Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cross over blog

Cross over.  That terms has several meanings.  For my fellow comic book book nerds it means when one character crosses over and shows up in another character's book.

Like this Batman / Hulk cross over from 1981

In that cross over Batman defeated Marvel's mightiest hero.  How?  Because he is the god damned Batman that's how

Cross over in regard to training  means training in one discipline that crosses over and improves skills in another.

This blog entry will address both.

I'm sure you have heard the phrase - Haters gonna hate.
I’ve been “hated” on, and even though it bothers me to admit it publicly I have “hated” on others.

Begs the question:
Have you ever “hated” on someone you are doing better than?

There are guys in the fields of close quarter combatives for professionals (military / law enforcement) and private personal protection that couldn’t carry my jock.

But they don’t really care because they are too busy counting all the money they are making.
I will no longer waste time saying anything negative about these people because no, you don’t hate on someone you are doing better than.

I’ve decided to take that energy and spend it on doing better than them.

Easier said than done.  If it was easy I’d already be doing it.  Remember what I just wrote about saying negative things?  So without wasting energy being negative let me just say, there are practices I’ve seen that are financially viable, but I am not willing to follow those practices.

Advertising and marketing are skill sets I do not possess (yet..)
However, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

Enter obligatory pop culture reference here:

Luckily for me I have found that rare flower of someone that runs a commercially successful martial arts school and isn’t a sell out or a douche bag.

He doesn't water down his stuff, doesn't teach children, and he teaches martial arts and personal protection as separate things.
That brings us to the topics of this blog post

Martial Art vs. Personal Protection
And what are viable successful marketing strategies for personal protection

Martial art vs. Self Protection

Let me start by saying I love martial arts (duh right).
I’d even go so far as to say there are no “bad” martial arts.
Hell, I’ll even go a step further and say there is one art that is superior to all others.

OOOooooo controversial!

Calm down, that one superior art is different for everyone.  It is the art you enjoy doing, that becomes a part of your lifestyle, and is something you will do the rest of your life.

As much as you love whatever that art is, no matter how bad ass it is, you must understand that martial art is not personal protection.

If you are studying a martial art for self defense buyer beware.

No martial art is complete for personal protection in the 21st century.
The old schools ones were used before there were laws.
The newer ones were never intended for that purpose.

However, any art can be adapted for personal protection.
To do so you will need a full range of physical skills, and more importantly specific information your Sensei or Sifu never taught you

Physical Skills

To make my point let’s take look at a use of force continuum.
A use of force continuum is an example of rules of engagement found in most Law Enforcement agencies’ use of force policies.

1.            Presence
Physical Fitness

2.            Verbal commands
Communication Skills

3.            Contact Controls
Touching or Seizing the offender
Escort Compliance
Standing Controls
Pain Compliance
Joint Locks

4.            Compliance Techniques
“Soft Hands”
Take Downs

5.            Disabling Techniques
“Hard Hands”
Impact Techniques
Striking / Kicking
Impact Weapons

6.            Potentially Lethal Force
7.            Lethal Force

If you are going to employ your martial arts skills for personal protection you must assure that your own personal style covers all these aspects.

You will have to have skill sets at all levels of force.  I like to use this model as a frame work for people to take the foundation of their martial arts training and develop their own operational style.

For example:
If you have been training in Karate you should be well versed in Disabling Techniques / “Hard Hands”.  If you want to use Karate as a foundation for personal protection or professional use of force you will need to round out your own personal style with skills in
  • ·         Contact Controls
  • ·         Compliance Techniques
  • ·         Potentially Lethal Force
  • ·         Lethal Force

There are fantastic throws, sweeps and take downs in Karate, but how many Karate Instructors teach those aspects anymore?  So this hypothetical person needs to find those lost / under taught elements in his own art or seek out supplemental training to develop those assets.

Integrating skill sets
Just as I learned that Karate, Aikido, and Judo all work together because they all evolved from the core art of JuJutsu.  Anyone interested in rounding out their skill for personal protection should look for ways that complement each other.

If you train in one system that preaches always stay on your feet and another that suggests you pull an attacker to the ground on top of you, how are you going to make those skill sets work together under pressure against a violent attacker?

