Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Violence Dynamics Seminar Registration Form

Here is the registration form.  It has all the times and dates.  It hope it answers any questions, and I hope to see you at the seminar

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Violence Dynamics Seminar advertisments

Here are the pages we will be sending to local Martial Arts schools.  If you are interested in attending please print and post at your school.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Can you cut it?

Hello true believers (that sounds kind of cultish unless you’re a comic nerd and know I’m quoting Stan Lee) It’s been a while since the ol’ Silver Back checked in.
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks
·         The birth of my 3rd daughter (both Momma and baby are doing great)
·         Couple of high risk felony search warrants
·         Active shooter training
·         Sniper training
·         Prepping for the Violence Dynamics seminar
·         And setting up another One on One Control Tactics Instructor course.
Actually with all of that, I’ve had a ton of stuff I wanted to blog about.  But not much time and a lot of those blog topics aren’t for public consumption and violate operational security.
So, this blog is my attempt to boil down those specific operational topics into general principles applicable to anyone’s training.

Admittedly most of my Kenjutsu training has been with bokken (wood sword) as opposed to shinken (live sword or sharp edge).  What I hate about Kenjutsu is all the bullshit that comes with it.  Because people haven’t used Katana for actual combat in generations training drifts away from practical efficient killing and begins to focus on things that don’t really matter.  One of the things I LOVE about shinken training is all that bullshit drifts away and all that is left is can you cut or not.
I’m sure this guys knows exactly how to fold the pleats of his hakama, the exact angle to hold the sword for chuburi noto, how many steps to take and which foot to start with to approach the tatami but when it came down to it none of that matters.  He couldn’t cut it, he lost his sword, and nearly injured the onlookers.
So, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?
Sniper training
After last month’s sniper training, I thought it would be a good idea to work with some three dimensional targets.  It has been my experience as a fire arms instructor that no matter how dialed in you get your guys on paper the added element of a 3D target throws off their mojo.  For example you can have your guys nailing a 3”x5” target like a tack hammer but then switch up to a bowling pin (represents the space in a human from the base of the nose down to the xiphoid process that ends aggression see also lethal wound channels) which is much larger than 3”x5” it’s like the damn thing has a force field, no one can hit it.  Until they do.  And that is a problem because unlike most Hollywood scripts bad guys are three dimensional. 
So for sniper training I thought it would be a good idea to shoot golf balls (three dimensional representation of a one minute of angle critical brain shot).  So Donny super glued some string to ping pong balls (cheaper than golf balls) and we stapled them to the bottom of the target stands.  Now, shooting on paper you can admire a nice grouping, it’s really cool if all your shots are touching.  It shows solid mechanics.  But a nice grouping outside the circle is a beautiful group of misses.  With the balls you either hit it or you don’t.  Nothing else matters.
Wow Kasey you’re so cool…what’s the point?
Well, in sport arts you either win or you don’t.  It’s hard to brag about how great you are at Judo if you keep getting your ass kicked at tournament.  In practical application / self defense just like Kenjutsu or shooting at paper there is a large window of opportunity for bullshit to creep in.  The only way to know if what you are training works is to prevail in a violent confrontation, but the stakes are the highest possible and there is no silver medal for second place.  You either cut it or you are raped, maimed, killed, all the above.
So whatever you are training, like the 3d targets, like the tameshigiri, you need to develop safe ways to cut through the bullshit and find out if you can cut it.
What if you can’t?  That’s scary, but be happy because now you have something concrete to work on.  Not bullshit, not aesthetics, not tradition, something real you can work on until you do cut it.  That builds competence, and competence creates real confidence.
For assistance finding safe ways to cut it check out “Drills: Training for sudden violence” by Rory Miller.  I’m especially fond of the chapter on world work, particularly the global awareness exercise, but I’m biased J

