Hand To Hand Combat Refresher

A punch is thrown, and the officer moves to deflect and redirect it. In a flash the assailant is on the ground with little understanding of how they got there.

Just as quickly the officer is on top of them, applying handcuffs. While this has a modern-day feel to it, this episode could have taken place almost anywhere on earth for the last several thousand years. There is an undeniable link between modern defensive tactics taught in police academies, military bases and security institutes and the ancient dojo.

While the modern police academy defensive tactics room looks little like a martial arts dojo, the lessons remain the same. Training gi’s are replaced with T-shirts and sweats. The sword is now an expandable baton, and the warrior wears a badge instead of a family crest. The techniques are taught in a slightly different manner, but the lessons remain the same. While possibly an oversimplification, these lessons can be broken down into five sections. First up is striking.

Strike Through It

The idea of striking an adversary seems to be a simple matter. They attack you, and you throw a punch in reply. This is an oversimplification of effective technique, however. Senseis and drill instructors teach the same thing: If you are going to hit something, strike through it. To make contact with the surface and stop will result in a less-than-effective strike. By striking as if you are aiming at a point beyond your initial contact, you will get much deeper penetration into your target. Additionally, you are taught to strike with your entire body. A relaxed body concentrated behind a punch or kick allows the transfer of much more energy into the subject. This is essential for those who may not possess great strength or size.

Lock It Up

Another essential skill in any combatives program is joint locking and manipulation. All officers must have the ability to manipulate a subject’s joints in order to not only control them but also to handcuff them as well. The world of joint manipulation is vast and complicated, yet pieces can be cut out for those wearing a badge. The primary principle behind joint control is moving a joint against its normal direction. This is accomplished by moving the joint away from the subject’s center to weaken it, then using your entire body to turn and control the joint.

The most common control points are the wrist and elbows. Used correctly, these controls can provide pain compliance and, more importantly, mechanical compliance. They can incapacitate an assailant and keep them from causing any further injury. A unique aspect of joint manipulations is their dual application nature. These controls allow an officer to control a subject, but if need be, they can break joints as well. If an assailant continues to be dangerous, an officer can damage a joint to a degree that the subject cannot utilize it in a continued assault. While not preferred, the option is available.

Combative Grappling

In many cases, combative events end up on the ground. This, coupled with the huge popularity of MMA and the belief by many assailants that they are the next UFC champion, makes strong grappling skills a must. The difference, however, is that combative grappling is not a sport. There are no tap-outs or referees. The main goal in combative grappling is to either disable the assailant quickly or to get back onto your feet. The opportunity for the assailant’s friends to kick an officer in the head while they roll is very high. Even after an officer or soldier does disable an opponent, they need to get to their
feet as quickly as possible.

Using Weapons

The world of weapons in our context goes be-yond firearms. A student of combatives must have both offensive and defensive skills with a variety of weapons. The two most common are edged weapons and impact weapons. Edged weapons are extremely dangerous in that they are easily concealed, easy to use and silent. Traditional disarming techniques follow three components: Get off the line of attack, control the weapon and then control the assailant. The introduction of an edged weapon also elevates the event to a deadly-force incident. If the person is willing to take your life, then they should be considered a deadly, dedicated adversary. A kinetic response to the attack must be swift and overwhelming.

Much of this applies to the introduction of an impact weapon as well. The flipside of this coin are skills that allow an officer or soldier offensive skills with these weapons. Training with impact weapons is common and for the most part is adequate. Offensive edged weapons training is almost non-existent, however. Without going into too much detail, the use of blades in traditional training is based on stopping the adversary. The most effective way to do this is to stab. Slashing does damage but is not nearly as effective as penetration into internal organs. This is a lethal-force option when a firearm is not available.

Survival Mindset

Of all the relevant training that has flowed from the dojo to the training room, focusing the mind is the most important. Samurai would dedicate years in training their mind to stay focused and calm during conflict. While the methods of mental training have changed, the lesson remains the same. A calm mind allows for more options to present themselves. Panic and overwhelming fear can cause irrational behavior and less-than-effective responses to threats. There is a Japanese phrase that sums up the most critical lesson in mental training: dochu-no-sei or “calmness in action.”