Your training must fit your rules of engagement, your personal ethical codes and work in the environment you are likely to find yourself in. 

So, before you seek out additional training have an operational philosophy in mind to use as your foundation.

*If you are a professional (paid to protect others) or plan to incorporate fire arms skills into your personal protection method, I suggest starting with fire arms skills and building around that foundation.

For more information on that and to cover training in one discipline that crosses over and improves skills in another, please check out:

Filling in the holes (don’t get cute with that)

Just as our hypothetical Karateka needed to seek out additional training.  You are going to have to assess your skill sets and find ways to cover missing information.  No matter what your martial arts foundation / background is, in order to use it for personal protection you will need to know:

  • How to hit hard
    • Not how to earn points in competition.  How to generate power and deliver force into an enemy in order to disable an attacker.
  • How Joints lock / break
    • How to control someone using lower levels of force, and how to break someone when higher levels of force are justified
  • How to overcome an ambush attack
    • Not blocking, not evading, but turning the tide.  The Japanese sometimes call this Sen No Sen or attacking the attack.  
      You are not defending but actively counter attacking.  Something that protects you and allows you to deliver force (damage) into the attacker at the same time.  All while improving your position so the attacker can no longer damage you.
  • How throws work
    • It is unlikely you will ever need to use personal protection skills against someone your own size or smaller.  You need to be able to move a larger aggressive enemy.  You need to be able to direct that enemy into the environment (walls, tables, the floor, down a flight of stairs)
  • How to move someone on the ground
    • You don't need to be a red belt in BJJ but you should be able to prevent your self from being taken to the ground, and if you end up there you have to be able to move a larger aggressive enemy.
  • How strangles work - Wreck a neck
    • You will need the ability to use potentially lethal force
  • *Edged weapons
  • *Fire arms

If you are very fortunate you may train in a system that covers most if not all of those physical skills.  As complete as any system that could possibly cover all of that is, still more is needed to make those skills viable for personal protection.

More importantly than any physical skills you will need to know a block of information I like to call – things your Sensei never taught you

Understanding use of force law
Force Articulation
How your brain works – this is your brain
How your brain reacts to stress caused by conflict – this is your brain on violence
Social Violence
Asocial Violence
Conflict Strategy – Avoidance
Conflict Strategy – Escape and evade
Verbal Skills  - Deescalating social violence
Verbal Skills  - Deterring asocial violence
Logic of violence - Understanding criminal behavior
Threat assessment
Reading terrain
  • ·         Self care
  • ·         Talking to the police
  • ·         Psychology of survival

No matter how good your martial arts training is, if it does not cover all of the above topics in depth, it is incomplete for personal protection.

How can one learn the things your Sensei never taught you?

Shameless self plug 1

Every fall I host the Violence Dynamics Seminar in Minnesota featuring Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung.  Over the course of the seminar all of the above mentioned necessary skills / knowledge is covered. 
However, as you can imagine, that is a lot of stuff to cover so the seminar usually runs 7 to 10 days.

I got to thinking, I always performed better on tests that I prepared for in manageable study sessions over time.  As opposed to cramming for 8 hours the night before a test.

The Violence Dynamics seminar is fantastic for all, but especially martial artists looking to fill in the holes so that their martial arts training can be viable for personal protection.  However, as good as it is 80 hours of training over 10 days once a year is a crash course.

How could I present the information from the Violence Dynamics Seminar in manageable portions over time?

I developed the Violence Dynamics Semester course.  The semester course is 10 weeks long.  Two hours every Tuesday night.  Generally one hour of academic training and one hour of physical skills.

Some weeks are entirely academic because the topic takes more time to cover*

Academic Topics                                                                               Physical Skills
Understanding use of force                                                        How to hit hard

This is your Brain*
This is your brain on violence*

Social Violence                                                                                  Joint Locks / Breaks

Asocial Violence                                                                               Counter Ambush

Conflict Strategy – Avoidance                                                     Throwing Mechanics

Conflict Strategy – Escape evade                                              Ground Movement

Verbal Skills Deescalating social violence                               High end use of force - Wreck a neck

Verbal Skills deterring asocial violence                                    Physical skills review - Drills

Logic of violence*

Threat assessment*
Reading terrain*

Fire Arms Training

I found a way to cover the essential skill sets necessary for anyone to use force (violence) legitimately for personal protection.  

