21st Apr2012

Military Fitness and Movement Training

by A.J.

Military Fitness EntrySo There You Are…

(Video Below)

You just left the last covered and concealed position moving to the breach point. After a short pregnent pause your breacher has set the charge on the door and the commander has initiated the breach. If the clanking sound of all you equipment didn’t wake up the house you are pretty sure the water impulse charge packed with det chord and c-4 did. As you move through the smokey threshold where the door used to be you catch a look at the HVT (high value target) he looks at you as you look at his hands to see if you can end this operation with 5.56 millimeters of lead and hate, unarmed he turns and runs out the back and your team pursues. In his man-jamas he clears a 6 foot wall no problem the breacher stands on a planter and can clear the far side from where he is and you get the order to follow; what is going to get you over that wall? Your strength? your cardio? Is it something about you military fitness?

Military Fitness Has Three Major Parts

We have all talked about the compromise between cardio and strength training when we are trying to hone in our military fitness but, I think those are only two pieces of the puzzle and without the third you may be missing the boat. The third part of military fitness IMHO is movement training. Functional strength is all the rage these days and you can’t talk about fitness without someone saying “Crossfit” but the fact of the matter is you are never going to power clean on the battle field but, you may have to climb a wall or pull yourself out of a burning humvee. This is not a hit on functional training which is super important, but if you have a greater respect for movement training when you are done reading this post and watching the video (below) I think you will have gained something for your time.

Military Fitness Chart

Military Fitness and Movement

As you see here for military tasks it was the finding of this group that mobility was of the highest priority

 

The term Mobility refers to your ability to move your body and negotiate it in space and time I like the term movement better because for me mobility means driving.

What is Movement Training for Military Fitness?

Movement training should contain bodyweight drills like push-ups and pull ups, but a regimen in movement training like you will get from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Yoga can not be replaced. Obstacle courses can also offer a huge training value for movement but,  it can be difficult to get out to a real obstacle course often enough to get some advantage from it. You can train your movement and agility just using your environment from trees and walls. The video below was built to give an example of some functional movement training while adding a specific technique to clear walls for CQB and CQC.

In the above video it is clear that strength and cardio is much less emphasized and in its place is flexibility, agility and technique to accomplish the task. By having the movement skill to get over the wall you require much less energy and strength plus as a bonus you can keep a lower silhouette that provides a much smaller target to the enemy than a very difficult press up would make.

Thanks For Stopping By

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17th Mar2012

The Principles of CQB

by A.J.

Speed, Surprise, Violence of Action

Lately we have been taking a look at CQB to try to educate/review some of the basic premises for military operators and tactical athletes. We decided to make a post dedicated to the most basic parts of CQB so in future installments we could delve deeper and not have to catch guys up as we go. This post will seem pretty basic to some of the people out there but, I think a review can do everyone some good sometimes. To win at CQB there are three pillars or principles that should be adhered to. The three pillars of CQB are of course:

1. Speed

2. Surprise

3. Violence of Action

 

Why discuss the  Principals of CQB?

CQB

I am not really sure why a team would want to be this close. How easy do you think it is to "sneak" 8 guys up to a breach point in the day time. If they were moving fast they should have no time to get ducks in a row. What is the number one man waiting for? Plus the last man is covering where they came from instead of the threat corner.

There is some confusion about the three principles and to be honest There isn’t a lot of consensus about what is the exact best way to apply these pillars. Police  tend to have their own play book and the military guys another but, that being said there are definitely places where we meet in the middle. I am going to give you my take on it and as usual I am going to make the disclaimer that these are only the opinions of the TacticalAthleticPerformance.com advisory board and you have to make the determination for your team what is right for you.

Speed

Speed is probably the most misunderstood principal because it does not mean an operator must run from one point in the objective to the next. Speed is a nuanced idea that the team should waste no time and give the enemy as little time as possible to prepare for the assault team. Recently, I was training with a long time friend of mine whose tactical prowess I respect a great deal and when we were doing some training he said: “well let’s just start off real slow, and back it off from there.” The quote really stuck with me because it showed a great deal of insight into CQB training and execution. Often times we get so excited and adrenaline overloaded that we tend to move way too fast and get ahead of our headlights, which in the long run slows the operation.

