31.3.2017  Combat axioms of the command of "ALPHA"

Combat axioms of the command of "ALPHA" - an elite unit of Russian Special forces. It is a dedicated counter-terrorism task force of the Russian Federal Security Service FSB.

Spetsnaz Alpha

1. Sweat saves blood

2. Size of the bicep has no effect on the speed of bullet

3. The pistol is merely a worktool, the actual weapon is you

4. You don’t need to bring a weapon into a fight – but bring a weapon of your mind

5. The most valuable part of counterterrorist unit are its instructors. (Signed: Instructors)

6. If you choose a wrong person in the selection stage, all of their following training is pointless

7. Equipment, just like life, is priceless. If it saves lives it's never too expensive

8. It is not the one that shoots first who wins – it is the one who makes the first hit

9. In combat, the F grade for shooters training is given by an enemy bullet

10. Gun is not a source of risk but your friend and a worktool

11. The best weapon is the one you are using

12. The way you handle your weapon is the best safety - far better than any manual switch

13. The quality of a shooter is determined by his worst shot

14. The best pistol is an assault rifle

15. You need your handgun  in order to fight your way to your rifle that you should not have left behind in the first place

16. The primary focus of a counterterrorist unit preparation is a realistic professional training
17. Darkness is a friend of the well prepared operator

18. Are you afraid to use a gun in a crowd? Get back on your skis!

19. Errors in tactics can be made up for by fast and accurate shots, errors in shooting cannot be compensated by anything

20. Be professional in the battle, let the enemy die the hero

21. The strength of a specops operator is not in his muscles but in his brain

22. Destroying the enemy  is business as usual, making him shoot himself after he finds himself in a desperate situation is a true art

23. All specops operators were killed in firefight, not in hand to hand combat

24. If you had to change mags in a firefight it means you had missed too much

25. No one has yet been able to miss fast enough to win

26. The firearm is the primary way of fighting terrorists. Everything else is secondary

27. Effective fire is accurate fire

28. There is no substitute for fast and accurate shots

29. TEST: Night,  distance15 m. Target:  terrorist‘s head Hostage - your kid. (Answer: Yes – unit operator/ No – sports shooter)

30. Counterterrorist unit operator owns for each and every one of his shots

31. Treat each shot as if it were your only one

32. You missed? Welcome! (Signed: Attorney)

33. Favorable circumstances reinforce bad tactics

34. The main quality of a specops unit member isthe ability to make an informed decision and to make a fast and accurate shot under any conditions and at any distance of conducting effective fire

35. Whatever is worth shooting once is worth shooting again

36. The counterterror unit is the top professional vocation among special operations units

37. It is not necessary to field strip the weapon fast – what you need to do fast is to shoot it

38. Mental clock is the balance of accuracy and speed

39. Worse than a miss is a slow miss

40. It makes no sense to shoot faster than you can make hits

41. Nothing is more inspiring than being shot at and being missed

42. Better hitting once with a Makarov than missing twice with a Glock

43. Can’t nail a shooting training course certificate to an operator’s grave

44. Money, information and ammunition is always scarce

45. If a bad guy is hit at 10 meters simultaneously with a 5.45 mm bullet into one knee and 7.62 mm in the other, he won‘t tell the difference

46. Win and live to win again

47. Specops, it’s quality rather than quantity

48. An effective counterterrorism unit can‘t be put together simply by issuing an order – the process takes decades

49. People are always more important than technology

50. Operator - weapon - combat gear – individual protection equipment and comms are combat kit elements of the same value

51. In hand to hand combat, the one who wins is the one with more ammo

52. You are above all the Uninitiated, perfect yourself to be the first among those who Know

53. By sending fighters to battle unprepared, we betray them (Confucius)

54. Military science requires courage and presence of mind, talent, enduring genius, tireless study and absorption of experience from all areas of military affairs
(Maréchal de France Sébastien de Vauban)


4.6.2015 Shibui and the power of quality – on the price and value of the things we buy

Allow me to talk about purchases, in broader and slightly more abstract terms. When you have to choose what product to buy from many options, what the most important deciding factor? Price? Brand? Recommendations of others? The products' color or logo? Do you believe ads and claims? Do you make a hasty choice in the store or try to look up all available information first, and weigh all pros and cons before you buy anything?

