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Old 12-09-2009, 08:28   #1
mercop
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Avoid, fight, avoid

My first calendar year of teaching MCS full time is coming to a close. This year I would say we have trained approximately 100 students. Many of them are repeat students. We have staged hundreds of force of force scenarios for open hand, impact weapon, edged weapons, and firearms. Many I came up with and many students came up with. Here some general observations as well as those specific to edged weapons-

I would say that the "average" MCS student is 35-45 yrs old, most are usually dedicated knife or gun guys, seldom both, at least in the beginning. Because they are weapon dedicated they focus on the weapon before the situation and during initial contact.

The progression we teach is- Awarness, Avoidance, and Agression. The first two work for two out of the three types of threats to your personal safety- Accidents (all types), Attacks (all types), Natural Disasters (all types). In the case of Attacks you can transition to Agression.

The problem seems to be that if you feel that you are prepared for a particular type of threat then you may be less inclined to avoid it. Example- people who live in Florida and have supplies and plywood are less likley to evacuate even when others do. So if you carry a dedicated self-defense knife and have some training you may be less inclined to avoid situations that you would if you were not armed or trained. The longer you wait to avoid after becoming aware of a threat the less options you will have. This is what we see in classes, students are there for a knife or gun class and during FOF are easily drawn into a "fatal funnel" and as they do there world closes in behind them and they are unable to see the rest of the world. Once they put themselves in the situation they feel obligated to use their weapon.

Here is the rub, the majority of carry/deployment options for guns and knives are primarily designed to be used under the best case circumstances where you are static and standing. When you do force on force you quicly realize how some of the following things play a huge role in the outcome of the altercation-

Inside/outside
Light level
Footing (wet grass, gravel, and tile floors are not your friend)
Balance (many students end up falling backwards because of crossing their feet)
Clothing ( nothing like watching someone trying to deploy a folder from a sweatpants pocket)

And the list goes on.

The more I look at my lab rats AKA students the more I see the need of awareness and avoidance skills. The problem for many people is "aware of what". It is about perception, you need to know what subtle things to look for. Too many people concentrate on learning to look for the things that happen right before something bad happens, not the clues that lead up to it. By that time you are sucked in.

Next is avoidence, you need to be willing to change your path in spite of tools, training, and confidence. The way we drive this through to students is by taking them through the same scenarios but making the responsible by another student playing their wife or child. That is the level of avoidence you need to use for yourself. When you alert to a specific threat and begin to avoid you consider your tools. You have to have tools that you can have in your hand while avoiding that will not unnessisarly alarm others. On the lowest level this is a pen or flashlight. For me the next level is the Gerber Artifact with Inverted Edge Tactics in mind. I don't want to "knife fight" , I want to use my pen, flashlight, or Artifact to inflict damage that allows me to escape and continue to avoid. If I cannot continue to avoid it may be time to upgrade to a purpose driven weapon like a gun or a knife if I have the room to do so. Don't get stuck on the aggression and "winning" the fight. When there is no other choice and avoidance has failed you overwhelming force of violence to move through your attack until you are safe.

Beyond bridging tools like pens, flashlights, and the Artifact, decide what is most appropriate for you to carry and how to carry it. Then get some training. You will also have peace of mind knowing all the layers of your Personal Protection Plan that were breached prior to you having to use your Primary Deadly Force Option. This is a thinking game, not a hardware game.- George
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:37   #2
Dexters
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Excellent post.

I think that as you go on; if you expand the profile of your average student; you will be better able to focus on what they need to learn.

"average" MCS student
Male
35-45 yrs old
dedicated knife or gun guys
Physical shape?
Usual enviorment - city, suburb, rural
Usual Dress:
Ex-military?
Employment - office worker etc
Home or appartment
Married or Single
Children?

Last edited by Dexters; 12-09-2009 at 08:44..
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Old 12-09-2009, 14:31   #3
mercop
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[QUOTE=Dexters;14310879]Excellent post.

I think that as you go on; if you expand the profile of your average student; you will be better able to focus on what they need to learn.

"average" MCS student
Male
35-45 yrs old
dedicated knife or gun guys, about 80% gun
Physical shape? don't get too many fat bastards, most could use some gym time
Usual environment - city, suburb, rural, live in suburbs work in the city
Usual Dress: jeans and polo shirts, most know enough not to wear a training costume to class
Ex-military? maybe a quarter
Employment - office worker etc, blue collar workers, and lots of doctors
Home or apartment home owners
Married or Single about 75% married with children
Children?
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Old 12-09-2009, 18:37   #4
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Thanks for the great post Mercop. Your posts and articles from your website always give me something to "chew on". I hope I can take one of your classes soon.
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Old 12-10-2009, 00:24   #5
old wanderer
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Mercop, thanks for the post. I know from an instructional point you are right on.

