Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Commando Ninja appraoch VS. Ending Violence Quickly


It’s been awhile since I blogged.  Life has been kind of crazy.  I have had lots of stuff to blog about.  So much in fact that it became a daunting task.  So this will be a combination of things that have been on my mind lately. 

I recently had an opportunity to attend a two day Krav Maga Defensive Tactics for Law Enforcement class.  I will start this blog with a brief review of the class to help make my points.

Remember Marc MacYoung’s advice when judging the validity of training or a system in general:

IF you're talking about using Krav (any system)for personal safety then -- like ANY system -- a huge factor of its effectiveness is WHO is teaching it to you.
  • First CAN that person do effective movement?
  • Second can he teach it to you?
  • Third, does this person understand the realities AND the consequences of violence? Or is it "this is what I heard from my teacher?"

I don't give a shit, what the 'system' or 'art' is supposed to be. If the person can't (or isn't) doing those three things, you're not only wasting your time and money, but dangerously so.
As Rory said "It's easier to instill confidence than competence." And you can have all the confidence in the world, until the shit hits the fan, and then you'd better be able to actually do something to Git R Done.
If all you are ever going is use it for getting into shape, break into a sweat and vent frustrations, then what I just said doesn't matter.
Any Krav school - any dojo - will do. (Well, as long as proper safety measures are taken).
If you're going to be staking your life on it working in a violent situation AND if want to keep your ass out of county jail, then you'd DAMNED well better -- and this goes for ANY martial art, training system or weapon -- make sure the person who's teaching knows WTF he's talking about!

So with those guide lines in mind lets break down the class

The Instructor was a Sgt in the IDF who served in some very dangerous places and for the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) so he passed the legit experience test.

The fundamentals were solid, and the physics were good. 

However here is where I start disagreeing with what was being taught.  The class was advertised as Krav Maga Defensive Tactics.  But this class had nothing to do with defensive tactics.  This was just a Krav class (square peg) being taught to cops (round hole).

The class started with jab / cross training.  I generally don’t teach this to cops.  It’s hard to articulate punching a guy in the face, it looks horrible on tape, to the public, to the jury, and unless you have conditioned your hands you are likely to cut/tear/break your hands. 

Sure enough 10 – 15 minutes into training ¼ of the class had cut or injured their hands.  The entire morning session was spent on punches, kicks, knees, elbows.  All offense.  Intensity and aggression was the focus of this training.  State statutes and department policies regarding the use of force were never mentioned.  Well, never mentioned except in jokes about excessive use of force. 

The Instructor was talking about when one of his students from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office was being charged with excessive force (this made my eye brow raise but seemed to go unnoticed by the group) for delivering 15 knee strikes to an arrest subject.  The attorney asked how many knee strikes does it take to cross from self defense / control to excessive force.  The Deputy replied 14 is too few and 16 is clearly too many.  The point the Instructor was making was do what you need to do to go home alive don’t worry about getting sued.  But all I heard was – if you do what I am teaching you, you are going to get sued.


The afternoon session was centered around defenses.  The counter ambush training started with a 360’ drill where you keep blocking and blocking.  The point of the drill was you can’t do that so you have to move.  That was cool.  The counter ambushes shown were very prescriptive he does this you do that but teaching cops to move is always good.

The day was very physically challenging, very cardiovascular.  Most of the students were all but crawling out of the gym by the end of the day

Day 2 – Weapon disarms
Some nuggets of goodness (basically stuff from WWII Combatives “Get tough” and “Killed or be killed”) but then transitioning to multiple repeated strikes and some very high motor skill of removing of the weapon.  I am a big fan of bouncing a guy off the ground.  If then I notice he has a weapon, all the easier to remove it from someone who is trapped to the ground and recovering from being struck by the planet

Some other things I noticed. Lots of 20 something buff dudes, tattoos, tap out apparel, BJJ backgrounds, and hair gel – lots and lots of hair gel used to make the mandatory faux hawk hair style.  Namely – “no shirts” - Cop no shirts.  Cop no shirts + aggressive  / intense 5 extra strikes mandatory training = dangerous.







