In 2002, while teaching at the iconic Smith & Wesson Academy, I was interviewed for SWAT Magazine by Ralph Mroz, and I shared this thought, one that is both controversial and sobering:
“The litmus test for observing efficacy was dashcam/bodycam and CCTV – when you see sudden violence initiated by an asocial threat, you rarely see trained responses.”
Simply put: The people who have agreed to be protectors have a very hard time making complex motor skills work in their street confrontations.
What does this mean for most of us?
Well, if our [trained] protectors, who know who the bad guy is can’t [readily] pull off the defensive tactics techniques they are taught, then what chance do we have?
Think about it.
- The protectors know where the bad guy is located (they’re going there).
- They [mostly] know who the bad guy is from the call or the complaint.
- They are more ready for sudden violence than you or I would be and yet, most of them have trouble accessing basic complex motor skills when faced with sudden violence.
*Think back to my ACP Model: Awareness, Concept, Preparation.
If first responders have the benefit of ACP, why aren’t they able to make simple complex motor skills work?
The biggest part of the problem, IMO is how they are trained.
- Most training is still quite choreographed – it doesn’t go as deep into scenario dynamics as it should.
- Most training still focuses on complex motor skills and techniques. True violence is messy, dynamic, and in many ways chaotic. We must replicate that in training.
- Most training starts with the attacker initiating – but action is faster than reaction, this is a huge problem. We aren’t teaching people how to preempt violence when all the training starts with “This is how you counter XYZ…”.
“All fights are dangerous, but the really dangerous fight is the ambush.” – SPEAR maxim
Sudden violence triggers a fear spike and depending on proximity, the reactive brain can [temporarily] assume control of the body/mind connection. This is the classic flinch response.
The bottom line is this: regardless of how good you are in organized training, sparring, practice sessions, competition, and demos, all that matters is: Will it work when you’re surprised?
Trained military and police have trouble making their techniques work when they have ACP in their favor.
What happens when it’s a true surprise?
That, my friend, is the basis of the SPEAR System® training method.
Please think deeply about this as your life and the life of your family, friends, and the people around you are at risk.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Below are real-life examples of what I’m philosophizing about.
These are educational examples of real sudden violence meeting highly trained martial artists.
Something was missing from their training. And seriously, no disrespect intended. This isn’t a criticism of any martial art. These were tragedies, but it’s imperative we analyze to learn what we can do better to prepare for sudden violence.
Jiu-jitsu Instructor Killed Trying To Disarm A Robber On A Bus: Click Here
Champion Thai boxer Alex Gong was shot to death confronting a hit-and-run driver: Click Here
This isn’t about martial arts. It’s about understanding the scenario. It’s about learning more about how the human body and mind operate under duress – regardless of martial training.
I’ve been a martial artist my whole life. I love martial arts, but after training military and law enforcement professionals for decades, I know what works when the shit hits the fan. I want you all as safe as possible.
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