The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"A Factor 10 Times More Important Than Skill"
The conventional self-defense training community would have you believe that the outcome of a violent attack is going to depend on skill. Skill is where the money, glamour, and glory reside. The truth is, skill shouldnt be mentioned in the same breath as starting position...
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Hello, my friends and fellow Guardians, and welcome to another Guardian Broadcast, brought to you by the Concealed Carry University.
I’m a day late here, and I’ve had quite an ordeal. Get a load of this: By the time I recorded last week’s broadcast, one of my molars was already very sensitive to cold temperatures. So, I made a plan to get in and have it checked out. Well, by Wednesday, it was a full-blown tooth infection. Eating or drinking anything was extremely painful, even if I avoided that side of my mouth. Touching the tooth with my tongue sent electric shocks through my body, and I had a splitting headache. On Thursday, I made an appointment with an oral surgeon to have the tooth removed. I could have tried a root canal, but this has been my only problematic tooth, and after four years of dealing with it, I was just ready to be done. Thursday night, I couldn’t sleep because of the pain – not even a minute. Friday night, I was so exhausted, I managed a few hours, despite the pain. By Saturday, I had developed a fever, and I drenched the bed with sweat, going from freezing chills to boiling hot. Again: absolutely zero sleep Saturday night. It felt like a ghost had walked up and locked a set of vise-grips to this molar and walked away. And every heartbeat seemed to tighten the grip. I spent the night pacing around my kitchen, trying and failing to read on my phone… to distract myself.
By Sunday morning, I was ready to accept help. Until that point in my life, I’d never taken a single ibuprofen. I’ve just never needed to – both good luck and a high pain tolerance. Even when I dislocated my shoulder in 2011, and again in 2013, I never needed anything but ice. But, I went to Urgent Care. I was given anti-biotics and was told to take 600mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours, and 600mg of Tylenol in between. Finally… some relief. It was a miracle. The fever continued and I slept in 2-hour batches. And then on Monday, I had the tooth cranked out of there, and it was instant relief. The local anesthetic wore away, and my mouth felt a million times better. It felt like I’m been punched in the head a few times… but absolutely no need for further pain killers. The high fever of 103 continued for one more night, and then yesterday, it broke. Today: I’m a new man. What. An. Adventure.
But, you didn’t come here to hear about my tooth. So, let’s get to it.
Alright. Last week, my broadcast had one goal, and that was to draw a line between the sorts of pre-positioning we Guardians do in our lives at the strategic and tactical levels, and the kind of grand-scale maneuvering that generals and master chess players do to win battles and wars and tournaments.
So: once the fight has started: fighting to save your life with your handgun comes down mainly to three things; usually a combination of all three: starting position, skill, and luck. Okay? Let that sink in. Starting position. Skill. And Luck.
Let’s talk about Luck first. Sometimes, people just get lucky. But when we say Luck, we aren’t referring to an unseen force: we’re referring to chance. Coincidence. Any outcome that can’t be attributed to Starting Position or Skill, or a combination of the two. Sheep trying to turn away from a charging attacker can trip him, making him fall into a wall and go unconscious. Murderers with .22LR revolvers with only 3 live rounds in the cylinder score throat shots that kill you in a minute. We can’t control luck, or chance, so we don’t really need to talk about it more. The only note I have is that sometimes we attribute skill to luck when those skills are unconscious. If someone changes their mind and drives by a gas station inside which a robbery was in progress that resulted in the employee and three patrons being shot in the back of the head – there’s a good chance that wasn’t luck. There’s a better chance that unconscious intuition, or a sixth-sense, warned that individual that something was amiss. And intuition isn’t luck; building an educated intuition takes years and years, and so, it’s a skill.
Second, let’s talk about Skill. And I don’t really need to explain skill, it’s one of the few aspects of self-defense that people from all schools of thought can all agree about. Skill is, what? It’s extent to which we can control all the actions that we are in control of.
It’s extent to which we can control all the actions that we are in control of.
And I like to add: “in a repeatable fashion.” Because I have had plenty of lucky shots. I’ve gotten credit for some shots at the range and victories with force on force equipment that I know had very little to do with my skill.
