03 November 2016

Verbal commands- why they need to be part of your training

It has been about three months since our combatives classes really got going at MCS York.  Now we have a great core group of men and women from all ages and all walks of life.  Backgrounds range from no training experience at all to instructors in traditional martial arts.  One of the things that we do to add realism to what we do is encourage students to use verbal commands even when doing drills, not just scenarios.  Interesting, getting people to yell, both men and women, has proven to be one of the most difficult things.  For those that have trained extensively in firearms and were taught verbal commands for that skill set, they do not transfer well to an open hand confrontation in which you have no justification to present, much less use deadly force.

Verbal commands are a very interesting thing because speech is not a natural response during the FIGHT/FLIGHT/FREEZE response.  That is why when you are really pissed off you often stutter, misspeak, or cannot get any words out at all.

Commands have to be easy to remember, concise, and instructive.  For that reason, we most often use "GET BACK".  It is strong and can actually be shocking when people use their big boy/girl voice.  The longer and more complicated you get, the more likely people are to vapor lock and not say anything at all. Once these simple words become an ingrained part of your stress response, you can move on to other things.  Benefits of effectual verbal commands include-

  • Force you to breathe
  • Create verbal witnesses that become visual witnesses
  • Momentarily stun your attacker
  • Help you trigger your physical response
  • Gives your attacker an option to stop before you are forced to use physical force
  • Helps to unlock the physical aggression we all have inside of us
If you don't intentionally make verbal commands part of your training, you will not use them in a real situation.

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