Saturday, September 29, 2018

Don’t call it a comeback

Hey everybody, it's been a long time since I rock and rolled.

The last blog I posted here was from April.  I'm sorry for my absence.  I will not make excuses, but a lot of things have been happening.

You may be asking yourself - Kasey, you handsome son of a bitch, how can someone that is so obsessive about time management not find time to blog.

Honestly I had to prioritize some things and sadly blogging fell into the not time sensitive folder to give more time to things that had to happen.

Honestly, I wasn't even going to post this blog.  It was entirely for me to get some things off my chest.  However, after some thought I figured maybe it could be useful to someone in a similar position

The last time I wrote a blog I didn’t intend to post was after Jeff’s death.  I needed a way to process thoughts.  Writing helps me do that.

(This is how I show my love)

As I write this I have a cigar in my yap and a drink in my hand.  I just got home from celebrating my 44th birthday with my family at a restaurant I love.

Holy Crap!  My birthday was four months ago.  That shows how hectic life has been!

This morning I got paid to shoot guns.  Life is good.
Life is good – it hit me, this is the first time I have had that once familiar moment of Zen.  Sometimes you become so accustomed to bearing a load you don’t realize how heavy it has become until you shrug it off.
Sniper quals are once a month.  I haven’t been allowed to attend a qual in 6 months.  I was non-operational in that capacity.  Today I killed it!  I was me again.

As I mentioned, this is the second blog I thought I would never post.  Mostly because it is about some things I have kept to myself that have occurred over the last few years.

From 2005 until 2015 I ran the crime prevention unit, which consisted entirely of me.  That gave me the freedom to "self actualize" for lack of a less narcissistic term, to become the best version of me. 

I could work out on duty.  That freed up a lot of time to spend with my family.  I made my own schedule so I could always go to SWAT, and Sniper training.  I was on two SWAT teams.  I was the first to show and last to go.  I ran a majority of the training.  I was the backbone of the team.  You can always count on Kasey.  Every Thursday I had Tactical training.  By NTOA standards I was the only full time Operator (I use that word on purpose) in the entire State.  After training I would drive home smiling because I just got paid to do what I love and then I'd have a 3 day weekend.  Life is good.

Life was good

In 2015 the Crime Prevention position was eliminated (in retrospect it was too good to last forever) and the infrastructure required to maintain the best version of me started to crumble.

I was back on patrol, and had to fight to get to training on a regular basis.  I was accomplishing it, but it caused  huge amounts of stress.  I had to give up the WMD team.  The load I had to bear began to be felt.  I didn’t have the time to run training anymore so my contribution to the team diminished.  I could work out on duty but I was subject to call.  I couldn’t just focus on, and enjoy training, I was always worried I would get a call.  I always got calls interrupting training, again causing a ton of stress.  The load got heavier.

A Patrol Officer quit, another was injured, we were short on Patrol (somehow we are always short on Patrol).  I had to reduce Sniper training from 1/month to whenever the schedule allowed.  The Sniper Team Leader let me to do this because I had earned my keep over the last decade.  Anyone else would have had to give up their riffle.  Stress increases, the load got heavier.  I was apprehensive answering phone calls from old friends.  Is this the call they ask me to leave?

Policy changed and we were no longer allowed to workout on duty.  To maintain my standard of fitness I had to take a big chunk of time away from family.  Even more stress, more weight to bear.

My old knees got bad.  I couldn’t run anymore.  I had to retool my entire approach to fitness.  I put on weight.  Clothes I  bought during my  Batman by 40  training didn’t fit anymore.  Batman by 40 was achieved but at a price.  It was not maintainable.  If I can’t wear my clothes who am I?

More Patrol Officers quit, were injured or pregnant.  Patrol was so thin I had to reduce my MANDATORY SWAT TRAINING by half.

Again, The SWAT Commander allowed me to do this because of the contributions the best version of me had made.  Anyone else would have been kicked off the team.

This year, from January until Viody in Boston in May, Patrol was so short I was unable to go to any training, or take a single not regularly scheduled day off.

The load is starting to become unbearable.  I have become the guy that used to be Kasey FUCKING Keckeisen.  It had begun to affect Kasey the husband and father.  I was not nearly as fun to be around.  I had to focus on being human around my family, not taking things out on them, keeping an emotional reservoir that depleted ever more quickly then, full enough to be worthy of my wife and children.  An opportunity to be part of a full time tactical narcotics / violent crimes team came up.  This could be my way out.  This could be great!  Things did not go my way.  Kasey FUCKING Keckeisen doesn't lose.  The guy that used to be him just lost.  I was angry.  Like all the time.  Angry was my default setting.  The load kept getting heavier.

