Couples Communication


The weekend before Valentine’s Day, The Complete Combatant hosts a class for couples that focus on teamwork and communication. I often joke with my wife that we are fire team Hill, but there really is some truth to this statement. If you are attacked, the chances that your loved one will be with you and in danger also, are a real concerns for many of us.

Business teamwork building concept.

A common statement from spouses that are not as committed to the self defense lifestyle is “My significant other carriers so I don’t have to be prepared, they will protect me.” I know all of us want to be protectors, but what if your protector is injured, unconscious, or worse? There are many responsibilities in a violent encounter, moving to safety, first aid, getting help, and watching for other potential threats. They all have one thing in common, the need to communicate with each other in manner which is both efficient and effective. Couples face a greater challenge because their communication is intimate, convening not only information, but also emotion. As I like to say, words have meanings, but not always the same meaning to everyone.


High stress situations require streamline communication, which is simple and direct. During a movement exercise we were doing in class, one partner told the other to go to the door, well I have 6 doors in my gym, so they headed toward different doors. Right and left, front and back, are relative to the direction you are facing, so non-specific words can work poorly in team communication. Everyone in class quickly learned to use hand signals, words that they could understood clearly, and to ask for clarification if they did not understand what the other person was saying. Verbal skills, movement, defensive skills and weapon use need to be practice together. One of drills requires taking down a bad guy together, using high and low, or arms and legs, as areas of responsibilities they quickly began to dominate their opponent, disarm them, and pin them. One person would tell someone to call 911 or get help and the other would give clear commands to the bad guy. The act of taking charge, giving directions, breaks the freeze in individuals and groups.


Developing a plan in advance and learning how to communicate simply and effectively will benefit all of us in any situation. Get training in all areas of self defense, and be prepared to work together to survive any encounter.



In my last blog, I wrote about practice and the proper mindset to achieve long lasting results. Practice is preparation for the challenges that we will face. Competition, qualifications, testing, training, or self defense will shape our practice and preparation for the future.

As a fighter, I used a 12 week training cycle. This would allow to manage my weight, study my opponent, improve conditioning, develop a game plan, and fill in the areas of weakness in my skill set. I still use this model in preparation for shooting competitions.


This allows me to improve baselines on my fundamentals, study other shooters, and improve weak skill sets. I use this same pattern when I attend a training class. I want to get the most out of every class I attend, so I prepare. I research the instructor, to understand what they teach and expect of students. I read reviews from students, looking for suggestions and details about the class. I look for study guides and course curriculum so I can structure my practice. I read the course requirements and prepare my gear in advance. I ask people who have taken the course for advice and expectations. Most importantly, I visualize my performance and develop a belief in myself to perform at the highest level my preparation and practice will allow. Now I can train with concentration and focus, getting the most out of class.

It is helpful to be confident, and prepared when you compete and train. Holding myself accountable shuts down the protective mechanism of making excuses or lowering my standards. After the class, I review my performance, and add things to my practice and make changes to skills, if I have been shown a better way.


One of the greatest tools we have as self defenders are the numerous videos of actual attacks. For the first time, we can really know how attacks are set up and executed on citizens. We can now prioritize what is necessary to avoid or survive a violent attack. Awareness, verbal skills, appropriate tool and skill selection, medical training and gear, and legal aspects of encounter can all be prepared for in advance. Make sure your practice is preparation for challenges you will face.

Timendi causa est nescire – “Ignorance is the cause of fear.”

― Seneca, Natural Questions






Quality Practice

“I get to practice today” ……this is my mindset when comes to practice. It’s a privilege to pursue mastery of any chosen subject, and your time is finite, spend it wisely.

“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject… And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them… Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.”

― Seneca, Natural Questions



Approach each session of practice with the joy of time spent working towards your goals, and self discovery. I find my practices are small vacations from stress, mindful passages of time, spent in discovery of what makes me a better shooter, fighter, or athlete. I know that in a short amount of time I can change or improve anything. That is the only true power we have, the ability to refine ourselves. What seems impossible today, will become possible with practice. Enjoy the training, challenge yourself to become a better you, with daily practice.

FIRST: How do you structure your dry fire practice?

Practice is important, but how do you structure your practice? I am using Steve Anderson’s dry fire book, Refinement and Repetition. It has a log book to record times, which is helpful. Primarily a competitive based training book, but I use my carry gear and adjust the times on the draw and reload. Isolating necessary gun handling skills to a subconscious level of automaticity, allows my mind to deal with the more important problems of shooting. I’ll include a chart that shows different levels of automaticity to accomplish different levels of performance. John Hearne compiled this data and chart, which is a very helpful guide to your present level of performance. I look forward to your input….