Posts Tagged ‘training’

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I’ve seen shooters at all levels that struggle to some degree with “flinching,” or what we commonly call anticipation. This is evident when you look at a target of a student and see the rounds striking the lower left area because just a split second before they fire, they “flinch” and the final aiming point and muzzle dips and turns resulting in a low hit or miss. (Opposite for left handed shooters)

New and less experience shooters, or those who do not practice regularly struggle with anticipation. The primary causes of anticipation are: Fear or uncertainty, improper grip, and lack of practice or training. The good news about “flinching” is that it is curable with a little bit of work.

Fear or uncertainty is usually the first thing we need to address. Everyone has an aversion to pain and new shooters and those who are inexperienced or do not shoot frequently enough are afraid of being hurt by the handgun when it discharges, cycles, or both. There is also quite a bit of anxiety or uncertainty that also needs to be overcome. To be a good shooter you have to tolerate a bit of discomfort, but that can be minimized and managed by a little bit of practice and confidence.

I tell all of my students that the “scary” noise and the mechanical actions happens faster than they are able to perceive it, and none of it happens until micro-seconds AFTER the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun on its way to the target. So getting the perfect shot in the right place happens before any of the things we are uncertain or afraid of, actually take place. So getting the round to hit what you are aiming at is a simple application of the fundamentals… and then the “scary stuff” happens.

I know this information is not comforting to the timid shooter, so let’s analyze the second part of this problem. More gun than you can handle! You need look no further than Youtube for endless videos of idiot boyfriends handing their girls or guy friends extremely large caliber hand cannons, offering no training or advice and then laughing hysterically when they get hurt. These videos breed stereotypes and fear among potential new shooters. Hollywood doesn’t help either when they wrongfully depict a handgun discharging and sending the shooter flying backwards. If you are a timid, new or inexperienced shooter, start with a small caliber handgun and build confidence before picking up something larger. A defensive caliber does not have to start with a point four (.4-) to be effective. (Uh oh… I just said calibers less than .40 are good for defense… Brace yourself for the hate mail)

I have handguns available to rent for my courses and they are usually .22LR or 9mm. I also use steel frame handguns that are a little heavier to help mitigate some of the recoil. Starting off with something manageable helps assuage some of the fear or uncertainty. When they are expecting a civil war cannon bang and all they get is a sharp pop, shooters realize that handling a firearm is not that difficult after all. It only takes a couple hundred rounds for confidence to soar and after seeing how well you can shoot a small gun, most shooters are eager to step up to something bigger. So if you are learning to shoot start small.

The second part of the flinch equation is an improper grip. I teach and strongly advocate the 100% or thumbs forward grip. Shooters of all sizes, strength and skill levels have had great success using this grip. Using your Google-fu you can find dozens of articles on this style of grip and its numerous advantages. This two handed grip style will give you the maximum skin to surface contact on the handgun as well as the best position to manage the cycling of the slide during recoil. If you page through the Home Defense Gun (.net) site you can find an excellent video that demonstrates this grip. If you are improperly holding the handgun, the recoil you are absorbing will be felt to a much greater degree than necessary, which will cause pain or extreme discomfort and cause you to “flinch” unconsciously.

The best way to fight the flinch is to seek out quality training and practice on your own. I recommend a lot of dry fire practice if you have a problem with anticipation or flinching. Dry firing means that you develop strong neural pathways (muscle memory) without any of the “scary” stuff happening. By focusing carefully on the fundamentals of proper trigger press, sight alignment and follow through without having to worry about the noise or mechanical action will allow you to grow comfortable and confident. When you do finally hit the range you can apply the skills you acquired during dry fire practice. With a solid foundation to build on, the right grip, and a manageable caliber handgun you will be well on your way to ending the “flinch” or anticipating.

