Tonight, while working on CLM 4 I began talking (yes, talking, I use Dragon Dictation) about the 90/90 rule.

Then I realized – I never actually talk about the 90/90 rule and what it is outside of the podcast.

You will notice at a certain point in Pramek, about 2 years ago, what we were teaching began to change.  It was a rapid shift as I discovered something using the CLM.  In the DPT we talk about testing learned martial art skill.  Over time, running hundreds of DPT based classes, I noticed that what I talked about in the DPT, the concept of does it work on people a majority of the time against a majority of attack types…I began to develop an internal rule.

If it didn’t work 90% of the time on 90% of the people, I simply wasn’t teaching it anymore out of the gate.  If someone is learning to defend themselves, why rely on neurological methods from the 14th century (if x, do y, rinse, repeat)?  If someone is learning to defend themselves, why teach them a jab when we know in physiology that a cupped hand or vargus nerve strike does the most effective damage.

In our Cleveland videos (which we are releasing soon but you can see a snippet here) you can see where this was in full effect, as students were using a variety of methods to defend, but the further they went into the DPT phases – the more they all used the same things.   This occurred Day 2. They couldn’t help it – not because the scenarios presented no choice, but their stress and fatigue gave them no option bu efficiency.  This is convergent evolution at it’s finest – that given enough time, convergent evolution is the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages (read more here).  Even though students are different weights, heights, different skill levels and experiences – by understanding biomechanics, mechanics, physics, psychology, neurology, strategy – different students develop similar methods.  When you use science, and you’re taught it correctly, you can’t help but end up at the same place.  People who understand HEq will stop trying techniques and will move the Line of Gravity outside of the Load Bearing Area.  They begin to all look the same, and as the fatigue level increases, they look for this more and more.

They find it works when tired, so why not do it when not tired.  As I talked about long ago, science is the ultimate shortcut.  It is our unfair advantage. CLICK BELOW TO CONTINUE READING.

Over time, I set a level of expectation – if it worked for 90% of the students 90% of the time against 90% of the opponents, it would survive to become Adaptive Combatives Level 1.  Outside of that, it would be exploratory for students to develop within the confines of the EPL (click the DPT link above to learn about the EPL).  Not attributes – everyone talks about attributes.  ‘We do this slow so people develop attributes.’  Nope.  Attributes are individual – attention weighting and differentiation are not.  They can be quantified.

Soon, this developed into the overall Adaptive Combatives rule:  90/90.  90% of the time against 90% of the opponents.  This can be broken down to women and men, admittedly, but even at this point it varies just slightly, as mechanics and manipulation of biomechanics can be done by women or men, against women or men.  Differing genders may require a different catalyst to get there (cupped hand strike for men, groin strike for women, etc).

What we find in the 90/90 that works, we teach 75% of the time.  This is to develop the EPL.  The methods outside of the 90/90 are taught 25% of the time, to keep students challenged, trying new things, spark conversation, or even develop something that didn’t meet the 90/90 rule to where it does.  This commonly happens…with enough time.


This is part of the legacy of MMA in the sporting world, and for the TMA or combatives world, the legacy of Pramek.  To create an ever evolving system that looks at the intelligence available.  If we teach officers, it’s 90/90 based on their experience and what is available in the LE world through video or case studies…soldiers, civilians, all the same thing.  As methods change in attacks and assaults, we change.  We use the intelligence we can gather to break it down in the EPL, then test our response in the DPT.

I’ll never be able to wrap my mind around arts that don’t evolve, even within their arts. But, this goes back to the idea of a system versus a style…and that’s another post I’ve probably already written.  We’re at 372 blog posts, I’m sure it’s been written before.

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