I like to illustrate points by using popular culture and comic books (because I’m a nerd).

In the GI Joe comic book version of the origin of Snake Eyes ( an actual Commando Ninja ), the man who would become Snake Eyes is having dinner with his family, where he reveals to them that he is being shipped out to Southeast Asia (Vietnam). Snake Eyes and his dad have a conversation about keeping his faith; Snake Eyes questions his faith and prefers to believe in luck. His father switches gears "If you're heading into that jungle armed with nothing but luck... then I wish you all the luck in the world. Luck runs out quick, though. You step up to gamble one more time, and the next thing you know... "Snake-Eyes""

Cool right?  But what does this have to do with Budo? 

Many Lethal / Military / Commando / RBSD systems that are the current “buzz words” and are so popular are successful based on demographics not on quality.  These systems are designed for 18-24 year old men in peak physical condition. 

Any buff 20 something with enough aggression and intensity (and luck) can bumble his way through most violent encounters despite their training not because of it.

However, "If you're heading into that jungle armed with nothing but luck... then I wish you all the luck in the world. Luck runs out quick, though. You step up to gamble one more time, and the next thing you know... "Snake-Eyes""

There is always some one bigger, stronger, faster, younger, and more aggressive – then what?

Efficiency

Even if you are an 18-24 year old stud you won’t always be.  There will come a time when you peak.  There will be a moment when you will never be faster, stronger, or leaner than you are right now.
All that is left to you is to become smarter and more efficient

I talk about the golden move and/or over in 3 quit a bit.

Rory Miller’s Golden Standard - The technique should:
Improve your position
Worsen the their position
Protect you from damage
Allows you to damage (or control) them.

Marc MacYoung’s standard of effective technique
Every move you do needs to meet three fundamental standards.
These are:
1) It secures your perimeter (keeps you covered)
2) Disrupts his ability to attack you (stuns him, unbalances him, changes his orientation, undermines what he needs in order to attack you)
3) Sets up your next move.

This happens with EVERY move you make, not every technique, but every move within that technique.
-Marc MacYoung

The thing that got to me about the Krav Maga class was, the techniques being taught easily could have ended the confrontation in 3 motions or less.  But every technique was at least 8 motions.  Motions 3-8 being repeated (excessive) strikes (usually knees or groin kicks).   


I like to make chess analogy.  I’m not that great at chess.  But if I could move a piece 3 times {1)It secures your perimeter (keeps you covered), 2)Disrupts his ability to attack you (stuns him, unbalances him, changes his orientation, undermines what he needs in order to attack you), 3)Sets up your next move.} For every one of my opponent’s moves I would be undefeatable.


I didn’t want to appear disrespectful.  I did my best to do the techniques I was shown.  But when we did more spontaneous (closer to randori / Jyu waza) I found myself taking the attacker’s back or pinning them to the ground kneeling on things that hurt.  See also ending violence quickly. The instructor would usually say that’s very nice but more striking please, more intensity please, more aggression please.

Betting your life on being more intense and more aggressive than someone  who is willing to violently attack you ( see also demonstrating aggression ) is a foolish game.  It may work for awhile but then you step up to gamble one more time, and the next thing you know... "Snake-Eyes"

So take you intensity and aggression and focus it on becoming more efficient.  On ending violence as quickly as possible.  Thus diminishing the likelihood of injury for yourself, and the attacker.

Now you know and knowing is ½ the battle

Yo Joe!!!!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lessons learned from the sword



At a recent class we were working on the relationship between taijutsu (empty hand) counter ambush techniques and kenjutsu (sword techniques) counter ambush techniques. I noticed that the yoko irimi (enter to the side)motion that works beautifully empty handed was causing troubles against a sword. Especially against yokomen uchi or a circular slashing type attack. The premise of counter ambush follows Hick's law in that when you observe an attack you immediately move in a motion that you have trained to instinctive speed. For my students that prefer the yoko irimi entering (salt over the shoulder for those of you who have trained with Marc) if they didn't notice the attack was yokomken uchi and duck as the entered they were decapitating themselves on their opponent's sword. Things that make you go Hmmmmmm? I worked on this and had an ephinany of sorts, so I thought I'd share them here.


