Here is the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club information if needed.
Here is the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club information if needed.
By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
Many students come to me in order for me to teach them to becomes as deadly as they can possibly be inside of a reactive gun fight. Many of these same students still refuse to ingrain some of the most fundamental aspects of reactive gun manipulations.
Here is a fact that I tell nearly all of my PSC students. “There is no way to be the very best of the reactive gun fighters if you do not have the very best of reactive manipulations.” The very core of this failure comes down to not getting the gun up into your work space and up into your line of sight.
It still amazes me the number of students that want to hold their guns down at hip level, with their eye balls out of the fight, while manipulating their guns like it was nothing more than an administrative issue. I know for a fact that FFC has covered this extensively inside and outside of the courses. I know for a fact that we have explained why we believe that this is so very important. I know for a fact that we have opened the floor to debate the merits of “gun up and eyes up” compared to “gun down and eyes down.” This is a debate that I felt was put to rest, yet I keep seeing people inside of “gun fighting” courses acting as if it was a “target shooting” courses. Since I have never heard one reasonable explanation on why “gun down and eyes down” was a better way to do things, it has become clear to me that there must be an issue with complacency for this problem to continue to occur.
In my opinion, it does not matter what the so-called experts of the past have said about there being two or three ways to manipulate your gun. It is my belief that there is only one way to manipulate your gun and you should do it that one way every time. This method should be exactly what you would do in the deepest of the trouble. “Get that gun up” in front of your face, frame the adversary while looking past your gun, use your peripheral vision to manipulate your gun, and glance at the gun if you need to. Anything short of that is ingraining failure.
Sometimes gun fights are chaotic events with innocents interspersed among the adversaries. If you look down you could lose the adversary and come back up on an innocent. I have seen this time and time again inside of non-chaotic training drills such as the Zigzag Drill. The student is shooting at his target while moving, the gun goes down, the eyes go down, then the gun comes back up on the wrong target. Somewhere around 50% of the student that have run the Zigzag Drill and takes their eyes off of the adversary have come back up and shot the wrong target.
“Get that gun up!” is the term that I use to remind you that you have fallen back into your administrative thinking while training to become a reactive gun fighter. The two simply do not go together.
The situational awareness of “gun up and eyes up” is not just about keeping track of your adversaries, it is also about keeping track of your teammates and insuring that you do not cover them. If my gun is up and my eyes are down range I dramatically reduce the chance of covering my team members.
How many times have you seen the gun go down, the eyes go down, and the muzzle begin to drift off of the line of attack? Inside of training this is absolutely unacceptable! If I set down a general guideline that states “I am only allowed to cover the dirt around my feet, directly to the threat, on the threat, and above my threat” the chances of me covering my friends drops substantially. This is a very important concept while training inside of teams. The last thing that I want to do is train with a teammate that holds his gun at waist level, pointing in varying directions, with his eyes down and on his gun, while taking car of his manipulations. It is one thing if we are taking incoming fire and he is holding his gun down to manipulate so as not to flag his position, but training is another deal.
Last weekend I taught an “Introduction to Team Tactics” course and this safety concern is one that has to be addressed before you can progress into the more advanced drills. When we are running bounding drills you simply have to “get that gun up” in order to take care of your teammates. It is this context that simply demands that you ingrain the proper way of doing things. If you do not believe it to be a big deal, you may change your mind when we send you packing because you can’t stop pointing your gun at your friends and team members because you have ingrained a bad habit of being lazy and complacent.
By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
For those that have trained with me across the nation, you may have noticed that I get some of the very best weather possible inside of my courses. You also may notice just how hard it is to be able to work under these extreme conditions. It is not that I am a tough guy, it is much more about the fact that I know what I need to do to make it possible.
Back in the day when I took 15-20 tactical courses a year as a student, I would plan my training days during the very best weather conditions. If it was going to be 110 degrees, I was going to be there. If it was going to 20 degrees with a freezing rain, I was going to be there. If the humidity was going to be over 90%, I was going to be there. Call me stupid, but when everyone else was too afraid to train, I was taking advantage of the very best training environments possible. It would be me, a couple of other “hard-core” guys, and an instructor rewarding “the very best students” with “the very best course” he could put on.
This was all about self-selection.
