Friday, December 5, 2014

You Can't Fight Fantasy!

Pretending you are Special Ops seems to be the training trend

Mr. Webster defines “fantasy” as: a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic, a supposition based on no solid foundation; visionary idea; illusion. Based on what I have seen, this describes much of the combative-grade training that is currently popular. This trend is particularly true of the under 40 crowd that appears to be fascinated with all things military, especially special operations. With “Stolen Valor” on many people’s minds it should probably not be surprising that many people want to go to a training course and for a short time fantasize about being someone they are not, but this is an obvious training scar. Please do not misunderstand, I have GREAT respect for these extremely capable warriors who must undergo a high level of selection and training, training in which they actually risk serious physical injury or death on a regular basis. These men and women must prepare for battlefield grade warfare in which threats may come in a 360 degree arc with opponents always being multiple. They deserve the title “operator”, a title I have seen local police SWAT teams (that train every other months) apply themselves but is undeserved…as undeserved as the bank manager who straps on his chest rig, hockey helmet and grabs his AR-15 carbine (Sorry, it is NOT an M-4 no matter how much you want it to be!) and heads out to a weekend class!

When I used to teach carbine courses I saw this type of student regularly and when I asked them what they were training for it was always “home defense”. Why home defense? Because the armed citizen cannot carry a carbine around with them, if they do they may be shot by the police. They second most popular reason is “I want to be ready for an active shooter situation” if one develops. Think about this for a moment, if such a situation does break out, where will your carbine be? If it is in your vehicle, you will have to run to your car, get the gun and run back to the scene of the shooting… do you possess a level of physical condition that you can do this? Second, you are a non-uniformed person running with a long gun…how do you think responding police will view your actions? In his excellent Panteao Productions video on Citizen Response to the Active Shooter, former Special Operator Paul Howe advises against the long gun for armed citizens for just this reason. 

If you are dressing up in your favorite gear for a gun vacation or a weekend of escapism I get that! There are schools that draw people for this very reason, they want to pretend they are a spy or SEAL for a few days and I can see where that could be fun, but if you are training for your own personal security you are setting yourself up for failure! If the carbine is going to be your primary home defense tool, how will you be dressed when the need for the gun arises? If you sleep nude or in pajamas, are you going to put on your chest rig and light mounted hockey helmet before you head out to check on the “bump in the night”? Probably not, so why train like that unless you are having a fantasy? When I first started Handgun Combatives I saw this phenomenon but I have to admit I am now seeing it less and less, but, admittedly, I do draw an older, more mature block of students. My average student is probably older than 40 which I am ok with. I occasionally do get a young man who is trying to do the flashy stuff they see on You Tube and once they see what they are doing cots them time and increases effort, they will slow down and look for ways to eliminate movement and effort…the true key to success when fighting with a pistol.

Regardless of all the non-sensical jargon spewed on the “stupid-net”, “efficiency” is defined as “the least amount of time, effort and energy expended to achieve the goal”. This includes the gear worn and the attitude you arrive at training with. Keep it simple and sleek, have an open mind and have a true understanding of what armed conflict really is…it’s bloody, filled with pandemonium and will result in serious injury or death!!! It is not the place for fantasy, especially when preparing for the most dangerous moments of your life.

Check 360 often!

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