Category Archives: Gun


If You Aren’t Training Force on Force….

(written by Ken Good)

If You Aren’t Training Force on Force….

I don’t care who told you what. If you are not doing FOF, you are playing games and not really training for the gunfight. Here is an article I wrote a year ago.  It bears revisiting.
Imagine for a moment if you will, a class of students attentively studying the art of swimming. The instructor, ostensibly an expert swimmer with vast and honorable credentials, certified by the international swimming associations and such, calmly walks up to the class wearing an impeccable gray business suit and begins lecturing on swimming. The environment is totally business-like, clinical, comfortable and dry. the students are clothed in similar business attire to the instructor, doing their very best to emulate him, and notes are being taken as they sip water or coffee.

The renowned lecturer goes on to describe the need to float, and to move the arms and legs in unison, this way and that. He discusses in passing how to breathe and what water temperature may do to the technique. He discusses warm water and cold water swimming methods, and he shows films of swimmers, and analyzes their techniques.

Finally, after discussion groups and several written tests, the class understands the concept of swimming.

Then they retire to their respective swim couches and practice their strokes carefully and incessantly. After a while they very good at this and can whip out a back stroke or breast stroke or even a dog paddle like the expert in class. They are given Swimmer Diplomas and sent out ready to swim, or teach others how to swim….should the need arise.

Eventually these would-be swimmers begin discussing the merits of pumping the arms more than the feet, or of holding the breath or the theoretical need to get the head up out of the place the water would be, if in fact they were actually swimming in water, in order to breathe. Minutia upon minutia are analyzed and discussed to perfect "the couch swim".

But the problem is that nobody ever gets into the water. You see, the water is a fearful place. One actually gets wet. "There be dragons" seems to be the attitude. "The water is not safe", some say. Others say that the mere suggestion that one would have to test the Master Swimmer’s Theory Of Swimming, by actually swimming, to be a disloyal and unfaithful act.

"Analytical swimmers do not need to get into the water", others murmur as they grind through their swim kata every day.

The discussions on minutia and the unanswered questions persist. Yet if one of them dared to wander into the murky wetness, all the questions that they have spent hours and hours bemusing would be answered in one instant flash of sudden understanding.

I’ll let you in on a secret. It is a dark and ugly secret that has been kept hidden like a national security issue for decades.

The master swimmer does not, in fact, know how to swim.

(be sure and click on the link below to read the rest)

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Handgun Training, Training Attitude

I had posted a question on Vlad’s forum about training guns and a friend and fellow Systema person replied 

Ken Good writes: I have personally trained with wax bullets, a variety of commercially available and custom paintgun/markers, Simmunitions FX as well as varying quality of Airsoft guns. All have Pros & Cons. Yes, you want reliability and accuracy and as much replication of the actual weapon as possible. That being said, I believe the single most important thing you are doing when putting any simulation training weapon in your hand, with opponents downrange that plan on shooting you when the opportunity presents itself, is training your perception system/situational awareness. The ability to "see". The actual firing of the weapon (whatever it happens to be), is the last thing in a long chain of events that you are dealing with. The weapon should be transparent in your hands so to speak. Don’t pay too much attention to it. If you are, then your mind is in the wrong universe and you simply need more time behind the weapon on the range and immersed in simulation. If you line somebody up, drop the hammer and your round(s), doesn’t actually hit the target because the training weapon is not quite up to speed, don’t worry about it. It was a good rep so to speak. Also remember, if you are hit with any number of the possible training projectiles and you attribute it to (he or she got "lucky") or he or she has a better weapon than you do, you are concentrating on the wrong reality. Don’t let your pride get in the way of a good lesson! The reality is: If you got hit with a crappy training weapon system, how much easier for your opponent would it have been with an actual weapon? As training weapons do improve on the field, the better shooters will leverage them faster/more efficiently that less proficient shooters. In others words, as the weapons get better, the fights are finished faster in favor of the more proficient/experienced. When I first got started in so-called "Force-on-Force" training, I forced myself and all my instructors to generally use the least effective training weapons of those available on any given training day. We used 1-shot pump Sheridan training markers (10-rounds in a magazine above the barrel). We gave the students higher capacity rifles (both semi and full-auto) for their use. Although significantly outnumbered and "outgunned), we (the instructors) would regularly dominate the situation using better movement, tactics, communication and calm under duress that will promote accuracy & proper timing. You could not simply cover your sloppy movements with more rounds in the air, you had to find out what was going on on some of the not so obvious levels and consistently execute. Then when we did use the better weapons, the fights were over exceptionally fast. I guess what I am trying to say, is don’t get too wrapped around the axle at first with respect to which training weapon you have. Get in there, mix it up. Learn from the myriad of mistakes we all make in these situations.

Marc writes:
To say the least, Ken was one of the pioneers of force-on-force handgun training. Take a moment to visit his website at
And be sure and read some of his articles on the same site.

Also reread the above article and consider the training attitude described by Ken -and then extend the concepts to ALL your training. Training is about learning and expanding your awareness. In a training environment this is not the same thing as "winning". In fact, we often learn more when we lose. When we win (which sometimes comes with a good dose of luck), we pat ourselves on the back and hardly think back about the things that made it work….the ego is too busy. But, when we lose we often replay the tape over and over, looking for what went wrong.

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