The OODA Loop & HEMA

“Knowledge is not power. Power alone is power. What knowledge does is provide the means to determine where to focus that power, for maximum effect.”  – Carl von Clausewitz [3] The gears of war turn throughout the Ages as combat perpetually evolves. This evolution of weapons and tactics does not include a change in the process, the intent or the results. Combat is violence and a constant series of decision (making) cycles regardless of the scale in which it is conducted. To be ever more proficient physically and mentally is the goal, and few things outside of (historical) study and sweat bear such fruit. In search of this goal, as martialists we know the need to harness and improve our Fingerspitzengefühl [4], as it is an improvable skill (Richards, 2010), not some kind of third eye or an equally unattainable sixth sense. More topically specific, we also know not to go into the fight with plans to utilize particular techniques since, no plan survives first contact [5]. A self created catalogue of pre-conceived or pre-constructed tactics or maneuvers clutters the mind and slows or stalls not only the mental processing of the battlefield environment [6] but the physical application of violence as well. As such, it (a busy mind) effectively shortens the Reactionary Gap [7] and degrades combat effectiveness. One of those areas outside of sweat and historical study...

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