Sunday, November 02, 2008
Meditations on speed
This came to me in an e-mail. I'm pretty sure it's a real situation, but it could be staged -- either way, it's good fodder for mental exercise.
There is an old saying in gunfighting: "Slow is smooth; smooth is fast."
This is a short, easily-remembered way to express the thought that in complicated series of actions, speed comes from efficiently moving through the series, rather than doing each individual motion as quickly as possible. Another, more esoteric, saying is that: "Slow is smooth, fast is sloppy."
Gentle Readers, the speed, the quickness in motion that is the hallmark of the truly fast actions required in high-stress situations -- is a product of adrenaline boosting actions that are already fluid and efficient.
When the endorphin dump of your body's fight-or-flight reactions hits your bloodstream, three thousand repetitions of a turtle-smooth, yet smooth, drawstroke will become a very fast drawstroke.
When the endorphin dump of your body's fight-or-flight reactions hits your bloodstream, three thousand repetitions of your quick-draw-McGraw, maybe-a-bit-sloppy drawstroke will result in your pistol flying across the room.
Smooth in practice gets you fast in combat.
"But, LawDog," I hear you say, "What has that got to do with the video above?"
Much of what is true for gunfighting is also true for the Rest Of Life. Smooth practice to achieve fast actions applies to driving, running errands -- or approaching a bank robbery.
The video above shows several officers getting to a bank robbery in progress as fast as possible -- and sprinting right past a car-load of critters in the process.
Remember what I said about fast being sloppy? If the department shown above is anything like any of the ones I've worked for, training for this sort of thing is always done full-bore, "To get the proper sense of urgency."
Getting there first doesn't do you a whole lot of good if you're going to run right past a back-shooting critter.
A walking approach during training gives you time to impress other things upon your trainees minds: awareness of cover, awareness of extra exits, awareness of bystanders, that sort of thing. Repeating this slow training approach works these other, sort of important, things into psyches -- then, when the blitz of adrenaline hits and the trainees are hauling tail, their minds and eyes will be doing what was impressed into them.
"But, LawDog, I'm a CCW, not a cop. I'm not going to be responding to bank robberies."
Given that terrorism isn't going away any time soon, I'd not bet the ranch on that, but that's a discussion for another time.
Any CCW should be practising for home invasions; those who own vehicles should be practising carjacking drills; if you work in an office, office shooter drills -- all these and more.
Run your drills slowly -- don't be afraid to use AirSoft guns -- concentrate on making each move of your drill smooth and efficient, make each action flow into the next -- and when things go all pear-shaped, the adrenaline will make those efficient moves more than fast enough for your needs.