Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The world needs a hero

One of the bullet points for the Violence Dynamics mission statement is :
- Build strong people

As altruistic as that may seem, it is actually very self interested.  Strong people are fun to be around.  If we can't find can't find strong folks to play with, we will have to help develop them.

- Build strong people is a bit of a misnomer.  Humans are the apex predator on the planet.  People are already strong.  However, strong people can be scary.  Especially to those who seek to control others.  So some forms of social conditioning have developed to put limits and governors on that strength.

-Build strong people, is more accurate as, help people overcome social conditioning.(But that might put us on a watch list)

You may be asking, why is this necessary?  Why is this so important that it is part of the mission statement.  

Take a look at this article from the news.
I cut and paste the report here so you don't have to leave the Budo Blog

No heroes allowed: 
Calgary student, 13, reprimanded for defending his classmate against a knife-wielding bully
After Briar MacLean instinctively pushed a knife-wielding bully away, his mother was told her son had decided to ‘play hero’ and the school did not 'condone heroics'

Briar MacLean was sitting in class during a study period Tuesday, the teacher was on the other side of the room and, as Grade 7 bullies are wont to do, one kid started harassing another.

“I was in between two desks and he was poking and prodding the guy,” Briar, 13, said at the kitchen table of his Calgary home Friday.

“He put him in a headlock, and I saw that.”

He added he didn’t see the knife, but “I heard the flick, and I heard them say there was a knife.”

I heard the flick, and I heard them say there was a knife
The rest was just instinct. Briar stepped up to defend his classmate, pushing the knife-wielding bully away.

The teacher took notice, the principal was summoned and Briar went about his day. It wasn’t until fourth period everything went haywire.

“I got called to the office and I wasn’t able to leave until the end of the day,” he said.

That’s when Leah O’Donnell, Briar’s mother, received a call from the vice-principal.

“They phoned me and said, ‘Briar was involved in an incident today,’” she said. “That he decided to ‘play hero’ and jump in.”

Ms. O’Donnell was politely informed the school did not “condone heroics,” she said. Instead, Briar should have found a teacher to handle the situation.

“I asked: ‘In the time it would have taken him to go get a teacher, could that kid’s throat have been slit?’ She said yes, but that’s beside the point. That we ‘don’t condone heroics in this school.’ ”

Instead of getting a pat on the back for his bravery, Briar was made to feel as if he had done something terribly wrong. The police were called, the teen filed a statement and his locker was searched.

Calgary Police Service confirmed there was an incident at Sir John A. Macdonald junior high school Tuesday: a third student intervened in a fight between two others and a knife was involved.

The incident is being investigated and no one has been charged.

Ms. O’Donnell said the bully had since been suspended.

Sitting in their northwest Calgary home as Briar’s younger brother played with Buzz Lightyear action figures, Ms. O’Donnell said this isn’t the first time her child had been in trouble for confronting bullies, either.

She teaches her son to stand up for others, and for himself. His heroics were featured on the front page of Friday’s Calgary Sun. His mother had obtained several copies she stacked on her coffee table.

“We used to get phone calls home from the elementary school saying Briar’s been in a fight, but he was always defending someone,” she said.

“He stuck up for himself with a bully one time and they actually gave him heck for that, too. He had a friend stick up for him in that situation and I’m taking the two of them to Disneyland in two weeks. Because if you stick up for my kid, I’m going to treat you right.”

The mother says she understands the school’s desire to keep students from getting hurt, but fears it is teaching the wrong lesson.

What are we going to do if there are no heroes in the world?
Running away, tattling usually just make things worse. Students need to learn how to handle bullies on their own and how to help each other.

“What are they teaching them? That when you go out into the workforce and someone is not being very nice to you, you have to tattle to your boss? You’re not going to get promoted that way,” she said.

Most of the time bullies back down when confronted, she added.

“What are we going to do if there are no heroes in the world? There would be no police, no fire, no armed forces. If a guy gets mugged on the street, everyone is going to run away and be scared or cower in the corner. It’s not right.”