I even paired the Tuesday physical topics with Saturday Seminars so people seeking additional training can benefit from taking the fundamentals they learned on Tuesday and applying them to the same topic for three hours the following Saturday.

This has become the favorite class I teach and although I always look forward to teaching, I get more excited about this class than the others.

Why?  For one reason, where I am at with my own progress and personal training this is exactly the type of training I need.  I am at a place where I really could care less about individual arts, ranks, or organizations.  I want to be the best there is at what I do.  The best I can be.  This type of training is ideal for taking someone from zero skill and getting them to proficiency as fast as possible.  Focusing on training the individual, not passing on a tradition.  Which also means it is very good for rounding out skill sets that may be lacking from any one art.

Another reason I have found is that professional users of force, Operators (Cops / Military) need training in personal protection.

What do I mean by this?
Just because you are skilled at using violence in one context does not mean that those skills cross over to other aspects and rules of engagement.  No matter how bad ass you are, at the end of the day, at the end of your tour, you will find yourself off duty in the capacity of a civilian.  Surrounded by other civilians.  If you don’t know / have never been trained how to operate in that environment using your bad ass skills is going to get you into a world of hurt.

Lastly, the reason I get a little more excited about this class is it has become kind of a spy / commando class.  

How to become Bourne, Bond, Bauer (or Batman) if you will.  

I would never advertise the class as that.  That was never my intention.  However, because of my personality, and because I’m a pop culture nerd it has kind of morphed into that.

Maybe give it a cool covert operations group acronym like ODIN


Can you blame me?  The class is held in a semi secret, semi hidden subterranean training facility. 

Also people learn better and quicker by playing.  Playing also wires the information to the part of the brain that will be active during conflict.  So, many of the games I use or have developed myself involve playing the role of a highly trained operative

The problem I am having is, although this is my favorite class, I only have 3-4 students in the class.  Most of who have had this material several times before.

Remember as I stated marketing and advertising are skill sets I still need to master.

A possible solution I have come up with is turning this class into a permit to carry class.

With all of the emphasis I put on understanding force laws there is a lot of cross over any way.

The pros:
Many people have asked me to do a permit to carry class (potential clients)

Permit to carry classes fill up all the time

If people that want permit to carry class get a taste of the other things the class offer they may become regular students.  Or at least continue taking this class

There are plenty of skilled martial artists around.  Part of them knows they need some sort of additional training to make their skills viable for personal protection.  Many do not seek out this additional training because they have a deep investment in their previous training.  And even as easy going and style neutral as I am, I feel many that would benefit from training with me do not because there may be a loss of face.  “I’ve spent all this time doing (insert name here) and he is saying it won’t work for personal protection”.  That is not true I never say that (re-read the beginning of this blog) but sadly that may be the perception, until I can actually get them on the mat and play with them

How is that a pro?  I think fire arms are so far out of normal martial art skills that it circumvents that possible perceived loss of face.  Get them in the door with fire arms, don’t let them leave until they can make their existing skills viable for personal protection. 

The cons:
An average permit to carry class is 6 – 10 hours
My class is at least 20 hours.

So why would anyone spend 20 hours training with me to get the same permit to carry they could get with 6 hours of training anywhere else?

Anyone who has gone to an NRA instructor school and meets the minimum qualifications can teach a permit to carry class.

I far exceed those qualifications (please forgive the following shameless self-plug 2)

I am an Operator on multiple different tactical teams (well two, but that sounds sexy as hell right?)
I am a sniper
I am a SWAT team leader
I am a SWAT team training coordinator (which means I teach operational skills to tactical teams)
I have been hired by several tactical teams to train their personnel
I have taught at the SOTA Midwest regional SWAT conference multiple time (well twice, but I am rolling  here)
I use what I teach professionally on a regular basis (It's not a hobby it is my profession)

Bottom line any one can teach a permit to carry class.  I can teach you how to fight with a gun (America’s martial art).

Why the distinction, why do I think the extra 14 hours is necessary?

