Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Value of a Tactic? How Many Counters Are There?

The Value of a Tactic: How Many Counters?
by W. Hock Hochheim

     I start off every seminar with the disclaimer, "everything we do will have a counter." Surely more than one. This brings a smile from a veteran and a dropped jaw from the rookie. Rookies are often looking for a magic bullet. The magic tactic.
     On face value, a so-called "tactic," or "technique" is a step or a series of steps to accomplish some level of diminishment of, or victory over, your opponent. On face value, you might really like a certain tactic because it seems easy and successful to you, based on who you are mentally and physically or your skills and expertise. However, there is another level to review before you list this move in your “personal top ten” or if you decide to teach it to others for their personal top ten. You should conduct a study on how many practical counters exist for these favored tactics. There really are two types of counters - natural and trained.

Type 1: Natural and reflexive counters 
     Need we define these natural movements? Can we spend that amount of time? Like for one example, if you feel you are falling or being taken down, you usually step in the direction of the fall to counter the fall. Or another example, a shoulder shrug or a rising arm are very natural ways people protect their heads.

Type 2: Trained counters
     Obviously, the natural and reflexive counters are your worst problem. Everybody does them and perhaps thoughtlessly. Most of the population is untrained and will react to you in these spontaneous manners. Trained counters are different. They may be efficient responses that aren't necessarily so instinctive or intuitive, but rather learned, smart, and effective. In some cases, these trained counters at first even seem like foreign or strange movements. 

     For example, if you are caught in an ambush firefight, one major counter is to charge the ambush while firing. This sounds crazy, but this is a trained response for several good reasons and hardly natural, yet vital when solving the common military rat-trap called an ambush.

     An enlightened study is required. This means getting with various experts and grilling them subject by subject, tactic by tactic. If your favorite tactic has eight easy, reflexive counters and five trained counters also, that is a bit high; and maybe that move shouldn't be in your top ten favs!

     The good news is when working on these lists with research and development, you are processing a lot of material, interacting with experts, and becoming quite savvy about tactics, their counters, and evaluation. This type of pro-and-con testing makes for a broad and unbiased spectrum of hand, stick, knife, and gun knowledge. When I get with experts, I usually have very specific questions to ask and work on. And one more note - this approach takes a complete neutral and open mind. This process transcends systems and their innocent, clannish mindsets. I think most know this point by now, but it still bears reminding once in awhile.

     And there are really three times for a counter: early-phase counters, mid-phase counters, and late phase counters; but all that is the subject of another essay.

      Pick a move. Make the lists. Natural counters. Trained counters. Start investigating.
Email Hock at
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