Monday, February 04, 2013

Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

How you train is how you will respond in a real life violent situation but remember just because you have trained for a situation doesn’t mean you’re necessarily prepared for it if you’re training habits are self defeating.

You are also only half as good and smart as when you are training when it comes to defending yourself in the real world. You have to make your training realistic and you have to make it count.

Like I stated in the previous chapter I have done countless research when creating the L.E.A.C.H System and have learned through my own experiences with violence how important training fits into the equation.

Here’s what I mean. Years ago I trained with a retired police officer who I will call Bill. He told me a story of what happened to him while training at the police academy. In the scenario, Officer Bill had to chase a subject who was on foot while he was driving his cruiser. During the chase the subject turns down a narrow alley where the police car could not fit through, so Officer Bill had to immediately get out of his cruiser and chase the subject by foot and arrest him. This scenario was practiced countless times at the academy without a problem.

“Just Because You’ve Trained For A Situation Doesn’t Mean
You’re Prepared For It”

After graduating from the academy, Officer Bill found himself in a similar situation in real life. He was driving his police cruiser, saw the suspect on foot and proceeded to chase him. 

The suspect began running cutting through lawns.  Officer Bill couldn’t chase him with his cruiser, so he decided to proceed on foot. Officer Bill slammed on the brakes, put the cruiser in park, then opened his cruiser door and tried to get out but he couldn’t.  He tried again and again with no success.

After 5 seconds of struggling to get out of his cruiser, he realized that his seat belt was on and that was what was preventing him from being able to leave his cruiser. The problem was that when he trained at the police academy trainees never had a seat belt on but in reality officers wear their seat belts. Notice how a little change in the conditions could cause a dangerous situation to occur. What if he had to immediately leave his cruiser because he was under heavy gun fire? It would have been a training mistake that could have cost him his life.

“In The Real World You Are Only Half As Good & Smart As How You Train, So Make Your Training As Realistic As Possible”

Remember how you train is how you will respond. There are countless cases such as these with much worse outcomes, such as death or serious injury regarding police officers, civilians and security personnel all due to improper training habits. It’s about how you train not about how often you train. So how do you get more realism out of your combat training? Well here are a few simple suggestions.

Instructors: Having a teacher who has had firsthand experience with violence and understands the effects adrenaline plays on the body is whom you as a student want to learn from. Individuals such as bouncers, bodyguards, military personnel and ex-convicts will give you realistic tactics that will work in a full out violent attack because they themselves have experienced violence and know what works and what doesn’t.

The last person you want to be taught by is from an instructor who runs a strip mall martial arts dojo. They focus on technique, tournaments, and trophies, and usually have had little or no experience with real violence.

"You don't rise to the occasion, you sink to your level of training"
                                                                 Michael J. Ashen Ph.D

Clothing: Train wearing clothing that you would normally wear while going about your everyday life. You don’t have time before a street fight to take your shoes off, put on a white martial arts uniform and stretch before your enemy attacks you. Clothing will restrict your range of motion and the speed of your techniques. You should be practicing your techniques while wearing jeans, boots/shoes and a jacket on to give you a realistic feel of what it’s like to fight with restrictive clothing on.

Visualization:  Many people don’t have time to train, so use visualization techniques when you can’t physically train. The subconscious cannot distinguish what is real from what is imagined.

Athletes have used visualization techniques for years to up their game. As an example, a study was done on a team of basketball players. Half the team was told to practice free throws for two hours each day while the other half were told to visualize making free throws only for two hours a day.

After two weeks each team was tested on their abilities in making free throws and the team that physically practiced had a considerable improvement. The team that visualized also had a considerable improvement which was almost as much as the team that physically practiced, so this shows you the power of visualization.

If you do not have time to train during the day, just before going to bed at night visualize the worse case scenario that can happen to you in a violent situation and see yourself being confident, fearless, powerful, destroying the targets that you attack on your prey’s body, improvising and successfully destroying your victim.
Combined physical & mental training exercises: You can use this format or re-arrange it so it works for you.

10 fast reps of a tactics on a training partner immediately followed by, 10 reps in slow motion (feel every movement your body is performing just like if you were practicing a slow tai chi movement then immediately followed by, 10 reps of tactical mental imagery that's in real time (sit or lay down when doing so).