The Calgary Board of Education did not respond to a request for comment.

National Post

• Email: jgerson@nationalpost |

Big government has no need for brave, independent, free thinkers.

More and more often, government run schools vilify these traits.  Putting even stronger social conditioning on the human animal.

There has to be a way to counter this.

That is why pursuing ways to maximize human potential will always be a driving motivation for Violence Dynamics.

I have faith.  I know it is possible.  I have had the good fortune to attend the USMAA National Training camp for the last 6 years. 

It has been neat opportunity because I get to observe the growth of the youth in Omar Ahmad's program one year at a time.  In that time I have seen dramatic change.  Young men and women not only developing into champions, but also, and more importantly quality human beings. 

Strong people.

Unfortunately not everyone has opportunities to participate in things like Omar's Katamedo Jujitsu Click HERE for more information.

Or things like Randy's new youth program at KPC
Click HERE for more information.

Some people may reach adulthood without ever having a positive outlet to break free of that social conditioning.

There has to be a way to counter this.
What are we going to do if there are no heroes in the world?

That is why there is ODIN

At Violence Dynamics the concept of learning through play is highly valued.
People are wired to learn through play.  As we get older we get “too cool” to play anymore and learning becomes a chore.  Exercise stops being fun and becomes work.

One aspect of ODIN is to give adults an opportunity to play again.  Giving themselves permission to be special agents. 

Because, of course, ODIN is also the code name for the world's daring, highly trained special mission force.  An independent international intelligence service
ODIN’s purpose: to develop human potential.  Recruiting and training operatives to use their inherent abilities to defend human freedom.

ODIN is a fun way to develop yourself, and help others.  It is in no way an actual independent international inelegance service hiding as a training program or a game.  Because that would be ridiculous.  Nothing to see here, NSA, Move along.

The world will always need heroes.

Where are they going to come from?

Be the hero that you once needed.

Hopefully if you click on the image above you can see a larger version and read text.  That panel comes from "Batman: I am Suicide"

It is a retelling of the pledge Bruce Wayne made at his parents grave.  The difference being, 10 year old Bruce was going to kill himself.  He prayed for someone to save his parents and on one answered.  He prayed for someone to stop his suicide attempt, to save him, and no one answered.  So Bruce pledged to become the thing that answers the desperate prayers of others.

The world will always need heroes.

Those who seek to control others vilify heroic traits.

So, where are these heroes going to come from?

You may not be the hero the world deserves, but you can help develop the heroes the world needs.

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be Safe - Be BOLD!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Time Management

Over a year ago, I  promised future blogs on:

Developing an action plan to reach goals

Work / Training / Life Balance

Time Management

I am working with Myron Cossitt on co-authoring blogs on those  first two topics, based on classes he has developed for Violence Dynamics. (Life Dynamics)

Which leaves ... Time Management.

Why time management?  Also, why write about time management before those other two?
They are all interrelated.  Regardless of what your goals are, you will need to develop a plan in order to achieve them.

You may come up with a fantastic plan, but it will be of no worth if it is impossible to follow.

Similarly, if your plan makes you, or your loved ones miserable, chances of success drop greatly, and really if that is the case, what is the fucking point?

So, why am I writing about time management?  Well, a couple of reasons.  

First, I've been on the planet for a few rotations and I have learned a thing or two through simple trial and error.

Mirmir's well is a term often used in reference to the steep price required for certain knowledge. 

One should always learn from their own mistakes.  However, it is even better to learn from the mistakes of others.

I have had to have long uncomfortable talks with my wife about priorities.  I am stubborn.  I didn't want to hear her "bullshit".  But, I needed to hear it, and I am better for it.

You can learn from my mistakes.  Maybe you can skip Mirmir's well

If you justify the purpose of your intense training is so that you return home safely to your wife and daughters, but that self same training doesn't allow for you to spend any time safely at home with your wife and daughters, what is the fucking point?

I had to learn to better balance things out.  Time management is crucial in order to do that.