So much so that in June when friends came to visit, they mentioned that I look noticeably hunched over.

If you've seen this movie you get it

I didn't want to be a cop anymore.
I couldn’t believe that I was saying that out loud.  It hurt, that is not the way I want to go out.

I could see Violence Dynamics as a positive way out.  The anger I felt could be focused on making that a financially viable business.  I will burn my boats on the shore.  Victory or death!

However, I am terrified that people will have no interest in paying to learn things from the guy that used to be Kasey FUCKING Keckeisen.

EAST METRO SWAT disbands and is absorbed by Ramsey County.  There are now 15 guys on the team who have no idea who Kasey FUCKING Keckeisen is.  The allowances of the Commander and Sniper TL are coming into question.
It is a dark time for our hero (that’s me Kasey, everyone is the hero of their own story)

Begin act 3 - que the theme music

The PD creates an SRO (School Resource Officer) position.  The Chief asks me personally to apply.  I am the guy he wants on this job.  This is my way back.  I can do this until I retire and Viody is my full time gig.  To get the job, I must go through three interviews, one with the Chief, one with the Principal, and one with the School Board.  I kill all three interviews.  I get the job.  Kasey FUCKING Keckeisen doesn’t lose.

Now it is Summer and for the first time in a long time the Patrol is at full strength.  I can take time off to spend with my family.  I am free to attend SWAT and Sniper training.

With the new gig, for close to 10 months of the year I make my own schedule again.  I can work out before work.

This morning I got paid to shoot guns.  After training I drove home smiling because I just got paid to do what I love and now I have a 3 day weekend.  Life is good.

Ah, there is that feeling again.  Didn’t know how much I missed it until today.

I didn't realize how much of my self identity was tied into achieving that feeling on a regular basis.

Sometimes you become so accustomed to bearing a load you don’t realize how heavy it has become until you shrug it off.

I am cautiously optimistic that I will have that feeling on a much more regular basis now.

As I finish writing this, I have been an SRO for just over a month now.  I love it.  I truly enjoy working with the kids and the Teachers.

I have fallen in love with working out before work, which has been yielding results.  I've gone from 244 to 228.  The am grind also gives me more time to spend with my family.  In the last week we went to the Renaissance Festival, a Minnesota Wild game, Lu’s Volleyball game, and Gi’s Hockey practice.

I have had 100% attendance at SWAT and Sniper training, and last night I ran training for the first time in far too long.

This is not a boo hoo feel sorry for Kasey story.  I am truly blessed.

Recently a student asked me if I liked my job.  Without hesitation I smiled and said yes, I love it.
She replied - I can tell.  Apparently I am not hunched over anymore.

I’m climbing my way back to a new best version of me.  Perhaps the best me I've ever been.  Apparently, I had some things brewing in my head I didn’t know I needed to process, until I felt a compulsion to address them reflectively on my 44th birthday.  Then finally share them four months later. 

With these (SRO and Viody) opportunities I’m excited to see who I will be on my 45th birthday.
Don’t call it a comeback.  I’ve been here for years.

So...with all of that said, I have built new infrastructure to maintain the best version of me.(see also got my shit together)

As such you will see a blog from me weekly either here or on

Thank you for sticking around, I'll work my hardest to make it worth your while.

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Raise an Army - Raise the Risk

On 03/08/2018 the world celebrated International Women's Day.
In honor of that, the Violence Dynamics team unveiled a project we have been working on

Operation ALVITR - #500

If you haven't already, I suggest you watch Tammy Yard McCracken's Facebook live.
You can watch it by clicking HERE

I am very excited about this project.  Because I'm so excited I purposely took a few weeks away from it to see if I still felt the same way, and let my subconscious process my thoughts.  How can I help, what can I contribute?

In that time even more information on the project has been made public
You can watch that by clicking HERE

Yup, still excited! I have fantastic female students and I want to be better at coaching them.  I also have daughters, and I don't want them going through life expecting to be victimized.

 Also fortunately the timing lines up with the direction I've been headed with the last two Budo Blogs

The idea that the reward can never be lowered enough.  No one is too poor to rob, no one is too repulsive to be assaulted.

That leaves one option...The risk has to be raised.

The term victim, especially when used in women's self defense limits affordances down to basically two options.

Women who have been victims and women that will be victims.

What if a different approach was taken? What if instead of being viewed as victims, women embraced their inherent strengths and powers?  What if they were viewed as dangerous?

