How a Gun Fight Occurs When Grappling

From the New York Post, on a shooting in North Little Rock, Arkansas:

Should demonstrate the need for such training. Should also help those who cannot understand how people being shot in the back can occur through the kinetic nature of a struggle as opposed to “executions.”

This kid racks the slide on that gun – not a sure indicator of any skill level, but shows at least an awareness of his weapon and what he needs to do to make it function so that he can kill police officers with it. That’s called “intent.”

Donut Operator offers lots of other telling videos for study.


Gray Wolves and Higher Jeopardy

Another great piece at MTI – about not conflating ‘wellness’ with fitness. 

While this is speaking truth, the reality is that the forces of political correctness versus truly professional leadership, the attitude of reducing standards in the interest of allowing access, and so on and so forth, wouldn’t deign to allow anything like a high jeopardy performance test. In the last twenty years I have seen fitness standards that previously were in existence reduced or eliminated to allow for more people to “pass,” increasing the risk for both those that were given – versus earning – a “pass” and everyone else around them.

This state of affairs will not change until we change the way the public thinks about law enforcement. Demands more composure borne of physical and technical ability alongside those de-escalation skills, and higher levels of fitness so that those de-conditioned and unskilled officers don’t feel they have to shoot people because they can actually fight and control a situation, and aren’t gassed within a minute’s time because they have no base in combat conditioning.

“Wellness” is simply more politi-speak used in place of talk and fitness standards, in the guise of addressing the obvious issue, without actually ever doing anything about it.  And thereby not offending anyone or being forced to hold people accountable.

Bureaucrats, versus leaders, specialize in this kind of thing.

It shouldn’t be. Being fitter is always being a better version of oneself. Fitness is a neutral concept. Its benefits and application doesn’t change based on color, gender, creed, or senescence. Fitness is a public health issue of an importance very much recognized, yet an officer safety issue pretty much ignored.

A fitness standard is a fitness standard, period, and it should apply in ALL first responder professions. It should be high jeopardy, because what they do is high jeopardy for other people that are relying on them.

This is particularly true for specialized teams with even higher jeopardy roles. If your SWAT team has a standard, the old dogs need to pass it just as do the eager pups. The “Up and Out” policy the author describes is relevant only when the aging tactical officer can’t keep up. While it is certainly true that some teams may have those “legacy” members, it is a very different thing to have a few gray wolves fully embracing higher jeopardy and still leading from the front of the pack.

In fact, that is exactly what we want, gray wolves that can still lead the way, because trust me – just about the last thing you want on a professional tactical team is the “younger athletes on the front lines.”



While athleticism has nothing to do with tactical acumen, fitness absolutely does equal armor. Training for fitness is practicing resilience, mental and physical toughness, commitment, and will power. All of those are a huge force multiplier for the tactical proficient.

Over the years more than one officer tell me they would do well in a survival situation because they “had the Will to Win.”  How do you know you have the Will to Win if you don’t even have the will to work out?

First Teachers


Lately I’ve been reminded of the importance of First Teachers….and First Lessons.

In learning theory,  the Law of Primacy tells us that we tend to remember best what we learned first. Our first teachers lay patterns of thought, conduct, and practice that can become very deeply rooted. So when choosing martial instructors, firearms instructors, or tactical/self defense instructors it is important to choose our teachers well, to avoid being led down the wrong path and later having to spend  countless hours unteaching, rebooting, or rooting out, the programming a bad – or unknowing – first teacher installed.

I have found this to be true in the different disciplines I have practiced, both in myself and now, down the road a bit, in observing other teachers and students, from martial instructors to Field Training Officers (FTOs) in police work. Except in the latter case, the students often have no choice at all in selecting their instructors.

That being said, the saying that there are “no bad students, only bad teachers” is foolish. Of course there are bad students – I’ve been one myself. And we all know that “some people, you just can’t reach.”

Some teachers I have had, I knew were bad, and moved on fairly quickly. Some were fine, good even, but they just weren’t for me, or did not bring me closer to my goals at the time.


Others I thought were bad, or weren’t for me, until I learned that it was me that was the bad egg. Sometimes, when we are further down a road, we learn to see what we could not have seen before – we get closer to that bird’s eye view of the map the teacher was laying out, but in our obstinacy, or pride, or foolishness, we could not or did not place our trust in the teacher.

And this trust is very important. Without it, real learning cannot exist. The student will always doubt, and the teacher, even if subconsciously, will glean this doubt and realize the student isn’t truly ready for real learning.


And so we go. I’ve stepped off more than one path, and sometimes I’ve found I’d been right to do so. Others I later learned were leading where I wanted to go – but I got off the map, and tried to get back on the path, or had to find an alternate route.

Thankfully, the principles of learning also tell us that what was learned last – most recently – is also best remembered. So if we have got back on that proper path, or toward that goal, we are learning what is best remembered.

In every sense of that term.