The Complete Arsenal – A Concept
We have all heard the old slogan, “Be the Best That You Can Be”. Slogans tend to get tired and worn out, but still, there is often truth in them otherwise they would not be chosen.
When it comes to the world of personal combat we can take that old slogan and apply it to our own development as warriors and fighters.
And before we get into the “I am not a warrior” mentality, when you are fighting for your life of your loved, you are exactly that. If you think of yourself as anything else, you will lose the fight.
The Complete Arsenal is not for the Lowest Common Denominator types, the conscript cops or gun-centric shooters who spend their days in sloth, relying on hardware to save the day.
Yes, such people have value as people, and they do in fact need to know this, but it is their job to pay the price for development. That price is discipline and time. The knowledge is already out there.
The Complete Arsenal is made up of several components. The more components you have a mastery of, the higher your survivability in any given circumstance.
Since we don’t know specifically what a given confrontation will be like, we must train for as many varied possibilities as we can, keeping reality in mind.
Develop and Attitude
Attitude encompasses alertness, willingness to act, and the ability to read a situation. Simply put, if you can avoid being surprised or ambushed, the better for you.
While you can’t be alert 24/7/365, you certainly want to try to be aware of who and what is around you. But beyond that, you want to be able to read and evaluate a situation.
You must be able to profile people you come into contact with and categorize them tactically by their appearance, attitude, and physical actions.
Attitude also has to do with your mental and spiritual readiness to do battle. I have seen guys who wore all the right tactical clothes and who scored great on PT tests and qualification courses, turn into big chickens the moment they were presented with a true unavoidable fight.
Your readiness or willingness is made up of knowing what is happening, conviction about what is right, and an understanding of the rules of engagement.
Do not get bogged down in the legalities of the situation. There are people who are so concerned about getting into trouble with the law they fail to act, even though they know they should.
I have an acquaintance that carried a pistol 24/7/365. He came home one day to see his wife being raped by an intruder.
The intruder was younger, stronger and armed with a knife. My friend drew his pistol and began challenging him verbally as the bad guy closed in knife raised.
The intruder stabbed him multiple times and made his escape without incurring any injury at all from gunfire. In fact, my friend didn’t fire a shot.
My friend could not bring himself to shoot because of fear of the legal system that had been drummed into his head from ill-advised training.
You must win the fight. If you get sued and lose everything, you can regain all of it one day, but you will be alive to do it.
If they put you in jail, you will get out one day, which you cannot do if you are buried in a cemetery.
From running countless force on force drills we know that being preemptive is far better than being reactive. To be preemptive you need awareness of the situation and the willingness to act upon what you see.
Having an attitude doesn’t mean you strut around in your SEAL t-shirt and 5.11 pants looking for someone to beat on. Quite to the contrary, low profile is best because avoiding a fight is better than winning one.
That being said, you want to be specifically deselected by the bad guys because they are profiling you as well.
If you appear to be looking for a fight, someone will take you up on it. Conversely, if you look like Mr. Rogers on his way to the quilting bee, someone will select you as a high return/low risk target.
Low profile, but potentially dangerous is the look you want. The bad guy wants to get paid. He will choose the easiest pay check. If you body language reads “dangerous target/low likelihood of success”, bad guys will choose someone else.
It is important to have avoidance tactics in case they still persist in choosing you.
Much study can be done by reading Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense, as well as (ever so humbly mentioned) my own Combative Perspective.
Develop Fighting Ability
Without fighting ability, your attitude is an un-cashable check. Fighting ability includes all manner of skills and weapons. The complete arsenal concept would have us look at it in this way – Seek to develop as many skill sets and fighting attributes as your physical state will realistically allow at all likely distance intervals.
While on the topic of distance intervals I want to point out one gun school silliness we hear of all the time. That is to think that you will always be able to stay at stand off distance from an adversary and avoid needing to use anything other than your marksmanship skills.
In a perfect would this would be true, but in real life it is impossible to guarantee.
This means that an able-bodied man should be able to fight with his pistol or rifle at any distance interval likely to be faced from the ballistic limits of the weapon to a face-to-face fight at kissing distance.
He should be able to fight with support weapons such as chemical sprays, knives, and sticks, and he should be able to integrate them into the fight. He should be able to fight with improvised weapons, or weapons of opportunity such as any sharp object or any heavy object.
Finally, he should be able to fight with his hands and feet at kicking and punching range, as well as grappling and ground fighting range. As well, he should be able to transition to weapons at these and any other distance or force interval.
The complete arsenal includes physical conditioning and attribute development such as physical strength, cardio vascular aerobic training, and agility drills.
Now obviously not everyone can be a totally complete fighter. God knows I am not, but we do the best we can.
I cannot ask a student who walks with a cane and has a heart condition to burn out 50 burpees, or ground fight with me for a couple of rounds.
But he can take a true evaluation of his true ability and come up with answers to the combat tasks that he may have to face. The fight will be what the fight will be without any regard for what you can or cannot do physically.
Your job is to have an answer to each task you are presented to solve. The fewer answers you have, the more danger you are in. Simple. But the bright side is that you are only limited by your creativity and tenacity.
For example, I have a student who graduated our Interactive Gun fighting class. He impressed the hell out of me. Why? He is in a motorized wheel chair and only has one hand that works.
I can’t teach a guy like that like I would teach a CrossFit Trained, 25 year old, Recon Marine. What did we do – we took an honest accounting of what he could do.
We found out he could maneuver the chair’s controls faster than an adversary could close on him. Great. Roll away, get some distance and then shoot him to the ground.
He pulled it off on Tueller Drills and scenario drills to the admiration of his peers in class. His arsenal is comparatively smaller than other students, but he knows this and compensates for it. Be the best you can be translates as “Develop as many fighting attributes as you can”.
Develop Applicable Tactics
There is much more to tactics than clearing a house. A very alert person who is a great fighter will still lose if he uses poor tactics in the fight. Tactics get you into position so you can use your best attributes up front at the start of the fight.
Tactics also help you avoid the fight altogether.
A great deal of work has been done on the pre-fight area by men like Southnarc.
Learn how to present a difficult and costly target while being alert to the situation around you. Know what to say and what not to say.
Know how to place your hands to send the right message but also be able to transition immediately to weapons access or empty hand strikes.
This is essential knowledge that anyone can profit from, regardless of physical state.
So develop as many fighting skill sets as you can. Develop as complete an arsenal as you can. When your final exam comes to you, the more you have, the better you will do.