Individual Prioritization, Chapter 5

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

 “There are no short cuts, there is only the individuals priority of what they need and when they need it.”

It is my opinion that learning, training, and practicing is a never-ending process. What we have is a huge self-defense puzzle and we should be looking to acquire pieces to that puzzle in a manner that reflects a prioritization of what we need and when we need it. This can be a very difficult decision-making process because from our very first course, we realize that we know so very little. Even for guys like me that have been hunting and shooting my whole life, my first course only let me know how little that I really knew.

As we look to prioritize, we need to look at our situation. What is our mission, goal, threat level, occupation, life style, responsibility, and mindset.

What so many people do not understand is that you do not have to be an LEO or Soldier to have a high threat level. I have met a number of people, from a number of different walks of life that can articulate a very substantial threat level. This is usually from their occupation, but it can also be from their life style (where they live) and responsibility (protection of self or a loved one that is being stalked.)

I have trained with a number of people who have made the decision to train with me, to learn combat shooting fundamentals before they learned marksmanship fundamentals. Many of these people do not have the time to get to the advanced levels of combat shooting through the marksmanship path. They recognize the fact, that path would take too long and not give them what they need “right now.” They recognize that the marksmanship path does not take the physiological response of the reactive gunfight into consideration. Most of all they realize that the chances of a reactive encounter is much more likely, to their specific situation, than a proactive encounter. They are fully aware that they do still need to acquire the marksmanship skill sets. They want to have the time to make that fine motor skill happen, all the while having their “most likely” situations covered in a very effective and efficient manner.

This type of thinking, for these people, is very good to see. When I first started training (due to a high threat level occupation) I did not have the resources that are available now. There was virtually one path and that path was slow and inefficient. That training was all about reprogramming your natural instincts, abilities, and reactions out of you, replacing them with condition responses that did not take the typical physiological responses of the fight or flight response into consideration.

All I know is that I am very happy and lucky to be in the position to give these people an option that is far superior to the options that I had.

It is my opinion that nobody is in the position to direct a student on which priorities he needs to be learning, but the student himself. As Instructors, all we can do is provide information so the student can make the very best decisions, for his very personal situation.

The question then arises, how do you help prepare yourself for the best decisions possible? IMHO an honest and realistic threat assessment must be made. This means that we must educate ourselves to the threat level that we face on a daily basis. This edification can be a very large job encompassing a number of different factors and elements. As we do this we must be careful about becoming too extreme in our thinking, we mustlion1 avoid the “tinfoil hat” paranoia. As we come up with our well researched, honest, realistic, and non paranoid threat assessment, we begin to get a picture of what we need and when we need it.

Just as an example, here is a very quick list of priorities that would seem to make sense to me, inside of my very personal situation.

Mindset; Know the enemy, know the pre-attack indicators, know yourself, know the laws, have your line firmly drawn in the sand, eliminate or mitigate concerns that may make you hesitate. “He who hesitates, dies!” Get your mind right!

Home Defense; Develop a multilayered approach to home security. Become competent in quality home defense weapon systems that handle your personal situation the best. Rifle, shotgun, or handgun each tool has its place where it shines. Foster knowledge and competence in tactics. Develop the knowledge that “hunting” “clearing” or “searching” as a lone home owner is extremely risky undertaking. Prioritize securing the loved ones, taking up a fortified position, staying under the cloak of darkness, and laying in wait to engage from a proactive position.

IMG_9521Conceal Carry; Being away from home can put you in some of the very worse of positions. I consider the concealed carry skill sets as some of our most important due to the high possibility of starting the fight from behind in the reactionary curve and working through a low light situation. Get the very best training that you can find for these situations. It is my opinion that the hand to hand skill sets, integrated with the draw stroke from concealment, coupled with dynamic movement, and point shooting skill sets are the absolute core to self-defense with a handgun.

IMG_2447 For TraceHand to Hand, Edge weapons, Blunt weapons, and Improvised weapons; We should be able to defend our loved ones and ourselves with whatever may be available. The art of violence for defense is not about a specific tool, it is about making yourself the weapon. A complete weapon must be versatile and well-rounded.

IMG_0290SHTF Situations; Events such as The Boston Marathon Bombing, Katrina, Rodney King Riots, The Watts Riots, etc, etc have proven to us that things can go very wrong…..very quickly! Emergency preparedness is a must. More specialized training, such as we see offered by Dr. John Meade, Eric Pfleger, Don Robinson, and myself are very important tools to add to the tool box.

IMG_0711This is just a real quick example of honest and common sense approach to an individual’s list of priorities. They may be different from your personal list, and that is perfectly alright. We all need to come up with a personal fighting system that is built around who we are.

 There is a certain realization, about the amount of time that most of us can dedicate to one aspect of the fight. Once we look at the context of “the fight” it becomes very clear that we can not just be specialists. We must be well-rounded, we must be versatile. This does not allow us to focus on being “the best” on any one thing. Most of us are working stiffs, with families, responsibilities, and other interests. We do the best that we can do, within our busy lives, to be the best that we can be at defending our loved ones and ourselves. We must come up with a way to cover as much of the “most likely” as we can.


If we keep an open mind, if we develop an “inclusive” attitude, we can easily pick and choose common sense concepts that take care of the “most likely” at an efficient and effective level. To reach this efficient and effective level we must make compromises. These compromises need to be geared to the individual prioritization. A prioritization concept that may never allow for the individual to reach the level of the best shooters in the world……but may make him the very best that he can be within the specifics of his personal situation.

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