KISS

This is a breath of fresh air:

Instead of practicing running, jumping and stabbing in all directions, it might be a really good idea to work on perfecting the basics. It is only when you have truly perfected the basics that a person is ready to learn advanced skills. Nothing will end a criminal attack like a smooth draw and an accurate hit to the vital zone.

Nearly 40 years ago my first engineering mentor, Everett Nelson at Boeing, strongly advocated for the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid.

This has served me well professionally in hardware, as well as software, design and development. I have found that one of the best indicators of a poor or novice engineer is the complexity of their designs. And if you knew enough of the history of Boomershoot targets you would recognize the evolution to better targets was in large part about making things more simple.

The self-defense, unarmed as well as armed, techniques taught at Insights also reflect this philosophy and is something I have always appreciated. Some other schools, as alluded to in the quoted article, show strong indications they are poor or novice designers of self-defense techniques.

6 thoughts on “KISS

  1. joe:

    john browning never made a blueprint that i am aware of, perhaps not even a shop drawing. he and his brother ed stood at a lathe, and john told ed what he wanted, and ed made it. right there.

    no cad/cam. no engineering study.

    everything he submitted to arms manufacturers, or to the government, for a new weapon was in the form of a working firearm. if they didn’t think it what they wanted, they sent it back and he made the requested/demanded changes. and, issued forth a new weapon.

    when a company, or the government, acquired a new weapon it was up to them to make the shop drawings, and to figure out how to manufacture it.

    john browning’s weapons are simple in design and execution, even where considerable sophistication in the design may not be clearly evident. take the swinging link in the 1911 government model, considered by some to be a bit of an anachronism in the weapon. it is not: it precisely defines the movement of the barrel in and out of battery, and holds it in battery during firing. it also defines the movements of the slide and barrel to each other during extraction and feeding of cartridges. the “modern” integrated ramps of so many derivative weapons do not do this nearly so well, or precisely.

    but, it is simple. it is the radius of a circle, and its circumference, all in one. (a moving point moving around a fixed point.) it is the reason that a properly tuned 1911 moves so smoothly in and out of battery. (or, why it doesn’t, if not tuned properly.)

    browning’s gun are all deceptively simple in appearance and function. but, they are a distillation of functions, and of thought and tinkering. and, the reason why, well over 100 years after their initial conception and design, they have not been substantially improved upon in the slightest iota. it doesn’t take long to look at a new weapon, and recognized john browning in it.

    john jay

  2. Make haste slowly. Doing something such that it looks easy, effortless and ergonomic usually means you are doing it right. Learn to grip, draw, aim and fire your handgun properly and the speed will come on its own.

  3. “Running and jumping and stabbing in all directions.” That sounds like every Kata I learned in Karate in college.

    And as Mikee says, practicing something for smoothness brings haste, but only after smoothness is learned.

  4. Einstein is credited with: “Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler,” “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself” and “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”

    I have spent days agonizing over designs to eliminate parts, and over processes to eliminate steps. I have, from time to time, achieved success. For some rare people, like John Browning and a few others, that ability comes naturally. It took me a while, but I finally learned that the 1911 is not just a gun, but also a work of mechanical art.

  5. The absolute best self defense tool, armed or unarmed, is situational awareness. Real life is not the movies, knowing what is going down around you and having as much time as possible to prepare or avoid the situation altogether is fundamental to survival.

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