The Fallacy of Mindset

The Fallacy of Mindset
By: Gary Lewis /
Blue Line BJJ
Written: 03/31/18


The Fallacy of Mindset

The consistent theme that arises after any critical incident often revolves around one single point of analysis: winning or failing the encounter clearly and without question must have involved the individual’s mindset. The over reliance of mindset during any combatives training is a trap. When I hear mindset, I no longer envision the cop who is constantly visualizing during their shift downtime running scenarios through their mind can encounter to come up with the best practical solutions which they are capable of.

Capacity is key and a primary point that many within the law enforcement profession seem to miss or more than likely choose to ignore. A simple use of force involving a single resistive subject through a critical incident as we recently witnessed in Florida requires three components to absolutely dominate and win the encounter.

Equipment provides potential advantages by providing us with the right tool for the problem. From a ground defense problem is your duty belt set up in a manner that your hips are still capable of freely moving or do you have unnecessary equipment on your back. Tourniquets, chest seals, and combat gauze should be a standard carry item for every officer however unless you have the knowledge or capacity to utilize the equipment you are simply carrying needless weight on your person. Adequate equipment however will function should the other two components fall into place.

Capacity equates to your ability to train a skill set to a level of capability that during moments of overwhelming stress you can perform at your highest level. We have all heard the saying that you will not rise to the occasion but fall to your level of training. However, building capacity involves physical training in hand to hand skills, physical fitness, and weapons handling skills. Anyone can shoot a firearm fast by pulling a trigger, but hours of training provide you with the capacity to effectively utilize this piece of equipment while under less than ideal conditions. Our tourniquet has been proven to be the most effective immediate treatment to prevent an individual from dying because of excessive blood loss.  This equipment fails however if the individual does not build their capacity to utilize the equipment while under duress. Joking around in a sterile classroom is not pressure testing your skill set and knowledge of a potentially life-saving piece of equipment for yourself, your partner, or an innocent victim. Generally speaking the individual willing to put the time, money, and energy towards building their combatives capacity we would hope the mindset is in sync, however only test day will truly reveal the individual’s mindset.

Mindset. In many cases mindset is the false god. The weird shaped artifact in the back of the room that everyone worships, it makes us feel good, and we are never truly uncomfortable. Why? No one can judge, assume, measure, or test an individual’s true mindset if they never put themselves in a high-risk training regimen or scenarios. Simply placing themselves on the mats in a jiu-jitsu gym creates such a risk to their ego that their mindset will not allow them to step through the door. Mindset is a piece of the puzzle but cannot rule the day. My son’s hockey team this last weekend had a great mindset going into their tournament. Kids were excited to win, they spoke confidently and encouraged each other, their equipment is great, skates were sharp however they lacked the capability of scoring more goals than the other team. They really wanted to win but they failed to individually work on their ability to handle the puck, pass, and shoot hard accurate pucks pass the goalie to score a goal.

Mindset is a two-way street that somewhere in the development of the western culture has us believing it will save the day.  The cowboy in the white hat doesn’t always win draw however Hollywood made us believe that the good guy always wins. The good guy only wins if they have a capacity for violence through the result of disciplined training with their equipment that is greater than their opponents.  Maybe, discipline is the pre-test to prove an individual’s mindset.

Cecil Birch from Immediate Action Combative said it best in 2015, “This is the whole underlying idea that even if you have the right mindset, it will somehow, magically, give you the ability to defeat someone who has the initiative and more aggression and greater physical skills. Sorry to disabuse you of this, but mindset is not like spinach to Popeye. You don’t just ingest a swallow of it and are then able to thrash Brutus. It is not a magic pill or some special talisman. It cannot give you abilities that you don’t have in the first place. You are not the Hulk, and you need something more than anger to power you up” (

Do you have any thoughts or comments? Please visit Blue Line BJJ on Facebook to discuss. Thank you for taking the time to read this and be safe out on the streets.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely my own and are not to be taken as official views from the city or law enforcement agency where I work. Any techniques that are demonstrated or discussed are to be done at your own risk. Consult with your local district attorney and your agency policy before implementing anything learned on this site. Federal law, State law, and agency policy always trump my opinion.

Related Topics: Brazilian, Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu, JiuJitsu, Cop, Police, Officer, LEO, Law Enforcement, Corrections, Jailer, Training, Tactical, Courses, Seminars, Functional, Fitness, Police

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