On Sunday April 5th, 2020, at 4 am in the morning, MMA fighter Anthony Smith found himself in the fight of his life to protect his wife and kids.
He went from being sound asleep to fighting an intruder a few seconds later who just wouldn’t quit no matter what was thrown at him.
What might sound strange is that he 6′ 4″, 230 lb, highly athletic, super conditioned fighter with 46 bouts under his belt had difficulty controlling a young kid that was 60 lbs less than him.
Watch Anthony’s interview with Ariel Helwani about the incident below – the first 15 minutes are the most interesting in my opinion.
Everything turned out OK in the end; Anthony and his family are OK, and the intruder ended up in custody.
But I found two things very striking in Anthony’s account of the incident…
1, Psychotic Strength
It’s hard to comprehend how incredibly strong people can be if they’re high on drugs, haveing a psychotic break, or both.
It’s like every inhibitory mechanism designed to a person from hurting themselves is gone. They feel no pain and literally have the strength of two or three men.
If this 165 lb untrained kid can take the best shots that a much larger MMA fighter can throw then how well do you think that pressure point compliance techniques are going to work in the same situation?
(Hint: they’re not! If you end up in a wrestling match then go for the choke instead.)
I’ve been involved in a couple of tussles like this myself, including one incident in which myself, three other firefighters and a cop were trying to wrestle a skinny-fat teenage kid to the ground. We succeeded, but the amount of strength and effort required on our part was crazy.
Forewarned is forearmed.
Expect attackers to be much, much stronger than you.
And and spend at least some time training with, sparring and tussling with the strongest people you can find so that this psychotic strength isn’t a rude shock if you ever run into it in a life and death situation.
2, Monitoring Other Variables While Fighting
If you watch the video you’ll hear Anthony share his thought process as he was fighting.
In the middle of the fight itself he was trying to figure out whether his attacker was armed, whether his 3 kids were OK, and what to do about a second intruder that they thought might be in the house.
I think Anthony’s decision making process was excellent given the circumstances.
The point I want to make here is that the ability to stay calm under pressure and keep on thinking is itself a trained reaction.
It’s only by putting in hundreds of rounds against full resistance that you gradually develop the ability to stay calm enough to think and make good decisions.
If you’ve never been under intense psychological stress in your training before (most easily and reliably generated by sparring) then under pressure you’ll either probably fold or get tunnel vision so badly that you won’t be able to keep an eye on the big picture.
You need to learn how to handle and harness adrenaline dumps before it’s life and death.
Anyway, watch at least the first half of this video – it’s a fascinating study in survival and decision making.