Real Bad Guys Fight Back By Shay VanVlymen Simply put, there is no better tool for preparing to defend your life than Force on Force training. Scenario-based Force on Force (FoF) is the tie that binds your Mindset, tactics, skills together and teaches you to apply them under stress in realistic situations. FoF allows you the chance to have multiple “do-overs” in a safe environment when the consequences of a comparable outcome on the street would mean your death, serious bodily injury or legal jeopardy. Properly constructed scenario-based training exercises emphasize good decision-making. Did you stand and fight or move and fight? Did you remember to scan after dealing with the initial attacker or did you get shot in the back by his friend? Did you get your gun out when you should have left it holstered or worse yet, did you leave it in the holster when you should have drawn? Good decision-making is the foundation of good defense. It matters much more than simple marksmanship, what gear you own, or what caliber you carry. Yes, you need to be able to hit your target quickly and accurately, but shooting smaller and smaller groups or shaving .02 seconds off your split times is time, effort, and money that could be better devoted to putting yourself into training scenarios that will help you know when to shoot someone and - just as importantly - when not to. One aspect of FoF training that trumps live-fire training on a 180-degree range is the fact that it mimics the true 360-degree reality of the real world. Awareness, movement, scanning, and safe gun handling all become painfully important when an assailant can attack from any direction. This positively destroys the fallacies of the firing line, a “downrange” safe muzzle direction, and targets that are static or moving predictably and always squared up to you. Another major difference between shooting cardboard targets and interacting with role players is that moving, reacting, resisting opponents cause you to have to adapt and think while you fight rather than being able to stick to your pre-set plan. As Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan, until you punch them in the mouth!” Be honest. Are you cheating yourself and simply stroking your ego on the range by having targets that can never punch back? So why don’t more students enroll in Force on Force courses? Besides the general answer that the vast majority of gun owners will never put the resources toward their training that they should, the FoF specific answer to that question lies in basic human psychology. People have a natural tendency to want to do activities we know we do well. This leads to students training and practicing skills that boost their egos rather than placing themselves in training where they can (and will) make mistakes that will make them look stupid in front of instructors and their peers. But this is EXACTLY the reason why FoF training is critical. Accept the fact that you will make serious mistakes in your first gunfight. The choice is yours: do you want to make them in a safe environment during a FoF scenario with a watchful instructor giving you advice and feedback, or on the street where the consequences of a bad decision will get you killed or jailed for a lengthy prison term? Far too many students fall into the trap of sharpening their marksmanship skills ad nauseum at the expense of tactics and Mindset training that will have much more of an impact on the positive outcome of a lethal force confrontation. Learn to set your ego aside and accept the fact that you WILL make mistakes and bad decisions. Embrace those bad decisions in training because they give you a chance to learn from and correct your mistakes. There is no better way to prep for your first (or next) real gun fight than to have 20 simulated gunfights already under your belt. Please remember that if you participate in any Force on Force training, formal or informal, you must adhere to the strict rule of no live weapons or ammunition near the training area. In the last few years far more students and instructors have died in training scenarios where there were supposed to have been no live guns than have died on the square range during live fire training. Be absolutely positive that all guns, ammo, blades, chemical and impact weapons are locked up before beginning. If you have never taken any formal firearms training please get off your ass and make it happen. Find a class and sign up. At this point you don’t know what you don’t know. If you have some formal live fire training but have never been a student in a scenario-based Force on Force class you need to step up to the next level. Be prepared to find out you aren’t as ready as you think you are.