What if the risk of not only being caught, but of being damaged, of getting your ass kicked was high enough that the criminals would have to pause and calculate if the reward was worth the risk.

Can the risk be raised?  If so, how?

Here is an example of raising the risk

India is a country plagued by rampant sexual assault. According to the Washington Post, there have been numerous incidents of gang rapes that have resulted in the death of the victim.

Priyanka Singha Roy is an 18 year old young woman from India, who practises various forms of mixed martial arts.

Roy and her three younger sisters were on bicycles visiting a nearby shop when they were approached by three men.

Roy warned the men to leave them alone.  The men started touching them in a sexual manner.
After verbal skills failed, Roy used physical skills to protect herself and her sisters.

A bystander described the event...
“After hearing a commotion, we rushed to the area and found that the girl had put the three youths on the ground. She told us that she punished them for misbehaving with her. Her courage will inspire others in the area.”

The three men accused of trying to sexually assault the teen girl, Amit Sahani, Dip Mandal and Bhaskar Mandal, were all arrested shortly after the incident.

Roy's actions were praised by the local police and her story went viral.

You can read the complete article HERE

If this can be done with some basic Mixed Martial Arts training and courage how much more so can be accomplished with with a well thought out deliberate training program developed by world renown instructors #500

How can I help?

As I have been working with Tammy on this, and especially after watching her Live videos from the Violence Dynamics Facebook page I mentally flashed to some research I conducted on WWII era combatives, and some of the related history from that time.

During the war, there was a distinct fear that the Japanese would land troops on the west coast.
Why didn't this ever happen?

The risk was too high.  Not created by the ability of the  US Military, or local Law Enforcement to repel invasion.  At the time most able bodied men of fighting age were engaged overseas.  Rather the threat presented by average citizens with the ability and willingness to protect themselves raised the risk high enough to change the enemy strategy.

In England the threat of German invasion was very real.  In 1940 after retiring from the Shanghai Police, William Fairbairn returned to England where he was commissioned as a Captain.
Fairbairn was charged with preparing the military and civilian population to meet and defeat the impending invasion of German Stormtroopers.

His task was to select and train a group of men and women that would go on to teach others
Under the badass code name "Dangerous Dan", Fairbairn went to work training some of the most hardcore warriors the world had to offer, along with local men and women charged with civil defense.

The invasion could happen at any time.  Fairbairn didn't have years to teach a martial arts system.
For the military and the police training time is always limited and training is structured accordingly.
Fairbairn and his colleagues taught a total system, which included the use of impact weapons, edged weapons, firearms as well of hand-to hand methods. That system was forged through real life experience and was operationally proven. They also taught a mindset which was revolutionary at the time and allowed trainees to access the highest levels of body-alarm reaction, which made the fighters stronger, faster and more resistant to pain and shock.

"Get tough, get down in the gutter, win at all costs... 
I teach what is called ‘Gutter Fighting.’ 
There’s no fair play, no rules except one: kill or be killed." 
- William Fairbairn

I can use Dangerous Dan as a template
My team has become tasked with selecting and training men and women that in turn will train others.
We have a limited amount of time to prepare these people for an ominous threat, in this case violent crime.

What would this program require?  What would provide the most bang for the buck?
All of the required elements are present in the Violence Dynamics curriculum.  The challenge lays in structuring those elements in a way to address women's self defense, which students can own completely and pass on to others.

The highest chance of success incorporates multiple layers of defense, starting with what is commonly referred to as "soft skills"

I don't like the term because soft infers weakness and soft skills are the most valuable, nothing weak about them.
Just as in firearms training there is no weak hand.  There is your favorite shooting hand, and your other favorite shooting hand.  Weak hand preprograms failure.

If you look at soft skills as your first line of defense and physical skills as our last line of defense I prefer the terms Alpha and Omega skills



  • Awareness
  • Logic of Violence (understanding how and why criminals operate)
  • Team Work
  • Violence Dynamics (recognizing and identifying the type of violence you are facing)

Escape has to be the primary goal, including real world training activities that can be done everyday (SMAKED)

  • Conflict communication skills appropriate to the type of violence you are facing

Laying the foundation for Omega Skills.  Psychology beats biology.  Recognizing and managing emotion and adrenalization.  Being able to minimize the negatives and take advantage of the positives.

Recognizing the freeze and the steps required to break it.

Maximizing your strength, by removing everything that may rob you of strength.

