Friday, August 19, 2016

Back in the saddle part 3

I left you with a cliff hanger.  Then I left you hanging for a long time.
I've had lots of adventures lately, but now I'm back and on track, so it is time to get the blog caught up.

Back in the saddle part 3 - The Journey Home (Sounds like an 80's sci fi flick right?)
Part 1 was being on the road again
Part 2 was being in a gi again
Part 3 is getting back to "normal"

If you recall from "Back in the saddle part 2" I ended with a social media post from my wife expressing the difficulties she was having with the perceived hatred of Law Enforcement she was experiencing on the news and in social media.

Her worries were not unfounded.

The now well known shooting of Philando Castile happened only 15 miles from my Police Department and in the County I work for.

That same night I read my wife's post I had two texts on my phone.  One from my PD asking for Officers to work patrol in St. Anthony so that the St. Anthony Officers that were receiving death threats could spend time with their families.

Another from the County telling me to be on standby to provide tactical support to the mobile field force in case of riots in St. Anthony

Instead of protesting the St. Anthony Police Department, (which would have been my responsibility) the protesters decided to to stage their rally on a portion of I 94. (Another department's responsibility).  Sadly an Officer from one of those other Departments was struck in the head by a cinder block and suffered a severe neck injury.

So my wife's fears are not unfounded.  There are people out there that hate cops.  People that want to hurt / kill cops not based on any particular misdeed that individual did, but simply because of their profession.

That is the new normal.

However, as scary as that seems.  As many news papers as that sells (do people still buy news papers?)  That hatred is a very small minority.  They just happen to get a lot of press.

The next morning before camp David Bleeker and I were discussing what has been happening and what I had waiting fro me when I got home (the title of this blog is making more sense now isn't it?) while we were waiting in line for coffee.

The guy behind us must have overheard us.  I am not known for the quietness of my voice, especially if I am passionate about what I am discussing.  He offered to buy our coffee.  We made it clear that was unnecessary.

The guy was adamant and insisted.  That is cool, thank you.

When I did go back to work, I went to my favorite breakfast place J.R. Riche's
RJ's is the best restaurant no one has ever heard of.  They are known for their generous portions. These pictures don't even really express how large these meals are.

Small Omelet 

Child's pancake

If you ever find yourself around Mounds View you have to try this place.  Anyway back to the point. When I got home I wasn't able to buy a meal at RJ's for like two weeks.  In fact arguments broke out over who was going to pay for my meal for me.

So am I some slob living off the tragedy of others?  The point I want to make is yes, there are people out there that hate cops.  People that want to hurt / kill cops not based on any particular misdeed that individual did, but simply because of their profession.

However, That hatred is a very small minority.  They just happen to get a lot of press.  There won't be news articles on folks that go out of their way to make Law Enforcement know that they are appreciated.  The people that come up and shake our hands or hold signs on the corner that read honk if you support the police.  Most likely you will never see these people, but they vastly outnumber those that just want to watch the world burn.

Despite the narrative being pushed by the media,  folks have been very supportive.

The last day of camp I worked on some high end use of force options and a basic understanding of Violence Dynamics.  The difference between social and asocial violence.

We discussed "othering" and how professionals other by behavior.  Criminals (assholes) other by race, creed, color, religion, sexual preference, Pokemon team, profession.

It is easy to hate a generalization, it is easy to hate a stereotype (othering) it is hard to hate Larry the guy I see every day at the Coffee shop.

Now more than ever we need to increase positive regular / every day interactions with Law Enforcement.

At the same time Cops need more and better training.  Greater hiring standards.  Higher fitness standards.

This is all happening at a time when no one wants to become a Police Officer anymore.  Who in their right mind would?  You can click the link below for an in depth article on that.
Post Policing Era in America

So what?  Is there nothing that can be done?  Is this entire blog Kasey being a cry baby?

C'mon guys it's me

For the last 8 months I've been working on a project to increase positive regular / every day interactions between civilians and Law Enforcement.  Increase the amount and quality of training Law Enforcement receives.  Improve the physical fitness of Law Enforcement and American youth, and encourage youth to become Law Enforcement Officers.


Control and Arrest Tactics, Captures and Holds (CATCH)

Mission Statement
CATCH is an objective defense tactics qualification process for Police Explorers and Law Enforcement.
The purpose of CATCH is to help build strong people by providing a safe, positive, and energetic environment for youth and adults to enjoy training in personal protection skills.  Fundamental control tactics skills are tested against resistive opponents using different competitions on a graduated scale of contact and resistance appropriate to age and experience level.

Police Explorers is a branch of The Boy Scouts of America for young men and women ages 14-21 that have an interest in Law Enforcement.

CATCH is a fun way for youth interested in Law Enforcement to learn personal protection skills, and be active through play.
Explorers train and compete against other troops in many different facets of law Enforcement. Explorers receive training in arrest procedures and defensive tactics but there is no competition system for these skills.

Although CATCH was originally developed for Police Explorers, it can also be used by any Law Enforcement training program to make sure Officers can apply fundamental skills under pressure.

In order to do this three criteria had to be met.

Traditionally every Military and Police Academy had boxing, wrestling and fencing clubs.  These clubs encouraged physical fitness, camaraderie, and to help develop useful skills.  The need these clubs fulfilled still exists, however there are very few, if any agencies currently providing opportunities to engage in healthy competition.   Any competition, regardless of the rule set, in which you stand alone against a restive opponent intent on defeating you, helps prepare you for self defense. There are many different combative competition systems out there.  All are good at what they are designed for.  There is no competition system designed specifically to meet the needs of Law Enforcement.  CATCH is designed to meet these needs.

Law Enforcement has never been under stricter scrutiny at any time in history.  Any competition system used to test fundamental skills under pressure has to be within departmental policy and non-obtrusive to the public.  At the same time providing officer safety and giving the officer maximum control without causing injury to the suspect or to the officer.
Skills tested have to work in the environment Officers will be in and be justified under state law, both proven to work in the field and stand up in court.

