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Old June 27, 2002, 10:23 AM   #12
Rob Pincus
Join Date: October 9, 1998
Location: Hotels
Posts: 3,666
In the ISS application of the No Losers policy (in training), they are referring to anyon who participates in hard-core serious training. It was readily acknowledged that certain people achieved objectives while others did not. I do not believe that they would approve of the Aikido approached described by Don. If meaningful opposition or challenge was not presented during the excercise, how could we truly judge performance? Being thrown (or shot with simunitions, etc) can be very valuable, but if you are letting someone throw you that is a different story. The best you can hope to get out of that might be learning how to take a fall, punch, etc. Of course, that lack of resistance is necessary for the other guy to learn the technique, particularly fine motor skill techniques like those often found in Aikido.

For myself, I believe that the approach described by Don is very valuable during the learning phase of training. One cannot develop technique, particularly with new skills, when they are going at 75%+ against determined opposition or in a very challenging situation. Imagine trying to teach someone how to use a new retention holster using only 60 second "Fight For Life" retention drills. It probably wouldn't help the person very much and there would be too much going on to really determine whether or not they employed a "proper" technique, in regards to the new holster. Of course, if they kept the gun, the objective would've been achieved, but perhaps it could've been easier with better technique. Shouldn't that have been a major factor in the adoption of the new holster system?

Later in training, during the evaluation phase, I believe that realistic obstacles, opposition and variables are necessary to bring about an environment that requires top-notch application of skills. Only these circumstances can allow you to evaluate the mastery of a skill-set and also allow you to evaluate the practicality of a technique. Referencing ISS training specifically, during a one-on-one practical excercise to test our application of the "fight forward at all times" approach, most of us found the technique itself failed. We did apply it as we were directed, but we found that the more aggressive person, who left cover first, most often was the one who failed his objective. OTOH, when we were doing no-opposition drills with the same technique, it appeared to be a viable option. Traditionaly, we train to leave cover only in extreme circumstances and I don't think anyone was going to change their approach after ISS.

Slack opposition or cookie-cutter predictable scenarios cannot provide for a realistic analysis of ability. Worse yet, they can allow the development of some bad habits. A simple example is IDPA clubs that do not mandate concealed carry for all stages. I've seen many people who regularly shoot in open carry mode get very fouled up when a stage mandates concealed shooting. They have developed a presentation that does not account for sweeping a jacket or vest from their pistol. Not to single out IDPA (which I think is the best thing going)... many ranges have rules against drawing and shooting, let alone shooting from concealment! Where does that leave the average CCW'er in terms of developing and evaluating their presentation?

Learning and practicing are two different things. When we go off to schools, or work with a new instructor, we should be in a "learning" phase for at least some of the time. During this phase we can develop a new technique and demonstrate mastery of the concept. Later, we enter a practical phase and we find out two things:
1. Can we apply the new technique? (in realistic situations)
2. Is the new technique worth applying? (in realistic situations)
If you show up to a school and refuse to learn a new technique or are not allowed to develop competency in it, I don't believe that you can honestly answer either question in the practical stage.
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