Cutting Edge Training

America’s Combatives and Liability Trainer Training With Real-World Impact

Why we do what we do--training on the cutting edge

by George on October 26, 2011 12:45

We are asked what makes Cutting Edge Training different.  The following explanation is why we do what we do at Cutting Edge Training, and what makes our training programs for armed professionals truly unique.

The training philosophy of Cutting Edge Training, LLC, is this:  Training must be functional to be of value.  If the training cannot be immediately applied by an armed professional, or if it is too complicated, that training is ineffective and will be of little value to the officer when needed.  Functionality within a combatives environment is a direct result of effective, efficient, and practical training preparing an officer to lawfully overcome resistance and to defend against any assault.

To be functional, the training must be:

  • Relevant to the professional's job duties, experience, expectations, and fears.
  • Uncomplicated enough to work within the limiting human factors that are universal to every human, as well as under crushing fatigue, through injury, and when immersed in confusing and mind-numbing threat-to-life events.
  • Sophisticated enough to apply to universal threats and the quickly evolving, high-pressure situations the professional routinely responds to.
  • Oriented to problem-solving rather than attempting to train an professional to employ “techniques” to the thousands of problems that he or she will face. 
  • Defensible in every post-incident venue:  agency, criminal, and civil.  It must also be defensible to the community or public, and to the media.
  • Inherently consistent, both internally and externally, across the spectrum of combatives and tactical threats so that problem-solving is principle-driven rather than attempting employ techniques that are inherently limited when faced with an infinite number of variations.

We look at a problem and break it down to discover how a human being, immersed in that environmental context, can solve that problem with the tools at hand and with the attributes (e.g., everything that person brings to the game:  intelligence, emotional sophistication—or lack of it, built in human performance limitations, values, goals, expectations, fears, etc.), their training life experience, etc., that person possesses.  We strive for “contextually correct” training.  That is, how this individual in that uniform must perform to win and survive within the circumstances presented in their fight, whatever the event might be.  Without being contextually correct, training has little value.  We understand it is not what you can do in a fight, but what you can’t do—and knowing the difference—that is the key to success in the combatives environment.

Functional fighting, from common scuffles to gunfights between individuals to intense firefights among groups, depends upon the application of Universal Principles of Combatives© within Universal Rules of Combatives©.  Training the professional in “techniques” forces that individual to attempt to remember, select, and then apply  the specific inter-related, sequence dependent series of moves comprising that unique technique out of thousands of techniques for this exact circumstance while under time constraints imposed by the Threat.  This routinely—and not unexpectedly—fails in the real world of combatives, causing the armed professional to fall back on primitive problem-solving methods.   For example, a young Marine (and MCMAP Brown Belt), Nicholas B. Wankasky, described this principle-driven problem-solving concept in his evaluation of this training approach:  “With a technique, it’s like I have a bunch of strings that I have tie together to get anything to work, but a fight happens too fast to do that. With this principle-based concept of fighting, it’s like I have a ball of string and let it fall, and then I just follow the string wherever it rolls.”

This contextually correct training is something we call "Effective Combatives Problem-Solving."©  This combatives philosophy functionalizes training, making it accessible to the professional.  It is predicated upon the individual problem-solving their combatives problem--regardless of the type and intensity of the fight--through integrating minimally the following concepts into a single, practical, and achievable program:

  • Law.  The legal restraints (and permissions) imposed by agency policy, state and federal laws, the state Constitution, and the US Constitution for law enforcement, or the ROEs established for military engagements.  The provides permission to act and the knowledge of the limits of restraint.
  • OODA.  OODA functioning and application in the threat environment.  This is the theory of how humans make decisions under time and safety pressures that is practical and built into all training concepts.  It is within the human factors of how we interact with our environment that the officer must intentionally operate to be successful.
  • Univeral Tactical Principles© compliant.  All tactics are a subset of Applied OODA Theory©, permitting the officer the time and position needed to confound the suspect's decision-making through advantageous positioning and in-time, on-time movement and force. Everything taught and trained must be internally consistent as well as explicitly compliant to tactically sound principles. 
  • Problem-solving through the Universal Rules and Principles of Combatives©.  All training is based upon this “primal blueprint” of intrinsic and hard-wired responses built into every human being.  Humans actually problem-solve their way through most combatives events, and rarely--if ever--apply "techniques" to a quickly evolving, highly threatening problem. 
  • Simple skills.  All skills must be functional within the threat environment in which the professional operates.  These skills must be accessible to every officer—from the most to the least skilled—within the time and resources allotted for training.  There are no techniques taught to officers--techniques fail due to an inherent weakness of a series of inter-related sequence moves requiring a level of cooperation from the suspect and the time to develop to be successful.  All skills must operate within the inherent function of the human factors and its limitations. 

