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Defensive Training by Festus

What does defensive training mean to you? Reading novels on how to do something? Punching paper at the range? Something else?

I would guess the percentage of people who actually train with firearms is small. Punching paper is not training. It is marksmanship. Few people actually have access to a range where they can train. Real training is both mental and physical and takes time and dedication.

Reading survival novels can provide a lot of information that really helps with preparing and hopefully surviving. But they typically don't deal with the nitty gritty aspects of what will be happening to YOU in those kinds of circumstances.

I am no expert in fights, have never really been in one, and sometimes wonder if my training will hold me steady enough to do what I need to do if the occasion happens. But over the years I have been involved in various ways to gain knowledge and experience that can give me a clue to my "performance" in a bad situation. There have been several incidents over my lifetime that were a breath away from being major life changing pivot points. From hunting to real defensive situations, I have learned a few things.

For instance, buck fever is real. Being in the right place at the right time, whether thru luck or skill, to get a buck is part of it. The other part is mental. The excitement hits, there he is! Wow, look at that rack! Will look really good hanging on the wall. And all that meat! Wow! Easy to jump ahead of yourself. The heart starts pounding, breath gets rapid and shallow. Gosh dang it! Those sights just won't hold still. WAIT! He is moving away! Got to take the shot anyway. In the haste the heartbeat throws the sight high and the trigger jerk sends it left. You sit there disappointed and mad at yourself for blowing it. Another hunt ends without success.

Well, ok. Think about what just happened with a deer and try to imagine what would happen with a human. Multiply the adrenaline, fear, anger, and tunnel vision that would likely happen if that guy was shooting back! Take the experience and learn something from it so the next time goes better.

When I was a teenager my mom was single and she provided for my younger sister and me. One night a local guy we knew got drunk and decided to call on my mom. He was a mountain of a man who was nice as could be unless he was drunk. The solid wood door was taking a pounding. Woke us all up in a hurry. I grabbed a shotgun and went to the living room balcony and leveled the gun at the door. Mom was at the door trying to talk him down. I got her attention and she moved away from the door while still talking to him. Fortunately he cooled off and went away. We had an early breakfast as sleep was not coming back that night. Too young to know better? Doing what needed to be done? There was no time to think. It was just reaction to a threat to mom.

Then there was the time that I had a young family. One toddler was in a bedroom on the other end of the house. The baby was in a crib in another bedroom, also on the other end of the house. One night the baby monitor came alive with the words "Sshh. It will be ok." Say WHAT!! From deep sleep to instant heart pounding awake! Roll out of bed and grab the pistol in one smooth move (I know it was smooth, I know it was smooth, I know it was smooth), tell wife to stay there and get the phone. Miami Vice was a popular tv show at the time and I did my best to do a Don Johnson thru the house to get to the kids. Used furniture and shadows from the street light outside to stay hidden and clear the living room and down the hall to the bedrooms. Darn it! Hard to hear because my heartbeat is pounding in my ears! Good thing it's close range as that barrel is less than rock steady. Hmm. Both kids are sound asleep. So who was talking? Where is that XXXX!? Opened every closet, cabinet. Searched every room including the garage. Nothing.

WHAT happened? Found out a few days later that a house 3 doors down the street also had a newborn and their baby monitor was on the same frequency. We were hearing the guy talk to his daughter. Funny now but wasn't at the time.

Lesson learned............Another case of buck fever but with greater risk and ramifications. Practice clearing a room and point shooting and don't forget about who is where on the other side of that wall.

Have you heard of Project Appleseed? It is a very good marksmanship program for the entire family. I took a daughter when she was about 15 years old and we both enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. Lots of tips and fine tuning. Some of the kids gave the adults a real challenge by the end of the weekend. The program is two full days of shooting rifles from various positions, timed, and includes reloads, etc and is mixed with Revolutionary war history that comes to life. The goal is to keep marksmanship alive. Our ancestors lives depended on shooting well and our lives might as well at some point. A Project Appleseed weekend is time very well spent.

Later I was part of a large church security team. The leadership was very experienced and very good. We did a lot of training on the sheriffs range where we could move around and also had moving targets, etc. Did a lot of scenario training that incorporated partner positions, radio protocols, etc. Had 8 hours of legal training every year. Learned a lot from those folks. Also did some ride-along with the police and saw some interesting things that we dissected later so I could have a take-away lesson.

All these things are a part of training mentally and physically. Time spent learning from novels can be time well spent. But it does not substitute for being involved in real life experiences that you can analyze and learn from. The body's reaction to stimuli is hard to control and can definitely affect the outcome of a particular moment. And as I have mentioned before, establishing your own convictions when not under pressure sure helps your reaction/action when it's demanded.

To learn more about the psychology and physiology of deadly conflict I recommend you read the book "On Combat" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.

Prepare to be found worthy and pray that you don't have to find out.

Festus out

Thank you Fetus for your contribution to Hope For Survival


Bravo Echo Out

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