"I have detailed files on human anatomy" - T800 Terminator
It is not physically hard to maim or kill another human being.  As I've said before we are all just 7 liters of blood in a soft skin sack.  Everything we need to be human is only protected by thin rings of fragile bone.  Knowing enough anatomy to efficiently disable a threat is vital.

It is not physically hard to maim or kill another human being.  The difficulty lies in giving yourself permission to do so when justified, finding your individual glitches, and developing the ability to "flip the switch" to use the appropriate physical skills when necessary


Lastly physical skills.  If you have to fight, don't imitate something you can never be.

My daughter Lauren will never be a 230 lb man with the life experience of decades of martial arts and tactical training.

Training her to fight like one is a losing proposition.  Inversely, focusing on what she is capable, and willing to do, helping her become the best version of herself doesn't only prepare her for dealing with violence, but enhances her life.

In the end, isn't that the point.  You can have the best program in the world but it is worthless if no one participates in the training.

This subject matter can be very daunting.  How do we get it to those that need it the most, especially those that might not seek it out?

Could something scary, be made fun?  Is that what I can contribute?

The Budo Blog will return with...Operation ALVITR

Train hard, train smart, be safe...raise the risk

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Violence Dynamics Break Down II - Conflict Strategy

Previously on Budo Blog...
We discussed a violent encounter that was documented in a news story out of Minnesota, focusing primarily on the how and the why of the criminal activity.

If you haven't already, you should read that first by clicking HERE

This post will focus on what can be done about it.

The difference between a fighter and a tactician is a fighter, no matter how skilled is reactionary and influenced by emotion, where as a tactician can plan and adapt as necessary.

In order to do that it is helpful to have a rough strategy in place that is easily adaptable to the circumstances.

Conflict Strategy - Choosing the least bad option left available to you.

It is better to AVOID than to run
It is better to RUN than de-escalate
It is better to DE-ESCALATE than fight
It is better to FIGHT than die
   - Rory Miller

Lets look at the incident from the last blog using the conflict strategy framework.

Violence happens at places.  Generally places where crowds, especially crowds of men gather to have their minds altered.  If you don't have to be there, don't be there.

The the elderly female could not avoid this location.  From what could be seen on the video, she had to be there.  Either because the train is her means of transportation, or she is dependent on the train station for shelter, or both.

It is entirely possible she is homeless, which puts her at increased risk.  She fits several victim profiles, including these criminal's profile of a shocking victim for a status seeking show.

Places that individuals on specific victim profiles can't avoid provide "hunting ground" for criminals seeking that demographic.

If you can't avoid, or chose to be there, you must approach with a higher level of awareness.

There are places in your life you have to go, that is just life.  Also if you want to go where crowds, especially crowds of men gather to have their minds altered, that is fine, that is your choice.  Those places are a lot of fun.  That is why people gather there.  No one is saying you have to live you life isolated from the public like some sort of monk.

Just understand, that if you have to be somewhere, or chose to be somewhere your first line of defense is now gone so you have to be more alert and you have to be prepared to use you other lines of defense.

Like the song says - "If you don't like what you see here get the funk out"
If you have to be, or chose to be somewhere, and things are going south - GET OUT!

This is the preclusion portion of self defense.  If the physical altercation occurred because you refused to leave a situation where you had no necessity to stay, making the argument that force was justified becomes much more difficult.

If you leave and the threat attempts to stop you or follows you, the need to use force for self defense becomes much easier to articulate.

The the elderly female from the news story tried to escape.  You can see on the video that she got up and was walking out when the criminal grabbed her jacket, used that jacket to whip her down on the concrete floor, then began to fondle her breasts.

There are legitimate reasons to stay.  The threat may prevent you from leaving.

If that is the situation you find yourself in , now your first and second  lines of defense are gone. You are in it.  This is a confrontation.  You have to be prepared to use the lines of defense remaining to you.

You can't de-escalate the threat unless you de-escalate yourself first.
Recognize the symptoms of emotion / adrenalization.

This is another reason why violence dynamics is so important.  Recognizing the type of violence you are facing.  Verbal skills that work for one type of violence will escalate other types of violence.

You can't de-escalate a status seeking show.  Anything you say will be used as a hook to justify further violence.

You can see that to some extent on the video with the taunts of blue eyed devil, European, and Caucasoid.

If de-escalation is not a viable option, what communication skills are useful.

Yell, scream, bring attention to the situation.  Predatory violence requires privacy, so generate witnesses.

