Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Super Soldier Project - Introduction

In early 1940, appalled at Nazi Germany’s horrific atrocities, Steve Rogers a scrawny fine arts student attempted to enlist in the army. Failing to pass physical requirements, he was invited to volunteer for Operation: Rebirth, a project intended to create a Super Soldier.  Transforming him into Captain America

Captain America has no superhuman powers, although as a result of the Super-Soldier Serum and "Vita-Ray" treatment, he is transformed from a frail young man into a "perfect" specimen of human development and conditioning. Captain America's strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability, and healing are at the highest limits of natural human potential.

The formula enhances all of his metabolic functions and prevents the build-up of fatigue poisons in his muscles, giving him endurance far in excess of an ordinary human being.

Rogers' battle experience and training make him an expert tactician and an excellent field commander, with his teammates frequently deferring to his orders in battle.

He has blended judo, western boxing, and kickboxing, into his own unique fighting style and is a master of multiple martial arts. He is regarded by other skilled fighters as one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel Universe (Sound like anyone you know)

He occasionally makes forays into mundane career fields, including commercial arts, comic book artistry, education (high school history), and law enforcement.

You may be thinking ok great Kasey is geeking out over Captain America.  What does this have to do with the practical application of Budo?

I’m glad you asked

Last Monday I was getting out of my squad car and my knee crunched on both sides.  No big deal my knees do that all the time.  Only this time I was limping back into the Police Department.  I figured I’m tough, after I work out things will pop back in.  So I worked out (my 2nd workout of the day) and my knee felt better.  I went to the Dojo (3rd workout of the day).  We were doing ground work (body weight / pressure on the knee) and me knee swelled up and hurt like hell.  I thought oh shit here we go again – 1991&92 Dislocated kneecap, 2003 Ruptured Bicep, 2008 Dislocated ankle, broken tibia – now what?  So I made an appointment with Dr. Jeremy Rebrovich of Ideal Health a chiropractor and sports medicine guy who has helped me in the past.  After an examination he said nothing appeared to be ripped torn or broken (thank God!).  Jeremy said that I have patellar tendon dysfunction.  Basically that tendon isn’t where it’s supposed to be making it rub between the bone and knee cap.  That causes irritation which causes swelling which causes pain. 

Solution – stop overtraining (did I mention the 3 workouts in one day on an injured knee?), warm up / cool down, stretch, take a good Omega 3 and a quality Chondroitin / glucosamine (did I mention I can’t remember the last time I took my supplements?)

The thing that really makes me mad (at myself) is this is the same advice Jeremy gave me about three years ago.  That advice worked last time I had an over use injury, then I just stopped following that advice.  The pattern goes like this – Train, train, train, over train INJURY.  Rehab, recovery, train, rest.  Hey that went well.  Let’s try train, rest.  Feels good! How about train, train, rest.  Hey I didn’t get hurt.  Now let’s try train, train, train, over train OUCH!  Fuck not again.  How could this have happened?

Now you maybe thinking ok Kasey has given us the reader’s digest version of Captain America’s origin and apparently he is a dumbass who is a very slow learner.  What does this have to do with the practical application of Budo?!!!

Ok, you don’t rise to the occasion you fall to your level of training in the body you are in.  I use that phrase I stole from Rory a lot to describe that in conflict your body will be adrenalized and fine motor skills will fail.  In this instance I’m using it to remind myself that my function is to protect and serve.  I won’t be worth a damn in that function if I’m limping and all I can think about is how bad my knee hurts.

I’ve come to realize (finally) I’m Not 23 anymore.  I can not, and should not continue to train as if I were 23.  Instead I should focus on becoming the best 36 possible.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  Because I am a comic nerd, when I started to plan I thought of young Steve Rodgers and was inspired to start my own Super Soldier Project.

