Archive for the ‘UnArmed Combatives’ Category

Gun-Control & The Nature of Things
( #guncontrol #TGDN #TCOT #RedNationRising )

All Positions, or Policies, that are built on a Fundamentally Flawed Premise, are Doomed to Failure.

All arguments are built on certain beliefs, or presuppositions. And, those beliefs must be consistent with the truth of the world around them. These beliefs must also be based on things that are predictable and repeatable. That is to say, we must base our beliefs on the rule, not the exceptions. Those predictable and repeatable aspects of the things, people and world around us, are called “The Nature of Things”.

For example, it is the Nature of Gravity to make things fall. Now many scientists will immediately clarify that it is actually drawing you to the center of a large mass, or that anti-gravity is theoretically possible. But the fact remains, that if we step off a cliff, unassisted, we will fall. We act in our lives as if this is the Nature of Gravity.

Many people may want to pretend or “wish” that something was different; but, this does not change the Nature of the thing.

The Policy that states that outlawing, or restricting, the ownership of certain types of weapons will reduce crime; is based on a fundamentally flawed premise that denies the Nature of Things. The Nature of Humans is that we are designed to be a Predator. From our bifocal vision to our reaction to stimuli, we are built to hunt. Only through “socially-acceptable norms”, do we control this inner beast. However, not all in our communities feel tied down by our “socially-acceptable norms”. They remain the predator.

In Rory Miller’s book, “Meditations of Violence” he eloquently states that the predator only sees two things; Odds and Meat. The gazelle does not deter the lion by outlawing teeth, or by having “Hunt Free Zones”. Expecting to change the behavior, through social rules, someone, who has rejected the idea of rules; is doomed from the beginning.

We will never protect ourselves from the predator by disarming his prey or passing laws that he will never follow. We must learn to face, and defeat, the predator.

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We will start running group classes this fall (hopefully at our new private range). Remember, the drills and 1- on-1 are only as effective as you make them. Train like you fight; fight like you train.

Most of our training, both unarmed and armed, is done in “isolation”.

For example, we will spend a lot of time hitting or kicking a heavy bag. Or, we will spend a lot of time, at the range, shooting ever smaller groups. But rarely, do we work on moving from one technique to another.

While delivering a “knock-out punch” or a precise shot may ultimately end the fight. It is the actions that lead us to that opening, that ultimately decide whether we, or our opponent, take that “shot” first.

The “glory” is in making the shot, or delivering the punch. But, the “work” is in everything that precedes it. So, it is the “work” that should dominate our training.

Sucker punches, and drive-by shootings, prove that random techniques work. But, as warriors, we cannot depend on fate or random results.

“if you believe you can; or, you believe you can’t…you are probably right.”

It is an old saying that is directly applicable to the warrior’s life. I began thinking about this after watching a friend of mine teach a basic handgun course.

In his preamble, he talked about that; while he hoped that he would never have to use his gun, he was willing.

The question is: would he really?

I have heard other instructors say something very similar, including several that have already walked that path. And, every time I can’t help but wonder whether they really mean it, or is it just Politically Correct BS.

My thought was that we are too often concerned how others might perceive us, and so we add these type of “hedges” to our conversations. The problem is, these comments can begin to program our reactions.

So if you “say” that you “hope you don’t have to use your gun” only two possibilities exist: 1. You really believe it; or 2. You are lying because of what people might think.

If the first, then when you are faced with that critical moment, you will hesitate. You really believe that you do not want to shoot anyone, so you won’t.

If the second, then you run the risk of programming the wrong response. We are all familiar with the what/if scenarios that we play out in our heads throughout our day. Your attempt at being more “socially acceptable” can get you killed.

Instead of excusing your abilities and beliefs, learn to embrace and explain them. More on that later…

In order to survive an ambush, you must have already failed to detect/avoid it. Which means that no matter how attuned your situational awareness, or how fast your reactions, you are now behind in the OODA loop.

So, the question becomes, how do you survive long enough to respond?

Our answer is trained instinct. Take those things that you do naturally, and make them unconsciously work for you.

The two primary areas of focus are structure and momentum. Every child on a swing understands the nature of momentum. And when you put your arm out to break a fall, you understand structure.

A lot of Combatives instructors are starting to work with instinctual structure, or more commonly known as a flinch. Tony Blauer is probably the best well known and his S.P.E.A.R. System is the best developed. I would recommend studying his work to any serious student of Combatives. Like the bow of a ship, structure is that formation of your hands, body and equipment that allows you to survive the initial strike(s) by redirecting the force of the impact away or around you. It defuses or deflects the full force of the attack to a point that is survivable. Some students ask if this is the same thing as a traditional block. No. It may look like, or even be, a block. But the difference is that this is unconscious and instinctual. Most traditional martial art blocks presuppose that you saw the attack and are responding appropriately. That is the nature of a fight, not an ambush. So, the next time you are working with a partner, or two, put on your protective gear and have them attack you randomly. See what you do naturally. Then, with the help of Combatives instructors like Tony Blauer or our group, begin to build/rebuild your instinctual structure into something that works for you.

