Maneuver Theory: Maneuver theory is a military concept of conflict that advocates attempting to defeat an adversary by incapacitating their decision making process (OODA loop) through shock and disruption brought about by intelligent, purposeful, and timely maneuver.
Personal Security Bubble or “PSB”: Is an imaginary and adaptive sphere of space that exists around the fighter which he is intent on securing whenever and to whatever extent practical in order to maximize his situational awareness and thus, his security.
Begin visualizing your personal PSB by first imagining yourself in the center of a circle that has about a seven-yard radius (about one and a half car lengths). You want to be cognizant of and to the maximum extent possible, control the space in this imaginary circle.
This also mean being cognizant of three-dimensional space; looking vertically, up and down like in a stairwell, or up to the roof or balcony so now our imaginary two-dimensional “circle” becomes a three-dimensional “bubble” or sphere.
In a vast majority of circumstances, when there is no threat, people can traverse your PSB without any concern on your part.
Next, imagine a mark at the 12:00 position (straight ahead) and the 4:00 and 8:00 positions (over your shoulders) on your circle as well.
As you walk, you are going to check your 12, 4, and o’clock 8 positions (overlapping at 6) randomly and periodically to monitor your personal space. In other words, you are going to “pulse” your personal sphere to make sure you have a mental snapshot of your surroundings, much in the same way a ships or aircraft radar pulses or “pings” for contacts.
The frequency of your pulsing is dependent upon the activity that is taking place: Walking at a leisurely pace in your neighborhood during the day might require a pulse every moment or so, however walking back to your car at 2:00 a.m. in the morning in a sketchy section of town might require a pulse every few seconds, the frequency of the pulsing will be situationally dependent.
Presentation/draw: The act of presenting (draw with a handgun) a weapon at the appropriate time and in a manner that does not place one behind in the decision making process. A proper presentation is mastered with proper practice over time.
The fastest “draw” is to have a firearm in your hands the instant before you need it, and the ability to recognize that moment revolves around having enough experience (which helps with orientation), proper orientation hinges on realistic RBT that allows you enough experiences so you can begin to see and feel what violence can look like.
While not always practicable (such as those times where a covert presentation would be more appropriate), practicing for a proper, brisk presentation can help you ensure you keep tight OODA Loops when they matter the most.
Pulsing: The act of forcing Boyd’s decision making process (OODA loop) onto one’s environment in order to gain and maintain situational awareness (directly linked to the color code yellow). Think of a radar pulse and its associated returning ping to visualize this concept. As mentioned above, the frequency and strength of pulses sent out will be appropriate for the circumstances at hand.
When pulsing you are passively taking in the information gathered from your observation and orientation and you will allow the non-threatening events simply to flow over you. Event thought full OODA loops are present when no physical action is required; you are pulsing for incoming information.
It is important to realize that for a vast majority of lethal force encounters come as surprises, and you must learn what to do under such circumstances. Again, this is where quality RBT can help, especially if the person being trained takes the training seriously and doesn’t try to “game” the scenarios.
The trained response of instinctively and instantaneously observing, orienting, deciding, and acting (carrying out a decision) compressed to such a short time that the lines blur and start to blend into what appears one single observation/orientation and decision/action (you see the situation and act appropriately reflexively). You pulse from one observation/action to the next without hesitation or conscious thought.
Shock Triad: Also known as the Close Quarters Combat or “CQC Triad” consists of the three elements of surprise, speed, and violence of action, that when properly employed cause both physical and mental shock to your adversary and allow you to immediately seize the initiative.
For instance: If you act/react quickly (speed) and reasonably with an unexpected action that surprises our adversary (interrupts his thoughts/plans for you, thereby causing him to react to you), and if you you do so while imparting maximum violence (imparting real physical trauma) at every opportunity, will not only causes your adversaries actions to be less effective the more you damage him, you will begin acting inside of his decision making process as he “folds in” on himself both physically and mentally speaking.
SITREP (communicate with authorities, sibling, or parent units): A systematic approach to proper situational reporting (SITREP), which occurs only after the shooter has applied proper SNS management (see definition below) immediately after a lethal force encounter. A proper SITREP allows the fighter to report only those facts relevant to the situation to his team, or in order to protect his future from unnecessary trials and litigation.
As an example, a proper SITREP to authorities would sound something like this:
911 operator: “911, what is the nature of your emergency?”
You: “I want to report that an armed man broke into my house and threatened me with a weapon, I was in fear for my life, and I was forced to shoot him. Please send the police and an ambulance, and let the police know I want to press charges against a man for attempted murder.”
SNS management: The conscious and willful act of regulating the Sympathetic Nervous System (mentioned above) in order to regain control of your body and mind before, during, and after a lethal force encounter via the technique of combat breathing.
During a high-stress event our body has a tendency to cause an adrenaline dump, and this adrenaline dump can cause many adverse effects (see SNS response below) such as time dilation or compression, lid lift, tunnel vision, audio exclusion, fixation, etc.)
