On Being “Inclusive” Chapter 8

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 lifeIMG_9079 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 have100_3542 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,100_3639 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

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.

The Threat

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.

6874balance_scaleAs 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.

The Balance: “To Hit and To Not Be Hit!” Chapter 7

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

Since 2001, there has been some very nice work done in the arena of the “reactive” gunfight. This had largely been a forgotten/missing piece of the puzzle. As we have worked on bringing this piece of the puzzle back to the forefront, many exciting, effective, and efficient methods have been discovered, or more aptly rediscovered. These less well know methods have caught many people’s attention and the study of the reactive gunfight has taken on a growth at an exponential rate. The excitement at this growth and the wealth of knowledge that has come out of it has led to some of the very best training courses that the private sector has ever offered. These courses have raised the reactive gun fighting skill sets to a status that will never allow for them to be forgotten again. With such great success and focus, the reactive gunfight skill sets have taken a very predominant role inside of the training industry. The amount of change that I have witnessed since 2001 is simply astounding.

As soon as we became comfortable with our new-found training philosophy, Murphy reared his ugly head. With the recent cases of mall shooting and church shooting, along with the threat to see even more of this type of attacks, it has become very clear that there needs to be a seamless integrationIMG_9059 between the proactive gunfight and the reactive gunfight. The focus can not just be on typical combat distance. They must include all distances, with priorities made to “the most likely.” Now, great strides are being made to seamlessly integrate the proactive gun fight with the reactive gun fight.

“Gun fighting is a thinking man’s game.” Responses to specific situations have to be firmly grounded in common sense and logic. This is what strategy, tactics, and mindset is all about.

As we look at the fight continuum, we need to understand that the “fight or flight” response is a continuum also. It is not “either/or,” it is about varying degrees of the combination of “fight or flight” to come up with the best solution to the problem. This is all about offense and defense and the varying degrees of the usage of offense and defense.

There is no doubt, that in the right place the old saying “the best defense is a good offense” is the very best solution for the problem. This is usually from an extreme dominant position or one where extreme domination of the action is the best solution, tactically and mindset wise, physically and psychologically.

The ultimate goal is to win. If winning is best achieved by taking the adversary out of the fight as quickly and ruthlessly as possible…..then just do it.IMG_9282 This is where “The Balance” swings to the offensive minded “to hit” response as the priority response that will end the fight, with you as the victor.

There are also times where the offensive minded “to hit” takes on an equal importance to the defensive minded “to not be hit.” Once again, this is probably from a dominant position or one where dominating the action is the best solution tactically or mindset wise, physically or psychologically. The biggest difference comes down to the extent of initiative that the confrontation started out with and the distances involved. Since it is not an “extremely dominant” situation “to not be hit” has to enter into the equation.

Unfortunately, there are times where we must think defensive first. “Too not be hit” takes on the predominant role, due to the fact that you must survive the initial contact before you can even get into the fight. This is where all of the recent hard work has paid off. Without nailing down the reactive gunfight there simply could not be a seamless integration of the proactive – equal initiative – reactive continuum.

FOF April 16-17, 2011 LV 065We now have everything in place. We just need to put it in its proper place. There is a definite balance between the “To hit and not be hit” concept that allows for us to have the very best solution to every situation possible.

The Fight Continuum: “The fight will be what the fight will be”

“Situations dictate strategy, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.”

We must have the techniques down to cover all of the possibilities. These techniques become fluid concepts inside of the continuum’s. We must be able to access these fluid concepts, within the correct context of the fight, at the subconscious level. We must be able to apply the concepts, within the balance “to hit and to not be hit” to solve the problem by the most effective and efficient means as possible. From one inch to two hundred yards, from a dominant position, to being way behind in the reactionary curve, and everything in between. We must understand and train with visualization in “The Balance”.

A Fluid Situational Response, Chapter 6

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

In the world of the gun there are two types of responses to a life threatening event. The first and most popular is the conditioned response. A few examples of conditioned responses would be stand and deliver, the controlled pair, and to always make use of your sights. These are responses that we train into ourselves with the hope that when we are called upon, we will default to our training and this programming will save the day.

While I was learning the Modern Techniques, (MT) I constantly questioned the logic behind many of the conditioned responses. To me, there was very little common sense attached to these conditioned responses. Even as a newbie I knew that I would never fight in this manner. It went away from the reality of all of my past experiences. As I trained and trained in the MT, I always held on to the realization the MT was just going to be a foundation, a foundation that I could build my fighting style on top of.

