September, 2007 Edition
The authorized newsletter of Action Fighting Arts, A Total Threat
Concepts, Guidelines and
THE SECRET’S IN THE SUPER-S
At the risk of oversimplifying a complex art, I am convinced, when it comes to being a dynamic, effective (use of force) instructor, you can’t go wrong by committing yourself to The Secret of S. And, trust me, I have gone wrong – sometimes terribly wrong as a trainer. Here’s the thing, though: I have learned by my mistakes (which is probably in the Top 10 of my guidelines to becoming a great instructor, which we will discuss in another newsletter and in my upcoming E-Book), studied on them and grown from them. I have also learned from the mistakes of others – watched the reactions of others, taken stock of my own visceral reactions to what other instructors have done (both as a participant and as a co-instructor). Rather than bore readers with my many gaffes, let me just say that all you have to do is take the below Super-S’s and consider their complete opposites and you can picture some of those near-fatal errors.
SLOW is like money for a Use Of Force instructor. You can never have enough of it. Seriously. Speed in the field, or on the street, is essential to an officer’s survival; so what I am advocating here seems counter-intuitive, but I know it to be true. I have coordinated and been a participant in trainings where an instructor impressed the hell out of me with how rapid and effective he was at handcuffing, applying a submission hold, at disarming a bad guy, or blocking and disarming an edged weapon attack. Problem was, none of the students – especially the participants who were new to the technique – could Soft Wire (visualize in his or her Mind’s Eye the technique as it was being demonstrated and formulate an image or picture in his or her Mind’s Eye of him or her being able to perform that same skill or technique) the motor skill or technique well enough to be able to perform it in class.
THING IS, for a student, be he/she a recruit or veteran officer, this inability to Soft Wire a skill, especially after an instructor creates a legitimate need for that skill during the introduction (Creating A Need For The Skill is the number one motivational tool in Use of Force Training) is a source of great frustration. It also undermines the student’s confidence, both in him or herself , in the instructor, and in the training program itself. Considering that all Survival Motor Skill Training should be designed to eliminate student frustration while developing student confidence, all explanations and technique demonstrations should be methodical and deliberate. When I say slow, therefore, I am talking not just the pace but a Methodology of Slow that should include these components:
INSTRUCTOR’S NOTES: Let’s take Tactical Handcuffing for example. I like to break the skill into the smallest components possible. You might want to teach it differently, of course. I start off by having the students in relative position 2 ½ and the “Bad Guy” in position with his or her strong hand extended back. I break down the technique into the following tasks (Task Analysis):
There is a correct way to use speed to develop speed, but, as I am sure you know, real speed in real time (in combat) comes only after the students has built rapidity after he or she has developed confidence and competence through what I like to call LSD – Long, Slow Direction. Once again, using Tactical Handcuffing as an example, after a few hours of the LSD Training outlined above, I have the class perform a few skill-building drills and exercises (some of which, including the Snag Drill, I have detailed in previous newsletters), namely the Speed Cuffing Drill. In this simple drill I time students as they perform the complete Tactical Cuffing Circuit, using my original speedy demonstration as a model. I time them in a series starting with 5-seconds (to build confidence), 3-seconds, then 2-seconds. Chances are all of the students will be able to either beat, match or at least get close to the 2-second “Instructor Level, and, almost always, the class will ask for the 1=Second Expert Test, and, believe it or not about half the class can match or get close to that level (which is about a second faster that my old hands can move). My point here is try the Speed Cuffing Drill before the LSD (Long, Slow Directions) Drills and then try the drill after and you will understand the value of “Slow.”
BY “SIMPLE” I mean several things. Several crucial things to effective, professional training.
ACTUALLY “SAFE” should have been my first “S” in this article. Without a safe training environment, in truth, you have no training. No effective training, anyway. Students need to know that their training will –if they follow the edicts of the Safety Briefing – not be a hostile training place. You cannot totally ensure an injury-free training world for your students; but you can assure them that you have taken every precaution against unnecessary hazards, et al., including:
THIS may seem like a small thing, and maybe it is trivial, but that is the cool thing about having your own newsletter – I can talk about it anyway. I see so many instructors who insist on demonstrating more than one technique at the same time, then expect their students to retain that image. Well, I don’t think it can a student can Soft Wire more than one image at the same time. That becomes a problem when that same student is asked to perform the Static Drills. Hard Wiring becomes problematic.
