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LEOGround >> Applying proper context to fighting


2/26/13 4:15 PM
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buddie
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A Light Goes Off

After spending the majority of my life on earth, learning, training, reading about, watching and otherwise obsessively thinking about human conflict and violent encounters, I suddenly had a stunning realization.

Few things in fighting are as important as the selection of the right techniques at the right time, in the right place.

I know that it may seem obvious to say, but I believe that most people understand that only superficially at best. We understand that there is an order to techniques because of body mechanics, positioning, speed risk and other variables. But few understand how critical a role understanding how context will likely affect the chances of winning or losing a fight.

Gavin De Becker brilliantly examines how context plays an important role in predicting violent outcomes before they even occur in his book “The gift of fear.” I recently read the book and I was impressed at his breadth of knowledge, and his ability to examine possible outcomes with great accuracy. I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to improve their knowledge base on the topic of predicting and preventing violence.


Fish out of water

While reading the book I happened to get into a spirited debate with someone who suggested that a boxer is an easy mark in a streetfight.

The other side of the argument offered a simple argument: watch any world-class boxer and tell me how many times they clinch in the first round. Once a boxer clinches, he’s finished. Of course there is a ton of anecdotal evidence that supports this concept. Going back to before UFC 1, the blueprint for defeating a boxer is to clinch, tie them up and take them down.

The other side concluded that the development of MMA had effectively shown what techniques worked and without a well rounded, realistic approach to training, a boxer was like a fish out of water in a real fight.

The next day I happened to read an article about Jeff Hall, a life long martial artist who had integrated elements of traditional martial arts and effectively transitioning to an armed shooting scenario. Hall, not only held blackbelts in several martial arts, but also spent several years as a cop, SWAT operator, and firearms instructor. He noticed the significant disconnect between the training many officers receive in learning hand-to-hand combat and effectively transitioning during a deadly force scenario.

Lessons Learned from the 5-0

Savvy trainers have pushed effective training to new heights in recent years, adopting holistic programs with tools like video simulators, Sims guns, shoot-houses and REDMAN training, to name a few. It became obvious to many trainers through studying use of force encounters, and through years of study and training, force is force and good training is good training.

Take an excellent marksman and induce stress, and/or physical excretion and watch his speed and accuracy fade and his skill deteriorate. The reality for police officers is that they typically don’t stand in a perfect shooting platform and shoot statically. There are a million variables that can affect the fundamentals of shooting.

In the old days, police departments often had a handful of guys who excelled at shooting (the ‘gun guys’) and some guys who excelled at arrest control tactics (’the DT guys’) the reality is, reality showed that Officers needed to become equally good at both. That meant transitioning effectively up and down the force panorama.

You can’t train police officers like you train MMA fighters. Appropriate use of force guidelines, the accessibility of weapons (to both the officer an the badguy on the officer‘s “bat belt“) and the restrictions placed by the uniform alter how an officer must physically engage an adversary.

Applying these Lessons to Training and Tactics

So that’s when it hit me. All those blackbelt masters, champion kick boxers, and boxers didn’t suddenly forget how to fight when they competed in the early days of MMA. More importantly, the results from those events didn’t “prove” that martial arts like Tae Kwon Do, karate and boxing were useless as some suggested. In fact, elements of those styles make up what the best mixed martial artists train in today.

Those results occurred largely because they were not properly prepared for the context of the engagement. For example, in boxing, clinching may be a smart tactic. A key principal of striking remains, create distance or engage to avoid being hit, get out of striking range. Under the rules of boxing, getting to a clinch may eliminate several weapons from adversary. Of course in the context of an MMA rules bout, the clinch will favor the wrester, or the striker better trained to exploit the clinch as a position of attack.

Why is this important to consider? A good martial artist should view martial arts as a life long journey of learning, not just learning a series of moves and repeating endlessly. Martial arts at its highest level is about the mind body and spirit.

What works in one environment, may not be an effective strategy for another. Here is another example, most boxers, kick boxers and mixed martial artists train to keep their back off of the ropes or fence at all costs. But go out to a bar or other crowded event right before trouble starts and watch where the smart tactician stands. You can bet his back will be firmly planted against the wall. Why? Although in a mono e mono fight, being pressed up the wall might work against you, in another context, having a solid barrier behind you prevents someone from getting your back unexpectedly.

If you still don’t believe me? Consider the demo Tony Blauer did at a seminar with an experienced grappler. Blauer asked for a volunteer from the audience with experience in grappling. The volunteer stepped forward, not knowing the concept being taught. The two worked together on a short demo where Blauer assumed the mount and asked the participant to demonstrate a possible counter. The eager grappler executed a basic trap, buck and roll., which worked perfectly to escape the dominant position. Then Blauer introduced a training knife into the scenario and asked the participant to show a possible a counter if he had a knife in hand. The participant attempts the same technique. Although it was executed cleanly with great speed, Blauer was able to simulate stabbing him at will repeatedly.

The lesson: the context changed, so should the focus of the strategy.

Learn think Strategically

Keep an Open Mind when encountering new ideas or techniques. Learn to think strategically not just tactically. Sometimes your best advantage may be to try an unorthodox approach to conflict. Then look at the technique critically and ask yourself how they might be applied in different settings or how different environments might affect the outcome of the technique.
4/5/13 5:55 PM
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FJJ828
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Member Since: 1/1/01
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Very nice. Context is everything.... or as we say with the ISR Matrix...

"Yeah. You could do that.... by why would you?"

Remember you are not a Rodeo Clown and you don't get Stuntman Pay to do things "more dangerously".


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