Sunday, August 13, 2017

Win or learn

Tactical (and I never misuse that term) Proficiency = Training + Field Experience.

The best in the world train well, and frequently.  They are also busy.  They acquire real world experience and modify their training accordingly.  Assuring that training exceeds the needs of application.

NTOA standards encourage tier one tactical teams to train at least every other week.

Teams that gain Tactical Proficiency through a balance of training and field experience are running warrants or responding to call outs on the weeks they are not training.  

If a team is very busy they may not have time to train as often.  However, they maintain a high level of Tactical Proficiency because they are gaining so much practical experience.

Therefore, teams that are not very busy need to train more often, and train better to maintain Tactical Proficiency.

This is where we live in regard to personal protection.

You do not want to be busy.  If you are continually gaining personal protection field experience see also surviving criminal assaults you really need to change your lifestyle.

If you are consistently gaining social violence experience (which Randy King summarizes as High School tough guy bullshit) you are probably a prick and don't read this blog anyway

So, if you are not "busy", clearly you require frequent, quality training.

However, even regularly scheduled technical training does not necessarily ensure Tactical Proficiency.

Not being "busy", is a good life.  How does one become Tactically Proficiency in a safe and reasonable manner?

Don't let anyone sell you on training as real life experience.

However, smart force on force training can come as close as is safely possible.

A historical perspective:

In 1886 Mr. Mishima, Chief of The Tokyo Metropolitan Police held a tournament to determine which martial art was superior in a true fight, and therefore to be taught to his Police Force.

On one team you had  four or five Masters from various schools representing Koryu (martial arts that predate the Meiji restoration  -1868) Jujutsu.

On the other team you the young upstart Jigoro Kano's crew that were trained in the new Kodokan Judo method.

The Kodokan team won 12 of the 15 matches.
The final match was between Shiro Saigo and a much larger and more experienced Jujutsu master who later became head of Yoshin-ryu Jujutsu. 

About 15 minutes into the fight Saigo perfectly executed his trademark Yama Arashi, which ended the match with such force that his opponent retired with a concussion.

This match firmly established Judo as the superior form of  Jujutsu, and Judo was subsequently adopted as the official training style for the Tokyo police academy. This also  led to widespread acceptance of Judo as the most effective form of hand-to-hand combat in Japan.

The world recognized that Jigoro Kano had created training methods that were superior to those traditionally used in older forms Jujutsu.

What was the defining factor?  Were the Kodokan fighters technically superior?

No, in 1886 the Kodokan was only like four years old, so a majority of the Kodokan fighter's training was the same as the Koryu team.  

Kano's big stud Saigo was trained in Aikijujutsu.  All the best Judo fighters start with some form of Aikijujutsu.

What made the Kodokan method stand out from other Jujutsu schools was it's intelligent use of force on force training. 

Koryu Jujutsu had competitions.  However, as described in Darrell Max Craig's "Japan's Ultimate Martial Art: Jujitsu Before 1882 " Jujutsuka would write letters saying goodbye to their families before leaving for a tournament because there was a high likelihood they would be maimed or killed in the competition.

Kano took all of the most dangerous elements of Jujutsu and preserved them in kata.  What was left could be trained at full speed against highly trained and fully resistive opponent.

In my most humble opinion, being able to train hard, and safe is what led to victory in the Tokyo Police tournament.

*Grain of salt* Granted, Kano in known as a great martial artist.  However, for as good as he was he was a much better teacher.  He was a literal (and I never misuse that term) professor.  Also he was just plain smart.  He recruited talent from other Jujutsu schools, helped further develop them with his training methods, and made sure the Police Jujutsu Tournament followed Kodokan competition rules.

For personal protection you don't want to become Tactically Proficient through surviving multiple criminal assaults.

The apple pie life - doing what you want with those you love in a comfortable environment is the goal.

Therefore, to become Tactically Proficient I feel that you must engage in some form of force on force training.

It is often said in Judo you win or you learn

What does that mean?
How do you learn from loss?
How do you turn loss into a positive experience?