First kenjutsu training is not as directly related to counter ambush as I thought. If you and your opponent both have your swords drawn that is more akin to dueling / streetfighting than surviving a sneak attack. Counter ambush is more relatable to Batto Jutsu or the art of drawing and cutting with a sword. I've included a video below.


In Toyama Ryu Batto Jutsu there are several basic cuts and kata. Enemy from the front, enemy from the side, enemy from the back ect. All of these sword draws (counter ambushes) can be broken down into two basic motions. Entering, and opening. In the video the first motion you see is entering what I call Yoko Irimi. At the perception of an attack Tori moves out of zero while drawing and cutting.
That works because:
  • You drew and cut before they could (quick and the dead)
  • You moved through / away from their sword arm (no left handed Samurai)
Not the same thing when both swords are drawn and shomen uchi (straight cut)can be turned to yokomen uchi (circular cut) and take your head. Imagine missing a jab but following with an elbow .
This lead me to this conclusion:
Sword to sword there too many variables, you need some sort of reverse Hick's laws to limit the attackers options. That's where shomen irimi or direct entering comes into play.
When Uke raises his sword to attack you are going to go hey diddle diddle right up the middle and put your sword on his wrists or in his throat. Now I can hear you saying "Egon, didn't you say crossing the streams is bad?" Yes I have railed against staying in zero several times on this blog. But hear me out. You can step and pivot in one motion. Sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven. You can step (up the middle) and pivot (open or enter) getting you out of zero in one motion. That fits with empty hand counter ambush fundamentals no matter what attack I perceive I'm going to do (what ever) trained to reflex speed. No matter what uke does with his sword I'm going to put my tip in his face ( that sounded way straighter in my head ) . That forces Uke into the observe and orient phase and allows me to get ahead and open or enter.


Ok great so now you have a neat trick next time you get into a sword fight. Unless you are an Immortal born in 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel that is not very useful.

This is the PRACTICAL Budo blog right?

Remember in order for a technique to be valid it must have four elements:


  1. It must have a tactical use.
  2. It must work moving or standing still. If you can't hit hard when both you and the threat are moving, you can't hit hard. If you can't put a bullet on target on a moving target while you, yourself are moving, for all tactical purposes you can't shoot.
  3. It must work whether you can see or not
  4. It must work when you are scared, under an adrenaline dump. If the technique needs a clear head and pinpoint precision to work, it doesn't work.
So how does direct entry to get out of zero have a tactical use?
Lets looks at some fundamental SWAT tactics (tactical enough for ya?)






I have to be careful because I want to keep my advice general principle based not prescriptive (if he does this you do that). And I need to keep operational security. I don't need to be giving SWAT tactics to away to any asshole with an internet connection. But to make my point entering (getting out of zero) a building or a room is the same as entering on a person. To get through that door an operator either crosses (Yoko Irimi) or hooks (Tenkan). Of those two options the second operator through the door will do the opposite of the first so the corners are cleared. What does that leave for the third operator? He will generally do the opposite of the second but he needs to fill the (hey diddle diddle straight up the ) middle.

So how does this information benefit the reader?

 
Getting out of zero.
So many "self defense" videos friends send to me can be summed up like this – How to get killed in, I mean self defense in 3 easy steps:
  1. Plant feet (under no circumstances move from this spot)
  2. Pray that your reflexes are faster than your opponent, and that somehow you will be able to predict his attack
  3. Some miracle happens


Guess what kids that's fantasy bullshit. You cannot stand toe to toe, nose to nose trading damage with a guy and hope to survive a close quarters violent assault. Trade fists for knives or guns. How many shots do you think you can take? How much damage can you survive?

 
Movement Defeats Strength
The success of tactical operations depends on:
Stealth
Speed 
Violence of action After entry is made stealth is gone. Speed + Violence of action = Movement.

 
The standard of effective technique
Every move you do needs to meet three fundamental standards.
These are:
1) It secures your perimeter (keeps you covered)
2) Disrupts his ability to attack you (stuns him, unbalances him, changes his orientation, undermines what he needs in order to attack you
3) Sets up your next move.

