Which Way Do I Go? Chapter 13

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts

As we look at the movement concept, we are constantly asked this same question over and over again. The only answer that covers all of the bases is that we need to be able to fight in every direction on the clock. Even within this versatility, we need to prioritize our movement to “the most likely” and “the most efficient and effective.” This all has to be looked at through “the balance to hit and not be hit.” Everyone wants a bumper sticker size answer to all things tactical, but the only way that is possible is when the bumper sticker says “It depends.”

There are many factors to consider when you look at the best direction to go for any specific situation.

  • The distance
  • The urgency
  • The environment (including obstacles)
  • The type of threat and weapon being deployed against you
  • The available cover
  • The exit of the fight
  • The retention issue
  • Your mission
  • You personal attributes
  • Your personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Your subconscious level “fight or flight” response
  • Your mindset

As you can see, setting any limitations on the direction that you train to move could be a very bad idea. We need to train in all directions, all while using our prioritization.

As for a common sense prioritization, Fight Focused Concept (FFC) really prefers the movement toward the forward oblique’s (10:30 and 1:30.) This gives us the very most angular displacement that we are giving our adversary to deal with, which makes it harder for the adversary to hit us, while giving us a direction that makes it very easy for us to make the hits on them. Another priority direction that has been brought back from the combat proven skill sets of the “old timers” is aggressively advancing (12:00.) This direction has a very long history of success. These successes are being rediscovered now that we are back at war. This direction really gets inside of the adversary’s head, it messes with his OODA loop, and often puts him in a panic mode. This all comes down to doing the unexpected and the application of increasing pressure. Most of the forward movement skill sets give us the ability to perform the “increasingly accurate marksmanship” phenomenon, as we close the distance.

Rearward oblique movement (4:30 and 7:30) is a slightly lower priority direction, yet is still an essential skill set, especially against edge and blunt weapons. Rearward oblique movement can be a very dynamic as long as you get your hips around and point your toes (as much as is comfortable) the direction that you are headed. Back peddling is something that you should try to mitigate as much as possible, when it is up close and down and dirty. Back peddling is slow and does not facilitate the use of directional changes as well as “turret of the tank” concepts. Back peddling can take on a more prevalent role when the immediate threat is low and the distance and the difficulty of the shot demands a more stable/squared up shooting platform. Quality rearward movement skills are dependent on quality one-handed shooting skills or the knowledge to never become a slave to your two-handed grip through the use of a modified grip. You must be fluid with your two-handed grip while moving rearward, towards your 4:30 (if you are right-handed).

Lateral movement (9:00 and 3:00) is a decent direction and needs to be trained. But, we must remember that the angular displacement is not of the comparable degree as the forward obliques. It also does not give us the “increasingly accurate marksmanship” phenomenon. This direction of movement is much more about being able to fight to cover or the exit of the fight.

Rearward movement (6:00) is a very low priority direction because it never gets you off of the line of attack and does very little to help you inside of “the balance to hit and to not be hit.”

As the “which way do I go” questions get answered, one more question that is always bound to be asked. “Which direction makes it harder for the adversary to track me?” The common answer is that moving to the back side of his gun hand, makes it harder for him to track you. I am of the mind that I do not know for sure……nor do I care what the adversary is capable of. All I know…..or care about is what I am capable of. My goal is to make the adversary fight my fight, to leave him in the position where he is responding to my strengths…..not me guessing about his strengths. If I am working the forward oblique’s and the distance leads to a retention problem, I am going to my right. The cross body aiming of my modified grip, out of moving to my right gives me excellent retention properties. If I have some distance while working the same forward oblique’s, I going to move to my left. The visual input out of the “point shoulder” aiming method is something that my body just loves. I know that I am fast and accurate and the solid body mechanics facilitates extreme dynamic movement. I am going to work with what is known, as fact. I am not going to guess what someone else is capable of. I want to make them fight my fight.

The bottom line is that it is a very good idea to “train for the worst and hope for the best.” You never know what the dynamics of the fight are going to be. It is the wise man who trains himself to be well-rounded as possible in order to cover as many bases as he can. Training in just one response will make you a “flat sided” fighter. Flat sided fighters can not adapt to varying tactics, if you can not adapt, you will not overcome. But, to the very same degree, movement must have purpose. Moving for the sake of moving is not wise at all. Movement must give you a tactical advantage. If you can dominant the encounter with fast and accurate stand and deliver skills, then that may just be the very best way to go.

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