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.


The sooner you understand that your body moves the same way whether you’re holding nothing, a stick, a rock, a knife, or a gun, the sooner you will be able to get more benefit and efficiency out of your training. Yes, there are some differences because of the weight or the shape or the size of whatever weapon you’re working with. But none of them allow you to move your limbs beyond what you can do now, nothing makes you double-jointed or anything like that just because you pick it up. Human bodies work the same way with one weapon as they do with another as far as the human using that weapon goes.

Understanding this properly allows you to pull many useful things from other combative arts into whatever you’re working on right now.

Let The Circle Be Unbroken

There are a couple of instructors and perhaps one school I at least occasionally look at as studies not in gunfighting, but in business practice. I look at what they do and what they don’t do, what seems to work for them and what doesn’t. I look at businesses and businesspeople outside of the fight-instruction industry as well.

I do that because I recognize that if I don’t succeed as a capitalist businessman, I won’t have the best opportunity to succeed as an instructor either. If I can’t develop and increase my income from instruction, I will be unable to reach as many as I want to and as I otherwise could to help them develop themselves as defenders. I can’t focus just on teaching and expect everything else to fall into place. It doesn’t work that way in the real world. Some time has to be spent thinking on and doing business things and thinking and acting like a business-man instead of like an instructor.

I admit it’s kind of irritating sometimes to understand and have to do that, but to ignore reality is to risk my being unable to do what I want to do and can do for others in this way.

Income, and increasing income, for me is a means to an end. But to increase income I have to not just do business things, I have to have a good product that people want to pay for. So the wish to help others develop themselves drives the wish to develop the business and increase income which drives the development of quality instruction which means more students receive more of what they need and a better quality of what they need which increases income which enhances my ability to provide services which…

There is a point where this starts to break down for me as an individual, of course. Not there yet, however. Still trying to work out the best ways really get the cycle going, in fact. But that’s where I’m at and that’s my belief about this aspect of being a professional instructor in this field.

What interests me is that sometimes I see other instructors who don’t appear to acknowledge their status as or the need for them to be small-scale capitalists and businesspeople. Some of these express disdain, even anger, at those who have been successful at the business of instruction as well as being successful instructors. An interesting group, those who seem to oppose anything resembling a business attitude, because at the same time I see them decrying the acknowledgment of any profit motive or attitude of capitalism in this industry, I don’t see them converting their own practice into a break-even or totally self-supported form. What is wrong with being explicit about the wish to make a profit from your work, as I have tried to be here? What is the problem with others knowing that you are, to some degree, a capitalist?

I wonder about that sometimes.


That’s the average number of seconds it takes for a police response to arrive at the site of a crime as of the last report I came across.

300. Three-hundred seconds.

That’s how many seconds you may have to last until you get help, assuming they take immediate action and don’t pause to evaluate the situation first.

Three. Hundred. Seconds.

Sit in a chair with a timer. Do nothing for three hundred seconds. Better yet, assume a plank position and hold it strictly for that amount of time. Or shadow-box. Or go to the range, set up some targets and barriers and obstacles, and move and shoot, point-to-point-to-point, for five uninterrupted minutes.

Gets to be a long time even if you don’t have somebody trying to kill you, I bet.

Now tell me: Do you think you have everything you need and want–every weapon, every skill-set, every blade, every bullet, every technique–you need to go at least five minutes without help?

Sure, it’s likely to be over, one way or another, much more quickly than that. (Which makes it all the more important that you be able to do as much as you can by yourself because help won’t be there before it’s over, will it?)

But just in case it did go that long: Could you last? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally?

Honestly, I don’t think I can the way I am with what I have right now.

Which brings up another question: Can I get to where I can? What would it take to do that?

It might be worth setting as a goal.

Gathering Evidence

I read a very good suggestion from someone posting on the Warrior Talk internet forum. (As far as that forum goes, I think it’s a good one but I acknowledge it’s not for everybody.)

If you are attacked and have to defend yourself you want to build the strongest possible case to support the legality of your defense. Right? Understand that you will be dealing with a Criminal Law system, not a Criminal Justice system no matter what anyone else calls it, and that there is a difference between the two. If you don’t understand that difference you could get yourself into trouble. That said, here is the suggestion:

If you are injured even a little, get photos of the injury. If possible, get more than one set, and get one set that shows the injuries after they have fully developed. (Bruising and wounding is not always evident immediately after they occur. Some injuries are only going to be visible and obvious a little while after they have been incurred.) Ideally, you’ll get pictures on-scene or close to it and then some photos at intervals to show the full development of the injury and perhaps to document treatment of the injury. Time/date stamps on the photos and witnesses to the time, date and place they were taken will also be very useful.

These photos could be very important if your case goes to trial and/or if the case goes into the court of public opinion. Do not release those photos, however, on your own decision. If required (and probably it will be) give them to investigators and do make sure your attorney has them. Multiple copies would be good if you can do that. Don’t let anybody else see them unless your attorney okays it. If the police release them, that’s their decision. You keep things close, this and everything else, until it’s clear how the investigation and/or court trial/review is going to go.

Argue that you should not have to go to such lengths if you want. It won’t matter. Reality trumps the way it should be every time. Reality doesn’t care about what should or should not be. Fail to acknowledge reality and you are more likely to get jacked up like others already have been.

If you don’t have to go through what they did, why should you?

Very, very good advice this man provided.

Over The Top?

I’ve been thinking about this:

You’re in the driver’s seat, you see a need to at least be able to shoot, you draw and go over the top of the steering wheel…

You know, I’m not convinced that’s what really happens or is going to happen.

I know they teach it that way in all the classes. You slide the gun in contact or near to it with the steering wheel around to the window if that’s where you’re going. That’s the safe way to do it. That’s the way to make sure you don’t hit something on the way, knock your aim off, maybe trigger a shot you don’t want to fire.

Not the only way to do it. Not even the only safe way to do it. Beyond that, I think that movement will go out the window as soon as most of us realize we need the gun on-line NOW.

I’ve watched a video of me doing a draw at speed in my vehicle. Gun never made contact with the steering wheel, didn’t go anywhere near over the top of it like they teach you to do it. And that was on the range without anything but an target threatening me. The only thing driving me was the idea that I was going to get the gun ‘on’ at speed like I would under threat.

Over the top? Out the window.

I’m betting much the same concept ejection will happen to you as well.

That’s what I’m thinking about this right now, anyway.