Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Pay Attention

We are visually oriented creatures. We rely on our eyesight to tell us what is going in the world around us. When I see something that I don’t like the looks of, a sudden movement in the shadows, I begin formulating my response in advance, with avoidance and escape at the top of my list of options. If I’m forced to fight then I’m looking for objects that can be used for cover, or what direction I need to be moving, where my family/friends/partners are, and if there are additional threats.

Since we rely on our vision so much, often times we tend to neglect our other senses. Sound, for example, is very critical, and often times a problem since one of the things almost everyone experiences under stress is auditory exclusion, which means our brain stops registering the sounds our ears pick up. Hearing is extremely important in a confrontation. I need to hear if someone is running up from behind; it may be someone trying to help, or it could be another threat. When working with armed partners it’s critical to be able to communicate with them, which means listening to what they say. So we need to work on our listening skills, not in a new age touchy feely way, but as an important fighting sense.

Our sense of feel is also important. For example if you shoot the same semi-auto pistol for long enough eventually you’ll get to the point where you can actually feel the slide lock back on an empty magazine. When I feel that slide lock to the rear that means I can already start my reloading sequence, as opposed to waiting to press the trigger and then noting that the slide is out of battery. I feel vibrations coming up from the floor, at a time when my house is supposed to be empty. Maybe Gretchen has come home earlier than expected, or it could be a potential problem. (Sometimes those two might be the same but you get what I’m talking about.)

Your sense of smell is also worth paying attention to. If you spend enough time in the woods you get to where you can smell snakes, and other critters romping around the forrest. The chemicals for cooking meth have a distinct smell, and since they can be explosive that might be a good reason not to fire off your 12 ga. “dragon’s breath” flame throwing shell you’ve got chambered. For those who don’t spend a lot of time in big cities, you’ll discover there are a lot of people that you smell before seeing them.

Defeating your opponent(s) is about assessing the situation, quickly, formulating a plan of response, in a short amount of time, and then implementing your actions, forcefully. Victory comes from paying attention to all of your senses, and that includes your “gut” feelings as well. To register what your senses are telling you in a fight can be difficult because of our body’s natural to trouble. Pay attention to everything, focus on nothing, and win.


February 13, 2011 - Posted by | Defensive Mindset, General Training

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