Sniper training part 2  - I am blessed to work with guys who are very skilled, and push each other to constantly improve.  Shooting balls was my idea, and it was good training.  Making it a competition (competition induces stress, not the same as combat stress, but a way to help simulate it safely) was Hankee’s idea and using PT to induce physical stress (physical stress helps simulate the body’s reaction to combat stress) was Mike’s idea.  So because of the guys I train with my good idea evolved into a great drill.  Any chump can shoot paper at 100 yards, Operators have to be able to hit a critical brain shoot under pressure and so the ball blasting drill was born
Round 1
Bolts back safety on
10 push ups
Sprint to gun
Shoot 1st ball
10 push ups
Shoot 2nd ball
Stand up when you’re done
1st one done = winner   
Round 2
Bolts back safety on
3 pull ups
Shoot 1st ball
3 pull ups
Shoot 2nd ball
Stand up when you’re done
1st one done = winner  
I wish I could say I was the winner, Donny won every time.  I came in last every time.  But I got better.  Training with guys who are hard to beat can be humbling, but it pushed my envelope and increased my skill set
At the end of the day I went back to the ping pong drill.  I would hit it then have a moving target.  Making the ball dance, hitting a moving target the size ping pong ball at 100 yards is a great confidence booster, competence creates real confidence.  I can brag because I cut it and my partners force me to cut it under ever more difficult conditions.
Wow Kasey you’re so cool…what’s the point?
Who are you training with?  Do you seek out the toughest guy at your school, get your ass kicked but improve?  Or do you hide in a corner and always train with the same guy, someone you are better than, because its strokes your ego.  It may feel good and comfortable but it will cause you to stagnate in mediocrity
So in summary
Finds ways to test when the pressure is on can if you can cut it, and find training partners that push you to cut it under ever more difficult conditions.

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An open question

Lise and I have been working on some promotional items for the martial arts side of the Rory Miller /  Marc MacYoung seminar. 

Yesterday after I showed the promos to Marc, he asked me - can it get through the thick headed "I know it all" of most school owners?

That got me thinking.  Way I see it we want to reassure them that they didn't waste their life training in something that doesn't work.
"Almost every technique in the Martial Arts works.  If you know when and where to use it." - Rory Miller

At the same time I know there are instructors who are secretly insecure about the validity of their training.  Would this work against a real attack?

I'm trying to promote the seminar in a way that reassures them about what they know and encourages them to attend the seminar learn what they don't know or what is missing.

The theme being applying martial arts to real world modern violence.

So, with that in mind here are the class synopsis we will be sending to all the schools in the metro area (yes Marc Minnesota has a metro area)

Violence Dynamics Seminar - Classes

The purpose of Conflict Communications is to teach you how to prevent conflict whenever possible and to minimize its impact when unavoidable.

Martial Arts training has an emphasis on punching and kicking. But how much practice time do students get identifying when they are on the road to violence or how to get off that road without using physical force?

Conflict Communications provides that training.

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

Martial arts evolved in very dangerous times to deal with dangerous situations.  In the modern era, where armed bandits and invading Mongols are rare, some of the hard-earned lessons of the past are easily missed.

"Almost every technique in the Martial Arts works.  If you know when and where to use it." - Rory Miller

If you've spent years practicing your responses to violent situations, you owe it to yourself to spend two days studying violent situations.  How do criminals attack?  Why?  How can I see it coming?  Which of my skills evolved from dueling and which from ambush survival?  What is the law on self-defense?

Introduction to Violence is a non-system specific way to train yourself to adapt to emergency applications of force

Instructors –

Marc MacYoung
Marc MacYoung grew up in situational poverty in the gang-infested streets of Los Angeles. Before turning his life around, he freely admits he was 'part of the problem.' As well as living in some of the most violent and crime-infested areas of LA, he's worked as a body guard, bouncer and director of a correctional center. He's taught de-escalation and defensive tactics to police from nine different countries. He's the author of 21 books and videos on subjects ranging from crime avoidance to professional use of force to street knife violence and street survival.

Rory Miller
Rory Miller spent more than 17 years in a metropolitan jail system as a line officer and supervisor, investigator, tactical team leader and mental health specialist. He also spent a year teaching Iraqis how to run humane and effective prisons. He is the author of several books including; "Meditations on Violence", “Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected”, and Drills: Training for Sudden Violence

Kasey Keckeisen
Kasey Keckeisen is an experienced Police Officer, SWAT team leader, and SWAT training coordinator.  Keckeisen has taught Control Tactics to Universities, Law Enforcement Agencies, and Special Operations Teams across Minnesota.