A competition system used as an objective defensive tactics qualification process must develop confidence in hand to hand confrontations both standing and on the ground.  Confidence developed by successfully applying these skills under pressure against a resistive opponent.

"An individual can test the efficacy of any combat method by asking himself this simple question “Will this work so I can use it instinctively in vital combat against an opponent who is determined to prevent me from doing so, and is striving eliminate me through means fair or foul?”
- Col. Rex Applegate “Kill or be killed”

No department is going to want to incorporate a system, or let their Officers go train in a method that lowers available manpower and increases workman’s compensation due to injuries.  No parent is going to allow their Explorer to participate in something likely to physically damage their child. Therefore,  a focus on injury free training is paramount.

No full contact sport can be made 100% injury free.  Part of the benefit of the competition is it provides a place to face your fears.  The reality is you might get hurt.  This rule set represents the safest way to accomplish force on force training in a manner that makes sense and provides the training effect, results, and life lessons we are trying to achieve.

Law Enforcement does not need to, nor should they practice dying.
Tapping prevents injury by submission.  However, "on the street" to Law Enforcement submission is death.  If a cop quits he or she dies.
A competition system used as an objective defensive tactics qualification process must incorporate the idiom - you win or you learn - directly into the rule set.  Ingraining a never give up attitude and inculcating when it is necessary to ramp up to higher levels of force in the most realistic way safely possible.

Close quarters physical contact, controlling a resistive opponent can be a scary thing.  CATCH accustoms participants to physical contact by providing different competitions on a graduated scale of contact and resistance appropriate to age and experience level.

There must also be buy in from the participants.  If training is fun, people will want to train.

“Generally speaking, if we look at sports we find that their strong point is that because they are competitive they are interesting, and young people are likely to be attracted to them. No matter how valuable the method of physical education, if it is not put into practice, it will serve no purpose — therein lies the advantage of sports…
Serious consideration must be given to the selection of the sport and the training method. Sports must not be undertaken carelessly, over-zealously, or without restraint. However, it is safe to say that competitive sports are a form of physical education that should be promoted with this advice in mind—to develop a sound body that is useful to you in your daily life “
- Jigoro Kano (Founder of Judo)

CATCH is a fun way to enhance any training program or Explorer Post.  The more fun Police Explorers is, the more people will participate.
The youth of the nation are woefully unprepared for the realities of life in general and more so in regards to violence.
The best way to counter act this trend is to engage them in positive activities when they are young enough to develop lifelong habits.

People that start training from 14-18 years old have a higher tendency to become lifelong martial artists.
Explorers my never go on to careers in Law Enforcement or the Military, however, their experience with CATCH can help to make the world safer by becoming hard targets.  Building stronger people

“By training you in attacks and defenses it refines your body and your soul… In this way you are able to perfect yourself and contribute something of value to the world. “
- Jigoro Kano (Founder of Judo)

“By educating one person and sending them into the society of his generation we make a contribution extending a hundred generations to come”
- Jigoro Kano (Founder of Judo)

I hope to host the 1st ever CATCH games Sunday February 26th 2017

It is easy to hate a generalization, it is easy to hate a stereotype (othering) it is hard to hate Larry the guy I see every day at Judo.

That is my big picture goal.  My way to make the world slightly less crazy

What can I do to set my wife's mind at ease?   Small picture stuff to be safer
Well, I’m in a tough spot.
There is Kasey Fucking Keckeisen the product.  The personal protection instructor.  The Judo guy who loves travelling the world rolling with cool people.  Who has to be well known and accessible so he can make money travelling the world rolling with cool people.
There is also Officer Kasey Keckeisen who doesn’t want anyone to know anything about him and has to be inaccessible to protect himself and his family.

So I have to separate those two guys meaning that there will be some changes to the Budo Blog and my social media presence.  Stay tuned.

I have been blessed with a family and community that is very supportive.  I thank you.  Know that I will do everything I can to maintain the highest standards and hold my brothers and sisters to the ideals we pledged to uphold with our oath of office.

On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character, 
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.

I will do everything I can to keep myself and my family safe

I will leave you with this thought.

Train hard, train smart, be safe

The Budo Blog will return next week in “The King of the North”

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back in the saddle (Part 2)

Previously on The Budo Blog...
Back in the saddle refereed to being on the road again.  Travelling cross country with Gary Rudenick.

This time it will refer to being in a gi.

Back in the saddle part 2 - back in a gi

I don't usually wear a gi.  To some folks that may seem at best nontraditional at worse heresy.
However, non traditional is actually more traditional.  Huh?  is that a Zen koan?  What do I mean by that?

What became a gi was just what was convenient to train in at the time.

Look at some of the first photos of Judo / Jujutsu (at the time interchangeable terms) being practiced. A jacket for some throws and tights, with what looks like wrestling shows (Kind of like modern Sambo)

These guys just wanted to train comfortably and not wreck their regular clothes.

I just want to train comfortably and not wreck my regular clothes.

So we (my school) usually roll in gi pants and a rash guard.  Throwing on a jacket when needed for some throws and clothing chokes.

Like this.  So this picture clearly shows gi pants and a rash guard.
But honestly I just like the goofy expression on my face and how big my arm looks in the picture :)

I was traditionally trained, and as such I wore a gi for much of my training.
Smell has a strong memory trigger.  There is a distinct aroma to a sweat soaked double weave Judo gi.  If you know it, you know what I am talking about.  If you don't I can't put it in words.
Being in a gi, smelling that smell again, brought back fond memories.

Why I was in a gi again?  I was part of the board for a formal test.
I have written about the testing process at camp the last few years, you can review my thoughts here if you like

I was very impressed to say the least.

There are too many martial arts schools with "self defense" portions of their testing process that have no idea about self defense.  Lots of retrofitting situations to fit skills that their art practices.  As opposed to working on principles applicable to how criminals actually attack.

You also see a lot of lip service paid to running away.  Yeah you should run away, ok that is done, gather around and watch how to hit them with a snapping back fist.

If you never practice escaping, if you never practice moving around another human body and running away.  How do expect to do it when it counts?