Jamie Lanister: One can learn quite a deal from defeat
Olenna Tyrell: You must be a genius 

First you must survive the loss.  Originally competitions like Judo were safe ways to practice much more dangerous things.  Life and death battle.

A little game to improve the BIG picture.

If you lose a little game, who cares?  Especially if you learn something that will help you survive a large battle.

However, many times when one is not "busy", when people are enjoying an apple pie life the large battle becomes abstract.  The little game becomes the entire picture.

People become afraid to lose a game.  Fear of losing becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

How do you learn from loss?
How do you turn loss into a positive experience?

One way is to use it as an exercise in overcoming fear
 - Fear of loosing
 - Fear of being injured

Fear of loosing

Fear of losing inspires "gaming" of the rules.  No longer the original intent - little game to improve big picture.  No longer are you striving to win, but you are altering your entire training so that your skill set revolves around "not losing" in a very specific environment and rule set.

Things that would get you killed anywhere outside of that rule set.
You can't be afraid to lose.  That is easier said than done. How does one overcome fear of losing?

First and foremost, it just doesn't matter.  No one cares if you lose.

I was afraid of losing.  My brothers were great wrestlers, and I put a lot of pressure on my myself to measure up to them.  Fear of losing becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.  I didn't start winning until I was able to put that shit aside.  I wasn't able to put that aside until I started focusing on smaller things.

Performance goals

How does one eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Winning a competition is an elephant.  Performance goals are bites.

For me, in wrestling my performance goal was to hit a double leg take down.  That was all I had to focus on.  After I got a takedown, confidence began to rise.  Confidence made getting the next performance goal that much easier.  Another bite of the elephant.

In the coming weeks I will post a blog on the chemical cocktail that pumps through your blood under the stress of interpersonal conflict, and it's effect on physical performance.

Performance goals, goal oriented focus, helps mitigate the negative effects of the chemical cocktail.

Before I knew it the match was over.  I didn't always win, I didn't always hit my performance goals. However, if I didn't, I knew exactly what I needed to work on the most the next week at practice.

Most importantly I was no longer afraid of losing and could strive to win...until I dislocated my knee...again

Fear of being injured

I can't get hurt.  If I get hurt I don't work.  If I don't work my bills don't get paid.

Life is a contact sport, and sometimes shit just happens.
How does one minimize the possibilities of being injured?

A balance of intensity and safety.  Just as Kano put aside certain aspects of Jujutsu so others could be focused on at full speed.  Find good people (people that care about others, even their competition) and find a sensible competition system.

As I have mentioned before I am a huge supporter of USA Combat Wrestling.
To review that blog click HERE

Recently members of Katamedo Jujitsu had an opportunity to try out for the USA Combat Wrestling National Team and a chance to represent America at the International Championship in Japan

And, as you can see they were fairly successful.

The aspect of their success that I appreciate the most, and how this is applicable to personal protection, is that the Katamedo doesn't even train for competition.  

Katamedo St Louis only trains twice a week.  That doesn't leave much time if any for competition prep.  Yet, Katamedo produces champions in a wide array of combat sports.  Beating people, that focus solely on competition!

Katamedo focuses on the big picture.  Using competitions as a little game to improve skill for that big picture.

Training for adaptability, especially through the use of progressions, just happens to work really well in competition as well.  Plus all the added benefits of the full spectrum of Jujitsu including personal protection.

How do you find this balance of intensity and safety?
What if you train in a system that has no form of competition?

Be creative, take a page out of Kano's book.  You will need to develop your own games, and develop you own people.

  • Determine your training goals
  • Develop methods to add pressure
  • Create a positive learning environment

Determine your training goals: 
What are you trying to achieve? For personal protection force on force training logical examples include escape, disable, control (the last one for force professionals with duty to act).  How the student achieves one of those logical goals doesn't matter as long as they found a way that works for them.

