Doing things you don’t like

Ab wheels.

Burpees.

Tabatas.

These are all tools of the devil and without doubt of Satanic origin, made for the torture and degredation of innocent exercisers. Darth Vader wishes he had thought to use these to destroy his enemies instead of the Force at the same time that he is afraid of them, as they would leave him crying like a little girl if he did them. I am convinced of this.

I still do these things or use these tools and routines and others like them from time to time. I will move these things and others into and out of exercise routines depending on what I’m trying to get from the exercise or time I have for exercise or other factors. I do them because of what I get from doing them, the benefit, and because it is good to me to do something hard and get through it.

We all have things like this, not just where fitness and conditioning are concerned, but all over life. Things that we know will be beneficial to us but are hard to do for some reason, physical or psychological or financial or other.

Sometimes, though, the only way to get better is to do the hard things. Sometimes, the only way you’re going to improve is to do something you don’t like to do.

Training. Practice. Time. Effort. Thought. Study.

You may not like it. But how are you going to get better unless you do it?

Using what’s out there.

Someone who posts on one or two of the forums I participate in has declared that they will have nothing to do with “gamer” — competition shooting — ideas. Not useful to the student of gunfighting, he thinks.

He’s not stupid saying that, but he is short-sighted and unimaginative saying that.

It’s not that you can use competitions as training opportunities. Don’t get me wrong about that. But the “gamer” environment, as he puts it, can offer several things to the thinking gunfighter:

An opportunity to practice techniques that have been learned in training. (Obvious examples: Reloads and the drawstroke and presentation.)

An opportunity to practice those techniques under pressure that we can’t always generate during other range practice.

To do this properly, you have to a) commit to competing in as much of your normal carry gear the way you normally carry (normal cover, in other words) as the competition rules will allow. You will also have to school yourself to not worry about your scores as much as your performance during the exercises…er, stages of the competition. And you have to resist the urge to start modifying things to enhance competition performance at the expense of fighting potential.

What is not considered as much that competitions offer are exercises and scenarios you can use in your own training. It’s much easier to take what has already been done, change it to fit what resources you have for set-up and to eliminate the pure game elements of the scenario, and run it for your own practice and training edification. There are lots of IDPA scenarios available to searches that will provide you a good bit of variety and solid training once you tweak them toward fight-training and not point-scoring emphasis.

It’s like everything else in this area of study. Look at what is available and use what you’ve got to benefit you as much as possible. Save time and conserve resources while enhancing your own capability.

Not a bad thing, even if it is a “game” that provides it, don’t you think?

Who needs it?

The first weekend in December of 2015 I hosted a (mainly) team CQB class at Double Tap Training Ground in Calera, AL. It had a single-person component but most of the time we learned how to work in teams as SWAT and military units do when clearing structures.

The material presented in this class is the same material presented to current police and military personnel and it’s kept up-to-date by periodic review and feedback from people in the front line and the people that work with the people in the front line. You take this class (and some others like it) you will get what they get and you will learn what they learn. (It is adjusted to fit people like us who aren’t active police and military and don’t work with teams and small units wearing armor and carrying select-fire weapons, yes. The tactics and techniques are current-use and sometimes a bit ahead of general current-use, however.)

I’ve heard that some people wonder out loud if this kind of training should be given to those who are not in active service. The objections seem to be two: It could fall into the wrong hands and someone not in the military or police doesn’t need to know this kind of thing.

Maybe they don’t understand that the knowledge is out there and has been out there since just a little while after that knowledge started to be applied in the field. The fact that they don’t see it much doesn’t mean it’s not available to those wrong hands out there. It just means that the majority of bad guys haven’t decided it’s worth their time to start learning and using it.

As for not needing this capability:

School shooters.

Workplace shooters.

Active shooters in general.

Isolated acts of jihad (yes, that’s what they are no matter what somebody else says they are).

ISIL

Mentally unstable individuals.

Looking at this the real question is: Who doesn’t need it?

Moving to the Modern

If Bill Jordan were working today, he would be running and likely doing any exhibition shooting he did with an H&K P2000 semi-auto pistol.

If Jelly Bryce were working today, he would probably be running a Glock or Sig or something else off of a department’s approved gun list.

And I’d bet that they both would be carrying modern semi-auto pistols when they carried off-duty as well.

They would be doing that because neither one of them is stupid or clueless and both of them would recognize that–outside of requirements of their various agencies–semi-auto handguns of today, striker-fired or not, are superior as fighting guns to revolvers.

They would use much the same techniques, they would put in the time and the practice, and they would still be some of the fastest and most accurate shooters in the world. But they would not remain locked in the past in their choice of weapons.

In their time, they used what was issued and what was the best thing they could find. They would do the same thing if they were alive and working today.

We should all be willing to follow their example in this the way we follow the example they set in other things.

The Basics

Don’t get hit.

Get your weapon out/into action.

Hit the attacker in a place and way that they stop attacking you.