If I wanted the best training, I had to be willing to do whatever needed to be done, to be in the right position to receive the best training.
The summer is coming!
You can sit at home in your air conditioning reading the AAR’s or you can be out there training with “the best of the best.”
As an instructor, there is nothing more motivating than training in a course with the most motivated students, willing to put in the hardest of work. This is a situation where the instructor feeds off the students ambition and “the student benefit” pays off in spades.
That is the truth of the matter, so let’s look at what you need to know to be able to train in hot weather and still remain comfortable and safe.
Proper hydration is an absolute must! You need to be properly hydrated before the course starts, you need to keep ahead of the hydration curve throughout the training time period, and you need to hydrate after the course is over. You need to drink more fluids that you think that you actually need. You should be urinating once and hour and it should be clear. If you are urinating yellow you are behind the curve. You should be supplementing your water intake with some form of sport drink. G2 Gatorade is not the very best, but it can be bought anywhere and that is important for the instructor/student that flies. Regular Gatorade has too much sugar……go G2. But, it is the water that is the most important of the fluids.
3 to 1 ratio
3 parts water to 1 part G2 Gatorade (or equivalent sports drink.) They can be taken in separately or they can be mixed together, but make sure that you are drinking three times more water than G2.
I have had courses where I have poured 6 quarts of fluids inside of eight hours! This is done all while being properly hydrated before and after the class.
Another good way to replenish electrolytes is by eating bananas.
Always bring some sort of salty snack. I like salty peanuts (good protein for energy fuel) pretzels are also.
Shade, use it whenever you can!
Light color cloths are cooler than dark color cloths.
Sun screen is a must…..get the highest SPF you can find.
A hat for the head and something that you can wrap around the back of your neck to protect you from the sun.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine before and after extreme weather training, because they are diuretics.
The one’s above are things that everyone knows about. Here is one that very few student do, but have the biggest effect on staying cool.
Have plenty of “junk” water for soaking hats, bandanas, shirts and shemaghs. The value of the quality use of a shemagh can not be understated. This is not about looking tacti-cool, it is about staying as cool as possible so that you can take advantage of the very best course offering available. When I pull out my shemagh, soak it down, and wrap it around me neck I always get some looks and some comments. But it is one of the very best things that you can do for yourself while training in high heat. They hold a huge amount of water and they stay cool/wet for such a very long time period. They cool the blood flow to the head and reduce the chances of heat stroke.
To not understand the value of this piece of equipment is something that needs to be put to rest.
My first experience with a shemagh was when a student was wearing one. Here I was, baking hot, and soaking my bandana once every twenty minutes. I was running the line and doing my typical range master tricks (hand on the students shoulder so he can not turn and point his gun at me) and a felt just how cool his wet shemagh was. I remember making fun of him in my head just a couple of hours before. All of that ignorance disappeared in just one touch.
Here is my best advice to you besides the proper hydration………BUY A SHEMAGH!
I bring my schemagh in my ice chest, inside of a large zip lock bag, partially filled with ice water. It goes on dripping wet. In most cases I re-wet the schemagh by just pouring cold water into it, while still wearing it. In severe heat it comes back off and goes back into the ice water filled zip lock bag and is completely revitalized.
Always remember, if you want to take advantage of the very best training opportunities in extreme weather conditions, look for advice and tips from the guys that do it on a regular basis.
It can be the difference between a great class and a horrible class……..and literally between life and death.
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?
By Roger Philips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
In this case….. for this article, “that guy” is loosely defined as the guy that slows down the firing line due to needing to do things a little slower for safety reasons, is a little behind the rest of the class skill/speed wise, and who needs a little extra attention from the Instructor. This article is not geared towards the people who are simply unsafe and who refuse to change their ways. That is a whole other issue.
If you have ever found yourself being overly judgmental of somebody that you considered to be “that guy,” do yourself a favor and take a look at it from this angle.
Imagine that you have a loved one that has had a recent event in their life that has now made them very afraid and in need of quality help and training RIGHT NOW!
Imagine “that guy” being your mother, your son, your sister, your father, your wife….etc etc. Now imagine your loved ones in our classes doing whatever they need to do to make sure that they (and their loved ones) have a fighting chance against this new evil in their lives. Now imagine your loved ones being treated like second class citizens in their hour of deepest need.
