Psychological Preparation

While your primary focus should be to prepare physically for an impending vampire attack, your opponent may also wage an intense psychological battle during your engagement. This is particularly true if the creature is a member of the Seducer vampire sect, feels at risk of being defeated, or simply looks to entertain itself by manipulating its opponent prior to finishing its attack, much like a feline will toy with its prey prior to killing it.

As intense as a physical confrontation can be against the undead, a mental assault can be just as traumatic.  Members of the undead who are adept at using psychological tactics against their opponent often spend decades researching, studying, and analyzing the human psyche in order to find the optimal way to subdue their victim merely by conversing with them. Many will employ techniques used by the medical community, such as psychotherapy, neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and psychiatric training in order to achieve their objective. Some will go to great lengths to gain advanced proficiency in these skills, obtaining doctorate-level educations in these fields simply to become expert manipulators of the human condition.  Just as you need to condition your body to withstand a vampire’s physical assault, you must steel your mind in order not to fall victim to its cerebral attack. Following are recommendations to prepare your mental state prior to and during an undead engagement.

  • Trust Your Instincts — a difficult aspect of mentally preparing for a vampire attack is the fact that you could live your entire life without encountering one.  It is imperative, however, that you maintain an awareness of your surroundings, operating under the probability that you may someday be attacked. This low level of readiness can enhance your instincts in recognizing a potentially hazardous situation in advance. Should your instincts signal that a setting feels perilous for no apparent reason, take note. You may also experience moments throughout life where you feel the eyes of some unknown and unseen entity upon you. Although there are detractors of the “staring effect” and research continues into this phenomenon, some believe that human beings can tap into something akin to a sixth sensation of being observed. This sensation seems to grow particularly acute if the staring entity has negative or violent intentions associated with its gaze. While this phenomenon is yet to be confirmed by the scientific community, err on the side of caution and take heed of these feelings should you experience them.
  • Do Not Speak— Should you find yourself in the midst of a vampire attack, do not attempt to engage your opponent in any type of conversation or discourse. Remember that despite its humanoid appearance, the vampire’s intentions are focused solely on obtaining nourishment; any attempt to converse with your adversary provides it an opportunity to launch a psychological assault in the hopes of achieving its objective. The temptation to speak to a member of the undead is difficult to resist for many, as curiosity often trumps common sense. Individuals with higher intelligence or impressive educational pedigrees may also feel capable of handling themselves against what they may feel is an equal or inferior intellect. Do not fall into this trap. Regardless of how bright or clever you believe yourself to be, verbally engaging an attacking vampire only works in your opponent’s favor.
  • Do Not Listen — As important as it is to avoid speaking directly to your undead opponent, disregarding any communication coming from the vampire during combat is just as critical. A vampire will often attempt a psychological attack should the tide of battle begin to turn. Hence, if a vampire tries to coerce you into conversation, it is likely that it feels in danger to your attack. However, the psychological onslaught from the creature  can be as powerful as its bodily assault. A vampire will compliment, cajole, insult, and manipulate you in order to draw you into a verbal joust, and its ability to do so is extraordinarily seducing. You must not pay attention to any of the creature’s statements or inquiries, and absolutely do not reveal any personal details to your opponent. This is especially true if your adversary is someone you knew previously in their human existence. There is no doubt that the creature will use this past knowledge to take advantage of the situation. A seemingly inconsequential detail in a human conversation can provide an opening that a vampire can use to psychologically overpower its target without lifting an undead finger.

Combat Exercises

A pervasive myth about physical fitness is that elaborate machines and expensive facilities are required to develop a healthy physique. In fact, most individuals can achieve outstanding results simply by utilizing exercises that were learned in grade school. There is a reason why despite a plethora of convoluted and obscure training methods that emerge year after year, basic calisthenics exercises are still used as a part of the training regimens of professional athletes, soldiers, and fighters.

Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, crunches, and jumping jacks all are exercises that require no equipment other than one’s own body weight and can produce a combat-ready physique, particularly for those who are new to conditioning or have not maintained a regular exercise routine. It is no coincidence that most military forces around the world focus on calisthenics to mold average civilians into a hardened fighting force.  A simple circuit of calisthenics, performed one after the other with little rest between movements can be an excellent starting point for the unconditioned vampire combatant.