Just like a child given a table full of food will reach without hesitation for the most brightly colored candy -- full of non-nutritious sugar and dyes -- so do we often go for things that look the most appealing at a first glance but in reality have very little long term value. Form, shape and packaging often wins over content and value. Would you think differently about a purchase and cost if you could count on the product to last you a very long time? Longer even than your lifetime? There are a lot of products made to be disposable, for quick use with a short lifespan. But there are also products that will last you a lifetime if not longer. The longevity of those products with daily use is based on their 'inner' quality. Many manufacturers do still make things the right way based on generations of experiences and skill. These manufacturers have listened to the feedback of their many generations of customers whose opinion was often shaped by sweat and blood, using the gear in real life situations.

Quality is a term frequently used but also often hard to describe. In order to understand this idea better, let's have a look at a different culture with principles we greatly admire. "Shibui" is a word used in Japanese tradition which refers to a rich yet humble appearance of an item -- where the perfect outer form reflects the inner harmony and solidity. A simple and pure outer form reflects the care with which it was crafted. Craftsmanship at its best makes us experience calmness and a sense of unity with the form. It might sound quite mystical but it's actually very simple.

I am certain you've held an object in your hands that made you admire and wonder at it's making. You could almost feel the experienced craftsmanship of generation upon generation that resulted in its creation. The outer simplicity both hides and showcases the inner complex structure. It is not unlike the simple poem structure of Haiku. It might appear simple but a meaningful haiku is hardly ever the outcome of a brief moment's thought or little effort.

From the enamel ladle of your great grandmother, through brilliantly shaped gemstone jewelry, to the smooth lines of handcrafted crystal, true quality craftsmanship is powerful. Quality is created by the blacksmith who pays attention to every single nail he hammers into shape, including to those on the wagon no one will ever see. Yet he will know. And every time he passes that wagon on the road, he will know that he did the best job that he could.

Quality is that which has build our civilizations. We find Shibui as a manifestation of quality both in the perfection of a beautiful samurai sword as much as in a banal yet sturdy and trusted strong boat rope.

Have you ever witnessed the making of anything? Can you tell the difference between an object which is the product of automated work based on economic forces which only survives as long as its limited warranty date, versus one which has been carefully crafted with the maker completely immersed in the process of creation? 


We're living in the world of mass production and fast consumption, where caring about quality often gets in the way of satisfying the needs of the masses. Like the food we buy which is mostly artificial and not real food, we tend to buy things (over and over again) that simply don't hold up to the test of real life. There's no need to get into too much detail about economics or to cry about the good ol' times when every village had it's own master carpenter. We live in a different time and space. The question is: how long does your pair of shoes last? Or your backpack? Or your electronics? Do you right at this moment own anything that you can count on to never throw away nor need to replace?

While the reality is that most products are mass produced and not of good quality, the reality is also we have a choice. You as a customer can influence the way products are being produced. You can determine the way goods eventually get to your hands. It is a choice of supporting traditional craftsmanship and production in the places we live, versus buying from anonymous, robotized assembly lines far away where stealing ideas and reverse engineering is the norm. We could keep paying for cheap things over and over again because it's a 'good deal'. Or we have the choice to purchase a quality thing once, for perhaps a higher price, that will last us a lifetime. 

Our way of helping to preserve quality is very simple: Wherever we can we buy products that --with a proper care -- can last us a lifetime. The value of such a quality product often means a higher price. It doesn't always, but in most cases it does. We buy once and we pay once so we are willing to pay more than the usual mass-market price for a similar but cheaper item. Quality is worth it. 

To make that kind of purchase, a lifetime purchase, generally requires a little increased effort and a higher level of knowledge (in addition to a higher price). Rather then making a hasty, immature decision to buy something we just saw in a shop window, if you make a well thought out purchase you won't have to think about it anymore. It is actually more economical in the long run. Instead of a long and, in the end, costly process of trial and error with multiple and various disposable or cheap products, you make one purchase and know that it is the right one which will last.

When you do make that final, right choice of what gear you need -- be it a lighter, a belt, or a private jet -- you will free yourself from second guessing or worrying about it and have confidence in the quality and care with which it was made and chosen. You can make brain space for things far more important than shopping. You can think about, for example, which mountain to climb with your sweet new rucksack on your back, free from worry that it might fail or not live up to expectations, thus ruining your trip. That peace of mind is worth the initial price.

Quality should be the main determining factor for your purchase. It might seem cliche but bears repeating: quality is the most important aspect of whatever you buy. 


Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.

He knows only The Cause.


Still want to quit?