I decided to share the project here to help me stick to the plan and be accountable.  I will also chart my progress on the blog so that anyone interested can apply the fundamental principles to their own training (see practical application of Budo, just took awhile to get there).  The Super Soldier Project will be a series of blogs documenting how I transformed from a recurringly injured old man into a "perfect" specimen of human development and conditioning. Enhancing strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability, and healing to the highest limits of natural human potential.

The Super Soldier Formula enhances all metabolic functions and prevents the build-up of fatigue poisons in his muscles.  Lise and the good people at the Health Restoration Clinic are working on a supplement regiment which focuses on increasing muscle mass, testosterone, metabolic rate, and healing bones ligament and cartilage.
Rest / Recovery – recovering from training IS TRAINING!!!!!

Strength Training

Combatives Specific Conditioning

Cardio / Road Work


I wear a helmet, carry a shield and fight crime too :)

Stay tuned true believers!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Twilight Zone or Southern Fried Monkey Dance

In polite society it is generally frowned upon to resort to violence because someone is being a douche bag.  However, you may find yourself in a different society with different rules.  A society where being a douche just might get you shot.

After typing that I thought I sounded like Rod Serling hosting “The Twilight Zone”
That might help make my point after the story so hell, lets go with that. 

[Rod Serling Voice] – For your entertainment this evening I present a story of a man who had to prove his point.  He felt the need to teach another “gentleman” a lesson and establish his dominance.  However this man was about to learn that not everyone is gentle in the twilight zone…..

[Music] – Doodle do

Man Shot After Manners Scolding

ATLANTA -- A Douglasville man said he was shot after trying to give another man a lesson on manners. Police are still looking for the shooter.

Jay Rodgers and his family were on their way home from a Tim McGraw concert last month when they stopped at an Atlanta Shell station so his niece could use the bathroom.

He said he felt insulted after a man he encountered ignored a polite gesture.
“I opened up the door for a gentleman. He walked in, and I quietly said, ‘Why don’t you say thank you for holding the door open?’”

When the man didn’t respond, Rodgers said he followed him outside and asked him to say "thank you" again, but the man kept quiet.

“He went to his car, put whatever he purchased inside it, and he pulled out a gun and shot me from about 15 to 16 feet away from me,” Rodgers said. "I passed out in my wife's arms."

Rodgers lifted his shirt to show Philips the large bandage that now covers his stomach. He said the bullet went through his intestine, nearly hitting his spine. He was hospitalized for nine days.

“I'm lucky to even be walking,” Rodgers said.
He said his family has had a hard time while his injury keeps him from working for three months. He said his children are also scarred by the shooting. On Thursday, Rodgers made a plea on the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat for the shooter to come forward.
“I’m mad, but if you’re watching this, do the right thing and turn yourself in,” he said.
Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Here is the link if you would like to see the interview (and so I don’t violate any copyright laws)

Rodgers was visiting the major metropolitan area of Atlanta for a concert.  Let’s call the big city foreign territory.  Anytime you enter foreign territory you need to learn the environment.

Guess what kids, the white, upper-middle class suburban rules you are accustomed to may be totally invalid in a new place.

So, shut your mouth and open your eyes.  Learn how things are done around here.  Don’t bring attention to yourself.

In foreign territory if you have kept a low profile, learned the rules and still find yourself in a sticky situation - Pick your battles.

The more dangerous you actually are the less you should feel the need to prove it. 

Any confrontation has the potential to become violent. 
All violence has the potential to become lethal. 

So ask yourself is this confrontation worth killing or dying for?

Is teaching someone your version of manners worth getting shot for?

How many times have I said swallow your pride and walk away.  If he follows you that is a potential indicator of a higher level of violence (asocial / predatory).  That helps make your case for self defense and REASONABLE use of force is justified.

Maybe, just maybe in Atlanta demanding that someone thank you is a good way to start a fight.  See also “What you lookin at?”.  Ignoring the question gives them no hooks to seize upon.  If you avoided a verbal confrontation, and they follow they are going to do very bad things to you.