Here is the personal problem I have...
1. I am a natural born competitor...raced everything from go-karts to airplanes. Shot in a lot of different competitions....bunch of other stuff.
2. When challenged, or I see the threat of a challenge, I can walk away, as long as there is plenty of room to act like it never happened. But when you get the "in-your-face" type.."What are you looking at, old man". The competitive juices just happen.
3. Used to instruct martial arts many years ago, so not adverse to taking a few strikes, before I get him to where I want him,,,so not much fear in me.
4. Maybe because of a lot of FOF sessions I prefer my knife over gun, (And I always have my Kershaw Tyrade with me) even if I have both available. Krav Maga inside moves are my favorite, and few are prepared to deal with somebody that close.
5. Now I have gotten older than dirt, so common sense tell me to not ever put myself in danger when I can just walk away, but ah, but,,,(just don't have a reason for being stupid, but I am at times).

You point about gravel and wet grass,,,,YES YES YES...how well I know. Yet few places train the student to fight from the ground against a attacker(s) that are going to try and kick on you a bit. Maybe you should add some leg sweeps to dump a student on the mat, and let him figure out what works from there.

So common sense tell me you are right on, but maybe I was overly effected when Anthony Quinn came to a cinematography class at USC and previewed "Zorba the Greek" those lines just sort of stuck with me......"You know to live life is to unbuckle your belt and look for trouble:.

Keep up the great posts. (and I will try to grow up....but ...but... )
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:02   #6
Grumpy Gardener
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"This is a thinking game, not a hardware game"

Nailed it Mercop!

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Old 12-16-2009, 10:44   #7
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This is why as a "lay man" I was blown away by the Die Less Often DVD series. When they would show LE doing FoF drills, 9 times out of 10 they were going for their guns first even after having been given instructions on how to handle the situation differently, and what do you know, every time they got stabbed... violently.

It also reminds me of a conversation with my uncle years ago, who is trained in martial arts. I wasn't a dad yet, and we were talking about how his daughter had no interest in martial arts training. I said "But aren't you concerned with her being in a situation where she is alone with a guy in a car and he decides to rape her, that she won't know how to deal with it?" He said "No, because hopefully I've taught her to be situationally aware enough to not wind up in a car with a guy like that in the first place... 99% of self defense is not putting yourself in dangerous situations."

Words to live by.
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:26   #8
pete2gun
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Avoid, fight, avoid. Couldn't agree with it more.
Words to live by.
Sometimes a little knowledge gets people into trouble.
Fight, fight , fight. That's what sells classes. Too many are out there giving people a false sense of security.

Last edited by pete2gun; 01-01-2010 at 04:30..
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:38   #9
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Aware and avoid are the high value skills! My weapons (including empty hand) are only to facilitate my escape.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:34   #10
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Back to "avoid"....

I make it a point to avoid places where troublesome people congregate. I don't go to a bar no matter how good their hamburger/steak/chili/boiled seafood is! I also avoid the seedy "quick stops", certain entrances at the mall, etc.

Yesterday I became of another place where one is likely to encounter troublesome individuals...the Wal-Mart gas station. I had always considered this place as safe because it is busy, in plain view of a major roadway, and in a "good" section of town. The clientele is generally middle class professional or better, and I noticed, but did not properly assess one other fraction.

I now realize that, because this station has the cheapest gas in town, it acts like a magnet for those who have unsuccessful lives. Now, some of this group (lets call them USP) are in that situation due to no fault of their own, others because they have never grasped how to get ahead (despite their hard work and best efforts), but some because they have serious personality issues that sabotage their life.

That last group is a small fraction of the clientele, but I'll bet they are concentrated at Wal-Mart gas stations at levels much greater than in the rest of the town. Their presence in any situation raises the risk level, So I will not go there any more. I had never thought of this aspect before. All good, clean, well-lit, busy, gas stations in good neighborhoods would be alike, right?

My story ended well, and I will happily pay a buck or so a tank at the nice Shell station a little farther down the road in the future.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:05   #11
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The places I have picked up trouble repeatedly over the years, gas stations, ATM's and movie theaters, and to a lesser degree, rest areas on the interstates. I do not go to bars anymore, not for many years. I have forbidden my wife to even fill up the car, as she has had incidents there as well. She is a mental health nurse, and see more, much more, of the bad side of life than I do, and she is very situationally aware thankfully. I try and fill up and go to the ATM very early in the morning, it cuts out on the traffic, and the lowlifes. I grew up in South Africa, had a policeman friend that taught me a lot about bad guys, what to look out for, and to BE AWARE. Anybody that shows even a remote interest in me, except maybe the Salvation lady collecting outside of a supermarket, I consider a threat, and I am not nice to people approaching me at all.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:08   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hagar View Post
Anybody that shows even a remote interest in me, except maybe the Salvation lady collecting outside of a supermarket, I consider a threat, and I am not nice to people approaching me at all.
You are not alone - I am the same way - I grew up in NYC.
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