Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book review - Taiho Jutsu The Art Of Arrests

This blog was supposed to be a review of the Taiho Jutsu Minnesota – Takedowns Seminar.  With answers to the big questions I asked last blog and training advice on how to implement what we learned.

Man plans God laughs

I have been working on that class for over 6 weeks.  My whole family was excited to have a long weekend in Mankato (Grandma Ronny’s birthday was that weekend too).  I was going to Roll with Rudenick Sensei at his Judo Dojo in the morning, eat lunch then teach all afternoon at Gus’s Dojo.  Then eat dinner and drink a couple of adult type beverages.  Perfect weekend, a little bit a Valhalla right here on Earth.

But instead…..

Thursday night after class I had some water and my stomach felt funny.  Lise drove home from the Dojo and I had to focus so as not to puke all over her car.  The second I walked into my house that focus was broken and I got sick.

Violent spasaming, convulsing, like a guy changing into a werewolf in a movie type heaving sick.  This continued from when I walked in the door at 11pm ever 30-45 minutes until 6am Friday morning.

Wow that sucked!  As miserable as that was, what was worse was the realization that I wouldn’t feel better in time to salvage my kickass weekend.  Even if I did it wouldn’t be fair to expose Cops and other Dojos to what ever demon virus that had beat the living shit out of me for the last 36 some odd hours.

So a Taiho Jutsu Minnesota – Takedowns Seminar review blog will be coming.  Just not today, but it has been awhile since I blogged. 

Instead of training I read, so this blog will be a book review.

Taiho Jutsu
The art of arrests

By Steven Kaplan and Jeffery Kaplan

Steven Kaplan studied martial arts under Larry Lent a graduate of the grueling Air Force Strategic Air Command Combative Measures Program at the Kodokan.  This book explores the Taiho Jutsu that emerged from that program and compares and contrasts Taiho Jutsu to other Law Enforcement defensive tactics and Military combative measures programs

What I liked
The history of the US Air Force Strategic Air Command Combative Measures Program.  Phil Porter Sensei was an American pioneer in Japanese martial arts and a graduate of the SAC program.  Through Porter’s student (my teacher) Steve Jimerfield the SAC program directly influenced what I teach.  So it was very interesting for me to learn more about this program, and fun for me to recognize major portions of it.

The emphasis placed on tai sabaki
How tai sabaki is the link between the different father arts of Taiho Jutsu (Judo, Aikido, Karate)
How that tai sabaki can be enhanced with traditional weapons training (Kenjutsu, Jojutsu, Tanto Jutsu)

You may notice that I have blogged on those topics in the past.  It was cool for me to read my ideas supported by a different source.  (Everybody love to be right…right?)

What I didn’t like
The book gets a little Ameri-do-te like.  Best of all, worst of none.  Why Taiho Jutsu is great and this art (insert art here) is ok but not as good as Taiho Jutsu over and over again.

I agreed with most of what he wrote, and I love Taiho Jutsu.  I teach Taiho Jutsu full time.  But even I was like Ok enough is enough already Taiho Jutsu is great we get it.

Also the nearly non stop defining the difference between the “short” program and Taiho Jutsu as taught in a Dojo setting with a Kyu / Dan system was tedious.  Even then, flipping back and fourth between the two variations was confusing.

To compound this repetition there are at least 2 chapters “Improvisation in Taiho Jutsu” and “Advice against a Boxer” that are repeated verbatim twice in the book.

This book would have been much better if they had a professional editor with no martial arts experience proof read and check for understandability.

All and all I enjoyed this book

If you are interested in the history of the US Air Force Strategic Air Command Combative Measures Program or Japanese martial arts I would suggest reading this book.

You can get nearly the entire book here for free

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Edo Machi-kata Taiho Jutsu

If you are reading this blog I have to assume that you are interested in / actively training in - the martial arts.

So let me start this blog by asking, why did you get into martial arts?
For me it started when I was a kid.  I wanted to be like Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe. 

Latter I wanted to kick ass like Steven Seagal.  I’m sure many of you reading this have similar stories (if you are honest with yourselves).

Martial Arts are cool, and they are fun.

As I became a Police Officer, and then a SWAT Operator I become more interested in the practical elements than the cool and fun aspects of training.  Martial Arts were designed for guys with a job to do just like mine.  I became (am still) very interested in what worked then, why it worked, and how it is applicable today.

But even with that relatively small specialized focus, martial arts are still cool, and they are still fun.

It used to drive me crazy that more Law Enforcement and Military Operators didn’t train on a regular basis.  Hell I’ve probably ranted about that on this blog 50 times.   It used to drive me crazy until I realized I was an addict.  Luckily for me I’m addicted to something that is beneficial, but I’m addicted all the same. 

Looking at it that way I was mad that non addicts were not addicted to what I’m addicted to.

So where am I going with this?

Recently I received an email asking me about the Edo Machi-kata Taiho Jutsu organization.  I am the Regional Representative for United States of America (Midwest Region) of this organization.

As I was answering the question I realized that I have never really wrote about it here.

