The tactical mindset is a way of being that optimally prepares you for any dangerous or crisis situation through tradecraft logic and survival adaptation.
A tactical mindset, or warrior mindset, is crucial in combat, urban survival or any critical situation.
This mindset is about constantly pushing yourself and continuing to train your body and mind to be prepared and adapt. Knowing how to engage conflicts and be aware of issues before they become a problem.
A mindset isn’t just a motto or decree, it’s how you live your day-to-day life and apply it to your profession.
Awareness is one of the biggest components of survival. If you’re not aware of every single aspect of your surroundings, you’re suboptimal or at risk.
That means so much more than just knowing what’s around you. It’s taking those surroundings and dynamically calculating what could happen.
If you know an alleyway is coming up on your left, could someone jump out of it and attack you? If you see a fire escape on the apartment building to your right, could someone throw something down at you?
Understanding your surroundings at every single angle is crucial. You should feel like your body is on a swivel, and you can see things from a 540-degree perspective so you’re ready for anything.
Keeping an Edge
In addition to being aware of your immediate surroundings, you also have to be aware of your positioning. Are you always in the ideal position to respond to a situation and take action?
If you’re out in the open, something could happen to you from behind, or on either side, and would you be in a position to defend yourself or get out of the way?
Making the smallest adjustments to your position, even a step or two, can make a difference in your defensive or engagement capacity.
Obviously, you want to be as vigilant as possible. No one wants to get into a confrontation, and a true tactical mindset will always try to avoid a fight.
But, if it’s unavoidable, have an edge by making sure you have the better position whenever possible.
Ferocity When Necessary
Although vigilance is important, there is a time for fighting. Aggression. Offense. Combat. Kill.
If you’re being attacked, you can’t hold anything back.
A tactical mindset should give you the confidence and capability to counter that attack with ferocity. That means more than just trying to defend yourself.
If your life is on the line, you need to be willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive and get out of the situation. Obviously, if you have a weapon on you it becomes easier, and you should fight your way out of a grasp or lock as much as possible to reach it.
This mindset means knowing the proper time and scenario to injure or kill, engage or disengage.
If you’re unarmed, everything from kicking and punching to gouging your thumbs into your attacker’s eye can mean the difference between life and death.
Unarmed self-defense is an important skill, and even just learning a few basic moves with all the intensity you have will help you to feel confident and capable even when you’re not carrying a weapon.
Anticipate a Situation as it Unfolds
A tactical mindset allows you to constantly think ahead when you’re in a dangerous situation.
You should be able to visualize how that situation might unfold, so you can be a step or two ahead of an attacker or a crisis to engage it optimally.
For example, if someone is coming at you with a knife, how close will you let them get before you take action? If you’re in the middle of a crisis situation, what will be the final “trigger” before you decide to leave?
By playing out the evolution of a situation as much as possible, you’re more likely to make better, smarter choices. Not thinking ahead doesn’t give you time to make thorough choices at all. Instead, you’ll be forced to rely on your “fight or flight” senses, and that could land you in some serious danger.
So, while you might not be able to predict the future, it’s important to think about how a scenario might go, so you can be as prepared for almost any outcome.
In addition to understanding your triggers, you also have to find peace with what you’re willing to do under extreme circumstances. If it comes down to your life or someone else’s in an attack, are you willing to seriously injure them or even take their life?
These are things you need to settle within your own mind as soon as possible. You cannot hesitate in a crisis situation, especially when your life is in danger. Your personal beliefs and your actions need to align for your strategy to be effective.
Get Comfortable With Discomfort
Perhaps the most important aspect of having a tactical mindset is constant, consistent training.
Whether you train with others as a group, take tactical / combat classes, or work on your own physical and mental strength, it’s crucial that you never become too comfortable or complacent.
When you do, you’re more likely to slip up.
Continuous training will not only cement the tactical mindset into who you are, but it will make the components of that mindset second nature.
After a while, you won’t need to think about the different aspects of this mindset, because it will be integrated into you. It takes constant work.
That discomfort should be encouraging. It lets you know that you’re experiencing tactical growth.