I frequently say to trainees; if you stay ready you won’t have to get ready. I stress to them that this is a lifestyle. That is just how it is, and while some will jump all in others are happy to dabble. After years of studying and applying this material I’ve realized that some will never quite get it, and that’s okay. However, for those that do this post is for you.
Whether it’s our strength and conditioning, skillset, equipment, or something as simple as hydration, if we stay ready we won’t have to get ready. How ready is ready? Only you can answer that question. Let’s look at a few examples.
For most this probably means abstaining from over indulging in intoxicating substances that would impair our ability to be ready. I don’t know how ready I’ll be to perform CPR or apply a dressing to a wound if I’m so intoxicated I can barely stand. Some might say well how often have you had to apply a dressing to a wound or perform CPR? To that I would respond, ever spent time around little kids? It’s not if, it’s when they will hurt themselves or choke on something. Be ready so you don’t have to get ready. If a friend calls and needs help with an emergency at home such as a tree limb crashing through the roof of his home, (true story), how ready will I be to assist him in his moment of need if I’ve spent the night downing alcoholic beverages? How ready will I be to help myself if it’s my home that was impaled by a tree? Fortunately I was ready, and could respond to help.
Let’s think about how we drive. When we’re behind the wheel are we really ready? How close are we to vehicles when we stop behind them at intersections? Is there enough room to maneuver should we need to get out of there? Or did we pin our own vehicle in because we weren’t ready? Do we drive with both hands on the wheel, heads up and scanning? Or do we drive with one finger on the wheel, talking to others, not really paying attention to what is going on around us? If we drive ready we won’t have to get ready. Human reaction time is what it is, and we aren’t immune. Being ready cuts down on some of that reaction time. It’s better to see the guy in the lane next to us that’s texting, driving, and drifting into our lane before he hits us. As opposed to having our response time involve observing the potential issue, get both hands on the wheel, sit up properly behind the wheel, and performing defensive driving tactics to avoid or minimize our collision with his vehicle. If we’re ready we don’t have to get ready.
I’m not saying you should never enjoy an adult beverage or that you should drive as if your driver’s ed instructor is sitting in the passenger seat. I am saying we should give due consideration to our daily activities and ask ourselves; am I ready for things to go wrong? If not, what do I need to do to correct this so I am ready?
One of the things I struggle with is imposter syndrome. That nagging feeling that I’m not really deserving of any accolades, or recognition I might receive. I worry that I’m deep in Dunning-Kruger and as a result don’t know enough to know how much I don’t know.
I don’t know how to stop those thoughts from running through my head. All I know is I train like a madman to make sure I’ve done everything I can do to deserve anything I’m given. I’m actually envious of people that have no clue how much they suck. Their confidence in their non-existent skills has to be a great feeling. I mean that sincerely. I wish I could be that but I can’t. I will continue to struggle with whether I deserve to even wear a black belt, or have anyone listen to anything I say on the topic of self protection.
And I will continue to work my ass off to ensure that those that have trusted me enough to invest their time and effort in passing on their knowledge to me aren’t disappointed. I will continue to work my ass off to make sure folks that trust me enough to train them will find that training valuable.
In police work recruits are taught to watch the hands when making contact with citizens.
In the first course I took from Paul Howe we were given a scanning hierarchy when dealing with folks we encountered. Guess what the second item on the list is? You got it, the hands.
In the first seminar I attended by Megaton Diaz he made a statement that has stuck with me over 20 years later. “Never let them touch you. If they grab you grab them back.” Megaton was speaking to the importance of never allowing our opponent to establish a grip on us, to always monitor and control the opponents hands.
It seems there is a string that threads through every potentially violent endeavor. The opponent’s hands will hurt you if you don’t control them.
In particular I can’t over emphasize the importance of monitoring the hands of an unknown contact. Your ability to apply your avoidance, deterrence, and deescalation skills are greatly enhanced by your ability to monitor the unknown contacts hands.
Uncontrolled hands for some reason, (looking at you Murphy), seem to migrate to our weapons, don’t let that happen. Control the hands, control the space/distance, get to a dominant position, and finish them.
This is an interesting class to teach as we cover a broad spectrum of material with a wide variety of skill ranges in a short period of time. This can be a challenge for some coaches but when you have the opportunity to work with coaches of Larry and Cecil’s caliber there is no challenge they haven’t faced at this point so I knew we would be good to go.