Here is a link to the website:

This is my approach to the Organization.  This organization does not dictate which approach you choose to take.  It encourages members to train in what ever aspects of Taiho Jutsu they are passionate about and share that training with the rest of the organization.

The aspect of Taiho Jutsu I’m most passionate about is modern practical application for Law Enforcement and Military.  Others focus on ancient weapons techniques like the Jutte used in Kenjutsu to arrest sword wielding samurai with out killing them.

Edo Machi-kata Taiho Jutsu is dedicated to researching, preserving, and disseminating information about traditional Japanese arresting arts and implements.
Members include a diverse group of martial arts enthusiasts with interests ranging from traditional Japanese styles to modern law enforcement arresting techniques.
All martial arts practitioners, instructors, students, and scholars interested in studying taiho jutsu are welcome.

Some taiho jutsu techniques have been adopted and modified for more contemporary law enforcement applications. Based on martial art styles from the Japanese feudal era, modern forms of taiho jutsu are frequently an essential part of training programs for many police agencies today. Law enforcement officers in countries around the world often rely on modern taiho jutsu to safely arrest and detain suspects.

Some of the things I like best about this organization is that it has no strict curriculum.  As I mentioned before this organization does not dictate which approach you choose to take.  It encourages members to train in what ever aspects of Taiho Jutsu they are passionate about and share that training with the rest of the organization.

When we get together I can learn some Kenjutsu, the Goshin Jutsu Kata from Judo, or evasion techniques form Tomiki Aikido or Nihon Jujutsu.  I can take what I feel is applicable to what I do and bring that back to my students.  Likewise Kenjutsu, Judo, Aikido, and Jujutsu instructors can learn some of the combatives that I teach.  They can see the roots in their arts and bring that Oyo waza or practical application back to their students.

I usually pick up something or get a new perspective on other things I’ve been doing for a long time.  Bottom line even if I don’t it is a reminder that martial arts are still cool, and they are still fun. 

Also because there is no strict no strict curriculum no rank is offered.  That way the organization avoids the politics and bullshit power struggles that all too often destroy martial arts organizations.  There is no rank, so there is no power.  I don’t tell the Kenjutsu guys how to run their business.  Nor do people who have never arrested anyone in their life tell me how to do mine.  We remain a group of guys that have a common interest in Japanese martial arts and enjoying exchanging what we know with each other.

Addicts seeking out other addicts if you will.  Instead of trying to understand why others don’t train or trying to force others to train.

Because there is no strict no strict curriculum and no rank is offered no fees are charged either.  If you are interested in Japanese martial arts and you want exchange your expertise with other Budo parishioners look into joining.

Petitions for membership must include a detailed outline of martial arts experience as well as a brief statement explaining why you are interested in traditional Taiho jutsu.

Completed membership petition forms may be submitted via e-mail to the director or printed and mailed to the appropriate regional representative.

Please fill out the membership petition from this link

If you live in the Midwest send it to me at

If not find out who your Regional Director is and tell them Kasey sent ya

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Minnesota Nice

WALKER, Minn. — A northern Minnesota man is charged with fatally stabbing another man after an argument at a party last weekend.

Cass County prosecutors charged 23-year-old Frank Jesse LaRose of Longville with second-degree murder.

According to the complaint, LaRose became agitated during a party and started arguing with 31-year-old James Elmberg of Walker.

A witness says LaRose approached Elmberg as if to hug him but actually stabbed him in the chest. Another witness saw LaRose carrying two knives across the room.

Officers recovered two knives from the kitchen sink. One blade appeared to have blood on it.

Elmberg died at Crosby Hospital. LaRose caught a ride and was later arrested at a nearby home.

Bail for LaRose is set at $500,000. He does not have an attorney yet and remains in jail.

Here is a real world example of using social skills for asocial violence

It can sound like:

Hey man you got a light?

What time is it?

How do I get to here on this map?

This both splits the victim’s attention and gives the predator a socially acceptable pretense to close distance.

LaRose is arguing with Elmberg.  They are pissed at each other.  Awe, I’m sorry man come here and give me a hug.

Do you train against this type of attack - grab and stab / hand shake shank?
Or do you train from distances and attacks that work best for the defenses you already know?
"Like most beginners you stabbed me wrong..."

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 27-year-old man has been accused of shooting the bouncer of a Minneapolis club after he was kicked out for disruptive behavior.

James David Wren of Minneapolis was charged with second-degree attempted murder and prohibited person in possession of a firearm, which are both felonies.

According to the criminal complaint, on Jan. 1, 2012, Wren was kicked out of the Sound Bar by a bouncer. Wren then allegedly made threatening gestures to the security.

Later, at 3:30 a.m., the bouncer left work in his vehicle. While driving, a large SUV pulled up alongside him. Inside, the bouncer told police there were at least four people looking at him.

Then, the SUV backed up and the bouncer realized he was shot. He then fled the scene and was able to stop police officers.

It was later determined that a bullet entered his body through his right shoulder and travelled through his chest cavity, where it lodged itself in his lower left chest cavity. The bullet was removed in surgery.

