Women’s Self Defense Seminar

Published on 26 May 2010 by in Uncategorized


My good friend Sensei Victor Young is holding another Women’s Self Defense Seminar.
Saturday June 26 from 1-5 PM
The fee is only $80
It will be held at the Camarillo Shotokan Karate Center 1330 Flynn Road Camarillo CA 93012

Contact Victor at 805-482-0307

[email protected]

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10 Critical Habits for Winning a Gunfight

Published on 18 February 2010 by in Uncategorized


After wrapping up a recent  training day in which students encountered role-players in increasingly complex shoot / don’t shoot situations — in both on-duty and off-duty settings — Farnam reflected on what he most often sees trainees learning from such scenario experiences.

“There are certain lessons students report over and over again.” In his mind, these comprise critical habits you need to develop and continually drill in order to win on that fateful day when you face a determined armed adversary for real.

1. Keep Your Head Up
“Officers often say an attack ‘came out of nowhere,’ ” Farnam says. “No, it didn’t. They probably had their head down and missed seeing danger cues, and the assailant was just waiting for that distraction.

“When you’re in public, whether you’re on duty or off duty, you’re in a dangerous place. You need your eyes up, watching other people and what they’re doing. Notice details. Look to each side and behind you.

Farnam says that in his training shootouts, “if something unexpected happens, like a stoppage or running out of ammunition, many officers plant their feet in cement and gawk down at their gun. That seems to be very natural but it’s also very lethal.

“You need to practice in the dark so you can smoothly do everything that’s necessary to keep a gun functional without having to look at it. Your eyes should be busy feeding you information, not tracking your fingers.”

2. Learn to Identify What’s Significant
“As you work your shift or move through your daily life off-duty, you’re bombarded by visual and aural input,” Farnam says. “Most of this information is worthless distraction. Some of it may be interesting, but not important.

“What you need to know when you’re out in the world is what affects your safety and your continued existence. Develop the habit of paying attention to things you may have to react to quickly. Distinguish the significant from the insignificant. You want to perceive as far in advance as you can anything that might represent a threat so you can alter your behavior to protect your best interests.”

3. See with Honest Eyes
“Developing the skill to rapidly size up threatening situations is important,” Farnam says, “but the key is then having the courage to admit the facts even when you don’t like them.”

In his scenarios, as on the street, “denial is often a problem. Officers may see danger signs compounding but they don’t want to confront what they’re seeing. So they make excuses in their mind: ‘Yeah, this looks bad but it isn’t, really,’ because they don’t want it to be.”

Sometimes denial and delay are rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature, Farnam believes. “Take a scenario in which an officer confronts a bad guy who’s with his family. The officer may not face up to pre-attack behavior exhibited by the suspect, thinking he wouldn’t try anything because he’s with his wife and kids. In truth, suspects are likely to be more dangerous in that circumstance because by backing down they risk embarrassing humiliation in front of people who are important to them. The same with a gangbanger who’s with a group of his peers versus one who’s alone when you stop him.”

Farnam says that you “need to avoid imitating an alcoholic, pretending reality isn’t true, and face the situation squarely, whatever the circumstances.”

4. Have a Plan
“You view the world through a filter that’s composed of your collective life experiences,” Farnam says. “The more diverse your experiences, the more sophisticated you’re likely to be in analyzing and reacting to what you see.

“Extensive and varied scenario training, like real-life time on the street, adds to that diversity. The more exposure you have, the more likely you are to recognize a potential threat situation and relate it to something you’ve already confronted and controlled in the past. You’ll have a greater sense for what will work and what won’t, based on previous results.

“You can’t lock in to a detailed plan from start to finish, and you should not expect that whatever you do will be perfect. Aggressive action is far more important than perfection. But you should have in mind at least the beginning of what you will do — a starting point — when things go bad with any contact. Rehearse potential responses in your actual training and in your imagination as you patrol.

