Combat Confidence vs Competence



Combat Confidence vs. Competence, this is one of my favorite topics of conversation. Most people would rather talk a good game than actually walk a good game. This distinction is very important to me. In my experience this is exactly how people get themselves/others hurt, or worse, killed. A well rounded Operator has both of the big C’s (Confidence and Competence) in his arsenal of tools.

As a Combat Professional, nothing is worse than kicking in a door on the job, all the while thinking there is only one or two bad guys to deal with on the other side but then finding out that there’s more like four or five, surprise! These kinds of surprises suck and happen all the time! It is important to have your mind “set” the right way and hold a full range of skills to handle them. Unbalanced confidence and competence can totally misguide you and it’s far too easy to get really full of ourselves.

Let me make myself very clear, mindset is a massively huge part of getting the job done and it can get us extremely far. But if I had Combat-Confidence-vs-Competence-Article art 1the choice of a partner who had no skills with balls of steel over a partner who had skills but no guts, you’d bet I’d take the balls of steel any day. But in truth the best Operator will have a strong mindset to handle any kind of threat mentally along side massive skill to take him through any scenario and finish on top!
During our scenario based trainings at NLB, students go through many exercises under high pressure, full blown attacks. The combat encounter success rate is low. Frequently what the enforcement student says is, “I guess I’ve never really gone up against somebody with any street fighting skills”. This is where the truth is revealed and is the best educator.

What I’m pushing here is for you to go get training, real training and then go get some more real training with those high pressure scenarios. Whether it’s verbal judo, shooting, empty hand, situational de-escalation or evasive driving, you can never get too much reality training.

All the confidence and gusto in the world without full competence and skill to back it up can spell disaster for anyone. The reverse is true as well. If you’re lacking in the mindset department or your confidence and efficiency then get to work on it!

Take that one thing that you know of that if you improved on would make your combat effectiveness monumentally better. Go Combat-Confidence-vs-Competence-Article-art-2
afterit right now! Make a plan to get involved, enroll in a class, join a group, read some books, bottom line – take forward moving action towards achieving that goal no matter how small. You will find that generally improving one thing makes all other related areas better. Plus you will gain in the confidence area by taking control and getting yourself places.

So the better question now would be, does you’re competence MATCH your confidence? If not go get trained – simple and straight forward. With the right principles, strategies, tactics and team any battle can be won.


Stay safe, train hard!


Author Bio: Hank Hayes is a 37 year veteran of the combat arts and a senior instructor for both L/E and Mil. He is also the CEO of NLB Defensive Measures the inventors of No Lie Blades training knife and NLB combat systems.

No Lie Blades has a partnership with ADS and is offering shoot house combat courses at ADS in Pennsauken, NJ visit for scheduling.




1 comment

  1. Tye Davis September 11, 2014 4:27 pm  Reply

    As an ex military myself I can really appreciate the concept of this – I had the cockiness of young confidence in my pocket but the first time I had a chance to use that confidence, I swiftly had my ass handed to me. My attitude wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until I really trained properly and gained that hands on exposure that comes with time that I evened out and had those two big C’s your talk about carried with in. They are both crucial. Good stuff.

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