There are always lessons to be learned in these courses for the students as well as the coaches. However, one of the lessons that’s consistently reinforced is conditioning matters. We all could use a little more conditioning, and I know I’ll be working hard on improving my conditioning.
The next lesson that is consistently reinforced; a little bit of Jiujitsu goes a long way. You don’t need a black belt level knowledge or even a blue belt level knowledge. However, just a little bit of Jiujitsu in the form of several months of consistent effort will pay huge dividends in an Entangled Fight.
One of the first lessons Joe Smith, Hershel Davis, and Dave Wittrock pounded into our thick skulls at the Police Academy is that there is always at least one gun involved in any tussle. Every time an officer goes hands on it can at any moment become a fight over control of the officer’s weapon. (Not only the pistol, but OC, taser, baton or any other weapon on the officer’s person can be taken by the opponent and used against the officer.) This lesson has stuck with me, and driven the direction of quite a bit of my training efforts for the last 20 years.
Mas Ayoob had said many times that the moment you strap a pistol to your body you give up the right to flip someone the bird for cutting you off in traffic. That simple traffic altercation can rapidly escalate to a fight over your pistol or even a shooting. This is something Claude Werner might refer to as a negative outcome.
While some folks will quibble about the term entangled gunfight, or whether we need to learn to integrate our skills, it remains a fact; if you go hands-on with someone while carrying weapons it is indeed moments away from becoming an entangled gunfight.
It’s ironic to me that while some were arguing that entangled gunfights don’t happen the world was watching the George Zimmerman trial. I’m thinking those arguing could have benefited from some time around Smith, Davis, and Wittrock.
Bottom line, should you find yourself in a hand to hand altercation, while bearing weapons, you better treat it as an entangled gun-knife-OC-expandable baton fight… Because in an instant it can be.
When we’re talking about Jiujitsu as it pertains to fighting there can be only one objective; to win in the most efficient manner possible.
Assuming we are starting on our feet our first objective is to win the takedown battle. We want to hit our opponent with the Earth as ballistically as possible. A secondary objective is to hit the takedown in such a manner as to be past my opponent’s legs. I start my guard pass with my takedown, while still on our feet.
Next I want to move towards my opponent’s back. Either cause him to give his back or find a way to take his back. This limits his offensive and defensive capabilities.
Lastly I want to lock in a choke and put him out. While getting to mount or knee on belly and raining knuckles on my opponent is a fantastic option, the most efficient way to end the fight is to choke him out. The human skull is fairly durable and can take a lot of punishment. Compare the number of strikes it takes to knock out most fighters versus how quickly even a highly skilled fighter succumbs to a properly applied choke. A choke also limits the possibility for me to damage my hands while trying to punch a hole in my opponent’s skull.
Once the choke has helped you achieve your objective, disengage from your opponent. Sit them up or turn them on their side so they can regain consciousness. Now get out of Dodge.
Not so coincidentally this strategy works regardless of whether we’re on the street or in a sport environment.
Injuries suck. There is no way to sugar coat this, if you are a multidisciplinary practicioner you will experience an injury.
Sometimes the injury is unavoidable, but sometimes we could and should take steps to avoid injury. I’m rehabbing a shoulder injury. It’s not severe enough to require surgery but it was a closet call. My strength training was progressing quickly, my overhead and bench press numbers were approaching my previous best… And my shoulders were killing me. I kept working through the pain. Pain purifies right? And with all the pain I was working through I was as pure as first snow. I was starting to be unable to sleep due to shoulder pain. Then it happened, something popped my shoulder during an overhead press, and things got bad. Then I landed on that shoulder during a vigorous sparring session. Things went from bad to worse. I immediately booked an appointment with Dr Sikorsky of Sikorsky Chiropractic and Dr Steve was able to begin my recovery process. Also massage therapy sessions with Nikki, massage therapist at Sikorsky Chiropractic has done wonders to speed up my recovery.
The reason for sharing that is to share this, my shoulder issue was avoidable. Completely avoidable. I have neglected mobility work when it comes to my shoulders for several years. Sure I’ve done some mobility work here and there but that’s not the same as dedicated consistent effort. Now I’m doing my shoulder mobility work daily, multiple times a day to get my shoulders back into the game.
With that in mind I wanted to share with you a resource I found on YouTube that’s a gold mine of rehabilitative information; Smash Werx
My message to you my friends; be good to yourself. Do your mobility work. Make it a priority. Avoid the avoidable injuries.