Secondly, my day job is developing plans for tactical operations.  Logistical planing.  Assuring that the people and equipment needed to achieve the goal are at the right place at the right TIME for the plan to succeed.

Regardless of what your goals are, you will need to develop a plan in order to achieve them.

Building your plan based on the time you have available to expend on it has a higher success rate than trying to cram a plan into your already busy life.

Time management is a super power

If you have talked with me for more than five minutes, or read more than one of the blogs, it is clear I am a comic book nerd.

Comic book nerds are known to argue about which characters could beat which other character in a fight.  
The ongoing joke is, Batman, despite having no super powers always wins.

The other part of the joke is that Batman always wins because of one of two reasons.





Batman is known for beating the odds through the use of prep time...and he is super rich so he can obtain or create those wonderful toys.

The clock king is a super villain who's only power is excellent time management skills

None of us have super powers, so in order to stand a chance we have to take advantage of prep time.  In order to take advantage of prep time we have to set aside time to prep.

The first step is to perceive your time.  There are 168 hrs in a week.  No matter how many goals you are pursuing.  No matter how many responsibilities you have, that is actually a lot of time.  However, like affordances, which you have to see in order to use, you have to be able to see your time in order to use your time.

Otherwise it becomes all too easy to "accidentally" binge watch an entire series on Netflix and wonder why you never have any time.

So to start chart it out.
Click HERE to visit the Violence Dynamics Facebook page to get a google sheets time management template.

Then prioritize, you will need to start with your have to do's.  Things like work, school, eating, etc.  From my life experience you are also going to want to block out time for other things that can only happen at a particular time.

For example, hanging out with my girls doesn't make a ton of sense at 10:00 pm Sunday night.  They have school the next day and that is past their bedtime.  There are only certain times during the week that all of us have no other have to do's.  So, I need to reserve that time for hanging out with them.  I can do other stuff at 10:00 pm Sunday night.

After that block out sleep.  It may sound silly, but I have found that good sleep is the poor man's steroids.

For example, let's say that the only time you have to work out is 5:00 am.  Ugh, that is tough, God bless you.  Waking up at 5:00 am to train sucks.  If you get up that early to work out to improve your fitness, but you are only getting something like 5 hours of sleep, you will quickly become catabolic.  Catabolic is detrimental to your fitness making the time and effort you put into those early morning workouts worthless.

So if you are training at 5 seriously consider going to sleep around 9.

Batman is only human, he takes down gods with prep time.  However, we have to remember Batman is HUMAN.

We have to give ourselves permission to be human.  We have to set aside time to just be human.

For example, let's look at waking up at 5:00 am again.  As I said that is tough.  However, if you set aside say one morning every other week to sleep in, it sucks way less.  If it sucks less, the chances of sticking to it increases.  Ugh 5:00 am again this sucks, but man sleeping in tomorrow is going to feel extra good because I got this done today.   That is how winning is done.

As opposed to Ugh 5:00 am again this sucks, my life sucks.  If that is the case, what is the fucking point?

For me, I have what I like to call fuck off Friday's.  Every other Friday I have off from work, I have off from the Dojo, and I have off from training.  A whole day to just be human and recharge the batteries so I can spend the next 13 days trying to be more than human.  

Once have to do's, can only be done at certain times, sleep, and time to just be human are blocked out, the rest is what you have to work with.

Regardless of what your goals are, you will need to develop a plan in order to achieve them.

Building your plan based on the time you have available to expend on it, has a higher success rate than trying to cram a plan into your already busy life.

Once you know the time you actually have to expend, you can customize your plan to fit that schedule, increasing your probability of success.

Because knowing is half the battle.

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Plan the work, work the plan.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Broken Bat Challenge

Wow it has been a whirlwind.  Viody Prime, Jeff’s death, Thanksgiving, Viody Vancouver.  Then making sure everybody got through all of the mandatory qualifications before I left for vacation, making sure I got through all of the qualifications before I left for vacation, holiday celebrations.  Now, finally I have some time to put my thoughts down on paper.