To end the fight against the flinch once and for all you will need practice. Here is a drill I recommend to anyone struggling with anticipation or “flinching.” Take a handful of empty casings and as you load your magazine or cylinder, randomly place an empty casings into the magazine interspersed with live rounds. (Or have someone else load your magazines randomly). As you shoot on the range, you will not know when your gun will go bang or click and if you have a problem anticipating the recoil or flinching, you will catch yourself doing so as the hammer falls on the empty case. When you pull the trigger and there is no bang, no mechanical reaction and you still flinch and drop the front sight down and left in anticipation… you’ll feel really silly. After a few bouts of this behavior your concentration level will increase, and since you do not know when the gun will really fire, you’ll fight the flinch, stay on target and start making good hits. Try this out and post your results, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Once you master the smaller caliber and the fear and uncertainty fades, challenge yourself and pick up the next larger caliber available. Confidence comes quickly with a little practice and training. Once you grow accustomed to the motion, mechanical action and the noise, you’ll start to relish the discomfort you feel and after a while, you’ll enjoy it… from there you’ll be well on your way to being a top notch shooter.

Train hard, stay safe.

Scott S

Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool! For more information please visit our website at:

http://www.oneweaponanytool.com or find us on Facebook. For more firearms, safety and personal protection articles, videos and sound advice visit my friends at http://www.homedefensegun.net or search for Home Defense Gun on Facebook.

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I think a lot of people who carry a concealed weapon are under the false pre-tense that if they actually have to draw their handgun, it will be a certain shooting situation. Firearms are used for personal defense hundreds of times a day in the US alone and out of those situations less than 1% actually end in an exchange of gun fire or fatality. Chances are highly likely that the introduction of a handgun into a tense situation can bring a resolution. It does not always, and that is why we train to shoot and practice weapon retention and martial arts.

In the cases when your bad guy realizes he is out matched and that today is not a good day to die, you will need to give verbal commands that are simple, clear and will not come back to haunt you in a courtroom if you say them. Using verbal commands may still result in you pulling the trigger, but challenging your suspect at least creates witnesses out of those around you, and you gave the bad guy a chance to surrender.

Not every situation will provide you with enough time to give a verbal warning, so, as you read this run through the various scenarios and apply the warning as you see fit based on your training and experience. Also in a worst case scenario when shots are fired, you should also train yourself to give verbal warning and instructions to the downed bad guy.

I train my students to use a short phrase that is easy to remember, general and minimizes liability. I want to keep it simple so under stress so we are focused on the problem in front of us, and not trying to string words together. The verbal challenge should begin with a sharp attention getting statement, like, “Stop!” If you are in law enforcement this would be replaced with the words, “Police,” or “Sheriff’s Office.” As a civilian, I do not advise you identifying yourself as a member of law enforcement.

Once you have a sharp and loud attention statement, follow up with a command, “Drop the weapon!” Notice I use the word weapon instead of gun or knife. Weapon is generic, simple to say and remember. It covers a large variety of objects that could be used as a weapon. A crossbow or screwdriver are equally as deadly as a firearm but under stress, you dont want to divide your focus by trying to identify the object and search your higher brain for the matching word. You want to get your point across quickly and the word weapon sums up everything in a concise manner.

Finally I include what I call the plea, or my witness statement. “Don’t make me shoot you!” While it may sound odd to plead with your suspect, what you are actually doing is creating witnesses of the people around you. If you shoot someone, there will be a police investigation and possibly a trial. When that occurs, I want the people around me, the nearby neighbors, etc. to tell the investigators that it sounded like I really didn’t want to shoot. While your state of mind is irrelevant under the 4th Amendment test of Reasonableness, (Graham v Connor) we want to create a situation that works towards our advantage.

If a shooting does occur, the words, “Don’t make me,” give the strong impression that you as a shooter had no other choice and the bad guy forced you to pull the trigger due to his overt actions. The suspect could have surrendered and you gave him an opportunity to do so during your verbal challenge, but he declined to comply, forcing you to fire.

When we are talking about home defense I recommend a verbal warning as you defend your home, especially at night. While you should have a good flashlight or weapon mounted light (I recommend both) issuing a verbal challenge to someone in your home gives a family member the opportunity to respond or identify themselves and avoid a tragedy. Imagine this situation,” Stop! Drop the weapon! Don’t make me shoot you!” and hearing the words, “Dad, it’s me! Don’t shoot.” Anytime there is uncertainty a verbal warning might be in order.

Not every situation will give you time to provide an audible warning, and a challenge should only be used when the opportunity arises. Just like giving the recommended warning above, the mere fact you did so also bodes well under court scrutiny. By issuing a verbal challenge, you tried to minimize the risk to the suspect. Anything that helps you on scene and during your court defense is certainly worth considering.

