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August 2014
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October 2014

September 2014

This is material that will help students understand how to manage the X, or more specifically, the spatial and angular relationship between you and your adversary(s). There are degrees, quite truly - continuums, in the area of distance (interval), space, and timing (initiative). How you manage the fight depends greatly on your position with regards to these continuums of interval and initiative. For example, with regards to interval, the bad guy may be at arm’s length, or he may be 50 meters away. How you handle a man at phone booth distances will vary greatly from the same man with the same weapon at 50 meters. As well, space is a consideration. While it may not matter at 50 meters, having space to move and fight would be an asset for you if you face an attack at arm’s length. We know that “Getting Off The X” is an advantage at close range fights so being able to exploit the space to do so at close range would be a good thing. Finally, the issue of initiative must be examined.... Read more →

In part one of this series we discussed some of the basic principles of load carriage as well as the use of belt based systems. In this part we will continue the discussion by focusing on chest rigs, and body armor based systems. The basic principles from part one still very much apply and we will revisit some of them as we proceed. Chest rigs Very few things are truly new or innovative, most are in fact improvements on concepts that have been used in the past. The chest rig is certainly no exception. Going back all the way to the First World War we can find examples of chest rigs being used to carry grenades and stripper clips, fast forward to the Second World War were American “pathfinders” often wore rigger modified chest mounted pouches for their Thompson sub machineguns, and we can look at the Chinese, Soviets, and Rhodesians with their penchants for chest rigs; needless to say it’s pretty clear that the concept has merit. Let’s start with a couple of general principles that I have found... Read more →

The Culture Of Excellence

The word excellence will instantly divide people. That is fine since it is in the fringes, in the periphery where you will find those who seek it. Excellence has never been the quest of the common man. There is a certain elitism to it. Just as you see Fortune 500 CEOs, and Green Berets, and High End Athletes move through their lives differently than the pack, so do those whose objectives involve the "E" word. And in the current shabby world where standing above the crowd will have all manner of hammers moving your way to make you like everyone else, seeking excellence will isolate you from those who seek mediocrity. But reaching your goal will be worth it. What do we mean by a culture of excellence? It is simple. It involves being the best you can be at life. It involves physical excellence. The man or woman that wants physical excellence will not wile their hours away at the TV. They are the sorts of people that do crossfit, that run marathons and that lift weights. They generally... Read more →

Concepts vs. Reality

Fighting is really simple. You need to be better prepared physically, tactically, or technically than the opposition. If you are none of those, you are screwed with a capital "F". I am not the only one to say that either. Here is Musashi in the Book of Five Rings. “The true Way of sword fencing is the craft of defeating the enemy in a fight, and nothing other than this.” Today we hear a great deal about “concepts”. I recall Cooper telling me about the International Combat Shooting Association, and how the word “Combat” had to be replaced with “practical” as “combat shooting” was illegal in some countries. These things are important. You gotta call it something! The recent word is “Concepts”. We used that term quite a bit early on to describe things like “the concept of reloading”, rather than the technical mechanics of how to reload, as one example. But there are really only so many ways to physically reload a pistol. Where concepts must meet reality is to examine all the possibilities in the context of location... Read more →

The fighter (gunman, knifeman, or whatever) of today is far more sophisticated than in years past. This is partially due to the vast availability of information on trainers, different systems, and training methods, but its also due to the lack of the exclusive “system loyalty” that existed a few decades ago. Fifteen or twenty years ago a point shooting devotee of Fairbairn would never consider training in sighted shooting with a devotee of Cooper, and its quite possible that neither would even give the study of Filipino Knife or Muay Thai more than a passing thought. The fighters of today are very likely to have a broad exposure to a variety of martial systems both armed and unarmed. They are inclined to train in many different schools and with many instructors. This openness is unprecedented in martial history, and in most cases, it is a welcome development. Although it is wise to learn different ways to solve tactical problems, it's important that the actual responses or techniques that you'll rely on in a real confrontation be kept simple and with... Read more →

