My friend and colleague Shelley Hill of Image Based Decisional Drills https://www.imagebaseddecisionaldrills.com/ has generously contributed the following post about the importance of the Use of Force decisional process and training for it. We’ve been slapped in the face by the news about good and bad Use of Force decision making. It is the most important, consequential, and least practiced aspect of the Fundamentals.
Decisions Come Before Technique
by Shelley Hill
In the process of Personal Protection, from the time that a bad guy chooses you, you will have a limited amount of time to make a decision. THEY choose how and when. YOU have to respond to their actions. YOUR reactions need to be confident, quick, and decisive.
Seeing, recognizing, and believing danger is the first task. Having a plan for avoidance, deselection and escalation is second. If these fail, the fight is on, and it must be won. The first time you have to use the different levels of force, with everything on the line, should not be the first time you practice your skills. A wide variety of options are available for responding to an attempted attack. The choices you have include:
- Non-lethal (mindset, verbal, walk away, flashlight, etc.),
- Less than lethal (OC/pepper spray, Combatives, etc.) and
- Lethal options (firearm, knife, advanced Combatives, etc.).
Your decision or decisions will come first, ideally before the incident ever begins. After deciding what to do, you will apply a technique to implement your decision. We must commit to a course of action and take advantage of making decisions ahead of time. Our instinctive responses to danger are fight, flight, or freeze. If we have thought about and practiced our decisions before the incident takes place, we have a better chance of expanding our instinctual reactions to something more effective or appropriate. When pre-need decisions have already been made, the techniques we have practiced will usually fall into place.
Recognition -primed decision making (RPD) is a model of how people make quick, effective decisions when faced with complex situations. In this model, the decision maker is assumed to generate a possible course of action, compare it to the constraints imposed by the situation, and select the first course of action that is not rejected. RPD has been useful for diverse groups including medical professionals, fire ground-commanders, chess players, and stock market traders.
It functions well in conditions of time pressure, and in which information is partial and goals defined only in a limited way. It appears, as discussed by Gary A. Klein in Sources of Power, to be a valid model for how human decision-makers make decisions. The result of pre-need decision-making is a decision that may not be perfect but is good enough to help keep you, or a loved one, safe.
With the help of Brian Hill and Claude Werner, I produced a decision learning system called Image Based Decisional Drills (IBDD). It is an evolution of the technique of visualization that has been used successfully for decades to help athletes, competitive shooters, and others make their decisions ahead of time and then carry them out as a programmed response instead of improvising decisions as they go.
It is called it IBDD because you are learning to quickly make ONE good FIRST decision based on visual stimuli. The word “decisional” means “having the power or authority to make decisions”, and drills means practicing. Image Based Decisional Drills is a system that can be used in either dry practice or live fire. It consists of a deck of 21 Image Cards that provide IMAGES that will help you to recognize danger and to make smart decisions ahead of time.
There are benefits to practicing good FIRST decisions through IBDD and then following up with GOOD techniques.
- Visual cueing and pre-need decision making.
- Learning distance management through “Reactionary Zones.”
- Tool cycling and strategy changes that can be practiced repeatedly.
- Pressure testing decisions under realistic time constraints with feedback for improvement.
- The ability to practice your skills whether you are ON or OFF the range. The actual mechanics of shooting can be practiced separately while the IBDD drills will help with tool handling and selection.
Whatever system you use to practice your decision making skills, it’s important to keep an important concept in mind. It is easier to adapt a plan you made ahead of time to the situation than it is to improvise a plan on the spot. Make a plan, practice your plan, and then work your plan if the need arises.
Tactical Professor books (all PDF)
- Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
- Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
- Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
- Real Shootouts of the LAPD https://realshootoutsofthelapd.com/
- Thinking Clearly about Self-defense and Personal Protection https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3377208
- Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
- Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
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