Let me be clear that I am not suggesting the Mr. Rodgers deserved to be shot.

I am saying that if you find yourself in foreign territory, and you haven’t taken any time to learn how things are done there, don’t call attention to your self. 

If you ignore that advice and decide that you need to establish your dominance over someone don’t be surprised if the response is different than you are accustomed to in “The Twilight Zone”

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be safe

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Course Correction (and direct entry)

“Spidey Sense” ever experience it?  That feeling that something isn’t quite right but you can’t put your finger on it.  It keeps bugging you until you figure it out. 

I’ve had it twice lately.  I’m glad I had it.  It allowed for course correction, one themes of this blog.  On the other hand I’m mad at myself for needing / causing the “Spidey Sense” in the first place

The most recent example, I was teaching Ura Otoshi (rear drop).  The technique is very similar to Irimi Nage (entering throw).  The key difference being with Ura Otoshi you have one of the attacker’s arms tied up and you Kuzushi (off balance) using a linear drive to the neck or a palm heal drive to the chin (Ago Ate).  With Irimi Nage you don’t have a hold of anything so you control the head.

I realized that even though I was teaching Ura Otoshi I was demonstrating Irimi Nage.
Why did that set of my Spidey Sense?  Well, because I was following and breaking some of the basic tenants of Keishoukan Budo at the same time.

Anyone remember this gem from the 80’s?  It was about nerds square pegs don’t fit, no matter how hard you try its awkward

Basic tenant 1 – Don’t fit a square peg into a round hole.

What does that mean?  If you have to do an extra motion to “set up” a technique that is inefficient.  Square peg / round hole.  Don’t do it.  Instead just do a technique that works from the situation you are in.

Basic tenant 2 – If your best counter ambush doesn’t work for the techniques we are training use one that does or use a TORITE (pre-emptive) technique

My Spidey Sense going off because my best counter ambush technique is IrimiUke (entering block) or “salt over the shoulder”.  We were training against linear strikes (jab / cross).  Because of the nature of Irimi Uke against a linear strike I didn’t have an arm to entangle as in Ura Otoshi so I naturally transitioned into Irimi Nage (Basic tenant 1 – Don’t fit a square peg into a round hole.).  However in doing so I was demonstrating to my students something in violation of Basic tenant 2 – If your best counter ambush doesn’t work for the techniques we are training use one that does or use a TORITE (pre-emptive) technique.

This has been very technique specific.  So for teachers of any style.  If you want your students to do a specific technique, demonstrate the technique you want them to do?  If you say one thing and demonstrate another, don't be suprise when your students do what you demonstrate, not what you say.  Humans belive what they see more than what they hear.

Which leads me to…

Shomen Irimi (direct entering). 

I’ve discussed direct entering previously when I was writing about Kenjutsu….
When Uke raises his sword to attack you are going to go hey diddle diddle right up the middle and put your sword on his wrists or in his throat. Now I can hear you saying "Egon, didn't you say crossing the streams is bad?" Yes I have railed against staying in zero several times on this blog. But hear me out. You can step and pivot in one motion. Sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven. You can step (up the middle) and pivot (open or enter) getting you out of zero in one motion. That fits with empty hand counter ambush fundamentals no matter what attack I perceive I'm going to do (what ever) trained to reflex speed. No matter what uke does with his sword I'm going to put my tip in his face (that sounded way straighter in my head). That forces Uke into the observe and orient phase and allows me to get ahead and open or enter.

Shomen Irimi Uke (direct entering block) counter ambush. 

Jodan Kamae with out a sword, or Hiriki no yosei ichi (elbow power #1) from Yoshinkan Aikido is the basis of this technique.  When you observe / perceive an attack from the front you raise you hands and enter uke’s space directly up the middle (between uke’s legs).  Lead foot lands weight transfer to lead hand which is palm heal strike (ago ate).  The ago ate arm also protects that side of your head.  The rear arm protects the other side of your head.  Like the two horns of a Rhino

The raising motion (like raising a sword) of your arms protects your lower body on the way up to protecting your head.