As I write this, the one year ago today feature on Facebook showed me this blog
Improving the hand you're dealt

Jeez, its all but the same blog I’m writing now.  Super Soldier Project, Batman By 40, Beyond Batman, bump the fucking record.  So, what is different?  Am I going to be writing the same thing in 2019?

What is different is seeking help.  If I could do it by myself, it would already be done.  I might not be able to do it by myself, but that doesn't mean I am unable to do it.

So, let’s go back a few months.

When Violence Dynamics Prime was over there was some time that I got to just hang out with Myron Cossitt and Randy King before getting them to the airport.  When we were just killing time I showed Myron some episodes of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge that I had saved on the DVR.

One of the aspects that I really love about the show is that it embraces so many aspects of physical culture.  For example on a show like American Ninja Warrior if you have good grip strength, like that of a mountain climber, you can probably do pretty well.  A 240lb fullback isn’t going to do that great.  However, that full back is arguably the better overall athlete.  On broken skull challenge, there are several rounds of head to head competition to establish who even gets to run the obstacle course.  Embracing strength, endurance, power, will, mental toughness, and to some extent combatives with some variation of wrestling games.

I mentioned to Myron that the conditioning needed to be successful on this show is exactly what I need as a Police Officer, SWAT Operator, and Old Man Judo guy.

To be able to wrestle someone, sprint to to the next challenge, lift and carry something heavy, then perform a skill is exactly what I am trying to achieve.

On the next episode of the show, the woman that made it to the final obstacle course collapsed about half way through.  She was just done.  Nothing left, despite her will to overcome.
This lead to an interesting conversation with Myron, with charts and everything

The chart shows how Myron explained the energy expenditure of the woman that collapsed.  She was able to explode (reach 90% of her maximum potential effort quickly) for a brief time, then drop rapidly.  Every time after that initial spike she took longer to get to her maximal output and the max dropped every time until she literally had nothing more to give.

Myron summarized that what the people that succeed on The Broken Skull Challenge can do, and what my training should strive for is to be able to get up to something like 80% of maximal potential effort quickly, and be able to maintain that for 8 to 10 minutes.

Something like this

I was pretty excited about this idea, so much so that we kept talking about it non stop until Myron left.  The three of us were at a restaurant when some things started falling into place.

Myron stated that he would develop a program for me.  I was excited and a little scared.  Scared because, I’ve always done my own programming.  Excited because, well, as I mentioned if I could do it by myself it would be done.

As some of you know Randy King won the Katamedo Jujitsu Training and Nutrition Challenge at the United States Martial Arts Association national training camp last July.  Stripping me of my title.

So as he heard this conversation he was like - hey wait, if you are going to build a program for Kasey you have to make one for me too!

Myron owes us plenty of payback for all the shit we have given him through the years.  So he summarized ...OK, operation brutalize the bats activate!

Thus, the “Break The Bats Challenge” was born.

Myron asked for a couple of weeks and some specific details.

In those few weeks I was like a kid waiting to open Christmas presents.  Bugging Myron nearly daily.

I got to start playing with the concepts in late November.  Then I was off to Vancouver for Violence Dynamics.

Vancouver was great!!!

One of my major takeaways from the seminar was that no matter how different I may seem to be from the people I am training with, I have more in common with people who enjoy physical culture, people who like to box, wrestle and fence, than I do with 90% of the population.

Some of the most fun at these seminars is the social aspects after training.  At these events I try to sit in the middle, away form the other Instructors for the opportunity to interact with lots of other people.

As loud as I am I try to just listen.  I've been talking all day, enough about me, it is nice to just listen.  What are you bringing to the table?

I knew I was going to get along with the Valkyrie crew just fine when I over heard this conversation at the table.

Valkyrie is known for  the practicing modern arts of swordplay, boxing, and wrestling, and supporting the performance of those arts with a solid strength-training foundation.

They have received grief from others in the Western Martial Arts for focusing on human performance with conditioning and not spending "adequate time" memorizing which plate from an ancient manuscript a particular technique was retro engineered from. 