In the end, there is little that differentiates modern students of combatives from ancient ones. Society has advanced to a great degree, yet there will always be those who wish to do harm to the innocent. Those who stand as guardians of the weak will always be the product of warrior training. They have been and will always be the product of sweat, pain and mental focus.

source: tactical-life.com

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How SEALs Train Tactical Fitness

ShieldWall Network Editorial note: Even if you have a physical labor job, but especially if you do not, many of us may not be ready for this, yet. Tactical fitness can begin with normal every day activity which gets you moving to add flexibility and exercise your muscles and cardiovascular system. For example, bending from an upright position to pull up weeds and grass to feed to the chickens, or picking up limbs on your property, is just as effective as doing a “touch your toes” exercise. Walking, doing outside chores, and being active is exercise, itself, and a great place to start when building up to higher levels of fitness. A hanging punching bag in the front yard and a basketball goal in the back are great inducements to improve your physical health, too! 

Navy SEAL veteran Stew Smith defines tactical fitness and breaks it down into three stages.


If you’re kicking down doors, jumping out of planes, or pulling people from a burning building, you’re probably more concerned with tactical fitness than with being ripped like Channing Tatum or Hugh Jackman.

For those preparing to enter an operational field within law enforcement or the military, or for veterans who want to maintain some level of athleticism, there are practical fitness workouts that prioritize functionality over aesthetics.

Task & Purpose spoke with Stew Smith, a former Navy SEAL officer who has written numerous books and articles about tactical fitness over the last 17 years. When it comes to tactical fitness, Smith explains that you shouldn’t be concerned with having six-pack abs or how big your biceps are.

Instead, “this training is going to make me better at inserting six miles with 60 pounds on my back or jumping out of an aircraft,” said Smith. “Your workout should be focused on answering those questions.”

In essence, tactical fitness comes down to practicality, and it’s still valuable to those outside of operational jobs or careers because its foundation is built on survival skills and survival fitness, explained Smith. Being able to perform in a dangerous or high-risk situation, like being strong enough to pull an injured co-worker to safety during a fire, or to swim to shore if you fall overboard on a boat, are all elements of tactical fitness.

Smith breaks tactical fitness down in a tiered system that builds upon three stages, which Smith categorizes as:

To: which gets you in shape to perform for a test or during training
Through: which is what happens during the training
Operational: which is doing the job itself
Each stage — to, through, and operational — has its own benchmarks and goals that are ultimately determined by what the participants want to get out of their training, explained Smith.

Getting to the training or event

This is what you have to do to make it to a test or course, explained Smith.

If you’re training to be a Navy SEAL and you’re a strong swimmer, but lack endurance and power, you may want to start lifting and doing flutter kicks in the sand while wet. Those who are built likes trucks, but lack stamina may want to work on their endurance, explained Smith.

“This typically means you have a fitness foundation from athletics or whatever, but you specialize a little bit and focus on the fitness test to get you into the training,” he said.

Getting through the training

Once you’ve gotten to the event — whether that’s a training course like Ranger School or you’ve made it to your Tough Mudder — your training takes on another level of specificity, Smith explained.

“Depending on what you’re doing, you need to focus on those tasks you’ll be tested in,” Smith said, adding that during the “through” phase, you need to identify the key aspects of your training and work on those.

If you’re preparing for an intense obstacle course with flaming tires and barbed wire awaiting you at the finish line, you should throw some agility training into the mix.

“You have to build a strong foundation so you can do that,” added Smith.

Getting through the operation or mission

When you’re training for an event you may find that “you’re almost a triathlete with some strength,” said Smith, but once you’ve reached that stage, which Smith describes as the “operational side,” you may not be doing as much cardio, strength training, swimming, or running as you were previously.

For Smith, who cycles through all three phases annually, his operational phase, “is just a fancy way of saying my weight training phase,” and involves lifting, rucking, swimming with fins, and building up strength.

“As an athlete you don’t necessarily have to be good at everything, but great at one thing,” explained Smith, adding that a swimmer may not need to be great on land, or a sprinter may not need to do a lot of endurance training.

But for tactical athletes, “you have to be good at every element of fitness. … You need to have endurance, speed, muscle stamina, agility, strength, and power.”

The key difference between tactical fitness and other forms of physical training is that the latter focuses on versatility rather than specificity.

“You don’t need to be an A+ in all of those, but you need to be a good B student at everything,” said Smith. “Tactical fitness is all over the map.”

