A couple things all happened this last week to inspire this blog.
Friday night I took the family to go see the Lego Batman movie. We all loved it.
Clearly I loved it
Spoiler alert - the next clip is the best part of the movie so don't watch it if you want to be surprised in theaters. Further warning, if you do watch this clip that song will be stuck in your head forever.
The next day was a day off of work. So I had strength training planned followed by John Wick 2 with some buddies from the Dojo (and the girls...what? they are dog lovers)
With that Batman song stuck in my head I attacked my work out (Batman does not skip leg day)
I felt stiff as I was doing it but I powered through (Batman does not skip leg day)
Went to the movie as a reward for my hard work, home made pizza that fit my macros for dinner, a great day...
Until about 6 that night when the muscles in my back turned into concrete and all I was capable of doing was to rock back and fourth in the fetal position, suck my thumb, and try not to cry.
Sunday really sucked. I was no longer Batman. I could no longer choke hold a bear. I was just old and broken.
I wasn't the god damned Batman, I was Old Man Logan
For readers of the Budo Blog that might not be comic book nerds. Old Man Logan is a story arc that happens in the not too distant future where Wolverine no longer has his healing abilities and has to live with a lifetime of accumulated injuries in a post apocalyptic landscape.
As comic book stories go circumstances arise where he needs to come out of "retirement" to be The Wolverine again, but he is just Old Man Logan.
As I lay on the couch praying that this was just temporary muscle strain / soreness not a more serious injury it occurred to me how much I self identify with my physicality.
I self identify as a physical being, the guy that picks up and power bombs his kids onto the couch to show affection. The guy that lifts heavy things and gets thrown and choked for fun.
What am I when I can no longer do that?
If I base my self protection on that robust physicality, how can I protect myself when I no longer have those attributes?
Ironically, along those lines Dillon, Shane and I were discussing exactly that idea after the movie Saturday in regard to this YouTube clip.
Let me start off by stating I am not ripping on the video or the instructors depicted in it.
However, clearly there is some perception bias.
The question of what are the best take downs for self defense was asked of a fit 180 lb man with years of successful grappling competition under his belt.
So, clearly his answers will be influenced by those factors.
It also appears that his definition of self defense is a bar fight, or your typical meet me after school social violence encounter between men of relatively the same age and size.
In those parameters his answers make sense.
However, with my back feeling like concrete I had to ask myself would those strategies work for me if I had to protect my life against a bigger, stronger, more physically capable attacker right now.
The easy answer was no.
Would those strategies work for Anna?
Anna is five foot nothing weighs one hundred and nothing and has chronic pain issues.
Busting Anna's chops aside a bigger, stronger, more physically capable attacker is nearly everyone on the planet for her.
What are the best takedowns for her? What are the best take downs for busted up old man Kasey?
Kind of a trick question - there are no good take downs for self defense, only the least bad, if the circumstances dictate a takedown will help you fight to your goal.
So...What are better strategies?
Any physical skill should be a last line of defense.
Multiple redundant layers of security help protect against a bigger, stronger, more physically capable attacker.
Multiple Redundant layers:
Don't be places violence is likely to happen
If you can't or won't avoid these places
Anyone can lose at at any time. Even The Batman, even Kasey F'n Keckeisen (especially if he is injured)
Shameless self plug - Randy King will be teaching escape tactics at the USMAA regional training camp next week. If you teach self defense, don't pay lip service to actual escape training. Come to camp and steal Randy's drills
Sign up HERE
If you can't escape, use your head and verbal skills
Sadly sometimes running or talking just don't work. Do I need to act? If you have time to ask the question you most likely don't and running and talking are still options. If you don't have time to ask yourself that question you are being attacked and all you are left with is...
Three legitimate reasons to use force on someone
Unless you are a professional user of force and have a duty to act control is not a priority option
What take downs are best for escape?
Ferociously striking vital targets, clawing, scratching are better tactics for escape.
However, if the threat gets a hold of you and you can't escape, anything you can do to increase chaos is going to help your situation. This will not look like sport Judo, Sambo, or Wrestling.
It will use the basic principles of grappling.
It will use the basic principles of grappling.
Move - get to a positional orientation where you are taking less damage
Grab - tie up a limb that could be used to damage you
Off balance - use their motion to get their nose over their toes, or their head over their heals
Fit in - quick rule of thumb touch their hip bone with your own hip bone
Execute - after you hip tag sprint through their hips in the direction they are off balance
I have been knocked flat on my ass by people even smaller than Anna using these principles.
Use the time it takes the attacker to get back up to run to safety.
If you can't escape all you have left is disable
What take downs are best to disable?
Any of the above that also
Directs the attacker's head into the groundDirects the attacker's head into a wall
Directs the attacker down a flight of stairs
Directs the attacker into traffic
Use of the environment gives you a fighting chance.
5) High end use of force
If you are out classed in size, strength, ability, if you are injured or disabled, if you are in a dangerous environment, you are justified using a higher level of force.
A sobering fact is that the only way to end some situations may be to use lethal force.
Have you considered this?
Are you capable of this? It is not hard to damage a human - technically. Giving yourself permission to do so can be very hard. These are things that need to be examined before a violent encounter happens.
If you are capable, do you Carry the tools required to end a threat?
How often do you train with these tools?
If you don't Carry tools, can you end a threat with your hands.
Again it is not is not hard to damage a human
How often do you train with these skills?
Do I think Anna or Busted up old Kasey could grab a young fit trained man in a collar tie and deliver knees until he fell over as depicted in the video?
However, I don't start problems so getting in a social violence encounter is not likely. If old busted up Kasey is in that situation it is because I have no other options and the threat will not stop until he is disabled.
Do I think Anna or Busted up old Kasey could jam a pencil into a young fit trained man's carotid artery as depicted in the movie John Wick 2?
You bet your ass
Yet another shameless plug. This June I will be on the east coast with Terry Trahan who personifies combat as weasel-craft. The thinking man's bad ass.
As I wrote HERE do every thing you can to improve the hand you are dealt. However, if /when that day comes, you have to play the cards that are in your hand at that time. So know "Weasel Craft". There will come a time when you are no longer The Wolverine, and Old Man Logan still has to get the job done.
As for me, thank God by the time I finished writing this blog I felt much better. However, I never want to feel like I did on Sunday again.
I went back to the drawing board. I have old shit knees, so I made excuses about my squat depth, and I believed my own bullshit. So I kept adding weight onto sub par form until I had that shitty Sunday.
I sit down and get up from chairs all day every day. My knee bends just fine...not under load.
So I am kicking my ego in the balls and starting over again - very light
I also set a goal for myself to compete in a power lifting competition (face the dragon)
Why? Because they are very strict on form and what they count as a rep. If I can't squat weight in a competition, then I can't squat weight.
Will I win? Doesn't matter the drive to have perfect form under increased load over time so I can compete in a few years will achieve the goal of increased strength with out killing my back.
Know your self and know the enemy, When it comes to weights I will never be free of 18 year old Kasey. I will always have an ego, I just need to use that ego to achieve my goals - intelligently.
(Kasey doesn't skip leg day)
Train hard, Train smart, Be safe.