The Benefits of Conceptual Training

This is a discussion on The Benefits of Conceptual Training within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The Benefits of Conceptual Training First things first, I am not anti Modern Techniques. I have spent years and years studying and practicing them. I ...

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Thread: The Benefits of Conceptual Training

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    The Benefits of Conceptual Training

    The Benefits of Conceptual Training

    First things first, I am not anti Modern Techniques. I have spent years and years studying and practicing them. I feel that they have prepared me very well for a “proactive” gunfight. My focus has now moved on to the “reactive” gunfights. This is not an insult to Col. Coopers work….it is a continuation of his work…..it is complimentary to his work. Now with that said, let’s get to the meat of the issue.

    I am constantly questioned by the die hard Modern Techniques (MT) advocates about the wisdom of teaching as many things as I do. They often see it as “way too much” material and “way too complicated.” I could not disagree more!

    As I was learning the MT I kept seeing “gaps” in the training. These gaps concerned me from day one and I figured that the gaps would be filled in, in the more advanced courses. This never came to pass. It was obvious to me that the MT were very limited, especially in the context of “the fight.”

    As I began to look around in order to fill in these gaps, I discovered what the problem was with the MT. The problem was that it was a limited batch of disjointed techniques. These limited techniques were forced to fit into situations that simply did not make any sense. I knew right away that there had to be a better way, because this went against every prior experience that I had ever had in my life. To me the MT was comparable to learning to box from a slow, plodding, heavy handed, heavy weight. As an athletic, lightning fast welterweight, learning from a slow, plodding, heavy handed, heavy weight made absolutely no sense at all. The techniques were just too limited and did not fit into my strengths at all. I was told that “this is all that you will ever need.” I did not believe that for even a minute.

    A fight is a fight, it does not matter what kind of a fight it is. Fist fight, knife fight, gun fight…..the bottom line is that it is a fight. If as an individual, you were blessed with God given talents and strengths, why would you ever abandon those attributes? The answer to that is that you would not and do not abandon them, no matter who tells you “this is all that you will ever need.” The idea that all I could handle was a few, limited, disjointed skills is absolute lunacy to me. There is not one event in my life that has ever told me that I could not handle transitioning through a fluid situational response when the chips were down. The idea of dumbing something down so that I could perform it under stress is as foreign to me as a traditional Lithuanian dance.

    The reality of the fight is that “situations dictate strategy, strategy dictates tactics, and tactics dictate techniques.” Any fighting system that has the techniques dictating anything should raise a huge red flag. The statement above means that we must be as well rounded and versatile as we possibly can be. The question is, how do you incorporate all of this well roundedness and versatility into a simple fighting concept? The answer is that we train in “concepts” that work within the correct context of the fight.

    What is the context of the fight?

    This is a question that blows the Hicks law right out of the water. One of the most common things that you will ever read on a gun forum is “It is situational.” The exact context of the fight opens up a very limited choice of responses. This is a simple concept that can be seen in any basic boxing match. No one in there right mind throws a hook or uppercut from way outside and nobody in their right mind throws a looping overhand power shot from a clinch. The situation dictates the logical punching combination. This is no different from any real fight. No one in their right mind point shoots at thirty yards and no one in their right mind uses the sights at three feet. The specific context of the fight opens up the logical concepts that you have trained in. The illogical responses are never even considered. They are never a part of the decision making process. This conceptual approach allows for a vast integration of a variety of skill sets. This well rounded integration allows for the best response for each and every situation. But each skill set has its logical place inside of the context of the fight. Once again, illogical skill sets are never even on the table.

    Due to my MT experience, I have always had a problem with the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) concept. I feel that this concept has been bastardized into “only do as my guru does” catch phrase. This closed minded negativity has done an awful lot of damage due to the retardation of the advancement of the art. A much more appropriate concept would be more like this, “Keep it as simple as it needs to be within the correct context of the fight.” Now this makes sense and can not be confused with dogma or guru worship. But of course we would not have that cute little acronym to desperately cling to when the heretics begin discussing “integration, matrix, or continuum.”

    As we look to train in our “concepts” I feel that it is best to look at things as a continuum. A continuum is defined as “a continuous nonspatial whole or extent or succession in which no part or portion is distinct or distinguishable from adjacent parts.”