This skill is difficult enough that people that can do it well make millions of dollars doing it in the NFL

You think Defensive Linemen talk about moving past someone that is trying to stop them?  Or do they practice it a lot?

Even for those rare places that actually practice this skill for self defense.  Have you pressure tested it?

If you don't, if you haven't you should play with it.

How you might ask.  That topic deserves a blog of it's own, and honestly that is information that I don't just give away. So....

Blatant self promotion warning !!!!

Violence Dynamics Next Gen  - Edmonton Alberta Canada - 07 / 28 - 31 / 2016
Violence Dynamics (Prime) - St. Paul Minnesota America (Duh) 10 /20 - 23 / 2016

The people at camp had clearly played with it and they were tested under pressure.

It was great to see counter ambush and goal oriented fighting (in this case fighting to the goal of escape) directly incorporated into their regular training.

For this portion of the test I ran one line and David Bleeker ran the other

Dave is one of my favorite people and I don't like many people.  I try to steal as much Judo from him every chance I get.  That is him between Gary and I.  As you can see he is a big dude.  He is also a multiple time National Heavy Weight Judo Champion.

The people testing had to work their counter ambush against us, fight to escape, and yell fire as they were running away to bring attention to the situation.

If those three things were not accomplished they failed the entire test that they had been preparing for for a year.

Dave and I had the advantage of size, strength, initiative, experience, and intent (we can both be kind of mean) over everyone testing.  Awesome you don't get to pick your assailant, and if you can make it work on us, it works.  Confidence through competence.

Some of the people testing had trouble with the idea and tried to have a Judo match with us.  They got slammed until they realized they had a far higher chance of slipping past us and escaping than they did trying to win a "fair fight".

Shows the importance of practicing this under pressure.  Best to learn these lessons here with Dave and I, who can be mean but genuinely care for the people we are working with, as opposed to someone trying to take them to a secondary crime scene.

Fantastic test and the participants did well.

 I can sum up how good a test it was and how well the participants did with one story.

On the other line a 100 and nothing lb,  5 foot noting, teen aged young woman slipped past Dave.  We don't give anything for free.  Somehow Dave caught her as she was running away and now she was stuck in front of this giant. I'm not sure how she did it, it looked like a Ko Soto Gari (minor outside reap) but she threw Dave, then completed the drill running away and yelling fire.

There was kind of a hush.  (You are not supposed to applaud during the test)  No one knew what they were supposed to do exactly.

Dave got up with a slight smile on his face, nodded at me and went back to work. (One of the reasons I love Dave).

Under pressure this young woman used very basic principles to throw a larger, stronger assailant all but effortlessly.  Probably the coolest thing that happened at camp.

Just so you can fathom how cool that was, understand that I have never seen Dave thrown.  No one throws Dave!  Omar doesn't throw Dave, I don't throw Dave, but a 100 and nothing lb,  5 foot noting, teen aged young woman threw Dave.  And Dave was happy she did.  Too cool!

One of the great things about camp is there are multiple classes going on at the same time.  The classes are very informal, you can come and go as you please, and you can switch between the martial arts and law enforcement classes throughout the training camp.

However, because of this there are times when two different classes I wanted to attend were happening at the same time.

As problems go, that is a good problem to have.

How does one choose?

Giri 義理  is a Japanese value roughly corresponding to "duty", "obligation", or even "burden of obligation" in English.

There are people at camp that I have obligations to.  People that have worked hard to help me.  I don't get to see these people as often as I would like, and I miss them.  As much as camp is about training, it has also become a kind of family reunion for me  So as much I'd like to be in two places at one time, the choice was easy and I spent as much time as possible with the people I drove 10 hours to spend time with.

Day 2 of training camp started with  Marine Combatives taught by Alex Hendrix.
The next class was Judo with Gary Rudenick.  After watching the ne waza randori (ground skills freestyle) portion of the test last night Rudenick Sensei noticed some things he wanted to work with the next day.

Gary's class was some fundamental ground skills.  Very basic, but it is mastery of these basics which causes growth to mastery.

Gary also worked on a variation of Ude Gatame that he noticed lots of people could have hit in randori if they could have seen that the opportunity when it presented itself.

Seeing the same thing from different perspectives is one of the best parts of training camp and vital to sustained progress.

This is true for martial arts and tactical teams.  If all your training is in house.  If all your information is from one source.  You run the risk of becoming incestuous.

Why do you do things this way?

  • That is the way we have always done them
  • That is what the Instructor told us to do
  • Its has always worked

Who have you fought?  How has it been tested?  What are the best practices - how do the best in the world do it?

You don't know what you don't know.  Receiving training from outside sources broadens your perspective to things you haven't considered, and may never have considered with out that exposure.

The next class was Systema with Dennis Maginn, followed by competition Jujitsu with Omar Ahmad.

Omar discussed how many of the people that were successful at the USA Combat Wrestling national team qualification won with knee and ankle locks.

Knee and ankle locks, oh great, my favorite! (That was sarcasm)
Surgically repaired knee, surgically repaired ankle.

Most classes that I am not teaching I take ukemi for the instructor, because I am good at it, which means they can pound on me, with out breaking me so the students can see the application, and for selfish reasons because as Uke, I learn a lot by feeling things that can not be seen.  This was not the case for this class.  Primarily because I tap to these locks far sooner than most.  So the students don't really get to see the application very well

Kurt (I do the splits) Valdez took the thumping this time around.

Trent Williamson was my partner.

Trent is tough, and an intense competitor.  I let him know, hey man my old shitty knees don't bend all the way they are supposed to, be gentle with me.

He replied, they will now.

Trent was very cool.  He and Dave took a lot of time to work with me on the knee and ankle locks.
Truth be told I was a little scared, but doing things you are afraid of is important and necessary mental training.

