The Rabbi writes: The typical match that I have attend have four to six stages. At each stage the participant shoots for 15 to 30 seconds with perhaps a brisk walk for three to 100 feet. They spend four to six hours hanging around with an occasional walk downrange to tape targets and pick up brass—not enough movement to raise one’s heartbeat. Unless your experience is radically different, I don’t see much aerobic benefit there. But this is the least important point of the entire discussion [begun at the bottom of this post]. Everyone, regardless of their situation needs to have a “never give up mindset” . . .
Those in wheelchairs or morbidly obese are at a severe disadvantage and are more than not likely to loose because of it. Criminals actually target people less likely to be able to defend themselves because a criminal would rather take $10 from someone that won’t/can’t fight then take $50 from someone they might have to fight. How fit do you need to be for the average mugging or robbery attempt?
First, you have to understand that there is no such thing as an AVERAGE mugging or robbery attempt. Even if there were, the definition of average includes a combination of extremes on both directions. What if YOUR mugging is not average?
Secondly, there is no such thing as a gunfight, only a fight were a gun may or may not be involved. The attack may happen so close to you that you don’t have time to get to your gun; you have to deal with the threat with your hands. The attack may happen so fast you don’t have time to get to your gun and you have to deal with the threat with your hands. The attack may start without a weapon and you have to deal with the threat with your hands. There are lots more examples . . .
We do numerous force-on-force exercises that prove that in many, if not in most circumstances a gun in useless or may only be engaged after the victim fights off the attack with open hands to gain distance and time. Fighting skill with your hands and the fitness to prevail are essential to survival.
Developing the mental process to distinguish between shoot and no shoot targets IS essential. As I previously stated “practicing” this process on different colored cardboard—out in the open, standing still, in bright sunshine, not attacking you—does not resemble real life in any way. It does not constitute any real-life training value.
Real attackers do not necessarily broadcast themselves nor their intent. You need to learn to find hidden threats that don’t want to be found, especially in the dark, read their body language, translate their pre-assault clues (of which there are over 100) determine their threat level, determine the appropriate response and engage after they have engaged, not at the start of a buzzer.
I have never seen any of these concerns addressed at an IDPA/IPSC match. No shoot targets are used at academy to build shooting skills not fighting skills, and the two should never be mistaken for each other. In my experience, shooting skills are a relatively small part of the fight. The major parts of winning a fight are mindset, awareness, threat determination and response determination and those are thinking skills which competition not only negate, but actually discourage.
While the mental aspect is most important, the physical ability to react to the attack is extremely important—once the actual hands-on fight begins. As for my background, I have been training for nearly 30 years. I am writer for several gun magazines, a police officer and I serve as a firearms instructor for two police agencies. A shooter does not need “events” to train properly.
IDPA/IPSC techniques can be adapted to be more realistic so as to not conflict with real tactics. A few examples . . .
If you are facing three attackers, don’t stand still. Move rearwards and sideways to gain distance and make their shooting more difficult. Shoot each target once and repeat as needed until the threat stops. Do not get into the habit of shooting every target only twice. Use cover properly. Do not sacrifice accuracy for speed. A shots every time. Pie all cover.
Those are just a few ideas that will make competitions “better” (but still not good). There are many more, most of which will put you at the bottom of the score sheet. You can also practice these skills on the range. Add in challenging, not shooting after drawing your weapon, hand skills, fist fighting skills etc. Other good training techniques: video simulations and force-on-force drills, which are far closer to real fights than competitions.
Once you start down the path to genuine fighting skills, you will see the folly of thinking that IDPA/IPSC prepare you for a real fight.