The open question is if you received this seminar promotion at you Dojo  / school would you want to attend?
If not what would encourage you to attend?



Monday, August 1, 2011

What are they teaching these kids?

Karate is not self defense

Why does this 10 year old kid have a Black Belt?

Now before I start a flame war here me out.  I had the privilege of cross training in Goju Ryu Karate with Lewinski Sensei while I was in college.  Fantastic training focusing on the practical application of a traditional art.  I love the way Karate was taught there.  In fact I have incorporated much of what I learned into the Taiho Jutsu I now teach.  Karate can be used very effectively for self defense.  However, the issue I have is that Karate is rarely taught the way it was at MSU, especially to kids.

Which brings us to today’s exciting blog….

“Tales from Safety Camp”

Last week I was a camp councilor at “Safety Camp”.  Safety Camp is a program for children 8-10 years to learn Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and EMT’s are just regular people while they are educated on safety topics. 
Safety training includes:
  • Fire safety
  • How / Why to call 911
  • Electricity safety
  • Hazard House – how to get out of a burning house
  • Water Safety
  • Bike Safety
  • Internet safety
  • Self Defense

The guy who used to teach the self defense portion couldn’t make it so the camp organizers asked me if Lise could teach it.  Lise and I have taught women’s self defense for this person before.  Lise agreed to take time off from work and developed a lesson plan

The kids are divided into 3 teams (Green, Orange, and Purple) and rotate between different safety topics and playing.  I was a councilor for the Green Team Cobras (I was Cobra Commander of course).

The camp starts with an opening ceremony with all the Chiefs from all the local agencies and McGruff, Sparky, and Smokey all in attendance.  The camp organizer introduced the Self Defense portion with Lise as Karate stuff where you get to kick and punch.  Lots of kids jumped up yelling oh, oh, I know Karate and started doing their “moves”.  I whispered to Lise you are going to have lots of habits to break.

As luck turned out my Green team had Self Defense with Lise first.  I could help her out a little bit while she got a feel for how she was going to present the class.
Lise started with very basic common sense things that all kids should know.  Things like how to keep themselves safe so they don’t need to use self defense skills.  As she was transitioning from theory to physical skills, she talked about how important it is to never let a stranger take you away (to a secondary crime scene).  One of the kids asked what if they have a gun.  Before Lise had a chance to answer a kid said I know this I know Karate, you can just take the gun out of his hand.

I said ok Karate kid stand up.  I made my fingers into a gun.  I told him to get into my car or I was going to shoot him.  He moved to grab me.  I yelled BANG really loud.  Your dead, your black belt could not keep you from getting your head blown off.  We will be sad and send flowers to your funeral.  Then I asked him what does he think would work better than trying to wrestle a gun away from an adult 3 times his size that has the intention to hurt him.  He didn’t know (must not have been listening to Lise because he already knew every thing).  So I reversed roles with him.  He made a gun and said get in my car.  I started yelling help this guy has a gun help and running around.  All the kids laughed.  I made the point that I might not even be able to take the gun away from this little kid.  But I don’t need to take the gun away to defeat him.  He needs quiet and privacy that is why he wants to drive me away so he can hurt me with out anyone being able to stop him.  If I bring a lot of attention to him he has lost quiet and privacy.  Predators attack easy prey, I just made myself more work than it is worth.

Physical Techniques
Following the theme of an adult attempting to take them to a secondary scene the first technique Lise taught was an escape from a wrist grab.  Lise showed how to make your wrist skinny, how to slip your wrist between their fingers and thumb, and how to move your entire body to generate power and get out of the way of any secondary attack.  A different kid yelled I already know that, I know Karate….