The the elderly female from the news story yelled for help.
Unfortunately, her assailants wanted witnesses.  The criminals chose a hunting ground where yells for help are largely ignored and the people that may notice are unable or unwilling to do anything about it.  "Cowardly and superstitious" - the risk of being stopped or damaged is low.

One brave man stepped up, others were pulling the elderly woman's clothing off and taking her belongings.

Well shit, your first three lines of defense failed. You are being assaulted.  There aren't many remaining choices available to you.

When things go physical  there are really only four things you can do.

This is a priority self defense option.  Even after things have gone physical, fighting your way to safety has the highest probability for success.

Really only makes sense if you are professional paid to restrain, or if you are in a situation where you have to physically control someone you care for and don't want to damage them.

Inflict enough damage that the threat can no longer hurt you.  Stop the brain from sending signals to the body (impact / strangulation / cervical dislocation).
It may be necessary to disable in order to achieve the other legitimate uses of force (escape / control)


Sometimes the only way out is through and you just have to accept what is happening and do what you can to survive

In a status seeking show situation some sort of "shock and awe" high level of force (disabling) to at least cause the threat to pause and create an opportunity for escape is required.

What is an untrained elderly female supposed to do?  What is she capable of doing?
In this case acceptance was the only option left to her.

Are you pissed off?  Are you scared?  It is an infuriating and scary situation.
What can be done about it?

I purposely did not use the term victim to describe the woman that was attacked.
She did the best she could do with the resources she had.  I just wish she had greater resources.

The reward can never be lowered enough.  No one is too poor to rob, no one is too repulsive to be assaulted.

You can't lower the reward far enough.  There is no too low.
That leaves one option...The risk has to be raised.

The term victim, especially when used in women's self defense limits affordances down to basically two options.

Women who have been victims and women that will be victims.

What if a different approach was taken? What if instead of being viewed as victims, women embraced their inheirent strengths and powers?  What if they were viewed as dangerous?

1 of 500

What if the risk of not only being caught, but of being damaged, of getting your ass kicked was high enough that the criminals from the news story would have to find a different way to gain status in their group?

You can't lower the reward far enough.  There is no too low.
The risk has to be raised.

Can the risk be raised?  If so, how?

No one can do that by themselves.  We are going to need an army...

The Budo Blog will return next week with "Raise an Army - Raise the Risk"

Train hard, train smart, be dangerous

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Violence Dynamics Break Down

I came across this news article recently.  It made me mad.  Being mad accomplishes nothing.  So instead let's try to learn from it. 

Wesley Martin & Deondre Jackson

An article from the Star Tribune

Two men have been charged with first-degree aggravated robbery in the video-recorded assault of an elderly woman at a south Minneapolis transit center that investigators called "appalling."

Charges say Wesley N. Martin, 21, of Blaine, and Deondre R. Jackson, 20, of Minneapolis, participated in the assault on Feb. 12 that was posted on Facebook the next day, according to the allegations filed Tuesday.

A court filing Tuesday said the victim was heard on the video yelling, "Help me!" yet "there are many people in the shelter who do nothing."

"The video is appalling," transit police officer Michael Leubner wrote in the complaint.

According to charges:

Police reviewed surveillance footage from the shelter, which showed the victim sitting on a bench inside the Chicago-Lake Transit Center.

Martin, Jackson and an unnamed accomplice approach the woman and yell at her. She ignores them at first, then tries to get up and is repeatedly shoved back onto the bench.

Martin steals a liquor bottle from the woman's jacket. When a bystander tries to intervene, Martin pushes her aside. He then gropes the victim, who tries to escape as the two hold and take her jacket.

Jackson can be seen holding a cellphone "and records the brutalization of victim," the complaint read. Martin groped her as she lay on the ground while Jackson used his phone to get a close-up of her face.

"Jackson can be heard on the video yelling racial epithets about Victim and commenting that 'that lady like a hundred years old,' " the charges read.

An older man stepped in and pushed Martin away. Martin and the man fight, with Martin kicking and punching the man in the face while he's down.

Jackson records the fight while the unnamed accomplice holds the woman to the ground and tears her shirt off.

Records show Martin is on probation for an assault conviction from last month. Jackson has 2016 convictions for robbery and terroristic threats.

Prosecutors said they will seek a stiffer sentence than called for under the state guidelines, citing the victim's age and vulnerability, the "particular cruelty" of the offense and as well as the video recording.

Both remain jailed with court dates pending.

Here is the video that they posted

Are you pissed off?  Are you scared?  It is an infuriating and scary situation.  However, it can be made less scary if you understand it better.

