Monday, April 30, 2012

Ground Skills

On Saturday I taught a ground skills seminar to the United States Police Canine Association (Region 12)
The class went very well and the feedback was fantastic.  Some interesting points were brought up so I thought I would share some of them with the good folks that read this blog.

When I was first approached about this the organizer told me that the USPCA is putting on a weekend training seminar for its members at Camp Ripley.  He said the training will consist of some long and intense tracks with their dogs on Friday.  Saturday they handlers will be tired and their dogs will need to rest.  He asked me if on Saturday I could provide some training above and beyond what they receive in their basic defensive tactics class, as an incentive for more K9 handlers to attend the training seminar.  He also said that he spoke to several of the handlers and they requested some type of Jui Jitsu training.  He implied that the interest in Jui Jitsu was to deal with mixed martial artists.

I was happy to accept the opportunity / challenge

As I prepared the lesson plan the first goal I set out to achieve was to change a mind set.

A particular pet peeve of mine is the (insert sport here) for Law Enforcement phenomenon.
(Volley Ball) for Law Enforcement seems silly
(Table Tennis) for Law Enforcement seems silly
But somehow (Jui Jitsu) for Law Enforcement is legit
Not only is it legit, its a million dollar industry.  In fact I wasn’t even the USPCA’s first choice.  First they went to a local competition Jui Jitsu gym.  He was going to charge them $7000 for four hours of training.  Luckily one of the handlers had trained with me before in Special Operations Control Tactics and suggested the USPCA contact me.

Wait a second Kasey, don’t you teach Taiho Jutsu?  Isn’t that just another way of saying Ju Jutsu for Law Enforcement?  Aren’t you being a hypocritical dick right now?

Ok, yes I teach Ju Jutsu for Law Enforcement, but to best explain why I’m not being a hypocritical dick I'll use a phrase I have stolen from Steve Anderson who taught my first Use of Force Instructor Course (and is also a highly trained martial artist).  It goes something like this;
“I don’t care what your rank is, I don’t care how many titles you have won, I don’t care how elite your gym is, If you haven’t spilled coffee down the front of your shirt trying to cuff (I’ll throw in physically control for the security / bouncer types reading this) someone bigger and stronger than you (outside of your weight class) fighting you as hard as they can, then shut the fuck up.”

Here are some things that Operators have to deal with that “combat” athletes never will deal with that make adding the words for Law Enforcement seem silly:
  • Being kicked while on the ground
  • Multiple attackers
  • Snow / Ice
  • Gravel
  • Pavement / Concrete
  • Broken glass

All of those things make leisurely staying on your back going for an arm bar until time runs out and you win on points fairly ridiculous.

Add to that the DDDD’s or (4D’s)
  • Drunk
  • Drugged
  • Deranged (EDP)
  • Determined

These are the type of people that Operators have to control.  Even if you do get the arm bar these guys won’t feel the pain for a day or two.  Do you think they are going to tap out and give up?

I’ve encountered 4D’s that have had their calf ripped off by a K9, and the next day waged a use of force complaint against the officer that was pinching their leg like a sissy.  This dude had his calf muscle ripped off!!!  He didn’t even know a dog was there, and the next day it only felt like he was being pinched by some weirdo cop!

Do you think they are going to tap out and give up?

OK so let me get off my soap box and back to my point

There is no type of training that can be provided in 4 hours once a year that can outweigh 4 hours of training every day for multiple years.  You can’t out martial art a professional martial artist.

So don’t try.  That’s the mindset I set out to change.

This is how I went about it



How many of you were raised by Air Borne Rangers and trained in Jujutsu Aikido and Krav Maga since before you could walk?

4 hours of training is not going to make you Jujutsu experts.  If you wanted to be, you would already be one.  You would have found a school and trained on a regular basis for years.


Luckily for us you don’t need to be a Jujutsu expert.  You are cops not cage fighters.  You don’t need to be a Jujutsu expert, but you do need to be proficient in certain skills on the ground that allow you to accomplish your job as a Police Officer.  One of those skills is accessing your tools during a physical confrontation.  Which, for you K9 handlers includes the door release that will allow Stanly to come to the rescue with aggressive rapid dick biting.


I’m not here to sell you on a style.  In fact most of what we will be doing today is geared on fundamental motions and principles.  The training is designed to help you find what works best for you, so you can apply it under pressure against a resisting subject under ever changing circumstances that Officers face.  I’m not going to show you complicated techniques, then insist you come to my school for the next 3 years to be able to do them.  Or invite you back to ground skills 1-a where you learn the good stuff.  My job as Instructor is to make sure that when you walk out of this class you will be able to prevail in a close quarters confrontation that goes to the ground.