Rory Miller writes in his book "Drills - Training For Sudden Violence"

One of the most catastrophic failures in self-defense is to do nothing.  There are many ways to freeze, many reasons that people take damage or acquiesce to attackers.  Sometimes they feel they need a plan.  Sometimes they are in denial that the event is happening.  Rarely the victim doesn’t know what to do.  Often, the victim does know what to do, but can’t seem to make him or herself do it.
Fighting is unpleasant.  It hurts, for one thing.  You have to get very close, touching close, to people you would normally avoid.  It can smell bad and there is the definite possibility of messy spills.
You won’t enjoy defending yourself from an assault.
Make it a habit to do the things you don’t enjoy.  Immediately, efficiently and without hesitation.
If you are going to jump in the cold water, jump.  Don’t work yourself up to it.  As long as it is safe (the water is deep enough, no rocks…) jump.  Jump with your whole heart.
If you study martial arts and think that there is an aspect of training that is useless or that you hate, do it.  Do it until those feelings go away.  If you think that kata is useless and boring, excellent.  Facing that boredom is the center of self-discipline.
If the very idea of competing in a tournament makes you nervous, you must do it.  That is fear, a low level fear, and facing fear is the essence of self-defense...

As you do things you are afraid of, maybe even your own taxes, you will learn and see how little there is in the world that is actually dangerous.
Not only does this drill make you tougher, it also makes you smarter, and in the end, wiser.  The person who acts when everyone else hesitates is a hero.  

Omar put on a great class and I'm excited to incorporate more leg attacks into what I teach

After lunch Michael Abels taught some Kenjutsu aspects of Aikido

The day ended with JKD taught by Richard Bustillio one of Bruce Lee's original students.

Another great day.  I was exhausted and my gi was soaked.  I spent the day doing what I love with some of my favorite people in the world.  Another great opportunity to spend time with, learn from and get beat up by Steve Jimerfield Sensei.  Fantastic day, well worth the trip

As is tradition when we got home to my Sister's house Gary and I had a cigar and "Marky Mark" and debriefed the day.

If you find your self in a seminar learning environment I suggest writing down the one best thing you learned from every class and find someone to talk about it with after class.  This helps process the information better and makes learning easier.

After we debrief we usually check in with our loved ones back home.
This is what I read on my wife's social media

July 8 at 9:59am ·
People often ask me how I do it, how are you able to be a police officer's wife? Up until this year it was easy, I know he trains hard to be able to come home to us and I pray everyday for his safety. I'm not sure how to make it through everyday now. Officers are being ambushed and murdered for doing their jobs! People are quick to judge cases of cops killing people without all the facts or proof of what actually happened! If you weren't there you don't know what really happened. Then when the truth finally comes out they deny it!
We have 3 girls who adore their Dad!!!!How do I help my girls understand people HATE their Dad because he's an officer? They want to kill him! How do I tell them they can only tell people we know & trust that he is a police officer and they can't proudly yell it from the rooftops? How long can I keep them from hearing the news of another officer shot?
Please help me continue to pray for Kasey and all of our friends who are fellow officers everyday! It's the only way I can make it through these tough days.
We are a Blue family, that means we stand with every officer, everywhere! 💙 If you can't support us please unfriend me

I'm having a blast, and my family is having a hard time back home.
To be continued...

Your friendly neighborhood Silverback Samurai will return in "Back in the saddle part 3"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Back in the saddle

So, anything newsworthy happen since the last blog post?

I don't mean to make light of recent tragedies, it is just sometimes if you don't laugh you start to cry.

Clearly many things have happened locally and across the nation since the last Budo Blog.
Also the last Budo Blog was like "War and Peace" long.

Randy King gave me some good advice along the lines of - no one besides people that already know you and like your blog are going to read your posts if it takes them 45 minutes to read it.

Too long didn't read  - can keep good information from getting to folks that may need it.

Clearly many things have happened, this blog helps me process those things.  It also has to be of use to everyone that may read it, and presented in a way that can be more easily consumed.

So, this will be "Back in the saddle" Vol 1

I spent a lot of time in the saddle last week.  Driving from northern Minnesota down to Mankato (southern Minnesota) to pick up Rudenick Sensei.  Then continuing on to St. Louis for the USMAA National Training Camp.

I had my phone plugged into the radio playing every Metallica and AC/DC song there is or listening to classic rock radio on Pandora when Rudenick Sensei had clearly had enough of the deep cuts of Metallica's early work

Driving cross country listening to classic rock with an old bearded guy....reminded me of an episode of Supernatural.

Clearly I am Dean

I love training camp.  It is a great opportunity to see old friends and spend time with family.  Both the family you are born into and the one you chose.

It is a great opportunity to get away from it all.  Molly's description of Valhalla.  For the next three days all I am going to do is fight and feast.  Turns out it was a good time to get away from it all.

On the road, busy training, disconnected from media I had no idea what was going on.

Things have been going really well for me on the Beyond Batman training project.  I did not want travel to throw a monkey wrench into those gears.  So I started camp at 0500 with a sandbag strength workout.

{Sand bag product review to follow}

We made it through St. Louis traffic and road construction just in time to get a coffee at the hotel coffee shop and get our gis on before camp started.

The camp started with an opening ceremony and this year an awards ceremony.  Awards from the Katamedo Jujitsu Training and Nutrition page.  Omar Ahmad started the page as a place to share nutrition, fitness, and training information with the purpose of encouraging members to strive to be their best and in doing so inspire their students and others that observe their efforts.

I won the award this year.  Not so much that I worked harder or had better results than the others.  I think I won on the sheer volume of selfies I posted

Here is a screen shot of the photos from that page, except for Omar's giant calf they are all me

I was honored to be recognized for my efforts.  Now I have to work even harder to hold on to the title
"This is not last year and I am not done here" - Rob Bailey

Training camp started with Kurt (Barnacle Boy)Valdez teaching Tae Kwon Do in the main room 

Here is a picture of Kurt getting whooped by his lovely wife.  
The couple that throws together grows together

On the other mat Steve Jimerfield Sensei was starting his Talon class

 Nothing brings back the PTSD... I mean memories like taking ukemi for the Talon class.

After that Omar Ahmad was up for self defense, and I got to switch from being beat up by Jimerfield to being beat up by Omar.

