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Preview – Crushing Combatives

Photography by Jake Swanson

Former Navy SEAL Dom Raso Gives RECOIL an Exclusive First Look at His Dynamis System

Safety Disclaimer: The concepts shown here are for illustrative purposes only. Seek professional training or instruction before attempting any techniques discussed or shown in this story.

Dom Raso is the kind of guy you’d want on your side when the shit has not only hit the fan, but is spraying everywhere. He has studied combatives since his youth, starting with Shaolin Kenpo and branching out into various other styles, such as the grappling systems of judo and jiu-jitsu. After intense training, he eventually became a Thai boxing instructor. As impressive as that is, his martial arts studies aren’t the most impressive accomplishments on his résumé: Raso racked up a ton of real-life experience having served 12 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL.

Now out of the service, he’s currently an NRA spokesman and heads Dynamis Alliance, a company he founded that provides not only tactical training, security services, and consultancy, but also offers gear, combatives seminars, and physical fitness guidance.

Recently, RECOIL was invited to attend Raso’s Dynamis Combatives Pistol Course, which taught skills needed to win a fight inside “spitting distance.” It aimed to teach a combination of brutally effective unarmed combative skills with handgun techniques in extreme close quarters. Not a typical shooting class, this seminar tested the students’ mindset and abilities through simulations of real-life altercations. In between excruciating sets of strikes and quick draws, we asked the former SEAL to share with our readers some of his “crush everything” tactics that he’s gleaned from his real-world experience in the trenches. He offered three key Dynamis principles that can save your life: situational awareness, striking ability, and the Dynamis Draw.

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Your Final Notice
The first (and most important) principle is situational awareness. “Look, violence is going to be a very small percentage of your life. I’m just trying to make it an even smaller percentage,” Raso says. “If you’re aware of your surroundings, you may not have to draw your gun.” Turn on your radar anytime you set foot outside your house and take note of your environment. Without awareness, no amount of physical training will help you survive. Your gun and training will be useless if you’re coldcocked and lying unconscious on the pavement.

“I’m constantly aware of my surroundings,” Raso adds. “I look for walls and place my back to them whenever I can so I can observe my surroundings. It’s better to walk with a wall to your side than to walk in between two guys — and that only works if you’re aware.”

Dom reveals that predators give off signals when assessing you as prey. There are also cues right before someone throws a punch. (See sidebar for body language cues.) Practicing situational awareness is like having an early warning system to avoid trouble, giving you an ace up your sleeve when the trouble starts. The more you practice, the louder your alarm. “If something doesn’t feel right, that’s it! You must act. Do not bury that feeling,” Dom says. “We’re not being paranoid here, just aware.”

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For the rest of this article, subscribe here: RECOIL Issue 17

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