Killing Trucks by Marcus Wynne

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A great post on Killing Trucks at Marcus Wynne’s blog. Addresses issues of awareness, normalcy bias, and mental and physical preparation as well.

Only thing I would add is to remember that when taking out the driver, you are taking out the only control of the truck as well. If it has not wrecked its going to… which may or may not be a good thing in that very moment.

If possible  – and this is very, very, unlikely I know – pick your spot as well. Clearly if he keeps going and keeps mowing people down at the street fair, or getting out of classes or at the concert, or the Saturday Market, stopping him takes priority regardless.

In past events in the US and in Israel cops (off duty in Israel – carry your F-ing gun!!!!) have climbed onto tanks and construction equipment to end such rampages.

By the way Wynne uses the term “Left of Bang.” If you haven’t read the book by the same name, get it. It’s decent.

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P-S-A

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After thirty years dabbling in martial disciplines and combat sports and twenty in serious professional arrest-and-control and combatives training, and somewhere in between teaching both, I’ve formed a few opinions on training methods.

More a proponent of training methodologies than particular styles, I have come to the belief that the most applicable systems – whether martial disciplines or self defense combatives – engage in a common training path that includes Preparation, Simulation, and Application (P-S-A).

It should be familiar: combat sports and other competitive outlets follow this methodology. Students prepare for the desired end state (skill in contest) by technical drilling;  then simulate the contests through “live” training (a la Judo randori, jiujitsu “rolling,” sparring, shooting timed and scored drills against self and others, etc.); and then apply the learning gained in actual competitions.

 

Their preparation and simulation are predicated on the circumstances in which they will be applied. It makes sense, then, that the pathway to achieve optimal performance goals in a survival or tactical encounter is similar, of course toward a different end and with different variables.

This demands a different kind of simulation, which is of greater importance the more consequential the situation and decision making becomes.

 

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Preparation

Technical drilling. Skill development, physical development, weapons skills and manipulations….

Learning that shoulder throw. That triangle choke. Striking and combos and linked ground fighting movements making that triangle choke into an armbar when you just can’t finish the triangle.

Verbal interaction with an unknown threat. The same with a known threat. Taking a suspect into custody. Taking a suspect thought to be armed into custody…

Clearing a room? How to hold your weapon, where to put it, where to point it and when… how to negotiate the door, clear your corners. Underneath and behind and above and inside things and places that can hide people.

These are all accomplished through drilling the procedures, patterns of action, the “way” to do things,  until we get the “knack” for them.

This is what some traditions call kata. Yes, kata. So much more than “Chinese dance-fighting,” virtually everything we do in combative practice is kata based.  Whether I am drawing a sword to engage a target or swing through the air with a perfect cut, then holding posture and awareness and then returning the sword to its scabbard; Or drawing a pistol, engaging a target with live rounds or dry-firing in the air, then following through, checking my six and re-holstering, I am doing kata.

There are kata for “real world” and kata for training – and they are sometimes not the same. Try breaking standard range protocols next time you are at a public range and see how everyone immediately recognizes what you did as being not the accepted “kata” of range behavior.

Unfortunately this is where most practice stays: techniques, procedures, patterns – and the discussions tend to revolve around minutiae of technique and all the gear, gadgets and gizmos that support techniques and procedure.

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Simulation

But simulation is the critical bridge between Preparation and Application. Simulation is the next layer in testing Preparation.

We won’t touch the age-old debate of “kata vs. sparring,” which is as tired and misconceived as that of “street vs. sport.” The answer, in my personal opinion is that it is both:  Preparation AND Simulation.

Lacking one or the other is like a cart with one wheel. Our training needs to get us somewhere during an actual encounter, and with only one wheel we won’t get very far.

Sparring is of course a kind of simulation. It is proving the principles of one’s practice under pressure: in the case of sparring, mainly for sports competition. The pressure faced is the opposing will of a viable opponent.

Comprehensive tactical simulation goes beyond sparring, and it’s where we should begin self defense and tactical preparation. That is, in simulations that add decision making beyond that of the opposing will and skill of the opponent. It must include decision making addressing asymmetries (ambush attack, armed vs. unarmed, two vs. one, gun vs. knife…), tactical interaction – what I call Threat Assessment and Communication -Situational Awareness, a term which includes managing jeopardy, understanding legal and ethical factors and liabilities based on circumstances, force articulation and justification, and whether to even use force at all.

If I have seen anything lacking in the greater self defense and martial arts community it is the serious lack of Simulations training that goes beyond the Preparation phase and just defaulting to some variant of sparring that does not include these things noted above.

There is a place for “sparring,”  but it only scratches the surface.

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Application

Application is the proving ground for…well, everything.

For most people this stage is rare or non-existent. Or, the totality of their application time is actually spent in contest encounters, which as outlined above is a very different thing than a defensive encounter.

When there is no need to be concerned about managing jeopardy, or legal standing in using force based on facts and circumstances, and no hesitation about whether it is going to be a physical encounter, or whether one can make the first move, or bystanders or witnesses and what they might do or say or what the police will do when they arrive, all things which breed concern, hesitation, and fear in people not used to handling the cognitive and emotional burdens they present, it is a paradigm shift from a one-on-one, controlled environment, unambiguous encounter.

Unfortunately it means little opportunity to put ones’ notions, let alone tactics and techniques, to the test in open-ended, asymmetric situations.

Here we can readily identify where so much defensive tactics “reality based” training and professional CQC training, never mind the classic “battle” traditions, fall short: there is little realistic simulation, and little or no application as a proving ground.