As I progressed, I began to incorporate what I thought a common sense fighting style would entail. I began to seek out people who thought as I did. My observations were confirmed again and again by highly respected “been there done that” guys. They would write posts of their real worldPSP SLC 6-10-2010 048 experience that coincided with my experiences, thoughts, and observations. As my suspicions were verified, my training progressed into an area that relatively few people have explored. I began to embrace the second type of response, the concept of natural human response.

As I participated in and witnessed FOF encounters inside of my training , it became very clear that the vast majority of the people who trained on a regular basis, cast aside their training when the action was fast and close. They would default to their natural human response. They solved problems at a sub-conscious level. I witnessed many people doing things that they had never been trained to do. After the encounter I would talk to them about their response. Many of these students actually did not know what they had done to solve the problem. As I informed them what they had done, they would often look at me in disbelief that they reacted in that manner. This furthered my interest in the subject, which lead me to my next level of enlightenment.

I call this level fluid situational response. The concept is that you can incorporate your natural human response and your conditioned response and use them fluidly in the appropriate situation all along the fight continuum. I know some of you will say that this does not stay within the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle, or that it does not conform to Hicks law (the more options you have, the longer it will take to access an option). IMHO this is just not so. Hicks law may apply to conditioned responses, that is why you should have a mastery of a number of essential techniques. Hicks law does not apply to natural human response. There is no lag time to access these responses. Your body will choose the solution to the problem in a microsecond at a subconscious level. Accepting this to be fact opens up a world that relatively few have explored.

My training is now geared to my fluid situational response. The response is dictated by time, distance, and where you find yourself in the reactionary curve. The position on the reactionary curve is the most important factor to your response. This is where natural human response of “fight or flight” PSP SLC 6-10-2010 058takes over. IMHO you should embrace the “fight or flight” response and train within that response. One thing to keep in mind, when it comes to firearms “fight or flight” is also “fight and flight.” The direction you move, the speed of your movement, the necessary visual input to maneuver and to comprehend the problem, the necessary visual input needed to make the hits, and the necessary visual input to recognize the situational changes in your position in the OODA loop, are all dependent on your position in the reactionary curve.

There is no doubt that at certain distances, going hands on before you access your handgun is the very best response. But for now, let’s take a look at responses that are outside of hand to hand ranges.

If you have succeeded in being ahead in the reactionary curve due to awareness, deception, distraction, or metsubushi (throw something in the face of your adversary) you are in a dominant position. Conditioned responses are excellent for this situation. Stand and deliver, sighted fire, aggressively advancing to your 12:00 are all appropriate responses.

If you find yourself even in the reactionary curve, your response will have to be different. Conditioned responses may not get the job done as well as natural human response. The fight and flight response will kick in and you will want to get out of the kill zone. Move as you draw, put hits on the adversary as soon as you can using point shooting skills, work towards getting inside of the adversaries OODA loop by your movement, ballistic effect, and acquiring his flank. Once you have turned the OODA loop in your favor, embrace your fluid situational response and shift from a reactionary position to the dominant position and eliminate the threat.

If you find yourself well behind the reactionary curve, your response will have to change even more. A conditioned response could be suicide, your best hope is a natural human response. A surprised response can be use to your advantage and you must train to be comfortable within your surprised response. Flight may override fight, because you must survive the initial contact so that you can get into the fight. Explode out of the kill zone while drawing your weapon, move to cover if near, put hits on the adversary using point shooting skills, look to turn the tide, and if the situation changes flow into the next appropriate response.

Once you embrace your fluid situational response you will go places that you never thought were possible, where your mind is the weapon and yourPSP SLC 6-10-2010 076 body and gun are simply tools that are just an extension of your mind, where everything flows with no conscious thought.

The inevitable question arises, “what is more important, to get the hits or to not get hit?” The fluid situational response helps answer that question. When you are ahead of the reactionary curve, it is more important to get the hits. You are in the dominate position….ELIMINATE THE THREAT! If you are even in the reactionary curve and at equal initiative, the importance is equal. Use a balance of speed (of movement) and accuracy to solve the problem. If you are behind in the reactionary curve it is more important to not get hit. Get out of the kill zone by “thinking move first.” Sprint to cover if it is near or access your handgun on the sprint and put hits on your adversary. Always look to get inside of the adversaries OODA loop and progress through your fluid situational response until you are either dominating the confrontation or have put yourself in the position to terminate the confrontation.