A police investigation was able to identify the owner of the SUV. In an interview, the owner said Wren told him to follow the bouncer’s vehicle and that Wren fired one shot at the vehicle, the complaint said.

If convicted, Wren could face up to 20 years in prison.

What can we take from this?
I don’t have any Borne Identity commando bullet proof driving tips to offer.

We can take from this: 
Leave a face saving way out for everybody
            “Hey, thank you for not putting up a fight.  I know you could have given me a rough time if you chose to”
            It doesn’t cost you any thing.  It saves face for the person you arrested / escorted out.  And has a secondary effect of making him think  - Holy shit I was fighting as hard as I could and this guy thinks I wasn’t doing anything!  I’d hate to see what this guy does when he thinks he is in a real fight.

It isn’t over until it is over.  If face is lost it has to be regained somehow.  Maybe that means finding an easier target – girlfriend or kids when he gets home.  Maybe that means using asocial skills (drive by) for social reasons (status in his group)

The monkey brain can’t distinguish between humiliation and death.  If you have taken away someone’s pride away be extra vigilant because they me be coming back for it.

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The bigger they are the harder they fall…really???

The next meeting / training clinic of Taiho Jutsu Minnesota is 2/25/12 at Mankato Martial Arts in Mankato MN
The training topic of the month is Takedowns.  As I’ve mentioned before besides training these clinics are designed to allow trainers and operators to brain storm ideas and solutions to problems encountered in the field. 
Skull sweat, thinking, problem solving, pressure testing – banging out solutions.
I can never guarantee that other trainers will bring up issues they are having at the class.  So I take an issue I am facing and incorporate into the lesson plan.
Last month the discussion topic was developing ways to actively train watching for and reacting to pre-attack indicators.  The results of that generated my last two blogs.
This time, to further foster brainstorming and garner more input from other Instructors I’m going to e-mail the Taiho Jutsu Minnesota network the discussion topic / question ahead of time.  And post it here as well.  That way they will have a couple of weeks to think about it before the training and I’m not just springing it on them.
Those of you reading this that will not be at the training in Mankato feel free to include your ideas on the comment section.  I’d like to your feedback on this too.
"Turn around and put your hands behind your back  - bub"

Discussion Topic: Fighting outside your weight class
The bigger they are the harder they fall

Most Law Enforcement DT Instructors and Military Combatives instructors are large males in good physical condition.  Traditionally these men are set in front of a recruit class as an exemplar.  This is what you should strive to be.  These men generally have been successful in the field and have returned to teach what has worked for them.

Returned to teach what has worked for large men in good physical condition. 
That is who trained most of us, and that is what they have trained us in.

Today’s topic of discussion -
What do you teach:
  • Small stature operators
  • Out of shape operators
  • Older operators
That works to control aggressive, large men, in good physical condition who want to harm them?

Ideally everyone in Law Enforcement and the Military would be lean and mean.  Unfortunately anyone who has taught these groups knows that is not the case.

Operators outside the large fit male demographic will have difficulty with techniques and strategies that only work for large fit males – duh

Many things can be overcome through hard work and training.  However, Operators who put themselves outside that demographic due to poor lifestyle choices have proven they will not do the hard work necessary on their own.

As Instructors we take on a large responsibility.  We take on the responsibility to keep our guys safe.  Even those guys that won’t take that responsibility for themselves.  If they get hurt or killed we will have to live with the question – what else could I have done to help them?

You can push for higher standards and testing.  You can push for more training.  But what can you do right now with the resources you have?

For civilian instructors that train Law Enforcement / Military, who is your nightmare opponent?
 - Bigger
OK, how much bigger?
– 3 weight classes up

UFC weight classes:
  • Heavyweight               - Over 205 lbs. to 265 lbs.
  • Light Heavyweight      - Over 185 lbs. to 205 lbs.
  • Middleweight              - Over 170 lbs. to 185 lbs.
  • Welterweight              - Over 155 lbs. to 170 lbs.
  • Lightweight                 - Over 145 lbs. to 155 lbs.

So 60 to 100 pounds heavier
 - Stronger
OK, How much stronger?
 - Meaner – disregards the rules, wants to hurt you
Fighting this guy would suck!

Now let’s give him the 1st attack by surprise from behind.

Do you have anything that can handle this nightmare?
This nightmare is what women face every minute of every day. 

If you don’t have anything that can beat that nightmare opponent, what are you teaching as women’s self defense?  What are you teaching cops?

The terms “fighting” and “weight class” have sport connotations.  The purpose of the question is to get Instructors out of a sports mind set.
Originally Judo had no weight classes.  You learned what worked for you against opponents of all different sizes.

I am not advocating complex Judo throws for Law Enforcement.
However, I hope asking these question and the training that results from striving to answer them will help operators:
  • Discover the principles of what makes those throws possible. 
  • Be able to teach those principles to others. 
  • And that the people they teach are able to use those principles to improvise / spontaneously create throws under pressure against a resisting subject that is larger than them.

I look foreward to your input on this.
Train hard, train smart, be safe