Training has provided me a level of competency to shoot consistently well; well enough to safely respond to generic stimuli to execute a satisfactory shot for self-defense purposes from concealment. At least I like to think so. With some practice, it’s pretty darned easy to unholster a firearm from concealment. Speed, accuracy, and movement can make it harder. Pressure to incorporate those variables arguably inoculates shooters from stress, if done correctly. Provided we diligently scan our surroundings, I imagine it’s likely the average armed citizen can avoid most confrontations. Should it be necessary, a threat can be addressed sufficiently from a distance. However, it has been reported most encounters do not happen from a distance, or even anticipated. Instead, it has been inferred folks are more likely to be ambushed, within “bad-breath distance.”
Dave Spaulding argues police shootings take place inside 10 ft. Spaulding sufficiently addresses the issue of extreme close quarters shooting and explains how drawing a firearm from a holster is difficult when an opposing individual is “striking, slapping, or applying a bear hug.”
The firearm is not always, or can be, the immediate solution. Even in a lethal encounter. I understood how important this realization was; however, only recently am I able to articulate what I was looking for: a functional, fundamental set of skills that I can practice independently or within a small group that’s adaptable a situation. I want my defense to play out like a jazz solo.
In my experience, martial arts have a tendency to teach you one skill to counteract a specific skill, at a precise moment. Struggling with this reality, I never bothered to pursue formal instruction through traditional means.
Last weekend, I participated in seminar reviewing Crazy Monkey Boxing Fundamentals and Ground Aversion Tactics (Survival Jiu-jitsu) taught by Cecil Burch. From what I gather, Crazy Monkey is a variation of mixed martial arts with more emphasis on mastering certain boxing fundamentals, as opposed to learning several specialized techniques. This approach, I believe, addresses my concern regarding adaptability.
The CM fighting platform, as Burch discussed, has the following elements:
- Athletic base
- Hip square
- Rear heel up
- Torso dropped into pelvis
- Elbows to ribcage
- Hands attached to orbital ridge
- Shoulders shrugged up/neck sunk
Other elements Burch discussed:
- The jab and cross is the backbone of offense
- Footwork: opposite foot of the intended direction drives movement
- The need for constant change of arms and elbows protecting the head
Easy to follow and understand, Burch discussed how these elements could be applied through shadow boxing drills at home. One notable observation is how easy these fundamentals can be applied to shooting. Take another look at the fighting platform element list.
Burch’s discussion on Ground Aversion Tactics covered the “hierarchy of intent:”
From the moment one is ambushed, the primary intent is surviving the initial encounter, or otherwise switching mental gears to get into the fight. Defend is action to preserve physical well-being. After a defense is successful, an escape is attempted to reverse the force. If a reverse is successful, our next intent is to maintain the stability long enough to finish the encounter in our favor. As I understand it, a stage must be satisfied before moving on. If one fails to escape, we cannot proceed on reverse maneuvers. Likewise, in the event we lose stability and find fists connecting to our head; the priority becomes defense. With little background in physical confrontation or martial arts, Burch’s two-day seminar provided me excellent guidance and confidence moving forward. Burch, as an instructor, provided succinct details on the techniques presented, and a watchful eye with relevant feedback. From this seminar, I argue sparring was my most valuable experience. Over the next several months, I will be applying what I learned to prepare for Extreme Close Quarter Concepts, a class from ShivWorks.
You’re damn right I have incentive to practice.