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.

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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.

Who Are You? Chapter 4

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” inlion-running 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. article-2288934-187276C8000005DC-64_634x802The 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?”

The Seven Concepts of the Handgun and the Benefits of Conceptual Training, Chapter 3

FFC

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

First things first, I am not anti Modern Techniques. I have spent years and years studying and practicing this methodology. I feel that they have prepared me very well for a “proactive” gunfight. My focus has now moved on to the seamless integration of proactive gunfight and the reactive gunfight. This is not an insult to Col. Coopers work….it is a continuation of his work…..it is complimentary to his work. Now with that said, let’s get to the meat of the issue.

I am constantly questioned by the diehard Modern Techniques (MT) advocates about the wisdom of teaching as many things as I do. They often see it as “way too much” material and “way too complicated.” I could not disagree more!

As I was learning the MT I kept seeing “gaps” in the training. These gaps concerned me from day one and I figured that the gaps would be filled in, in the more advanced courses. This never came to pass. It was obvious to me that the MT were very limited, especially in the context of “the fight.”

As I began to look around in order to fill in these gaps, I discovered what the problem was with the MT. The problem was that it was a limited batch of disjointed techniques. These limited techniques were forced to fit into situations that simply did not make any sense. I knew right away that there had to be a better way, because this went against every prior experience that I had ever had in my life. To me the MT was comparable to learning to box from a slow, plodding, heavy-handed, heavy weight. As an athletic, lightning fast welterweight, learning from a slow, plodding, heavy-handed, heavy weight made absolutely no sense at all. The techniques were just too limited and did not fit into my strengths at all. I was told that “this is all that you will ever need.” I did not believe that for even a minute.

A fight is a fight, it does not matter what kind of fight it is. Fist fight, knife fight, gun fight…..the bottom line is that it is a fight. If as an individual, you were blessed with God-given talents and strengths, why would you ever abandon those attributes? The answer to that is that you would not and do not abandon them, no matter who 100_3238tells you “this is all that you will ever need.” The idea that all I could handle was a few, limited, disjointed skills is absolute lunacy to me. There is not one event in my life that has ever told me that I could not handle transitioning through a fluid situational response when the chips were down. The idea of dumbing something down so that I could perform it under stress is as foreign to me as a traditional Lithuanian dance.

The reality of the fight is that “situations dictate strategy, strategy dictates tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.” Any fighting system that has the techniques dictating anything should raise a huge red flag. The statement above means that we must be as well-rounded and versatile as we possibly can be. The question is how do you incorporate all of this well roundness and versatility into a simple fighting concept? The answer is that we train in “concepts” that work within the correct context of the fight.

What is the context of the fight?

This is a question that blows the Hicks law right out of the water. Hicks law states that the more choices you have, the longer it will take to pick one. One of the most common things that you will ever read on a gun forum is “It is situational” or “it depends.” The exact context of the fight opens up a very limited choice of responses. This is a simple concept that can be seen in any basic boxing match. No one in their right mind throws a hook or uppercut from way outside and nobody in their right mind throws a long, looping, overhand power shot from a clinch. The situation dictates the logical punching combination. This is no different from any real fight. No one in their right mind point shoots at thirty yards and no one in their right mind uses the sights at three feet. The specific context of the fight opens up the logical concepts that you have trained in. The illogical responses are never even considered. They are never a part of the decision-making process. This conceptual approach allows for a vast integration of a variety of skill sets. This well-rounded integration allows for the best response for each and every situation. But each skill set has its logical place inside of the context of the fight. Once again, illogical skill sets are never even on the table.

Due to my MT experience, I have always had a problem with the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) concept. I feel that this concept has been bastardized into “only do as my guru does” catch phrase. This closed-minded negativity has done an awful lot of damage due to the retardation of the advancement of the art. A much more appropriate concept would be more like this “Keep it as simple as it needs to be within the correct context of the fight.” Now this makes sense and cannot be confused with dogma or guru worship. But of course we would not have that cute little acronym to desperately cling to when the heretics begin discussing “concepts, integration, matrix, or continuum.”

As we look to train in our “concepts” I feel that it is best to look at things as a continuum. A continuum is defined as “a continuous non-spatial whole, or extent, or succession in which no part or portion is distinct or distinguishable from adjacent parts.”

