By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
Since 2000 there has been some major advancement in the art when it comes to the world of the gun. This is predominantly due to the realization that one size does not fit all and that the situation is the dictating factor when it comes down to choosing a strategy, tactic, or technique to deal with a life threatening encounter. It is plain to see that the facts are that the situation dictates the strategy, the strategy dictates the tactics, and the tactics dictate the techniques. The technique based training of the past locked us into a “one size fits all” mentality that simply does not stand up under open-minded scrutiny, much less inside of the chaos of a violent encounter, or force on force.
As we look at the situation, one of the key components of this situation comes down to “who are you?” As we look at this question we immediately think of the most obvious aspects of it. We think about age, sex, size, physical ability, and training. Of course, these are very important aspects of your personal situation. One aspect that is less obvious, but none the less important, is your mindset. The question needs to be asked “who are you” in regards to the mental aspect of the fight. What has your past experiences and performances been in physical altercations? Are you aggressive or passive by nature? Did you immediately take the fight to the opponent or hesitate due to denial. Did you only go on the defensive?
These are all very important questions. But the reality is that many people have never had to answer these questions. For those of us that are not as lucky, we have a basic idea of who we are. For the really unlucky people and the professionals, there is enough experience to know exactly who they are.
The reason that this question is so important is so that you can prioritize your training to take in account exactly who you are. If you know yourself to be very aggressive, you can train aggressive action as a known priority. This will not only fit your situation very well, but it will also further solidify this natural desire to take the fight to the adversary. By ingraining this deeper and deeper, you will recognize the situation for what it is earlier and respond quicker. It is my belief that this is what we see in some of the old timers that have prevailed numerous times with stand and deliver skills or while advancing aggressively. Gunfighter’s such as Fairbairn, Sykes, Bryce, Jordon, and Askins were born hunters/meat eaters that knew exactly who they were and trained with this knowledge to the point that they were “in the fight” before the Average Joe would even know that a fight was eminent. This ability to recognize the fight early and respond to it with decisive aggressive action leaves options in tactics and techniques open, that simply are not available to the Average Joe.
You may also know yourself as someone who can shift gears to aggressive action, but only after a slight hesitation. This is where many moderately trained civilians would find themselves. This knowledge can help you prioritize your training to something that gets you off of the line of attack, at a subconscious level, to give yourself some time for the conscious mind to catch up and go on the offense. This is where getting off of the X really shines. The forward oblique’s and parallel tracking works very well for this type of mindset. Visualization while training can improve this hesitation. You need to tap into that inner animal, the one that simply works off of “righteous indignation.” Visualization of protection of my wife and kids brings me closer to the decisive aggressive action that some of the top gunfighter’s in history have used to prevail. Reality is that my wife and kids do not even have to be present for this mindset to be enacted. Any attack on me is an attack on my wife and kids.
You may also know yourself as someone who will only act defensively, someone who will simply not go on the offense. While I do not agree with this type of mindset, as an instructor I have to understand that this may be the makeup of some of my students. Skills such as rearward movement or fighting to cover can be taught as their priority tactic. As I give them those skills, I do my best to convey to them the importance of a winning mindset and the option of more aggressive tactics and techniques.
As I said earlier, many people have not had to answer the question of who they really are. For these people it is important to train yourself to be as well-rounded as possible. It is also important to work on ingraining a winning mindset. Force on force courses can help you begin to determine who you are. Visualization while training is a very important aspect in cultivating this aggressive winning mindset.
When we look back on the old timers, that were so successful in their numerous gunfights, one thing is perfectly clear. They had the mindset to not only win, but to aggressively destroy the threat. They did not shoot to stop. They did not shoot to defend. They shot to effectively obliterate the threat. This is what made the tactics and techniques that they chose to use, as effective as they were.
They knew exactly who they were. They trained and fought with this absolute knowledge.
So the question bears repeating, “Who are you?”