    Since the situation dictates everything, we need to understand that “the situation” (the context of the fight) is the defining element. We have to understand that there is a “fight continuum” and inside of this fight continuum there are lesser continuums that help establish the concepts inside of the correct context of the fight.

    The Reaction Continuum

    One of the first continuums that we need to accept is the reaction continuum. This is the concept of our initial reaction which is usually based on who has the initiative. You can either be in a dominant position, of equal initiative, or behind in the reactionary curve. Your reaction must be dictated by who has the initiative and to what extent that they have it. The MT did a fine job of teaching us what to do when you were in a dominant position….but is severely lacking in regards to the other positions in the reactionary curve.

    The second biggest factor in the reaction continuum is the proximity of the threat. This will dictate whether you can “go to guns,” whether you have to “go hands on,” or whether you have the ability to get to cover or use “positioning” to mitigate the threat.

    The reaction continuum also dictates the initial direction that you move, the level of explosiveness of which you move, the clearing of the cover garment, and the accessing of the firing grip on the handgun.

    The Movement Continuum

    The reaction continuum leads us into two other continuums that happen simultaneously, the movement continuum and the draw stroke continuum. The direction, the explosiveness, the speed, or even the need for movement is dictated by the context of the fight. The MT did fine with teaching us how to make hits with “stand and deliver” and “controlled movement,” but did nothing for us in regards to truly dynamic movement. Our movement needs to be dictated by urgency caused by your placement inside of the reactionary curve and the proximity of the threat. The amount of initiative that the adversary has will dictate where you need to be inside of the balance “to hit and not be hit.” There are times where making the hit out weights making the adversary miss and vice versa. This will all be very apparent as the situation comes down.

    I feel that it is best to prioritize your movement for “your” most likely encounters. Civilian defenders and typical Street Cops priorities can be very different from that of someone in the military or in a special unit. As an instructor who specializes in the training of civilian defenders and Street Cops, I tend to do most of my training inside of ten yards. I also but a high priority on movement to the forward oblique’s but, I also feel that every direction should be covered……every direction, with varying speed, with the use of “see what you need to see” skills, while integrating directional changes, weapon transfers and movement pivoting. The goal is to be well rounded, versatile, and comfortable with whatever movement is needed in the specific situation.

    The Draw Stroke Continuum

    The draw stroke should be based on common sense. There will be times where squaring up to the threat and using a default linear draw stoke makes all of the sense in the world. But we have to realize that there are also times where it makes absolutely no sense at all. I feel that the physiological response to square up to a threat is something that we should attempt to train out of ourselves. It may be useful at times, but it may have deadly consequences at other times. Taking the time to square up locks you into the kill zone. This hesitation (no matter how small) can be very detrimental. We all know that the quickest point between two points is a straight line, with this in mind, draw directly to the threat. We also all know that the quickest way out of the kill zone is to use existing forward momentum with explosive forward movement (from the 10:00 – 2:00). With this in mind do not take the time to orientate to the threat to draw before you get off of the X.

    Where do you shoot from inside of your draw stroke? How many hands do you have on the gun?

    Once again these questions are dictated by the situation. You may need to shoot as soon as you have clear the holster and indexed on to the threat due to the urgency of the encounter. You may have time to come to full extension at the line of sight. You may find the best answer some where in between those points. You may have the opportunity to draw to your two handed default drawstroke. You may not even be able to bring your support side hand to your gun because it is busy doing even more important functions such as fending, blocking, striking, balancing, manipulating other tools, manipulating the environment, being used to facilitate efficient shooting and dynamic movement.

    The Sight Continuum

    See what you need to see, to get the hits that you need, within the correct context of the fight. Your ability to get to and use the sights will be dictated by many factors. These same factors will also dictate from what position that you need to shoot from…..you may not even be able to get to full extension, or to the line of sight. The wise man will learn to make hits through out his completely versatile draw stroke. The factors involved are once again the defining element of the correct context of the fight…. initiative, urgency, proximity, and necessary movement. I have covered this in depth in numerous articles. If anyone would like more information on this subject check out my site here, http://www.rogerphillips.oregonshooter.com/

    The Grip and Trigger Continuum

    I have eluded too these two aspects of the fight on a few occasions. Luckily the position in the continuum will automatically be found by the physiological response of the encounter. Once again, this will be dictated by the correct context of the fight. It really is as simple as the closer and the more urgent the encounter is the tighter you will squeeze the gun and the harder and faster you will work the trigger. Do not confuse this with poor shooting skills. It may not fit into “The Fundamentals of Marksmanship,” but it is firmly rooted in the physiologically sound teachings of point shooting. As the distance increases and the urgency lessons, the grip and the use of the trigger will automatically move away from the physiological teachings of point shooting towards “The Fundamentals of Marksmanship.” This is just a physiological fact that one should accept and learn to benefit from.