I get people in my classes all of the time that have a story that only they and I know about. They are there for a very urgent reason and it is my job to bring them to a level of confidence, with an immediate ability to gunfight, as quickly as I can……..all while taking care of everyone else’s needs, the very best that I can. They may be a little behind the rest of the class, they may need a little extra attention. But if you are waiting on me or waiting on them, then you are not using your time wisely. You have your own stuff to work on! Don’t wait! Dig deep and work what you need to be working on! The mental aspect of the fight is deep, efficient body mechanics take work, and visualization helps solves problems. At the end of every firing drill we should all have something new that we want to work on and improve at. A lull on the firing line is a great place/time to get your head straight and take advantage of the next learning opportunity.
“Gun fighting is a thinking man’s game.” In the lectures before the drills we give you the mental aspect of the fight to work on inside of every drill. If you are sitting there waiting for a drill to start, you did not learn anything from the lecture. It is my belief that the true value of the courses occurs during the lectures and the subsequent drills are nothing more than putting the lectures to use inside of your live fire.
“This is not just about practicing skill sets, it is about ingraining the perfection of ruthless violence!”
When I am spending a couple of moments bringing somebody up to speed, work on getting your head right. The brain is the ultimate weapon, everything else is just a tool. Train the brain and the body will follow. If you are on the firing line and you feel that you are waiting on somebody……..the problem is not with the person who is getting a little extra attention…….the problem is with your lack of understanding on how to learn efficiently and effectively and with your lack of motivation to be working on what you should be working on.
The next time you are in a class and you begin to look around to try to figure out who is “that guy” be very careful about judging people who you know nothing about. I have a good friend that trains with me who is over 80 years old and his reason for training is the most honorable story you could ever hear. If you did not know his story and you were a little self-centered, you could easily label him incorrectly. The reality is that “as a man” you probably could not even hold a candle to him.
My job is to make each individual as deadly as they can possibly be. Inside of my courses you will learn a lot, shoot a lot, and work at a very good pace. If out of ignorance and arrogance, you cannot accept me treating each individual with the importance that it deserves…….then the problem just might be you.
Friends taking care of friends!
This is the very core of my safety philosophy and lecture. It is also the very core of making sure that there are no “that guy” attitudes inside of my courses. I put everyone in charge of making sure that their friends are safe. They look out for their friends (including me) and their friends look out for them. It is the ultimate of “The Pride” attitude. Every Pride member is informed what is expected from them. Every Pride member is informed what is the quickest way to be an outcast. Every Pride member knows exactly what it takes to be part of The Pride.
Let’s face it……..the biggest aspect of “that guy” comes down to safety. If you care enough about your friends, then your safety will be good. Once the safety portion of the “that guy” attitude is handled, it is much easier to pull together as a Pride that mutually supports each other. You all know me, I’m not talking about some kumbaya BS……..I am talking about fighters teaching fighters and fighters learning from fighters.
It is “The Pride” atmosphere that will allow the squared away, high-speed, low drag professional to learn the story of the newest/least experienced member of “The Pride.” That is the point where the negative connotation of “that guy” becomes the respect and admiration for “that guy.”
By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
Bruce Lee is quoted as saying;
“Before I learned martial arts, a punch was just a punch and a kick was just a kick. When I studied martial arts, a punch was no longer just a punch and a kick was no longer just a kick. Now I understand martial arts, and a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.”
This quote is a quote from the perspective of a student attempting to reach the levels of mastery of his art.
The student is explaining the progression that he went through to reach the master level of being able to work at the subconscious level. He admits to a level of ignorance at the beginning where he did not understand that every different punch and every different kick actually has a time and a place. You notice that there was a time period in Bruce Lee’s study of the arts, where he actually had to break everything down to its component parts in order to progress to the next step of understanding at the mastery level. Once he understood all of the different punches and all of the different kicks, he could now apply them all, inside the correct context of the fight, at the subconscious level.
There is no understanding without the study!
You cannot progress from “before I learned” directly to “now I understand.”
