Post-Workout Figure 8 Drills

[This is an archived post from Mad Science Defense, currently on indefinite hiatus, and may not reflect the usual tone and content of Author J.R. White and/or the Storyteller at Large Blog. If you have arrived here via links from a website elsewhere in the tactical and combatives training community, we wish you the best in your skill development journey.]


I’m taking a trip this week and will be wearing my gun. That’s awesome. But I’ll also have my 3-year-old daughter with me. That’s kind of scary.

What if I have to defend myself and my family while she’s present?

That’s a scary thought, and it got me thinking. How can I adjust my training and practice to account for being out with the kiddos?

We live in a 360 degree world with lots of other people, including our families. Today I want to share just one drill that provides a realistic approach to part of that problem. It’s based off the Figure 8 Drill designed by Rob Pincus over at I.C.E. Training, but in a “dry” setting (because I’m doing it at the gym right after strength & conditioning class) and with the addition of a ‘toddler’ stand-in (because of my upcoming trip). A video of the original live-fire drill as presented by Mr. Pincus can be found here.

This drill will force you to make decisions under stress, respond to threats in 360 degrees, and incorporates the presence of a child (not a live one, of course, our insurance wouldn’t cover that). And it can be used without a ninja-grade “tactical” range to shoot on; a traditional square range will do.

The cognitive element of this drill is very important, because you’ll have to make fast decisions under stress before you shoot if a real-life self-defense incident occurs. You’ll see me take longer than expected on some decisions because of the mental processing needed and my fatigued state, and that’s actually a good thing. It shows that I’m pushing outside my normal comfort zone on the drill.

You’ll notice that I did the drill right after a workout. Sometimes practicing while a bit fatigued can help you learn to function better under the stress of an attack. Being tired helps replicate the loss of fine motor skill and mental confusion that occurs in a dynamic critical incident like an ambush. It can also show you where you need to improve by revealing the errors you make under stress.

You can also learn a lot about your technique by watching video of yourself, especially video from the part of your practice when you’re getting tired and mistakes start to show. For example, as I watched this video, I caught myself doing something wrong with my left hand. It’s a bad habit that I thought I had trained out of my technique, but it came back when I was tired. Because I can see it on film, I know I need to work on it again, even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Can you see what it is? Let me know in the comments below.

Post-Workout Figure 8 Drills (with “toddler”)

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