Even if you begin to give the warning and have to shoot, complete your statements and repeat them. For example, “Stop, drop the weapon -BANG, BANG- Don’t make me -BANG- shoot you.” Then repeat the statement even if the suspect goes down. In most circumstances pistol calibers do not kill outright unless you target the electrical system of the body (brain or spine) and your bad guy could still be alive on the ground after being shot. Continue repeating the warning to also let everyone know that even on the ground he can still be a threat, and if you have to make follow up shots, you are again justifying your actions on scene and later in court. Just because a suspect is down, does not mean the threat is over and you can still be hurt or killed by someone who is on the ground and injured.

Whether you borrow my challenge or come up with one of your own, make sure it is clear, simple to say and understand and train it!

Be safe, Godspeed!

Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool

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Basic Pistol Course – Sunday, April 12th

Despite what I’m doing it always seems like I have something I need to carry. Be it a folder, grocery bag, holding a door, holding a phone or my daughter’s hand, I usually have something in my non-gun hand. If you carry a concealed weapon, you should take great care and practice making sure you always have your primary or gun hand free in case you need to access your weapon. Keeping your gun hand free limits your options on how much you can carry and usually means your off hand is occupied. For the article I’m going to use the phrase off hand. I know the more common description is “weak hand,” but I prefer to keep the work weak out of my vocabulary. You may be less skilled, but you are not weak!

I bring this topic up because I want you to think about how much time you spend shooting one hand only? Very few instructors offer courses where you are required to shoot your handgun with your primary hand only, not to mention your off hand only. Most training course emphasize good marksmanship which is achieved by a solid stance, grip and the other applied fundamentals. This is a great way to learn, but how you learn to shoot is going to be very different from when you have to shoot to survive. Outside of some advance police pistol training I do not see one handed shooting in very many curriculums.

Whether you attend my basic handgun or one of my more advanced courses, I make all of my students shoot with one hand for several reasons. The first reason is to show them it is possible. You should see the looks I get from students when I tell them to let go with one hand. After some initial apprehension, the student always shows intense concentration and they shoot exceptionally well with one hand only. Just when confidence starts to increase I have them put the gun into their off-hand only. Again, more looks of horror and doubt followed by encouragement, concentration and success.

In my Offensive Pistol course we up the ante a bit by giving the student a life size doll which completely ties up one hand, forcing them to access, withdraw and shoot the target with one hand. This is important because like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we are always carrying or holding onto something. In a real life encounter we may have our off hand occupied, or if we are with a loved one they may be latched onto one of our arms in panic. In the event you are involved in a gun fight and become injured and lose the ability to fight with one hand, having a skillset you have trained will make a life-saving difference.

While shooting with one hand usually requires a bit more concentration when practicing, you will find that over time you can make very accurate hits. In practical or defensive pistol training we need to remember that we are not looking for the same level of accuracy as someone who is participating in a marksmanship competition. While we should always strive to shoot faster and try to make our rounds touch each other, in a real life environment we should strive for, “Combat accuracy.”

There are varying definitions of combat accuracy so let me explain my perspective this way. When shooting I want my students to get their rounds into a soccer ball size area of center mass. When shooting with one hand, and shooting quickly this is not difficult to achieve with a little practice. As your skill increases you will be better able to control the recoil and get those rounds closer together, but if you can put your shots into a soccer ball size area you will be effective against a lethal threat.

To close out the article I want to give you a tip you can try that may make shooting with one hand a bit easier. Sitting or standing where you are shake your arms to loosen up a bit. Now raise them up in front of you and notice how your hands are naturally pronated or angled towards the center line of your body. This is the common way you rest your hands on a piano, or computer keyboard.

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This is a very natural position for your body. Now, keeping your hand in that position, simply add the handgun. You will notice that the handgun is also pronated or angled slightly inboard towards your centerline. This should feel natural and comfortable, but be careful not to over pronate and end up going full gangster as you hold the handgun. The gun should rest naturally at a 45 degree angle. (See photos)

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From this position you can easily see your front sight and achieve a good sight alignment and picture. Shooting one handed from this position also allows you to stand square to your target instead of turning sideways and exposing your vital organs.