Everything in every class and every book and every video in every style with any weapon I’ve ever seen or heard of seems to be in its essence about getting you to where you can do those three things in a fight.

That simple. That hard. That important.

Un-complicating things

Every so often when I write about some technique or offer an option for doing something on a forum I get some form of the response, “That’s too complicated.”

Interesting part is I get this as much or more from other instructors as I do from anybody else.

“It’s complicated.”

Isn’t EVERYTHING complicated at first? Even simple things are complicated the first time we see them or try to do them. Part of the job you have as a student of the fight is to turn the complicated into the simple.

How do you do that?

Time. Effort. Work.

As simple as that. As hard as that.

Competency is a trip through complicated to the land of simplicity, in a way. And it’s a trip you have to make yourself if you’re going to make it at all. Bad guy’s not going to shoot themselves for you, you know.

Want the complex to not be complex? Put in the time. Do the work. Make the effort.

That’s true with more than just gunfighting.

Stability is where you make it

Roger Phillips brought up the term ‘Stable Fighting Platform’ in something of his I read a day or two back. A sketch of the SFP concept is that it’s a position or posture that allows best use of whatever weapon you’re using. With bare hands and impact weapons, something that facilitates transfer of maximum force where you want it; with a blade, something that facilitates solid stabs and slashes and movement of the blade; with firearms, a posture or position that allows accurate and fast shooting and shot-to-shot recovery. Things like that.

What a Stable Fighting Platform is not–not necessarily–is static. It is a mistake to assume it is a locked position. You can have an SFP even when moving, and even when moving at speed. We may first think of things like the Groucho step or the Crab/side-shuffle step when thinking about a moving SFP, but there are and can be SFPs when you’re at a dead run or moving in a fast zig-zag or curve.

Work out how to separate the handgun or the rifle from everything else and you should not have a lot of trouble setting up a Stable Fighting Platform no matter how or how fast you’re moving with the gun in hand. Some thinking, some imagination, some experimentation, some time and work and you can see the way to it.

You can also get training from people that have already worked through the concept and can move you directly into that capability. There are schools and independent instructors that can show you what to do and how to do it.

It’s simple and it’s hard. But it won’t happen unless you make it happen. It’s up to you whether you do it or not. Like any other advancement you want to make.

Always has been, hasn’t it?

Options are only and exactly options

No more, no less.

“a thing that is or may be chosen”

That’s what the dictionary says it is. Just that.

NOT – the best thing to do.

NOT – something you should apply every time or even can apply every time in the same/similar condition or situation.

NOT – something that everyone should learn to do. (Perhaps something that everyone should consider, but that’s not the same as working it up.)

NOT – something for every-one, every-where, every-time.

All it is is something you can choose to do. You have the–dare I say it–option to choose an option that is presented and known to you to use when answering a question or responding to a situation you are presented with.

Talking about options in the fight:

The fact that not everyone wants to or will learn it does not negate the fact that it is an option.

The fact that it may have (does have if it’s something developed by man) weaknesses, even severe weaknesses, does not negate the fact that it is an option.

The fact that there are people who can handily defeat it does not negate the fact that it is an option.

Even the fact that you cannot or that not everybody can do it does not negate the fact that it is an option for others.

All these arguments have been brought up at times when I have presented one or more options.

All of these arguments are irrelevant to the fact that they are options.

Because in the end, all an option is is something you can choose to do from the group of somethings you know can be done. That’s pretty much it.

An option is just an option, when you get to the core of it. Whatever adjectives you want to add, it still is and still will be just and only an option.

If you examine them with that in mind when it they are presented to you and don’t immediately start to dismiss them–especially before you have some idea of the context they are presented in–you may discover something that you can use.

Kinda the point of the whole learning and development process, isn’t it?

Time, Tempo, Rhythm

I’m reading a book about fencing, mainly the history of the development of fencing, right now. I look at non-sport fencing occasionally for ideas and concepts that will help me be and teach others how to be better gunfighters. As I’ve said before, there’s lots of useful concepts in martial arts and in sports to anyone who is open to seeing and trying them.

One thing fencers study and think about is time and being ‘in time’. The old masters wrote of different kinds of time. I read this as timing. There is timing in a fight, any kind of fight. This is an advanced concept that starts to get more mental than physical fairly quickly, but the application of it and the results you get from using it are purely physical and can be quite beneficial to those who understand it.

There is physical and mental timing, tempo, and rhythm. Physical because we have to stop and start our movements, because nerve impulses only go so fast, because momentum has to be overcome and adjusted for us to change direction of anything moving, because the mechanical mechanisms of a firearm have to go back and forth and start and stop just like we do. Mental because we have to see something, evaluate it (consciously or not), and then get ourselves moving in response. Action/reaction has a timing and a rhythm, action has a tempo and a rhythm, the start of an action has its own timing.

The more you can understand and apply this, the better able you will be to respond to an attack.