By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
It is impossible to look at one aspect of the fight without looking at the intertwined skill sets that make up an effective and efficient response to a life threatening encounter. The specifics of these life threatening encounters can loosely be described as the situation. The situational elements have been pretty well laid down in the past. They are as follows;
Who Are You?
The single most important factor inside of the “situation” equation is YOU! This is the one known variable. This is the one variable that you have complete control of. This is the one variable that has (or should have) received the most thought and preparation.
What is your mission? What is your strategy? What is your mindset? Who are you to your very core (genetically?) How much experience do you have in violent confrontations? What is your training level? What is your skill level? How old are you? How big or strong are you? What level is your athleticism? What are your strengths and weaknesses? These are all questions that we need to ask ourselves and answer truthfully, without ego. These are the questions that will give you the answer to the most important questions of self defense…..”What do I really need?”
Position in the Reactionary Curve
This position is all dictated by who has the initiative and to what extent do they have the initiative. You can be proactive, you can have equal initiative, you can be reactive where you are behind in the reactionary curve, you can be way behind in the reactionary curve, and everything in between. The average time that it takes for someone to react is around .25 of a second. If you are in a truly reactionary mode .25 of a second is really the very best that you can hope for. A quarter second is an eternity in a gun fight. Your position in the reactionary curve has a huge effect on your options during movement, draw stroke, aiming, and grip/trigger.
Criminals are not always stupid. They usually want what they want and they want it in the easiest manner as possible. They cheat! They lie, deceive, distract, and wait for the perfect opportunity to attack, in order to gain the initiative. They understand initiative and use it to dominate the encounter so they can get what they want as easily as possible. We must understand that we will most likely be behind in the reactionary curve……..because if we are not (due to awareness)…..then we will most likely be deselected.
Distance is key, every aspect of fighting is dictated by distance. It does not matter if it is H2H, knives, guns, artillery, etc, etc distance considerations dictate the best strategy, tactic, and technique. Distance equals time! In a gunfight, distance will dictate whether you have to go “hands on” first, whether you have to concern yourself with retention so that you do not hand your adversary your gun, whether you can go to full extension, or whether you just “Get the heck out of Dodge.” Distance also has a huge effect on your options during movement, draw stroke, aiming, and grip/trigger.
Criminals use the distance to dominate the encounter. They get in close, because they understand that distance equals time also. The less distance, the less time, the more likely that they will get compliance from the victim.
This one factor can be the most difficult to ascertain. Correct threat identification is not a “cut and dry” proposition. What appears to be the threat may only be a portion of the actual threat. More and more, bad guys travel and work in packs. It is a very common tactic for the bad guys to have accomplices that are not initially seen. Keep this in mind and do not allow yourself to tunnel vision in on one aspect of the fight. Take care of the primary threat with the knowledge that there is most likely a second or third threat. Once the primary threat is taken out of the fight, immediately turn your focus to the probability/possibility of additional threats.
Situations dictate strategy, strategy dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.
As we look at these realities, it is plain to see that the focus on the “proactive” gunfight in the past 50+ years was an “exclusive” approach to training. It excluded the fact that we are all different and that we bring different strengths/weaknesses to the table. It excluded the fact that our mission or strategy was very different from that of law enforcement or military application. It worked under the myth that awareness, along with stand and deliver sighted fire was all that you would ever need. It worked under the myth that the threat would be obvious and easily handled without any concern with “The Balance, to hit and not be hit.”
By being inclusive and understanding that situation is the dictating factor, we can pick and choose the very best strategy, tactics, and techniques for the specific situation. By owning skill sets, that make up fluid concepts, that cover the a more complete fight continuum we are in a much better position to fight the fight…..no matter what it is. Learn the fluid concepts, work the fluid concepts with the correct context of the fight in mind, and ingrain the fluid concepts through mental imagery of the situation. When you need the best solution to a specific situation, the response will be there at the subconscious level.
Be inclusive! Understand that everything has its place inside of the fight continuum. Work it all while taking common sense into consideration and prioritize your training to “the most likely” situations. When the pressure is really on, the most logical response will be happening before your conscious mind has even had the chance to have gotten into the fight.
A quarter second is all the time in the world, if it is your final quarter second. Put in the work to be the very best you can be inside of that quarter second. This goal can not be reached without being inclusive and without putting in the work.