Sunday, September 5, 2010

One Size Does Not Fit All for Training

Our Subject Matter Expert & UFC Champ Dan "THE BEAST"
Severn Teaching Defensive Tactics to Police Officers

One Size Does Not Fit All for Training
The Problematic Nature of Generic Training
Military, Law Enforcement, Security and First Responders Training
by John D. Nottingham 

Law Enforcement Officers including Police, Military, Security and various other protective and response agents engage our services to assess their skills and advise them on enhancement drills and tools.  LEOs, even DT Instructors, despite their training, all too often attempt to apply the same techniques in every situation.

"We never rise to the level of expectation. We fall to the level of our training." -Special Forces maxim
Disparity: Size, Mechanics, Leverage and Structure
One example is when many LEO's attempt an arm bar on a person considerably larger than themselves expecting it to work the same as it would on a subject smaller (relative to themselves).  Of course, this is not isolated merely to arm bars.  While in discussion, the officer would likely point out that it would be a problem and consciously make the logical decision that a different tactic should be used. Yet in the scenario or on the street they revert to the same move.

This fact is confirmed with video footage of both training and live video of street scenarios.  The result is most often, escalation of force, thus higher risk to the LEO, increased liability and increased variables to manage.  The higher number of variables to manage, the slower the response time, and the higher the risk to officer safety and general liability.

We discovered and employ methods to overcome this common training problem.
1. Train for proper assessments and prioritization
2. Let them play both roles of LEO and subject with resistance
3. Allow them to resist and adapt without warning or set ups - keep it dynamic and fluid
4. Scenario based training with various body styles and fitness, flexibility, pain threshold, and attitudinal attributes.  Human conflict is dynamic, therefore the training must be as well.
5. Force problem solving situations into the training equation and do video analysis, after action reviews, encourage positive peer instruction and honest feedback
6. Objectively test

Training for Safety - Go Slow
One of the key benefits of our system is the safety mechanisms in place to protect the trainees, yet still develop highly effective skill sets and attributes.  Of course this is not to advocate a plethora of techniques either.  This would be in contradiction to Hicks law - one of our foundational guiding principles.
"Slow is smooth, smooth is efficient."-Special Forces maxim

Highly Adaptable Tactics
Instead, our recommendation is a small set of highly adaptable tools, tactics, concepts and principles that emphasize superior assessment, strategy, psychology, leverage and positioning.  The best way to describe it would be adding a turbo charger to existing training.  It usually does not replace training, it enhances it through functional drilling and application training.

"We are sometimes criticized for our slow motion training.  However, when we get to the testing phase, we enjoy watching the nay-sayers eat crow as they are forced by clear evidence to praise the performance of our clients.  It's one of our secrets to safety.  If you're injured, intimidated or discouraged - you can't train."
The Situation Dictates The Response
Granted, you have to start with a foundation of basics that develop body awareness, assessment skills, and a few tools (techniques) that work in most situations.  However, a problem facing most "standardized" training programs is the lack of transferability, adaptation and proper application.  Given the constraints of budget, allocated training time and the prevailing "blue" doctrine, this will continue to be a challenge.  With that we will continue to have officers sneak over to us to build their confidence and enhance skills that they are too intimidated to admit or unwilling to reveal to their department.  Government is historically slow to react.  We're happy to serve.

Maintain the public trust and lead by example.
Train.  It's not a suggestion, it is your duty.

For more information about John Nottingham or NTS Tactical
* Photo: courtesy Master Brian Van Patten - USA Martial Arts Antioch Illinois.

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