Great class!  The focus was on counter ambush from behind and follow up.  Fighting to the goal, in this case the goal was escape.  Also addressing situational awareness and the need to keep yourself from being buried in your phone when you are out in public.

This would come up again in the Jujitsu test and in the Violence Dynamics class I presented later in the camp.

Omar's class worked great to set up mine which gave me more time to play.
I was very pleased with how the class went, everyone worked hard, and seemed to learn something and have fun.  It seems arrogant to review my own class so instead I'll give you part of the lesson plan to review what was covered

Training Goal:
To use Aikido as a mechanism to play with fundamental principles that are useful to all participants regardless of their primary training system

Learning Objectives:
Participants will demonstrate proficiency in:
Oyo Waza Practical Application
Kansetsu Waza Joint Locks
Nage Waza         Takedowns
Osae Komi Pins
Atemi Waza         Striking
Jyu Waza         Free Style

Discussion 5 Min
Hinge Joints – Hiji Hishigi (Elbow Crush) 5 Min
Takedown (2 variations)       10 Min
Pin         5 Min
Gliding Joints
Pressure Test and Jyu Waza 5 Min
Tomiki Aikido / Judo Discussion

Ball and Socket Joints – Ude Garami 5 Min
(Arm Entanglement)
Takedown (2 variations)        10 Min
Pin         5 Min
Pressure Test and Jyu Waza 5 Min

What is your take away?         5 Min


Aikido is a form of Jujutsu.  When you break it down Aikido is primarily:
Joints Locks – Kansetsu Waza
Throws – Nage Waza
Pins – Osae Komi
Striking – Atemi Waza
Practical Application – Oyo Waza
Ahmad Sensei just did a fantastic class on self defense.  Which makes my job easier.  We will work everything from counter ambush or from offense covering Oyo Waza and Atemi Waza.
From there we will work the fundamental principles of how locks work.  That way you won’t have to memorize any techniques, rather you will be able to improvise locks when the opportunity presents itself.
That is known as Takemusu Aiki or spontaneous technique.
That is regarded as the highest level of Aikido.  That is also the concept I believe Makoid is referring to when he speaks of “Old Man Judo”.

From there we will use locks to take Uke down covering Nage Waza.  Finally we will maintain the locks to pin Uke on the ground covering Osae Komi.

I have found people learn best through play, and feeling things for themselves.  Feeling is believing is an old Aikido maxim.  So we will play with these ideas through several different pressure testing methods and freestyle variations.

We will be using Aikido as a mechanism to play with fundamental principles that are useful to all participants regardless of their primary training system

Nathan Corliss was nice enough to take Ukemi for me

That is him working his way out of a choke with a Talon

We discussed camp afterwards, the following is a paraphrased version of what he had to say

Many have  commented to me they make the effort to attend yours and Gary's classes. It's some of those little details and variations that help adapt to our differences.

I know that's the case for me too. I had specific people I wanted to attend, You, Gary and Jimerfield.

Its the body mechanics work and methodology of teaching technique that appeals, Its broken down well and helps me to pass on techniques to others who don't train.

I'm also glad you discussed the basics of social and asocial violence. Important topic for others to think about levels of force to apply when necessary and how avoidable some are.

Kurt was going over it in class last night. Working the ambush getting to that dead angle then, do what you wish. At least you know its being passed on.

After my class Ron Treem taught a Karate class while I continued to get beat up by Jimerfield Sensei

The next class was taught by Michael Makoid Sensei.

I enjoy Makoid Sensei's instruction especially "old man Judo".  This was one of the best classes at camp. The focus was principle based Judo.  Specifically structure and power generation.  Makoid Sensei had different Instructors show their favorite version of Tai Otoshi (Body Drop)

Using Tai Otoshi as a delivery method Makoid Sensei demonstrated that no matter the variation of the throw, the principles that made Tai Otoshi work were the same.  

That is a tough act to follow.  Following that act was Eric Holien

Getting to know and roll with Eric was one of my favorite parts of camp this year.
I recognized his name as a Facebook friend, but I guess a part of my brain didn't put it together that he was also from Minnesota until I saw he was scheduled to teach martial art aspects of western wrestling.

Martial art aspects of western wrestling?  Hell, those are a few of my favorite things.  Who is this guy that they have teaching that?  So I looked him up.

He is not all that far away from me.  It would be great to set up training opportunities.  I hope he is cool.  Please be cool

Eric was on a Military Wrestling Team while he was serving over seas with lots of competition experience, especially with Eastern Europeans.  (If you don't know Eastern Europeans have a well earned reputation as very tough grapplers)

What did Eric teach?  Principle based Wrestling (are you starting to see a trend here?)

That is the core of Katamedo Jujitsu.  The principles of the grappling arts are common, only the rules differ.  Whether the rules are department policy or rules of engagement for professional use of force, state statutes for personal protection or sport rules for competition in any grappling or mixed martial arts setting.

The most confident fighter is one who can compete on equal ground no matter what the rules.

For personal protection and professional use of force you have to be able to compete on equal ground no matter what the rules. Confidence in this is built through competence. Competence is built using modern sporting methods to prepare practitioners for the situations they will be called upon to face and train them to deal with those situations in the most realistic manner safely possible.

Eric had a great class.  Again I don't want to sound arrogant writing that I liked Eric's class because it is a whole lot like what I teach.  However, as I have written several times - If you use the chisel of successful application to remove everything that does not work what is left regardless of it's original source material is going to look pretty similar. Clearly there will be some variation do to different application and plain personal preference, but you will find similar forms to provide a specific necessary functions.

COOL! We can be friends

We can set up cross training and represent the north central region.

I guess I need to start taking some ginkgo biloba or start doing Sudoku or something to help the old memory.  It turns out that Eric is also in Law Enforcement and we actually competed against each other in a 2007 Jujitsu tournament.

That tournament is no longer held.  However, with Eric's competitive experience, if things go my way with the C.A.T.C.H. project maybe we will host a tournament to replace it.

Much, much more on that to follow.

