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Death in the gaps of training


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  • Death in the gaps of training

    This is abridged from John Farnam's latest newsletter.

    Walt Frago and Skip Pence (Newhall) were killed in gaps.

    John Hanlon and Gordon McNeill (Miami) were seriously wounded during gaps, and Jerry Dove and Ben Grogan died in a gap in the same incident.

    Deputy Bradley Kapp was wounded and US Marshal Ken Muir was killed during gaps in the Posse Comitatus shootout.

    "25 Jan 06

    We 'die in the gaps.'

    At the recent ASLET Conference, my esteemed colleague, Phil Messina, in teaching a class on retention and disarms, pointed out to students that techniques often fail, because inadequately trained practitioners 'die in the gaps.'

    That is, when they link together a series of psycho-motor subroutines into a full technique, the seams remain. Their execution is intermittent, hesitant. They dither in the seams and thus give opponents opportunities to exploit delays. Accordingly, Phil stressed the importance of constantly practicing and testing each technique, until the seams all disappear.

    ... poor technique will, of its own accord, quickly become disreputable and fall out of favor when it is regularly exercised, tested, and found wanting. So, how is it that inferior techniques not only refuse to die but, in fact, garner a stubborn, self-righteous following among the uninformed and unsophisticated?

    The answer is that too many of us don't live the Art.

    We just talk about it. We can talk ourselves into anything, so long as no one calls our bluff! When one does not carry guns (and blades) every day, does not shoot regularly, does not handle loaded guns daily, does not exercise his fighting skills routinely, does not relentlessly improve his routine through his own practical experience, most of his knowledge base is just conjecture, and he will predictably 'die in the gaps' during a real fight.

    ... we must commit ourselves to personally living the Art every day, not merely performing lip service.

    Those of us who teach and enlighten must never become delinquent in this regard. Let it not be said of us, that our students 'died in the gaps.'


    I think that was well stated.

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