Since the situation dictates everything, we need to understand that “the situation” (the context of the fight) is the defining element. We have to understand that there is a “fight continuum” and inside of this fight continuum there are lesser continuum’s that help establish the concepts inside of the correct context of the fight.

The Reaction ConceptIMG_0791

One of the first concepts that we need to accept is the reaction concept. This is the concept of our initial reaction which is usually based on who has the initiative. You can either be in a dominant position, of equal initiative, behind in the reactionary curve, or way behind in the reactionary curve. Your reaction must be dictated by who has the initiative and to what extent that they have it. The MT did a fine job of teaching us what to do when you were in a dominant position….but is severely lacking in regards to the other positions in the reactionary curve.

The second biggest factor in the reaction continuum is the proximity of the threat. This will dictate whether you can “go to guns,” whether you have to “go hands on,” or whether you have the ability to get to cover or use “positioning” to mitigate the threat. The reaction continuum also dictates the initial direction that you move, the level of explosiveness of which you move, the clearing of the cover garment, and the accessing of the firing grip on the handgun.

 The Takeoff ConceptIMG_2486

This concept is about whether you are stationary or moving, the direction that you need to move to,  how much traction you have, your physical attributes or weaknesses, the urgency of the situation, and the allowable amount of telegraphing. There are a number methods to take off and each has their strengths and weaknesses. The better you understand what those qualities are and the better you can apply them to the correct situations, the safer and deadlier you are going to be. Whether it as a Two Footed Take Off,  a Pekiti Take Off, an Enhanced Pekiti Take Off, a Lean and Push, or a Systema Take Off  knowing when a where they all shine is an important tool to own.

 The Retention ConceptIMG_3395

This concept is all about how far you can safely project your gun, without opening yourself up for an attack on the gun, the gun hand, or the gun arm. This is about learning about time proven methods of retention that allow you to be as safe and deadly as you can possibly be, all while dealing with the most fluid of concepts inside of a fight……..the distance. Whether you use an “elbow down”  method of retention or a an “elbow out” method of retention it is all about being smart and not leaving any openings that can be taken advantage of. It is about having the knowledge and the skills to make the hits with whatever room is available inside of the fight.

 The Movement Concept IMG_1206

The reaction concept and the retention concept leads us into two other concepts that happen simultaneously, the movement concept and the draw stroke concept. The direction, the explosiveness, the speed, or even the need for movement is dictated by the context of the fight. The MT did fine with teaching us how to make hits with “stand and deliver” and “controlled movement,” but did nothing for us in regards to truly dynamic movement. Our movement needs to be dictated by the urgency caused by your placement inside of the reactionary curve and the proximity of the threat. The amount of initiative that the adversary has will dictate where you need to be inside of the balance “to hit and not be hit.” There are times where making the hit out weights making the adversary miss (when you are dominating the fight) and vice versa. This will all be very apparent as the situation comes down.

I feel that it is best to prioritize your movement for “your” most likely encounters. Civilian defenders and typical Street Cops priorities can be very different from that of someone in the military or in a special unit. As an instructor who specializes in the training of civilian defenders and Street Cops, I tend to do most of my training inside of ten yards. I also but a high priority on movement to the forward oblique’s but, I also feel that every direction should be covered……every direction, with varying speed, with the use of “see what you need to see” skills, while integrating directional changes, weapon transfers and footwork pivoting. The goal is to be well-rounded, versatile, and completely comfortable with whatever movement is needed in the specific situation.

The Draw Stroke ConceptIMG_4372

The draw stroke should be based on common sense. There will be times where squaring up to the threat and using a default linear tow handed draw stoke makes all of the sense in the world. But we have to realize that there are also times where it makes absolutely no sense at all. I feel that the physiological response to square up to a threat is something that we should attempt to train out of ourselves. It may be useful at times, but it may have deadly consequences at other times. Taking the time to square up locks you into the kill zone. This hesitation (no matter how small) can be very detrimental. We all know that the quickest point between two points is a straight line, with this in mind, draw directly to the threat. We also all know that the quickest way out of the kill zone is by using existing forward momentum with explosive forward movement (from the 10:00 – 2:00). With this in mind do not take the time to orientate to the threat to draw before you get off of the X.

Where do you shoot from inside of your draw stroke? How many hands do you have on the gun?

