What is “A Good Hit?” Part I

By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concept

I had a friend steer me over to a blog discussing my “Movement Matrix” video on YouTube. The guy is asking legitimate questions, for somebody with his competition based background. His concern is my perceived lack of “a standard.” Here is my reply to his questions and they are in bold.

(quote) What is “good”? So the students and instructor get to decide what constitutes a “good” hit after shooting? Sort of like putting a golf ball and then deciding where the hole should be.(quote)

“Good” is how well you perform when your training partner is trying to run you down, smack you upside of your head with a training club, or toss you to the ground while going “Singer” on you with a training knife.

Good” is how good you were at keeping from taking any damage, at three yards, from behind in the reactionary curve, how quickly you get out of the kill zone while getting your tools into play and putting fast and accurate hits on the adversary, all while at the same time using your movement so that he has no chance to ever club or stab you.

“Good” is how good you were at dodging your adversaries aim, from being behind in the reactionary curve, getting your gun out and on target while exploding out of the kill zone, and putting fast and accurate hits on your adversary to take back the lost initiative.

“Good” is also about getting fast and accurate hits outside of seven yards using the fundamentals of marksmanship. But this is just one segment of “good” and not the most likely one that will occur in a typical life threatening encounter.

(quote) Admittedly, a point scoring process can become arbitrary if you let it but reducing the effort into a number adds much-needed objectivity. Is the shooter improving? Does a technique work better or worse? How much? Rather than a feel-good assessment, we need a way to put a hard number on it. Failing to measure, or devising a means to do so, is much worse than any potential problems scoring might create. (quote)

There is nothing arbitrary about properly structured force on force (FOF.) All you have to do is imagine every fight (the situation) that can show up at your door step and fight it with excellent training partners. Throw out all preconceived notions, all the biases, and all of the agendas. The truth will become perfectly clear and the results will be very different from the status quo marksmanship based training of the recent past. Of course this is not a “setting of a standard” for marksmanship. It is a “setting of a standard” for actually fighting inside of the fluid dynamics of a violent encounter. If people believe that this is a lower standard, I would humbly submit that they simply have not done the testing or did not test the standard in properly structured FOF.

(quote) On silhouette targets we can create one zone to represent the thoracic cavity. Scoring is now center hit, edge hit and miss. How bad is a complete miss? How much better is a center vs. an edge hit? Assign a number to this that encourages what you believe is an optimum balance. An individual instructor can change this to meet his class needs as he sees fit. (quote)

The problem this is that it does not take into consideration the very best hits, which are central nervous system hits.

(quote) If that’s too much, scoring can be a simple hit or miss. Again, how terrible is a complete miss? If it will open your student up to incredible liability or failure it needs to be heavily penalized. (quote)

Misses happen in combat!

What people see as “dangerous to innocent’s” I see as a way to keep innocent’s as safe as I can, all while trying to make sure that I go home to my family. If I can do what most people believe to be impossible and I can teach my students to do the very same thing, how could this be more dangerous to the innocents? People like to point out that LEO’s are trained to a very low-level, but it is much bigger than that……..most gun people are trained to a very low-level, when it comes to training inside of the realities of the fight. Most people do not know the realities, do not train for the realities, and have not experienced the reality of the fight. Training is just one tool that helps us improve, competition is another tool that helps us improve, and FOF is another tool that helps us improve.

I have done all three to one extent or another and it is the FOF that taught me the most. At Fight Focused Concepts we call it “The FOF epiphany.”

Once you have participated in properly structured FOF your world is never the same. Everything that you see in that short video clip comes to light right after the FOF epiphany smacks you in the face.

(quote) Putting some thought into this is the mark of a good instructor. What are the goals and how will you measure them? (quote)

Since I have put so much thought, time, effort, empirical data, fighting, testing, and successful instruction into this, I will take that as a compliment.

