By Scott Vaughn
Have you ever wondered why we train in and with weapons, tactics and combatives? The reason is to learn the best techniques for our application and how to train and develop the muscle memory, those instinctive values, so we ingrain into our muscles and minds the Conditioned Response! What makes or allows us to respond/react to a given stimulus? If a car slams on the brakes at a distance of 500 feet ahead of you and you are travelling at 60 MPH, how do you react? If you see this as it happens, you probably start braking to a controlled stop, if necessary. Of course, if you are not paying attention at the time the car slams on the brakes and moment you realize this has occurred, the car is at a distance of 50 feet in front of you and you are travelling the same speed as above, what is your reaction now? Most likely you stomp on your brake pedal while trying to veer the car into a path to avoid the crash. Maybe you don’t try to veer but only slam the brake. Maybe you only veer and no brake. However you handle this crisis, it will most likely be different than the response to the first mentioned situation. Agreed? The response taken is conditioned, whether from years of driving experience or a new driver lacking the driving experience to help make snap decisions. The difference in the response will be from experience, training, instruction or maybe yesterday’s movie. Yes, we have all been mentally conditioned all of our lives from media, school, peers, family, the neighbors, etc. How deeply fixed in your subconscious the conditioning is will help determine how you respond/react.
These are all typically conditioned responses of a variety of people. The first instinctive reaction from the stimulus comes from the mid-brain and depends on 1: experiences we have been through in our life. 2: the wrong type of information instilled in our mid-brain (where our instinctive reactions are housed) for given stimuli. 3: the lack of training, experiences and mental conditioning. 4: ingrained/habitual reactions that we have developed through repetition of training and practice.
Remember when we were kids? We were indestructible, we could do anything given the right chance, we would never get ‘old’ but always get stronger, faster, better, smarter and would live forever! We had not experienced life but only a fraction of it. Then most of us started driving and learned dangerous situations could happen fast, our fault or not. Some never made it through their first year of driving, but those of us that did, understood driving could be dangerous and not as easily done like we assumed from watching our parents or from television. Some continued to take chances and others didn’t. Some took drivers training to learn to be a better/safer driver and most others didn’t. Of those that took the driver training, did it ensure the successfully safe driving experience for life? Of course not as there are no guarantees in life, period! But it did help condition them with, hopefully, better responses to more stimuli while driving and faster reaction time from not having to think all the way through the response. In highly stressful situations, the fore-brain (the part of the brain that we use to think rationally) shuts down and the mid-brain takes over to instruct us to react from our mental conditioning. –Conditioned Response-
When we were kids we started developing reactions or habits. Some of these habits we carried with us to adulthood. These conditioned reactions, habits, are hard to unlearn sometimes. If you don’t develop better, safer, quicker habits and just continue to feel what you do is ‘OK’, you will never reach your potential and ALL of the bad habits/responses/reactions can get you and/or yours killed! I’m reminded 4 times a month by those that attend my concealed carry classes. Most have been around guns a long time and have developed habits from their parents and friends for things like the grip, the way they look through the sights (one eye closed) and how to stand while target shooting. Even though they are shown the best way to do some of these, once a pistol goes into their hands, their old habits automatically take over! They also are reminded repeatedly throughout the class of gun safety rule # 3, yet when they finally get to handle their guns….finger goes to trigger for too many of them.
When our men and women of our military go over a technique once, they are soon convinced they will revisit this particular lesson numerous times, sometimes until some are sick of it! Repetition is necessary to build the muscle memory for a conditioned reaction to combat that can save their life, and/or the lives of their friends. Most of this training is done under circumstances to build the best response to the situations they may face on the battle field. These consist of training in the rain, the cold/heat, with the sound of guns firing and bullets buzzing overhead! Conditioned response! Some martial art students learn maneuvers and techniques for combat. They train these moves repeatedly to develop the muscle memory it takes to use the moves automatically. Most of the training and techniques are new to these men and women but they still learn it, just like you can. Occasionally they fight under controlled circumstances to help develop the ideal conditioned responses to the stimuli shown to them via opponent.
It is proven that training and experience can be developed properly and with it, conditioned responses for certain circumstances, i.e. FOF, CRG, 0-5 feet GF, etc. That trained and experienced people generally survive more than those who are not, is a given. My brothers and sisters at SI understand this and I think most others would agree. The difference is this: We study and train to develop the techniques that are proven to work under combat. We work to build the muscle memory and habits for those reactive situations we all know can happen anytime/anywhere. We put ourselves in the Lion’s Den to help condition the mind and body. The ability to make immediate decisions under stress needs to be developed. To fine tune the OODA Loop.
If you can see the threat coming toward you from 100 feet away, how would you react? Think about this for a few seconds, but I think you already have a plan of some type for this situation. Maybe you get set in mind and body for the fight. Maybe you take off to avoid the fight, if you have this option. Possibly you move to cover or just haul ass out of there. Whatever you decide will depend on the situational elements: Inside or outside- Family with you or not- Dark or light- Raining or not- Armed with gun or knife- or not…. If, when you first realize the threat is there, you are 25 feet apart, how will you react? Maybe you freeze! Maybe you bust a ‘GOTX’ to cover or to avoid the BG’s attack or shot, possibly to line up the 2 BG’s to make your defense easier (yeah, we know multiple advisories are anything but easy). The relative distance between you and the threat will definitely make a big difference in the immediate level of necessity to respond with the best decision. If your BG is standing behind you holding a pistol to the back of your head and says “Get in the car and drive or die right here”, how will you react? Freeze and give-up? Or mess up your BG’s OODA Loop by explosively moving your head to one side while turning to wrench his shoulder and arm to control his pistol while you bash this POS in the face, knees, ribs, etc. to keep yourself/your family safe! You got it, Conditioned Response.
Training is what we do at Suarez International. When is the best time to train for your fight? Yes, before the fight! Where is the best place to learn how to fight? You got it, Suarez International! Training people to fight with their hands, knives, guns and minds like Warriors. Helping to understand and develop the muscle memory, to build the mindset to think, act, train and fight like Warriors!
We won’t teach you how to drive, but we will teach you how to fight with your gun from your ride! We want you to win your fight as bad as you do! Come train with us to help develop and/or sharpen your skills with SI. You are never too old or too young to become a warrior in mind, body and spirit.