Once you’re in those operational commands, it becomes a matter of maintenance, explained Smith, who said that you should cycle back to the to, through and operational elements of your training.

source: taskandpurpose.com

 

Tactical Vs. Regular Fitness

During the past decade, a new fitness genre has been developed.  Fitness programming comes and goes over time, but rarely is an entire new category created.  This new type of fitness training is now called Tactical Fitness.  What we once called Military, Police, Fire Fighter, and Special Ops Fitness programs is now categorized into the ever-growing group of Tactical Fitness.  Even major strength, conditioning, and personal training associations like the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) has a program with a peer-reviewed journal and certification program for Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC).  So, I do not see this genre losing ground like some overused concepts like boot camp workouts and functional fitness.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Tactical Fitness is not about workouts, it’s about work. It is not about working out to get good at working out, it is about creating programs that carry over into real life movements like lifts, carries, crawls, runs, rucks, swims, and mobility, even analytical and creative thinking. It uses non-traditional equipment to lift and carry loads that are not equally balanced.

Tactical Fitness is about choosing a profession where your fitness may one day be the difference between life and death for you, your buddy, or someone you are trying to help.  Not only does your health and fitness need to be developed, but your ability to react as you have been trained and think clearly under stress is an absolute must.

Knowing how to be a team player is critical too.  Find workout buddies with like goals and play sports to learn how to be part of a team.  Your workout today must make you better tomorrow in your job.  This means not only having a healthy heart, blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight, but your workout must help you with the following elements of fitness:

  • Speed and Endurance – Run and ruck farther and faster.
  • Strength and Power – Lift equipment, gear, and people too.
  • Flexibility and  Mobility – Move easily over uneven terrain and in between obstacles.
  • Muscle Stamina – Move yourself and gear up, over, under, and through space.
  • Old Man Grip – Hold gear, climb rope / mountain, grab things and people without tiring.
  • Skills – Swim to save a life, to cross a river, meet up with a ship or sub for extraction, and to be effective on 75% of this planet.
  • And more – Anything and everything in your job.

TACTICAL ATHLETE VS AVERAGE ATHLETE

It is possible to achieve excellent results with each of these elements of fitness.  You will be naturally stronger and enjoy certain routines, but you will also have weaknesses.  You have to determine what these weaknesses are in order to fix and improve them.  When you are a Tactical Athlete, training for all of these elements will not make you the strongest or fastest person in the country, but you will be well above average in both strength and endurance, stamina, and other areas.

It is very common for an advanced Tactical Athlete to be strong enough to do 20 pullups and dead lift two times his bodyweight of 200 or more pounds and still be able to run a six-minute mile pace for several miles.  Those are excellent numbers, but a cross country runner will beat you by a minute in a mile run, but likely fail at strength events.  The strong man will almost double your lift weights, but take a bus when the mile run is tested.  The Tactical Athlete’s definition of optimal is different than the normal single-focus athlete where certain fitness elements do not matter.  They all matter to the Tactical Athlete.

GETTING TO  AND THROUGH TRAINING

There are specific stages for the Tactical Athlete in training.  As a recruit or candidate, you have to score competitively to enter these public service professions on what many refer to as the entrance exam. These are your typical fitness tests of pull-ups, pushups, sit-ups, 1.5 mile runs, and maybe a sprint or swim test depending on the service you are training for. Training to get to these boot camps, academies, or special ops selection programs is one thing, but training to get through them is another.

MAINTENANCE AND GROWTH CYCLES FOR ACTIVE TACTICAL ATHLETES

The post -training and active-duty worlds of a Tactical Athlete’s profession are even more different.  Your training year will require you to prepare for job specifics, and that may require you to run and ruck more, swim and dive more, or lift and sprint more. It all depends on what your mission skills will be.

Maintenance should be programmed in a way where you systematically stay strong, fast, well-conditioned in cardio, and flexible with periodic growth and peaking zones through the year. Learning about periodization is key to arranging workouts to help you with your job requirements in-country, overseas, and seasonally in your community. It also keeps you healthy and injury-free.

From Tactical Training Tips

Leadership Tips For An Expert

This is especially important for anyone who wished to become a regional coordinator for the ShieldWall Network and develop your own franchise.

I am a strong proponent of the United States Marine Corps Leadership Principles and Traits. I have multiple copies of this list and read it daily.

Although I strive to apply these to my daily leadership responsibilities, I have adapted these principles to my duties as a firearms instructor. I would like to share these, as well as some other principles and traits I have learned.

1. KNOW YOURSELF AND SEEK IMPROVEMENT

Before you step into the classroom or range, you must know yourself and seek improvement. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are you doing to fix your weaknesses and build upon your strengths?