Again, all counter ambushes need to be trained to reflex speed.  Violence happens closer, faster, harder, and by surprise.  Counter ambush training allows you react at the speed of nerve catching up with  / getting ahead of the attacker in the O.O.D.A. loop.  Allowing you to get in one technique before stress hormones affect your performance. 

Going right up the middle isn’t my favorite but it is important to have it as a tool because you don’t always get what you want.

Which brings me back to the course correction.
Irimi Uke is my go to counter ambush.  However Ura Otoshi doesn’t not flow from it naturally against a linear strike.  That gives me an opportunity to practice Shomen Irimi Uke (Basic tenant 2 – If your best counter ambush doesn’t work for the techniques we are training use one that does or use a TORITE (pre-emptive) technique - Shomen Irimi Uke is both).

This blog started as what I was going to tell my students tonight at class and I thought it might be interesting to other folks too.  I made a mistake.  I’m not going to hide it because its discovery was useful to me and will help me teach better.

So, tonight when I perceive a linear strike I will make my Rhino horns and stampede right through the attack (sen sen no sen).  Wrap up the arm, linear drive the brachial plexus step behind and throw.  Ura Otoshi ends the conflict in 3 motions or less.  We can do Irimi Nage in a few weeks, when it is time to do Irimi Nage

No educational value I just thought this pic was funny

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ignorance of the law is no excuse

Ignorantia juris non excusat - ignorance of the law is no excuse

Important note: Much of the information in this blog was taken with the author’s permission from Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected.

So go buy the book you cheap bastards

Recently I have had several conversations with internet “experts” about self defense and self defense laws.  When it stopped being amusing and only frustrating I decided to stop wasting my time with people who already know everything.  I have my own forum here.  Anyone who actually wants to read what I [ a professional Police Officer, who teaches use of force and force law to other professionals ] have to write on the subject can check out this blog. 

“I don’t represent the law… I AM the law!”

All of the “experts” are welcome to read it too but what I’m about to write will most likely be in direct conflict with their self image as tough guys so they will probably just ignore it anyway.

Let me start with this thought.  If you are teaching anything that can fit under the category self defense (sport arts, traditional arts, reality based self defense, defensive tactics, whatever) without also teaching your State’s self defense laws you are doing your students a great disservice.

But it is easy to correct.
As an experiment I googled –Minnesota state statutes self defense.
One link lead me to another:

In less than 3 minutes I had all the information I needed to start incorporating force law into my training.

So self defense instructors go find this information for your students. 
Students, if your instructor doesn’t teach this look it up for yourself.

Why is this so important?

Because what you think / have been lead to believe self defense is doesn’t matter.  How the court defines self defense does.

Most self defense being taught only works on social violence.  The thing is 99% of social violence in entirely avoidable and unnecessary.  The court views unnecessary violence as mutual assault, not self defense.

Ok so what is self defense?  "Self-defense" of self, others or property, is an example of an affirmative defense. 
That means that you are basically pleading guilty.
You are saying yes I assaulted, maimed, or killed the guy BUT… It’s not a crime because….
The right to self-defense is a basic human right that has been recognized from ancient times, and recognized in the laws on self-defense.

Let's look at a hypothetical example.

Johnny Apple drives to the store to buy some items.  In the parking lot, a man he does not know begins to yell at him about money he supposedly owes the man.  Then the man proceeds to brutally assault Johnny, during which Johnny notices he is attempting to pull out a knife.  Fearing for his life, Johnny breaks the man's neck which kills him.  The government charges (makes the claim of) criminal murder.  At the trial, Johnny's lawyer questions witnesses who testify about what they saw and heard of the brief assault.  The jury was convinced that it was not a murder to prevent collection of a debt, but a killing in self-defense because the "force" used by Johnny was "reasonable" under the circumstances of the attempted robbery. "Not guilty."