An example of this is demonstrating all four Brachial Stuns one after the other. Bang. The whole fricking counterstrike component is shot to hell and back. The STSS (Short Term Sensory Store) can only be expected to hold an image for 10 to 15 seconds, tops, before that image is downloaded to the STM (Short Term Memory), If the picture in the Mind’s Eye is flawed because of Multiple or Complex Instructor Demonstrations, the images held in the STM that will later be retrieved during the Static Drills by the student will be unreliable, maybe even obliterated totally.
So, here’s the thing. Demonstrate the Back of the Hand, Off-Hand Brachial Stun first. Demonstrate in real speed, then several times at Instructor Speed (less than 50% Speed and Power), concomitantly demonstrating what a correct Touch Drill looks like. Now, stop. Instruct the students to perform how many reps are prescribed. Have them switch, etc. Then, and only then, demonstrate the next Brachial Stun – probably the Strong Hand Palm Heel Brachial Stun and repeat the sequence. One at a time. Separation is the key.
TRANSITIONING FROM TRAINING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO CIVILIANS
No doubt, if you are a Martial Arts or law enforcement instructor, you have the credentials and probably the ability to capably train civilians. In these perilous Post-9/11 era, so many civilians are aware of and crying out for good instruction. I must say, though, with apologies to the Martial Arts instructors out there, that more and more citizens are coming to me wanting what I call The Fighting Arts (if you a fan of the Firebird, you know what The Fighting Arts are, but, understanding that not everyone is, I will talk about the Fighting Arts in the next newsletter. Suffice it to say, however, the FA are not Martial Arts, are based on simple, easily-retainable Gross Motor Skills instead of the elusive Complex Motor Skills of all the Martial Arts, and they are designed to work under the rigors of Survival Stress, when your heart rate will typically spike from 60 BPM to about 220 BPM in a second or two) instead of Martial Arts classes.
Training small children is a great example of the efficacy of The Fighting Arts over the Martial Arts. At least adults have the capacity to understand the limitations of the MA. Children tend to idolize their instructors and to totally believe in what their sensei has taught them. Do not get me wrong, I have studied and benefited by the Martial Arts. I also know that children and adults alike have benefited from being involved. Benefited greatly. But an 8-year old small child, using conventional Martial Arts or Self Defense training against a 6’, 210 pound violent recidivistic, and probably desperate, adult male predator, is no match. She or he will have no chance.
In my S.T.I.C.K. (Survival Techniques and Intervention Concepts For Kids and Parents), my Fighting Arts program takes a different, and what I feel a more realistic approach. The focus is on techniques of prevention and avoidance of predators; the Parent as a Courage Coach; anti-bullying strategies; and how to Escape and Evade an attacker. Physical techniques involve tying the Bad Guy up and delaying his egress from the Initial Crime Scene, knowing that in the predator’s mind, speed is essential to abductions.
In future newsletters, then, I will be going into specific details about the STICK Program, my COMET Kids Fight Arts program for Teens, as well as the training programs for women and seniors.
Readers can e-mail me and request more information, Lesson Plans, Powerpoints, etc. involving any of the training programs or concepts detailed in this newsletter.
Readers can also send in their requests and/or suggestions concerning articles, ideas, principles, etc. they would like to see in future newsletters.
The Fighting Firebird and its staff invites all readers to contribute their own Training Tips, experiences, Technique Success or Failure Stories for publication.
The Fighting Firebird Staff
A. Wigder, PPCT Instructor Trainer, Director, Action Fighting Arts.
DO YOU HAVE A STORY, AN IDEA, A CONCEPT THAT CAN HELP OTHERS GO HOME EVERY DAY?
Action Fighting Arts and the Fighting Firebird invited you to contribute a story, article, feature or advertise your training in its monthly newsletter. The Firebird personally knows a lot of you out there who have innovative ideas and/or field experience when PPCT and/or other training programs have either worked or failed. Our readers (and I) can learn a great deal from those experiences. Plus, writing about your experiences and ideas can be fun and fulfilling, just as can seeing your thoughts in print can be.
Thanks to Rachel Goldstein, the founder of Artists Helping Children, for her help on art work and other features.
you for your interest in Action Fighting Arts Training Programs
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