Develop methods to add pressure:
This portion deserves a blog in and of itself.  In the coming weeks in a blog post entitled "Make a friend of the wolf" how to develop methods to add pressure will be discussed in depth.  However, for our purposes here lets look at the "building codes" the methods you develop will need to meet.

Force on Force building codes:
  • Provide adequate negative stimulus
  • Prevent training scars
  • Develop your people

Provide adequate negative stimulus.  Mental and physical discomfort, not injury

A rule of thumb for this, if the person receiving the stimulus froze and did nothing they should receive the negative stimulus, and continue receiving it until they break through the freeze and actively stop the threat.

However, they should not receive a broken nose or swollen shut eye.
Mental and physical discomfort, not injury

Prevent training scars

The negative stimulus has to be some variation of the students regular offense training.
Take boxing for example.  Mit work is different from heavy bag work, which is different from sparring, which is different from an actual match.  All working different angles of the same skills. Small games to develop skills for the big picture.

If your negative stimulus attacks ineffective targets or ingrains "pulling punches" one half of your training time will be devoted to ingraining bad habits.

Develop your people
In sport competition you can scout the opponent, watch tape and develop a specific strategy.  Not so for personal protection.

There is a school of thought that an athlete can only be as good as who they train with.
A wrestler who can easily pin everyone on his team near his weight class is not getting the same level of training as a wrestler on a team full of tough guys where everyone has to bust their balls each week to make the varsity team.

Personal protection is not a sport.  However, we owe it to the people we train with to be the best "bad guy" we can be.  Able to push our friends to their limits.  Assuring that training exceeds the needs of application.  So that God forbid if they ever had to use these skills, if they became "busy" they will have the feeling that they have already faced worse and triumphed.

Being a good "bad guy", being the devil takes practice as well.  You, and your training partners deserve / require a legitimate skilled threat.

Create a positive learning environment:

Win or learn, an example of this is - tap rewind.  If a student just gets tapped they don't learn a whole lot from the experience.  If their partner can easily tap them they are not benefiting much either. 

However, if after the tap you rewind and one student coaches the other on how to prevent being tapped in that way or how to escape that situation, then learning is enhanced for both partners. 
Drilling that scenario makes one student better at defense.  Because the defense is better the other student has to work harder / learn more efficient ways to achieve their goal

A tap signifies that I am defeated, see also dead.
Don't practice dying!  Never ingrain that habit.  However, not tapping equals getting hurt.

Things like tap rewind allow you learn with out getting hurt or ingraining giving up. 

Focus on performance goals.  Performing and focus also become self fulfilling prophecies increasing your odds to win

Confidence is gained through competence.
Competence is nurtured through tactical proficiency.

Unless you are a prick, or living a deliberately dangerous lifestyle, tactical proficiency has to be earned in training by successfully accomplishing what a skilled opponent is actively preventing.

May the odds ever be in your favor.

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Push Forward - Pull Back

I haven't posted a blog in awhile.
I realize that far too many of my blogs start that way.

"Team Handsome"

Sometimes, after some experiences,  so many thoughts are bouncing in my head that although writing them down may be useful to me, it is not enjoyable for the reader.

So the blog has been delayed primarily because I have been blessed by being crazy busy traveling the country doing things I love with very cool people.  Also I've been {phrase totally stolen from Tammy Yard - McCracken} allowing a pregnant pause.  Letting the subconscious process the ideas for awhile into something of use to others

In June I was in the Washington DC area for Violence Dynamics.
In July I was in St. Louis for the World Wide Martial Arts Association National Training Camp.

Two fantastic experiences.

In the past I have gone in depth into after action debriefs of large events like this.  No longer.  Instead I prefer to discuss one or two concepts or principles from that type of training.

And show pictures of the fun I had learning these things to encourage people to attend the next training opportunity.

Some things I want to focus on

  • Push forward pull back
  • What remains
  • The best victory

Push forward pull back

One of the basic tenets of Judo is when pushed pull, when pulled push.