This happens with EVERY move you make, not every technique, but every move within that technique.
-Marc MacYoung

A much better self defense model, one that meets Marc's standard of effective technique would be:

 
Tai Sabaki / Counter ambush - MOVE get out of zero - secures your perimeter (keeps you covered)

Kuzushi (Off Balance) – Disrupts his ability to attack you (stuns him, unbalances him, changes his orientation, undermines what he needs in order to attack you.Kake (Finish IT) – End the confrontation – asses (look for other bad guys, make sure primary bad guy is controlled, follow up as needed)




Putting it all together
What is the lesson from the sword? If you can't get out of zero, you need to move where zero is. A couple ways to do this
  • Move 0 on the X axis. Pushing one shoulder while you pull the other shoulder making the opponent turn his back is an example of this. Like SWAT tactics this relies on surprise / stealth, speed, violence of action / commitment
  • Move 0 on the Y axis. This is where direct entry comes into play. Just like the sword a chin jab / palm heal strike forces the attacker into the observe –orient phase of the OODA loop at the same time bending his back (moving where 0 is)



That's a lot of words for something that really has to be felt / experienced to be of use.
So try this drill:
  • You partner stands in front of you arms straight hands on the outsides of your shoulders
  • Your partner's arms are stiff his/her job is to keep you inside their arms
  • Your job is to get out
  • Step between their legs as you chin jab / palm heal strike (go through hell to get to heaven)
  • Your palm should strike as your foot lands between their feet
  • When your foot lands, pivot on it to either enter or open – get out of zero dumb dumb
    • If you pivot to enter this should feel like a wrestling duck under. You will be out of 0 in the 21/2 position and have them in a nice head lock
    • If you pivot to open you will be in the 1 position and their resistive pressure should make them fly right by you and face plant or at least be off balanced and exposed
In summary get out of zero, if you can't get out of zero move where zero is, and lastly grown men playing with swords can lead to deeper understanding of close quarters combat.



Train hard, train smart, be safe






















Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is (insert system) good for self defense?

I am paraphrasing this from Marc, if you want to read his more indepth version check out

We were discussing an opportunity I have to do some cross training in Krav Maga.  From the link above I would like to share this information with the people who read my blog. 

I too am often asked what my opinion is on this art or that defensive tactics system.  Marc sums up a very complicated question with this answer:

IF you're talking about using Krav (any system)for personal safety then -- like ANY system -- a huge factor of its effectiveness is WHO is teaching it to you.

  • First CAN that person do effective movement?
  • Second can he teach it to you?
  • Third, does this person understand the realities AND the consequences of violence? Or is it "this is what I heard from my teacher?"

I don't give a shit, what the 'system' or 'art' is supposed to be. If the person can't (or isn't) doing those three things, you're not only wasting your time and money, but dangerously so.

As Rory said "It's easier to instill confidence than competence." And you can have all the confidence in the world, until the shit hits the fan, and then you'd better be able to actually do something to Git R Done.

If all you are ever going is use it for getting into shape, break into a sweat and vent frustrations, then what I just said doesn't matter.
Any Krav school - any dojo - will do. (Well, as long as proper safety measures are taken).

If you're going to be staking your life on it working in a violent situation AND if want to keep your ass out of county jail, then you'd DAMNED well better -- and this goes for ANY martial art, training system or weapon -- make sure the person who's teaching knows WTF he's talking about!




Train hard - Train smart - be safe

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

People I admire part 3 - Steve Jimerfield

Sensei Jimerfield began martial arts training in 1966 in Kenpo and kajukenpo karate, and his law enforcement career started as an Alaska State Trooper in 1975. Jimerfield Sensei also studied Judo and Jujutsu under Porter Sensei. He was assigned to DPS Training Academy as a instructor, has been a law enforcement self-defense instructor for more than twenty-five years, and eventually retired from the Alaska State Troopers in 1997 as a Corporal. Although retired, Jimerfield Sensei now acts in the capacity of Traveling Trainer for the Alaska Police Standards Council, and is the Instructor/Trainer of One-On-One Control Tactics which he developed for Law Enforcement personnel.

