Integrated Training: Where Can You Find It?


One of my bugaboos right now is there is little, if any, integrated training currently for “civilians” that combines firearms and empty-hand techniques into a cohesive whole.

I can go the the range and practice and train with a gun, and I can go to the dojo and learn to take (and throw) a punch. But there are precious few trainers out there that are bringing the two together and teaching it in a way that is replicable outside of the dojo/range.

Part of the problem, I think, is what we use to train ourselves. How can we in the “civilian” world talk about integrating guns and empty-hand techniques in a “force continuum,” when we don’t have a target system that allows for a variety of responses? We shoot at IPSC, IDPA, etc. and practice with our firearms shooting at paper targets, and then throw punches and kicks at an entirely different type of target in the dojo.

Maybe we need a one-size-fits-all target. Something that can respond to punch or a kick like a heavy bag, and at the same time, take a pistol or .223 round without requiring major surgery. Something like that will allow us to judge our responses by the target’s threat (or non-threat) and not by what the target is made out of. We’re training ourselves to shoot paper and punch heavy-duty PVC; we need to think in terms of threat itself, not what the target is made out of.

Thinking more about things, the place where we do our training influences also what we’re learning. I know going into the dojo that I’m going to learn punches/kicks/throws, and the most we’ll deal with firearms is maybe a blue gun or two. I know walking onto the range I’m going to work on solving lethal force threats with a gun, and for safety reasons, I’m not probably not going to do anything physical while I’m armed.

What if we didn’t know what we were training for until we got to the training site?

What if a range was set up so that people could train with airsoft and/or empty-hand in one side and safely practice live-fire on another side? How would that affect how we integrate concealed carry and empty-hand defensive techniques? Is what we’re using for practice targets and where we’re training affecting our approach to armed and unarmed self-defense? What are your thoughts? 


Guest author Kevin Creighton is the voice behind Misfires and Light Strikes: An Arizona Gun Blog. He describes himself as fitting in with Gun Culture 2.0 and continues to expand his firearm knowledge on and off the range. You can follow him at @ExurbanKevin.