In isolating what makes violence effective, you can clearly see that debilitating injury is key. It changes everything in your favor and converts that awful, scary man into an injured man, helpless to keep you from causing further harm. Cause injury is the result of penetration (body weight in motion) and rotation (the complete follow-through) through a vulnerable piece of anatomy. Again, this can be clearly seen in video evidence of successful violence. (As well as accidents in which people collide with people and people collide with the ground.)

Tim Larkin Quote - Intent to Cause Harm

But something’s missing from that seemingly perfect equation: the way that successful person gets it done. He’s not timid, he doesn’t dance around, he’s not scoring points, or behaving as if he’s worried he’ll be countered, or even killed. He goes in like the result is a foregone conclusion.

How do you define that?

We also knew how we would do it.  He would plow in, focused above all on getting that injury, not stopping until we got all the injuries we wanted. Was it the same thing we were seeing in the videos?

Again, how to describe this so others can do it too, not just the insane and the highly trained? Is it “confidence?” “Pure offense?” We’ve used both of those descriptors in past training, with varying degrees of success — “confidence” clicked for some, “offense” clicked for others. Still, both had almost metaphysical connotations for most, providing not a ramp to success but a speed bump.

We settled on intent. As in, “intent to cause harm.”

This felt like the cleanest, simplest way to express what we could see in the videos and feel for ourselves when we worked.

Intent is wanting this:

Hyperextension of knee during rugby

… to the exclusion of all else.

Now, this unfortunate image is not showcasing intent (one would hope) to cause injury. It’s purely a picture of gut-wrenching injury. It’s unambiguous, it’s horrible, and it’s what you have to want more than anything in order to survive. When you go after a man’s knee, this is the result you have in mind, and you won’t be happy with anything less.

This is what the sociopath wants, and it’s what he’s gunning for when he comes after you. Maybe not a broken knee specifically, but a broken something. A broken anything. He knows nothing changes in his favor until he gets it. So he goes straight for it. No fighting stance, no blocking, no engagement, just straight to cause injury. And he gets this idea not from a book, or meditation, or mental exercises… he gets it from the simple realization that he doesn’t have to do anything more complicated than “hurt people” to get what he wants.

Intent is making a beeline for the desired result. In violence that result is injury.


Tim Larkin

Self-Protection Expert & Founder of Target Focus Training
Author of When Violence Is The Answer

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