Tactical training means…. ?

U.S. Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) members emerge f...

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Tactical is a buzzword getting a heck of a workout in martial arts these days.  The question is, what exactly makes tactical training… tactical?  Is it training ‘like a Navy SEAL‘ or training in the “proven” techniques/tactics/tools that (supposedly) come from military, law enforcement, or some other warrior tradition?

These may give the appearance of all things tactical, but frankly that’s more fashion than function if it’s in a civilian/commercial martial art program.

The core concept of ‘tactical’ training is the idea of ‘tact‘ or the ability to  “do or say the right thing at the right time to maintain good relations or avoid offense.” Normally the term ‘tact’ is linked to social conduct, diplomacy, and negotiations, but the root is to “do or say the right thing…” Connect that to the ‘tactical‘ definition ” (1) : of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose” then it should be clear that ‘tactical training’ in a commercial martial art program should not mimic military or law enforcement training.  It should teach students how to “do or say the right thing” in order to accomplish “small scale actions serving a larger purpose” but with an “immediate end in view.”

Here’s where a few key questions are essential to really training ‘tactically’ in a commercial program:

  1. What is the “immediate end” for a civilian training in marital arts?
  2. What is the “larger purpose?”
  3. What “right thing” skills to say or do should be in a student’s toolbox?

In a nutshell, ‘tactical’ training – whether martial art, business, or anything else should be brain AND body training that can be applied to real life.

Borrowing from training techniques and topics that have produced effective military and law enforcement operators is a good idea.  But adapting and modifying those techniques and topics to produce effective civilian self defense students is essential.


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