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Self-Permission and Intent

One of my law enforcement officers in class had expressed to me one of his fellow officers who trained had expressed he acquired anxieties in regards to his occupation. He had also expressed this stems from the negative experiences he had before (i.e. violent arrests, etc).

What I am talking about today isn’t new, but there is a deep necessity for it to be mentioned and to reference when you train. If you want to know more, pick up a Rory Miller or Gavin De Becker book and learn more about the science of violence in reference to Self-Permissions. It’ll change your life. My goal is to describe how physical (physiological), emotional, psychological and mental readiness (or lack thereof) of self-permissions are affected and how barriers hinder our abilities to make choices. I will also discuss how to improve on these for the sake of our own preparedness and peace of mind.

Please note this is a culmination of what I have learned and how I have connected the dots in my experiences and learning. Other views may be different than mine, but the punchline of this post is simply put: Train for the appropriate context of your life. If your training is not conducive to your lifestyle, there will be a disconnect between the two and your “trained” skills (which is violence done in theory) will not apply in real application.

PHYSIOLOGY: The pressurized-vulnerable feeling during a frozen moment

PRESSURIZED: Ever been bullied or witnessed a bullying? What about stage-fright? Let’s describe. Palms are sweaty, knees weak arms are heavy… The 8 Mile reference is funny and all, but those are physiological reactions and manifestations of the nervousness you feel. So when you train, TRAIN YOURSELF TO GET YOUR HANDS UP AND CLOSE TO YOUR CENTERLINE because when you’re nervous your arms get real heavy and your reaction time will need all the advantages it can get!

VULNERABLE: In the same scenario of bullying, the most often occurrence is when the bullied gets angry but doesn’t do anything. When the unfortunate event is over, there’s a lot of pent up energy and guilt of not being able to do anything.

These two factors combined are a result of a betrayal of what’s right in the victim’s eyes. In a perfect world, we are all good human beings and we all don’t think acts of evil should be in existence.

Improve your Training: Stress tests are important no matter what you do for training. Test your mettle, train in the red zone and focus on improving yourself technically during fatigue.

EMOTIONAL: Betrayal of What is Right

The best comparison I can make without going into sexual assault (which opens up a can of worms) is this. If you are in your mid to late 20’s and 30’s and have been in a bar setting before, there would be a chance that you’ve seen a creep grab a young lady’s behind as she was passing. One of two things happens she either: 1.) Yells at the creep (possibly hits him) or 2.) Stares him down and does not do anything. The second example is a result of a betrayal of her ideal worldviews of what is right and lack of giving herself the self-permission to be aggressive and confrontational for his disgusting actions. Think of it this way, this girl was probably molded by society to be prim and proper and she has probably heard this saying countless of times, “Be a good girl.” While society has groomed her for an altruistic view, the creep has been groomed to get away with mischief and has probably been hearing “boys will be boys” all his life. There is something wrong with that right?

Improve your Skill Set: Allow yourself to say no. Easier said than done, but you know when you made plans with some friends to hang out on Friday but you suddenly don’t feel like it? Give yourself the opportunity to tactfully reject the invitation. Remember, this self-permission is a muscle you have to exercise this to let it work at a conscious and unconscious level without having feelings of guilt get in the way.

PSYCHOLOGICAL AND MENTAL: Self-Permission met with Intent

There is NO GUARANTEE that bad things won’t happen, what is guaranteed is that WE WILL ALL experience hardship some time in our lives. Consider the girl in the last example; without the proper preparations of self-permissions and intent, she is likely to experience a type of post-traumatic stress response. A few examples are re-experiencing the same feelings of guilt from being a victim, being distant and unattached in a social setting, etcetera, etc. With the right preparation, self-permissions and intent, these negative effects of unforeseen events are less impactful in a negative manner.

I define Self-Permission as the internal ability to allow one’s self to take action. In context, also allows one’s self to give himself or herself significant worth or value. You know that feeling when you’ve been good eating meal prep all week so you’re going to reward yourself by having that cheesecake on Friday night without guilt? That’s self-permission. Treat yo-self’.

To do something with Intent is to do something in a purposeful manner. Now think of eating that same cheesecake with the intent of enjoying it…slow and small pieces on your fork or large mouthfuls, you plan on enjoying every second right? THAT’S INTENT.

Improve your Well-Being: 1.) Train for the negatives. Allow yourself to be in a static environment (like in self-defense class) where you are at the disadvantage and be the hero of your own story. In these situations, There are two outcomes to give yourself: To win or to learn, and not fail. 2.) INTENTIONAL SELF-PERMISSION (duh!) In our school, a tell-tale sign I see of beginners not giving themselves permission is when they look fundamentally sound punching a pad then they paw at their partner during self-defense. Another one (a pet peeve actually) is when they punch the shoulder as a compromise. The shizz doesn’t work people, this change starts from within the mind!


Train with intent. Your assailant has made the decision to hurt you and if you are physiologically, emotionally, psychologically and mentally unprepared you will have a harder time adapting and overcoming these negative experiences.

Give yourself permission. Give yourself the affordance of telling yourself you are WORTH getting home safe at any expense regardless of other people’s opinion. Including mine.

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