As Boyd so adroitly pointed out, we need more interaction and influence with our environment in order to thrive.
The more influence you can have on a given area, the greater you are able to shape the situation to better meet your desired ends.
We call the space you have direct observation over, and which you can potentially interact with and influence, the sphere of influence or “SOI,” because it represents a 360-degree sphere or “bubble” around you.
In the following diagrams, you will get a better idea of how the sphere of influence can be visualized.
Above you can see that the radius of your personal sphere is affected by many factors.One of the main factors is your ability to accurately and quickly guarantee hits out to your personal effective
One of the main factors is your ability to accurately and quickly guarantee hits out to your personal effective range and includes the terrain you find yourself fighting on, any obstacles, cover/concealment that may be between yourself and your adversary, etc.
Beyond the sphere of influence lies the sphere of observation or “SOO,” which includes the area beyond your maximum effective range and extending into your adversary’s maximum effective range.
This is to say that while all the adversaries you are currently engaging have your full and undivided attention within your sphere of influence at this moment, what you may not be aware of is a long distance shooter well beyond your practical effective range.
This means that when you are conducting your contact drills, you need to remain behind cover, secure your immediate surroundings first, and as quickly as possible work your way out to and beyond your sphere of influence.
For instance, if you have a handgun and you know you will have a hard time guaranteeing any hits out past 25 yards, then you need to be looking for what else may be making it into your sphere of influence, as well as those threats that are beyond it and need to be protected against using concepts like the appropriate use of cover and concealment.
Next, we will take a look at how your SOI and SOO relate to the proper use of cover.