At the last after class debrief from Violence Dynamics DC 2017 Some Unnamed Schmoe commented that his favorite thing from the seminar was the push froward and pull back of all the classes.  In the end it appeared that everything had been scripted down to the minute  The final people watching exercise was a culmination of all the academic classes and a way to play using that information as opposed to classroom setting.  The environmental fighting exercise incorporating all of the physical skills we had been working on that week.  Every class pushed forward, setting the stage for future classes, and also pulled back showing how the material we are working on now is related to previous classes.

This is very hard to do.
In fact it is impossible.

The truth is, this came about organically because the Instructors are familiar with the entire program, know their stuff well enough to be able to adapt to the circumstances, and one more vital and rare commodity.

It is very easy in situations like this for an Instructor to feel insecure.  Sadly in many of those cases they may try to make them self shine a little brighter by diminishing the others.

So instead of using the time to help the students and work the topic assigned you get something like...

"Well, he does it like this and that is OK, but this is how I do it better"

The very special thing that was accomplished at Violence Dynamics DC 2017 was the opposite.

There was no insecurity.  Or at least it never manifested negatively.  Everyone wanted to present the best possible product.  In doing that each Instructor lifted the other...

"Remember how she did that?  This is how we apply those same biomechanics to what we are dealing with in this class"

The whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

That rare commodity is looking good by making others look better, and it is very cool to experience.

What remains

I have written it here many times  -
I like to make the analogy of a sculptor.  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.

This was fun to see at the World Wide Martial Arts Association National Training Camp.

Another way to say it is there are many paths to the top of the mountain.  Once there the view is the same.

Because of this, the presentations I enjoyed the most at camp also had an organic push forward and pull back.  Some of it was on purpose.  I knew Randy was going to teach Dirty Boxing on the second day.  So I left hooks (ha, boxing pun - see what I did there) to his class in my class on the first day.{Push Forward} Which Randy referenced in his class.  {Pull Back}  However, for the most part this just happened.

What remains, what is proven to work, regardless of it's original source material is going to look pretty similar.  Acknowledging that, and playing at the cross over was a lot of fun.  It allowed Judo guys to play with Karate guys and strengthen the fundamentals of all.
That was very cool.  Especially in an environment where there are multiple martial arts and different training focuses on the same martial art.

I like to embrace what I call positive competitiveness. 

I want to be the best there is at what I do.  I  am constantly striving to be a better Instructor, a better presenter.

One of the ways I chase this goal is to surround myself with other Instructors that also want to be the best, and learn from them.  They push me to be better, never allow me to rest on my laurels, and if necessary call me on my bullshit.

Another way I pursue this goal is to critically watch every class, every presentation no matter the topic, to see what works, and what does not.  That way I can incorporate positive presentation aspects into my own material and avoid pitfalls.

Just as I have found that working with others, helping them to look good positively influences my presentation, making me look better than I actually am. (which I admit is pretty hard to do) 
I have also found that the quickest way to shut down a room, or to lose an audience completely is to do the opposite.

Any time an Instructor implies that what he or she does is the only to do something and if you don't do it that way not only are you wrong, but you are stupid too shuts down all learning.

There is really no recovery from that.  No matter how good your presentation is after that, the class can't learn because they are unwilling to listen to anything else you have to say.

Clearly I have a high opinion of what I do and what I teach.  You can't do this job with out a high level of confidence.  Therefore I have to watch myself for this closely.  Especially when discussing things I am passionate about.

Counter Assault for example

Counter Assault is an operational discipline.
As I've mentioned before, I define Operational Disciplines as skills people need to make their previous training and attributes viable for personal protection and professional use of force.
1: Legal and Ethical 
2: Violence Dynamics 
3: Avoidance (Conflict Strategy)
4: Counter Ambush 
5: The Freeze 
6: The Fight 
7: After 
These ideas are what we developed the entire Violence Dynamics Seminar around.
These classes are required for entry into and promotion within the Keishoukan Dojo
There is an entire book written about them:
“Facing Violence—Preparing for the Unexpected” Rory Miller

It is far too easy for me to start a presentation with...If you have self defense plastered on the window of your Dojo and don't teach these things you have failed your students.