“Having ‘When/Then’ options in mind is critical. Your worst enemy is dithering — not knowing what to do because you haven’t thought about it. Don’t depend on making up a blueprint as things are going to hell. The action may unfold so fast you can’t keep up with it. The creative part of your brain will shut down under the sudden stress load, and you’ll be forced to rely on what you’ve already practiced and embedded.”

5. Avoid “Cerebral Fibrillation”
That’s Farnam’s term for panic. “It doesn’t take much for most of us to become overwhelmed,” he observes. “During World War II, many soldiers froze up or didn’t shoot at all in combat. Or they fired into the air with ‘comfort shots’ — making themselves feel ‘comfortable’ by making their gun go off.

“Scenario exercises that are progressively more difficult can help you learn to flow through your plan, moving smoothly from whatever you’re doing to what you need to do next to stay ahead of a developing situation.”

And keep breathing! That’s another important discipline you can develop through repeated scenario training. “Holding your breath is a part of panic,” Farnam says. “When you don’t keep oxygen flowing to your brain, you can’t think clearly.”

6. Stay in Motion
Stopping and standing still is a frequent reaction to scenario attacks, Farnam reports — “just the opposite of what’s desirable.” To maximize his chances of a successful attack, “a predator needs to get you stopped in a particular place. The longer you stay in one spot, the more likely his plan will progress to completion.

“Get off the X. When you sense danger, move laterally to the threat. When you move forward or backward in a straight line, your relative positioning doesn’t really change.

“Keep moving until you’re behind cover, when it’s available. Your moving will cause your attacker to continually reset his plan and keep you harder to hit.

“If you’re driving when attacked, stay in motion. Don’t stop. Bullet penetration is much less likely when a vehicle is moving.”

7. Actually Use Cover
Many times in his scenarios, Farnam says, he sees officers “stand right next to cover and fire from there” without ever moving behind it, where they’d get some actual protection. “Standing beside a tree is common,” he says.

“Always be conscious of your nearest cover possibility. That means something that’s big enough to allow most of you to get behind it and stout enough to stop bullets, particularly lower-caliber handgun bullets, which you’re most likely to encounter. They’re stopped by a good many common items, from utility poles to kitchen appliances. Refrigerators, for instance, have multiple layers of construction, and bullets tend to break up as they go through the layers.”

When nothing better is available, getting behind even something that probably wouldn’t impede most ammunition — like a stuffed sofa, say — may be superior to standing stock still in the open. “Attackers usually will try to shoot around any obstacle rather than through it,” Farnam explains. “If the bad guy hesitates to shoot because he thinks you’re behind cover, then it is cover in his mind.

“Your goal is always to present your adversary with a more difficult target, without compromising your ability to defend yourself.”

8. Fight Through “Speed Bumps”
In scenarios, Farnam sees officers needlessly “turn solvable problems into Mt. Everest. Running out of ammunition, stoppages, being wounded — they’re all just speed bumps. Get over or around them quickly and move on.

“People tend to make more of problems than they actually are. Don’t spend time looking for excuses to lose. Get out of self-defeating thinking and focus on ways to win! Outcomes are often determined by who gives up first.”

9. Maintain the Offensive and Finish the Fight
“To win, you have to overwhelm the suspect with so much precise force that he can’t deal with it and he is defeated. You eliminate his options until he has none left but surrender,” Farnam says.

“Often this can be done without a shot being fired. That’s the ideal. Establish control early on. Don’t hesitate in applying your best justifiable force option to shut down resistance fast. Agencies that properly designate the TASER by policy as a low-level force tool give their officers a great advantage and usually end up protecting officers and suspects alike from serious injury.

“Once you seize the offensive, don’t give it up. Stay in control and carry through to completion. You don’t want a protracted give-and-take battle. The longer resistance goes on, the likelier you are to get injured. Pitched battles make great novels, but they’re lousy police procedure.

“When things go well and the suspect appears to be cooperating, officers tend to slack off, relieved. Actually, this can be the most dangerous time. Don’t drop your guard. A strong finish is as important as a strong start.”