And that calls to mind an important point: we can never remove luck, or chance, from the equation. It’s always going to be there. But we can isolate and test for skill and luck as much as possible. That’s why tournaments require a lot of shots. We don’t just ask people to come and shoot one bullet, even though that would be a valid test for snipers. But luck would play such a large role in a tournament like that, it’s likely that the best sniper wouldn’t always win. Luck will always be a factor. For that reason, real tournaments require the competitors to win many rounds. To fire many shots. We want to not only see how good they are, but how often they can be good. Because as Tom Petty said: baby even the losers… get lucky sometimes.
But what we can do, is eliminate starting position. Right? Because again, all competition (including self-defense gunfighting) is going to come down to a combination of Starting Position, Skill, and Luck. And I know I’m being repetitive – if you already truly and fully understand what I’m getting at here, just consider yourself a star pupil in the realm of Combat Dynamics.
So, what we can do, is eliminate starting position. For example, a classic cowboy shootout is a perfect example of a gunfight only luck and skill are at play.
Can you think of any other examples of human competition where we work to eliminate Starting Position? Any guesses? The answer is: ALL of them. All of them. Boxers start in their corners and are required to weigh almost exactly the same amount. Football teams have specific numbers and starting positions for each round (or whatever you call it – I am not a sports guy). Nascar teams are required to build cars with nearly identical aerodynamics, engine displacement, even carburetor airflow. Or to use Chess again, both players begin with an identical array and placement of game pieces. And on and on and on. Why?
Why do virtually all competitive sports work as hard as possible to eliminate Starting Position?
Because…. In most realms… Starting Position is literally 5 to 10 times MORE IMPORTANT than skill.
Imagine the NASCAR race where teams were allowed to race any car they could afford? It would become a contest of which teams had the most money, right? You’d have the same 3 people winning every race, in their $6 million-dollar custom cars. What if boxers didn’t have to weigh in? If there were no weight classes at all? What if the items that people could hold in their hands during a Spelling Bee were not regulated?
These would no longer be contests of skill, but instead, contests of Starting Position. Because I don’t care how good of a boxer you are. If you’re going against a guy with six inches more reach and 40lbs on you… you might get lucky sometimes… but overall, you’re going to lose. And I don’t care how good of a driver you are. If you bring a Mustang to any track with long straight-ways and lots of twisty turns, the guy with an Audi R8 is probably going to win 19 times out of 20.
I have one very simple point here. Everything leading up to this point in this broadcast was to establish two things:
First, that winning in nearly all aspects of human competition comes down to a mixture of Starting Position, Skill, and Luck.
And Second, that Starting Position is 5 to 10 times more important…. 5 to 10 times more of a factor… in whether you win or lose, than Skill is.
What else can I say about Starting Position?
That it is EASIER than skill. To learn to outdraw someone with a pistol takes an enormous amount of practice. But to choose to sit or stand where that person won’t see you should they walk in the room… so that you can line up a shot and take them out if you have to…. That takes very little skill by comparison. Only a little bit of knowledge…. and a little bit of forethought.
Now. Let me ask you this. What are the four primary realms of human competition where Starting Position is NOT eliminated? Maybe you’re already ahead of me. Here they are:
Romance. Politics. Business. And COMBAT.
They say: all is fair in love and war. This is exactly what they’re referring to. When people say, “you never want to find yourself in a FAIR fight.” This is exactly what they’re referring to. Because the bottom line is: In Romance, Politics, Business, and COMBAT: Starting Position – MOST OF THE TIME - is going to be the biggest factor in determining who wins…. Or who loses.
And Starting Position… which is largely determined by your ability to PRE-position… is a big part of what Volume 3 is all about. But even within the 3 hours of Volume 3, there is only so much time… and that is why I love to have you here with me in this Guardian Broadcast.
Now: I’d love to talk about how good looks and boldness and natural charisma gets the girl, and how you can’t really change that, no matter how hard you try. I’d love to talk about how family name and wealth and personal connections wins elections and markets and tends to crush competition, no matter how good those competitors might be.
But we are here to talk about COMBAT. And until next week, I’d ask that you reflect on this concept of Starting Position, and all the ways it causes people to win and lose gunfights.