The other thing to avoid is over rotating your hand the other way so your handgun is sitting straight up and down or about 90 degrees. If you rotate you’re the gun you will feel additional tension in your forearm and wrist which will cause you to fatigue faster and will make mitigation of recoil more difficult. If you notice with your hand in the pronated position, the grip panel is facing downward, allowing gravity to assist you in by counteracting the rise of the handgun during recoil.

Next time you head to the range, make sure you spend some time outside your comfort zone. Spend some time shooting with one hand and apply some of the techniques I’ve mentioned above. When you have adequate control, shoot faster but maintain accuracy. Build your skills and confidence and then shoot with your off hand as well. If you carry a concealed handgun, make sure you carry in such a way you can access and draw your handgun with one hand as well. This skill is vital to your survival. It pays to be one armed man!

Be safe, and remember: Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool!

Scott S

Founder – One Weapon Any Tool Firearms Training

www.oneweaponanytool.com

New classes have been added! Sign up in you are in the Northern California Area.

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Carrying a handgun in a daily basis is one of the surest ways to guarantee your personal safety. A concealed firearm gives you a tremendous advantage in surprise and as a force multiplier when confronted with a threat of death or great bodily injury. Having a firearm gives you options and puts you on equal footing or gives you an advantage against an armed attacker/opponent.

One disadvantage to concealed carry is having to downsize the amount of ammo available to you or when carrying a small or more compact firearm, the number of rounds are now limited. When in a training environment or on duty, carrying around 3 full magazines (or more) is quite common. Even though I carry 37 rounds of handgun ammunition with me, it was still a limited amount when you look at some of the sustained gunfights some law enforcement officers have been engaged in. While I hope to avoid a gun battle which requires me to reload, or reload more than one time, the possibility exists so we carry at least a pair of magazines. Some of my staff who work in one of our most dangerous inner city areas are now carrying 5 full magazines or a combo of the standard 3 mags with a backup gun.

While off duty or in civilian life, carrying 3 to 5 magazines is just impractical, uncomfortable and probably difficult to conceal. The question becomes, how much extra ammo (magazines) should I carry and why? Like choosing a gun to carry this is a personal choice and does not come with a blanket answer, though I will give you my recommendations. First of all it starts with the gun you carry… allow me to explain.

The first gun I carried concealed was a Glock 17. A single standard capacity magazine holds 17+1 rounds of 9mm ammo. When this was my daily carry gun, I rarely felt it necessary to take an additional 17 round magazine with me. Overtime as I transitioned to the smaller Sig P938, which has an optional 7+1 round magazine, I always carried a spare magazine to bring my total up to 14 rounds… and I was always nervous that maybe I should be carrying two additional magazines for the little thing.

Now that I have standardized on carrying my duty weapon at work and away from it, I have found that the 12+1 capacity is a good balance. Should I have to engage a threat I will have a sufficient supply of ammo already in the handgun, however, I do carry an additional magazine (sometimes two) at all times, but not for the primary reason you might think.

Okay, so the primary reason to carry a spare magazine is to have more rounds available, there is an additional reason you should consider carrying a spare. Reliability! When working with quality semi-auto handguns, the primary reasons they fail to function or fire is typically caused by the magazine. More than any other reason, almost every failure I’ve experience has been to a faulty mag, with the poor quality of design being secondary followed by a broken or worn extractor and lastly by a worn out recoil spring.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need your firearm to save your life or the life of another, it has to work. If you have a faulty magazine that does not seat properly, or have sufficient spring tension to feed the handgun, you will be using a single shot firearm with an immediate action drill between shots. If there is a function problem right away, consider dumping the faulty magazine and inserting a different one. When proverbial excrement hits the oscillating device, you need a gun that functions and having a spare magazine with you, might be the difference between longevity and terminal lead poisoning.

There is one more primary thing to consider when contemplating how many rounds you need to carry. Ability! Probably more important than Reliability, your Ability to make hits with the rounds you have will stop the threat faster.

Wyatt Earp who carried a single action revolver (and won gun fights with it) said it best, “Fast is fine, but accurate is final.” Despite the old west movies we see on TV, cowboys and gunslingers weren’t throwing volumes of fire across town. Having only 6 rounds in a single action revolver back in a day where ammo was unreliable or reloading meant packing powder and balls into individual cylinders, one’s Ability to get good accurate shots on target first was more desirable than more capacity.

