After going to combat more then once I can tell you that it’s a rush of a lifetime. There is no greater adrenaline rush on the planet. It can makes you more alive and focused in that moment then you ever thought possible. It’s a weird feeling that most of us wouldn’t mind again, and things about that moment that we would like to live on in other parts of life.
In combat you have a sense of purpose that you’ve never known before and would like to continue. Your mission, your friends, and your life are the only thing. We want that sense of purpose in our life, but in reality the world gets in the way; jobs, kids, cars, spouse, friends, acquaintances, and others all pull us away from a sense of purpose that was in combat. Then the most frustrating thing for me is too many people want the most worthless crap dune for no reason (can you say TPS reports from the movie Office Space?).
We also want the responsibility and the prestige of it back. The responsibility gave you something more then yourself to worry about. It was you and you alone that were going to either survive or not. Everyone that was going, has gone, or will go into combat gives you a tremendous amount of respect that makes you feel on top of the world. I went to a Marine Corps dinner a month after I got back and it was a room full of retired Marines that had all fought throughout the world (you had to have seen combat to get in the room). There was a WWII Marine that wanted to meet me and I found out that he had fought on Iwo Jima, Peleliu, and one other island in the Pacific. After talking for a minute he offered to buy me a beer and we argued about who should buy whom a beer. He won when he said that I was one of the best Marines there has ever been for what we accomplished during the invasion of Iraq. I was dumbfounded and couldn’t speak. Here was a war hero of mine calling me the best there has ever been. I still think I should have bought him a drink, but this is the prestige that comes with combat. Not just normal people (you are all important to me), but from people that are my heroes, people that did historical things and arguably saved the world show me respect.
One of the things I’d like to get back from the combat high was a laser focus on what was going on at the time. There was one thing and nothing else mattered. There was no “task management” or “multi tasking” or acceptable distractions. It was the culture of everyone around you. When it was work time, it was work time. If your job was to guard the door, you had better not let your eyes off the door. If you did someone would give you a not so nice reminder of what your job was in that moment. Focus is one of those things I seem to lack now that I have a “real job” in the “real world.” Our culture is full of distractions that everyone seems to want and says is what you should do.
The high of combat is incredible, the scariest and most exciting thing you could ever do. There is no greater adrenaline rush, no greater thrill, and no bigger moment then being in combat. In the moment there is no past or future, only the present. The consequences and prizes are simple, mission accomplishment and life or death. That is all.
After combat it’s hard to do anything. It takes time and practice to learn to do anything else. It also helps to have people around that support and understand you. My Marines where a great help and my wife was incredible.
Why am I going through all this for you? If you are ever in a gun battle or a true life or death self defense situation you’ll get a combat high. Then you’ll have to deal with it just like the rest of us.
How’d I deal? At first it was fast cars, then faster motorcycles. Didn’t catch the same rush, but the bike got me to that same sense of focus when I laid into a turn at triple digits. I tried for it through work. None of my careers came close to the importance of what I did and the people I did it with. So five years later I went back to Iraq for some trigger therapy. It worked and it didn’t, but I sure had fun working as a contractor.
I’ve found my purpose in life, my way to make a difference and it’s this web site. I’m teaching self defense to anyone that will listen. I want to change the evening news. I want every good person in the world to be able to defend themselves from the evil people in the world. I want to make a difference and cut the violent crime rate down around the world. It’s slow going, and will take decades, but I’m enjoying the hell out of it!