Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I am very busy with the jobs I actually get paid to do this week.  But, I feel an obligation to have at least one blog a week.  So I am stealing a blog Lise wrote last summer about a training experience we shared and my response to her post.

Lise's Blog:
Kasey and I go running out on woodsy trails, designed for hikers, runners and mountain bikers. It’s a great place to get a good workout with all their convoluted trails. Up and down, sharp curves, rocks and tree trunks for obstacles, trying to avoid the mountain bikers racing around the corners. Never a boring moment and anything but an easy run.
Last Saturday, we were getting ready to set out on the trails when he looked at me and said: “You have a 10 seconds head start then I am coming after you. If I catch you I will kill you. Go. NOW.” It’s amazing the amount of adrenaline his statement alone released. Now while Kasey is a friend and I know he would not kill me (I trust him with my life) I was very well aware that if he caught me, there WOULD be pain involved. And when I say “if” I really meant “when”. If this strapping young officer could not catch a little old women half his size, he doesn’t deserve his badge. I don’t know if you have ever seen Kasey or been on the receiving end of his attacks but let me tell you, it’s not all that pleasant. Trying to outrun a highly trained and skilled SWAT operator as him IS nothing short of stressful.

I kicked it in high gear right off the bat. The adrenaline was flowing, my heart racing. The fight and flight response was in full bloom. When your heart rate reaches above 175 bpm, your capabilities start to disintegrate.… loss of peripheral vision (tunnel vision), loss of fine motor skills, loss of cognitive function. While I knew that technically my life was not in danger (we can all survive pain or injuries), the sprinting alone increased my heart rate and brought me well above that 175bpm mark. After about 1/3 miles I was starting to slow down and I could hear his footsteps catching up with me. I started to look for a place to possibly hide … nothing. No dead branches to use as a weapon. My mind was not seeing the other things I could have used…. rocks, sand in the eyes. Soon I came around a corner and I was facing a steep incline covered with a large flat rock. Yup the typical horror/ thriller movie cliché happened… I slipped and fell. Me!!! I DESPISE those scenes where they ALL fall down, twist an ankle, trip… come on…. All you need is to run… can’t you handle it!!! But I see how easy it is to lose your fine motor skills, You lose your capacity to keep your balance when you are under a high stress. This is where training and specifically training with stress inoculation comes in handy.
This was a great way to add reality to training, how to turn a basic run with the potential of being boring into something exciting and most importantly a learning experience. It showed where my skills are lacking and what I need to train harder with.

My reply:

Kasey Keckeisen August 9 at 9:33am
Great blog!!! Sadly many use of force or women's self defense instructors teach very high / complex motor skill techniques for situations where the defender is highly adrenalized and physically incapable of doing those types of techniques. Many of these techniques have never been tested in the situation they proclaim to be an answer to but rather adapted from sport techniques. On a related note we did environmental training in the park on Sunday. It was 95' and probably around 90% humidity. Judo grips didn't work because no one wore a Gi (go figure) Aikido grips didn't work because everyone was slippery with sweat. Gross motor skill grips / techniques worked every time. Lise made me eat a face full of grass. Good physics work no matter what the weather, or the emotional (chemical response) state of the defender. After training I was physically incapable of opening the wrapper to my protein bar. A complex motor skill that I have done 1000's of times. It doesn’t matter how good I am at opening protein bars in controlled situations(sport / dojo). It doesn’t matter if I have a black belt in protein bar wrapper opening. I was physically incapable of doing a technique I was highly skilled at. Moral of the story get good at gross motor skill based techniques and using physics & gravity (all of those things are constant complex motor skills are fleeting)
Lise and I also had a Pepsi challenge drill. Recently there has been a lot of press for a group teaching sport BJJ for woman's self defense. Situation - Large man grabs small female by arm and attempts to pull her off to secondary crime scene.
Sport Bjj Solution - Throw self on back and kick abdominal / groin area. Lise “pulled guard” and I asked her to kick me as hard as she could (Lise can kick hard) all I had to do was fall down(use gravity) and she was trapped under my weight. Scenario ended with me saying this is where I would rape you because your rape defense was to lay on your back and put your legs in the air.
Other Solutions - Use physics to turn my pull against me and break my balance. Run away, inflict damage, or pin to the ground as appropriate. Scenario ended with me saying please stop kneeling on my head.
The only way to learn these hard lessons is to get out in the world and play with people you trust. Or find a teacher that puts in that work and learn from them.

1 comment:

  1. Whoah. Nice work. Running like hell in an urban environment is something I'm prepared for but I've never practised it in a more rural environment... There's a place close to where I live... I'll have to practise it.