When I teach my Defensive Handgun courses I spend a lot of time emphasizing the holes on the target that fall outside the lines. I do this for two reasons: The first is the liability side of the training. You are going to be accountable for each and every round that leaves the barrel of your handgun. Each round that strays from the target is going to hit something, and I ask my students write me a check for $10 million dollars for each “miss.” While this seems silly, it is a teachable moment that allows me to explain to them that they were shooting faster than they were capable, and as a result, are going to incur at the minimum some financial loss… and if the stray round hits someone unintended, the financial loss will pale in comparison.

It is very important to emphasize that a fast draw speed and rapid shots are important skills to develop, but not at the expense of accuracy. I’d rather be the slower gunfighter that strikes my opponent and begins delivering debilitating injury first than be quick on the trigger and wind up as a bullet trap.

As a trainer I will push my students and simulate stress to the best of my ability because I need to know and my students need to know where their failure point is. They need to know that three rapid shots are good hits but a fourth shot is more than they can manage and results in a miss. This is a performance threshold that must be established.

Do you know what your performance threshold is? If you do not, you need to seek out a competent handgun trainer in your area and find the limits of your ability. If you know your performance threshold, how are you training to overcome it and raise the bar higher? Is it time for you to also seek some training? While you are training, you may also discover the capabilities and limits of the handgun you have chosen to carry and find out if the round count and spare magazines you have chosen are sufficient for your perceived needs.

Whatever you decide, spend some time contemplating the questions I have posed. I applaud you for taking personal protection seriously and I firmly believe more armed citizens make society safer. Carrying a handgun is not a decision that is to be taken lightly and equipment selection and set up should be well thought out.

With 2015 just around the corner analyze your Ability and plan to take at least one course in the new year to maintain and increase your proficiency.

Merry Christmas, I hope you have a safe holiday season.

Scott S – One Weapon Any Tool

Medkit

When we talk about personal defense, self-defense and shooting situations, most of the discussions I read online or conversations with people rarely include the possibility that you will be injured or severely wounded as a result of an encounter. Whether it be a physical altercation, or a gunfight the odds are you will not walk away from either unscathed. Dynamic confrontations require a plan, good fitness, and the ability to maintain the initiative. We’ve talked a lot about these aspects in previous articles (and will do so again I’m sure), so the focus of our discussion today is what to do in the immediate aftermath.

When the fight ends, everyone in the personal defense world begins calmly talking about how to call 911, identify yourself as a friendly citizen, and what to say to attorneys. What really happens after a dynamic confrontation is that you slowly start to regain your senses as your parasympathetic nervous system reasserts its authority and begins to mitigate the adrenaline, cortisol and the other chemicals dumped into your system to prepare you for the life threatening encounter you were just involved in. While you should call 911 and prepare for long hours of interviews, that is an unrealistic immediate response.

After you are certain the threat has ended, the first thing you are going to be concerned with is a self-assessment. Are you okay? Are the people around you (loved ones) okay as well? To conduct a thorough self-assessment you will need to do so physically, not just visually. You may be fighting the effects of tunnel vision and a quick scan of yourself or loved ones may not be enough to detect injury. Once you are safe and if shots were fired then you need to holster your weapon, take the palm of your hand and sweep it over each quadrant of your body. After each sweep, hold your palm up to your face and check for blood. If you are shot, there is a strong possibility that you may not even know it due to your body’s stress response.

As you all know, handguns in particular are not effective at killing, and you can be shot with a handgun caliber (several times) and survive. Case in point: While working in our corrections division I met an inmate who was shot 8 times and left for dead by a drug dealer she had robbed earlier, yet she survived and was one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever met in the county jail system. Yes, I said she… a female.

In 2006 there was another suspect who engaged the police in a gunfight and was shot 17 times, 11 of which exited his body. He had a broken arm from a .40S&W round but was still able to resist arrest even after the shooting stopped.

Shot does not equal dead and when you are training, make sure that you emphasize this, especially during force on force training encounters. Also make sure that when you are training practice shooting more than 1 or 2 rounds each time you draw. It may take a lot of rounds to stop a threat.

Shot means keep fighting and in the real world pain = life = ability to fight on! Never give up!

