Technical Skill vs Tactical knowledge

Archangel M

Senior Master
Dec 5, 2007
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So as not to hijack Bill's post over on the memorial page I figured I would discuss this issue here. Bill posted this:

It talks about the sad death of MMA fighter Kearn Nedd. While I do not want to imply that Nedd was not heroic in his efforts to stop two armed robbers at a a club he was working security at, I think that this event displays that there is a difference between being a skilled and conditioned "fighter" and having "tactical" knowledge of HOW, WHEN, WHERE and WHY to apply those skills. While the victims brother said:

Nedd's older brother, Kendall, said witnesses told him that several people would have been either hurt or killed had his brother not intervened. Kendall added he believes Nedd tried to overpower one of the gunmen when the other fired the deadly bullet.

I have to wonder if that isn't a natural tendency to make a senseless tragedy have more "meaning" for the family of the lost. Unless there were shots being fired, or an obvious sign of impending death (people being moved to other locations..placed into "execution" positions etc) instead of attacking two armed men while unarmed it would have been wiser to try to gain position, grab an improvised weapon, call 911 etc than to try to go "hands on".

Yes this is monday morning quarterbacking, but in LE we try to learn from the deaths of our brothers/sisters so that we learn from these sorts of events instead of just saying that there was no better way to handle the event.


Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Jul 2, 2006
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Northern VA
Details are rather scant here. It seems that two gunmen attempted to rob a poker facility.

First mistake: no matter how good you are -- guns beat hands pretty reliably. Especially if there are two gunmen and only one defender. Probably the best choice in a situation like that is to try to keep them distracted, probably give them what they want (assuming you don't have reason to believe that they're going to shoot anyway), and get the cavalry started.

Second mistake: not understanding the difference between the ring, status fights/money dances, and real violence. I have no doubt that Nedd was a skilled fighter in the ring, and had undoubtedly dealt with lots of angry/aggressive folks in his time as a bouncer. These two thieves were clearly ready and prepared to use lethal force, and not going to stop. It's a different situation then...

I'm not trying to knock the man down; he clearly had plenty of guts and a desire to protect those in danger. He took action and deserves credit... I'm also making some assumptions from the sparse information. But my guess is he figured if he took one down, the other would quit, too. It's not that different than the experience of a lot of cops the first time someone bucks. There's a moment of shock, of "but, I'm the POLICE, and they're fighting me!" And I bet that he had a similar experience here, sadly.


Blue Belt
Jan 4, 2012
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sad story but reality is that strategy beats technique every time. If he really felt that his life or those of others were genuinely in danger then I commend his desire to fight but his only realistic chance was to take out one guy whilst the other was looking away meaning a very swift and decisive strike ie a weapon and then finding cover and being able to use the first protaganist's gun against the second. Far, far too many ifs and buts, his chances were slim to FA. Condolances to his family


Senior Master
Apr 18, 2007
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sounds like he thought it was a go for the unarmed stop and the other people thought it was for keeps! I would say if you are working in that kind of capacity ( security/bouncer ) and a fire arm comes out, I suggest you start thinking in terms of cover, and keeping the robber/assailants from shooting you and others, not jumping them. ( of course if your sure they will shoot anyway... GO FOR BROKE!! but Make SURE you are out to KILL!!! there will be no second chances, and the least you can do is take company with you when you go!)

Either way its a tragedy that he lost his life. He was doing the best he could according to his judgment of what he saw it sounds like. my condolences to his family.


Senior Master
Jun 25, 2011
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Calling it Tactical Knowledge is perhaps overkill.
Two armed Gunman. One Security Guard. Let them steal the stuff. Its probably Insured, and the Police will track them down one way or another.

Its highly unfortunate and tragic it ended that way, but when You go for Gunmen, Youd better be willing to kill them. Because Theyre the ones with Weapons that can kill You alot faster.

WW3 Combatives

Yellow Belt
Jul 20, 2016
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I agree with Cyriacus. If they were there to steal stuff then let them. No point in making a robbery a murder. Robbers tend to carry guns for intimidation first and for fire second. When attacked they have to use deadly force. They are breaking the law and they need to escape. Like what is said above, we don't know the full story. If his actions were in self defense or in defense of others then it makes total sense why he would act.

Tactical knowledge is not the same as tactical experience. You can know everything but if you have never practised it or experienced it to the point where your actions are second nature. You will act on adrenaline and emotion. Not a place where clear thinking comes in.

We can all learn from this loss.

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Feb 23, 2014
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So if this were the cops who just got ambushed. Would we be having the same discussion?

Sorry just realised it was like a thousand years ago.


Green Belt
Dec 22, 2016
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This is the hero complex that we all have in the back of our heads.
Everyone of us is trained in hand to hand. Many of us are trained in at least one melee weapon. A small amount of us are trained in ranged weapons. A smaller amount are trained in guns. An even small amount are trained in hand guns.
A professional hand to hand fighter knows how to use his hands very well. He is ready for any fist fight and most short ranged weapons (knives, sticks...) But a gun is a huge difference to the fighting dynamic. The only opportunity for a Gun vs Hand is the Reload period. This holds true for most mass shootings as the assailant is disarmed only after expending the whole clip. The reloading period is the best possible moment to fight a Gun.
Adding a 2nd gun to the fight further evolves the strategy and tactics required to survive.
Now, the unarmed fighter must find a moment to isolate one gunman, defeat, disarm then either shoot or sneak up on the other gunman. This is secret ninja level difficult especially if both gunman are watching the unarmed fighter (hostage situation, gunmen covering the room...)
There is little chance to survive a 2 gunmen situation with only 1 unarmed fighter other than passivity.
Many of us would have made the same decision to defend the weak with whatever skills we have to offer, but it is impossible to help others if you die. Plan your decisions and account of as many scenarios as possible before making any offensive movement.
Remember Women's Self Defense. Hold back your skills until the assailant is in a weak position then unleash every ounce of rage, anger, and violence you have stored up. Allow the assailant to make a mistake before using the secret techniques of old (never forget, the skills you take for granted now were highly coveted and sought after for 1000s of years).