Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Commando style training.

The field of practical application of martial art is very narrow. I define this field as the martial skills used by professionals in the field. Professionals who's life and the life of others depend on the quality those skills and the quality of their training. This field integrates firearms, edged weapons and empty hand skills and has zero tolerance for nonsense. I pursue this field of study because I am a SWAT Operator and Police Officer. I also see the value of teaching skills proven to work by professionals to civilians interested in self defense as opposed to sport or maintaining tradition.
 However, recently it seems to me a lot of instructors are getting paid playing of the fears and fantasies of the uninformed. There are people who are afraid of violent crime that are willing to pay lots of money to learn the “secret techniques” of professionals. There are also lots of people who want to be Jack Bauer / James Bond who are willing to pay lots of money to be trained / treated like an elite paramilitary operator. I am not dissing these people, I understand being afraid of violent crime, and I want to be Jack Bauer / James Bond. I get it.  The cause of this rant is Instructors who exploit this fear / fantasy for fun and profit. They offer fear management as opposed to danger management and wish fulfillment instead of quality training.
It seems there is a simple formula. 
Step 1) be somehow affiliated with or claim to be trained by an:
v  Navy Seal
v  Russian Commando
v   Israeli Commando
v   WWII Era Commando
Step 2) Take whatever martial art you know, add rubber knives and toy guns, and lots of pushups and sit ups
Step 3) Come up with some sort of acronym to separate your super elite system from all the other just ok commando styles.
Step 4) have a "special" seminar every weekend to make lots of money
The inspiration for this blog is every week my facebook account gets filled up with invitations to the next big greatest kick ass high speed low drag commando type training only $750 for the weekend.
People send me videos of "tactical training". My favorite one so far depicts two lets use the term wannabes driving their personal cars recklessly into the parking lot of the commando school. The wannabes bail out of their cars and make entry into the school with airsoft pistols.  They address and shoot paper targets as the "clear" the building.  Let’s put aside the quality of these tactics for a second and ask the question?
 If you have to drive to a building, break into it, seek out and shoot armed threats (and you are not on a SWAT team) that is not self defense that is murder.  That is fanboy wish fulfillment bullshit. If you want to protect yourself from violence why would you go somewhere you know armed violent and dangerous people are?  That is just irresponsible teaching.  Pandering to base human needs.
To further make my point lets swap military / law enforcement for firefighting.  Imagine someone claiming to be affiliated with or trained by someone affiliated with an elite fire department.  This person is getting paid a lot of money to teach fire safety to a group of uninformed citizens that are either afraid of being burned or are fireman enthusiasts (they all have Dalmatians and model fire trucks at home).  Now this guy teaches the wannabes to fill their car with buckets of water kick down a door and run into a burning building.  That guy would get laughed out of the fire fighting community.  If we can apply common sense to one why can’t we apply common sense to the other?
We can.  Here are some suggestions how.
Developing operator habits.  You want to be a commando? then act like one.  Fake it until you make it.  The following are legitimate skill sets and knowledge that every operator needs. 
(If you have trained with me or have been following my blog you will know that the following information is largely borrowed from Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung with their permission)

Rules of engagement
                Understanding laws regarding self defense and use of force
                Knowing your capacity for violence
                Threat assessment scanning
                                Consciously seeking out anomalies in pattern and discovering why things are different
                Reading Terrain
Escape and Evade
                Where are the exits
                How could I get out of this place?
                How would I attack this place?
Violence Dynamics
                Understanding social and asocial violence
                Understanding how violence actually happens
                                Harder,faster,closer, and by surprise
                Understanding / Controlling yourself
                Controlling / Manipulating the situation
Jack Bauer / James Bond does not bring unwarranted attention to himself.  Nor does he blow a mission be getting arrested for doing something stupid.

Fighting Skills
                Counter Ambush
                Ending Violence Quickly
                                Over in three motions
Physical Fitness
Strength and conditioning designed to specifically enhance your performance of fighting techniques.
Go muscles vs. show muscles
Body weight calisthenics and running are free. 
Operators don’t need someone to hold them by the hand through a fitness program.
Operators don’t waste dojo time with boot camp nonsense
So you want some Commando training?  Let me set some up right now
1) I am a team leader and training coordinator for a major metropolitan tactical unit (see also urban warfare commando)
2) I’ve spent the last 18 years of my life refining Japanese martial arts (Budo) to be applicable to CQB.  I bet my life on the efficacy of these techniques every day I go to work / every time my pager goes off.
3) Commando
4) Here is the best part kiddos.  The majority of this training you can do on your own for free.
To get you started here is a fun exercise to develop operator mindset
The next time you go out to eat (this really helps pass time while you’re waiting to be seated)
Locate all the exits, avenues of escape
Scan every one up and down once break sideways (don’t bring attention to yourself)
                Where are their hands?
                What is their physical description?
                Are they a threat?  Are they sending a creepy vibe (trust your instincts)
                How would you take them out?
How would you hold up the restaurant?
Is there anyone in places or doing things you would need to be / do to hold up the restaurant?
Is that weird?
Make a game of this every time you go somewhere.  Take pride in it.  After a month it will become habit and you will start doing it with thinking about it.
That is useful, legitimate, and legal Commando training all for free.  And I didn’t even fill up you facebook inbox.  If you feel guilty you can send me a check.


  1. One of the best, relevant rants I've heard in a while.
    "Show muscles vs go muscles" -I love it!

  2. Awesome blog... and my gosh... you are using "common sense" !!!! It is amazing nowadays. I want to train with you dude!!!

  3. I do stuff like that a lot of the time, it may have even saved me from getting my wallet stolen from me on monday night =D

    It probably comes naturally to me, being born in a third world country. I appreciate having an actual protocol to work with though, thanks =D

  4. Damn you're cool!
    Beautifully written and relevant.

  5. Not much to say that hasn't been said. Too bad actual experience and integrity is keeping you from raking in the money by playing paintball with wanna-bes!