Most State
’s self-defense laws contain a "duty to retreat" (preclusion) provision.  A person facing a threat has a duty to retreat where practical, before responding with "reasonable force." 

This is where a lot of RBSD gurus put their students in peril.  How much training time is spent on barroom fights?

If you can walk away from it, even if it you feel it makes you look like a pussy, but you don’t its no longer self defense its mutual combative assault.

How many RSBD classes show punches to the throat against a chest shove?
The law is reality, so why isn’t it incorporated into reality based self defense training?

Most violence comes with instructions on how to avoid it. “You better leave before I kick your ass”.  Violence occurs because that option is refused.  Instructions are most common in social violence, but often happen in asocial.

A good faith effort to withdraw from the situation will prevent most violence. (caveat, walking away while talking trash, or threatening to come back does NOT qualify as ‘good faith’)

Many people are afraid ‘but what if he follows me?’ and that is their excuse for not withdrawing (actually it’s the Monkey being afraid of losing face that keeps them there) In reality,
        Odds are good he’ll still be talking, but not actually following
        If he does follow it will be a short feint to prove his point
        If he really does follow, it’s not social violence (i.e. he’s got another agenda)
        If he does follow, he’s actually helped your case that it was self-defense.

A real world example. A friend of mine was investigating an assault case.  A guy went into a bar and two wannabe biker type tough guys started picking on him.  They were calling him fag and queer.  They started to shove him.  He said he didn’t want any trouble and left.  Social violence is avoidable and comes with instructions.  Turns out the tough guys follow him out to his car.  This should be a big warning sign that this is not social violence.  Guy gets into his car and drives away.  The tough guys follow him home.  The guy runs from his car to his house and tries to shut the door behind him.  One tough guy grabs the door and starts to force his way in.  Unfortunately for tough guy the home owner has a box cutter inside the door and starts in on tough guy like a sewing machine.  My friend has to go to the hospital to get tough guy’s side of the story.  Tough guy doesn’t want to admit he got cut by a fag (he needed stitches from neck to groin) and refuses to give a statement.  Clearly self defense no charges on the guy.

That is a little different than a bar fight.

A lot of what I’m writing I take from Marc and Rory so much so I forget to give them credit, but this analogy I know I stole from Marc.

Take the social violence macho bullshit bar fight that is being taught as self defense.  If you can edit out the back ground of the bar and cgi in a UFC octagon, does the “fight” look like a match?  If so that is not self defense.

It is better to avoid than run, better to run than de-escalate, better to de-escalate than fight, better to fight than die.

A bar fight is not self defense it is a mutual assault.  If you do not make a reasonable attempt to leave. “Hey man, I don’t want to fight.  Whatever I did to piss you off I’m sorry.  I’m leaving”

Most people react out of fear and anger before the ‘fight.’ This is a threat display meant to warn off the other person – or at least that is what they think they are doing. In reality they are participating in the creation and escalation of a conflict.

Peyton Quinn’s instructions:
         Do NOT insult him
         Do NOT threaten him
        (oh yeah, well I’ll kick your ass!)
         Do NOT challenge him
        (what are you going to do? Hit me?)
         Do NOT deny this is happening
        (he’s not going to physically assault me for saying that about his mother)
         Do give him a face saving exit
If an attack is sudden retreat might be unrealistic or create a risk of bodily harm.  In order to protect you, your loved ones, or your property, in some situations there may be no realistic alternative to the use of  reasonable force in self-defense.

What is "reasonable force?"  
There must be thousands of court cases discussing this, in various situations.  
The idea is that the level of force used in self-defense should be commensurate with the perceived threat level at the time. 
The basic formula is:
         The minimum amount of force that you reasonably believe is necessary to safely resolve the situation

The biggest challenge people face is articulating WHY force was reasonable
This is especially problematic for three reasons

         Most attorneys (much less the DA), civilians and juries understand what a legitimate threat is. This is why you must be able to articulate jeopardy. Otherwise the DA is going to have you blubbering about shooting someone because ‘he looked at you mean.’