Secondly, momentum. A lot of martial arts, namely Aikido, Judo, Jiujitsu, etc., spend a lot of time working on using your momentum and your opponents. But, again, so often it depends on the conscious mind in order to correctly deliver the technique. Wrestlers, judoka, and other high level martial arts eventually develop a innate sense of the momentum of themselves and their opponents. But most of us do not have the time to develop that skill like they do.up

How do we develop our instinctual sense of momentum? Do we have one? Yes.

Do you know when you are about to fall? Can you tell if a stack of blocks is about to fall over?

Again, this is something that we know, but do we know how to make it work for us. When you are working with your training partner, or two, from the structure drill. Have them press you. This means have them drive into you like a NFL lineman, your job is to sense their weight and momentum, and step out of the way.

Surviving the ambush requires that you survive the initial attack and then counter-attack. Surviving the initial attack requires that you have trained your instinctual understanding of structure and momentum.

Whether it is the US Militaries use of stealth fighters, or a sucker punch; all warriors understand that preemption, or throwing the first punch, is critical to winning a violent encounter.

The problem we have in “polite” society is the Hollywood notion of “fair play”. Also, we have the very real problem of proving the legal issues surrounding self-defense.

Too often we attend courses, such as martial arts or firearms, that work everything from the “block-counter” or “from the holster”. This may seem strange on a blog that specifically addresses the issues of the ambush. But, the best way to survive an ambush, is to avoid or detect it ahead of time.

Some schools solve this issue by focusing on “situational awareness”. I agree that situational awareness is the first step in avoiding, or detecting, an ambush. But, very few address the issue of what to do next. Usually, you are taught to observe the threat and then react.

Unfortunately, anyone who has studied human conflict, and specifically Col. Boyd’s OODA loop, knows that action is faster than reaction, and you do not want to be “behind the curve”.

So, how do we deal with a threat without having to wait until they make the first move?

Preemption. Strike First, Strike Hard.

Great, now I just hit, or shot, someone that everyone, and every video camera, will say that I hit him first. Do I just go to jail solaced by the knowledge that I was, “judged by 12 versus carried by 6”?


I was taught by my Training Officers that what I did was only less important than what I wrote. My report set the stage and explained my actions, regardless of what video or eyewitnesses thought they saw. My ability to articulate made the difference between going home, or going to jail.

We do not spend enough time writing about what just happened. It is one of the reasons I began this blog. I need to practice expressing my thoughts in writing.

The next time you see someone, in person or on video, that you would consider a threat, try writing a note to yourself, explaining why. Then ask a partner to read it and see if it makes sense to them. Once you master the skill of articulation, preemption becomes a real tool in your arsenal.

Most training is single skill focused. A martial arts class is a hand-to-hand focused subject. A shooting class is a gun focused subject. Even some of the more advanced, progressive shooting schools that run force-on-force (FOF), are focused on how to get the gun into the fight. Similarly, some advanced, progressive martial arts schools will spend time defending against a weapon.

While some Filipino based martial arts doing amazing work with the knife and escrima stick. Almost no one looks at the progression from an empty hand technique, and the deployment of our most formidable weapon in the modern age, a gun.

I recently saw a YouTube video of a traditional martial artist, wearing a gi, doing what he called a “gun kata”. I appreciate the attempt to blend the two disciplines, yet, he clearly could not go beyond his preconceived notions of a fight. First, the gi. I understand the traditional need for the gi, and even wear one on occasion. However, when we are starting to blend empty hand skills with modern weapons, we need to dress like it. Secondly, his techniques were very static and inflexible. Recently, most of the top firearms instructors are incorporating dynamic, explosive movement into their training.

This is the area that TNT Combatives is most interested in exploring. We work with martial artist, military, law enforcement, contractors, and others whom violence is common, to enhance their ability to survive the ambush, gain control, establish dominance and deploy superior weaponry.

I would encourage you to spend some time in thought, and on the mat/range exploring this topic.

I was recently discussing the concepts of real violence versus a traditional “fight” with a friend of mine.

This friend is a very accomplished martial artist. And, I was struck by many of the unspoken assumptions that permeated his beliefs about violence. Like most people, he based a lot of his pre-contact visualizations on the face to face conflict.

The reality is that there is a difference between what Rory Miller, in his book “Meditations on Violence”, would call the “monkey dance” and the true “predator/prey” encounter.

If you are facing a Predator, you are not facing someone who is trying to embarrass you, shame you, prove they are better than you or going to inflict any other “socially acceptable” violence upon you.

A predator wants you, your body, or your life. Fight like it.