Modern CQC thought has been greatly aided by the advent of Force-on-Force training, usually referred to as “FOF” training.
FOF training is the use of Simunition FX markers, or more recently AirSoft guns, in a dynamic scenario.
In simpler, non-tactical language, you get a bunch of folks together, give everyone a non-lethal marking gun and act out combat sequences.
This has been an invaluable boost to training, but I’m starting to see a disturbing trend amongst law enforcement training officers to declare that FOF training is indistinguishable from real live combat.
Allow me to repeat that last: I have been told by trainers that a gun-fight with AirSoft guns is identical to combat with live ammunition.
I’m here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, FOF training is no more a firefight than studying a map of Cairo means that you’ve actually walked through Cairo.
Let me see if I can explain this a little more clearly:
In Force-on-Force training, you know — on a gut level — that your opponent isn’t going to kill you. You know — even if sub-consciously — that there is no real threat.
In a firefight, your gut and your reptile hind-brain know — KNOW — that the other guy wants to lay you in a dirt bed.
In Force-on-Force training, you know that a hit is going to sting. When you know that the consequence of your action is a sting and nothing more, you don’t mind pushing the envelope.
In combat, you know that a hit is liable to kill you. Pushing the envelope against Death is bloody hard to do.
In Force-on-Force training, you don’t want to kill your opponent. You want to learn from him. You want him to learn from you. Should you accidentally severely injure your opponent, you will apologize and feel bad.
In a firefight, you want that other guy dead, even if you have to beat him to death with his own spleen. You want to paint ‘Don’t **** With Me’ in ten-foot-high letters, using his blood for paint, and his scalp for the brush. If you should severely injure or kill him — GOOD.
In Force-on-Force training, after the training day is done, you won’t mind going out to a bar and swapping tall tales with your trainer and the other students.
After a gunfight, once it’s done, if you see your opponent again, one of you will probably try to kill the other one again.
In Force-on-Force training, you respect or honour your instructor and your fellow students. You probably like some — or all — of them to varying degrees. You probably think of them as comrades, fellow warriors, equals. You wish to test yourself, and test your mettle, against them, to prove to yourself that you have “what it takes”.
In combat — not so much.
Don’t get me wrong, Force-on-Force training is invaluable.
However, Force-0n-Force training is merely a map, where combat is the terrain.
I’ve never loaded my underwear at the beginning of an FOF scenario, or at any time during an FOF scenario.
I’ve never gotten auditory exclusion, time dilation, or tunnel vision during a FOF scenario.
I’ve never achieved, for lack of a better term, a ‘combat state of mind’: where the adrenaline makes your blood sing, your body feels too small, your conscious mind detaches itself to allow the body to act as it needs, and something deep in your gut — something primeval; made of fangs and talons and raw bloody berserker rage — screams defiance and fury at your opponent through a throat too constricted for speech … I’ve never achieved that during a FOF scenario.
On the other paw, I’ve never decided I was thirsty during a life-or-death situation, never been distracted by a wedgie, never wanted to get this scenario over with because I really, really needed to go to the litter-box, and I’ve never tried to impress a trainer, a fellow student, or that cute little blonde bit of crumpet in the lycra training suit while someone was trying to shoot me, stab me or strangle me.
I will say it again, because someone will get their snot-locker out of joint:
1)I approve of Force-on-Force training.
2)I think Force-on-Force training should be done more often.
What gives me a bad case of the red-arse is having some instructor tell me that, quote: “Force-on-force training is identical to combat. Every time.”
Codswallop. Bushwa. Horse. Puckey.
The way people react in FOF is the way they’re going to react in FOF. The way people react in combat is the way they’ll react in combat. FOF reactions will usually — usually, I say — influence combat reactions, but until students fear for their lives during FOF training … don’t ever get FOF and combat mixed up.