I am an Instructor that will always be a student. I took the exact same path, along the exact same progression as Bruce Lee. As an Instructor that deals in matters of life and death, I see it as being my responsibility to instill “the understanding” in my students as quickly as I possibly can. That means that the study has to be focused, in-depth, and all-encompassing. I do not hold back information in order to extend out the necessary length of study, like so many other Instructors do. We (the student and I) jump into the deep end and work feverishly to reach the mastery level of understanding as quickly as we can……..but there can be no short cuts……there can be no watering down of the product……..there can be no skimming over of the necessary study material. It has to be set up in a manner where the Instructor is working just as hard to advance through the requisite study material as the extremely motivated student is.
The student should be working as hard as he can to reach “the understanding” and the Instructor should be doing everything he can to facilitate the reaching of that goal.
Any Instructor that does not do this needs to be looked at with a critical eye. Any Instructor that claims that you do not need to put in the requisite work, inside of the study, is lying to you.
There is no better way to learn than through direct experience. As a student, it is one thing to be told the best way to do something, but it is an entirely different level of understanding when you discover the best way to do something by putting in the work. Pressure testing your strategies, your tactics, and your techniques solidifies the understanding at a mastery level. Owning the understanding…….owning your very personal understanding is what the mastery levels are all about.
You simply cannot get there without putting in the work.
By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
Hicks law states that the more choices you have the longer it will take to make a decision.
Many people get all wrapped around the axle when it comes to being fluid, well-rounded, and versatile on matters of fighting for your life. They often believe that if you posses these abilities that Hicks Law will make you too slow in your decision-making ability. I want to break this down in a manner that is simple to understand and that many people will be able to relate to. Let’s take a look at something as simple as fist fighting or boxing.
There are basically five punches in boxing that make up the concept of throwing a punch. This is going to be discussed from the point of a dominant right-handed fighter.
• Left jab
• Straight right hand or cross
• Overhand right hand
With these five basic punches we are able to punch in an extremely wide range of different punches. When we look at distance, angle, and targeted area. These five punches can be thrown hundreds of different ways……which is hundreds of different techniques. Just because we have hundreds of different options on throwing a punch, that does not mean that it takes a lot of time to decide what punch you are going to throw. The specifics of the situation that you are in, in relationship with your adversary is going to limit these hundreds of different punches down to only a few rational choices. Distance, angle, and targeted area is now joined with what is actually an opening and the number of options drops even furthermore. So, even if we have hundreds of techniques, that make up our fluid concepts, we are still limited in a very small number of rational possibilities.
Nobody is going to throw a hook or uppercut from way too far outside, because they will not be able to reach. Nobody is going to throw an overhand right or jab from a clinch, because there simply is not enough room.
While this is a very simplified explanation, it really is no different from all of your self-defense skill sets. When we talk about training in fluid concepts, that are made up of hundreds of techniques, the specifics of the situation that you are in is going to limited your choices to a few rational possibilities.
By training in fluid concepts, while using pattern recognition training, these “few rational possibilities” will be put into play at the subconscious level…….with no need for conscious thought or a drawn out decision-making processes. You will see the opening and respond as you have trained yourself to respond.
This is not 31 Flavors and I am not choosing between Rocky Road, Mint Chocolate Chip, or Pistachio…….I am in a fight for my life and my brain is going to be working at hyper speed at the subconscious level. Hicks law has zero effect on me as long as I train in a manner where it has zero effect on me. The human machine is an amazing thing and can do things well beyond what most people think is possible.
“Never accept limitations set down by another man. Only you know what you are capable of and you will only know it after you have gained the knowledge and put in the work.”
By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
In the world of firearms training there is a huge emphasis towards pattern training. This started back in the 1950’s and is still very much alive today in the vast majority of firearms training that is available. Pattern training makes sense if you are trying to force fit large groups of people into a specific system. But it makes very little sense if you are trying to make the individual fighter the very best that they can be. Pattern training is easy to teach. If everyone is taught the same pattern, there is no need to tailor anything to the individual. This allows for the material to be presented in a manner that just barely scratches the surface. If there is no depth…..there is no need to look deep or to have a deeper understanding. For the instructor this is the easy way out and It is also the easy way out for the student.
If we are talking about matters of “life and death” is taking the easy way out really a good idea?
