Rick’s Blog December 02, 2014

Goals – Strategy – Tactics – Techniques

I am always impressed with the material presented by Rory Miller and in rereading his book “Meditations on Violence” his section on Strategy Training stood out for me again as not only a valuable lesson in approaching any personal training but preparing training.

Here is Rory’s breakdown:

Goals Dictate Strategy.
Strategy Dictate Tactics.
Tactics Dictate Techniques.

The GOAL is the most important thing to determine when setting up training.

Goal: How you define a win.

To set up any training you first need to determine what is the win?

• In Kickboxing the win is a knockout.
• In Grappling the win is a submission.
• In law enforcement the win is get the job done safely.
• In military the win may be take the enemy out.
• In self defence the win is to survive.

You can see how if the goal changes so everything else will.

Goals also operate within parameters.

Parameters are what you either need not to happen or cannot do.

Sports have rules.

Professions have policies and procedures.

Self defence should have the parameters of not getting criminally charged or sued.

Your Goal + the Parameters = Strategy.

Strategy is the overall plan.

The plan should be general and not overly specific because getting locked into a very specific plan can trap you in an OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) if the bad guy isn’t following the plan.

• In Kickboxing the strategic plan might be do damage.
• In Grappling the strategic plan might be disrupt balance.
• In law enforcement the strategic plan might be a quick victory.
• In military the strategic plan might be ambush with shock and awe.
• In self defence the strategic plan might be to escape.

Strategy is influenced by environment and Rory uses the broadest coverage under environment which is basically anything that will affect the plan: numbers, weapons, escape routes, lighting, footing, terrain etc.

Strategy + Environment = Tactics.

Tactics are HOW you will make the plan work.

This is the general approach from stealth and ambush to explosive entry.

Tactics and the Totality of Circumstances (TOC) will determine what techniques you use.

TOC are the immediate factors that alter what will work best from his hands are low so you strike the head to his hand is tucked behind his back to you need to pin that hand with a suspected weapon etc.

So what does this all mean for training?

I saw an example the other night at KPC Combat (http://www.kpcombat.ca/ ) when they were running through techniques for a test. One student asked the instructor Thor why he had to learn two techniques off the entry because he was just going to use the first one to strike and escape.

Thor said yeah but what if your niece is with you? Will you be leaving her behind?

So if the goal is escape (a good one) then it affects everything right down to the best technique for that moment.

But if the goal is protect and get my niece out of there safe then everything changes right down to the best technique in that moment.

Over learning techniques can give too many options in a violent encounter and might catch you in an OODA loop BUT having a variety of techniques as an option isn’t the same thing when the options are narrowed by understanding your GOAL.

So if you are going into a group to do a seminar or setting up a training session – have you considered their GOAL?

If not ponder that because it may help refine and improve your training preparation and your training to consider Goal – Strategy – Tactic – Technique.

Who are you training?

What type of violence would they face?

What is their goal?

Are you covering their parameters?

I asked the last one because there are different parameters in training self defence and for combat.

Moshe Feldenkrais developed a fantastic short time training for combat soldiers in WWII. While the training method can be applied today the technique he picked to achieve the goal always resulted in a neck break and death. While acceptable in combat it is certainly not the only responsible or legal response in self defence.

Rory Miller’s Goal – Strategy – Tactics – Techniques can help any instructor or practitioner refine their approach to training.

I highly recommend his book Meditations on Violence and all his other works.

Rory Miller