 ”Slow is smooth, smooth is fast”

                                           -every tactical instructor on earth

CQC Thailand

A couple years ago I was training the Thai Special Forces, and when I said "speed" they heard "run." I remember this hit not going so well. LOL

The reality (or at least how we see it) is that slow can be smooth and smooth can be fast, but slow isn’t fast. I recently looked up whether slow was defined as fast and for some reason Mr. Webster didn’t think so. Speed is the end goal, not “FAST”, now this may be a semantic argument but, the principles aren’t: fast, surprise and violence of action; so my suggestion is to just get fast out of your vocabulary (fast happens all on its own). Speed on the other hand is a product of the economy of motion. By moving smoothly and deliberately you will be able to clear an objective much more quickly and efficiently than you could by running through the objective, blowing off threats and generally acting like a spaz (which is my personal pet peeve). A deliberate (not to be confused with deliberate technique) approach that has good economy of motion will maintain the initiative and give the enemy less opportunity to prepare for the assault team. So if you get anything out of this section it would be that your team needs to be methodical, masterful and economical; which will provide all the “speed” you need.

 

Surprise

I know we have all seen the movies where the SWAT team simultaneously breaches every window of a building by repelling off the roof and putting an officer in a circular perimeter around the inside of the room before the enemy knows what is going on. Aside from the fact that I am not a fan of the circular ambush, the principal of surprise is definitely a big part of the hollywood infil and for good reason. When you are able to surprise the opposition force you can get ahead of their internal decision-making process, which many people describe as the OODA loop. The OODA loop which was first described by Col. Boyd of the U.S. Air Force is the theoretical decision-making process that we all must use before we carry out an action. Observe, Orient, Decide and Act is a constantly moving process the enemy must make to engage your assault force and by surprising the op-4 (opposition force) you can short-circuit the process and gain great advantage. Once we agree that surprise is important we then need to develop a plan that gives us the ability to maintain surprise and though I am not including an exhaustive list we can hit some of the big stuff.

When your team gets to decide what time to attack be sure to use a time that gives you the biggest advantage (and is when the enemy is the least alert). If you know the lights in a target turn off at a certain time I would suggest hitting that target about 45-70 minutes later which gives your enemy an opportunity to not only get to sleep but, to enter the deepest most restful sleep from which he will be the most disoriented when woke up. One problem with night-time is that it generally makes it more difficult to approach the target without being heard ( I can barely walk around my room in the dark without knocking something over). On the other hand peak traffic time may provide the noise pollution your team needs to gain access undetected. Surprise can also be manufactured by the use of flash bangs that create a disorienting effect with percussion, or even an explosive breach can elicit the same response. The police often send a guy in a pizza delivery  outfit to get the door open and quickly make entry, this works because the op-4 has pizza on the brain and the next thing he sees badges and guns in his face totally short circuiting the OODA loop. To use surprise effectively you need to avoid patterns and constantly change your team’s techniques, if the bad guy is in the back room and he hears you bang every room and then make entry; he will be waiting for the bang before he starts firing at the fatal funnel. Change entry points, tempo and tools to keep an advantage. Never get into the mindset that what worked yesterday is going to work today, CQB is a thinking man’s game so get your team able to flex from one TTP to the next. Have multiple tactics that you use and change them depending on the METT-TC. Remember surprise can come from many different aspects of the assault including timing, distraction, misdirection, decoy or any number of other tools, your mind is the only limit so plan a few mock training iterations and make it a point to get your guys thinking outside of the box.

Violence of Action

CQBVoA insures that the team maintains the initiative by kicking in doors and being generally aggressive. Keep both mental and physical momentum through action and combat mindset. Hesitation is the enemy of VoA so drill often to insure that all team members are “switched on” and ready to execute. It is amazing how often the first person to realize they are in a fight, wins the fight because acting first carries a huge prize for the carrier. Violence of Action also can demoralize the enemy and sometimes get them to surrender without the need for a shooter’s solution. VoA is maintained by refusing to let complicated CQB problems bog down the team, I have watched many teams (from the catwalk in training) literally stand in a room planning the way to hit the next room, by the time you are on the objective the planning phase has passed just get out there and execute. If your team has to discuss the correct way to cross a four-way intersection then obviously you need to take it back to the drawing board and et your SOPs squared away before you should spend any time in the shoot house. Remember an average plan well executed is better than a perfect plan, not executed.

 

Conclusion

Thanks for reading to the end, you are a rock star. I am going to give away a free tee shirt to one person who comments on this post and enters the drawing, here is how to enter:CQC

1. Read post (done). 25% complete

2. Post comment that says “issue me a free tee” (also go to the TAP Store and pick the one you want and include in comment)

3. Share this post on your social network of choice (like or plus or whatever).

4. When we have 50 comments (mine don’t count) I am going to pick one random person and send a Tee Shirt.

Thanks again, and be sure to subscribe by putting in your email in the “subscribe” section to the right so you don’t miss any new posts.