Everyone listening that has a self defense program shifts train of thought to fuck this guy.  Who does he think he is?  I have a top notch (insert name of martial art) for self defense program.  I'm going to spend the rest of our time together reinforcing how I am right and therefore he must be wrong.

I have to watch myself closely to avoid that.  I have much more success with with an approach closer to this.

Any martial art, any combative system is viable.
Whatever physical activity you enjoy doing is great.
However, whatever it is that you do can be enhanced  with a firm understanding of these seven topics.  Especially if you are going to use that activity for self defense or teach that activity as self defense to others.

Everyone listening that has a self defense program shifts train of thought to... this guy likes what I do.  I like what I do too.  He must be pretty smart.  I'm going to spend the rest of our time together listening to what he has to say

In retrospect, like the meme above maybe I'm not competitive - I just really like winning.  As I get smarter I have come to realize that someone does not have to lose in order for me to win.

In summary the lessons I've learned during my summer adventures can be paraphrased as:
Push forward / Pull Back
What remains, is what is important
The best victory is when everyone wins

Before I go, one more really cool thing happened during my adventures.  Without getting into the politics of martial arts organizations.  Several of the men pictured above helped develop and spread Judo across America.  Some of them were instrumental in developing the testing process still used by major Judo organizations today.  When these gentlemen were made aware that Gary Rudenick Sensei had not been promoted in decades, and his contributions to Judo went unrecognized they wrote to these major Judo organizations and were ignored.

These men have all the same or greater requisite pedigrees and certifications as the boards of the other Judo organizations.  So they decided to take it upon themselves to promote Rudenick Sensei to Kudan (9th Black Belt)

A hard earned, well deserved and long over due recognition of a lifetime spent dedicated to an art.
The best victory is when everyone wins

Because I am critical of every presentation I encounter, I think it speaks volumes that I save vacation time every summer to assure I can attend this training camp.

If you would like to experience it first hand to understand what I have been writing about click HERE

Train hard. Train smart, Be safe

Friday, April 28, 2017

Violence Dynamics Washington D.C.

I was jotting down blog notes on "The wrong side of 40 - Goal Setting".  I was going over my schedule and available time and decided I wanted to accomplish certain things before I left for Ashburn, VA in June.  Then I thought to myself, hey why don't I  use the next blog post to talk about...

Washington D.C.

I define Operational Disciplines as skills people need to make their previous training and attributes viable for personal protection and professional use of force.


Nearly a decade ago now I hosted the first Violence Dynamics seminar with Marc MacYoung and Rory Miller.  Ever since then we have been  refining the Violence Dynamics Seminar Series to provide the best possible training in those necessary operational disciplines.

It has been an extremely challenging and rewarding process.  Through that process I have had the good fortune of meeting and training with extraordinary people. 

I have also come to the realization that for this to be the best personal protection instruction available we need to provide input and instruction from varying perspectives and life experiences.

So we started developing a network of Instructors

So now... in June 2017 if you are in D.C. area,  if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them (which isn't hard the link is right HERE)

....maybe you can hire

Dr. Tammy Yard-McCracken (Code Name: Mind Bender) 

Tammy is our gracious host. Lead instructor at Kore Krav Maga, head of Krav Maga Global's women's division and experienced trauma counselor.

Tammy also holds the world record for striking me in the face with  boxing equipment

Rory Miller (Code Name: Old Skool) (Code Name: Whispers)

Former jail guard, wrote a book or two, and apparently a cowboy.

Rory has earned college varsities in judo and fencing and received a mokuroku in jujutsu. He has drunk chichu with reformed cannibals and 18-year-old scotch with generals...and loves long sword fights on the beach.

Terry Trahan (Code Name: Red Hood)
Terry personifies combat as weasel-craft. The thinking man's bad ass.

