Basics in How to Think Like a Warrior: Learning to Make Sense of a Fluid, Dangerous Environment

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Dear Brendan,

I want to start this by asking you a question.  What would it cost you or your family if you didn’t fight back or couldn’t protect the ones you love most?  

It’s important that we are straight with ourselves on this.  Maybe we have or haven’t yet had an experience in our life that has completely changed the way we view our right to defend our loved ones and ourselves.  It often times takes a life changing event to wake us up to the harsh reality of the world we live in, to make us think and look at things in ways that maybe we have not in the past; to reevaluate our own capabilities and mindset towards the evil in our world today and the violence that is done to good people.  

Keep in mind that there are sheep, wolves and sheepdogs in our world.  Sheep have only two speeds, grazing and stampede.  These types of people are kind, productive and only hurt others by accident.  The wolves will feed on the sheep and their flock without mercy.  To help put this into context of our world today.  I would relate ISIS and other such evils in our world to wolves.  The sheep are the innocent men, women and children that are being robbed, murdered, raped, sold into slavery and burned alive in cages.  Then there are the sheepdogs.  The sheepdogs are the protectors. That’s who we should be.

We—the sheepdogs-- live to defend the flock and confront and defeat the wolves of our world.

I think the following quotes help to bring this all into focus.

“Great danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil.”

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

“If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.”

For those who have not had that life-changing experience I mentioned above,  maybe this will be that moment for them. And for those who have already experienced such a moment, I believe this will only reinforce it and be value added moving forward.  

The basic intent here is to focus not on learning structured, rigid movements from a set system but to learn how to integrate proven methods and concepts into how your body, inded, any human body naturally moves and responds.  This should be fluid in nature and flow seamlessly.  The goal is to learn how to transition smoothly from various ranges and distances, weapon systems, attackers, angles of attack, environments and those up-close confrontations that can happen quickly and violently with little to no warning.  

Modern combative concepts are designed around real world applications.  We have tailored our training and instructional approach to boil down all the unnecessary BS that distracts from the core of close quarters combat and take a more direct approach to what’s actually going to work in that moment when you realize that someone is trying to kill you or those you love.  That is the bottom-line here.

First thing first, you better take the threat, the enemy seriously and be prepared to fight.  Just as the old saying goes…  “Do not underestimate your opponent.”  This is so true.  Just as true is the saying, “You have to believe to achieve.”  “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”  You have to believe in yourself, trust yourself and your capabilities.  This goes back to the importance of your mindset.  Remember this is not a game or a sport where first, second and third place gets a trophy.  No!  Here we bury second place.  To quote the famous Ricky Bobby from the movie, Talladega Nights – “You are either first or you’re last.”  No points for second place.  Hey it pays to be a winner!  So get your mind right and keep that fire burning deep inside you.  Remember this, “A lion sleeps inside every brave man.”

At the beginning of this I asked you an important question.  What is your answer?  Let me introduce you to the three P’s that were told to me by another well-seasoned veteran of close quarter combat.  These are – Personal, Passionate and Present.  You need to take a moment and ask yourself the following.  What personally motivates you?  What are you passionate about?  Focus that passion in a way that motivates and drives you.  And what is present, meaning in the here and now, that will motivate you?  Feel free to take some notes and reflect on all this for a moment.

Okay moving forward.  Let’s continue on the topic of real world training.  Today nearly all training has a heavy focus on shooting.  The skills of shoot-move-communicate are fundamental in our community of interest.  However if you look at crimes and attacks on civilians, there is usually a form of physical resistance.  This simply means more often than not you fight in the traditional sense of the word more than you shoot.  This is due to the simple fact that most civilians and victims don’t carry a handgun or firearm of any kind.  

You are also more at risk during resistance than you are during compliance.  Therefore combative concepts and skills are every bit as important as shooting skills.  Your hand-to-hand tactics should not be rigid or a series of complex techniques.  Your actions should be fluid and flow.  You should be able to apply your skills with any gear or everyday carry items you may wear or have on your person.  You should ask yourself the following question – will it work in the street?     

Once again how are we training?  Do you train or practice from a static/fixed position?  Do you practice getting out of something by allowing yourself to first be put in a choke, headlock, grab, etc.?  This is okay up to a point as there is value to practicing counters.  However more time should be spent getting left of the boom as we say.  This applies to empty hands just as it does to the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) world.  For those who are not familiar with IED tactics, techniques & procedures (TTPs), I suggest you Google the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).  Okay so as it applies to close combat in the manner that you want to get off the “X” or kill zone/ambush site.  This requires situational awareness, OODA loop to prevent ever being on the “X” or ambushed.  

Let’s talk about an ambush for a minute.  More often than not that is what’s going to happen in a fight or an attack on you or your family.  With this in mind, a main goal is to avoid this if possible.  An ambush is basically a surprise attack where you/victim has no warning of when or where the attack/assault will occur or any easy escape path from it.  This give the criminal/attacker(s) a clear advantage over you or your family.  

This is a perfect time for me to highlight again the importance of good SA.  If you or your family are not paying attention to your surroundings/environment and practicing good SA you will most likely miss clues/pre-ambush signs that can help you avoid this ambush/assault before it even happens and make sure you get off the “X” or kill box.

The reality is no one can walk around with perfect SA or like they are Jason Bourne 24/7.  You assume some level of risk that during a surprise attack/ambush you won’t recognize immediately that you are in an ambush until it’s too late.  This transitions us into what our body automatically does when it is surprised.  Our bodies are preprogrammed or hardwired to react.  This is good and we need to be aware of this as we train.  

The point I’m trying to drive home here is this.  If someone throws something at you, what do you automatically do without even thinking?  I bet you flinch and put up your arms and hands to protect your head/face.  Now many of you may think flinching is a bad thing.  I’m going to tell you it’s a good thing and you should embrace it.  The kicker here is you still need to be paying attention and using good SA.  Why, because your body won’t naturally flinch if it doesn’t sense or see something coming at you.  A flinch is simply a lifesaving reaction by your mind/body.  

Now to truly learn and understand this close quarter fighting method/combative concept requires hands on training.  We offer various combative concept training and for those interested in developing this skill please contact us.  We conduct private and group instruction both CONUS and OCONUS.  

I will continue to discuss the above in more detail in my next piece on modern combative concepts.  

TRAIN-FIGHT-WIN

Your Friend,

-Travis