The APACI acronym (pronounced Apache ) is an individual tool that which I created to support and guide the individual during close quarters engagement. Since the CQB environment is swift and lethal – on all of its forms and shapes – The APACI is there to aid the individual in the ability to facilitate & comprehend extreme situations in extreme environments.
Based on five constant elements, that are present in any type of close quarters engagement, the APACI acts as a vital foundation for a successful utilization of pre-planned tactics – and its proper application in the field.
What makes this acronym relevant, is that it is human behavior compliant. Which means that its application in the field will not result in mental conflicts or hesitation, as those five elements are present within our human behavior.
A – Awareness, the ability to be aware in any given time is crucial for getting the real resolution of the environment and the nature of the ‘situation’ itself. Awareness is not only being able to see, smell or hear (which we are always taught to do in CQB) – but also to understand. Understanding comes after we process. Awareness is that important link between gathering evidence to its final processing, especially with high heart rate, adrenalin, dopamine as well as maximum brain stimulus. From experience, it is easy to be aware. It is a challenge to remain aware. Why is awareness so important? In CQB the individual goes through a constant OODA loop, whether intentionally or not it does not matter – the individual is fed with an enormous mass of information, which in return stimulates all of his senses (see PTSD for example). Awareness is there to ensure that the individual remains proactive rather than reactive; from the moment he spots the next obstacles to the very moment he takes a tactical decision. A great example for awareness is that in active shooter scenarios, the majority of first responders are ignoring valuable intel given by victims as they pursue the threat.
P – Persistence, it’s not only a mental capability that translates into a series of consistent actions, but also a reality in which the individual, despite environmental limitations or personal (mental vs physical) related difficulties, has the desire nor the will to continue the path of resistance, in the form of proactive. The persistence is important as it appears normally when we are facing loss of control or momentum as well as desired reality. In other words – losing the upper hand. A great example would be when someone is injured, bad intel, or when a certain task evolves into an endless highway of bumps and down hills. You have to keep going, every road has start…and end, you just have to kill the distance and stick to the frame…a system.
In the realm of CQB, reality changes really quickly. Intel develops at the speed of light, and the resolution of actions develops within the speed of sound. While physical factors affect and limit our human body, and the violence triggers ancient survival mechanisms, rooted deep in our human behavior – persistence, is what make us cross borders, do the unbelievable, dive, climb and fly to space. What is unique to persistence is that persistence is a gift, a character thing. Persistence, unlike awareness starts when things are not working. When gear or the human factor tend to disappoint. Persistence, is the aftermath of awareness. Persistence, is what makes water drops hollow stones.
A – Acceptance, is a person’s assent to the reality of a certain situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit – simply understanding and saying ”Yes, that’s reality, but this is what I trained for.” This is an important, if not crucial asset to the individual. The issue of the inability to accept a situation or a circumstance is normally the reason for failure in groups and even in society. Acceptance is that voice that becomes loud when we smell fear, when we see danger, when we hear loud noises, that voice is the one that often encourages the individual in positive or negative directions. The acceptance, is what make the person move. And it also what make one give up.
C – Creativity, ok, that might sound less like Rambo and more like MacGyver – but lets face it. How many of us are thinking outside of the box when things REALY happen? Are we robots? Are we following ONLY procedures? We will all face extreme situations, where there are no visible solutions or doors. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits or in our case, a good training. Any kind of violent conflict is not a binary language. There is no one or zero. there is one & endless. Anything can happen, so stay creative, use your habits and remember – there is no room without a door. I will admit it – I always preach and teach that CQB is all about a system – And a system does have that robotic and binary like structure…but it is creativity that eventually fine tunes the rules and linear definitions of the system itself, making it time and reality relevant.
I – Initiative…oh man this is where things gets interesting. You know this situation, when your entry into a room failed? Or when you’re getting hammered by 99 problems that your objective is not even one of them? I can’t even count how many things can go wrong.. but I can tell you this – often, it’s an illusion. If you received threats from your opponents, and you, or your team fails to take initiative – you’re basically stopping from generating threats. Do the math, no threats – no security…taking initiative is basically providing certain threats toward your opponent. Just like the IDF five fingers procedure….always get there, and get it done. Initiative can really change the name of the game, especially when you try to gain or keep the momentum.
CQB of any sort, in any environment requires a system; a solid structure of yes & no accompanied by a network of rules and laws. Don’t get me wrong however…you will get to break those rules often, but those rules will still remind you of your limitation.