Brief History Of Close Quarters Combat

I want to give a brief discussion of the history of CQC, or close quarters combat. I am hardly an historian so if I have missed something, please let me know here. The first thing I will say is that you will never see more animosity, petty bickering, or jealousy outside of a teenage cheerleader locker room than you will see in the martial arts community or firearms training community. Everyone steals from everyone and everyone reinvents things for their own benefit. Recently I read an article about a trainer's discovery of "P.A.D.E. or Perceive, Analyze, Decide, Execute". No mention of John Boyd or the OODA. Inevitable discovery or theft? I don't know...moving on. While I am certain the CQC matter was thought of my the gunmen of the old west, their lack of education did not lend itself to writing books about such things. As well...the classification of what the fight was is also unknown. For example...if you hip shoot someone in the back while they are pissing, and initiate the fight that way, you won in spite of... Read more →


FREEDOM FROM FREEDOM I wrote a while back that what many people...most in fact, specially here in the USA wanted, was freedom from responsibility and from duty. Freedom means that nobody will tell you or compell you to do anything, but at the same time, if you fail, nobody will come to help you. That is the last thing most Americans want...regardless of how often they use the word. In other words when they speak of "freedom" they were not referring to the same thing many of us would think. What they meant, and what they want is "freedom from freedom itself". And now we see the same thing happen right before our eyes in Scotland. So the next time you hear the word "freedom" used by anyone, understand that like the word "gay", it probably doesn't mean what you think it does. Scotland Votes ‘No’ Related articles Scotland vote: What happens next? Scotland rejects independence in referendum Scotland Bows Before England, Votes "No" To Freedom 'Scots to lose in freedom' Read more →

I wrote some time ago that people do not fight the same today. I recall my youth, and my quest for martial excellence. There was no internet, no youtube, and the few sources of information were on the newsstand. You had Black Belt magazine…and Muscle and Fitness. And unlike today, where in an urban area there will be as many 24 Hour Gyms as there are Starbucks Coffee houses, a real gym…or a real dojo was not so easy to find. Some years ago I was privileged to visit several museums. One was the Cody Museum in the USA and the others were military museums in Europe. There were the accoutrements and armor of the cream of the fighting crop from generations ago. I was immediately struck by how physically small these guys were. I am not a big man by modern standards, but at 5’10, 180, I would have been in the top percentage of strength and size. Certainly there were large men back then, but they were not the norm it seems…if what I saw at the museums... Read more →

I first saw this in an article by my friend Chris McLaughlin in the old, and then credible, SWAT Magazine. He wrote the story of its development for the US Marshal Serivice and its Witness Protection guys. As well its production by Wilson Arms, and later other firms. The short barreled shotgun is a highly contraversial weapon, loved by some and maligned by others. We have never taken any bit of collective knowledge for granted, nor taken the words of others as gospel. When we "see for ourselves" we often discover that the reason something was either widely accepted, or widely dismissed had little to do with the efficacy of the weapon or method, and more with the "not invented here" syndrome. One of the things we have been studying for the past year has been the Personal Defense Weapon concept, and the AR Pistol's role in that mission. In this post I want to discuss one alternative weapon for the PDW mission, the pistol gripped shotgun. The first thing to understand is that it is a niche weapon, just... Read more →

We have been teaching force on force now for a decade. We began with a perspective and idea of what gunfights might actually be like and sought to replicate the dynamics of those events in the training realm. Thus far we have trained over a thousand students in these methods and have had several use their skills in gunfights with great success. What we teach differs dramatically from the normal pistol school methodology of many institutions, public, or private sector. We teach a continuum of action determined by initiative, distance, and the characteristics of the battlefield. We base our actual live fire on what the force on force field shows us and not the other way around. We discovered movement as a defense on December 7, 1991 when we crossed paths with three armed robbers. The lessons of that encounter, that if you move you avoid getting shot, but can still shoot your adversaries, formed a basis for the current study of today and led to the development of the gunfighting system you guys learn from us. While the entire... Read more →