Mission Centric Training™ is a concept that a partner and I came up with a few years ago while conducting self defense training for a numerous organizations in the Boston area. It’s a concept that many military personnel and law enforcement officers (LEOs) get, but is missed on the broader public much of the time.

The concept is this: you dedicate most of your training time to the mission at hand. The mission consists of a goal, likely obstacles, and a likely environment.

For an LEO, a goal may be to effect an arrest on a resisting suspect. Subgoals would include, not getting injured, and not injuring the suspect. Likely scenarios may include a traffic stop outdoors at night (environment). Obstacles may include cars, other people, a curb, etc. It makes sense to simulate the mission as closely as possible – low light, obstacles, resisting suspect etc.

Now the important part of Mission Centric Training is – the mission dictates the tactics. Given our law enforcement example above, does it make sense to training in neck breaking or fast-drawing a sword? Of course not. Not that there is anything wrong with those teachings, and other training can certainly make a person more well-rounded. But the idea here is, dedicate the most effort in training to the mission at hand.

In the case of law enforcement, where liability is a large concern, it doesn’t make sense to focus on military style combative tactics. Lethal empty-hands tactics do have their place in a law enforcement arsenal, but it’s just not the major focus.

For civilians, the main focus on self defense should be on effecting an escape. Civilian self defense boils down to one essential mission concept –  move from an area of less safety to an area of greater safety. Civilians are not duty bound to face enemy combatants of effect arrests. This mission concept allows civilians the tactical flexibility for everything from running away, locking oneself in a safe room, using less lethal force to disable an attacker, or using lethal force.

Civilians are most likely to encounter threats of violence in and around their car, at their workplace, and in their home. Planning tactics around these environments is essential.

Keep in mind, Mission Centric Training takes nothing away from traditional or sports martial arts practice. If your sport is MMA, it makes perfect sense to train in MMA rules, with MMA trained opponents, inside an MMA ring. If your mission is spiritual development, you choose a martial art that focuses on that. However, do not confuse either with necessary self-defense training. Cross-training is a great idea.

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