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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Gun Fighting Learning Explosion! And Other Amazing Stuff

First blog post in a while. . . .

Not that a lot hasn't been going on. Lessons with John, Tim, Al and others have yielded tips, tricks and breakthroughs too numerous and, in some cases, "deep" to enumerate and explain in a blog post. Suffice to say that the more experience you gain in GC, the more you realize you have left to learn, and then some.

Some recent random thoughts:

Knife "fighting" (i.e. using a knife to protect yourself):

While there are general guidelines, strategies and tactics that can help, it really comes down to Balance, Looseness, Sensitivity and all other standard GC principles and subprinciples, whether standing or on the ground. Plus, of course, being able to consistently access your knife while under attack and keep the damn thing in your hand no matter what happens!

Free-form or Sloppiness?

Attention to detail: Because GC places no emphasis on standard "form" for form's sake, some people assume that GC is "sloppy" and they need not pay attention to detail in movement. Well, this ain't the case! While GC shuns standardized fighting techniques and positions independent of combative context, precision WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE FIGHT is most certainly important! Moving precisely with what's going on will defeat moving "generally" or "approximately" with what's going on. I've often demonstrated this to students by taking a position during contact flow, then changing my center of gravity by just an inch or two, and showing how this completely changes the possibilities in the movement (spelling the difference between life and death for the student). Tim showed me this on a far more precise level when he took the time to break down and explain what his body was doing moment by moment during a contact flow session we had. The subtlety and deceptiveness were mind-boggling. Slight rotations of the forearm, tweaks of the finger
s and complete loosening of the wrist (allowing the hand to drop), for example, at the precisely correct times and places, spelled the difference between deadlock and my losing my head (literally). Tim suggested increased use of the wobble board and wooden ladder during contact flow, as they force more concentration (conscious and subconscious) on exactly what's going on, and are less forgiving of bad movement. In regular contact flow, if your training partner is not skilled enough to punish every mistake (like Tim!), it's easy to ignore (due to ego) or miss mistakes and hence set back your training. With the wobble board, if you're not reasonably "on" in terms of the principles, you know it, because you fall off the board. Similarly, with firearms, you know when you're not spot on, because your shot misses its intended target. Firearms and wobble boards don't have complex emotional stuff going on and will not lie to you. They'll do what they're designed to do and if something messes up, it's on you, and you can't deny it. . . .

A Gun Fighting Learning Explosion

. . . Which brings us to a "new beginning." I recently had my first firearms training session with John. I had many years previously received a session of standard target handgun training from a range officer, and had done fairly well by his standards. Since then, though, I'd been able to practice only about once per year (average), and had never received any combat-applicable training. (Let's make it clear right now that "front sight focus, slow trigger squeeze, follow through, repeat" is NOT typically applicable to the split-second close quarters reactive combat that civilians interested in self-defense must deal with. Sorry to burst any bubbles. . . .) I had read a lot about training methods used by various trainers, including those with a lot of gunfight experience and including various point shooting and target focus systems. I expected, however, that John's approach would be different. . . . And I was right!

Can't go into too much detail in a public blog, but suffice to say that John has some ingenious methods for training a student's mind to "trust" its ability to shoot accurately by feel and subconscious peripheral visual weapon alignment. I consciously used my sights for only one shot during the whole session, yet in retrospect I consistently made very accurate shots, many at speed and all without conscious aiming. I don't think I realized how well I was doing during the session because I basically just did what John said, not concerning myself so much with the results. I think there may be a lesson here that transfers over to general GC training. . . . (Between the two of us, with John demonstrating the drills before I ran them, we went through 100 rounds of .40 and 100 of .22.) This from a guy who previously got frustrated at every annual self-directed "practice" session at his inability to shoot consistently no matter how hard he concentrated on the conventional fundamentals of shooting. I was getting far better results using John's combat-applicable point shooting methods, in my very first training session! Note that I'm NOT talking about mere "on the paper" accuracy. I'm talking about target areas ranging from six inches down to an inch across, just like what you need to hit to achieve reliable stopping power with a handgun. John mentioned that as with the GC unarmed training, with practice, combat shooting ability will absorb into the subconscious to the point where I'll be able to pick up any reasonable handgun and place bullets exactly where I need them without conscious effort, and with additional training, while moving dynamically and shooting dynamically moving targets (i.e. aggressive people). Looking forward to more training!
--Ari Kandel

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


In the 4/5 blog post "Winning a Bar Fight" we told you how moronic it can be to defend your ego in a drinking establishment.

Well, to REALLY drive the point home, we received this terrific but utterly tragic response from one of our readers. Read it and remember. [Thanks to David B.]

"Right ON re: stupidity of friends getting into bar fights!!! Very sad to say that I know someone who TRASHED a BRIGHT medical & military career (was a Captain in the US Army Reserve on active duty) lost their house, entire retirement package, family's entire future, his entire weapons collection, hunting/fishing gear-boat, etc. and is now doing a 12-13 year stretch in the state pen ALL because of a STUPID, IDIOT friend's BIG MOUTH, testosterone driven ego and TOTAL lack of judgment due to way too much booze (beer).

