Real Combat is Raw

Image provided courtesy of Jan Sochor (copyright)

Real combat on the streets and inside the homes today is quite Raw. It is very real, there are very serious consequences and it often involves at least one party who just doesn't care about the other person at all.

The Streets and the Battlefield

Real combat on the streets today is different from combat on the battlefields of yesterday, as has been discussed in my post What is Low Tech Combat?

Combat on the battlefields of today involves 'high tech' weaponry and equipment.

'High Tech' combat on the modern battlefield is mostly (although not always) conducted at a distance where two opposing combatants are away from each other. There is space between them. They are not touching each other in any way. Sure, there may be grenades being thrown at the extreme but there is no contact. Again, not always, but mostly. By far.

Combat on the Streets is Extremely Close Range

Real Combat on the streets and inside homes happens at VERY close range. The two combatants will be touching each other, even forcibly applying forward pressure eye ball to eye ball. Eye balls will likely be wide open, almost on their stalks. These eye balls may even be gauged. Finger nails may be used. Screaming may emanate from one or more people. Strength may play a large part in the outcome of the engagement. And of course, large doses of adrenaline will be surging through the veins.

Some Typical Scenes from Extreme Close Combat

For information, much of what is discussed in this post stems from my studies of On KillingOn Combat and Training at the Speed of Life, Vol. 1 (Amazon links) and various other related books. There are typically some very real signs, symptoms and effects of being involved in such Raw, Low Tech Combat. Some of these are:

  1. Slow motion time
  2. Tunnel vision
  3. Abstract thoughts (I wonder if John will still be coming around to watch the football on the weekend)
  4. Auditory exclusion (You don't hear any noises at all during the encounter)
  5. Extremely high heart rate ( Above 200 beats per minute...)
  6. The body may receive severe trauma from an edged weapon
  7. Profuse sweating
  8. Loss of fine motor control
  9. There may be memory loss of portions of the encounter (Or even most or all of it)
  10. Trained moves will not be used, only instinctive reflex responses

Acceptance is Step 1

It sounds quite dramatic doesn't it. Many people refuse to acknowledge that these things will be experienced or felt by them. They feel that because they have done some training for a few years they are above all of this non-sense. This list is not exhaustive.

Unfortunately, all their training has done is get them comfortable with their training environment. As I have discussed previously, there are many many things which are vastly different between training and the real thing.

Replicate These in Your Training

It is vital to at least try to replicate some of these very real feelings in the gym, where your safety is ensured. By looking at some of the areas covered above we can begin to determine what we need to put ourselves through, in order to better prepare for very real, very raw, low tech combat.

  1. We need to feel and experience real pressure. You will definitely feel real pressure in the real thing. It is best to experience this in training first and understand how real pressure effects everything you do and how things such as Adrenaline Dump, Tunnel Vision and Loss of Fine Motor Control begins to creep in.
  2. We need to ensure we train at a high intensity. The encounter will likely be short. It may last up to 1 minute or so. Maybe more, maybe less. It will place great demands on the body. It will be all out max strength, max power, whatever you have.
  3. You WILL be using everything you have in your arsenal to survive and emerge the victor. So we must train that way. Anaerobic is the rule. High heart rates and max efforts. Leave the aerobic stuff to the triathletes.
  4. We need to ensure we go through new, unknown or foreign scenarios. Often, training can become routine. We turn up, get dressed, do a warm up, go through some techniques and then maybe spar or wrestle or whatever. This is not challenging stuff mentally. There is no new information that needs to be assimilated RAPIDLY. This will happen in the real thing.
  5. Rather quickly, decisions will have to be made such as, 'Should I leave?' 'How many of them are there really?' 'Who is the main threat?' 'What should I say?' 'Where is my main escape route and my alternate?' 'Can I or should I run right now?' You need to involve yourself in training in new drills or scenarios. Doing a good RBSD course is just one option.
  6. We need to only ever use gross motor movements. Simple really. Fine motor control won't be there when you need it. You can try this stuff under stress but it won't work or it has a very low likelihood of it working. Stay with the high percentages. Use only gross motor movements.
  7. We need only simple techniques that work. Nothing else. You want to react. You WILL react. Most likely that reaction will be sub conscious. You do not want a whole host of options to go through.
  8. Ensure that you only use moves that are the most simple you can find and model what is likely to happen during the startle-flinch response. The old masters and the new masters all say the same thing. Master the basics. Simplify simplify simplify!

Your Training Regime

Implementing these things into your training regime will be challenging. No doubt. But guess what? The real thing will be challenging too. We can not ignore the very raw, very real nature of Low Tech Combat.

Training using these above principles and incorporating them into our own way of conducting training can bridge that gap between the sterile training environment and the raw realities of real combat on today's streets and inside our homes.