Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tactics and Strategies

Ernest Emerson has spent a lot of time thinking about fighting.  He has a few thoughts he’s willing to share.  Well, more than a few.  He’s written 4 books on the subject.  He doesn’t want to teach you a specific technique or combinations of techniques (…Grasshopper, block left with little-dragon-flips-his-tail followed by right needle-to-sea-bottom…) but the ideas involved with conflict.

To a large degree these ideas change only slightly depending on the tools you’re using, gun, knife or three-sectional staff.  The manipulations of each of these tools is different, but abstract concepts of How? Where? Why? have more in common than you might think.

Here’s a few ideas from Ernie’s presentation at the 2015 BLADE Show.


Ernest Emerson address at BLADE Show
Ernie Addresses a packed room.


Why should we study fighting and conflict?  Let’s jump in here. 

It really doesn’t take much effort to look around and realize that America is experiencing a violent time.  Look at the news sources.  It seems not five minutes goes by without someone being involved with an act of physical violence.

Police, politicians and the NRA will tell you the murder rate is down for reasons they espouse.  Emergency room doctors will tell you the real reason.  They are much better and saving critically injured people.  Unfortunately, we don’t track attempted murder rates which would give us insight into murders prevented by medical technology and the actual rate of violence.

Unfortunately, police will always be reactionary, and that’s a good thing.  Remember Minority Report?  Thought police arrested people based on predictions that they will presently commit a crime.  What a wacked out society that would be.  Not for me or you, I hope.

So that leaves our safety in our hands.

Here’s the top view, the god’s overview:

  • There must be plan to deal with the occurrence/event, whatever it is.
  • All strategies flow from the plan
  • Tactics flow from strategies
  • The plan has a goal and all efforts, techniques and tactics must support the goal.


Sounds like Zen crap?  Let’s try an example.

You’re driving home in a relatively desolate area in the country and you get a flat tire.  Here’s your plan: to get home.

What’s your strategy?  You might have three.
  • Replace the tire.
  • Get a ride.
  • Walk.


Tactics to bring your strategy to fulfillment and accomplish the goal are:
  • Call AAA.  
  • Call a friend. 
  • Change the tire.
  • Thumb a ride. 
  • Walk. 


Each of these tactics has advantages and disadvantages.  The advantages are easy to see, You get help to get home.  But some of them will not work for you because you didn’t put them in place before you needed them: 
  • Oops, no membership in AAA.
  • Damm, no cell service. 
  • I forgot to charge the battery last night.
  • Don’t know how to change a tire.
  • The spare is flat.
  • No traffic and let us not mention who might stop to pick you up.
  • Wrong shoes to walk in, it’s raining, it’s too far, bad weather, dark too soon, and so forth.


Proper planning will anticipate some of these problems.  You buy membership in AAA each year; you’ll know how to change your flat and your cell phone is charged.

Maybe it is Zen after all.  The flat tire flows into a call to AAA, which reveals a dead cell phone which flows into changing the flat yourself, which gets you home.

The same for self-defense.  You anticipate darkness with a flashlight.  You believe danger is in an alley and go around.  You’ll see the VCA stalk/approach and check if a second one is blindsiding you. 

Clearly this isn’t a complete list.  But the idea is to realize that we must study our options and develop skills with the tools.  The skill might be AAA membership and a charged cell phone, or it night be judicial use of deadly force.

So while you’re thinking of this, add this test question to your training and actions.  Does my behavior/activity support my goal?  If not, change your activity because you never want to:
  1. Do anything that is useless.
  2. Never do anything without a purpose.

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