Once again these questions are dictated by the situation. You may need to shoot as soon as you have clear the holster and indexed on to the threat due to the urgency of the encounter. You may have time to come to full extension at the line of sight. You may find the best answer somewhere in between those points. You may have the opportunity to draw to your two-handed default draw stroke. You may not even be able to bring your support side hand to your gun because it is busy doing even more important functions such as fending, blocking, striking, balancing, manipulating other tools, manipulating the environment, being used to facilitate efficient shooting and dynamic movement.

A completely versatile draw stroke, to every position on the clock, with whatever retention level is needed, and with whatever movement is needed is the only way to have all of your bases covered.

The Sight ConceptIMG_2535

See what you need to see, to get the hits that you need, within the correct context of the fight. Your ability to get to and use the sights will be dictated by many factors. These same factors will also dictate from what position that you need to shoot from…..you may not even be able to get to full extension, or to the line of sight. The wise man will learn to make hits throughout his completely versatile draw stroke. The factors involved are once again the defining element of the correct context of the fight…. initiative, urgency, proximity, and necessary movement. One thing that must be kept in mind is that the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System out of the fight or flight response has very specific physiological effects on the human body. One of the most significant physiological responses inside of the sight continuum is the dilation of the pupils that may make it impossible to focus on anything up close….including your sights.

The Grip and Trigger Concept100_6029

I have eluded too these two aspects of the fight on a few occasions. Luckily the position in the continuum will automatically be found by the physiological response of the encounter. Once again, this will be dictated by the correct context of the fight. It really is as simple as the closer and the more urgent the encounter is the tighter you will squeeze the gun and the harder and faster you will work the trigger. Do not confuse this with poor shooting skills. It may not fit into “The Fundamentals of Marksmanship,” but it is firmly rooted in the physiologically sound teachings of point shooting/combat shooting. As the distance increases and the urgency lessons, the grip and the use of the trigger will automatically move away from the physiological teachings of point shooting towards “The Fundamentals of Marksmanship.” This is just a physiological fact that one should accept and learn to benefit from.

Train Conceptually! Understand the dynamics of a life threatening encounter, never let your techniques dictate your response, keep an open mind, be as well-rounded as possible, let your versatility be your number one strength. Use visualization as you train in your concepts to ingrain appropriate responses at a subconscious level. Never accept the limitations set down by another man…..but never underestimate the value of the fundamentals.

Do not fall in line with those that are weak of mind and heart, the ones who tell you that this is not possible. Look to those that easily integrate conceptual training into their fighting systems…..they are many! All of the very best fighters are well-rounded and versatile. All of them can seamlessly flow through the ever-changing dynamics of a fight. “Be like water” is not just a really cool quote from a really cool guy……..it is a quote from a fighter that understood that being well-rounded was much better than being flat sided.

If you understand and can seamlessly integrate/apply The Seven Concepts to your handgun, you will have the vast majority of situations that you can run into, covered at a very high level.

To sign up for the course that teaches these concepts click on this link https://fightfocusedconcepts.wordpress.com/

Priorities of the Gun Fight and “The Fight Continuum” Chapter 2

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

(1) Avoid one easily and completely due to preparedness, knowledge, and awareness by being deselected.

(2) See one coming and get the heck out of Dodge due to preparedness, knowledge, and awareness.situational-awareness-prepping

(3) See one coming due to preparedness, knowledge, and awareness, but to have no choice but to end it by dominating the action and decisively ending it with solid behind cover or stand and deliver marksmanship skills.

Unfortunately, “The Fight Continuum” does not stop here.

(4) See one coming due to preparedness, knowledge, and awareness, at the same time that a dedicated opponent recognizes that you see it coming. The context of the fight is equal initiative and the victor will be the one that mitigates his weaknesses while maximizing his strengths. “Stand and deliver”, sighted fire, controlled movement, alternative sighting methods, dynamic movement, or point shooting. It all comes down to who are you, what is your skill level, what are your limitations? The higher the skill level, the lower the chance of taking rounds. Remember “Movement favors the trained shooter…dynamic movement favors them even more so.”

(5) Find out that you are going to be in a gunfight only after you have seen the adversary’s weapon and he has the opportunity to inflict serious bodily harm or death……right now! We must attempt to take back the lost initiative. This can be done with deception, distraction, metsubushi (throwing of bullet holessomething in the adversaries face), or dynamic movement. Timing is everything at this point. You can wait for the perfect time out of your deception, distraction or metsubushi……or the perfect time could be an “immediate action” with your dynamic movement. If the “immediate action” is the best way to handle the situation, explode off of the X to get inside of the adversaries OODA loop. Acquire your handgun, put hits onto the adversary as quickly as you possibly can to try to take back the lost initiative. Fluidly move from a reactive position to, to equal initiative, to the point that you are dominating and decisively ending the confrontation by the use of your dynamic movement and the ballistic effect of your “progressively accurate marksmanship.”