Having spent many years dealing with violence, various subcultures, and street life gives Terry Trahan a unique view on life and the dynamics of violence.

Having a strong interest in efficient answers to violence, de-escalation, urban survival, and escape, Terry’s focus is more on the civilian end of dealing with violence, covering armed, unarmed, improvised weapons, threat assessment, awareness, and unconventional strategies.

Terry has years of training in SouthEast Asian Martial Arts, heads the Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts organization, and is the lead instructor for WeaselCraft, his non-traditional approach to personal security, and specializes in all aspects of knives, from use, to design and function.

International man of mystery Unnamed Schmoe (Code Name: Secret Squirrel)
If you were supposed to know who this guy is, you already would.

Having said that, Some Unnamed Schome is in a unique position to give a short but very current brief on terrorist threats.

Kasey Keckeisen (Code Name: Shogun)

You guys know me, this is my blog.  

Traditionally, VioDy includes a special day for special students. People who have attended before, in other words. The OGs. {Original Gangstas}You know who you are. In Minnesota, we have access to a SWAT unit, and playing with SWAT is the bonus day.

For this Viody, we're in Virginia. And we have access to a range. So Wednesday, 07June2017 will be a handgun day. Beginners welcome, but not idiots. If you sign up for this, please give us your experience level. Depending on numbers and range of skills we may break this up into sessions. Some weapons will be available for rent at the venue.

* I will not conduct live fire exercises with people I do not know or that have not been vetted by people I trust.  If you are eligible to participate in Day 0 you will be contacted

DAY1. Thursday 08June2017
Session                        Title                       Time       Instructor
1.1            Introduction/ Safety Briefing   1 hr         KECKEISEN
1.2           Context of Violence Talk          1.5 hrs    MILLER
1.3           Introduction to the drills           1hr          YARD-McCRACKEN
1.4           Violence Dynamics                   1.5 hrs    KECKEISEN
1.5           Basic Power Generation            1 hr        TRAHAN
1.6           Leverage and Leverage Points  1 hr        KECKEISEN

DAY 2. FRIDAY 09June2017
Session                           Title                    Time       Instructor
2.1                            Daily Brief                .5hr         KECKEISEN
2.2      Conflict Communication              3.5hr         YARD McCRACKEN
2.3                          Targeting                    1 hr         TRAHAN
2.4                          Cool Stuff                   1 hr         UNNAMED SCHMOE
2.5      Close Quarters Edged Weapons  1.5 hrs       TRAHAN

DAY 3. SATURDAY 10June2017
Session                           Title                   Time       Instructor
3.1                            Daily Brief               .5hr        KECKEISEN
3.2                 Logic Of Violence                1hr       YARD McCRACKEN
3.3                 Counter-Assault                   1hr        KECKEISEN
3.4                 Force Law                          1.5 hrs    MILLER
3.5          Last Ditch Unarmed Defense   1.5 hrs    TRAHAN
3.6          Ground Movement                      1 hr      MILLER
3.7          Environmental Fighting               1 hr     ALL

DAY 4 SUNDAY 11June2017
Session                           Title                   Time       Instructor
4.1                            Daily Brief                 .5hr       KECKEISEN
4.2          High Speed Decision Making      1 hr       KECKEISEN
4.3                      Plastic Mind                     1 hr       MILLER
4.5-4.8    Advanced People Watching        5 hr       ALL

OG Break-Out Sessions

The other perk of being an OG: If the main session is something you've done many times before, feel free to grab one of the sidelined instructors for a chat or a little one-on-one training time.

As of the posting of this blog we were at 70% capacity.  So if you are thinking about going sign up today classes are filling quickly.

Train hard, Train Smart, Be safe

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The wrong side of 40 part 1 { Introduction }

Greetings true believers.  If you are regular readers of The Budo Blog you may have noticed it has been a while since I have posted a new installment.  It is not that I haven't been writing one, however, the post I was working on expanded to the extent that it became far too long for one blog.  So, "The wrong side of 40" is going to be a multi-part continuing blog as I work my way through the process.