The day ended with the testing board.  The test deserves more time than I have left in this blog.  So like a Quentin Tarantino flick I am going to go out of chronological order and come back to the test later.

After a long hard and fun day I was treated by my Sister Kay and her Husband Jim to a wonderful meal.  Then, as is tradition Rudenick Sensei and I enjoy a cigar and a "Marky Mark" in the back yard debrief the day and prepare for tomorrow.

On the road, busy training, disconnected from media, getting away from it all.
Good day, time to enjoy the Budo Buzz

My phone started blowing up with texts from friends on the tactical team.  Especially from one buddy in particular.  One buddy who's previous job was with the tactical team in Dallas Texas.

Now I knew what was going on...

Ok, so as promised I will break this blog into segments.  I will leave you with this dramatic cliff hanger.

Until next time

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tactical Dilemmas

As promised I will start this post with the much awaited after action review of Cabot Welchlin's fire arms class.

Later in the blog we will discuss tactical competency further.
For now just understand that Tactical Training + Operational Experience = Tactical Competency

Cabot is one of those very rare Instructors, that not only is very skilled, but has also used these skills in the field.

On top of that he is able to pass on that hard earned information in a way that even the most inexperienced can understand.

Marksmanship is a fundamental and necessary skill.  However, there is a vast difference between marksmanship and gun fighting.

Cabot has the tactical competency to teach gun fighting.

There are no advanced skills, there is just further mastery of the basics.  There are best practices, there are ways the best in the world (people with the highest tactical competency) do things.  Not because they look cool, or that is how their instructor told them to do it, or to be different from other Instructors.  Rather things that have the highest probability for success.  When you boil that all down the most high speed folks out there are very good at the basics.

Cabot has that rare skill to be able to watch some one shoot, asses, make a few adjustments and help the student attain a mastery of the basics.  A process that otherwise could take 1000's of rounds and training hours to accomplish, and has as high of a chance to ingrain negative habits as it does to increase proficiency.

The best review I can give is from direct example.  Amy (pictured above) for all intents and purposes has no firearms experience.  She was in a class filled with Police Officers, Tactical Team Members, Competitive Shooters, and Firearms Enthusiasts.

That could make anyone nervous / self conscious.  Much less a young woman visiting from a different country.

Her first time on the line she was not only off target, but off paper, off the backer.  No real data to receive feed back from.  Cabot adjusted a few things.  Still off paper.  Cabot assessed her fundamentals, stance, grip, trigger press, all seemed solid.  That left sight picture.  Amy and Cabot got that squared up and progress followed quickly.

In fact in less than 3 hours Amy went from literally not being able to hit the broad side of a barn to successfully completing a course of fire consisting of engaging  a threat at contact range, moving to cover, engaging another target from behind cover using her non dominant hand, and culminating with a third hostage rescue target requiring hip girdle and head shots with out hitting the Teddy bear hostage stapled to the target.  Under time pressure.  Amy scored in the high 90% and successfully saved the hostage within the time allotted.

Very impressive on Amy's part.  Equally impressive of Cabot to help her get there.
Amy went from nervous and apprehensive to confident and having fun. (See the above picture "Merica! Pew! Pew!)

The first time Cabot and I ran this class for civilians was last fall when Maija Soderholm was in town working on a project for Somico Knives.  Here is her review of the training:

I have a long background in martial arts especially sword arts, and the basic principle behind them is that of movement. Because of this, the idea of spending time standing behind a counter firing at stationary targets begun to sound rather like riding a stationary bicycle - good exercise, but really nothing to do with what a bicycle was designed to do. 

But how do you safely step into more real world firearm training?
Firearms are lethal weapons and must be treated with safety as the primary concern. Hence it is imperative to find an experienced teacher to lead the class.
Fortuitously I was invited to participate in a day of training with Cabot Welchlin, firearms instructor for the SWAT team of Ramsey County and himself a retired leader of the team.

During the course of the day Cabot assessed our abilities, our weaknesses, and our ability to follow instructions to stay safe, and over the course of 6 hours took us from standing and firing to moving and firing, transitioning from standing to kneeling to lying down, to running, firing from cover, moving from cover to cover, and changing magazines and firing left and right handed.
It truly was an awesome day. I learned an enormous amount about myself, and the gaps in my practice, and felt my skills improved exponentially to be something that are of real use. There was even homework to take away to keep the skills we were developing sharp.

As a Brit living in the US, I thought it would be good to become familiar with firearms, and after having spent a some time at the range shooting with friends' guns, eventually ended up with my own.
I now feel I have the confidence to use it if necessary. Something that was not true before my time training with Cabot.

Stay tuned to this blog for future training opportunities with Cabot (Chameleon Survival)

After those adventures I was fortunate to be able to attend the NTOA tactical team leader school.

The class was taught by AJ and Jeff
Great class, fantastic Instructors.  At the beginning of each successive day we were asked what our take away (or one thing that stuck with us) from yesterday was.  Hmmm, who else does that?
My three primary take aways from the class were principle based SWAT, manipulating human performance, and being my brother's keeper

My goal with this post is to share these take aways in a manner that is useful for anyone reading.

Principle based SWAT

I have written about principle based training, especially in regard to personal protection and martial arts.  So what is principle based SWAT?

Tactical dilemma
Every time I write something like this I have to balance what open source information I am willing to share vs what I think everyone should know.

I am willing to share this because it will not compromise anyone's security and with recent events including everybody on social media somehow becoming experts on active shooter incidents, Law Enforcement, and Tactical Operations I feel it is necessary to get this information out.

If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.
If all you have is one go to tactic you use for everything regardless of the varying circumstances, things will end poorly.

If you are in a fair fight that means your tactics suck

"Aint no such thing as a fair fight with a Marine"

That does not mean you put yourself at a disadvantage because you are so badass you can take 'em
even when every thing is stacked in the threat's favor.

Principle based SWAT is having multiple tactics and using the right tool for the right job.
Stacking things in your favor.

How do you determine the right tactic / tool?