This contextually correct approach to training police officers, for example, creates an “integrated force concept” for officers in their response to resistance and assault.  This training eschews the concept of “training in a box.”  For example, historically (through to the present day), officers are commonly trained in distinct and separate categories of force.  This separation of force disciplines and force skills has taken the form of distinct "boxes" that never provide any integration of an officer's training.  The result is an officer responding to threat by resorting to his or her individual training boxes rather than fighting as an integrated whole:

  • Firearms training:  at the range.  Firearms solutions only to any problem involving firearms and knives, or any threat to life. 
  • Defensive Tactics training:  on the mats.  Martial arts or sports-based techniques.  Defensive Tactics solutions to any problem involving any threat level, including guns and knives and threats to life.
  • Less-lethal/Taser/non-lethal:  in the classroom and practical training area.  Every problem except actual, immediate threat to life problems.
  • Legal restraints on force:  In the classroom.  There is no explanation or correlation of classroom learning to the mat, the less-lethal practicum, or the live-fire range.
  • Tactics:  in the classroom.  Following the discussion of “tactics,” there is no other practical application or incorporation of the tactical awareness into the training curriculum.

Through Cutting Edge Training’s integrated approach to training, however, the professional is presented with concepts incorporating his or her whole experience of policing and force response.  Law and policy, sound tactics, human performance limitations and threat decision-making are blended into no-nonsense skills and employment methods.  No longer is Defensive Tactics seen as solely providing defensive tactics-only solutions to police problems.  Instead, officers are taught to work the problem to the “police solution” (Universal Rule of Combatives #2©) and incorporate all of their knowledge, experience, skills, and tools into a lawful, reasonable, and defensible solution.  Every problem becomes a “police-problem” rather than a “gun-problem” or a “DT-“ or “Taser-problem.”  Officers become quickly accustomed to this problem-solving approach because it not only parallels their solution seeking on the street, but it is completely compliant with how we function under threat to be successful.  It mirrors and compliments exactly how officers decisionize their every day responses as well as their extraordinary response to dangerous calls. 

It is in this integrated approach that combatives training (every skill and knowledge domain a professional is trained in involving an arrest and force response) becomes “functionalized.”  By taking a real-world approach, breaking problems down and finding methods that can actually be employed by every officer in that real world of threat, danger, and liability, officers are more likely to problem-solve their way to a defensible and successful conclusion.

Practical. It must work for every individual, regardless of their attributes.  It must be effective in every instance, which is why we emphasize problem-solving to every solution the individual arrives at within the combatives event.

Tactical. It must comport with safe tactical doctrine.  Violations of safe tactics must be consciously employed rather than unconsciously contained in the method of resolving a problem.  When the professional learns to problem-solving across the board by incorporating proper tactics, we see a more tactically sound problem-solver in the street. 

Functional. It must work for the human inside the uniform.  The natural limitations of the human nervous system and decision-making must be an integral part of the balanced program.  Functionality also requires integration of force and tactical training, avoiding compartmentalized doctrine and force employment, to create a functional response capability. 

Defensible. All training must concurrently comport to and explicitly correlate the law, policy, and/or ROE involved in the problem-solving.  Training an individual or a group of individuals to employ force in the absence of concurrent legal restrictions and mandates is hollow, and leads to misunderstandings of when, what type, and what duration a force response can take place.  Everything in training must lead to defensible conduct that can be justified in any post-event scrutiny.

That is Cutting Edge Training’s integrated and contextually-correct approach to functionalizing all of the force skills and knowledge domain training for law enforcement and military personnel.  That is why we are different and unique.  We don't just train you and your professionals.  We functionalize your combatives training.

(We are repeatedly asked why everyone isn't teaching combatives to armed professionals this way.  We have to admit:  we have no clue.)