My goal is to be as dangerous as I can possibly be no matter what fight shows up at my front door. I will measure it by continuing to fight other extremely dangerous men, by watching extremely dangerous men fight other extremely dangerous men, and compiling the empirical data that comes out it. Then I will pass it on to my students.

In short, I will keep doing what I am doing until somebody can show me a better way and then I will switch to that. I spent years inside of the marksmanship based approached of setting standards and they simply do not equate to being standards even close to good enough in my eyes. They are all about shooting, with only a very small portion being about fighting.

There are two test on a standard.

1) Does it make common sense

2) Will it work against a live, thinking, and resisting adversary

All else is moderately interesting.

One last thing, I am all for competition, because in the right situations it will be all that is necessary to dominate the fight. But, it will not carry you in a vast number of situations.

Here is more from that conversation. If I am going to spend time speaking with others, I am going to at least allow the people here to benefit from the conversation. This conversation is all about the belief of having a training “standard.” It is about believing that the only acceptable standard is a test run inside of a live fire course. That is the context of the topic.

I am always amazed when people view a very short video and then make comments with such a low amount of information. There should be a standard applied on commenting on things with extremely limited knowledge and information. I am qualified to teach over two dozen different courses including marksmanship based course that push the standard out to 200 yards with a pistol and 400 yards with a rifle.

The video above is a skill set called “the movement matrix” and it is designed to let the shooter know what they are really capable of inside of the most difficult of situations. The status quo training of the past and the marksmanship based aspect of it have left our LEO’s in a position where the nationally recognized hit ratio is between 15-25 %. They trained and qualified using a “standard” yet when the reality of the fight became their reality, their training standard was much too low. The standard that they trained in did not take the reality of the fight into consideration.

Any standard that does not take the reality of the fight and make it the highest of priorities is a sub-par standard. The situation of the fight is the predominant factor and if the bad guys do their job right (they are not as stupid as people would leave you to believe ) you will be in a reactionary position and when you are in a reactionary position the balance of “to hit and to not be hit” must be taken into consideration. The movement matrix above helps to dramatically decrease the hits on you. This has been proven beyond any doubt inside of actual gunfights and in force on force testing.

There is a phenomenon out there in the training world and I call it “you do not know what you do not know.” Unless you have studied actual reactive gunfights, the reality that 70% are in low light, both adversaries are usually moving dynamically, and you are dealing with an activation of the sympathetic nervous system it is hard to evaluate what is being taught in that very short video clip. At Fight Focused Concepts we teach force on force courses and the students that have trained with me in “Point Shooting Concepts” usually dominant the other students. It is seen as being so unfair that the other Instructors, at the last training company that I instructed for, separate those that have trained with me away from those that have not trained with me.

As far as teaching to a lower standard, I have extensive training at one of the top marksmanship based schools in the country. They tested on a standard non-stop. Their standard looked good on paper, but was an absolute joke inside of the reality of the fight. Since I have trained in both methods extensively, I know for a fact what method trains to the lower standard.

“Situations dictate strategy, strategy dictate tactics, and tactics dictate techniques……techniques should never dictate anything.”

If you are not training in “the reality of the fight” you are training to a lower standard.

As far as this one piece of the puzzle that you see in the video clip, our standard is just like the standard set down by the Gracie’s during the birth of MMA. We fight people in force on force. We train for the reality of the fight and we test the standard in the reality of the fight.

When it cannot be tested this way due to distance, or lack of opponents we test it just as any other marksmanship based training. The pump house and cranial ocular cavity being our primary targeting areas. The head and the upper thoracic cavity being secondary. Center of mass and the central nervous system are always taken into consideration.

Since inside of the balance of “to hit and to not be hit” the “to not be hit” is more important, therefore our standard changes as the feces gets deeper. If I am a full second behind in the reactionary curve due to being distracted, I will accept a standard less than perfect.

“Perfection is the enemy of good enough.”

Perfection is to not sustain damage while dishing out damage. That is the context of the movement matrix.

