Why Do We Practice Combatives When Shooting?

Combative ShootingOver the last couple of years a lot of people have asked me why it seems that I am placing more emphasis on combatives than I am merely on shooting, and do I think that one is more important than the other? There is no clear cut and simple answer to this, but I will take a stab at it.

Personally I believe shooting is just that, merely shooting, although a couple of complex actions have to happen to shoot well, it really is a simple task, but simple does not equal easy!

I do believe that people are taking a too complex approach to shooting, adding unnecessary complex issues to it, by trying to make it look faster or cooler.

Really at the end of the day shooting is well, how can I put this merely shooting, nothing more nothing less, see when you go out to the range there are zero real life consequences, you either hit or miss, either slow or fast, get a medal or not, these are all artificial consequences and except maybe for your stupid ego, it’s not a life changing event.

Yes shooting at a match, in front of friends or even in class do add a healthy dose of stress, and with this, all the added bonuses or disadvantages that comes with it, do yourself a favor and go and shoot a competition, even if you just do it once, go and watch how your hands start shaking when you are on the line, and then tell me you don’t feel the effects off stress?

But the more you do it the more comfortable you become in doing it,and the better you perform under this stress, and this is a good thing. However the stress you get while shooting a match, course or in front of friends will give you the same side effects as life threatening stress, it is different in basically that it is what I called a prepared stress, you know it’s coming, you know when it’s coming, and by the time you stand on the line you are so far down these effects, that compared to a real life encounter by the time you start shooting a real attack would probably already be over and done with, also this stress has a build-up so you can ease into it and start controlling it.

And if you shooting a match or a prepared set up you are now merely shooting off from memory, so you are not engaging the same part of the brain that assists us with problem solving, there is a massive difference between problem solving and shooting from memory, plus it does not matter what and how you shoot, there are still no real consequences.

Now we move onto fighting or combatives, this is different in many ways from shooting, if you perform full resistance training there are consequences, and not just to the ego, but real pain, possible injury as well as getting knocked the fuck out, so there are consequences to combatives.

Unless you are at the very beginning of training the symbioses of pillar training should fall away very quickly, so that you do not fall in the trap of merely fighting off from memory, but fighting so that your attacker responds differently each time, so that you have to problem solve the whole time.

Most of the stuff you see on YouTube these days are exactly pillar technique bullshit flashy stuff, whereby the attacker always fails dismally and the good guy always perform perfectly and flawlessly every time.

Amazingly now in 2015 I believe we are at one of the dumbest eras of training ever, especially with all the great studies and knowledge we have available to us, when I look at what people are watching, following and training it’s almost as if we are out to prove that humans are not evolving and getting dumber by the moment, and at a rapid pace.

I’m almost afraid to say when the scientist and anthropologists dig up our bones in a couple of thousands of years, they are going to scratch their heads and ask “why the hell did they move backwards in 2015” and no, I am not making a joke.

Firearm enthusiasts just love criticizing Hollywood movies for its inaccuracies, but when they look at unarmed training they fall for this BS lock stock and barrel.

Let us take a closer look as to why I say fighting/combatives are very important in your routine, and before we go on, let us take another ridiculous example of us firearm folk, when antis etc. throw us statistics we go on the attack furiously stating how dangerous and wrong these stats are, but when it comes closer to home, i.e. training we lean on our own BS statistics to prove a point, for example stuff like “stats have shown that the average encounter happens at a cars length” hence combatives are not as important, so now all of a sudden it is ok to make use of questionable statistics to cover ourselves for our lack of ability in teaching people to fight, yet people buy into this.

I don’t care what these stats show, because if you base your believe in this, you are missing the point.

Let us take MMA as an example, and let us look at the people who are on top of their game, they spend anything from 4 to 6 hours a day preparing for non-mortal combat, and they are extremely good and dangerous, so you switch on the TV and watch some of the pre-fight demonstrations and are blown away at the skills that you see, you google some training clips and are in awe of what you see.

Quickly fast forward to fight night, you have that image of the pre-fight demo in your mind, the fighters enter the ring, and they square off, the bell rings, and the next moment all hell breaks loose, you see two fighters going at each other at an enthralling and frantic pace, all of a sudden you see huge hay makers flying through the air missing their mark, that awesome defense you saw in the demo fight is almost non existing and for a moment it looks like a good old bar fight, not always but many times, and you ask yourself what the hell just happened?

The answer in short is that there are now, very real consequences, you screw up and you might only wake up by the time your opponent is already having a beer, yes you might even have to pick up your own teeth from the floor, you might get carried into the ambulance, and maybe be instructed no training for a couple of weeks.

See however this beautiful sport does in no way aim to kill your opponent, the aim of the game is to knock the other guy out or submit him with pain, so there are consequences, and these consequences has a direct impact on the skills that degrade at a rapid level, and this is from the best trained athletes in the world.

If you take two fighters, one of them you never ever allow to spar or to take a hit, the other you allow to spar and takes hits, you give the equal training, put them in a ring and let them fight, what do you think is the most logical thing that will happen to the fighter that never sparred nor taken a shot on the chin when the first overhand right lands on his chin? yes I know you get exceptions, but my money is that he is going to lose a fight.

So here is the deal, no amount of paper shooting or bag hitting will really ever prepare you for a life threatening attack, training combining with actual fight time is one of way that you can get close to being prepared.

Here lies the problem, we can’t walk the streets randomly and start gunfights now can we? Just in order to get some experience?

But what we can do is get into “fights” albeit in a controlled environment, whereby there has to be consequences, one of which at least should be pain.

You can’t become a good rugby player if you never ever play a game now can you? Neither can you become good at fighting off attackers if you just shoot at targets, and neither will your buddies allow you to have some random gunfights with them, however you can ask them to try and beat the snot out of you, will this then automatically make you a good gunfighter, hell no, but it will make you more comfortable with violence, and its consequences, also assist you with problem solving under stress and pain of physical violence launched at you.

This in turn will hone a hardened mind-set, which is crucial, and in turn teach you to drive your handgun more effectively and efficiently, note this is not the same as faster and fancier.

For me the more I understand and train in combatives, the better I understand violence, and the better I understand it then I have a better chance of dealing with it when it comes knocking at my door.

I could probably go on for pages, but I hope you catch the general idea.

Now go out and train hard.

Arno Barlow



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