Had the chance to avoid (get away) from the situation but idiot friend just HAD to go back into it instead of getting out of there. Was attacked by assailant w/chukka sticks; penalized person went to rescue of said idiot friend, shot assailant who died later but was revived.

Worst part: IDIOT got free, NO penalties and rescuer (I know personally-close) essentially dumped his entire life, wife & kid's lives & future down the crapper!!! ALL for NOTHING!!!!

And if any of you readers think this can't happen to you, listen up!

He too thought he was in the right but the jury didn't!!"

UPDATE: Re: BAR FIGHT tragedy may I add: The penalized person I told you about just lost his 2nd appeal. BTW: I understand that the Bar Owner hid the chukka sticks from the Sheriff's investigators, at least that's what I was told.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


There's close combat self defensea lot of bad information floating around the web recently about what it takes to hit hard and effectively in a fight for your life.

Some styles are advocating hitting with everything you've got and blasting through the target, even visualizing sticking to and coming out the other side.

Although this does emphasize the kind of destruction you need to cause to your attacker, and although it is better than playing the game of "scoring points" with so called "surface" strikes, it has a dangerous flaw: a little thing called "over-commitment."

Power generation is vital but when it sacrifices your balance in the super-high speed chaos of a real fight you can wind up on your ass if you miss by even one inch, or you slip on blood, or your attacker eludes you. In fact, you can hit dead-on, but because of the looseness, reactivity or defensive skills of your attacker, the expectation of impact and that his body will support your balance is a recipe for disaster.

The trick is to be rooted, balanced and hit with full body unity but to rely on YOUR OWN balance. If you assume the enemy will "be there" when your super-duper John Wayne haymaker connects, you're finished.

The way you do this is by developing Dropping Energy. Your target is the center of the mass you intend to hit (for example, approx 3-6 inches deep to the liver or kidneys, 2 inches to the neck, or 1-2 inches to the arms). Developing Dropping Energy allows you to develop power without chambering, winding up, over-committing your balance via over reliance on pure muscle but, most importantly, by "Containing the Over-travel" and redirecting your power back from the weapon to your root. You instantaneoulsy drop your body weight and then halt the drop, reflect it off your root and channel into whatever eapon you're using. This plyometric rebounding further reinforces your balance and reloads your weapons for further strikes with full body unity. It is the "mystical secret" behind the power of temple-trained tai chi masters (of which virtually none remain alive) that anyone can learn with practice--because it's really nothing but simple physics and body mechanics, made even simpler and more effective by John Perkins' Guided Chaos principles.

But can you really hit hard this way? Ask again after John Perkins has "tapped" you with a completely neutered Drop Punch.

be the one who feels "neutered."

Monday, April 05, 2010


The Answer Is Not What You'd Think...

QUESTION: Bar fights
Here's a question that came from my past. I was at a bar with friends and one of my buddies got into a fight with one of the locals. Knowing that the confrontation had a very slight chance of inflicting deadly blows (I know that there's no certainty in a fight), if my buddy needed my help, either he was getting whooped or his buddies got into the fight, how would you respond with Guided Chaos without using deadly force?

Don't let it happen in the first place! Experience shows that 99% of all fights that occur in "bars" are a result of sheer stupidity.

Don't go to bars, or don't go to questionable bars; leave when things begin to feel wrong (all judgment of which of course is impaired by alcohol).

That's the main principle in GC. Now if you have to fight to save your life or a loved one's (is a friend a "loved" one? Often it's the idiocy of a "friend" that sucks both of you in to senseless situations)your GC training allows you to pull back on "deadly" strikes. Using so called "less-than-lethal" techniques will only get you into more sh#t if it doesn't work and thesituation gets uglier (which it almost always does).

Q: Two questions for John Perkins:

1) What do you feel is the best non-firearm weapon for the home?

2) Do the skills of close combat and guided chaos require continual training or would they remain with you such as the ability to swim and ride a bike?

For the home there are a number of OK weapons that are not firearms. I would have a spear gun or short compound bow of at least 45 lb draw weight. These pull at about 45 pounds at first and hold at about 25 lbs which helps keep you on target without much trembling. A spear gun is trigger activated much like a cross bow.

Back this up with a long handled tomahawk or 10-12 inch butcher knife. They are fast for follow up strikes or stabs or slashes. For less blood you can use a piece of steel tubing about 2 feet long heavy enough for you to wield quickly and heavy enough to break bone. A baseball bat made of aluminum and short like a kid would use is not bad either.

As far as combatives goes you need to practice combatives at least once a week to keep proficient. If you trained in Guided Chaos for a year you usually don't lose much at all and can get back to it in minutes.