The Will to Win in Self Defense (without the fortune cookie philosophy)

The Will to Win in Self Defense

The Will to Win in Self Defense

I’m going save you a lot of time and aggravation.

The sooner you come to this realization the better off you’ll be. 

I don’t talk about this in public too much, only to Elite Members, but it’s the one thing that anyone who has survived an attempted rape, assault or homicide has done and now I’m going to share it with you. 

The difference between winning and losing in the street, between success and failure, between LIVING AND DYING is…


I’m not talking about “If life gives you lemons make lemonade”  or any of that hello kitty crap – I’m talking about your will to do what EVER is needed to survive

In other words, if life gives you lemons, you take those f#cking lemons and ram it down their throat and into their eyes while you stomp a hole in them!!!!

The sooner you allow yourself to “go to that dark place” the greater your chance of survival. 

When you train you need to get “pissed off” to the point of BLIND BLOOD LUST

Now I know this is not how normal civilized people behave. 

But if you want to survive in this “game” you need to “Flip the Switch”

What does flip the switch mean?

Think of yourself as the family watch dog.

That dog can play ball with the kids, but as soon as something is wrong he goes into battle mode.

When it’s all over and everyone is safe…he goes back to playing with the kiddies. 

No PTSD, no anxiety – just compartmentalize it and leave it. You did what you had to do…nothing more, nothing less. 

That dog has the ability to switch from one thing to the next. This is something many of us humans can’t do – especially if you’re not used to dealing with violence on a regular basis.

So today I want to give you a a simple mental training exercise we do in the SDTS  I’m going to tell you how to do it. 

Try this before your next training session….

Picture the one thing you care about most on this planet. It doesn’t matter if it’s your wife, husband, kids, parent, gold fish or dog – the one thing you care about. Think about it and how much you care about it. 

Next think of your worst nightmare – I mean the biggest, baddest ex-con psycho you can image…now picture him about to hurt the one thing you care most about in this world. 

Now think of yourself FAILING. 

You’re helpless watching that person you love becoming a victim of your worst nightmare in the WORST WAY. 




Let those feelings sink in and tell yourself – You NEVER want to feel them again. 

Now let that go….Breathe and relax.

Take 5 deep breaths and let it go – clear your mind…

Now think of something you did where you were 100% successful. 

It could be anything from a sport, a game of cards, baking a cake, work – anything you did that came out perfectly. 

Remember how it felt…the pride, self worth and satisfaction. 

Remember that YOU did something perfect and YOU will do it again. 

Now go back to your worst nightmare. 

Go to that dark place, see it in front of you. 

Now you’re not going to sit by ant watch – YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE ACTION!!!

You are doing WHATEVER is needed to end it. 

You don’t want to feel the frustration, the pain…the GUILT!

And you don’t have to because…You have been successful before and you will be again, NOW!

Attack, attack, attack – don’t let that feeling of failure and frustration creep in – you have been successful, you will be successful. 

Turn it over…OWN IT.

Move forward. DO IT.


Now go Train… Honestly, 

Damian “Will to Win” Ross
The Self Defense Company

PS. What’s the opposite of FEAR? 

It’s not bravery, or courage – those are used to describe heroic action

The opposite of FEAR is LOVE. 

Love of self, love of family, love of country, love of brother.

Love is what makes good teams GREAT.
It’s caring about the person next to you that motivates you to move past fear and be successful.

DON’T FORGET THIS – it will save your life.

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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. “You’re helpless watching that person you love becoming a victim of your worst nightmare in the WORST WAY.



    …You have been successful before and you will be again, NOW!

    Attack, attack, attack – don’t let that feeling of failure and frustration creep in – you have been successful, you will be successful.”

    I don’t think that I have any additional questions about knife defense, if you get my point. Going to the dark place and effing up anything and everything in front of me. Then turn to a human being again.
    Thanks Damien!

  2. Thanks Damian. Many of my CCW students get to me after they’ve survived a serious bare hand attack – CA still needs “good cause” to issue the license. Yes, backwards. It’s fascinating to observe some huge men (who have never faced violence) struggle with flipping the switch, while petite women (who have been victimized) can go tasmanian devil in a micro-second. One dose of reality makes the difference. This is a good alternative to beatdown.

  3. Excellent imagery-feeling mind training to engage and connect heart-brain neuronal pathways so that we can quickly “unleash” the raw power of our self-defense skills If and WHEN needed. Extreme fear results in either Freeze, Flight, or Fight. “Freeze” will likely result in our own and/or loved ones’ injury or death during a serious situation. So it is essential to learn the time tested techniques of the SDTS, but Mind, Body, Heart, and Spirit training all work together for the best result! A great post Damian!