    Train Conceptually, understand the dynamics of a life threatening encounter, never let your techniques dictate your response, keep an open mind, be as well rounded as possible, let your versatility be your number one strength, use visualization as you train in your concepts to ingrain appropriate responses at a subconscious level, do not accept the limitations set down by others…..but never underestimate the value of the fundamentals.

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    As always, good post!

    Ideally a fight is "situational", but only if you are honest with yourself to be truly prepared. Too many say they are prepared, but are kidding themselves.

    Beginners talk about gear and skill. Experienced gunmen talk about mindset and tactics.

    The bottom line is "a fight is what it is" (didn't Gabe say that?). He who is most prepared... Ask yourself did you lose or did they beat you. Know the difference.

    As far as gunfighting go, Gabe Suarez did say these words that I live by...

    “The complete gunfighter learns the mechanics of his weapon. He learns to manage it and operate it with grace, fluidity and reflexive action. And he learns to fire it with requisite accuracy for the problem at hand”.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    The Zigzag Drills and the Balance of Speed and Accuracy

    As we train in concepts and continuums we need to develop drills that keep us in line with these principles. Personally, I’ve been using a zigzag drill to reinforce the concepts. I have not put the drills to use in any of my courses yet, but that may change very soon.

    As we look at the concepts mentioned above we need to understand that these concepts are all intertwined. They are each dependent on each other and have an effect on each other. It is well established that time equals distance. This distance variable has a huge effect on “the balance of speed (speed of the shot and the speed of the movement) and accuracy.” Distance dictates the speed of which we can take the shot, the speed and necessary smoothness of our movement, the necessary visual input on the gun, and the grip and trigger continuum.

    The zigzag drill brings all of these “continuum” elements together into one drill. The drill also does a very good job of working the movement skill set with directional changes, cut backs, varying speeds, gun transfers from one handed to two handed shooting, transfers from dominant hand to non-dominate hand, and foot work pivoting. It is simply another “put it all together” drill that really establishes the personal limitations inside of the fight continuum. The zigzag drill is a “progression” drill that constantly and continually changes as you move closer…or as you move further away.

    The first drill starts at twenty five yards with a full capacity magazine or with a reload for those that are “capacity challenged.” From the holster, draw and move to the original 2:00 while putting one or two shots onto a human silhouette. As soon as you get those shots off, cutback to the original 10:00 and put one of two shoots on the threat. This zigzagging, with the cutbacks, will continue approximately six times as you close on the threat and put hits on board.

    As you close in, the speed of the shot, the speed of the movement, the necessary visual input on the gun, and the trigger and grip continuum should be worked in it’s most efficient and effective manner…..all the while pushing the envelope on your personal limitations. As you progress through the continuums you will see the logical place to use all of your concepts. As you close in you will progressively be shooting faster, moving faster, needing to see less and less, and work the trigger harder and faster......putting more shots on board as you move in closer. I would usually shoot all seventeen rounds out of my Glock.

    I’ll post the other zigzag drills later if there is interest.

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    I'm interested in you posting the other zigzag drills.

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    The zigzag drills are not quite as good as the S-drill, because there is really no ability to work the reaction continuum or the drawstroke continuum. The S-drills allows for a devious instructor to call the shots at the very worst times (or the very best times depending on how you want to look at it.) But the zigzag drill does cover the rest of the continuums pretty well and works for the solo shooter who is working without a training partner.

    The zigzag drill mentioned above is designed to seamlessly integrate your "move as you need to move," "see what you need to see," and your "work the trigger and grip as you need to work them." This seamless integration, through the entire spectrum of these three concepts, in one drill, really brings things together for you. After the proper training and a couple of repetitions, the dynamics of the drill becomes second nature. This really begins to "cement" your limitations.

    The way this drill comes down for me is like this;

    The first zig to the original 2:00 is done with controlled movement, two handed, with the use of the sights. At twenty five yards you have to wait to take the shot at the right time.

