In the last 9-10 years my training methodology has evolved immensely. Many people ask me about different fitness programs, self-defense systems (and martial arts), and how to decide on firearms. My mentors helped me to realize the principle of transferable skill development. The questions they posed to me and others was, “Are your skills transferable to life?” Life includes moving objects, your body, or even the possibility of being involved in a violent confrontation. Let's dive a little deeper….
Does your fitness program contain movements that transfer to life tasks?
I can remember my first workout in the backyard of my grandmother's backyard on my uncle's bench. He had the weight set with a rusted bar and plastic weights with cement inside. I would watch as my uncle would do his daily workout which consisted of bench press, body weight dips on the side of the bench, sit-ups and lots of push ups. I was in awe of how in shape he was and wanted to be just like him (he is still my hero today, a true fighter). I started to do what he did and eventually got into doing bodybuilding exercises (i.e. curls, lat raises, bench press). Fast forward to 2006 when I had the privilege to be invited to a CrossFit seminar and certification. The biggest take away from the four days of CrossFit exposure was the ability of the program to prepare me for the “unknown and unknowable.” Now by no means am I at the level of the elite in the CrossFit community (aka “Firebreathers”), but in the last 5 years I have experienced a steady increase in strength and conditioning with minimal downtime due to injury. Movements performed in the program (squat, dead lift, press, etc.) mirror the movements required in normal life situations (i.e. lifting heavy objects safely). More importantly as a CrossFit trainer I have helped others get stronger, faster, and overall healthier. I was able to help athletes decrease fitness test times, prepare for special operations training, and weight loss.
Does your self-defense training skill to from the gym (or dojo) to the street?
Recommendation: S.P.E.A.R. System
Like many others involved in self-defense I have participated in various martial arts over the years (e.g. TKD, BJJ, Judo, JKD, Krav Maga, to name a few). When I came across Coach Blauer he talked to me about the “Sport vs. Street” principle. Although I have witnessed street fights where two guys square off and jockey for the advantage, it normally ends up looking like a cat fight with fist flying, someone falls, then the dominant fighter stomps the guys face in. I believe people who decide to study self-defense need to also study real violence. Pay attention to videos containing violent encounters, I can already hear you, “Omari why would I do that?” Like a football coach watches video of the opposing team, you must study how real violence occurs. By doing this you can visualize how your training would fair against that attack. Don't simulate, replicate (another post).
Does you firearms skill transfer to a gunfight?
Recommendation: Combat Focus Shooting
A gunfight is is dynamic, chaotic, and contains unpredictable movement. Shooting in isolation doesn't translate to employing your firearm in the context of a dynamic critical incident. Most of the shooting I did prior to 2007 was based on hitting a target or getting a tight group. After spending time with Rob Pincus I experienced a paradigm shift concerning the employment of a defensive firearm. Although I enjoy shooting for recreation, my primary reason for owning a firearm is for defensive purposes. My biggest light bulb moment was understanding how the body's natural reactions to violent encounters affect shooting ability. For instance, when gunshots are heard or a gun is brandished in public people have a tendency to move. With that said, training multiple target engagement by swinging the gun to the right or left target doesn't necessarily translate to gunfights in the real world. Now I have learned to never speak in absolutes (i.e. “that will never happen”), so I understand that anomalies occur. In the context of breeching a room for CQB purposes the dynamics and context are different.
These are my observations based on the decade of my training. I encourage those with experience to give me feedback and I would enjoy the exchange of information in these matters.
Be safe and train HARD!!!