So in your immediate aftermath if you find that you are wounded, it is time to begin addressing your medical condition and taking action to make sure you are around to tell your side of the story. If you are hit, what do you have as a part of your Every Day Carry (EDC) to address trauma and to stop hemorrhaging. The leading cause of death on today’s battlefield is uncontrolled hemorrhaging so getting the bleeding stopped is top priority. Unless you carry a backpack or purse you might not have your trauma kit handy so improvisation is key.

How much medical expertise do you possess to diagnose and render basic first aid or trauma aid to yourself or a buddy? When was the last time you attended a training course that supplemented your firearms training? Shooting course are great but you need to be well rounded when it comes to personal protection and self-defense. While I hope the plan you worked out in advanced is successful we cannot ever overlook reasonable contingencies.

One of the simplest ways to be sure is to add a small Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) to your everyday carry items. A backpack is part of my daily carry and I’m never far from it, so keeping an IFAK handy is simple. Women can easily add a small kit to a purse but not everyone has the luxury of a backpack, purse of briefcase so a pocket kit might be an option.

You can keep it as simple as an Israeli or H&H bandage, a SWAT-T tourniquet, a pair of gloves and some Quick-Clot gauze, which will all fit easily into a pocket and will cover you for a short amount of time if you are significantly injured. A lot of companies are making small kits that fit on your belt and are easier to conceal than your firearm. Whatever kit you choose, make sure you are familiar with the contents and how to properly apply them. If you have never heard of any of the items I’ve listed above, perhaps you should consider taking a training course on First Aid / CPR and some Tactical Medical training.

Whatever you decide make sure the kits and contents you buy are from a quality source and manufacturer. If you have some medical training you can assemble a kit yourself to better customize the size and contents suited to you as long as you remember your life is on the line, so make sure you have good kit!

As a disclaimer I want to make sure you are qualified and capable of administering the level of care you are providing. Medical negligence occurs when you exceed the scope of your knowledge and training when applying treatment so I cannot emphasize the importance of training. When you attend a course take your kit with you and have it evaluated by the instructor. Several of the courses I have been to give you a kit to take with you as well as use the contents found in that kit during the training.

As we close, I also want you to consider one more thing. In the aftermath of a shooting, if you come out unscathed and use lethal force to stop someone who is an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury, you might need to use your medical training to save the life of the suspect. While it may be hard for you to help someone who was trying to hurt you, it is a possibility you may encounter. In the investigation and review of the shooting by a District Attorney, it may bode well for you if you rendered aid. There are a lot of variables that go into rendering aid to a suspect after an incident so think through the possibilities on your own and develop a plan now.

When the fight is over, the immediate aftermath is about saving lives.

Be safe,

Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool – www.oneweaponanytool.com

Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool.

If you are interested in medical training, please call or email oneweaponanytool@gmail.com

Resources:

H&H Medical Corporation: www.gohandh.com

Dark Angel Medical: www.darkangelmedical.com

Chinook Medical: www.chinookmed.com

Skinny Medic: www.skinnymedic.com

intuition1

Everyone is equipped with a unique early warning radar deep inside of them that has been described many different ways. Some call it a “gut feeling,” others call it, “instinct,” or a “sixth sense.” Regardless of the name you assign it, and for the purposes of this article I will call it your Intuition, we all have it. How credible your Intuition is and whether or not you trust or ignore this is a result of your conscious mind overriding your subconscious. Let’s take a few minutes and talk about what this “sixth sense,” is and how it works.

We have to start with what experts call the baseline. The day to day world you live and interact within has several objects, people, locations etc. Each of these has a proper place and a pre-defined role in the social and spatial order. Humans in particular have a series of universal behaviors that are common across every culture. Each culture however has its own unique baseline, so what you define as “normal,” in your neighborhood, school or work life is very abnormal to someone who lives in another country. Imagine for a second that you were whisked away to Japan… There would be a host of unusual sights, signals, customs, and people that are very abnormal to an American. You would stick out, and be very uncomfortable in this diverse and unusual setting until you lived and worked there for a while and developed a new baseline of behaviors you would consider to be the norm.

Living in your baseline allows you to recognize mostly unconsciously things that are abnormal or out of place. These objects or people stick out and you notice them because they are an anomaly to you. Think about how many things you do daily and do not even notice. Have you ever driven your car to work and not remembered how you got there? Chances are this is because your baseline environment was intact and nothing spoiled it, so you didn’t notice it. Have you ever had a favorite store or restaurant you frequent and one day you walk in and it’s under new ownership. Suddenly the people are different, the service, the décor and the menu are all anomalies.