Let’s take a look at the Martin / Zimmerman shooting.  Take away any possible political leanings.  Take away any possible race implications.  Take away any blame.  Bottom line there was a conflict between the two.  The conflict became physical.  Any time conflict goes physical it has the potential to become lethal. Zimmerman was losing so he used his fire arm.

My hope is in the extra 14 hours I provide, the students will develop their own personal protection method that integrates fire arms with other necessary physical defense skills.  So that situations like Martin / Zimmerman might not escalate to lethal force.  And if God forbid it ever did the the academic skill sets would enable students to know when lethal force is justified and be able to articulate their actions.

Sounds like an awesome class right?  You can see why I am so excited about it.  Not only is it necessary, but it is fun and you can get your permit to carry after completion.

So how can I fill my classes?

Man needs to know his limitations.   I need help.  I am not worried about losing face, I want to develop the skills I need to fill that class.
1 I would like to make some money.  I have become cool with that.  Batman has money.
2 The information is no good if I can’t get the information out to the people that need it and will use it.

Which brings us back to the beginning of this blog.  The cross over, just like in the comics.  That rare flower (I'm sure he loves me calling him that) is Randy King of KPC.  I met Randy at the Violence Dynamics seminar (which he regularly attends).  He also produces a video blog Randy Rants.

Recently, we were discussing the problem I am having, and Randy’s last rant.  The rant was against fear based marketing.  One of those practices I will not follow that I mentioned earlier.   The rant generated a lot of response.  However, one internet troll wrote pages and pages on how he was wrong and basically called Randy out asking how you advertise a personal protection service if you are not going to exploit fear.

So here is the cross over.  We decided to kill several birds with one stone.  I will write a blog (the one you are currently reading) on the necessity of personal protection training different than adding the words “for self defense” to the end of any martial art you may be teaching.  Kendo for self defense for example.  I will also provide an example of what is required for personal protection.  Randy will help me fill the class by showing me and the internet troll (p.s. fuck that guy) how to successfully market that class without resorting to practices I find distasteful.

Train hard, Train Smart, Stay safe...and Stay tuned for Randy's response


  1. Where and when is this class? How much does it cost?

  2. May I had that he is not just bragging, his class is beyond amazing!!!!

  3. Kasey, perhaps a bit off-topic - but I'm curious what someone of your background and knowledge thinks about the so-called smart firearms that are being developed. (

    To your mind does immediate and unrestricted access to the firearm trump the value of restricting access for weapons retention situations? Is the authentication process, however fast and dependable it may be, too much of a risk?

  4. "My hope is in the extra 14 hours I provide, the students will develop their own personal protection method that integrates fire arms with other necessary physical defense skills. So that situations like Martin / Zimmerman might not escalate to lethal force. And if God forbid it ever did the the academic skill sets would enable students to know when lethal force is justified and be able to articulate their actions."

    And, hopefully, the extra 14 hours might give them the skills to avoid or prevent a lethal force encounter so that they don't need to use the shooting skills... Something a lot of concealed carry folks are seriously deficient in teaching, in my observation.

  5. Sounds like a good class, Brother Keck. Where can I find more info?

    1. Stay tuned here for upcoming dates and locations

  6. This is really interesting and is the next step I'm looking for to augment my skill set, please let me know how to contact you to participate in this classes. Great article too, I wish every martial artist felt the need to fill the gaps in their own system, after all is more training, training is fun, ego on the other side can have some serious consequences. Thanks.

  7. Sound very goood, well tought out. Now if you could just move over here, to Hungary and start teaching here, that would be mighty fine :-) On a more serious note, Rory has been over here for a seminar and blew my mind. I'm waiting for you and Marc MacYoung to do the same. Any chance of that in the forseeable future?

  8. Mrs. Science Teacher
    The class is Tuesday nights from 7- 9 at the Elk River American Legion (legion of Doom)

    The next session will start 3/18/14 and run through 5/27/14

  9. Hello Mr. Keckeisen. Do you have an e-mail address I could use? I tried to reach you on facebook but I'm not sure you got my letter.


    2. Next class information can be found here

  10. I’m glad to locate so much of informative data in your blog. jaroh Essart Blog