A little back ground on what we will be working today -

Today’s training stems back to the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command Combative Measures Program implemented just after WWII.  That program was further developed for Law Enforcement by Alaska State Trooper Steven Jimerfield.


Jimerfield’s partner Bruce A. Heck was killed January 10th, 1997 by a four-time felon who had been out of jail for only 12 hours after serving a 10-year sentence.  Bruce ended up on the ground and was suffocated in the snow.


Since then strong emphasis has been placed on ground control, an area where most Law Enforcement Officers need serious additional training.  This program is not meant to replace what you have, but will enhance and supplement your program. These techniques will increase your competence in hand to hand confrontations both standing and on the ground.


With the courts looking at every contact police officers have with the public, this system has been found to be non-obtrusive to the public, while at the same time maintaining officer safety and giving the officer maximum control without causing injury to the suspect or to the officer. This system has been both court and street proven!

It is our hope that by teaching and sharing the One-On-One Control Tactics system other officers will not die in the manner that Bruce did in a hand-to-hand confrontation with a criminal


There are three ways encounters go to the ground

·         Law Enforcement purposefully takes subject to ground. 

·         Law Enforcement and Subject inadvertently fall over each other as they struggle

·         Subject purposefully takes Law Enforcement Officer down

It is important to make the distinction because it will dictate the level of force you use on the ground.

Law Enforcement purposefully taking a subject to ground is not “ground fighting”.  That is establishing control from the beginning and maintaining it through cuffing.  That is the goal of any good defensive tactics system.

Many ground based martial art school advertise that 90% of all fights go to the ground.
The actual study from the LAPD concluded: “Nearly two thirds of the 1988 altercations (62%) ended with the officer and subject on the ground with the officer applying a joint lock and handcuffing the subject.” Given this, it is better put that the LAPD data says when officers physically fought with suspects (versus simply encountering minor resistance or non-compliance which required a minor use of force, but did not escalate into an altercation), 95% of the time those fights took one of five patterns, and 62% of those five types of altercations ended up with the officer and subject on the ground with the officer locking and handcuffing the suspect.
After this report was published, LAPD instituted a program that included training in ground control skills, which in turn were based on modern judo and jujutsu grappling skills specially adapted for law enforcement.

Cops adapting fundamental skills to their trade, not the other way around.  62% ended on the ground not 90% and of that 62% the overwhelming majority of the time the confrontation ended on the ground was because the Officer chose to take the subject to the ground.

Why do cops take subjects to the ground?

·         The Earth provides a stable base to control a body and is always there

·         For control

·         For cuffing

Law Enforcement and Subject inadvertently fall over each other as they struggle creates a ground fighting situation.     The level of force needs to be increased quickly so the subject doesn’t have time to take advantage of a bad situation

Why do criminals take cops to the ground

·         They are trained fighters stuck in a social dominance mind set – trying to win

·         To kill them!

A subject purposefully taking a Law Enforcement Officer down is dangerous!  This can range from the roided up, MMA tough guy who doesn't realize the danger he poses, to a determined criminal that took you to the ground to kill you


How do you escape arrest by taking a cop down?

·         Disable or kill them, then run.  There is no other explanation why a subject would purposefully takes Law Enforcement Officer down


No matter how you got there, when things go to the ground you need to raise your level of force.

Officers have to make a mental shift away from competition mindset / social dominance games to…

This ends right NOW!


Flip the switch from arrest and control to survival


Even if you ended up on the ground by accident, the longer the confrontation goes on the more time the subject has to:

·         Get bad ideas

·         Do bad things

·         Go for your gun


You need to raise your level of force and end the confrontation quickly because going to the ground has increased the level of danger.  Even if  the subject has not increased his intent to injure you.


If you “wrestle”, if you get caught up in social dominance games you may actually be accidently encouraging the subject to wrestle back. 


Rams butt heads with other rams.  Social dominance games designed not to injure.

Humans have social dominance games designed not to injure hard wired into us too. 

Everyone in this room has been involved in or witnessed some variation of this:

“What you lookin’ at?” barks a young man, about your size, about your age.


You don’t think you were looking at anything in particular. You also know the smart thing to do is to give a little apology and go back to your beer.  But you’re a young man yourself. Before you even realize it, you are looking dead in his eyes and saying, “Who wants to know?”


“You trying to be smart?”


“What if I am?”


You aren’t sure who stood up first, but both of you are standing now. His skin is getting red. He’s flexing his shoulders, looking bigger. You can’t see yourself and you don’t even think about it, but you are doing the same thing.


More words are exchanged, some pretty colorful profanities. Both of you step closer and closer. The veins in his neck and forehead are bulging and his jaw muscles are clenching whenever he isn’t insulting you.