Shooting for score is a very important part of the training equation. Being a good shooter will always be better than being a poor shooter. But how well you shoot is only a small portion of training for a life threatening confrontation. Everything that I teach is “fight focused,” the ability to put the hits right where you want the hits is just one part of the equation. In a reactive gunfight where I am behind in the reactionary curve, by at the very best .2 seconds and at the very worse 3 seconds (and that was the context of the video) my predominant thinking is to not get shot, stabbed, or bludgeoned until I can get into the fight. When the feces is deep you must have skills that you can fall back on.

Are those skills optimal on the square range? Of course they are not! Are they optimal inside of the sub-optimal fighting situation that we are training for? Yes they are!

If you do not train for the skills when the feces is the deepest you are training to a lower standard. If you think that all you need is competition based skill sets when you are fighting for your life, then you have probably not taken your skills into varying life threatening situations or into properly structured force on force.

All of the things that you see in that very short clip are just one little piece of the puzzle inside of a very large self-defense puzzle. Understanding the context of what you are seeing is the key to understanding what is being taught. This is stuff that comes out of real life threatening encounters and stuff that has come from hundreds of thousands of hours of force of force training by a very large group of people all over this country. This is not just one nutty guy that does not care about shooting innocent people. This is information that has been networked, worked, reworked, analyzed, tested, fought, and bled since 2003.

Every disagreement that we have right now and every disagreement that we have had in the past on this type of training all comes down to context and semantics. If you do not understand the context you will never understand the training. If you do not understand the language that I am using, pure semantics will drive the debate forever.

Back in 2001-2003 the “point shooters” use to debate the “competitors.” Until one day when a Grand Master came to train with the point shooters. He discovered that what we were debating on was nothing more than semantics and context. We spoke of the exact same things but called them something else. Point shooters used historical terminology and competitors used more modern terminology. The point shooters context was all about “the fight” and the competitors context was all about the game and the score. When it was all said and done the Grand Master informed us all about the absolute consistency of what was being taught. The differences were very small and all came down to context and semantics.

That debate came to an end long ago.

What is good?” All comes down to the context of what you are training for. Do you want to be the very best target shooter ever or do you want to be the very best fighter that you can be inside of a very busy life?

The self-defense puzzle is a huge puzzle and a life long journey. The number of areas that you have to train to a level of proficiency is quite high. But if you just want to be a good target shooter, you can focus on just that one thing.

There are a number of places that you can train out there, but not very many focus on the fight as in-depth as Fight Focused Concepts. Since we are willing and able to teach stuff that others are not, our time management is different. We have made the decision a long time ago to teach more in-depth fight focused material, rather than spend time prepping for a test of the standards. It is just a business decision that sets us apart from the crowd.

As far as the video clip and the “Point Shooting Concepts” (PSC) course, the most likely thing that is said by a student after the class is that it is “like drinking from a fire hose.” It is not just a point shooting class that teaches dynamic movement, it is a very deep course that opens the students to a different way of thinking. It is a study in the fight continuum and a study finding out what you need to do to be as deadly as you can be inside of the very fluid aspect of a fight.

The standard of the course is set in the very first lecture when I say “At the end of these two days you will be able to do what most people believe to be impossible.” Out of the thousands and thousands of students that I have run through the course only two people did not hit that level.

So, is that “good?” “Is that good enough?”

In my eyes, I will never be “good enough” and I hope my students share the same mentality.

The goal in the PSC family of courses (there is also Advanced PSC, Long Gun PSC, and PSC Force on Force) is to instill a certain confidence in the student…..a “I’ve been here, I’ve done this, and I’ve got this!” fighting confidence.

“The fight is going to be what the fight is going to be” and the study of the fight continuum prepares you for the varying fights that can show up at your door step. The competition based skills that I own are part of the continuum, but they are only one set of tools that fit into the varying circumstances of a fight.

When we look at all of the “well roundness” that is being advocated, is there really time to be a specialist in any one thing? And how good do you need to be in one aspect of the fight before you need to look at and train in another aspect of the fight?

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