These people, which I refer to as martial necrophiliacs, went as far as to say with proper technique conditioning is unnecessary.

I wear armor and carry weapons on a regular basis.  Just bearing the load of that equipment takes a physical toll.  Much less moving in it, or engaging in combatives against a determined restive opponent.

I'm no historian, but I am fairly certain that throughout time, any human that made their living through the use of weapons did everything they could to gain every possible advantage.  Including some form of conditioning.

The Valkyrie folks continued the conversations with something along the line of ...
I doesn't mater where a skill or technique comes from, it has to work , and you have to test it. 

Well I knew I was going to like them after that conversation...and because one of their crew, a 5 foot nothing on her tip toes,  100 and nothing pound soaking wet female I called Squirrel Girl  challenged me to fight.  After I picked her up over my head and power bombed her into a couch.  She popped right up and came back after me.  Later she asked for a proper wrestling match, and although I weighed nearly more than three of her, and that I've been wrestling for roughly twice the amount of time she has been on the planet, she was game and made me work.

You don't judge a school by their teachers, you judge teachers by their students.  Valkyrie is a good school

Since I've come back from Vancouver I have had a solid month to work the Broken Bat Challenge and play with some ideas with my crew at the Keishoukan.

We've been having a blast playing with some things that look a lot like professional wrestling.  Not for their practicality in personal protection.  Rather, just for the fun of moving your body .  Hitting a trick if you will.  Getting your body to do exactly what you want it to do.

I doesn't mater where a skill or technique comes from, it has to work , and you have to test it...
Also it has to benefit other aspects of your training.

I found that through physical culture, focusing on the connections in human movement, conditioning has improved my technique.

Understanding structure in order to move a maximal weight with out hurting yourself directly applies to understanding the structure required move a larger, stronger, determined, actively resisting opponent.

Or pick someone up and spin them around your head just for funsies.

Karl Gotch said,"Conditioning is your best hold"
I don't think he meant exactly the same thing.  I feel he was expressing a thought more along the lines of General Patton's  "Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All"

Regardless, the connection between physical conditioning and technical ability become apparent to anyone who has tested their technical ability against resistance.

That can be very scary.  Remember this blog Finding the edge

It may be scary, but it is also necessary, and if done right can be the most fun and rewarding aspect of training.

So that is kind of where my head is at ending 2017 and going into 2018
The interaction of different aspects of physical culture.
Between conversations with my new friends in Vancouver, playing pro wrestling at the Dojo, and working Myron's programming with my nephew Ben.  Everything brings me back to physical culture.

I am excited about and looking for ways to bring the positive aspects of physical culture ( Box Wrestle - Fence - Shoot - Physical Conditioning) to others.  Especially those that may feel intimidated or turned off by it, and those that maybe enjoy one aspect and have yet to discover the connection to other aspects of physical culture.

So, what is different?  How is this going to be different than 2017?

Primarily,  staying in my own in my own lane and seeking help from others.

Staying in my own lane.  I am not a fitness expert, nor do I want to turn this into a wannabe fitness blog.

So, instead of follow up blogs tracking my progress that I may or may not ever remember to do, to help me, and anyone else that is chasing goals we have started a group on the Violence Dynamics Facebook page.
Life Dynamics

Step 1 - Like the Violence Dynamics Facebook Page
Step 2 - Join the Life Dynamics Group
Step 3 - State your goal/s
Step 4 - Share your plan
Step 5 -Accountability, check in with your peers, share posts of yourself working your plan

Seeking help from others.  If I cold do it by myself it would already be done.  Just because I can't do it by myself doesn't mean I can't do it.

Stay tuned for future co-authored blogs from Myron Cossitt regarding Life Dynamic topics:
Goal setting and planning
Work / Training / Life balance - the other 96%

Also be on the watch for the Violence Dynamics Web Page featuring weekly content not only from me but also Randy King, Tammy Yard-McCracken and ocassionally Rory Miller.

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be Safe

Happy new year