A common saying that I hear quite a bit as I travel to teach around the United States is “I need more tools in my toolbox”. This is a common expression used in the security and the law enforcement training community. I will generally shock most people when I respond with my disbelief in this principle. I actually believe the opposite. The operator that has a toolbox full of tools will find that most of his tools just simply get in the way when he has to start digging through his toolbox looking for an answer or “Tool” while he is under the pressure of a stressful situation.
What I tell most of the practitioners I work with is that instead of seeking a box full of tools, what you really want to find is what I refer to as “multi-tool”. A multi-tool is a principle based idea that teaches you how to use your body in multiple situations. In other words, you have a single tool (what most people will call a technique) that is capable of achieving multiple things. The tool that you choose will need to operate in multiple different environments and not just in a single situation that you may run into.
The last thing you want to be is a collector of techniques. The techniques collector thinks that if “X” happens, then I will “Y”. They collect multiple X’s or “tools” in order to deal with the potential problems they will run into. The problem with this thought pattern, as I mentioned before, is that you learn a given technique in one situation, for instance, while standing up. Then you may be required to do the same while sitting or laying on the ground. For a lot of people they will look at this as the need for another technique, when in fact, the same tool should apply in any given scenario if it is truly a solid tool.
If you start seeking tools that are principle based and have the ability to be used in multiple situations and environments you will find that the list will start to get smaller and your toolbox will start to empty. This will move you away from the “I have a technique for that” mindset.
The Multi-Tool Principle is one that we use quite often when teaching C-Tac. It is a universal principle that will apply to anyone, professional or civilian when placed under a level of stress. The principle will also help you measure the effectiveness of any given technique that is presented to the student. After a while you develop the ability to pick out better tools.
See you in class!