Training

Jiu-Jitsu is the Answer. What was the Question?

The question was, “What lessons should civilian gun carriers take from George Zimmerman?”

This is a question I have been asking gun trainers recently, including those attending Rob Pincus’s Combat Focus Shooting Instructor Conference in September.

I have received many different and interesting responses, including a very succinct one from one of the Combat Focus Shooting instructors: Jiu-Jitsu.

Cecil Burch instructing at Megaton Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Phoenix. Photo by David Yamane

Being able to fight with less than lethal means, including open-handed, is becoming more of a thing among armed citizens, as are various forms of “entangled” fighting. So we see the emergence of trainers like Craig Douglas, Paul Sharp, Larry Lindenman, and Chris Fry into the consciousness of the gun training community.

Integrated solutions or multidisciplinary techniques are phrases often used to describe this style of training which relativizes the centrality of the gun. If the only solution a defender has is a gun, then every problem is going to be addressed with a gun. To invoke the cliche, this is about expanding the number of tools in the self-defense tool kit.

I was fortunate to spend several hours while in Phoenix with one of the leading figures in this area, Cecil Burch of Immediate Action Combatives.

Burch grew up shooting and has been involved in martial arts for nearly 40 years. But for much of that time, the two domains were separate spheres of his life. In 2006 he first met Craig Douglas whose Extreme Close Quarters Concepts (ECQC) establishes the paradigm for many, and in 2009 he earned a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training under Wellington “Megaton” Dias. In the years following, Burch told me, bringing these two sphere together became much more accepted.

Like many pioneers, early on Burch had to ask himself how to bring together the martial art of the gun with his grappling martial art. He also had to figure out who is audience was. Were they martial artists who wanted to integrate guns, or gun people who wanted to integrate martial arts? It took alot of trial and error and he told me he wished he could find and give refunds to his early students.

Burch is more established now, both in his teaching and by reputation. The Personal Defense Network sells a DVD featuring Burch called “Defensive Applications of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,” and he is on the schedule for the 2018 Rangemaster Tactical Conference to teach a two hour seminar on “Surviving the Knock Out Game.”

His one live fire course is called “Close Contact Handgun,” described as follows:

We can’t always use our defensive pistols in the optimum way we would like. Sometimes, we are able to shoot at extended range, but too often we need to shoot at closer distances. Sometimes, even when in actual physical contact with an assailant. Most people do not realize how easy it is for a bad guy to get too close to you, and how easy it is for him to interfere with your use of a firearm. This critical skill set requires specific training to optimize our chance of success and survival, and this course helps to accomplish that.

In this class we will look at ways to maintain distance, using verbalization, footwork, positioning, and awareness to keep distance from an aggressive criminal, and to utilize the pistol in a manner in which we can prevent him from stopping us. The focus is on NOT getting entangled and having to get into a physical fight, but rather to use the pistol the way it is intended to be used – at a distance.

None of this is to say that any of this is new. Burch certainly does not say this. Close quarters combat (CQC) or close quarters battle (CQB) has a long history in military fighting (and perhaps law enforcement also, I simply don’t know).

But the emphasis for private citizens who are fighting is different than military and police rules of engagement. It seems obvious that armed citizens would be well-served to know how to escape, evade, defend, and fight before resorting to the gun.

Hence the answer to my initial question, Jiu-Jitsu.

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10 thoughts on “Jiu-Jitsu is the Answer. What was the Question?

  1. Glad to see Burch is focusing on the right part of the equation. “The focus is on NOT getting entangled and having to get into a physical fight, but rather to use the pistol the way it is intended to be used – at a distance.”

    While understanding grappling is necessary to know how to evade, defend, and break holds and takedowns, deliberately choosing to roll with an aggressor of unknown skill is a good way to end up stabbed or beaten. If he has a friend, stomped.

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  2. There is indeed increased focus on combatives among shooters but unfortunately it is limited to our small group of dedicated enthusiasts. Unfortunatley, the average person with a CCW remains clueless as to how to deploy their gun even under the best of cercomstances. Hopefully the skill continues to take hold.

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  3. Hand combat training according to open source reading I’ve done increased after 9/11 with troops being deployed sometimes in close quarters with potential enemies.

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  4. This reminds me of something I thought of after I saw AWR use statistics saying that guns aren’t anymore effective than other defensive weapons, and stats that say your more likely to get hurt in an altercation if you use a gun. One of them went into detail about how a lot of defensive scenarios go down. It made me think, why not incorporate martial arts into defensive gun training. Now I was thinking of something like karate or taekwondo. Use a sidekick or something to get separation and then draw your gun. Corollary to the statistics, just because on average your more likely to have this or that happen to you when someone sneaks up on you and you’re carrying a gun doesn’t mean that we should be discouraged from carrying guns. It means we should get out and train a lot more to better our odds should something bad happen.

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    • I’m no expert, but in general high kicks, most kicks, are not recommended for fighting outside controlled conditions. Uncertain footing, often bad lighting, “normal” clothes and impediments being worn/carried. My training in the Marines, and what little I’ve had or read of since, has been to use your feet to move and maintain a solid base for balance (and any hand work) so you don’t go down.

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      • Happy birthday, Marine! And I agree about high kicks and also include spinning kicks in the moves that don’t work so well in real life. They may work in the movies or occasionally against clueless opponents, but even a semi skilled martial artist will get you off balance in the former and quickly move in and trap your leg and throw you to the ground in the latter. Keep your kicks at waist level or below, unless you are much taller than your opponent.

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