View the violent encounter in the first person 4x's, then as a third person 4x's (externally) and 2x's from above like viewing the situation from a sky camera.

Tips when using mental imagery training:
Imagine with all senses: What you would see, hear, feel (both physical and emotional), smell and taste.

Use the best perspective: Imagine as a first person, third person or from above like viewing the situation from a sky camera or combine all three perspectives.

Image correct responses: When you mentally rehearse a response sloppy or incorrectly, you will also physically respond sloppy and incorrectly, make sure you are mentally performing the tactics correctly with precision, speed, power and accuracy.

Image in real time: When you begin imagery training start imaging in slow motion but your objective is to imagine in real time or use both time frames if it works for you.

Practice and imagine problems and success: Imagine not only positive outcomes but negative outcomes such as using your primary weapon on your enemy with no response from your enemy then immediately following through using your back up weapon that way you have answers to your "what if this happens questions".

Make the images vivid: You want to feel that you’re actually experiencing violence for real, feel the warmth of your enemies’ blood on your hands, hearing cars go by, experiencing tunnel vision etc

"Cry in the dojo laugh on the battlefield"

Simulation Training: This type of training is becoming quite huge in the law enforcement and military industry where just like with flight simulators which teach you how to fly a plane so can simulation training give you the tactical edge when it comes to your marksmanship when using firearms. Simulators are quite expensive but you can still use this type of training using a video game component that gets you to aim and fire at moving targets in the first person.

Note: When you take a look at the school mass murders who’s firing rate was very successful in terms of hitting there targets the most amazing thing about there accuracy was that most of them never fired a real gun before. They learned how to shoot playing endless hours of video games

Visual/Audio Exclusion Training: Tunnel vision is a major issue with most people during violence this can be dangerous because you exclude stimuli that could harm you during a violent encounter such as your enemy having friends coming to his aid.

You want to have situational awareness, scan your environment for any dangers or items you can use as an improvised weapon (scanning helps prevent tunnel vision). You can practice this in your everyday life by scanning as your driving.

Another exercise you can do is to sit down and focus on any object while also focusing on what is around you using only your peripheral vision also clue in on the noises that are in the background. Begin at 45 second intervals then proceed up to 2 minutes intervals, perform 5 sets.

You can also practice auditory concentration in a noisy room by concentrating on the conversation you are having with the person in front of you while at the same time zoning out the back ground noise.

Tactical Breathing: Breath in through your nose (abdomen should go out) for a 4 count as you say "calm" in your head or whatever your word of choice may be to create the feeling you choose to feel, hold for 4 seconds, then let it out through your mouth for 4 seconds (abdomen should go inwards), and hold for 4 seconds and repeat (mental reminder BREATHE). You can also do this on a different count if it works better for you. This will regulate your body's reactions to adrenaline and help you to remain calm.

You can also breathe abruptly and deeply four deep breathes in (breath in through your nose as abdomen goes out) and out (out through your mouth, abdomen should go inwards). This will help you psyche yourself up. Try to do this discretely if possible.

 Self Talk: As you walk around during the day listen to what your thoughts are telling you. During the day say to yourself affirmations such as "I'm feeling pumped", I'm feeling ready", "I trust my combat skills", "I can defeat any threat against me" this will help avoid negative self talk that leads to insecurity.

Be a positive thinker, avoid negative thinking and self talk this only leads to anxiety, stress and destroys your confidence levels. Instead be solution orientated/task focused.

Example: Negative talk. You use your stun gun on your enemy and it doesn't affect him. The negative self talk in your head says "Shit I don't believe this he's going to kill me"

Instead use positive talk "Grab my back up weapon and stab into the son of a bitch he's not stopping me".

Bottom line your attitude (thought processes) will determine how you feel, respond and react to situations.

Cue Words: When training each time you strike the bag, dummy or training partner yell “kill” or “destroy” that way you not only dehumanize the criminal but change your “fear to hate”.

Cue Images/Sounds: See yourself as a machine, or see your muscles growing. You can also use images such as a wild animal like a lion going for the kill and hearing the sound of his roar. Play music in your head which psyches you up.

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About Me

Norm Bettencourt is the Creator/President of Tactical Self Defense which specializes in personal protection tactics against modern day threats of violence. For more information visit