Dear Brendan,

We will pick up where we left off and continue by addressing mind set and self-offense. Think real world training.  The STRONGHOLD operational combative tactics platform consists of everything we have previously discussed and the following.  Part of this mind set and self-offense draws upon various weapon systems that includes –

·       Firearms – Long guns (M4’s & AK’s), Handguns, Shotguns

·       Edged Weapons – Knives/folding & fixed blades, tomahawk, improvised weapons

·       Impact Weapons – ASP collapsible baton, sticks, Surefire flashlights, improvised weapons

·       Less-than-Lethal Weapons –

Unarmed Combat System

Empty Hands

Empty hand techniques should focus on powerful, easy to execute strikes that can end a confrontation/attack quickly or prep the ground for follow up strikes that will.  Learn how to put your weight into each technique and to use proper body mechanics to maximize efficiency and develop as much power as they can in a short distance.  It is crucial to maintain forward momentum against the attacker(s).  To keep him off balance and make it difficult for him to attack, you should try to occupy the space he occupies.

I instruct/teach only strikes that can be learned quickly.  Muscle memory.

  • Hammer-fist – It involves smashing the meaty edge of your fist down onto the target.  It is thrown with full arm movement. 
  • Knife hand – Also known as an ax hand or edge of the hand strike/blow, it is executed by first straightening your fingers and extending your thumb, then striking with the fleshy part of your hand to the neck and throat area.
  • Chin Jab – Similar to a palm heel strike, it involves first positioning your hand as though you were clutching a grapefruit.  You then thrust your hand along an uppercut like trajectory, smashing into the underside of the chin and continuing to drive straight through.  This strike was used in WWII by U.S. Marine Raiders, and by today’s MARSOC Raiders. 
  • Face Smash – Delivered straight into the face, it starts with your hands held in front of your body as though you were trying to placate someone, or think of the field interview stance.  You then spread your fingers as if you were holding a grapefruit and move your arm as though you were throwing a baseball.  At the same time, you push off your rear foot to propel your body forward, driving your hand through the target as if you were trying to touch your own knee.  The object is to smash your palm into the attacker’s face, with your fingers spread to maximize the chance of hitting his eyes.  The technique can also be delivered as a quick piston like strike from your non-dominant hand much like a boxer’s jab. 
  • Cupped hand strike – Ideally it should strike the ear, but it is still effective if it hits the neck or side of the head.
  • Round kick – It is executed by using a lashing out motion, where your whole leg is whipped around.  Your shin or boot should make contact with his inner/outer thigh, knee, shin or groin.
  • Oblique kick – It is delivered using a stomping motion, with the inside edge of your shoe/boot making contact with the attacker’s shin or knee.  It is often preceded by a step with your non-kicking leg because that motion helps you get your body weight and momentum behind it.
  • Spike kick – A devastating move that targets the groin with the tip of your shoe/boot, it is executed by lashing out with your leg so your thigh and shin form a 90-degree angle.  Your whole leg is whipped upward as though you were trying to touch your thigh to your chest.  It is executed swiftly with no chambering.
  • Push kick – Perfect for driving an opponent backward to create space to draw a weapon, it is basically a front thrust kick aimed at the pelvis, groin or upper thigh.
  • Head butts –
  • Knees –
  • Elbows –
  • Foot stomps –
  • Joint locks and breaks –

While you should execute each of the strikes as if you were using it to end the fight, you should never expect that one strike would do the job.  If you hit your opponent and then back off, you are giving him a chance to recover and launch a counterstrike.  Instead, you should stay on top of him until he is overwhelmed.  Here is where I want you to think back to SWAMP.  After the delivery of each technique, you should chamber a follow up strike.  You may not need it, but you should be prepared just in case, whether you find yourself battling a terrorist bent on inflicting maximum loss of life or a common criminal who targets you or your loved ones.

Firearms Training – is conducted on clothed mannequins that are posed in aggressive postures and armed with mock weapons.  The shooting distances range from two feet to 50 yards, and emphasize the difficulties of deploying a weapon in a high stress situation. 

Cover transitioning from unarmed striking to shooting.