Priorities of life
Intelligence (the fact set you have at the time)

To help clarify lets run through a scenario:

Patrol Officers respond to a call of a domestic assault.  As the Officers approach the door they are confronted by a male with a gun.  He shoots at them and yells if he sees another cop he is going to kill that cheating bitch.  He slams the door shut.  Officers back up to behind cover and establish a perimeter.

What do you know, what is fact set you have at the time?
Male suspect has shown that he is dangerous, has a weapon, and has barricaded himself with a hostage.

What are the priorities of life?
Innocents in immediate danger of death (hostages)
Non involved citizens (people in the area)
Law Enforcement

How does that determine your tactics?

Risk much to save much, risk little to save little, risk nothing to save what is lost.

With a hostage inside you have to have a go team ready to move at a seconds notice based on information they are receiving in the field.  You are willing to send in your people to save the hostage.  They have the authority to move when an opportunity with a reasonable chance of success presents itself or when they feel the risk is justified to save the hostage.  Risk much to save much.

Incidents are ever changing, not stagnant.

In our scenario lets say you have a go team ready, they have contingency plans for what the hostage taker may do.  Negotiations talks him into letting the hostage go.

Now tactics change.

What are the priorities of life?
Innocents in immediate danger of death (hostages) [Hostage was released]
Non involved citizens (people in the area)  [The area has been cleared]
Law Enforcement

Risk little to save little.  It no longer makes sense to risk Law Enforcement lives to go in and get this guy.  Tactics shift to barricaded subject.  You will notice that property is no where on the priorities of life check list.

If you are unable to shift tactics as circumstances change things will end poorly.

If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.
If all you have is one go to tactic you use for everything regardless of the varying circumstances, things will end poorly.

Well, this hammer has served us well the last 20 years.  We kicked a lot of ass using it.

If any fighter / martial artist brags about his / her record what is the first question you ask?
Who have they fought?

I brag that I am undefeated...against women...under 8 years old.  (See also big fucking deal)

You can use your hammer against lesser threats and be undefeated.
When you use that hammer in a situation in which it is not the correct tool, and use it because that is the only tool you know how to use, against a threat that wants to fight, that is skilled at fighting, that is when you get people killed.

Lets use this as a transition and start shifting to how this is applicable to anyone.

If you want to be successful at social violence (see also being a bully / asshole) you do not have to be very skilled.

Being big and strong helps.  If you want to train, whatever you train in (whatever hammer you use) really doesn't matter because you pick smaller weaker opponents that don't really want to fight you.

So regardless of your method it works 98% of the time...until you tree a bad one.  Until you come across one of the 2%

Someone who can fight, that likes to fight, and now has an excuse to fight

Now your max bench press and strip mall Rex Kwon Do really don't add up to much as you lay on the floor bleeding out wondering what happened.

Terry (pictured above) fits exactly the profile that these asshole / bullies would seek out.  And Terry is most defiantly a 2%er ( I mean that as a compliment).  That would be the worst and possibly the last mistake the asshole  / bully ever makes.

Click HERE  to find out more about Terry

I am in no way saying that Tactical Teams are asshole bullies.  However, I am saying that there are teams that rely heavily on high risk tactics and are unable to adapt.

They (we) have been lucky that they have run those tactics at the 98% (who have you fought?). Those same tactics against a 2%er will get your guys killed.

One of my primary takeaways from the NTOA class was using principle based SWAT tactical planning to explain how and why different tactics can be used and to articulate why high risk tactics are correct choice when circumstances dictate.

How does this relate to folks reading this that may not be tactical team leaders?

The ability to be more than a fighter but a tactician

Be more brilliant

Just a tactical teams use PIE to help make decisions, we as private citizens can use
IMOP or as it makes more sense to me PIMO

Do I have to act?

If you don't have time to ask the question you should already be acting (operant conditioned counter assault response)

If you have time to ask the question you probably don't.  You have discretionary time to plan (brilliant tactician)

Preemption - Do I need to be here?
If you can leave.
If you have a duty to act, or other legitimate reason you can't leave is the threat immediate?

In order to be an immediate threat, an individual must display (and you must be able to clearly articulate how you knew) three things:

Intent is the desire to do something - "I'm going to fuck you up!"
It does not to have to be as obvious as that.
Humans have been communicating with body language far before the spoken word existed.
We are very good at reading intent through body language, but often we have trouble articulating that process

The threat must have the ability to carry out intent.

 A person threatening to shoot you must have a gun to be an immediate threat, for instance.

The threat must be able to reach you with the means.

If those conditions exists (the fact set as you know them the time) force is justified.

What Level of Force?

“You are expected and required to use the minimum level of force that you reasonably believe will safely resolve the situation.”

Risk much to save much, risk little to save little, risk nothing to save what is lost.
Anything you allow to go physical has the potential to go lethal.
Check your priorities of life.
Is this worth killing or dying over?
(You will notice property is not on the priorities of life)

How to decide what tactic will safely resolve the situation is a broad enough topic that it deserves a post in and of itself.


There is training available 

Click HERE to sign up today

My point being against a 2 %er, against asocial violence, or against a threat that gives you no other option but to go physical (it is social for the threat but asocial to you such as a status seeking show)
You need to be a tactician.  You have to have operational diciplines that allow you to match a tactic to the circumstances at hand. (Not just a hammer)

Otherwise at best you are just a fighter.

If you get out maneuvered by the threat they can make all your fighting skills and physical abilities worthless.

Your max bench press and (enter whatever you like here) really don't add up to much as you lay on the floor bleeding out wondering what happened.
Be more brilliant.

Manipulating human performance.

On this blog, and in training I often refer to the OODA loop


A model used to explain how the brain takes in information and what is physiologically necessary for the body to act on that information.

One of my take aways from the class was how to better stack the odds in my favor, and how to diminish the threat's ability to harm me.

It was drilled into us that you only move as fast as you can accurately shoot you can make good decisions.  Team leaders get paid to communicate, make decisions, and listen.

