Adding the firearm to the Martial Arts matrix [Archive] - Glock Talk


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07-07-2005, 16:38
How do you add the firearm into your training?

What firearms do you use pistol, rifle, SMG, shotgun?

Ever practice H2H to firearm and back to H2H?

I had a student who has carried a pistol CCW for years, when he got into a fight where deadly force whould have saved his brother a trip to intensive care, he did not think to use his gun at all, he had never trained hand to hand and then drawing a gun. That, of course has changed now.

So, ideas on how to do it?

07-09-2005, 11:16
Several trainers offer some integrated combatives-type training with simunitions and such. You can check the Tactics & Training forum above, or the T&T commercial forum. It's hard not to get bogged down in minutia up there, be forewarned.

My training partners and I work out with the red gun occasionally, and airsoft is on everybody's list, we just haven't gotten around to it, as our little club is raising money for some wrestling mats and such. Though we train in a traditional stand-up art, we integrate a lot of groundwork too, and train for the real deal, in which things can escalate.

07-09-2005, 13:42
Investigate Southnarc's Extremee close quarters stuff, or Gabe Suarez's stuff. Mike Janich did a really excellent video on the topic a while ago, too. Really good material is available on this very topic (transitioning from empty hand, to pistol, to blade, back to empty hand, etc.).

It's unfortunate that most TMAs do not realistically address the possibility of weapons, especially firearms.

The old selfdefenseforums used to have tons of information, including pictures, on this. It might still be there.


07-10-2005, 01:03
I'm going to take this from a different direction-

Someone, once upon a time, said "One Mind- Any Weapon". The Marine Corps has since appropriated this and made it a slogan of the Marine Corps Martial Art Program (MCMAP).

The "inclusion" of firearms skills into a training regimen is very much simpler than has been made out here so far:

The same principles that govern all other fashions of combat, be they unarmed, knife, stick, etc., are precisely the same principles that govern individual combat with a firearm. In other words, rather than viewing the subject as "training in unarmed fighting", "training in knife fighting", "training in stick fighting", "training in gun fighting", and so on, it should be viewed as "training to fight", and letting the same universal principles apply to whatever weapon(s) (or other variables) come into play.

Rather than over-complicate the matter, simplify it as much as possible.

07-10-2005, 07:59
I agree with the concept: "The mind is the only weapon; everything elsi is accessories." I think you'll find that there aren't many MA schools that incorporate that logic, particularly with regard to firearms. And even with the right mindset, one must find compatible skillsets. Some styles are more conducive to incorporating the firearm than others, both in terms of philosophy (reality) and in style. For instance, I had a sihing once that could not be convinced that a handgun was a superior weapon than a knife. It boggles the mind where this idea was rooted in his head. He just told me that he was right, and that I would eventually come around to his way of thinking. I explained that a handgun was effective from contact distance out to twenty five meters, while the knife is only a contact weapon, and that the handgun is effective while retreating or advancing, whereas the knife's capacity to inflict damage is limited my the retreating individual (simple physics, really). He wouldn't buy it, and offered no counter argument. Needless to say, that school still has no firearms program, despite me and others asking for some kind of integration.


07-10-2005, 12:03

It sounds like the particular instructor you've described was just a blowhard. There are a few of them in every community, including the martial arts community.

I frequently make the statement "Time to step up to real budo" when someone makes an allusion that anything I am doing in my dojo bears any resemblance to Tae Kwon Do or most schools of Karate. Unfortunately, some people are under the mistaken impression that "McDojo" schools are somehow "traditional"- naturally, those sorts of schools wouldn't know "traditional" if it bit them in the ass.

The truly traditional schools, while not as easily accessible as "McDojos", are indeed great learning grounds for genuine combative skills, including firearms skills. A very good example of this is Dojo of The Four Winds, run by my colleague James Williams. His URL is . He is truly "traditional", and perusing his site, you can get a glimpse of how traditional (koryu) budo plays very well indeed into the shooting platforms (among other modes of combat).

I hope, after reading that site, you can also develop an understanding of why I find it offensive when someone refers to strip-mall schools as "traditional" (not that you did, but others frequently do).

07-10-2005, 15:27
I understand your point about differentiating between traditional schools and McDojos. There is a difference. I just don't inderstand how schools with rigid dogmas regarding stance and body position can easily incorporate firarms, unless the art has a nonstructured stance, that is very similisr to shooting stances, particularly at close range. That's why I recommended Southnarc's stuff. Although I've never trained with him personally, his stuff that I've seen on DVD transitions well from shooting, to contact weapons, to empty hand. It's based on Kali, although it also shares much body postioning with the wing chun I used to study (and hope to study again).


07-10-2005, 16:16
Originally posted by thetoastmaster
I understand your point about differentiating between traditional schools and McDojos. There is a difference. I just don't inderstand how schools with rigid dogmas regarding stance and body position can easily incorporate firarms, unless the art has a nonstructured stance, that is very similisr to shooting stances, particularly at close range.

Actually, the distinction can be made further, by delineating the differences between koryu (classical) and gendai (modern) martial arts.

Small history lesson first- do a little bit of reading (if you haven't already) on the Meiji era. It will make the following a little clearer.

Koryu, or classical schools, are in strictest terms, those schools of Japanese martial arts which existed prior to the Meiji "restoration" (1869-onward). Gendai, or modern martial arts, are those created after this period. Naturally, as with everything else, these terms have become somewhat cloudy- the Japanese government today decides which schools are koryu, and which aren't, so some classical schools are omissted for political reasons, and a few gendai schools have been declared koryu, even though they aren't. However, overall, the distinction is a good indicator of the type of training which will be found. It should also be noted that some gendai schools train in a very koryu fashion, given that all of the gendai schools were, at one time or another, extrapolations from existing koryu schools.