I said ok Karate kid try it on me.  I told him my car was parked behind that tree (about 10 yards away) if I put him in the car I’m going to do horrible things to him.  I also told him if he could escape with what he already knew I’d give him $5.  I grabbed his arm and started walking away.  He didn’t do anything Lise showed him.  He pulled against me trying to use strength and pulling his wrist into the strength of my hand instead of the weakness of the gap between my fingers.  I asked him if he really thought he would be able to out muscle a 250 lb grown man who bench presses Buicks, and has the intent to hurt you.  He said yes.  I replied ok try again.  This time I gave him a nice Yonkajo which brought him down to his knees (Aikido guys will know what I’m talking about).  So we reviewed what Lise taught. Using physics not strength.  We tried again, I held on as tight as I could and started pulling him away.  He stepped in using my motion not fighting it.  Created power through weight transfer and used that power to move his wrist through the gap in my fingers.  He escaped.  Minimum effort, maximum result.

Attack from rear.
The last physical technique Lise taught was a hair pull / drag off from the rear.  Again sticking with the theme of an adult attempting to take them to a secondary scene.  Lise taught to drop your weight, use your arms to protect your head, step in to break free and run away.  Can you guess what happened next readers?  Sure enough a 3rd kid said I already know this I know Karate. 

So I grabbed his hair and growled in his ear that I was going to drag him off to my creepy van with the windows painted over and eat his face off. (maybe they were not ready for stress inoculation yet but that’s the way I roll)  He tried to elbow me.  I simply started pulling him and destroyed his balance he couldn’t do anything.  So lets try this again, what did Lise show you.  1) drop your center.  See how I can’t pull you now?  2) Protect your head – I gave him a playful slap to see why that is necessary.  3) Turn and step with the drag.  He was free -  Minimum effort, maximum result.

Gather around children
After the 3rd I already know this I know Karate I felt the issue had to be addressed.  I had the kids gather around.  I told them that I had been teasing Karate a little bit but that I thought Karate was really cool (I do).  I told them it was great for what it is.   Karate is a great art and a great sport.  And sports can boost focus, respect, balance, self control, setting and achieving goals, making new friends, and having a great time!  You can learn all those traits playing basketball, volley ball or swimming too.  But Karate doesn’t prepare you to protect yourself from an adult with the intent to do bad things to you anymore than playing basketball, volley ball or swimming.  So it is important to listen to the self defense instructor even if you know Karate, because when you did what she taught you escaped every time.  Great job!, you could tell I was trying really hard to hold on to you guys and I couldn’t.  That’s awesome.  But, when you did what you thought you knew you failed and the bad guy could have taken you away and done what ever they wanted to you.  If you learn just one thing from the self defense class is that you can not out muscle an adult.  That is just Hollywood movie silliness.  Much better to use Lise’s advice on how to prevent that situation from ever happening, and if God forbid that it ever does to yell and scream and bring as much attention to yourself as possible.  Because no mater what you can’t let them take you away.

Proving ground.
So after my little talk it was time to play on the playground until we rotated to the next safety training topic.  Lise did a great job playing with the kids.  She was the stranger.  She would stalk and grab kids while they were playing.  And guess what?, under pressure against a random (well 1 of possible 3) attacks the kids reacted instinctively with the appropriate technique.  While the other kids yelled help help stranger.  Awesome.

Moral of the story
45 minutes of self defense training served these kids much better than years of Karate training being called self defense. 
  • One simple fundamental motion that works for multiple attacks
  • Realistic attacks / scenarios not retrofitting the attack to fit the defense (see a spinning kick to knock a gun out of a hand)
  • Making sure they can do the technique under pressure.  Competence builds confidence
  • Being honest – we are not selling anything so we are not trying to make what we teach the answer to everything

How many Karate instructors are trained and experienced in Close Quarters Battle?  Not many, if so why are the teaching gun disarming especially to kids. 
Because it’s cool and cool = $$$?

Bottom line if you are a Karate (or any other type of martial art) teacher that teaches kids, teach your art, but don’t fill the kid’s heads with fantasies that they can use that martial art against a grown criminal. 

If you have a separate self defense class make sure you are teaching - simple fundamental motions that works for multiple attacks, realistic attacks / scenarios not retrofitting the attack to fit the defense, making sure they can do the technique under pressure, and most important BE HONEST.

If you can’t meet those criteria with what you know you owe it to your students to learn how.

Shameless self promotion ALERT!!!!
If you want to learn to use what you already know to teach self defense please come to Marc and Rory’s seminar

Train hard, train smart, be safe – BE HONEST!