Living in your baseline environment and interacting with people who follow the social norms in your baseline allow us to live basically on autopilot as long as nothing abnormal or unexpected occurs. These variances are called anomalies. An anomaly is something that is or is not happening or someone or something that should be or should not be present. When you detect a behavioral anomaly your mind begins looking at the universal human behaviors like subterfuge, aggression, dishonesty, passivism, submission, etc. People in your baseline life give off body language cues you do not even know you are detecting and based on what you are subconsciously perceiving, you are conducting a threat analysis.

Over the recent series of articles we have looked at the brain and how it scans for threats and functions under stress. Before you initiate a stress induced response (before the fight) you scan your environment and interact with it. Each and every thing or person you see gets processed through your Amygdala. Based on your prior experiences in life living in your baseline environment your brain decides if who or what you are looking at is a threat. If something is a threat a series of chemical and physiological things occur and your programming takes over.

If you see something or someone that does not appear to be dangerous or threatening but based on your subconscious ability to analyze human behavior your mind will initiate another physiological response. Rather than an adrenaline dump, accelerated heart rate or fight/flight/freeze response, your subconscious will turn the data over to your conscious mind for further processing. As the more advanced parts of your brain try to interpret the signals you will begin to feel discomfort. This can be in the form of an ominous or wary feeling, as itchy or hypersensitive skin, or pressure in your abdomen. You begin to get those “gut feelings,” or an Intuition about a person, area or object.

Intuition is your early warning radar that tells you what you are seeing, or who you are talking to has danger potential that is not immediately obvious. It could be that lone stranger that comes in just before closing at night when you are alone in the store, or the unfamiliar group of teenagers hanging out you’ve never seen before. It could be the overly friendly stranger who wants to help you too much or is just a bit too charming. Each of those examples above are in and of themselves nothing unusual. The guy who comes in at the last minute before closing could be there to buy a last minute gift or he could be plotting to follow you for nefarious reasons. The group of teens could be a youth group from a local church or a gang looking for easy prey. The charming strange who offers to carry your bag to your door could be a Good Samaritan or he could be trying to get you alone.

What separates the good and bad intentions is the subtle but detectable cues they display. When their intentions are honest you will perceive it and you will be trusting and open. Humans are terrible at lying and honesty is a virtue that is readily recognized. The bad or evil intentions can be masked, but your subconscious will kick in and recognize these hidden intentions and activate your intuition. While your higher brain processes the intuitive feelings, you stand at the threshold of decision.

Eventually you will come to a point where you will have to act based on what you see, hear, sense and recognize. You have the option of listening to your intuition or suppressing it. I have met dozens of people who have said to me, ‘If only I’d listened to my guts, then _____ would not have happened.” I see this often in the police culture I live and work within. Veteran cops know that when they contact a suspect and get a “bad feeling,” there is a good reason why. Usually they know this because early in their career they ignored, suppressed or overrode that phantom feeling and ended up getting in a fight, hurt, injured or worse.

People who listen to their intuition usually do not regret it. I’ve never met anyone that said, I had this feeling it would turn out badly and I’m glad I got screwed over. Listening to your intuition gives you a chance to extricate yourself from an area, confront or challenge the intentions of a person or begin to transition to your defensive plan. When you suppress or ignore your minds subconscious defensive mechanisms, be prepared for the consequences.

There is one major problem with intuition, and that is too is developed based on life experience. Kids who grow up in dangerous areas or with abusive families usually have a more developed “threat database,” to draw from. They have “Thick File Folders,” from having spent a lot of time in their lives in a fight/flight/freeze cycle. Being able to glean underlying intent for violence early on helped them survive or escape. Just like building schema or behavioral threat recognition patterns, sharpening your intuition can be done.

The key thing to remember is to trust yourself. You have the world’s most amazing super computer between your ears and it is feeding you self-preservation data constantly. Make good use of that data and stay safe!

Train hard and remember: Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool!