The distinction in training methods between the two can be summed up in one word- militarization. During and after the Meiji era, many schools were "appropriated" by the Japanese government to serve as military training schools. These schools developed strictly regimented hierarchies of rank (the Dan system used today), strictly regimented methods of teaching techniques (techniques taught on a step count, fixed stances, and so forth), and strictly regimented rules of conduct and classroom formality. These attributes define a gendai school.

Koryu schools, on the other hand, were (and are) schools devoted to training individuals who trained because they intended to make a lifestyle of it. Koryu schools, therefore, are very small and very informal by comparison. Koryu martial arts are also, for this same reason, not prone to the types of training methods which produce unrealistic concepts- koryu schools are best known for unfixed footwork, as an example.

To be blunt, gendai schools (those that don't emulate koryu schools) were created to train military conscripts. Koryu schools (and those gendai which emulate them) existed for the purpose of training small groups of devout warriors. As with any other type of conscription training, it's definitely "lowest common denominator".

The same two distinctions, private and military, apply to most other nations' martial arts, albeit with different names and different historical delineations.

So, succinctly, just about any koryu school of martial art will lend itself very well to being applied to firearms, for exactly the reasons you stated in your post. Strictly gendai schools, which have become the McDojos of today, won't, for exactly the same reason.

If any of the above was already known to you, Toast, then please forgive if any of it sounded condescending.

07-10-2005, 18:03
Not condescending at all. Thanks for the heads up. Most of my MA experience is Chinese, and the rest is bastardized American Ju Jitsu (none of it structured by your military, "gendai" description). I do find martial arts fascinating and tend to examine them by applying the law of entropy. That is, martial arts and artists that do not acknowledge the passing of time and existance of reality (that people today do not wear gis, for example, or fight with eight foot staffs) "die", in terms of practical effectiveness, as we have been discussing with regard to firearms. Indeed, the martial arts practitioner that does not realistically train for the possibility of, and develop a healthy respect of, firearms, can quite literaly end up dead.

I've also been around long enough to see some martial arts "schools" similair to what you describe. They are usually not found in the phone book, that's for sure.


07-10-2005, 21:31
OK, so we understand the need to add the firearm into our MA, traditional or otherwise, the question is HOW?

A student (which includes us all) must be able to work different types of firearms, locate safeties, load and unload, cycle the action, ID calibers and such.

I think this would be the minimum training needed. And, just because they carry a gun at work, it does not mean they know how other firearms work.

As for shooting just being another part of fighting, that is not really true. Swinging a stick or a knife is a goss motor skill which most anyone can do.

However, there is nothing natural about hold an explosive device in your hand and making it go off, it is a learned skill. Also, most people in our country grossly misunderstand the effects of firearms on real attackers. Thank you Hollywood.

So, again, how, exactly do we add the firearm into the matrix of training H2H?

07-10-2005, 22:32
I don't know if I understand exactly what you want. When you say "incorporate firearms into our martial arts", what do you mean? Do you mean you want to learn to fight with a firarm (a martial art unto itself); or, do you want to play with guns at your particular martial arts school? Is your range time/dry fire practice serious enough to consider it training? If not, why not?

Point shooting is about as gross a motor function as you can get out of a complex machine; and not all martial arts techniques with weapons are gross, either. In fact, complicated manuevers and techniques with weapons is a classic failing of many traditional martial arts, but that is a different argument for another day.

I would say train your empty hand. Hopefully, you are studying an art whose weapons techniques are similair to the empty hand. Then, maybe ask fellow students and the instructor if you could meet at the range. There, work on shooting. Later, back at the school, work on firing from retention and preventing a fouled draw with a red gun. Work weapons transitions (empty hand strike to gun to knife, etc). Test your progress with an airsoft pistol.

That's what I would do, if I could.


07-13-2005, 10:15
Thank Bo, that is what I was looking for. I have also done just the opposite of going to the class room and useing a red gun. I took my students to a range and we did H2H and then tranistioned to live fire.

It was a very eye opening experiance, one officer was attacked H2H and being big and strong, threw the suspect to the gound, the officer was very quickly armbared and then had to go to a shooting drill, with a dislocated elbow, he was required to shoot with his off hand.

Guess what? He could not draw his duty gun with his off hand due to his size. No back up gun, he was killed in the scenerio.

A Sgt. was next (other participants were not allowed to watch the scenerio until after they did it) he took the subject down and the perp put him into the gaurd, the Sgt started to fight with the perp who simply reached down and drew the Sgts. redc gun frim his duty holster and put it to his head.

The point of all this was not how many officers I could fail, but to show how many times normal reactions to an attack, even if correct according to training, will get you killed in an un rehearsed, open contact area.

Again, besides what has already been posted, how do we put the gun back into martial arts training?

07-17-2005, 01:51
Only thing I would use are:

1. front kick/side kick to create a distance between me and bad guy to have a room to draw from holster.

2. Judo/aikido when they try to grab your firearm.

My amatuer advice is to not perform all thsese fancy stuff. Just concentrate on drawing your firearm first. Use both hands to discharge the firearm.


07-22-2005, 13:36
When people talk about the integration of firearms into martial arts I tend to think of using the firearm as a contact weapon or bludgeon.

I think that just because you have a malfuntion or run dry (either while in close contact or TOTALLY out of ammo) doe not mean that the gun has to be put away, dropped or forgotten. Club the piss out of them with it!!