Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fight or die.

I get asked a lot of questions, both in person and email, about life skills and survival skills in the course of everyday life.  Since I’m kind of known for the premise of “fighting with what you carry” I am going to start a thread here and contribute every couple of weeks to skills and abilities that support my belief when it comes to fighting.  Today’s is important because it is fundamental in your approach to conflict: fight or die.

Not fight or lose, or fight or be disappointed, or fight or go get coffee.  Fight or die.  That may seem a little strong to most of you but that’s as honest as I can be about it….fight, or die.  This foundation is predicated upon a number of things that I will take the time to outline here.

1.  Every man and woman is entitled to their freedom, regardless of race, sex, religion, political affiliation, choice of NFL team, etc. 
2.  No man or woman should take, or attempt to take, another’s freedom.
3.  My individual freedom, and that of my family, my loved ones, and those in my care, is worth protecting and defending…even if it means I fight for it.  And ultimately if I do choose to fight for it,
4.  Fight or die.

Fight or die.

When I train, and more importantly when I teach, I approach the prospect of fighting with a fight or die attitude because I know what is on the line.  A lot of training courses, and therefore a lot of trained people, train to an electronic timer standard, or a 5-box score standard, or to a steel plate standard, and they labor under a belief system that it is reinforcing their fighting skills.  Fighting reinforces your fighting skills.  Shooting steel reinforces your shooting steel skills.  I’m not saying there’s not a time or a place for these types of training because what they reinforce, if kept within context, is valid; what I am saying is your mind, which is your greatest single weapon, better be conditioned to know the difference in meeting a PAR score and fighting for your life.  

Fight or die.

Firstly, I didn’t choose this fight.  In my opinion the single most important fighting skill is the ability to recognize when, where, how and why a fight develops and then make a concerted effort to not be there.  Learning to recognized pre-attack indicators, and having the ability to create distance, is key.  Recognizing that based upon your current circumstances there exists a possibility, no matter how remote, that a fight may play itself out is your first key to dominating your environment.  If there’s no exigent circumstance forcing you to stay and fight, then leave.

But if you stay, and you choose to fight, fight or die.  There is no half-way point.  Recognize the difference in picking a fight and being picked on.  We don’t pick fights, we respond to them, and the most appropriate response is to leave.  This may be news to some of you, but normal people don’t get in fights.  There is always a back story.  Limit your ability through life’s interactions to place yourself in a situation that can, on any level, become violent.  I tell myself each and every day that I will keep my head up and on a swivel so I can recognize the situations unfolding around me so I can be better prepared to respond to them…but I do not initiate contact.  I do not pick fights.  I’ll give a friendly nod and wave, I’ll back out and create distance, and I’ll go my separate way…but if it comes for me, and I cannot go, I will fight or die.  I hope you are preparing to do the same.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be discussing some of skill sets that I use to prepare students during the Graham Combat Personal Defense training course, such as: recognizing and avoiding, movement, communication, contact, restraints, fighting with what you carry, and medical skills.   

Bookmark this page or subscribe to the RSS feed to the right; I look forward to covering this information with each of you.  Shoot fast, hit first. -Matt  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feature Article "All the King's Men" coming JAN 2011

Just got word from one of my editors that my article profiling Jordan's elite counter-terrorism unit, CTB-71, will be published in the January edition of Tactical Weapons magazine.

In May I accepted an invitation from Major General Gary Harrell (Retired) to visit his new project located outside of Amman, KASOTC.

KASOTC, the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, is undoubtedly the world's premiere military and counter-terrorism training facility. While there I was able to spend some time working with CTB-71, Jordan's counter-terror unit.

The article profiles the history of CTB-71, their operational capabilities, some recent missions, and the gear & equipment of the men of the unit. Each of the operators I worked with was the utmost professional and I am proud to have spent time with such a great team of operators. Once the article hits the stands I'll put a link in here.

Talk soon, -M

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oak Harbor WA - Graham Combat Training Course

Thanks to the great men & women at the Oak Harbor Police Department we're going to be running a Graham Combat Training Course in November on Whidbey Island.

I just got off the phone with one of their firearms instructors and SWAT guys and it looks like the course is scheduled to "go" November 18th through the 20th. Similar to the course I just finished in Culpeper, VA, this course is vehicle and movement intensive.

If you're a law enforcement officer, from any agency, or a responsible permit-holding, firearms trained civilian, you can register for the course via email: The course cost is $450.

More to come...-M

Monday, October 11, 2010

Graham Combat website re-direction

While trying to get the Graham Combat website re-designed to feature some new things I've decided, well it was actually decided for me by my close friends Spencer Tracy, to re-direct everything to the blog I never use. For now.

So hey, keep checking in for training courses and events.

Talk soon, -M

SAR Global Tool in the house...literally

Spencer Alan Reiter of SAR Global Tool arrived here at the house Thursday night to stay a few days and do some training, test some products, and generally just hang out. Great guy, great global tools, and great fun.

I'm finishing up an article for publication, a feature article profiling the first 10,000 rounds I've put through my Nighthawk Custom's GRP Recon 1911, and we got a lot of unique and interesting content with the hard use & abuse of Spencer's SAR 1911 TDT knife. Not too many custom knife manufacturers out there whose work can stand up to cutting through windshields, punching through vehicle roofs, and shattering door glass. Spencer doesn't make knives, in my opinion, he makes global tools that also have really sharp blades.

Spencer was kind enough to entertain my invitation to a running of the 3-day Graham Combat Training Course that took place Friday through's a link to SAR Global Tool that shows Spencer having some fun in the class.

And to pre-answer the coming questions, yes, at Graham Combat our students shoot through vehicle windshields during training. It's "good times", as they say.

Keep in touch...

Another successful GC Course...with friends!

Just finished another very successful Graham Combat 3-day pistol & carbine course here in Virginia over the weekend. Every training course focuses on mastering the fundamentals:

1) Make simple plans,
2) that can be executed violently,
3) through basic shooting, communication, and movement.

Success in teaching classes, for me, is really determined by the quality and caliber (no pun intended) of the students. And this was a group of really good people.

We had a healthy mix of federal law enforcement, civilians, and former military and the mix made it work.

All of my classes start with the most important aspect of learning any set of skills, fundamentals. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. Fundamentals of marksmanship, fundamentals of movement, and communication, and tactics, and on and on and on. Once we've knocked out those blocks we start moving forward, rather quickly, to where we want to be. This course was vehicle and movement intensive so we spent a good deal of time addressing the realities of shooting, moving and communicating as a member of a group.

It was a first for everybody in the class to get to shoot through the windshields of cars and engage threats...and everybody took to it quickly. There are more than a couple of considerations that need to be addressed when doing vehicle shooting but once everybody is on the same page and demonstrates understanding of the skill sets you can start building proficiency.

Since I was busy teaching I didn't have any time to spend taking photos but the guys were passing cameras around and I'll try and get some of those photos up soon.

More to come, -M