6 keys to injury prevention during simulation training
Larry Nadeau's "Force Relation to Target" concept remains an excellent guide to keep your DT training safe
Injury prevention during defensive tactics simulation training — always one of the goals of DT instructors — often conflicts with the need to provide high level, dynamic, high intensity simulation training. Training injures do occur. Keeping everyone safe requires properly trained instructors conducting well thought out simulations assisted by properly equipped and trained demonstrators. Larry Nadeau, the developer of the ‘Force Relation to Target’ concept, likes to say “a goof in the suit is still a goof.” Protective gear is important but gear can’t protect you if the simulations aren’t properly designed and conducted. In addition, the demonstrator must be properly supervised and trained to operate safely and effectively in his/her protective equipment.
I’ve known Larry Nadeau for twenty years. Larry is the founder of the internationally known Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Training Program, a women’s self defense program. He is a lifelong martial artist in the Korean Hapkido System. Larry is also a noted defensive tactics instructor who developed the RedMan Simulation Instructor Training Programs with me.
Needless to say, Larry understands the need for defensive tactics instructors to prevent injuries to their demonstrators due to strikes directed to them. The difference between Larry and me is, as Larry likes to say, he spent his martial arts sparring time trying to avoid being hit while I seemed to like the beating that I took in my sparring matches.
I learned and practiced as an “unconscious competent” the Force Relation to Target Concept that Larry Nadeau so brilliantly conceptualized. The difference is that what took me ten years of severe beatings to learn, Larry can share with new officers in the period of several hours. This is more efficient, less painful, and less debilitating than the old fashion “learning the hard way” method.
Force Relation to Target Defined
Larry Nadeau defines Force Relation to Target as the “trained energy or force generated by a weapon in motion with proper technique is very dependent upon the target in its various states or movements for optimal energy transfer. Manipulation of the target will produce varying degrees of kinetic energy transfer from the weapon to said target. As aggressors, our goal is to manipulate the known targets in such a way as to limit the ability of kinetic energy to penetrate our protective equipment. By manipulating the intended target as an aggressor, we can control the Point of Contact and the kinetic energy transferred by the weapon. Through a complete knowledge of a participants previously trained weapons and intended targets, visual identification of the incoming strike and/or developing a sensitivity to compressing gear, we can manipulate the Point of Contact. This allows our protective equipment to “catch” most of the intended energy the weapon has generated.”
For a better understanding of this concept, take a moment now to watch the video in the sidebar to the right.
There are six components to the Force Relation to Target concept. Briefly, they are:
1. Stay loose (muscle tension)
2. Don’t get rigid (slack in joints)
3. Avoid planting arms and legs against objects (ground, walls, vehicles, persons, etc.)
4. Don’t get braced against objects (ground, walls, vehicles, persons, etc.)
5. Don’t absorb movement (by moving into strike)
6. Attempt rolling movements (by moving with strike)
Larry allows me to make contact with the protective suit to simulate a real life application of these strikes so the student knows that s/he is hitting correctly. But, and it is an important but, Larry positions his body and maneuvers his body to take the “bite” out of these focused strikes. He is effective without being incapacitated. His safety is assured not by luck — but by his training and skill. Remember, if you depend on luck you need to be lucky every day. Conversely, you only have to have to be unlucky once.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions at email@example.com.
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