One great way to hold yourself accountable is to always provide and promptly review course critiques and evaluations. Of course, you can’t make everyone happy, but if you review class critiques with an open mind, you will learn instructional traits – both positive and negative – about yourself you didn’t know.

2. PREPARE FOR EVERY TRAINING PROGRAM

Leadership also starts well before the training. You must formulate solid lesson plans and courses of fire that are not only challenging and effective teaching techniques, but also address case law and agency expectations.

The majority of your time should be spent during the preparation phase. You must clearly articulate the learning goals and objectives of the training with the other instructors, as well as the methodology of instruction and your expectations.

Any and all lesson plans or materials should be disseminated to all involved instructors in advance of the training. This will help you earn credibility and respect from the other instructors by keeping them informed. Ask for feedback on your lesson plans well before training occurs. Make sure your vision of the training outcome has transferred over to the written word of your lesson plan.

3. MAINTAIN TACTICAL AND TECHNICAL PROFICIENCY

Whatever you are teaching, you must know the lesson plan and how to perform those techniques upon demand. As an instructor you must be tactically and technically proficient.

If an instructor is repeatedly asked questions and does not have the answers, the students will go elsewhere to find their information and the uninformed instructor will develop a poor reputation. If you are not clear on the lesson plan, ask.

This not only goes for the facets of the Combat Triad of marksmanship, gun handling and combat mindset, but it holds true to instructor methodology, classroom and range management as well as administrative functions. As unromantic as the administrative tasks are, you must be proficient.

4. GIVE UP CONTROL TO GAIN CONTROL

One failing that I have as a lead instructor is giving up control. I am very particular when it comes to my lesson plans and content and I have a specific plan in my head on how things will look. I need to learn that by giving up control, you actually gain control.

To develop responsibility among the assistant instructors, I ask which sections of the lesson plan they would like to be responsible for instructing. I usually ask instructors to teach something they need to develop more expertise. This forces them to know themselves and seek improvement.

5. DECISIVENESS ON THE RANGE

From time to time you may need to make sound and timely decisions. These decisions could range from when to take a lunch break to the prioritization of the content, or when to remove an unsafe shooter from the range. Decisiveness on the range must be prompt, so make the decision. Improper judgment in regard to an unsafe shooter or even inclement weather could be devastating. Have the ability to weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound, informed decisions.

6. MEET OR EXCEED APPEARANCE STANDARDS

Setting the example is where we get the most traction. Appearance goes a long way and command presence does exist on the range and in the classroom. An instructor that shows up wearing a uniform that their cat slept on the night before will instantly lack credibility. Whereas the instructor that has a pressed and creased uniform with shined boots will develop a leader/follower relationship much faster than the “Soup Sandwich.” If you are instructing in an academy setting you should meet and exceed the academy uniform and appearance standards that the students must adhere to.

7. WEAR THE SAME EQUIPMENT AS STUDENTS

An instructor should also wear the same equipment as the students. This means duty gear and body armor, anything less is lazy and demonstrates an aura of entitlement. Wearing an off-duty rig when teaching students who are wearing duty gear can drive a wedge in the leader/follower relationship.

The students aren’t stupid and know that you will be faster with off-duty gear, and a student may challenge you on it. Don’t put yourself in the position where you would need to defend yourself. Wearing the same equipment in the same conditions as the students builds credibility.

8. DEMONSTRATE COURSES OF FIRE

The firearms instructor should also demonstrate the courses of fire. You must ensure that assigned tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished. Conducting demonstrations is better than telling the students. Students must truly understand what you are requesting of them.

Some instructors refuse to demo drills. They feel that if they don’t shoot well they will lose credibility.

As an assistant instructor at a fairly big name shooting school, I did so poorly demonstrating a specific course of fire that it still bothers me to this day. I was trying to go too fast and impress the students, but failed miserably. I lost a lot of credibility and respect from the other instructors and students. I lost the credibility because instead of seeking and taking responsibility for my actions, I gathered the pieces of shattered ego and slinked off the line. If I would have explained that I was trying too hard and shot it again, I may have been able to repair my credibility and ego.

9. LEAD THROUGH EXAMPLE

When setting the example, you are never too important to do the menial tasks. You should be shagging ammo, setting up the range, hanging targets and most importantly, cleaning up brass. I hate it too, especially as I get older, but I don’t care if you didn’t fire a round. Setting the example means brassing with the troops. Getting dirty and then showing up the next day in a pristine uniform will also build respect.

