Seems simple enough - keep a clear head. When faced with a life-threatening situation, it is easier said than done. The martial arts instill control of self -emotion. Regardless of whether you train in a martial arts discipline or not, it takes practice and repetition.
Being alert to possible threats allows you to have more time to avoid the situation completely. Avoidance is always the best course of action if possible. If the threat is unavoidable, the bit of extra time allows you to make a good decision followed by decisive action against the threat. Situational awareness is important; your self-defense is not complete without being prepared.
Mentally, you need to control the situation. If you are completely prepared and thinking clearly you may be afforded enough time to allow the bad guy to make a mistake. This is especially true if you are in familiar surroundings such as your home. If an intruder broke into your house and you were able to get your family together in one room and call 911 - YOU would be in control. There would be no need to clear the house and take on the intruder. The outcome would be either that the police come and take control of the situation or that the intruder makes a mistake in an unfamiliar environment. If the bad guy's mistake is stumbling into the room where you hunkered down with your defensive weapon, YOU are still in control.
Possessing a thorough grasp of your state's laws about self-defense also give you an edge. During a defense of self and family is not the time to ponder what amount of force is legally justified. Instead of wondering about legal ramifications, you can focus on your personal safety and react appropriately.
If you have trained with us, you know how many times we repeat how stress will affect your ability to use fine motor skills, see, and think. The frequency of your training as well as the realism of the training will carry you through these difficult scenarios. Muscle memory is an amazing thing. However, it does not come without repetition.
Remember combat efficiency. We do not teach our students to hit little 10 rings low on the body. Center of mass - as fast as you can. The ability to make life-saving decisions while under extreme stress will save your life and factor in to the positive outcome of a life-or-death situation considerably more than your shooting ability or your physical size.
Jim Benoit's thoughts on guns, gear, & training
CAJUN ARMS & TUSCARORA TACTICAL TRAINING
WEST CHESTER, THOMPSONTOWN, PA