By managing the SNS response via combat breathing technique, you can override the physiological and psychological effects of this SNS caused adrenaline dump.
Combat breathing is a simple 4-step process:
1. Take a deep four count breath in through the nose, deep into the lower part of the lungs.
2. Hold that deep breath for a four count.
3. Breathe out through the mouth as you exhale from the lower lungs first, for a four count.
4. Hold your deflated lungs for a four count.
It is important to note that this technique is not a magic mantra which will work simply by simply counting. You must focus on the technique and mentally count as you perform it consciously to bring your breathing down to a four count if you want this technique to work effectively.
You need to train with this technique under stress, and you must not make a SITREP until you have yourself under control.
Again, this is easier said than done, and you must train to this standard if you wish to be able to perform it in a real life scenario.
This technique is so effective in lowering the SNS reaction and reducing stress, that we highly encourage you to practice it during your contact drills during both live fire and dry practice, and especially during RBT.
Get in the habit of practicing your combat breathing every time you hear a firecracker, or loud explosion, any time you hear sirens, or especially when you find yourself stressed and unable to focus clearly you need to get into the habit of beging your combat breathing.
Sphere of Influence or “SOI”: Past your personal security bubble or “PSB” (see above) lies your sphere of influence or “SOI,” whose radius is determined by your maximum effective range. For instance, for a handgun one’s personal maximum effective range may be 25-50 yards, or with the shotgun they may feel able to reliably engage out to 50-75 yard radius, and with a rifle their SOI may extend out hundreds of yards.
Sphere of Observation or “SOO”: Beyond your SOI, is your sphere of observation or “SOO” which extends out as far as you can positively identify a target in space and time.
Usually, our SOO is larger than the SOI, yet we can always expand out SOI towards our SOO.
For instance, you may be able to see your target just out of your effective range and may have to maneuver closer or pass on the shot. Yet with a little more work on your core skills (weapons in this case), or perhaps with new equipment or different technology, you will be able to make the same shot a few hours, days, weeks, or months from now. From that point forward (provided of course you keep up your skills), your SOI will have expanded further into your SOO to as far as your new maximum effective range allows.
Sometimes one’s SOO can be enhanced by new thinking, new techniques, and new technologies (which may let us see further and clearer, or perhaps give us the ability to predict better). So in a very real sense, the more an individual learns and is able to interact with others, the greater likelihood that both his SOO and SOI will grow.
As you move through your day these personal security spheres will expand and contract based upon the environment you’re in. If you’re in a large empty parking lot, your SOI may expand to the edges of the parking lot depending on your abilities. If you’re in a staircase between floors of an office high-rise your SOI may compress to the few feet on either side of you, if you are in an elevator you may be lucky to get a few inches. The key here is that you are always pulsing these security spheres in order to be situationally aware of your surroundings.
Sympathetic Nervous System (response): The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is one of the two main divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the other being the parasympathetic nervous system or “PNS”. Where the ANS functions to regulate the body’s unconscious actions, the SNS’s while constantly active and complementary to the PNS is, at the base level, is the primary process which stimulates the body’s fight-or-flight response.
The SNS is perhaps best known for mediating the neuronal and hormonal stress response commonly known as the “fight-or-flight” response. This occurs as the preganglionic sympathetic fibers, that end in the adrenal medulla, secrete acetylcholine, which activates the secretion of adrenaline (epinephrine), and to a lesser extent noradrenaline (norepinephrine).
In reaction to a high-threat situation, the SNS response can raise blood pressure, accelerates heart rate, widen bronchial passages, cause vasoconstriction (constrict blood vessels), cause pupillary dilation, lid lift (opening of the eyelids), increase peristalsis in the esophagus, cause pupillary dilation, piloerection (goose bumps) and perspiration (sweating), and decrease motility of the large intestine.
Additionally, “When people become angry, or frightened, they stop thinking with their forebrain (the mind of a human being) and start thinking with their midbrain (which is indistinguishable from the mind of an animal). They are literally ‘scared out of their wits.’ The only thing that has any hope of influencing the midbrain is also the only thing that influences a dog: classical and operant conditioning. That is what is used when training firefighters and airline pilots to react to emergency situations: precise replication of the stimulus that they will face (in a flame house or a flight simulator) and then extensive shaping of the desired response to that stimulus. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, stimulus-response. In the crisis, when these individuals are scared out of their wits, they react properly and they save lives.” – Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society.
It is this SNS response that you must learn to come down from by applying combat breathing so you can again begin to think with your forebrain and make better decisions.
While the above effects can be detrimental to one’s survival when activated at the higher levels, the SNS response can be greatly beneficial in helping you win the fight of your life if you learn how to use the effects of the response to help you win the fight.
Of course, the better the training, the more accurately your body will learn to judge the situation and thus prime you for enhanced performance.