Movement Study: Stillness or Turmoil



In America we have something called "freedom of speech".  Anyone can speak their mind...at least in theory.  This is a good thing of course because in other places around the world one cannot.  In matters of politics and of faith and even in esoteric matters such as how to cook chili, everyone's opinions may have equal value.  However, that does not extend to everything, even if we think it does. Of course, what we are discussing here is the issue of techniques and methods for use in personal combat.  Today, anyone with a computer can pen their deep thoughts and most advanced techniques almost as fast as they occur to them. Much of it extremely theoretical and untested.

What is a true seeker of truth to do? 

How does such a student separate the good techniques from the bad...the useful from the unworkable?

Here is a simple way to do that.

First one must consider what their physical and mental state is likely to be in a true life and death gunfight.  Unless you have been in multiple life and death fights you really don't know, so you will have to ask those who have such knowledge. The bullet golfers like to denigrate this point but at the end of the day, one has either gotten their feet wet...or they have not.

In addition to that you need to test yourself in the uncomfortable and stressful world of force on force. When you do that, you will realize that your view of the gunfight will be vastly different than what the range instructors, internet pundits, and keyboard ninjas have told you. But you will also know far more about winning a gunfight than they ever will. 

It is important to understand that physical state because if a technique will not work at such times, it truly is a waste of time to even train it.  All training is NOT good training, and having a thousand techniques is not better than having two or three.  You cannot train nature out of your system.  Many have tried to do that through history but when true stress comes up and grabs you by the balls you will do what nature has programmed you to do.

So here is the litmus test for techniques, concepts, and training - 

1).  A method must work with the human being's natural tendencies under duress.  A superior technique will be enhanced and supported by natural tendencies and not degraded by them. As one example, it is a natural tendency to crouch, shrug and load the legs for movement when startled.  Thus a technique that supports that tendency and is actually enhanced by the natural reaction is superior to a method that seeks to negate the natural inclinations.  Thus a "Take Off" style movement (of any origin) would be a more natural reaction to being shot at than a Weaver Stance...or a stylized martial arts movement method.  Or some aloof-looking shooting stance.

2).  Methods should utilize gross motor skills far more than rely on manual dexterity. A warmed up shooter can do all manner of superhuman magic tricks with his guns on the range.  But bring him out cold one day and have him understand that if he doesn't do it right he and his entire family will die a horrible death right then and there - and then see what happens.  I will bet the mental reaction to that, and the resulting physical manifestations, will not support clever gun handling or magic tricks. he will instead be very conservative with his shooting.

3).  Methods should seek to reduce risk of failure while achieving the desired results.  For example, if the goal is to knock out the adversary - that could be more safely accomplished by a right cross with a high chance of success, rather than with a far more flashy and risky high roundhouse kick to the head. 

Looking at the use of a pistol and applying the concept - one can use the small slide lock lever on a Glock to release the slide on a reload, or grab the slide over the top?  Which one is closer to a 100% guarantee? If winning the fight under any and all circumstances is the prime directive, which methods should we seek?

Yes, I know...you have done it a thousand times, and the warmed up champion bullet golfer does it in a second and a half.  Please read the foregoing again.  I have seen guys that have done it a thousand times fail when the stress of the moment exceeds their ability to cope.  And whether you are Captain America or Larry The Cable Guy, everyone has their limits of performance.  Train so that no matter the circumstances, you will be able to prevail at your mission.

4).  Methods must be easy to "own" and to maintain.  There are only so many hours in the day and few can spend all of it training. Thus techniques that require excessive amounts of repetitions to "own" or excessive amounts of training to maintain are perhaps not the best choices.  That is not to say we want only mediocre methods.  To the contrary, think of what a high level of performance if we had fewer techniques to learn and maintain.  A study of medieval sword forms intended for cutting down men compared to showmanship forms of today intended to impress men will illustrate this point very well.  Simple, direct, brutal, and supported by human nature.

5).  Finally, once a method is chosen, learned, and developed vis-a-vis training, it needs to be pressure tested in force of force drills so that you know in your heart and soul without any doubt that this will in fact work for you.

Don't just do it once and then pop open a testosterone-draining beer. Drill it until you find yourself doing it correctly in your dreams.  Then drill it at your worst.  In the cold, when you are too tired to train, after a grueling run or weightlifting session...times like that.  When your final exam comes, it will not be when you are at your best...not likely anyway.  So train to prevail even when everything is against you.