View Full Version : Making Split Second Decisions

10-17-2010, 10:38 AM
Skill Set: Making Split Second Decisions
by Tiger McKee

Fighting is problem solving at high speeds. You're presented with a problem. You have to come up with a solution to that problem, and then apply those actions. In most confrontations this process requires making split second decisions. The ability to make sound decisions instantly over short spans of time is discussed in detail in Malcolm Gladwell's book "blink," which I highly recommend.

According to Gladwell, making split second decisions, based on what initially may appear to be a limited amount of information, occurs in a part of the brain called the adaptive unconscious. This part of your brain is "a kind of giant computer that quickly and quietly processes a lot of the data we need in order to keep functioning as human beings." While normally we like to have as much information as possible before make a choice, when dealing with a lethal threat ability to make decisions instantly is a matter of life and death. "blink" explains how this process works, how to develop and control this skill, and when to trust these decisions as opposed to a different decision process.

The more familiar with are with a situation, the more likely we are to come up with the correct decision under stress. So how do we become familiar with violent situations without it being on the job experience? One of the easier and most efficient ways is mental imagery training, which is basically sitting down somewhere quiet and then imagining being involved in a violent confrontation. You are attacked. You create distance, drawing your weapon and engage the threat. The more realism you can instill in this scenario the more valuable it is for preparing you for an actual confrontation.

Another way to work in realistic practice is force-on-force training, using simunition or airsoft weapons, and running through scripted scenarios with some partners. This is about as close to actual fighting as you can get. Familiarizing yourself with other types of confrontations, such as contact martial arts, is another way of getting use to stress and conflict.

The more you become acquainted with violence the less chance there is that you'll end up making an incorrect decision under stress. By understanding confrontations you have the ability to think, consider options, and then solve your problem. If all you know how to do is shoot, that kind of narrows down your options. When you know how to watch for danger, create distance, move to cover, and that the threat may respond to your verbal commands you have more choices.

Remember that fighting is ninety-five percent mental. Your ultimate weapon is your mind, and your need to train it just like your body. The decision is yours. Choose to be ready.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama, author of The Book of Two Guns, a staff member of several firearms/tactical publications, and an adjunct instructor for the F.B.I. (256) 582-4777 www.shootrite.org (http://www.shootrite.org/)

Story Link:http://www.thetacticalwire.com/features/223525

Copyright 2008-2010 The Tactical Wire. All Rights Reserved.

10-17-2010, 06:13 PM
Great info Decline! Tiger is a world known instructor and he himself has trained under some greats. My bottom line this whole article is that you should get as much ADVANCED training as you can afford and then continue to PRACTICE the skills you learned in those classes. Col Jeff Cooper said that you will shoot in a stressed situation like you train. If you have the skills and continually train those skills, those skills will come out naturally in a high stress situation.