Remember the movie, “The Magnificent Seven” — a western in which seven men combined to take on a band of criminals? They were badly outnumbered, but each possessed a highly developed talent, and as a team they were invincible.
The story is based on the Classic Japanese Kurosawa film, “The Seven Samurai” and is true to the lesson of the original. Every person has the ability to develop the components of power within themselves and when combined as a team with others similarly motivated for a righteous purpose you can become indomitable.
What are the components of power?
Power can not be conjured up by simply wishing it to be so. Each officer — regardless of age, size, or sex — is capable of developing the ability to use the components of power to their advantage to win every undesirable, but inevitable street confrontation. There are seven components of power that can be used and combined to win on the street.
Balance must be maintained prior to, throughout and after the confrontation to win. It starts by taking a position of advantage and utilizing your proper stances taught in your tactics training. It can be enhanced by placing the suspect in a proper position before a search or a frisk so that suspect’s balance is compromised
Officers can even win at the onset of a foot pursuit by anticipating that a suspect is almost always off balance in the first few steps of their frantic and sudden flight.
To prepare for the balanced flowing movement needed in a street struggle, officers can utilize the training technique of shadow fighting a few minutes a day. Officers can also learn a great deal about maintaining balance on the ground by training with fellow officers, who have a background in wrestling, jujitsu and mixed martial arts. A sense of balance is a powerful edge in a fight on foot or on the ground.
It is important after the fight is won to maintain balance within your self to insure that the application of force stops when control is achieved. This is an important aspect of legally winning the struggle as well as physically and emotionally winning.
To outlast your opponent is the essence of victory. There is an old axiom that a fighter must run one mile a day to prepare for each minute of the fight they’re training for. Sure as that badge on your chest your next fight looms on the horizon. You will not know where, when, or with whom it will be, much less how long it will last. Someone else will start it and you must finish it. You must have the physical endurance to finish every fight no matter the time location your physical age or condition. You must your train for cardio-vascular endurance, if not for your sake for your family’s sake, to maintain and even increase your physical endurance up to the day you retire (and beyond).
There is an element of emotional endurance also. Sometimes there are casualties in street confrontations. Officers must prepare to emotionally survive as well as physically survive the casualties they sustain as well as the casualties they inflict in the performance of their duties.
Muscular and joint flexibility can be enhanced through training and diminished through years of patrolling in a seated position.
A regimen of stretching and relaxation can improve your physical flexibility. To maintain flexibility, the rule is “move it or loose it.” Do not let inflexibility happen. A muscle strain or pull can diminish your capabilities at a crucial moment, when you need pique performance. Lower back injuries cut short careers far more often than bullets.
Flexibility also means flexibility of tactics and options. The more flexible you are in tactical options available to you under stress the more powerful you become in the inevitable confrontations that lie ahead.
You always want to hit the sweet spot. If you find yourself in a gunfight or a physical confrontation the ability to focus is the great equalizer. Whether you are shooting, striking with a baton, deploying a TASER, firing special munitions, punching, applying a pressure point to enhance a come-along, or breaching a door on an entry, the line firearms trainers have used for centuries still applies: “Aim small, miss small.”
To be able to stay focused under stress can enhance your ability to perform. This can be achieved by prior preparation before the event and survival breathing during the event.
Every cop knows that increasing the velocity of a bullet increases the power of the bullet. The same thing is true for a punch or a kick, or the ability to apply a control hold or handcuffs. If you’re able to quickly access and apply your handcuffs, come-alongs, baton or any of your equipment, you may end the resistance before it fully develops.
If you punch, kick, knee, and strike with your elbows with great velocity you will maximize the power of each technique. Focus those high velocity impacts and you have a winning combination.
Another aspect of speed is the speed of the decision. Prepare to be correct in your use of force decision making and then train to be decisive. To win a confrontation a police officer must recognize the imminent threat that the suspect poses and defensibly hit them back first with a justifiable technique.
Strength is not the only component of power, but it often is undeniably a factor, considering what the job entails. At times, all you need to do to win is to get a suspect’s arms behind his back to a position where you can apply the handcuffs. Many times the suspect does not fight so much as they just resist. During these trying and frequent times in a career, strength helps.
Strength training is an absolute must for every male and female street officer. It is mandated by a job that requires that you bring your share of strength to the struggle. Police Officers come in all shapes and sizes and not all can be competitive power lifters, but all can develop their ability to be as strong as they can be, to make sure you and your partners can have the opportunity at the end of each shift to look forward to experiencing the rest of your tomorrows.
Simplicity of Technique
The last component of power is simplicity of technique. The techniques that will win for you are the techniques that have been made simple through training and street application. If you have trained so that you can work the technique with a partner you become even more powerful and if the technique can be worked in conjunction as a team tactic it is even more powerful.
What makes a technique simple is the ability to use it consistently, with effect under stress.
A Real Life Magnificent Seven
These seven law enforcement officers have faced incredible challenges. Each applied one or more of the components of power to cling to life and save lives and continue to serve as an example to all officers.
Officer Katie Conway of the Cincinnati Police Department who was wounded and lying across the seat of her squad found balance in a speeding car to fire two shots into her assailant and end his rampage.
Officer Stacy Lim of the Los Angeles Police Department showed incredible endurance after being shot in the heart by finishing the gun fight she did not start. She survived and eventually returned to patrol after an inspirational recovery.
Sergeant Marcus Young of the Ukiah California Police Department showed flexibility after he was shot and stabbed in a sudden assault. While his right arm hung useless at his side, he managed to gain assistance in obtaining his weapon. He shot his assailant with his left hand.
Special Agent Edmundo Morales of the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed strength by pulling himself back up from the street after he had been severely wounded trying to apprehend two killers in Miami. Two fellow agents lie dead a few feet from him and a gun fight raged around him. He fought back the pain and cycled a shotgun repeatedly and fired it with the one hand he had, which was still functioning. His shots wounded his assailants. Special Agent Morales pulled himself to a standing position and advanced to finish the fight with his handgun.
Officer Justin Garner of the Carthage Police Department used focus to remain calm, when a mad gun man was shooting down innocents in a Carthage, North Carolina nursing home and Justin was the lone officer on duty. He calmly searched for and located the suspect. A gunfight ensued and Justin focused one well placed shot to the suspect’s “center mass” to end the confrontation and stop the killing.
Officers Houston McCoy and Ramiro Martinez of the Austin Texas Police Department arrived together at the scene of a bloody shooting. They were each decisive and used speed to run across an open area, while a sniper shot at them. They went to the top of the tower, met, and made a simple plan.
“You go right and I’ll go left. Let’s end this thing.”
There was power in the simplicity of their plan.
Balance, Endurance, Flexibility, Strength, Focus, Speed, and Simplicity of Technique are the “Magnificent Seven” components of power.