Your training should lead to mindless execution. If it doesn't, then you are wasting your time. Think of what we do in class. Let's say for a contact weapon attack at ten feet away (just outside of hand to hand range). Our strategy for a contact weapon attack, assuming we are armed with a projectile weapon (pistol) is to maintain the distance while we draw and shoot the attacker to the ground. The tactic for doing that is the take off footwork to the 5 o'clock and 7 o' clock lines. So we train that tactic hundreds of times alone without any pressure and without any opponent until we understand how to physically execute the movements. Then we bring in a training partner and with minimal pressure, we drill the technique that supports our strategy in context of application an equal number of times. Once we have a contextual understanding, we turn up the pressure in force on force exercises. This brings physical memorization, understanding of context and combat application. It is what we do and have done for nearly... Read more →

For the past few years we have mentioned the importance of mindlessness, or the ability to react skillfully, perfectly and spontaneously to a threat. We have also discussed the way to attain those skills, to develop the pattern-less/system-less ability to improvise to an unexpected event. Those attributes, by the way, are the keys to winning the reactive fight. I don't care how well or accurately you shoot. If you do not have the ability to move on demand, quickly and dynamically as you draw the weapon and counter attack, you will lose and you will die. We show that time and time again in our force on force sessions. In the reactive realm it is all about timing and about not getting shot. As we focused harder and deeper on the development of the gunfighter it became clearer that the method to get our gunfighters to the level we wanted them to be was not via more range training, nor more force on force. The methodology had been laid out a long time ago and it was something that some... Read more →

I had responded to the call of suspicious circumstances. It was dark and cold and the sort of night that you wanted to spend in your cruiser writing reports with a cup of Starbucks on top of some parking structure and not walking around somebody’s backyard. The call had been of a fight in progress by the I-10 freeway. This was an area frequented by the Santa Monica subculture of stree people. Unlike the images of the media, we did not find many widows and orphans in their ranks, but rather dopers, parolees at large, and thugs on the run. In that part of town it may have been anything from a common domestic to gang fight in progress…or both. On arrival I was greeted by the victim with a huge gash across his face. The paramedics had arrived before me (something I had never seen before nor since…probably a mistake in dispatching). I recall the bloodied victim’s response when I asked him “Que paso hombre?”. “Machete!” I moved through the freeway underbrush quietly without even a flashlight hunting the... Read more →

Last year I wrote about The Value of Kata, and cultivating Mindlessness. And implied in the articles were how repeating patterns of combat related movements lead to the ability to execute movements without the need for any analytical thought, or as I said, mindlessly. Rather than the so-called "dead patterns", this type of training teaches the body how to move reflexively, and in doing so, allow a creativity of application that would not have been possible otherwise. In the firearms world we drill all the weapon presentation and manipulations in "dry fire" which is in itself, a form of kata training. This is done again, for the purpose of repeating the prefect movement pattern so many times that it can be executed without the need for analytical thought. The mind, having been freed for the "how" of executing the move or technique, is free to apply actions or reactions to the situation at hand. Recently I was host to our group from Italy and Switzerland here in Arizona. One of the visitors, Andrea Micheli, wanted to use the visit to... Read more →

It has almost become a cliche hasn't it? Bruce Lee's ethos of Jeet Kune Do (that is what Lee called his collective system of fighting). "Absorb What Is Useful". Sadly it has become an excuse for superficial dabbling and scanning rather than learning. After all...absorbing something only takes like what...fifteen minutes? Contrast that with the man the phrase is credited to. Lee did not give birth to himself as a martial arts icon, nor an actor. He studied a great deal. His main system - Wing Chun was a beginning, but Bruce did not dabble in that once a week. He immersed himself in it for years - longer than most casual western students would. It was the same for western fencing and bodybuilding and all the other aspects of building a combatant's body and mind that Lee studied. Contrast that with the superficial student, dabbling in something on a temporary basis, or worse, relying on a youtube clip for his training...and then exclaiming with a Lee-esque swagger that he has "absorbed" what was useful. Sorry kids...a superficial scanning of... Read more →