This will be a two part blog.  The first breaking down the situation from the criminal's perspective.  The second going through the conflict strategy model in dealing with violence.

Let's start by examining what type of violence this is.

It seems to me that this is primarily  social violence in the form of a status seeking show.
There are asocial elements in the form of resource predation, (they stole her alcohol and jacket)
and process predation (she was groped).

You maybe asking yourself, Kasey how can something be both social and asocial?

A status seeking show is social for the perpetrator.  However, it can be predatory for the victim. So it has properties in common with asocial violence.

What is a status seeking show?
In criminal subculture, you don't really have friends.  You have associates that will prey on you if and when the opportunity presents itself.

In that environment being "hard" or "loco" - having a reputation of being too crazy to fuck with can be very valuable. 

To earn that reputation you disregard the social violence norms.
So instead of selecting someone of similar status that you think you can take, like a typical monkey dance for status within the group, the threat will choose someone they perceive as higher status, say the biggest / toughest guy in the room, and go berserk.  This attack won’t follow the monkey dance rules, and because it doesn't, maybe they’ll catch him off guard.  What do they have to lose?  If the tough guy wins BFD he is supposed to win.  If the threat wins, he just punked the toughest guy in here.  Either way the threat develops a rep of being too crazy to fuck with.

However, clearly this has risks.  The threat could get severely injured.
How can the threat get a reputation for being too crazy to be fucked with, without the risk of being maimed?

Choose a victim you perceive couldn't possibly hurt you and do crazy things to them.
A savage beating, knifing, or killing serves the purpose of seeking status by showing how crazy you are.

As was the case at the train stop. 

So this is social for the perpetrator.  The purpose of the violence is to improve their status within their group.
The violence requires an audience.  In this case not only the other two  perpetrators but they also also broadcast the assault on Facebook live and now it is available on YouTube. 

It is asocial or predatory for the victim.  The damage is much greater.  

I believe this case was a status seeking show, that did predatory actions to show how crazy they are.
The victim was from a totally different group / tribe, and was not only assaulted, but robbed and sexually assaulted.

To help understand this type of violence further, let's do a logic of violence exercise and look at the asocial aspects of this attack through predator eyes

Who (Victim Profile):
This victim was clearly from a different tribe.  On the video you can here the criminals further "other" the victim calling her "European" and "Blue eyed devil"

An area where the the people that fit the victim profile gather, that also provides an opportunity to isolate the victim.
People gather at train stops, but train stops are isolated from the rest of the city

Isolation Method:
A crowd was needed, but a specific crowd ether unwilling or incapable of intervening.

The Attack:
Blitz - harder, faster, closer, and more sudden then most training accounts for.

Why do Wesley Martin and Deondre Jackson need to engage in a status seeking show?
Because clearly they are pussies, when an elderly man a foot shorter than tough guy intervened he could barely handle him. So of course they needed to attack an elderly woman, fondle her breasts and steal her booze on Facebook live to earn a reputation.

This covers the how, and the why.
Next week we will discuss what can be done about it

Train hard, train smart, be safe.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Demystifying Violence

"You always fear what you don't understand"

Humans give weight to words.  Sometimes that weight prohibits understanding.

Violence is one of those words.  For many violence has an "evil" connotation.

This was highlighted not all that long ago in a discussion among instructors.  One instructor took great strides to make a distinction between "violence" that bad guys use and "force" that professionals use.   Wrapping the justified application of violence in flowery language, romanticizing it.

100% disagree

The discussion of violence today is not all that different than talking about sex in the 50's
Aunt Susan is pregnant...We don't talk about that.
Clearly sex is happening.  It is a natural biological behavior.  We are here today because it happened.

But we don't talk about it.  Because we don't talk about it we don't understand it. always fear what you don't understand.

Make love

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

If the word violence makes you feel icky.  So icky that you can't use the word.  How are you going to be able to use actual violence.

If you vilify violence (violence is something only bad guys use)  You are building glitches into yourself and the people you train.

Violence is a tool.  Its application can be just, or evil.
If you make it something it is not, if you make it evil in and of itself, then you take that tool away from the just.

You always fear what you don't understand.

How do you make violence less fearful?
You develop an understanding of how evil people use violence.

How do criminals use violence?

Questions are free...Answers cost.

Bruce Wayne traveled the world and became a criminal to understand how criminals use violence.

You don’t need to travel the world

You don’t to need to actually commit crimes

You do need to put yourself in the shoes of a criminal.

The best way I have seen to do this is through Rory Miller's Logic Of Violence presentation.
You can attend live, by clicking HERE

To supplement that experience you can buy this video...