         The raw truth is that 99% of the violence that police see is both illegal and excessive. Even if it started as self-defense, that last kick or trigger pull usually crossed the line into assault. Although police investigate, this bias is there. It is very easy for that one time where it was legitimate self-defense to get swept into the other. The odds are 100 to 1 against it being self-defense. The Reid Method of questioning really makes this likely.
                     Every asshole I’ve ever arrested for assault, from bar brawlers to wife         beaters have all claimed self defense. 
                     If you have legitimately defended yourself but do not know how to           articulate your use of force you will sound just like the rest of the assholes

         People want to make statements under adrenaline. They want to rush forward and tell their story – except, all the inconsistencies and babbling of adrenaline really makes them say the wrong thing.

You will need to articulate to a jury
         What you did
         Why you did it
         Why other choices would have been worse

Immediate Threat
·         Intent
·         Means
·         Opportunity
·         Preclusion

Intent – I’m going to kick your ass
Means – He has the capability to kick your ass.
(If a 4 year old tells you she is going to kick your ass she may have intent but no means)
Opportunity – The person is right there in range to do harm to you
(Internet experts that threaten me from 1000’s of miles away lack opportunity)
Preclusion – I can’t get away, or walking away puts me or others at greater risk
(That is why castle doctrines exist because you don’t have to run from your own house)

So for all you RBSD instructors who totally ignore the reality of the law this is how you can incorporate it
Role player “The Jerk” picks a fight with your student in a bar. 
You actually have your student try to de-escaluate the situation, work on verbal skills.
That fails
Your student tries to leave
“The Jerk” physically impress the student’s ability to leave.  Won’t let him get out the door
Your student now does the physical techniques required to escape a dangerous situation.
Debrief / Peer review – What worked, what didn’t, what could have been done differently
Force articulation – Have your student explain what he did, why he did it, and why other choices would have been worse.

It might go something like this – I was at the bar with my girlfriend when this guy came over and started causing trouble.  We tried to ignore him, when that didn’t work I tried talking to him.  He told me he was going to kick the shit out of me.  I told him I didn’t want any trouble and that we were going to leave.  As I attempted to leave he locked the door way took up a fighting stance and told me I’m leaving until he’s done fucking me up. I (for the sake of argument let say the student punched “the Jerk in the throat) pushed his neck to move him out of the way so my girlfriend and I could leave the bar to safety.

Being able to do this is a valuable skill when the Police show up or “The Jerk” has his daddy send lawyers after you because the night didn’t end as he had planned.

If you don’t practice force articulation you will want to rush forward and tell the story except, all the inconsistencies and babbling of adrenaline will make you say the wrong thing.

That might go like this – This guy was talking shit so I smashed him in the throat.
Potato /  Patato except one you go home and have victory sex with your girlfriend, the other you go to county and pray you don’t have shower room sex against your will.

So why isn’t this taught more often?  Why am I giving them such a hard time?

There are far too many RBSD, Commando CQB instructors offering easy solutions to the vastly complicated topic of violence.  They offer to teach everything you need to know about dealing with violence in a weekend seminar, or if you want to become an Instructor in their system you need to spend an entire week of training, and mock people who train for years to understand something so simple as human interpersonal violence.  How can they offer such results?  They teach lethal force level techniques in response to social violence.  You know the type of violence that is the most easy to avoid.  They do not teach the law, because the law clearly states what they are teaching is UNREASONABLE  and ILLEGAL!  Guy approaches you in the bar? – Smash in his throat stomp on him while he is down!  FEAR NO MAN!  Guaranteed to save your life or your money back!

I have seen “experts” write - In my (insert name of ultimate kick ass system) we have a saying better to be judged by 12 carried by 6.