10. KNOW AND CARE FOR YOUR STUDENTS

A good instructor knows the nuances of every group of students. Every group has a specific “temperature.” Are you instructing an understaffed graveyard team that was working a late high-priority call or academy cadets who have a certain expectation of how they should be treated?

Conduct a little recon before class to help you adjust your teaching style. The lesson plans must stay the same, but the delivery should be altered to fully benefit the students.

Make sure you give the students sufficient breaks to warm up or cool down. I understand we should be training in poor environments, but sometimes you will figuratively lose the students or the conditions can become unsafe.

11. BE DEPENDABLE

Do what you say you will do, both for students and other members of the instructor cadre. This means getting to the venue early and leaving late. Have the training venue fully prepared and ready to begin training at the scheduled start time. Range or classroom set up should never occur on student training time.

12. BE PROFESSIONAL, BUT DON’T BE A JERK 

You must be unselfish and professional. As you know, there is a lot of arrogance and negative ego in this industry. There are instructors who think they are better than the students and the rest of the instructor cadre.

Being a firearms instructor is not about you. It is about the students. If at any time you think you are better than anyone else or hold yourself above the training mission and the students, you need to pack your stuff and get off my range.

Smart aleck remarks and speaking in movie quotes can create a positive learning environment as long as it stays professional. It is very easy to take a joke too far on the range. Keep it fun, but never degrading or demeaning, because you can lose a lot of students very quickly.

13. STAY LOYAL AND FAITHFUL

Be faithful to your agency philosophies and mission. Have faith in the lesson plans and the methodologies you are teaching. If you put down anyone or anything in your agency, it is unprofessional; you may lose the student’s respect.

Be loyal to the cause publically, even if you don’t agree with everything. If you don’t agree with your agency’s decision or direction, don’t complain about it. Be part of the solution and make positive changes that benefit everyone.

14. ACT WITH COURAGE

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to disqualify a member of the command staff or even a friend. If you don’t appropriately address those issues and others see or hear about it, you will lose integrity.

Courage can also mean staying late with a problem shooter so they don’t leave the range with a negative performance issue gnawing at them. It can also mean helping someone that you may have personal unfavorable feelings toward.

15. MONITOR YOUR OWN NEEDS

Working the range can be physically and mentally taxing. Have the mental and physical endurance to withstand the pain, stress and hardships of the range. After you check your students and other instructor’s welfare, make sure you check your own. Be sure you are snacking and drinking water. By satisfying your needs after your students, you help your endurance.

16. DEBRIEF EVERY TRAINING

I also conduct an instructor debriefing after a training session and cover what the instructor cadre could improve upon, including me. If you are the lead instructor, surround yourself with assistant instructors that will call you out and hold you responsible.

17. LOVE WHAT YOU DO

I love to teach and I am very passionate about it. I believe my enthusiasm spreads to the students and other instructors. Physically exuding your excitement about the lesson plan and courses of fire has a contagious effect. So have fun out there, the majority of your students will follow your lead.

18. TAKE INITIATIVE

The biggest violation of initiative I see as a lead instructor is the assistants doing nothing. Standing behind your four shooters and not interacting with them is not teaching. Interact with them. There is usually something that can be done.

19. RECOGNIZE SUCCESS AND MISTAKES

You should have a common practice for reward and punishments. Justice is administering those rewards and punishment in a tactful manner. I like to stop everything to acknowledge successes.

Punishments are different depending on your audience. At in-service, I speak to the individual alone, using tact. I am firm, fair and, most importantly, consistent. Things change at an academy level. I am still firm, fair and consistent, but the cadets pay the penance as a team. I will join them for minor infractions that are deserving of push-ups on the range.

I do not participate in disciplinary tasks at the academy level for major infractions. For the major infractions, we send them on runs. This is the opportunity for the cadet formal and informal leadership to take charge, and own their mistakes and develop a sense of responsibility. If the cadets do not own it, their peers will usually help them understand.

20. ALWAYS LEARN

All of these traits and principles are inconvenient, because leadership is inconvenient. All of these principles and traits come from lessons learned. Some are from positive experiences, but more often they are from negative experiences. I did not say failure because as a leader you are either successful or you learn. Learn from your mistakes. See everything as an opportunity to learn.

If you habituate these 20 traits and principles, you should earn credibility and respect. Having the rapport and respect of your students will help you deliver the content much more effectively. In doing so, you allow your students to accomplish great things and that is the truest form of servant leadership.