One-On-One Control Tactics is an integrated control system Jimerfield designed for the Alaska State Trooper Academy. Officers in the State of Alaska must often work alone, without back up, and must be able to control violent people. The One-On-One Control Tactics system was developed out of Jimerfield Sensei's training in judo, jujitsu and karate. He took the best from each and developed a system that works on the street for a police officer. The techniques taught have been used on the street by hundreds of police officers within the State of Alaska and around the world. Jimerfield Sensei has kept track of the use of the techniques through use of force reports and through contact with officers. These techniques have an emphasis on ground control and will give officers confidence in hand to hand confrontations both standing and on the ground.

Sensei's ranks, certifications, and other recognitions:
Kaiso (founder) of his own close quarters battle / control tactics based Taiho Jitsu
10th degree Black Belt Taiho Jitsu, 2006
10th degree Black Belt Jujitsu, 2006
8th degree Black Belt Judo, 2008
Master Instructor and Examiner in Judo and Jujitsu
Director Law Enforcement Self Defense Division
Licensed Police Self Defense Instructor
Leadership Award 2000, Defensive Tactics Newsletter, for ongoing training and research in Criminal Justice Defensive Tactics
Awarded Rank of Yudansha Taigu 2005


Sensei's publications:
One-On-One Control:
Safe StreetTactics for Law Enforcement
Cold Weather One-On-One Control:
Cold Weather Street Tactics for Law Enforcement
Defensive Tactics Newsletter, Cold Weather Control, 10/99
Defensive Tactics Newsletter, Keeping Negatives Out of Defensive Training, 10/00




Sensei Jimerfield wrote this about the One on One system:

The One-On-One Control Tactics system is dedicated to my best friend, Alaska State Trooper Bruce A. Heck.
Bruce was killed January 10th, 1997 by a four-time felon who had been out of jail for only 12 hours after serving a 10-year sentence.
Bruce and I worked together on graveyard shift for 13 years. He often said that if it were not for me, he probably would have never been an Alaska State Trooper. Bruce loved his job and was one of the best at what he did.

Bruce was the best backup I could ever have asked for in any situation. He was there when I was in trouble, and backed me up time and again. I was his field training officer, the best man at his wedding, and there when his first child was born.

We knew everything about each other and our lives. He was to retire at the same time I did on June 30th, 1997. Bruce was the nicest, kindest and most caring person I have ever met.

It is my hope that by teaching and sharing the One-On-One Control Tactics system other officers will not die in the manner that Bruce did in a hand-to-hand confrontation with a criminal.

video


I am honored to be a student of Steve Jimerfield and to be able to help him teach and share the One-On-One Control Tactics system.  “Training to save lives” is the tag line of the system.  That should tell you most of what you need to know about Jimerfield. 

With his training and experience he could easily cash in selling simple solutions to alleviate people’s fears.  Instead he offers quality training on how to manage danger as opposed to feel better about being scared. 

His training is neither simple nor easy, because the job is never simple or easy.  The training is realistic, principle based and focuses on gross motor skills that can be achieved under combat stress in all weather conditions. 

He holds high personal standards, and demands that his students meet these standards.  He doesn’t advertise, he doesn’t sell DVDs or special training equipment.  In fact I bet the majority of people reading this have never heard of Steve Jimerfield.  However, he teaches 30 – 40 weeks out of the year to operators all across the world on word of mouth alone.  He has a passion for improving the skills of people whose lives depend on those skills.  The quality of his training and his willingness to go to the mat for his students develop strong loyalty in those lucky enough to have had an opportunity to train with him.

Last spring I was having difficulty with the logistics involved in hosting his instructors course.  I gave him a call and told him that there is no way I could generate his teaching fee before the class.  He said Kasey, I’m coming to Minnesota.  I hope my expenses get covered.  If they don’t fuck it, I’m more concerned about saving lives.


In this age of 8 hr commando ninja seminars for $1000 and people with no law enforcement experience forcing the square peg of what they know into the round hole of what law enforcement needs, Steve Jimerfield is more concerned about saving lives than making money and I am proud to be his friend