Or  - If I was attacked the last thing I would think of is the law

Many RBSD, Commando CQB instructors go so far as to say knowledge of the law will cause you to freeze under pressure.

That is like saying knowledge of traffic laws will cause you to freeze if you have to change lanes suddenly to avoid a collision.

Yes, that pressure I may change lanes with out signaling my intent, or use the break down lane to avoid injury or death caused by a crash.  But I will be able to explain my reasonable actions.

Not knowing traffic laws and smashing your car into someone because they cut you off is unreasonable and illegal.

Keeping with this analogy, compared to violence driving is fairly simple.  Yet, how long is the minimum driver’s education class?  At least 3 months? Be weary of anyone who claims they can teach you every thing you need to know to be a safe driver in a weekend, or claims he can make you a Driver’s Ed instructor in a week.

You may have told yourself all kinds of stories about what a total bad ass you are because you know some kind of deadly warrior system or commando combative system. A system that you paid big bucks to be trained in. But when you're looking someone, who means you harm, in the eye THAT'S when you're going to find out what you weren't taught. That's when you're going to discover the difference between training and doing. That's when you're going to learn the difference between fear and panic. And that's why you'll discover how much you trust your training
- Marc MacYoung
Ok, this blog has kind of spiraled into a rant, and I’ve been riding the tough guys and the commandos, and the merchants pretty hard.

Let me say that I’m not suggesting you coddle criminals or hide in your home.  Avoid the violence that can be avoided.  When it can’t be avoided use the appropriate level (avoid ineffective lower levels) of force needed to end the violence as quickly as possible. If that means you have to break the son of a bitch’s neck to get back home alive then break his fucking neck.  I’m just saying that knowledge of the law, and the ability to articulate the level of force you used is just as important as the physical skill used to break his neck.

If you don’t know your State’s use of force laws, that’s an easy fix and it is free – go look them up.

If you want to learn how to incorporate the many various sub contextual issues of dealing with human interpersonal violence into your training please check out this seminar

Violence Dynamics

Marc MacYoung
Rory Miller
9/26 Monday
Conflict Communications
9/27 Tuesday
Force Physics
9/28 Wednesday
Practical Applications of Defensive Tactics
Day 1: Low Level (restraint) Force
9/29 Thursday
Practical Applications of Defensive Tactics
Day 2: Higher Level Force


Conflict Communication Improves understanding of violence, and interpersonal communications.
Increases verbal skills and helps to make use of force less necessary (lessens the need)
If you're emotional and caught up in the default human conflict behaviors, the best de-escalation training in the world (Verbal Judo, C.I.T., etc) is of no use to you. You're not going to be able to do it.
The essential message of Conflict Communications is -
De-escalation starts with you.

Conflict Communications' goal is to teach you how to prevent conflict whenever possible and to minimize its impact when unavoidable.
Most conflicts can be successfully controlled by using the principles of this system. This is not specialized education only a select few can master. The program is designed so anyone can use it to prevent a conflict. And we do this by teaching you to de-escalate yourself first.
Originally designed for law enforcement  to be used when confronting violent felons, the principles of this program also works in business, social and familial situations
By understanding how and why confrontation occurs, Conflict Communications will show you conflict management, de-escalation, situation resolution and, if necessary, articulation of why action was both necessary and reasonable.


Force physics is not a defensive tactics system or a “martial arts” style.
Force physics is a training method developed to enhance your ability to use the defensive tactics or martial arts system you are trained in more
Increasing your competence, and confidence in your existing training.

Force physics will not only make you better at applying force to a resistive subject, but will help you understand the fundamental principles that make the application of force possible.

Force Physics will increase your ability to:
Articulate your use of force
Instruct others in the application of force
Repeatedly attempting to apply ineffective tactics on a resisting subject:
1) Creates hesitation to engage
2) Causes fear of committing WHEN engaged
3) Results in excessive use of force
Force physics enhances your ability to successfully use departmentally approved tactics against an actively resistive subject, increasing officer safety and decreasing use of force complaints


How to apply your defensive tactics system in a dynamic situation.
How to choose, apply and justify an appropriate force response.

