By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
Back in 2005, when I first started teaching dynamic movement to every direction on the clock, I would often witness the same thing over and over again, within a certain cross-section of the students. We would be moving to the right rearward oblique (the 5:00) and the right-handed students would inevitable end up in a back pedal. It was odd, I simply could not figure out why they kept doing it, and no matter how many times I would demo it easily and successfully, they would still end up back peddling.
I was teaching a course in Georgia and a very squared away student and friend was running the drill and he kept back peddling. Since he was also an Instructor, I felt as if this was the point that I had to figure out why this phenomenon kept happening. I had him run it over and over again trying to see what he was doing. Finally, it dawned on me that I was analyzing the wrong person. The correct question is not “what is he doing?” The correct question is “what am I doing that he is not doing?” So, I had the class gather around to analyze what I was doing. As so as I put the training gun in my hands to walk through the drill, it dawned on me like a bolt of lightning. There I was staring at this grip on my handgun that I had never even realized that I was using. Here we were, thinking the back peddling problem was a footwork problem and all along it was a grip problem.
Finally, I figured out what the difference between what I was doing and what they were doing.
I tend to be very fluid, I accept very few hard rules, and I am very comfortable just doing whatever needs to be done to get the job done. Within this fluidity, I found that I would alter my grip on the gun to relieve tension in my body. By relieving this tension, I never felt the need to unwind from it and back pedal. I found that the students that were having a problem with back peddling did not know that they could alter their grip. They had one grip and they were slaves to that one grip. This left them in a position where they had no choice but to unwind the body and back peddle inside of the designed drill.
As soon as I figured out the problem I started looking at what I was doing. I was adjusting the support side hand into a Center Axis Relock (CAR) like grip. I had never been trained in CAR. but I had seen demos on the internet before. As soon as I diagnosed the problem and began teaching this modified grip, the back peddling went away. This epiphany came out of no where in Georgia and is now a permanent part of the curriculum. I also teach it as a “defense against car jacking grip” from the driver’s seat to the 9:00 through the 7:00.
Do not be a slave to your grip. You can make the hits with some pretty major adjustments on the support side hand.
Understanding the Fluidity of the Grip
We can post videos and pictures, but they do not portray the fluidity of the grip that I am talking about. Once again it is not a “this or that” type of technique it is one fluid concept. If you would like to understand what I am trying to convey, check this out “dry.”
1) Unload your handgun and verify unloaded.
2) For a right-handed shooter, point in to your 12:00 with a standard two-handed grip.
3) Now with as little pivot of the feet or the waist as possible slowly start bringing the gun around counter clock wise towards the 7:00.
4) Keep you support side hand fluid and let it slip around the firing side fingers that are on the front strap.
5) As you do this, the gun will continually move close and closer to your face, until you are in a full CAR like modified grip, with the gun about six inches from your face, pointed in at your 7:00.