Everyone has heard slow is smooth and smooth is fast.  Sounds cool but what does that really mean?
"Slow" allows you to process information in smaller batches.  For example dealing with 1/8 of a room at a time is "slower" than dealing with all of the room at once.

However, your brain can fully process that 1/8th "smoothly" because there is less information to take in.  Less information to process quickly = better decision making.

Because you are processing less information "smoothly" you can move from Observe to Act much "faster".

Even though this may feel slower, reaction time is faster, than jerkily trying to process too much information all at one time (compressed time and space) and make a good decision.  Especially against an ambush.  All the threat has to do is Act.

So professionally this made me look for more tactics that allow my team to maximize their information processing ability.  Doorway assessments, observation boxes etc...

In regard to personal protection it reinforced the need for Counter Assault training.  Conditioning that allows you to skip Orient and Decide and go directly to Act.

The flip side of that is creating tactical dilemmas for the threat.

Doing several different repeated things that keep resetting the threat to Observe and Orient. Overwhelming the threats ability to process information.  Keeping the threat from Acting in anyway that can be used to harm you.

"Buffet of pain" I don't start trouble.  If you force me to put my hands on you every thing I do is going to hurt you until you are made safe / no longer a threat.

Manipulating the edge of human performance.  Maximizing my ability to process information and act.  Overwhelming the threat with so many tactical dilemmas their ability to process information is distinctly diminished causing them to freeze.

Stacking the odds in my favor.

For more information on human performance, especially as it relates to decision making under combat stress please click HERE  to check out the Force Science Institute

Dr. William Lewinski - Force Science Institute

I am my brother's keeper
A major part of the NTOA class was after action reviews of some criminal incidents that required tactical operations to resolve.

The Instructors reviewed incidents they were involved in.  Events that years latter are still emotionally raw.  I thank those Instructors for doing that.  It can't be easy, but through their efforts the already high standard is being raised.  The probability of successful resolution becomes increased.

They bear that burden.

It was also discussed that if you take on a leadership role, that your burden increases as well.
Not only to have your people trained, not only to lead them in the field, but to have their back.  To help with their mental well being after an incident.

You are your brother's keeper.  You owe it to him to do everything possible to ensure he survives the incident, and everything that comes along after.

Which leads me to....
Another tactical dilemma.  Do I go there?  Do I have the moral courage to speak up when it is far easier to be quiet?

Well...I have never been known for being quiet.

With recent events in the media, more specifically the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando, everyone has an opinion, and everyone is an expert.

Unless you were there, you don't know.
Unless you have taken part in a hostage rescue operation, you don't know.
If the only information you have is from the media YOU DON'T KNOW!

So, if you don't know, sincerely and with all due respect, shut the fuck up.

Hostage rescue is one of the most difficult operations there is.  Successful resolution pushes the limits of human performance.  The best of the best in the world are tasked with it.  The people with the highest tactical competency.  Teams that have the best training, and highest operational tempo. Groups like GSG 9 in Germany.  These types of operations is what Delta was made for.  But America has The Posse Comitatus Act limiting the powers of Government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States.

I don't want this to get political or to debate the "militarization" of Law Enforcement.

Where I am going with this is I want to make the point that hostage rescue is a very difficult task.
For the sake of argument lets liken it to surgery.  A specific surgery where a team of Surgeons are tasked with removing a malignant tumor.  If they even nick anything but the tumor the patient will die.  If the Surgeon doesn't remove the tumor precisely some how the tumor can release a toxin that will kill the Surgeon.  Now lets say that the tumor can also somehow move.

No one reading about this very difficult and dangerous surgery at home from the comfort of their couch the next day is going to get online and write something like - Well I carve the turkey for the family on Thanksgiving so I know a lil something something about this.  Those Surgeons did it all wrong, they should have have used a #7 scalpel and cut proximally across the femoral artery ...

But that is exactly what is happening.

It happened after Columbine.
There is stuff about Columbine that the general public doesn't know all these years latter.  Basically because so very easily things could have gone so much worse.

But because the general public doesn't know the facts, the responding officer's actions have been judged with out knowing what information they had at the time.

Some have gone so far as to call these guys "The Cowards of Columbine"

Can you imagine going through that, then being called a coward for your actions?

Then the "experts" come out and pontificate on how they would have done things.
Based on information that was not available during the incident.
Based on incorrect or false information.

There are still plenty of experts teaching active shooter response classes based on, and using video from the library at Columbine.

Well, guess what?  The only cameras in the entire shcool at the time were in the lunch room.
Any video from the library was from a training exercise made after the incident.

What happened to the responding Officers at Columbine is bullshit.  Lets not let that happen to the guys from Orlando

We are our brother's keepers

Remember principle based SWAT.  There are tactics that are appropriate for active shooter.  Tactics that all Officers are capable of accomplishing.  When the circumstances change.  Switch from active shooter to a barricaded hostage rescue situation the tactics must also change.  Things that worked well for an active shooter response will get the hostages shot.
Hostage rescue is the zenith of tactical operations.  Not all officers are capable of doing it.  You want the people with the highest tactical competency working to resolve it.  You have to be prepared to move if the shooting starts again or an opportunity presents itself but until that happens you want to get your best assets, your greatest chance for success in place before further engagement takes place.

So again,

Unless you were there, you don't know.
Unless you have taken part in a hostage rescue operation, you don't know.
If the only information you have is from the media YOU DON'T KNOW!

And if you don't know feel free to keep your opinions to yourself.

How does this apply to martial arts or personal protection?

Be the best at what you are.  Don't claim or try to be something you are not.
Don't be that guy.
Don't be the guy that tries to capitalize on tragedy

Click HERE to watch Clint Overland's reaction to this video

Don't be the guys that uses "the trending" of tragic events to bolster his / her name recognition by giving advice on how to do it better.

Lastly, if you truly believe you can do it better.  Put on your big boy / big girl pants and apply for a profession that puts you in a position to do it better as the incident is happening.  Where you can actually save lives.

If not, maybe take some of the time and energy you were going to spend critiquing the event to thank the people that were there doing the best they could with the information and resources they had at the time

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe