Devastating Force with Pat McNamara

Pat McNamara is the quintessential soldier and warrior who served at the highest levels of special operations within the U.S. Army. He continues to teach and train in combatives and has made some of the defensive tactics he learned in the military accessible to a wide range of students. He’s like WWE and a good glass of bourbon all wrapped up in the American flag. 

Our friend Clint Emerson, New York Times best-selling author of 100 Deadly Skills and Escape the Wolf, met with Pat to learn how we can arm ourselves to defend against attackers and protect ourselves and our families against aggressors.

De-escalation As Defense Tactic

pat mcnamara punching dummyPat is highly experienced in combat situations and isn’t afraid of a fight, but he still stresses the importance of de-escalation when faced with a confrontation. Don’t underestimate your aggressor.

“You’re first priority is risk avoidance and conflict resolution,” McNamara says. “You don’t know who this guy is. He could look like the biggest sissy in the world but can be an absolute sociopath and jack you up.”

Maintain Zone Awareness. Are you in range of their fists? If you’re maintaining a three meter bubble, then you’re keeping space for reading the situation and reacting. Within this three-meter bubble is when aggressive action might become necessary.

Police Interview Stance. He recommends the non-aggressive posture: what he calls the police interview stance. This puts your body into a combat-ready position without broadcasting aggression. Hands up in front of your face. “Look, look, I don’t want any trouble.”

Obvious Side Step. Following the non-defensive stance, McNamara trains his students to take a sideways step as a form of psychological warfare. This lateral move, which puts you at an angle against the aggressor, often will signal to them that you’re going to be a difficult target. “I’m putting a bug in their head. A human predator is just like a predator in the wild. He does not wanna try to attempt to take prey down that could present him with a true fight.”

Read Their Body Language. Determine from their body language, position of their hands and feet, and facial expressions how determined they are to attack. But even if they seem to be backing down or changing their mind, don’t let your guard down until the threat is clearly gone.

Use Devastating Force

An attack or street fight is not a sparring match. Within split seconds an attacker can knock you out or beat you into the ground before taking your belongings. When aggressive action seems absolutely necessary, be prepared to use it. 

In the video you’ll learn:

  • The importance of boxing to train zone awareness.
  • How to throw devastating punches using hip rotation.
  • The powerful effect of a 90-degree forearm block to manage an aggressor’s distance.
  • The devastating impact of a punch to the sternum, solar plexus, and kidneys and the importance of a front kick.
  • When to use lethal force. “You have to be sure that lives are in danger before using lethal force.”
  • And of course the critical importance of training all of this until it’s automatic when it’s needed most.

Pat McNamara kicking combat dummy“You have to practice with smooth, meaningful repetitions,” McNamara says. “This adds skills to our ‘hard drive’ that we can access on a subconscious level when we need it. The best fighting style is the one you’re best at. What matters at the end of the day is ‘Can you deliver with this?’”

McNamara reminds us that “just because you have a weapon doesn’t mean you’re armed.” It’s knowing when and how to use appropriate force that makes you combat ready. That requires the disciplines of training your mind and your body.

To watch Clint Emerson’s full interview with Pat McNamara and other defense experts, subscribe to the Warrior Poet Network.

Be on the lookout for more warrior profiles on our blog.