You throw a quick glance at the other patrons. Everyone is watching, but no one is doing a thing.

He gets closer—too close—and you push him away, hard.


He responds with a looping overhand punch. In a moment you are both a tangle, rolling on the floor and throwing wild punches until somebody pulls you apart.


No matter how bad ass the style, all sport applications of martial art are based on these social rules. (Designed to win status not to injure / maim / kill)


There’s a saying in the martial arts: “When two tigers fight, one is killed and the other is maimed.”

Actually in nature when two tigers fight, there’s a dominance display and, if one doesn’t back down, there is something like a scuffle. Neither is injured. One leaves, the other keeps the territory.


When a tiger kills prey, that’s a whole different story. That right there is the difference between a dominance contest within a species (social violence) and killing for resources (usually food) outside your species (asocial violence).


When we end up on the ground we need to stop wrestling and start hunting.  Not a fair fight, not a competition, but getting the job done.


Officers need to switch into a predator mindset (focused on accomplishing a task) fast.  Before the subject has time to get scared and start doing things that will force you to use even higher levels of force


When we go to the ground we need to get the job done.  Rise to a high level of force and ease up as control is gained. 


Getting the job done is going to have different definitions depending on the circumstances. 

The definition of what “ends” means is dependent on the level of resistance.

It could mean:

·         Getting up safely and calling fro back up or your dog to chase him down

·         Transitioning to a taser

·         Burying your muzzle in his arm pit and pulling the trigger until the threat stops


A win = you and your partners go home safe, the bad guys go to jail and no one gets sued…successfully

Physical Skills

I’m not going to go over the techniques we practiced.  That would be of little benefit in this format.  If you’re interested contact me and we can set up some hands on training.

But I will give you the premises I operated under.  That way you can use these premises to adapt your own training for practical application.

You can’t out martial art them, but you can out operate them.

What do Operators have that a MMA guy doesn’t
Fire arms
Edged Weapons

So ground skills have to incorporate using these advantages

Ground skills must use simple motions that Officers already know or that are instinctive to all human beings.
These motions must utilize gross motor skills that are available to Officers when the are adrenalized or under extreme weather conditions

Grounds skills must be principle based so that Officers can improvise under the ever changing conditions of actual confrontation.

Ground skills must end the confrontation is three motions or less.

So, as I mentioned earlier the class went very well and the feedback was fantastic.  All the Officers worked very hard and I think a lot of progress was made.

I was very happy with the class and look foreward to training with this group again.

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Monday, April 23, 2012

A funny story (buy this book)

I love to read.  I was blessed that reading was always encouraged.  My mother always read to me.  Our neighbors, my maternal “Grandmothers” were both English teachers and published authors.  By the time I was in 3rd grade I had a 12th grade reading level.

That love of reading fostered itself into an interest in writing.

Years ago I was reading “Rain Fall” by Barry Eisler.  It’s about an Operator that uses Judo to assassinate folks.  Of course I loved it.  I loved it so much I read every page, including the thank yous at the end of the book.  There I first discovered Marc “The Animal” MacYoung, The Animal List, and

My first thought was how come I’m not on this page?  Who the fuck is this MacYoung and why would someone like Eisler, who has worked for the CIA and should know something about something rely on him so heavily for information on the practical application of martial arts?

So I checked out  It is a very large site, lots of information; I was there a long time.  Eisler uses MacYoung because MacYoung is the real deal.  He has been dealing with violence and teaching practical real world applications of martial arts for decades.  I realized I had just started down a path he has been walking for a long time.  I figured maybe I could learn a thing or two so I looked him up on facebook.  He was nice enough to accept my friend request and we had some very long instant message conversations. 

Those of you that read this blog know most of the rest of the story Marc introduced me to Rory Miller and we have been training together ever since.

And they have been encouraging me to write.  An interesting mental process happens when you begin to teach.  The information is stored in your brain a certain way so that you can do something.  You have to know it better to teach it.  That same information has to be examined and stored in a different way.  So every time you teach someone else you are also re-teaching yourself and learning from the student.  Teaching makes you better.  There is a similar process when you write.  Like teaching but you can’t put your hands on the students.  So your words have to do all the work.  You have to be better to write.  Every time you write you re-teach yourself.

For the most part this blog has been an experiment in writing to re-teach myself, and to prepare to write a book.

Since I’ve started blogging I’ve had an article published in Minnesota Police Journal. 

A real world training drill I developed was published in Drills: Training For Sudden Violence (A Chiron Manual) by Rory Miller.
Available here:

Most recently I am a contributing author to “Campfire tales from hell” which will be released next month.

The book is an anthology of stories and hard won information from people who have experienced violence first hand.