This training will improve the student’s ability to improvise effective joint locks, move a larger threat on the ground and demonstrate effective
weapon retention
Practical Applications takes the skills developed in  conflict communications and force physics and “Pressure tests” them using reality based scenarios and force on force training.

Topics covered will include:
Student specific (customized) scenarios
Force Articulation
Action Debrief
Peer counseling

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be Safe

Monday, May 2, 2011

2011 Upper Midwest Special Operations Training Association Conference

The SOTA conference was very successful.  We had a great facility, the entire ball room at the convention center.  That much space allowed us to have separate academic, hands on, and scenario training areas. 

I would like to thank the St Cloud PD who borrowed some wrestling mats from the local high school, and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Training Unit, especially Sgt.Yochim who hauled up Body Opponent Bags, training glocks, training M-16’s, and Bunker shields so we could train hard, and safe. 

As much as I would love to break down point by point what I taught and how we trained it I’m not going to do that.   Special Operations Control Tactics is taught only to Law Enforcement SWAT teams.  Sharing that information here would be in violation of operational security.

Displaying how SWAT teams operate leaves them vulnerable to “counter SWAT” training by the bad guys.  Granted it’s not all that difficult to figure out what a SWAT team needs to be successful, nor is it all that tough to make things harder for them.  But I’m not going to just give that information away to any jack off with an internet connection.

I do have a 40 hour Instructor development program, and that program is open to civilian contractors.  However, there is a minimum 5 year training with, bleeding on Kasey so he is absolutely sure you are able to, and worthy of, teaching men who will bet their lives on what you are teaching them prerequisite before you are even considered for the Instructor course.

That is what the focus of this blog will be about.  How kick ass my trainers are.

Besides regular (grueling J ) Dojo training, the crew of trainers that helped me with SOTA have been working with SWAT teams as role players and trainers for about 5 years.  They have helped train the Ramsey County SWAT team, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Emergency Response team, the River Valley SWAT team, and the East Metro SWAT team.

About a year ago I knew I was going to present Special Operations Control Tactics at SOTA this year.  We used that year to take what we learned teaching those different teams and further refine the process.

When Jimerfield Sensei came to town we really worked on long gun weapon retention and knocked the bugs out of that.
When Marc and Rory were here we did a test run and bullshit test.  They played the role of Operators in the class and helped me to articulate what I was teaching in a way that would be easy to understand.

At the beginning of 2011 we started the Special Operations Control Tactics Instructor Course.  3 hours of training every other Saturday.  This class was designed to help “martial artists” better teach the application of force to Operators, and to teach Operators how to better apply the physics of force (be better “martial artists”).

I couldn’t be happier with the end result, and it really showed at SOTA.

Here are some quotes from class evaluations:
“Lots of feedback from Instructor / Assistants”
“Great Assistants”
“All of the Assistants were very helpful with lots of good feedback”
‘Instructors were all approachable and took time to work with individuals”

Cops in general, but especially SWAT Operators are notoriously weary of civilian Instructors.  So for Operators to not only take the time to fill out a class evaluation but to praise civilian trainers on that evaluation speaks volumes about the instruction my guys provided.

The class was very well received.  Good questions were asked, and because of our preparation they were questions we had asked ourselves, so we had good answers. 

Answers that could be adapted to team’s specific tactics and still work very well. 
As opposed to:
  • Nope you are wrong
  • Every thing you have been doing for years sucks
  • I am right, here is how to do it my way. 

More like:
  • Here is the fundamental principle
  • This is how you use it to achieve this goal. 
  • If your team achieves that goal using this tactic, this is how the fundamental principle enhances that tactic.

Again I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out.  My sincere thanks to everyone who helped me put this class together.

Train hard, train smart, be safe