... by clicking HERE

Developing defenses against criminals (people that use violence for evil) makes no sense if you don't understand how criminals attack.

Batman said, “Criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot.”

A predator will use tactics he has developed to get what he wants from you in the safest surest manor.  This is in no way a “fair fight”.

The predator will take every advantage using speed, surprise and ferocity to prevent you from responding in any way that could be effective in stopping him.

Ritual and rhythm - The hind brain is concerned with survival.  What ever you are doing hasn’t gotten you killed yet  - keep doing it. Modus Operandi (MO)

This is also exactly the way the professionals use "force"

Criminals are human just like the rest of us.
When you come up with your own answers to questions criminals face you begin to see the logic behind their actions.

When their actions make sense they are far less fearful.

Violence is a tool.  Its application can be just, or evil.
Don't let words limit your survival responses.  Be a friend to the wolf, and find the light within the darkness.

The Japanese have a phrase for this as well
Satsujinken - Katsujinken
Life taking sword - Life giving sword
The sword that kills is the sword that gives life

Satsujinken is the "Murdering Sword" which takes the lives of the weak, propagates evil, and eventually destroys one's humanity

Katsujinken is literally the "Life-giving Sword" and embodies all that is righteous: protecting the weak, destroying evil, and cultivating one's own spirit. 

Katsujinken does not mean the absence of killing but "to kill only in the last instance, to eradicate evil and protect the weak". 

It is just a sword, how it is used is entirely up to you.  However, if we allow the narrative to label all swords as evil there will be no sword that gives live. 

Train hard, train smart, be safe...use violence judiciously when necessary, don't let public narrative limit your response

Sunday, March 4, 2018

When the going gets tough

In any physical confrontation there are four factors:

  • You 
  • The Threat
  • Luck
  • The Environment
Personal protection training can be boiled down to improving and mitigating these factors to increase your probability for success.

Looking at the YOU factor, there is an entire industry built around personal improvement.  No particular need for another voice in that field.
However, the Violence Dynamics Team consistently receives questions on mental preparation.

How can I become mentally tough?  How can I prepare for the mental stress of interpersonal violence.

These questions along with some challenges I am facing, got me thinking...

What do you do when things suck?

Things are going to suck from time to time.  That is just life.  However, as the Rabbi in the above video suggested I feel things are supposed to suck.  The suck has a purpose.  The Universe is telling you things need to change.

That suck sensation is instinct.  The Lobster needs to expand.  It is a natural stimulus to change.  
How does one become mentally tough?  Embrace the suck.  The Japanese have a term for this Shugyo 

To ignore the suck, to become comfortable with circumstances that are not right is settling, stagnation.

Stagnation is just a slower form of death.  Which reminds me of my favorite Wolverine quote.

“The key isn’t winning — or losing, it’s making the attempt. I may never be what I ought to be, want to be — but how will I know unless I try?

Sure, it’s scary, but what’s the alternative? Stagnation – A safer, more terrible form of death. Not of the body, but of the spirit.

An animal knows what it is, and accepts it. A man may know what he is — but he questions. He dreams. He strives. Changes. Grows.”

Inspirational memes have their place, but they don't get things done.
How does one become mentally tough? What does one do when things suck?
Stimulus - The Suck Sensation
"A man may know what he is — but he questions."  - Why does this suck?
What can be done to improve this?
  • Develop a plan
  • Work the plan
  • Assess the plan - is this working?
    • If yes continue
    • If no adapt
      • Develop an improved plan
      • Repeat as necessary 

How does one embrace the suck?  How can the suck, suck less?

Stress management:
  • Exercise
    • Not only will this help burn off negative emotions, it will increase positive feelings with the release of endorphins, and you receive all the positive benefits that working out provides

  • Train
    • My new number one new student demographic at the Dojo has become people with high stress life styles that walk in the door because they have an interest in personal protection, but stay because of they grow to love the stress relieving effects of choking folks.

If I didn't have that outlet I'd be lost
  • Eat & Sleep
    • Make sure you body has everything it needs to repair damage and grow.  To be the best version of you while you are facing a challenge.

  • Celebrate small victories.
    • You've made a plan to change.  That plan has steps.  It's a long road.  Allow yourself to be human, celebrate the successful completion of those steps.

    • Don't start down the slippery slope.  When things suck it can be easy to justify drinking, smoking, snorting, eating that negative stimulus away.  Numb the pain.  Like the Rabbi said if the Lobster popped a Percocet every time it felt discomfort, the suck, it would never grow.  Celebrate success, don't try to kill the suck with chemicals.  Its still going to suck the next day.