10. Reinforce Rigorously
“Drilling in good tactics through scenario training is not an entertainment enterprise,” Farnam says. “Done right, it’s arduous, it’s challenging, it’s sometimes frustrating—it’s work. But regular, repeated rehearsal is the core component of warrior performance. When your life is on the line, it’s the habits you’ve cultivated that make will the difference.”

John Farnam is a nationally-known firearms trainer who is fond of saying, “We learn more from our failures than from our successes.” And that’s why he’s a strong proponent of live-action scenario training that incorporates simulated ammunition. When you fail to use good tactics, you get slammed with sham rounds that punctuate your mistake and teach you not to make it again, especially in a genuine gunfight.

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21st Century deadly force training for police
by Dick Fairburn

Conventional marksmanship training has little to do with winning a gunfight!

We are a full decade into a new century, but the way we train police officers to employ deadly force is no different than we did a decade before the 21st century began. According to FBI statistics, 80 percent of officers killed each year in gunfights die at seven yards or less, a figure little changed in the past 30 years. Officers routinely score 100 percent at the seven yard line on the training range, but in gunfights far more than 50 percent of the bullets they fire miss the target. The low hit rate scored by police officers on the street is not a marksmanship problem.

One large agency’s officers scored a gunfight hit rate of just 11 percent during a 10-year period I analyzed. That’s a staggering statistic, but another number was even more shocking. Though the sample was admittedly small, the bad guys in those incidents also scored an 11 percent hit rate.

Their Academy Commander summed it up perfectly: “My officers get a hundred hours of firearms training in the academy and quarterly qualifications thereafter, but are hitting at the same rate as felons with no formal training? We should save all the ammunition, because our training program seems to be worthless!”

In the late 1990s that agency’s training program still encouraged one-hand, slow-fire, bull’s-eye target shooting at the 25-yard line. After all, if an officer can shoot tight groups at 25 yards, they can easily handle a gunfight at 10 feet, right? Wrong! (89 percent of the time.)

A raw shooter can be scoring 100 percent at seven yards by the end of the first day of training. But, at least with that one police agency, upping the training time to nearly three weeks only produced 11 percent hits on the street. Recently released data on the gunfight hit rate of officers in the New York City and Los Angeles Police Departments mirror what I found in the mid-west. During a gunfight, about 25 percent of the shots fired by their officers hit their intended target.

Most programs “train to the test,” meaning they practice the skills necessary to fire a passing score on the qualification course. Many qualification tests are an adaptation of the old Practical Pistol Course. Many agencies are training to a “test” that has no similarity whatsoever to a police gunfight.

We need to prepare officers for the next gunfight, not the next competitive shooting match. We must train deadly force in a manner that will ensure officers pass the real test — winning a gunfight at 20 feet, not punching tight groups at 15-25 yards. Taking the “top shooter” award in your training class is cool, but winning your first gunfight is way cooler.

A training program which emphasizes the management of combat stress, without any marksmanship training, would create a better gunfighter than any program based solely on conventional marksmanship training. If they can master stress, even a below average marksman will score hits and win most pistol confrontations. If they master combat stress, marksmanship may prove to be a minor part of the gunfight equation. If they can’t master stress, even the very best marksman may miss — and die.

The only pre-gunfight way to gain combat “experience” is through Reality-Based Training (RBT). I’m not suggesting we ignore the development of marksmanship skills. Instead, we need to develop and test an officer’s marksmanship skills against interactive threats, not paper images on a shooting range. Once trainees can reliably hit paper targets out to seven yards and load/function/clear their sidearm, we should pit them against stressful computer simulators and human adversaries in RBT scenarios using paint munitions. Only when a trainee can deliver 80 percent hits — under stress, against live hostile targets, while on the move at between five and 25 feet — should we return to the live-ammunition range to develop more refined marksmanship skills.