 

 

 

11th Mar2012

Taking Corners In CQB and CQC

by A.J.

TTPs METT-TC and CQB

Recently we put up a post on 10 Mistakes in CQB and the response we  received was great but, a common response was; well if Corners CQB

those are mistakes then what should we do?” This is a complex question to which there is no universally accepted answer. CQB is multifaceted and dynamic but what will remain true are that TTP (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) utilized should always be METT-TC (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops/Support, Time available, Civilians) dependent. Unfortunately, as is typical in life, each situation is distinct and will require it’s own best solution. This article is made to help give you the tools needed to develop your best solution for a future CQB. The Tactical Athletic Performance advisory board does not claim to have the ultimate, best solution for every situation; the information presented are helpful tips to help point in the right direction. We are not Jedi Masters and never claimed to be. That being said, we believe there are some “best practices” we find useful. If it brings one soldier home to their wife and children that otherwise wouldn’t, then it would make this entire site and perhaps our entire existence worth it. If you have another opinion, that is great! Disagreement forces us to expand our perspective. Furthermore, it helps us to understand the logic behind techniques and not just techniques in it of itself. In fact, I have received great insight from questions posed from trainees. Therefore, any disagreement you may have will gladly be entered into the comment section and respected as valid. Sorry for the long disclaimer but we want help our brethren, not step on any toes.


The Two Ways To Take Corners

CQC dynamic corner

The techniques used in the movies are either okay or down right hilarious

When negotiating corners there are generally two basic categories all techniques fall under and those categories are dynamic and deliberate. Taking a corner dynamically “the way they generally do it in the movies” has advantages and disadvantages but, generally places speed over security. That being said when in a smaller more maneuverable force your speed can help increase your security but that doesn’t mean you can blow off common sense because you are running. A deliberate technique relies more heavily on angles, cover and “slowly” taking on only as much as you can deal with at a single time. Deliberate techniques can be very useful if you are getting ready to enter a danger area that you know can easily require more assets than you have available to provide.

When Would I Use One Over The Other?

Generally speaking the way your team approaches and chooses to take a corner is going to be driven by SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) and METT-TC, though   on my team there is a spectrum of priority that tends to drive the MDMP (Military Decision Making Process). If a smaller element is required to take a corner where time is not a factor and survivability can be increased by a deliberate technique then generally that would be the choice utilized. If a larger element (full stick or complete team) is required to take a corner and any of the following situations are factors then a dynamic technique will most likely be used, those factors are: time sensitive mission requirements may be materially affected by a “slower” approach, if the mission completion is more important than the survivability of the force or if a tactical advantage can be garnered with a dynamic technique.

Techniques, Not Tactics

Unfortunately, because this is an open source I specifically do not include tactics that can provide value to the enemy but I do provide individual techniques that can increase the capacity of the end using operator, which in conjunction with proper training and tactics can be of value. I know that there are plenty of open source tactics out there and the argument can be made that so long as it isn’t classified I can talk about it, but in the interest of prudence we have decided to just not open that can of worms.

Torso Articulation and Slicing The Pie

Torso Articulation is an individual movement technique that allows an assaulter to twist the upper body and place the only the weapon system and the aiming system (operators head and eyes) into a danger zone. Torso articulation can be done both deliberately and dynamically but generally has its greatest value when used in conjunction with a dynamic tactic. A quick torso articulation can be done in a smooth fluid movement that provides the opposition force with very little time to react and the assaulter with the most possible cover and concealment while continuing to move to clear the threat. Slicing the pie or “pieing” is a more deliberate technique that combines many smaller movements and can be somewhat slower but provide with greater control over threat areas when in a smaller unit with limited security assets. Below we have included a short video that should illustrate the two movement techniques.

Pieing off in CQC

Slicing the pie

The Video

This Video was made under a tremendous time crunch because I had to get back before my wife got out of bed so you may be required to suspend your apprehension and give us the benefit of the doubt. The engagement sequence you see may be questionable but, the chosen sequences utilized were done so for good reason and if you have a question please don’t hesitate to ask, often though the sequence may seem counter intuitive it was done so for the sake of the drill or due to how the individual technique fits into the over arching tactics which are beyond the scope of this discussion.

 

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