A few months back I wrote this blog Improving the hand you are dealt
In it we discussed:

  • Goals
  • Plan 
  • Adaptation
  • Assessment
  • Adjustment (if needed)

To get to where I want to go with this blog series, lets take a look at where I have been

Goals - Batman by 40 (You can read the specifics HERE)
 - Although the plan worked, that level of of training is not sustainable over time which lead to...

New Goals - Beyond Batman (You can read the specifics HERE)
New Plan
 - I hurt my knee running
 -In August I sat in my garage icing my knee, smoking a cigar and washing down ibuprofen with bourbon as I had a conversation with Myron Cossitt (subject matter expert).
He helped me reassess my goals and come up with a sensible program to reach them.

Well it has been over three paragraphs without expressing my self through popular culture.
So, to explain my goals lets look at a couple of pages from one of my favorite comics - Frank Miller's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" (click to enlarge if you need bifocals)

This is how Batman describes the Mutant Leader in the comic, "He's got exactly the kind of body I wish he didn't have. Powerful, without enough bulk to slow him down. Every muscle a steel spring ready to lash out. And he's young. In his physical prime. And I honestly don't know if I could beat him.

 - Power with out excessive bulk
- Move well (a steel spring ready to lash out)
- Clearly I am no longer in physical prime.  However, I can mitigate previous injuries to be as close to prime as possible

And I honestly don't know if I could beat him.
I have to find out if I can still beat him

- Training injury free, getting stronger.  Putting on weight - muscle and fat (bulk to slow me down)
 - Less lifting days more running days

 - In Feburary I hurt my back lifting too much with imperfections in form.
 (You can read the specifics HERE)
- Cut way back on weight and focus on form

 - In March I hurt my knee running

Oh for fuck sake!!!!

I sat on my couch, icing my knee, and washing down ibuprofen with bourbon.  But the swelling did not go down.  I made an appointment with the Doctor.
He helped me reassess my goals and come up with a sensible program to reach them.

My goals are the same.  However, the means in which I achieve those goals clearly need to change.
More lifting days, and as hard as it was for me to come to this conclusion ZERO running days.

Just like good old Rocky my knees can't take the pounding.

Running / continuous impact is just too hard on my knees now.  I had to remind myself I train to be a better fighter I don't fight to be a better runner.  I have missed Judo classes because I hurt myself running.  I have not missed running because of Judo...

Well except that one time

But ever since then I have found ways to mitigate the risks inherent in martial arts training.

I have to condition in a way that mitigates previous injuries to be as close to my physical prime as possible.

In the previously mentioned "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" when Batman attempts to find out if he can beat him, the Mutant Leader kicks the crap out of him.

Batman was still thinking / fighting like a young man although in the book he is way on the wrong side of 40.

There is only a brief window any of us are in our physical prime.  However, with age comes learning.

And I honestly don't know if I could beat him.

Amatures look at someone and wonder if they can take them.
Professionals, those with life experience look at some and devlop a plan on how to take them. 
(Spoiler warning: it is not in a fair fight)

When Batman accepted that he had to operate differently now than he did in his 30's he found a way to win.

(click to enlarge if you need bifocals)

Fight smarter not harder.
Train smarter to achieve your goals with out injury

The wrong side of 40 blog series will follow my adventures training smarter to achieve my goals while developing a template readers can customize to help them achieve their own goals.

Topics to include:
Time Management
Developing an action plan to reach goals

  • Strength 
  • Conditioning
  • Mobility


  • How do you objectively assess your progress


  • Staying on course

Harley Davidsons are cool.  However, as I understand it, if you want to ride a Harley you better learn how to fix and maintain a Harley.  Because they tend to rumble themselves apart.

Training after 40 is cool.  You just have to learn how to fix and maintain a 40 plus body.

Train hard, Train smart (smarter than me, how many God damned times do I need to hurt my knee running before I see running might not be the best conditioning choice for me), Be safe.