Due to the familiarity most individuals have with these common exercises, we will not delve into the basic instructions required for each of these movements. However, there are three key points worth noting when performing a routine based on calisthenics:

1. Push Your Body—When performing exercises that utilize gravity and your body weight as the oppositional forces, it is easy to lull yourself into a lackadaisical routine. It should go without saying that the amount of effort you apply to each activity is directly correlated to the benefit gained from the exercise.  When executing each individual movement, perform an appropriate number of repetitions where the final few are near impossible to complete.

2. Move with Purpose—always keep in mind that you are training with a very specific objective—to save your own life in the small window of opportunity available during a vampire attack. Move with haste between each exercise, and execute each movement focusing on your ultimate intention: to survive.

3. Visualize Your Battle—It is easy to become distracted while performing any exercise routine, calisthenics in particular. You may have witnessed this yourself—an individual in the gym with good intentions, roaming about from machine to machine like a mindless zombie. In order to help retain your focus and attention span, visualize the relevance of your exercises to vampire combat. A push-up is no longer a push-up, but rather a means of keeping gnashing fangs a safe distance away. Not only does this help maintain your focus; it also can calm your senses in an actual combat setting, having already addressed the possible scenario successfully in your mind. Although we are discussing visualization in this particular section on calisthenics, it is a technique that should be employed in all the exercises covered.

Vampire Combat Fitness

In a combat engagement with a vampire, you will be facing an opponent that is physically superior compared to any human opponent you have ever encountered. Why, then, you may wonder, should you even bother with physical conditioning? Why not emphasize strategy and combat techniques instead, given the fact that you will always be at a physiological disadvantage and rarely be able to match your opponent in athletic prowess?

While it is absolutely true that the techniques and strategies you employ in battle will ultimately determine your success in vampire combat, your level of conditioning is what provides the opportunity to deliver these techniques at the precise moment to ensure victory. Both technique and conditioning are necessities in battling a bloodthirsty ghoul—perfecting one without the other will doom you to failure.

Let us also make this point clear: We are not discussing a gentlemanly match of fisticuffs or a  rule-bound grappling bout. Most vampire engagements last no more than a few minutes, and, like most assaults, are brutal, vicious, and utterly exhausting. The window of opportunity you have to survive the attack and neutralize your opponent is already slim; your level of conditioning can help widen that gap. The other detail to reemphasize is that as a human being, you have the ability to continue to improve your athleticism regardless of your age or current level of fitness. Your undead opponent, on the other hand, is unable to improve its physical assets with additional exercise.

When it comes to what type of conditioning you should focus on, there are many varieties of exercise you can employ to help your overall fitness level. We will concentrate our discussion, however, on activities that will explicitly improve your chances in vampire combat.

Combat Drills

An axiom often said by warriors preparing for combat is: “Train hard; fight easy.” Nowhere is this saying truer than in vampire combat.   The harder you prepare for such an engagement in your training sessions, the better you will fare when facing an actual member of the undead. Beyond physical conditioning and techniques, one of the best ways to prepare for an undead engagement is the use of specific combat drills and simulations.

Different from conditioning and technique training, combat drilling acclimates your body to specific battle scenarios and can also help boost your confidence level through repetition.  Combat drills are also designed to place you in an unorthodox and uncomfortable situation, modeling a situation that may occur during an actual vampire engagement, but in a safe environment.

As these drills are used to simulate actual vampire combat, you will need the use of a training partner who is willing to play the adversarial undead role. Do not take partner selection lightly, as it will largely dictate the success or failure of your drilling sessions. Be certain to choose a partner who views vampire combat training as seriously as you do. At the same time, be clear at the outset of the exercise what level of exertion should the drill be conducted; an overzealous training partner may end up injuring you in the process, which will hinder your training and leave you even more vulnerable than if you had not trained at all.

As with any sparring session, start slowly and carefully when attempting these drills for the first time, and operate at 25 percent of your maximum speed and power. As you and your partner grow adept at the various scenarios, increase  your physical variables gradually until you are operating at full speed and power.