As you can observe in the triangle choke video, mobility, specifically of the foot and ankle, hip and lumbar spine are requirements for both individuals. Given biting is not allowed in sport BJJ, we can safely presume the demonstration is directed to self-defense, which we can also safely presume if you find yourself in this position (either applying the choke or receiving the choke) you will be wearing shoes. Any shoe creates an external cage or brace to the foot and ankle significantly reducing ankle mobility and dexterity, in addition to impairing hip mobility. Next, the video literally shows the individual only attempting to use his jaw to "bite", no use of the hands, arms, or rest of his body. Clearly, this is bullshit, unless the individual is a quadriplegic. Since the individual has his left hand resting on his own left thigh, we know he is not a quadriplegic. Next, note how the position has to be perfectly applied, as verbally stated by Cecil AND how the opposition is only allowed to use his jaw when directed and then only after the leg is firmly clamped at or below the level of the jaw. Unfortunately, for the choker, your leg cannot teleport to this location and while it is moving into position, your opposition has ample time and space, as Cecil concedes, albeit reluctantly and hesitatingly, to bite. Of course, there are countless other issues with this particular example. Note, how there is no context in detailing how you arrive in a sport BJJ position. Let me ask you a question, how many street fight videos have you watched, either in person or on video, where someone pulls guard? Personally, I have not seen or watched a single fight where this takes place outside of sport or competition. And as we already know, in sport or competition biting is against the rules. What do rules create? Mental Models. What are we seeking to attack? The mental models of our opposition. Why does every sport fighter say their sport techniques will defeat any eye gouge, small joint manipulation, bite, etc. when the sport in which they compete makes each of these off-limits. 

USMC versus UFC 

Let's check out a group of professional UFC fighters taking on some Marines in combatives. Before we watch the video or even click the link, write down what you think will happen. Be as detailed as possible.

The key concept to take away from this breakdown is that you can attack the mental model of your opposition, whose belief structure (mental models) may not apply to the situation at hand. What is key to comprehend and internalize is that you cannot just practice techniques and tasks, you must understand processes that can be applied to the environment that is going on. The environment is constantly changing and the only way to succeed, to prevail is if your rate of adaption is equal to or greater than the rate of change taking place around you. Your techniques become the baseline in which you leverage off of. What will make you great is an ability to perform the basics better than anyone else. And when you can do the basics incredibly well, when you need to adapt, when you need to change the adaption or the use of those basics, because you know them so well, you can keep principles and priorities in place. You won't lose the forest for the trees. You keep the principles in place but adapt the techniques in which they are applied.

Winning in a Complex World, by Col. Jim Czarnik