(6) Find out that you are going to be in a gunfight, but only after you go “hands on” to get the adversaries weapon off of you and you create enough distance/time so that you can acquire your handgun. Integrate quality “hands on” skills to the point that the weapon is off of you and that you have the time to access and index onto the threat. The available time that you create dictates the type of response that is most effective and efficient.

What do I mean when I say “Priorities?” This is the order I would prefer a gun fight to come down. Unfortunately, preferences have very little to doIMG_9063 with reality.

“The fight will be what the fight will be!”

We must understand the need to be “well-rounded” in order to cover the fight that shows up on your doorstep. The very core of this “being well-rounded” is the mental aspect of the fight. Preparedness, knowledge, and awareness are just one part of the mental aspect of the fight. Understanding the dynamics of a fight is another huge aspect of being well rounded. Without this understanding, the ability to apply the best solutions to the specific situation will be severely hampered.

“Situations dictate strategies, strategies dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.”

images

We need to have very well-rounded skill sets (numerous techniques that make up fluid concepts) so that we can access the very best solution to the specifics of the situation. These fluid concepts need to be accessible at the conscious level and the subconscious levels in order to cover the entire “fight or flight” spectrum.

“Luck favors the prepared!”

“Keep it Simple Stupid” (KISS) Chapter 1

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts.

We have all heard this over and over again, but what does it actually mean?

Many believe that it means “keep it simple or you are stupid.” A more accurate and valuable definition would be more like this “keep it as simple as itIMG_3273 needs to be, but no simpler.”

In the world of the gun, its true meaning has been contorted by those that teach a certain system or methodology. These instructors taught a one size fits all methodology that is geared to a lowest common denominator mindset, inside of a square range mentality. They taught one stance, one grip, one means of sighting the gun, one draw stroke, and one form of retention shooting.

Back in early 2000, Instructors were beginning to step outside of that tight little box. There began an age of enlightenment. Terms such as integration, continuum, matrix, and progression would send all of the old guard guru worshipers into a frenzied state, throwing KISS rule hay-makers at every new concept that they did not understand. It is this lack of IMG_3281understanding that was the crux of the problem…..not the newer concepts.

This new breed of instructors were taking what they knew and testing it in force on force (FOF.) To many of these Instructors, the limitations of their past training became very apparent. It became exceedingly obvious that the training of the past, had kept things much too simple. It was so simple, that it did not work against a thinking, breathing, resisting, and aggressive adversary. Remember, “keep it as simple as it needs to be, but no simpler.” If the past KISS training failed miserably inside of properly run FOF (and it did) it is very apparent that this contorted KISS ideology was the main factor in this failure.

“The More You Sweat in Training, the Less You Bleed in Combat”

Simply said, “put in the work!”

So, what is the work that we need to put in?

Go out and learn the fundamentals. As soon as you have safety down, the draw stroke down, and you can keep the gun running and hitting……you need to take these basics into professionally run and properly structured FOF. Here is where you find out that the fundamentals are nowhere nearIMG_3283 good enough. This is where you find out that you need to sweat a hell of a lot more, so that you do not bleed so much. This is where you discover that you need to be more well-rounded and versatile. This is where the lights come on and illuminate the fact that you need to be able to work at the subconscious level…..because that conscious level KISS training fell flat on it face.

The epiphany is complete!

You now understand that keeping it simple in training does not equate to doing well in a confrontation. “Gun fighting is a thinking man’s game!” The only way for you to keep it simple in a confrontation is by putting in the work while training. You need to work with solid natural/instinctive concepts…..ones that can be accessed by the caveman brain at the subconscious level. This breaks us away from that one size fits all, conditioned response, technique based training and leads us into much more natural and fluid concepts. These fluid concepts begin to cover a much larger portion of the fight continuum. Even though they cover much more IMG_3288ground, they are actually simpler to access and perform well while under pressure. They are simpler due to the fact that they are more natural and instinctive. You have also put in the work, inside or your training, so that you have an understanding and comfort level that leads to a “just do it” state of mind.

It is this “just do it” state of mind that is the true meaning of KISS!