What you have is not a combat skill

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

What you have is not a combat skill, Rory Miller notes, if your training doesn’t reflect the reality of a fight:

  1. Anything you teach, anything you practice must have a tactical use. If it is not useful, why are you practicing it? Case in point — returning a katana to the scabbard quickly, smoothly and without looking is one of the hallmark proofs of extreme skill. News flash — getting you weapon into the holster fastest has never won a fight. There is no tactical use for disarming yourself quickly. To be fair, the ability to secure your weapon without looking allows you to pay attention to potential emerging threats, and that is a good skill.
  2. You must be able to perform the skill moving. Fights (unarmed, guns, knives, swords or clubs) are not static affairs. They are conducted moving. You will be moving and so will the threat. If you have to freeze in order to strike hard or stop in order to shoot accurately, what you have is not a combat skill. If your opponent must freeze for an instant to give you time for your disarms or locks to work, it is not yet a combat skill.
  3. Your skills must work when you are scared. I can almost guarantee that if you ever need serious close-quarters survival skills, you will be scared. That affects your mind and your body. If the techniques you rely on require wide peripheral vision, calm planning, precise hand movements, or even a fairly complicated coordination of hands and feet they very likely won’t work. Levels of fear change with experience and somewhat with internal wiring — if you choose to believe that this doesn’t apply to what you do, you are counting on being a mutant. Best of luck to you.
  4. It must work whether you can see or not. Not just because bad things happen in the dark but because you can’t waste time looking at the weapons on your belt or checking to see which way your magazines are turned. Something else, like the threat’s hands, may well be in your face. You won’t get the choice that the threat will even be in front of you. Some things, like shooting, require some vision (country western songs aside) but there is a reason why so much time is spent on low-light and poor visibility shooting. Reason being, that’s how most of them happen. Touch is reliable. Anything you can do by touch, you do by touch.

Leave a Reply