Thursday, May 14, 2009

How to Control Your Opponent's Mind with Hypnosis

Since I use hypnosis in my professional job, I am often asked by martial artists if hypnosis can be used to stop a physical attack. I say, "yes". But let me clarify by defining hypnosis for a moment. Hypnosis is not direct control of someone's mind, but can be a confusional control of the conscious part of your mind.

The conscious mind works in a step-by-step fashion and is based on logic. It tends to think in concrete terms such as black and white or on and off. So when it is presented with a Zen riddle, or koan, such as 'why is a mouse when it spins', it freezes for a moment because it doesn't make sense. This moment of freezing is a moment of confusion and your opportunity to defend yourself. Zen koans create what I call 'space in your mind.' Just like in self-defense you want your opponent to be off-balance (kozushi). This creates 'space' for you to apply your technique.

In hypnosis we use a lot of confusion and misdirection to help people who are overly rigid or analytical or who think they can't be hypnotized. I am going to teach you briefly how to do this for self-defense purposes. Just like any technique or kata you have to practice to become skilled at it.

There are three steps to this technique. The first step in the hypnotic self-defense strategy is to capture their attention. You can do this simply by acknowledging their existence or the fact they want to harm you. Then confuse them. The simplest way to do this is to ask a 'What if" question. For instance...a guy wants to beat you up while you're at your local pub. You look at him and say, "Okay" and then quickly say, "What if I just lie down here on the floor right now and it will look like you just beat me up...and I will say you did? Is that okay with you?"

This will freeze him for a just a second, then quickly switch to misdirection and change the focus. Continuing our example and before your assailant can answer, "Wait, maybe it would look better if I lie down over there (as you point to a space a few feet away). Let's clear away some of these tables and chairs and I can lie down here. Is that okay...or maybe we should wait and do this next Wednesday okay with you? How about 7 pm?"

By know your assailant is a bit confused. In this example, which happened in real life, the assailant, gave up, sat down and simply had a beer. He had just faced a master of kung fu and a PhD in Psychology, Master Stacy Shook. Master Shook is also a master of conversational hypnosis.

So, try these three steps. Come up with scenarios in which you can apply, 1. Get their attention, 2. Confuse, 3. Redirect. Practice in the dojo or at home with family and friends. See what happens.

Now this is probably the most important part of this post, so read carefully....

What shoe do you put on first?

Hands palm to palm,



  1. Hmm...I didn't know this was hypnosis. I've used variations of this in life. To stop a child's temper tantrum, to get out of a mugging, etc. Called it 'strategy'.

    Do you find that in the 'redirect' phase that you are able to 'tinker' with your subjects?

  2. Yes. The redirect phase is your opportunity to 'tinker'. This is when the subconscious mind is open to suggestion and change.

    I used these strategies years ago when I ran a group home that had behaviorally challenging residents. It works.

    Best advice is still to run when you feel a potentially violent assailant is confused rather than tinker too much. Confusion and redirection doesn't last real long.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Actually the real question is whether or not you're REALLY putting on a shoe. How do you really know...?

    Kidding, kidding~ I've done this before. Didn't know it was 'hypnosis', though.

  4. Yep. It's hypnosis. Confusion and redirection are quick trance inducers...but as I mentioned earlier, it doesn't last long, so you have to develop the timing to take advantage of that moment.