    The second zag to the original 10:00 is done with a little faster controlled movement. I am still on my sights and still needing to wait for the shot, but not quite as long.

    The third zig to the original 2:00 has me using my fastest controlled movement. I am now using a frontsight only method of aiming, and the shots are coming faster and easier.

    The fourth zag to the original 10:00 has me leaving my controlled movement and has me into a decent stride. I am just below line of sight and aligning down the top of the slide. The hits are coming faster and my index is becoming more consistant. This is the point where I may start getting three shots on board.

    The fifth zig to the original 2:00 has me at a decent run. I've gone to one handed shooting with a solid grip with a locked wrist and elbow. The gun is lower in my line of sight and I am very much using my eye hand coordination. My index is very consistant and the shots are there for the taking.

    The sixth zag to the original 10:00 has me at a near sprint. The grip is even tighter, the wrist and elbow are locked solid. The gun is even lower in my line of sight and slightly depressed. I am now in a position that I need to concern myself with not "projecting" (Snarc's term for handing it to the adversary) the gun. The index is solid and the trigger is being worked as fast as it can until the gun runs dry.

    Emergency reload while moving to the adversaries flanks.

    This is how the drill basically comes down for me. Your mileage may vary. The point of me laying it out like this is so that you can see the constant and continual progression in all four continuums. These four continuums work in conjunction with each other.

    I see the fluid integration of these four continuums and the absolute understanding of your personal limitations on this fluid integration as a must own skillset.

    I just wanted to make sure everyone was on board with the progression before I go into the next zigzag drill.

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    SCW
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    Interesting drills. In your second drill, are the one handed shots are always taken with the closer hand? IOW, when a right-handed shooter get to the end of the 3rd 2:00 zig, does he change hands until the end of the 10:00 zag?

    For us 'capacity challenged', is the mag change done on the run or during the change of direction. It seems to hesitate at the direction change would be lower risk of dropping/fumbling a mag, but more chance of getting popped. Any thoughts?

    Also, as you get closer to the target and the gun is lowered, should the pistol be brought to a retention postion for the last leg(s)?

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    Interesting drills. In your second drill, are the one handed shots are always taken with the closer hand? IOW, when a right-handed shooter get to the end of the 3rd 2:00 zig, does he change hands until the end of the 10:00 zag?
    SCW, what you need to do is take these drills and "make them yours." Do not too caught up in the minutia of them. Go one handed as you see fit....this all comes down to finding what is best for you.

    I do tend to stay one handed longer than most people do. I feel that the support side hand can be very helpful for balance, speed, explosive exceleration, to help facilitate directional changes and as a way to stabilize my firing hand (think "rudder of a boat" or the way a mountain lion uses his tail as he chases his prey.)

    For us 'capacity challenged', is the mag change done on the run or during the change of direction. It seems to hesitate at the direction change would be lower risk of dropping/fumbling a mag, but more chance of getting popped. Any thoughts?
    I reload on the move and not during the directional change......but maybe some day.....

    Also, as you get closer to the target and the gun is lowered, should the pistol be brought to a retention postion for the last leg(s)?
    I may look at retention positions different from most people. My extention is also a continuum that I cover in the "draw stroke continuum" in the initial post. I "compress" the gun inward depending on the proximity of the threat. It could be compressed a couple of inches, all the way back to the torso or the hip, and everything inbetween. The main goal is to make sure that you do not project the gun so the adversary can grab it. Two yards can be covered by two people extending their arms towards each other. Compress the gun as necessary.....but do not automatically come back to "close contact" of half hip.

    HTH
    Last edited by Sweatnbullets; July 23rd, 2007 at 01:17 AM.

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    SCW
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    Thanks, I'm a pretty poor shot and have lousy gun handling with my left hand, so this might be a good drill for me. Might try it tomorrow night.

    Also, in my very limited experience I have notice with two hands I am more likely to concentrate on shooting than on moving. With one hand it is easier (for me anyway) to remember to keep moving.

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    Senior Member Array Sweatnbullets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCW View Post
    Thanks, I'm a pretty poor shot and have lousy gun handling with my left hand, so this might be a good drill for me. Might try it tomorrow night.

    Also, in my very limited experience I have notice with two hands I am more likely to concentrate on shooting than on moving. With one hand it is easier (for me anyway) to remember to keep moving.
    Just take it slow and notice the progession. The drill is all about the seamless integration inside of the progression.

    Make the drill yours.

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