How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Four Battle Personalities
In everyday life we each have assorted personality traits and preferences, but when we are stressed, our values and personality factors seem to switch to survival mode and we will act 'out of character' -- or perhaps somewhere closer to our truer selves as our everyday masks are stripped away.
Battle can invoke extreme forms of stress as we literally fight for our lives, taking the lives of others in scenarios far removed from everyday life.
This article offers a simple model of the battlefield personality, based on two primary dimensions: Cognition and Arousal.
When faced with stress, people often retreat in one of two directions.
The first possible direction is towards an emotional state and away from thinking. This happens naturally as the brain chemistry of emotional arousal in the mid-brain suppresses cortical thought.
The natural emotional response to a threat is fight-or-flight. In battle, flight is difficult and is often trained out of soldiers and so they enter a primitive fighting state in which they are driven by aggressive emotions.
When faced with stress, other people respond by grabbing control, and the one thing they can control is themselves. They hence become very rational and deliberate, thinking hard about everything they do.
Beyond thinking or feeling, people on the battlefield may be highly aroused or may be calmer in their approach.
In the 'hot' state a person is suffused with adrenaline which gives them enormous energy. They fight with force and speed. Tackling the hot fighter, you are more likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer number and power of blows.
In this cooler state, the fighter is more economic in action, making every movement count. Tackling the cold fighter, you are more likely to be caught out as they slip through a hole in your defense.
So here are the descriptions of the four personality types, based on the dimensional division above.
Feel-Hot - Berserker
In some ways the Berserker is the simplest of battlefield personalities, but this does not make them an easy target. The classic Berserker scenario is of them standing alone in a sea of bodies as they rapidly overcome any opponent who comes near.
The Berserker is driven by a high-energy rage that appears something like a massive temper tantrum. They lose all self-control as they turn into a whirling killing machine. Their anger and arousal gives them great power and speed. Feeling no pain, they continue to be highly dangerous even when wounded.
Fighting the Berserker is very difficult as their sheer speed and power means you may never get a blow in. The best approach against a Berserker is often patience. Nobody can sustain that level of energy for ever and eventually they will slow down, at which time you can step in for the kill.
Think-Hot -The Powerhouse
Whilst the Mechanic uses lithe economy, the Powerhouse is more of a bull. They largely succeed through the energy they put into both thinking and fighting.
The Powerhouse is a strange combination of thought and apparent rage. The way they do this is to use the body's natural ability to generate adrenaline under stress but then grab cognitive control from the emotions, sublimating suppressed rage into even more energy in delivery. The Powerhouse thus retains rational control whilst being able to direct enormous energy to selected targets.
Having a larger body is advantageous to a Powerhouse and, when fully charged, they can kill with a single blow, even cleaving their opponent on two.
Fighting against a Powerhouse thus makes avoiding their blows of paramount importance. As they are also crafty thinkers they are difficult to deceive and simply slipping around an attack may lead you into a careful trap. If you cannot match their power, the best attack can be thoughtful speed, though you should never underestimate their ability here either.
Feel-Cold - Ice Warrior
The Ice Warrior is suffused with emotion which they channel into a deep, cold hatred of their enemy. They are sly and deceptive in battle and may be cruel in their attacks, often deliberately wounding an opponent to prolong their suffering. This is perhaps in endless revenge for a persistent past hurt that still drives them. It is said that revenge is a meal best served cold, and the Ice Warrior may well be driven by such motives. They enjoy killing more than other battle personalities but are never fully satisfied by it and so seek more.
Fighting the Ice Warrior can thus be a dangerous and painful experience. Their greatest weakness is their prolonging of the fight during which you may find a way through.
Think-Cold - The Mechanic
The 'mechanic' is a highly skilled soldier for whom fighting is a fine art. Each battle, each blow is an interesting problem to be quickly thought through logically and executed with fine skill. Each opponent is to be sized up, weaknesses identified and then efficiently dispatched.
Fighters whose bodies lack the strength to be a Powerhouse but whose minds can remain steady under fire may well become mechanics.
In some ways the mechanic is the most terrifying and inhuman opponent as they treat you as little more than another specimen. In fighting the Mechanic you need a good defense. Their greatest weakness can be an arrogance and belief in their own ability and an effective attack may stem from random action that leaves them wondering and unable to predict your next attack.
Understanding the different battle personalities can help you understand both yourself and others when you get into a fight. You can hence take the best approach that will minimize exposure of your weaknesses, and play most to you strengths in the face of the style of your opponent.