  • Count your blessings
    • Embrace and cherish the things that don't suck

Without these guys and their mom I'd be lost.

Not everything can be improved.  If the suck sensation continues and no improvements can be made to change that, I believe that is a signal to find a different area to succeed in.

Everyone has gifts and talents.  If a fish has to climb a tree, there is very limited probability for success.  That is going to suck for that fish.  If the fish has a vested interest it can work hard to develop the mechanisms that would allow it to climb a tree, and would be better off for having gone through that process.  However, that fish might just  be better off finding where swimming is needed to succeed and being a super star!

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson wanted to play basketball.  He got hurt, that sucked.  When he was in physical therapy he discovered that he was very strong and had a natural aptitude for strength sports.

Last week he won the title of the world's strongest man

No one knows the name of a mediocre basket ball player from Iceland.
Everyone knows "The Mountain"

Train hard, train smart, be safe...embrace the suck until its done

Monday, February 26, 2018

Helping Others

Help me, to help you, to help others.  This is something my Sargent Jerry Johnson use to say to me tongue and cheek when we needed to come up with a creative solution to an unfortunate situation.

Not too long ago I wrote about my friend Jeff Long's death.  You can read it HERE if you like.

Last week was Jeff's birthday.  We used to go for sushi to celebrate every year.  People get busy, you don't see your friends as much as you used to, or would like to.  I can't remember the last time I ate sushi with Jeff, which made me sad.

My father once told me you can sit there and cry about it, or you can get up and do something about it.  So I started working on ways I could do something about it.  Looking for ways to help others.

I discussed it on the video blog, you can watch that HERE

I am fortunate that I have surrounded myself with a fantastic team, and we have found a way to help.

My criteria was:

  • A charity that helps force professionals dealing with PTSD
  • A charity that helps the families of fallen force professionals
  • A charity that deals with suicide prevention
  • A charity where the overwhelming percentage of funds raised goes to the people that require help

The Violence Dynamics team suggested Blue H.E.L.P. so I looked into them further.

When I saw the the Force Science Institute was a sponsor, I knew that this was an organization that I wanted to partner with.

If you are unfamiliar with the Force Science Institute you should check them out HERE.  Also if you are eligible you should sign up for their news letter.

The Force Science Institute is run by Dr. William Lewinski.  Dr. Lewinski was my adviser at Mankato State University.  He was also my first Karate Sensei, and is a friend.

Sadly, I know that Dr. Lewinski's life has also been touched by suicide.  So when I saw his organization supports Blue H.E.L.P I didn't need to look any further.

H.E.L.P stands for:

Blue H.E.L.P - Mission Statement

It is the mission of Blue H.E.L.P. to reduce mental health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers we lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing, and to bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.

Honoring the Service of Law Enforcement Officers Who Died by Suicide

We believe that officers who suffer emotional injuries should be recognized and their service to the community honored.

We believe it’s time to put names and faces to the men and women who have died because their emotional injuries became too much to bear.

We believe it’s time to support the families who have lost loved ones to those injuries.

We believe in the saying, “It is not how they died that mattered, it is how they lived”.

For further information please click HERE

In the video I mentioned earlier, I outlined a broad reaching plan I want to implement in October of 2019.  You can see Jeff pictured above role playing the bad guy, as he often did, for my SWAT team.

The big plan is to raise funds for Blue H.E.L.P. via a learn through play exercise at Violence Dynamics 2019.

However, big plans require several smaller steps.

Our (Violence Dynamics team) first step will take place in Boston in May (further details to follow)

If you would like to be part of that please sign up HERE

You can sit there and cry about it, or you can get up and do something about it.  This May I start doing something about it.

Help me, to help you, to help others.

Train hard, train smart, be safe.

On a positive note, as I was writing this blog I received this message from Jeff's father Denis.

Thank all of Jeff's friends for the birthday wishes, he would have been 40! Thanks for sharing in his life and just know, YOU MATTERED! We really miss him, but know he will always be with us, in spirit. 

Because of a huge Christmas miracle, he will be with us in a different form! Annie is expecting a baby boy about late July or early August. After all the in vitro attempts and finally getting little Aubree, this time it is from themselves, Doctor said it was a 2 percent chance, well the odds were in our favor. The baby boy will be named Jeffrey Aubree Long, in honor of them! Just imagine what this has been like during this grieving time! Makes it bearable now, but still hard. Love to you all!