Stay safe, Godspeed

Scott S

www.oneweaponanytool.com

Maybe1

Your eyes feed a constant stream of data to your brain allowing you to perceive events that occurred micro seconds in the past. Yes, you are all living in the past and there is scientific proof! Your eyes gather the light reflecting off of objects in your gaze pathway and your brain interprets that into shapes, faces, objects and colors that we call sight. The data that is interpreted by your brain is linked even deeper to the various stimulus responses and recognition patterns you have developed over your lifetime. These patterns have been filed away and are interpreted by your amygdala in two ways: Threat or Non-Threat

Without realizing it, every time you look at someone or something your brain has automatically classified it as dangerous to you… or not dangerous to you. If a person, animal or object is determined harmless you proceed throughout the course of your day and lack recall of these people or items. Just try to remember the faces of the strangers you passed in the grocery store. Chance are you can’t because as they crossed your gaze pathway they were deemed non-threatening and you moved on without conscious thought devoted to them. Think about your drive home from work, how many cars passed you that you barely noticed… until one of them swerved a bit too close and then:

Items you deem threatening based on patterns or behavior cause a different reaction. When you see a threat your amygdala prepares your body physiologically by releasing chemicals like adrenaline and your heart rate soars to 160+ beats per minute. If you have schema (See my recent article Schema for Success) your training kicks in and you respond. Drawing from the previous article, (If you have not read it, you should stop, go back and read Schema for Success) having a series of “files,” or “scenarios,” makes you react faster to a perceived threat. Using your visual cortex and the schema you have already developed, this article is going to talk about recognizing the behaviors and patterns prior to the schema or scenario you have in place… If you can anticipate threatening behavior you will react sooner helping you gain the initiative in the fight.

Every behavior we recognize as threatening has a series of movements that lead up to it. Those pre-cursor movements that lead up to the attack are what we need to start analyzing and adding to our files. Every human body is jointed and only articulates in certain ways so unless your assailant is a cast member of the Cirque de Soleil, chances are you can pick out elbow movements, hand positions and shifts of balance.

For example, a suspect who wants to access a handgun in their waistband will have to bend their elbows, and bring both hands to the center of their waistline or appendix area. You will see one or both hands and elbows move upwards to clear the garment covering the gun and then one will descend to grasp the firearm. The downward motion will be followed by an upward draw followed by a twisting of the elbow and forearm extension that will orient the handgun towards their victim. You may also see their head rotate and orient towards the intended target, (you).

Most traditional training teaches students to recognize the actual weapon as the threat. By the time you see the weapon however, the fight is almost over and you have lost. What we need to practice in training is recognizing the series of movement patterns that initiate the accessing of the weapon. This is one main reason we teach police officers to be wary of and watch the hands of a suspect. We teach this because hands have movement patterns that can allow less experienced officers to observe and build schemas in their brain. Eventually officers learn to watch the hands, feet, torso and head position of suspicious people and assemble an orchestra of body movements they may not be able to articulate but their subconscious recognizes as pre-attack cursors.

Every day you watch people and your eyes bounce to different parts of other people and areas looking for specific information so your brain can subconsciously monitor potential danger and to provide you with the information you need to comprehend the activities and tasks around you. As your eyes bounce around, start training yourself to recognize the series of movements that combine into an attack. The faster you can piece these images together, the faster you start your decision making process and begin to respond.

A quick and easy way to train this, is to go to your favorite web site that shows videos of people being attacked, robbed, shot or stabbed. Watch the assailant carefully just prior to the attack and watch how their hands move, how their torso twists, how they balance their stance, etc. You will start to notice a lot of similarities in their behavior. To access their firearm, they will have tell-tale movements you can pick up on. When an assailant goes to throw a punch they set their feet, draw back and clench their fists… again a recognizable series of movements you will see, which will trigger a schema and initiate your subconscious response.

Recognizing these pre-attack behaviors will teach your amygdala that what your eyes are seeing is a threat and your physiological responses onset rapidly instead of waiting until you see the actual weapon or are actually struck by a punch or kick.

There is a wealth of information and books on body language but the best teacher is actual people. Watch them in the world around you and start really looking at how humans articulate and move and you will be on the path to being safer, faster and better prepared to win.

Until next week, train hard a stay safe. Go watch a few videos and see how many common movements and patterns you are able to recognize.

Scott S

One Weapon Any Tool – Visit us on Facebook or at www.oneweaponanytool.com