Talk all you like about one of the rare 25-yard shots that have been made by pistol-armed officers, but, we still shoot poorly on the street and merely training more of the same won’t change that fact. If we never get back to the range to develop pistol shooting skills at 15-25 yards, so be it! That’s why all cops should have patrol rifles. With rifles, we can develop higher marksmanship skills, building upon the true gunfighting skills they learn with their pistols in the RBT scenarios.

Dick Fairburn has had more than 26 years of law enforcement experience in both Illinois and Wyoming. He has worked patrol, investigations and administration assignments. Dick has also served as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst, and as the Section Chief of a major academy’s Firearms Training Unit and Critical Incident Training program. He has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. He has published hundreds of articles and a book titled, Police Rifles

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29 Oct 09

Three off-duty, OIS (Officer-Involved Shootings), fatal and near-fatal, in
NY, from a friend in the area:

“Three off-duty police officers, wearing plain clothes, fatally gunned-down
 knife, and bat-wielding attackers in three, separate cases last Tuesday.

Two officers fired their pistols at close range during separate car-jacking
 attempts.  “… car-jackers selected their victims most unwisely,” wryly
commented a police spokesman.   Suspects in both cases were DRT.

Later the same day, two suspects, armed with baseball bats, assaulted a
detective as he was vacuuming his personal vehicle at a local car wash.  In
the ensuing gunfire, one suspect, struck multiple times, was DRT.  The  other
fled, but was apprehended by responding officers a short time  later.”

Comment:  In all three cases, “victims” emerged victorious and  unharmed,
not because they happen to be LEOs, but because they were armed,  trained,
and eminently willing to defend their own lives with precision  gunfire.

Result: Three officers, none-the-worse for wear, three VCAs who will never
commit another violent crime (nor any kind of crime for that matter), and
one  VCA under arrest.

What’s not to like?

The only ones “disturbed” by this kind of happy outcome are liberal
politicians, who live for the creation of victims who will “need’  them!

The lesson here for the rest of us is: Always be  armed, because you can’t
know when the Test will come.  The chronically  unprepared have no right to
complain about perpetual “victim” status.

Once more: When it’s least expected, you’re elected!

John Farnam

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WA Incident: from John Farnam

Published on 01 December 2009 by in TACFIRE


1 Dec 09

WA Incident:

The motive of the suspect who murdered four police officer in WA last
Sunday morning is unclear.  It is also unclear whether or not the  perpetrator
targeted police officers in general, or these officers in  particular.

Nor am I speculating that this incident necessarily represents a new
trend.  And, as the prime suspect was shot to death by police early this
morning, we may never have answers to these questions.

What is clear is the fact that it was well known that unformed patrol
officers routinely congregated at this particular restaurant, at a particular
time, on a regular basis.

As a response, I’m suggesting all LEOs, in uniform or not, immediately
reevaluate routines and procedures!

Reminders that follow are, I know, elementary and obvious, but they need
repeating now:

(1) Vary your “routine.”  When someone knows for sure that you will be  in
a particular place, at a particular time, planning an ambush becomes  easy.
We have to continuously practice stealth and variance.  It goes  with the
territory.  Do the unexpected.  Don’t be predictable!

(2) When several officers are gathered together, be it at a restaurant or
at roll-call, like a designated-driver, someone needs to be always “on
watch.”  Of course, we all need to be alert, but at least one of us needs  to be
specifically assigned to keep his head up.  Subtle alert signals need  to
be worked out between us and routinely rehearsed, so we can all react
quickly, and in a coordinated way, when necessary.

(3) Don’t keep thinking of yourself as the exception!  Belief in  ”
guardian-angles” is for children.  You do not carry pistols in vain, and  you bleed
red blood, just like everyone else.  When your number is up, only  you can
save yourself.  Recommit yourself to continuous readiness, or do  something
else for a living!

(4) Appearances only go so far. The brazen act of attacking four,
uniformed, armed police officers simultaneously is unusual, but we see that it  does
happen.  Appearances detour much criminal activity every day, but  there
are plenty of genuine desperados running loose who are not impressed with
uniforms and are unafraid to take you on.  Again, be ever prepared to go  all
the way!


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