When faced with a threat, or any other dangerous situation, many people will immediately become paralyzed by what they perceive to be overwhelming “odds.” This could be from an attack involving multiple threats. Maybe a loved one is on the ground, severely injured. Regardless of the reason, you need to think about “defeating in detail.”
Building a house, or accomplishing any other complicated task, is achieved by breaking down the process into steps. You design first. A solid foundation is laid down, and then construction starts. Stopping an armed attack is the same. You examine the problem; learn the fundamentals – marksmanship, manipulations and the threat response – and practice. But, if you don’t build it “one brick at a time” it’s easy to get stalled with the immensity of the task.
Defeat in detail, or divide and conquer, is a military strategy. You break the problem down into smaller pieces, which makes it easier to solve. It involves looking for weakness that you can exploit. This is the old “retreat where they are strong and attack where they are weak” strategy. Exploiting their OODA Loop is another way to break things down. Your actions force them to react to you, and you keep the pressure on so they don’t have a chance to catch up.
You have to look at it one problem at a time. Usually the first thing to do is move. This buys you time to decide what to do next. Maybe you’re moving to create distance; they can’t cut you if you’re not close enough. Defeating in detail might mean putting hits into his pelvis, taking away his mobility. Then, if a head shot is required to stop the fight it will be much easier.
Defeating in detail definitely applies when faced with multiple threats. You can’t response to three threats at the same time. You break it down by determining which one represents the danger. This may not have anything to do with what weapon they are armed with – you’re fighting the person behind that weapon, the one who is starting to act first. Once you’ve taken that one out of the fight you determine the next priority.
Remember that there’s no such thing as a “fair” fight. It ain’t “playground” rules. You want to discover where the threat’s weakness is, and exploit that to your full advantage. The threat is actively attacking, but hasn’t seen you yet. This may not be the time to issue verbal commands, which would definitely take away your element of surprise. “Surprise” always provides an advantage.
Defeating in detail requires you to break down the problem. Every situation has a solution, and maybe it’s something you’ve never thought of before, but for that particular problem it’s the perfect answer. Search for weakness to attack. Study hard to determine what your weaknesses are so you can compensate as necessary. Regardless of what you do, always have your next action in mind, ready to apply – one brick at a time.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, featured on GunTalk’s DVD, “Fighting With The 1911 and has regular columns in Gun Digest and American Handgunner.