These things can have serious consequences when things matter most. And judging against a very small sample of a few applications rarely gives a comprehensive understanding.

Only through ongoing, progressive training in a comprehensive P-S-A manner are martial systems, including implied belief systems within martial systems, tried, tested, and proven.Endless preparation without simulation, and without consistent application, retards the development of tactical maturity, especially under pressure.

At War With Who?

Reposting this expanded post in light of ongoing incidents. The hits keep on coming…

 

In Force Science News #325, Capt. Chip Huth of the Kansas City (MO) PD calls into question (his emphasis):

The hyperbolic use…of the term “warrior,” stating that it “represents another way law enforcement culture has worked to emphasize distinctions between the public and the police. Metaphors can illuminate, but if taken overly seriously, they can also mislead, and the warrior archetype is one of the most misunderstood models in present-day society.”

Misunderstood indeed…

Capt. Huth has written a book, is writing another, has a TED talk, and has at least real world tactical and leadership experience. His is a worthwhile viewpoint, shared by others, yet one which bears deeper analysis.

Chip Huth (looking kinda warrior-y to me…)

At its core, Capt. Huth’s issue with the warrior metaphor is that it creates a distinction between the people of the community and the officers that serve them. He takes issue with Grossman’s “sheepdog” concept as well, noting that in his view (Huth’s), this creates an image of people as “sheeple” and of sheepdogs as snarling and nipping at them to keep them in line. Some chafe at the idea that their local cops might look down on them, feel that they are superior to them,”throw their badges around” etc. Or dare to style themselves warriors

Something rankles when some.. shall we say rather porcine individuals… out of shape, can’t fight, and can’t shoot… somehow now want to be viewed as “warriors.”

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I completely disagree with Capt Huth’s statement that police culture takes the warrior metaphor overly seriously. The fact of the matter is law enforcement doesn’t take it seriously enough.

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Our Constitution, our Courts, and our society have underscored and reminded police officers that they “are not at war with our own people.” This is the only way it can be in a modern democratic society.

But as we continue to see over and again, some of our people are at war within their own communities – Chicago being a prime example.

And some are very much at war with our society, and choose to attack innocents simply going about their daily lives on our soil.

Still others, twisted by ideology or their own fevered minds or simply by happenstance or circumstance, have declared war on the police.

In each case, it is police officers that are the first responders, the front line, and the specific targets of that violence. Such as when a man with grandiose delusions walked into a Lakewood, Washington coffee shop and murdered four police officers at coffee, certainly at war with the police. There have been numerous examples since, Dallas being the starkest example. Men clearly at war with police.

Or when an active shooter approached a Sikh Temple, or entered that African American church and though he was invited to pray with them instead ambushed and murdered the congregants,  were they not at war? (racial war? holy war? racial holy war?).

The shooter that entered the gay nightclub in Florida and began a horrific slaughter; The husband-and-wife team in San Bernardino; Or the man at Ohio State. Were they not at war?

Perhaps not only with innocent people enjoying the freedoms our country and society offers for them to be themselves, but perhaps with themselves?

When gang members spray bullets down their neighborhood streets full of children, or into gatherings at street corners or in cars or parties in disputes over territory or perceived disrespect, are they not turning their neighborhood into a war zone?

Or, finally, those at war with their own families, brutalizing and dehumanizing them over years, deciding to ambush responding officers but responding to a call for help – because they are the only ones who ever actually do anything, or represent any real consequences for the perpetrators of such acts: not the courts or the counselors or often even the victims. These officers enter a battlefield not of their creation or choosing.

Who exactly do we want to respond to these incidents? What kind of person? Who do we want training our young new officers to respond to them? Who do you, mother and father, want sitting in the car next to your daughter or son as they begin careers as police officers, training them and advising them on how to do the job?

What kind of officer do you want teaching them the ropes and how to be safe?

We hear even from those who dismiss the warrior metaphor that:

“Well, cops still need to be warriors when its time to be warriors”

and

“90% of the time, we are Guardians, the other 10% we are warriors…” utterly misunderstanding that in its original concept the Guardians were warriors, and not just “10% of the time.”

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Those aspiring to the warrior metaphor must come the understand that the Warrior Ethos is a Way of Life.

That means constant, career-long training in physical and technical skills; constant study of investigative, officer safety, and operational tactics; of tactical communication and de-escalation from a posture of confidence and competence in the full spectrum of enforcement, not based on lack of these very things and fear of liability and public perception.

And as Capt Huth rightly calls to attention, the very idea that a police union could in any way ever argue against physical fitness standards for their membership. Though we all know this is a reality.

Capt Huth notes:

“In some of the oldest warrior literature the “enemy” the text referred to was understood to represent these types of personal shortcomings, and the battlefield was considered to be one’s own heart.”

This is true, perhaps not necessarily of the oldest literature but certainly a nascent concept of it was there. Tactical performance at the highest levels has been thus linked to composure and character for a long time. I have addressed these ideas -ideals, actually – often on this blog from sources both East and West, classical and modern.

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The warrior metaphor calls for responsibility and accountability to a Warrior Ethos on the part of all: the public, police executives, law enforcement unions and individual police officers. This is so obviously the path that needs followed, yet is so poorly understood or inculcated within the ranks of law enforcement that its executives and managers don’t understand and can’t explain it in any meaningful way and its rank and file invoke it as a mantra without doing the work so necessary to make it a reality.