The Fallen Drill, Live Fire and Sims Fire, Standing, Falling and Fallen Target Practice
A universal problem in many martial arts, mixed weapon fight training and combatives training that is so often ignored or forgotten is, that when people are struck, kicked, stabbed, slashed or shot, they…move. By the first, second or third attack. The second or third target you’d trained for to hit is probably, usually, not there where it was in a focus mitt drill, on a heavy bag workout, or certainly on a fill-frontal, flat, 1 dimensional paper target.
The faster your attack or counter attack, the better chance the second target might be where you planned, such as maybe with a super quick, two-punch combination on through to, say, two or three very quick trigger pulls on a gun? As an instructor we must warn our practitioners about these reaction, spoiler-movements, and advise them that these elaborate focus mitt drills and martial art combinations might be SNAFU-ED when the enemy…moves.
I have been in numerous martial arts where we memorized 3, 4, 5 or more moves on an attacker who is standing still like a statue after his own first punch at you and you respond, then beating the statue-man to death in those many moves. But he is not reacting to the 1st, 2nd or 3rd strike or kick. He remains upright and still, until the scenario calls for a takedown. (It was an old school concept that the takedown you chose, is the one that facilitates the direction he is already falling in after you’ve cracked him some great strikes. You don’t or shouldn’t change his falling direction. So in this old-school rule, they recognized the opponent was…moving.)
I was always flabbergasted at various knife systems through the decades that memorized numerous elaborate 3, 4 or more body template, patterns of stabs and cuts. “Stab the heart, then cut down to the kidney, then stab…” First off, dear detached-from-reality person, the body has bones in it and second, the enemy…has probably…moved after your very first stab! His kidney is no longer where it was in your splendid, one-dimensional, flat, frontal template. Your 3-4 step templates are basically…bullshit.
The solution is to construct responses that try to predict with some certainty where said enemy will move. He will be…
- frozen for a second?
- arms up in your attack path,
- stepping forward, sides or back away,
Frozen? Yes, he might be frozen in place, if your first attack alone isn’t strong enough to move him. We all know about the “flight, freeze, fight” studies. But he probably will fall, turn or move just before or during your second attack?
To counter these practical problem in doctrine, an instructor with sufficient “martial IQ” must prep the students with these realities. This does sort of ruin and-or, de-emphasize the whole list of required, memorized 4-5 step statue fighting some martial arts require. The instructor should warn – “After this strike, it is possible, probable that said person might not be where you expect them…”
Wrong End of the Barrel. I hope I have established the idea that people will move and not be were you expected them to be in training. Since I teach hand, stick, knife and GUN, I have to ponder this problem in the pistol and long gun world, which is what I want to dissect a bit here. Yes it is true, some people will absorb some small caliber shots and keep approaching or freeze? But will they and for how long to overcome the elements of the gun blast? I mean, just stand close to someone shooting a firearm on the range without hearing protection. Take note of the force expelled. Now imagine that aimed at you.
I would like to mention that the sheer sound and blast of a gun would-could cause people alone to…MOVE! Move, least of all from successful bullet impacts, ruining your second or third shot plan. But they will also and quite probably fall, turn away, etc from the standard flat, full-frontal target picture you have been practicing your marksmanship on.
I believe that people are not fully learning firearm combatives unless moving, thinking people are shooting back at them, or at very least threatening them close up in a deadly force situation. This experience absolutely requires interactive, safe, simulated ammo training. Some old hands have called the shooting range a “one-way street,” and you need a “two-way street experience” to maximize your skills. It is somewhat horrifying to learn how easily you can be shot.
Since I almost never teach live fire marksmanship and leave that to the patient experts, I concentrate on simulated interactive shooting. In a perfect world, I always prefer to partner up with live fire experts whenever possible and ask them to do a live fire version of what I will teach later with simulated ammo. I have a few drills for a predicted response to shooting an enemy that moves and-or falls. Here’s one – thus the “Fallen Drill.”
The premise is, you shoot the armed bad guy and he begins to fall. He’s still armed. Still looking at you. You shoot him on the fall, and you shoot him when he’s grounded, should he seem cogent. The live fire version featured in the photo requires a little rigging of targets and the target stands. Since some instructors do obsess about scoring, scoring, scoring everything, we have the mode on the left. Otherwise folks can shoot at human, photo, figures. By the time they get to me and sims guns, we are shooting people and the “score” is “miss or kill,” you might say. (The practitioner has already done his marksmanship training, now we are shooting people.)
For combatives, photos of real people holding weapons on targets, not drawings, playing cards, etc. . I and a few others have written about the sheer stupidity of forcing police and military shooting training to use non-human shaped targets, to be politically correct. This is a giant step backward in combat shooting. The training the rule of “reduce the abstract” applies. While typically round, and-or non-human shaped targets are used for pure marksmanship development and competitions, when you get into the combatives training, human-shaped figures (pictures of real people are better than drawings) is better. It is also not good to shoot at targets like this attached photo, that are unarmed and threat-less.
We should not ordinarily be shooting unarmed people. And we should not be shooting at unarmed people targets. It’s not good training for the brain and reflexes. Firearm combatives training targets should include a weapon to prep-instill the instantaneous, mental recognition, justification for lethal force. It’s bad enough we spend so, so much time shooting at bland, non-human-form bullseyes and various odd shapes. When doing combat shooting training, at very least “arm” the target!
(As an side issue, and the subject of a whole other essay some other time, notice how many “grappling cop” courses are teaching arrest or survival grappling and are so quick to pull their training guns on unarmed “suspects,” the first instant they can. The officer probably can’t shoot them, and they probably know the officer can’t shoot them. Untrained and now, trained police are going-to-gun awfully quickly.)
Anyway, I invented this “Fallen” live fire and simulated exercise in isolation. You and others may have something like it already too, as most inventions are made this isolated way. If so? Good for you. Now let’s pass it on…
Hock’s email is Hock@SurvivalCentrix.com
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