FEBRUARY 26, 2015

Skill Set: Synergy

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts," attributed to Aristotle.
A graphic illustration of synergy: by assembling the individual parts on the left together they form a circle, a shape which is greater than the sum total of the smaller parts.
The modern term "synergy" applies to the total achieved by adding parts, but the "whole" in this case is greater than the sum of its parts. This isn't a mathematical equation -- sometimes two plus two can equal five, or maybe six. How does all this apply to our defensive or fighting skills? When you add together movement, communication, the use of cover, and if necessary shooting accurately, combining all these skills into one package, the sum, or whole, becomes something greater than the total of the individual acts. Your reaction, application of these skills, can be greater than the threat's actions. Moving, communicating, using cover and if necessary shooting, are essential elements to your threat response. Using only one or two of these actions may not be enough to solve your problem. For example moving to create distance and getting behind cover may provide temporary relief from the attack - or it could change their mind about pressing the attack - but these actions won't stop a dedicated threat from advancing or continuing the attack. In this day and time there are plenty of recorded actions that illustrate this point, both with good and bad outcomes. By examining the conflicts when the good guy lost you'll often see a lack of movement, no use of cover, and/or wild, inaccurate shots. Reviewing conflicts where the good guy wins will illustrate the advantages of applying these combined skills. Getting distance and taking advantage of the protection cover can, and does, provide one with the opportunity to place accurate hits on the threat to stop the attack. Taken separately there are none of these skills that are difficult. Applying all of these principles at once in response to a threat can be programmed, but practice is the key. Without practice, the repetition necessary to learn these skills individually and then the ability to blend them together, you'll be lacking. When applied with the element of surprise these skills are almost always enough to provide you with victory. Also, keep in mind "victory" is very subjective and depends on who you are. For example an armed citizen has a right, and obligation to protect themselves, family or possibly other innocents. It's not their job to track, attack, or combatively assault the attacker. It's purely a defensive role. The armed professional, law enforcement officers or military personnel, have different definitions of victory, and often it's their job to press the attack. Knowing these fundamental skills, and just as importantly when to apply them and in what measures is critical. Maybe you're not an expert shot. But, moving, communicating and using cover can make up for what you lack in accuracy. The sum of all your skills, your response, can be enough to win. Don't just go to the range and work on shooting small groups on a target. Make sure your practice includes all the skills needed to defeat the threat. The sum of all your skills will be great than their total. Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns," writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shootrite-Firearms-Academy/156608611038230?ref=ts