The Uncertainty Principle


We’ve just finished the bulk of our 42-week training schedule for the year and after months of running classes there are common themes that keep surfacing, the most of which is what I call the Graham Combat Uncertainty Principle. Taken from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Werner Hesienberg’s (1901-1976) foundation of quantum physics and adapted to the world of combat principles, I see a direct correlation between the two worlds played out on our training stage: principles and tactics. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle relates to the position of an object and that objects’ energy + time, and states simply that nature doesn’t allow you to make measurements of both quantities to precision. That is why it is called the uncertainty principle. I can know where you are (position) but not know anything about your movement (energy + time) or I can know your movement but not know precisely where you are. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle allows you to narrow down both factors, but never be certain.

After spending three days at our Killhouse class, this starts to make a lot of sense. Within the context of fighting within the house, I choose to employ the uncertainty principle: I would rather know a little bit about your location and a little bit about your movement because that gives me, just like it gave Heisenberg, a good probability of finding you. And that’s all that I need to be successful: a good probability.

Because a good probability is likely all you are going to get, and that is the fundamental difference between tactics and principles. Tactics represent an end point; principles represent a beginning. Tactics are always about the threat; principles are always about you. Specific tactics give people specific answers; principles give people more questions. The best way I can say it is this: tactics will give you the mistaken belief that you know something; principles will give you the wisdom that you don’t.

The classes I teach are never meant to be the end of your your learning, they’re the beginning. Everything is formatted, structured, presented, and spoken in a manner to present to you the starting point of the process, not the end. I strive to impart in each one of our classes the importance of the principles. Principles never change – you can choose to follow principles or ignore principles but the principles exist either way. Tactics are constantly changing – tactics are the land of 10,000 things because each time you address a situation the tactic used can change. It is as simple as opening our eyes: each time we open our eyes our reality is different. I teach principles. I teach the constant, because in learning the constant – in learning the fundamental, the non-negotiable, the permanent – you can begin to see the application of the variable.

Las Vegas is built on the notion of good probabilities, not uncertainty. It is a city built on the house advantage. So when you find yourself in a house, fighting, always take the house advantage and remove some uncertainty because there’s a good probability that you are going to need it.