Before we get into this too far, let’s take a look at some of the things that make up pattern based training;
1.Prioritizing the performance or philosophy of one draw stroke
2.Prioritizing the performance or philosophy of one form of movement
3.Prioritizing the performance or philosophy of one direction of movement
4.Prioritizing the performance or philosophy of one response at the onset of the fight
5.Prioritizing the performance or philosophy of one method of aiming
6.Prioritizing the performance or philosophy of one “string of fire”
7.Holstering up the exact same way every time
8.Training in anything that is not connected to the mental aspect of the fight or that is not connected to common sense
9.Training in anything that is taught as “always” “never” or anything else that is definitive.
10.Training in anything that is “robotic” and does not allow for fluidity, adaptation, or versatility
11.After action drills that are nothing more than mindless patterns with very little connection to the mental aspect of the fight
Straight up, training in something that is ingrained as a pattern, can be very dangerous. It can be dangerous to you and to everyone around you when you are training or fighting.
I have done a lot of pattern training in the past and I have also trained with a lot of people who have done a lot of pattern training. Inevitably, when you get down to advanced fight focused training you find that there are many patterns that simply must be dumped. A lot of this training originally did not start off as a pattern. It became a pattern as the student would try to emulate the instructor’s minutia. On doing this, a certain “coolness” factor became part of the equation. A lot of the robotic pattern training that I have received and witnessed was taken to extremes due to “the coolness factor” and wanting to look like the instructor. Pattern training seems to take on a life of its own, especially when Guru Worship is involved.
In reality, this has very little to do with fighting! As a matter of fact, this will probably not allow you to be the very best that you can be because you are simply copying out of coolness……..not optimizing out of common sense.
The bottom line on pattern training is that it is not attached to the common sense of conscious thought. The only way to be the very best that we can be is to train in the common sense of conscious thought through pattern recognition training.
Pattern recognition training is very different from pattern training. Pattern recognition training attaches every physical skill set to the mental aspect of the fight. Everything that we do is attached to the common sense of conscious thought. Our responses are dictated by the situation.
The situation cannot be controlled by a pattern as well as it can be controlled by fluid skill sets customized for the situation.
As we train on the square range, we need to use visualization to begin the pattern recognition programming. When we step up to the line, we should be painting ourselves a picture of the situation. We should be pulling ourselves into the reality of that visualized moment.
1.The adversary is this close
2.I am that far behind in the reactionary curve
3.This is how I would feel
4.This is how I would respond (including going hands on)
5.This is how I need to take off
6.This is my retention reality
7.This is how I need to draw
8.There is my cover, my exit from the fight, or my advantageous position
9.This is how fast I am able to move to guarantee combat accurate hit
10.This is what I would need to be able to see inside of the entirety of the situation
11.This is how I would need to work my grip and trigger to guarantee combat accurate hits
We work this stuff over and over again, creating situation after situation in our minds eye. We push the limitations and make adjustments. We run it again and again until we get it perfect.
Then we push the limitations even further. We learn as much as we can possibly learn about ourselves inside of a huge portion of the fight continuum. We nail down our pattern recognition to the point that we are able to run our programmed responses at the subconscious level……..yet still attached to the common sense of conscious thought……because that is the way we programmed it.
We then take that same pattern recognition programming into force on force (FOF). We test our pattern recognition responses against live, thinking, adapting, and resisting adversaries. We solidify what worked and discover what needs to be re-evaluated. We learn the difference between what we can do on the square range and what we can do in FOF. This also allows us to see what the attack really looks like so that our visualization is improved when we return to the square range to refine our pattern recognition.
As you progress in your skill sets, you need to take this pattern recognition training into low light. In low light your whole world will change. You will have to relearn all of your low light limitation levels. That is just the reality of the beast.
Pattern recognition training is all about confidence. It is about obtaining confidence in your abilities because no matter what the situation……you have been there and you have done that. You know exactly what you have to do to guarantee the hits while doing whatever needs to be done so that you do not get hit.
Patterns can get you killed! Patterns can get innocents killed! When you see training that emphasizes patterns that should throw up a huge red flag. Be very careful to not confuse mindless patterns with solid immediate action drills. Solid immediate action drills are ingrained through the common sense of conscious thought. Pattern training has no place inside of fight focused training. Everything that we do needs to be connected to the common sense of conscious thought, then worked to the point that it is ingrained at the sub-conscious level. This can easily be done through pattern recognition training.
The Quiet Survivalist- A Preparedness and Survival resource by a disabled combat Veteran
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