Focus on armed and unarmed response to violent attacks, with the overwhelming theme of the training targeting awareness, early detection and avoidance.  Thus allowing you to sense the potential danger of a situation and get away from it before it turns deadly.  If you are unable to get away, you should use your skills to limit the effectiveness of the attack by taking the element of surprise away from your attacker.  Violence is always your last resort.  Your first and primary weapon is your mind and mouth.  Remember, “Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force.”  Just by appearing alert and aware of your surroundings is enough to deter most criminals.  It is easier for them to find a person who is not paying attention and is a soft target for them to attack.  You will always be attacked when conditions are most advantageous to your attacker and least advantageous to you. 

If you cannot use intellect to avoid the confrontation and violence appears imminent, you should strike pre-emptively and follow through until the aggressor is sufficiently disabled to allow you to safely escape.  If you wait for final confirmation of an attack, it will often come in the form of injury to yourself.  Once you decide to pre-emptively attack the assailant, you must overwhelm him and render him unable to cause you harm.  It is unrealistic to think you can reliably defeat a stronger, more skilled opponent any other way.  The fact that you tried to avoid the situation makes it appropriate to use force to prevent it from being used on you.  Waiting for an attack to be launched and then attempting to defend against it might work in a training drill, in a controlled environment when you know which attack will be used, but on the street or in the field you never know what is coming your way.  It is more effective to concentrate on your own attack than it is to wait for your opponent to make the first move. 

When facing a threat/potential attacker, you must remain aware of your body language and facial expression.  Neither should provoke aggression, even if you are about to launch a pre-emptive strike.  Your eyes should be fixed on the other person(s) hands, not his eyes, because it is the hands that draw the weapon or execute a punch.  If you avoid staring into the eyes of a suspicious person, you will appear less aggressive, and that can work to your advantage.  If his hands are in plain view, you should focus on his center of mass because seeing his elbows move can be an early warning of his intentions.  He has to lift his arms before he can grab, hit, cut or draw a weapon.      

If a confrontation is imminent, you should discretely put a weapon in your hand, be it lethal or less-than-lethal to avoid having to take it out while you are under attack.  The fastest draw is no draw at all.  Plus the mere act of holding a weapon, from a can of pepper spray, for example can be enough to make a mugger seek a victim who is less prepared.

A misconception that seems to have permeated our society is that most people think they can always resolve conflict by peaceful means.  Wrong, a peaceful resolution requires two willing participants.  If you are facing someone that is unwilling, he/she takes that option away from you.  Knowing you did what was possible at the time to avoid a confrontation gives you the moral authority to act pre-emptively if an attack is imminent and there is no avenue to escape.  Another misconception is about weapons defense.  Despite what others may teach and say on the topic, you should not always try to take away an attacker’s weapon.  Sometimes the best course of action is to inflict enough damage to make it impossible for him to employ the weapon or to make him physically and mentally unwilling to use it. 

Reality based training.  Real world situations, where you are put under direct physical attack, pressure situations, and mental stress.  Can you draw and deploy your folding knife, handgun, pepper spray, or weapon system? 

You must dedicate a significant amount of time to the physiological and psychological aspects of fighting, including human nature, the startle response, and the effects of denial and panic.  For the most part apprehension comes from mistaking the effects of an adrenaline rush for fear and from not knowing what will happen when the attacker makes his move.  It is essential to decide beforehand that you will fight back, or strike first if necessary.

You have to be able to visualize yourself performing the actions successfully.  If you enter combat mentally unprepared for violence, your chances of surviving are minimal.  You must act with complete resolve and intent.  Proceeding with anything less than total commitment can get you killed.  Mental preparedness is more important than physical preparedness, because regardless of what you know, your skills will be useless if you lack the will to use them.

If you find yourself under attack, you should think only about the fight.  Occupying yourself with anything else, such as legal ramifications of using a certain technique will slow your reaction time and response to the threat.

I believe we have a moral and ethical obligation to provide our teammates/family members with the tools, skill sets, training, and equipment necessary to accomplish the mission and return home safely

Let me close with these six lifesaving rules to survive a fight:

1.)     Assume they are carrying a weapon.

2.)     Your knife or weapon is meant to be felt not seen.

3.)     Use deception to close the distance.

4.)     Do not play the MMA game in a life or death situation.

5.)     When weapons are involved fight dirty.

6.)     Do not fight unless you have to.  But when you are in…  Go hard!

We are experts in the application of violence…We possess the mindset and will to do what is necessary…

Whatever you have to do.  Just find an excuse to WIN!

Prepare to win the fight!