  4. Spot on Damian. This is my philosophy too and what I teach my daughter and granddaughter, even when little, and women friends. Have found it very difficult for them to wrap their heads around the necessary mindset mode though and it worries me. Thanks for this post to back me up in what I teach them.

  5. I like your post a lot. However, is it reasonable for me to go into total bear rage and completely beat someone to a pulp if they are just playing the stupid bully and shoving me? Is that not an over-reaction? Is there any place for a graded self-defence in your opinion – or is it always ‘Go to 11!’

    1. Phil, if you see an unknown person(s) with unknown intentions approaching you (especially in a vulnerable area), would you allow him or them to get close without establishing a boundary and/or increasing the distance away from them? If you wait to discover his or their true intentions, it may be too damn late. Situational awareness and avoidance are #1 self-defense skills. If you have given strong signals (by verbal commands and hand gestures) for them to STOP their approach, AND they continue towards you, “it could get bad, real quick”, so we MUST act. In such a case, prudent self-defense logic requires us to run to escape (if possible), and if not, then to “pull the trigger” with preemptive defense tactics that give the best survival odds, remembering to run and escape whenever you have the opportunity. The SDTS provides important details on these essential skills that I never received in my past formal martial art trainings.

  6. @Phil – The answer to your question is covered in SDTS module 1.

    Training doesn’t turn you into a mindless machine there are a few factors that will indicate what is appropriate.

    Situational awareness dictates the foundation of your action – are you at a dinner party or an empty parking lot?

    Is the target someone you know or a stranger?

    Finally, let’s talk about that innocent “push”… any time there is physical contact you run the risk of getting seriously injured and NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO PUT THEIR HANDS ON YOU.

    While the intent may not be overly malicious…it still can and will happen –

    The Defendant responded by pushing the plaintiff who fell down, struck his head on the ground, and suffered a permanent brain injury.”

    Barroom Push leads to accidental Death in Philidelphia

    Homeless man pushes stranger to death

    You need to understand this, any time you let someone use force on you you increase your chances of getting seriously injured or killed.

    Now back it up (and let’s talk REAL SELF DEFENSE – not the nonsense that the attack starts at the push)


    A puff of smoke – did they materialize in front of you and push you?

    Of course not – a series of events occurred that CREATED this situation and a lot of that is going to dictate your response.

    How much latitude you give them – is how much risk you’re willing to take.

    “I didn’t mean to kill him” is often heard from many a defendant.

  7. Thx Damian. I like many, was indoctrinated with all kinds of “specific grab defenses” during my formal training, many of which were impractical, too complex, assumed too much about your attacker, unable to accommodate different body characteristics and the many ways we might be grabbed or shoved, so just too high risk to execute in a serious stress situation. Thanks to your pragmatic training, I was able to shed those dangerous ideas, and am never, ever, going to allow anyone to grab me if I can avoid it. If not, and if the situation requires, I will pound the shit out of them from the onset. Too bad that some did not learn to keep their hands to themselves. Your lesson on this topic alone was the best I had ever received from a multitude of past black belt instructors, and one of the best ways to avoid and survive an assault if at all possible! You have all my complete respect and gratitude!

  8. “The training is nothing! The will is everything! The will to act.” Liam Neesom as Ras Al Ghul.

  9. Absolutely correct, you MUST flip on the crazy switch or all the training in the world won’t be of much help.

  10. So accurate. Thank you for sharing. Mindset is more important than any technique, strategy, strike, or weapon. Don’t believe me? How many times have you heard about someone (maybe a woman, 49 years old, 5′ 2″ 110 pounds) with no training or experience surviving a rape or attempted murder? It was mindset. The will to survive no matter what. To get back to family.

    I think all who train in SDTS should see this before they even begin any of the modules.

  11. Mr. Ross,

    I truly appreciate the act of publishing information so pertinent in this age and time.
    I also appreciate the fact that you monitor the comments AND respond when required.
    From what I have learned, your courses are a MUST for almost anyone.

    I am, (and always will be, a United States Marine), and a former Chicago police officer.
    Even with the training that I have received, I am still interested in learning more about your courses.

    Thank you for what you do!
    Wanting to learn more…. Stan G.

  12. All excellent except:


    Now what colour did you think of?

    Why? In terms of self-talk linguistics, the subconscious mind does not register a negative, as in the example of ‘DON’T’.

  13. Couldn’t agree more. Just as in real-estate it’s all about “location, location, location”, so in real-life
    physical confrontation it is all about “mindset, mindset, mindset”…but a bit of luck on your side does
    not hurt either ;) Andre

  14. Thanks for the great advice Damien,it’s not fun being in that type of situation,but i know i do have a bad temper at times,thats something i need to control better.

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