The sub-title is: Musings on martial arts, survival, bouncing, and other stuff.

The contributing authors are such a diverse group that they have been described online as an urban Justice League or Avengers (which of course put a smile on my face)

Clint is the leggy blond on the right

This group ranges from mental ward /  psych patients, to thugs and “reformed” criminals, to Corrections and Law Enforcement officers, to a PHD leading the field in PTSD research and treatment.

So how did this motley crew of bad assery come together for this project?

Someone who has helped each and every one of the contributing authors needed help.  So Rory Miller (it actually physically hurts me as I write thisJ, if I can’t be Cap. I call Batman) assumed the role of Captain America and the Avengers assembled.

This book features articles by:
Marc MacYoung
Lawrence Kane
Alain Burrese
Wim Demerre
And more (yeah that’s me!)

Including new John Rain Fiction by Barry Eisler.  So the funny story mentioned in the title of this blog is that reading Eisler started a chain of events that includes me being published in the same book as him, pretty cool if you don’t mind me dislocating my shoulder patting myself on the back.

One step closer to my own book.

So go buy the book it’s awesome and all profits help a good man out of a bad situation.

Train hard, Train smart (that includes lots of reading), Be safe

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Phone booth fighting

I haven’t written about the Super Soldier Project in awhile.  I Changed some things around recently and I have been making progress. 

In review the physical training portion of the Super Soldier Project can be broken down into 3 segments
Strength Training
Cardio Training
Conditioning (skill specific training)

For strength training I had been dong a full body circuit twice per week.  That was my favorite and most productive workout.
For cardio I was running twice a week.  Necessary work but boring, I just don’t like running. (Don’t have to like it / just have to do it)
For conditioning I was training one specific skill set once a week.  Depending on the skill set it was hit or miss if the skill training was also good exercise.
Rest 2 days a week.


As I mentioned strength training was the most productive and my favorite training.  So instead of training the entire body in one circuit, I broke that circuit into pushers and pullers

Push:               Pull:
Quad               Hamstrings
Chest               Back
Shoulders        Bi’s
Tri’s                 Forearms

Previously I worked opposing muscle groups together in the circuit so the pushing muscles could rest while the pulling muscles worked and vice versa.  I still wanted to work in a circuit but I didn’t want to waste time resting between sets.  Also as I mentioned skill training was hit or miss depending on the skill.  So I incorporated the skill training into the rest portion of strength training.

For example:
Quad Set 1
Nage Waza 1 (Throwing technique against the plyo bands.  Quads recover while I train a specific skill against resistance)
Quad Set 2
Nage Waza 2
Quad Set 3

My heart rate stays up but the targeted muscles rest while I do skill training.

Joint Lock Training Set up

Throwing Techniques Training Set up

So now I strength train 4 times a week.  Condition throws twice a week with the pushers and locks twice a week with pullers.  Also because I work fewer body parts per training session I can work more exercises per body part.

Running is boring.  Road work is fun.  Roadwork = skill conditioning while you run.  I’m lucky I have a gym to myself so I can set up a circuit.  Run 2 min, 1 minute Uke Waza (evasion techniques) against resistance on the adjustable cross over machine.  40 minutes equals about 4 mile run and burns near 800 calories.  On days I run out side after I warm up I run a distance, condition a distance, sprint a distance repeat.

So outside the Dojo I practice not getting hit, throwing, and locking each twice per week.

It is fun and I’m having positive results.  I have noticed an increase in functional strength.  I could really tell the difference recently clearing dead trees out of a wooded area in my yard (throwing big ass logs) and moving heavy tatami mats into the new Dojo.

Most importantly (and really the purpose of the super soldier project) is no over training issues / injuries.  I feel great.  So what the hell do any of this have to do with phone booth fighting, the title of this blog?

Bear with me, I’ll get there

The strength training that I do is body weight suspension training.  I use the USA (universal strength apparatus) from body weight culture.  One of the things I love about this kind of training is you can get a kick ass work out anywhere.  No excuses!

Here is a picture of Syd's Wonder Woman training on the USA

Over Easter weekend we stayed with my parents.  On Friday I took the kids to the park.  They played while I trained, fun was had by all.  On Saturday it rained.  No big I just hooked up my gear to a door.

As I mentioned earlier joint locks / joint destruction is a part of this training.  It is similar to this

But instead of a heavy bag the belt (I use my old USA protégé) is attached to the top of a door

The door I was using was at the end of a hallway.  So I needed to pull the joint lock techniques on a 3’ x 3’ space or….
Wait for it……..

Fighting inside a phone booth
(See I told ya I’d get there)

What can you learn from fighting inside a phone booth?

The Void
One of the most basic tenants of what I teach is motion defeats strength. 
What are you going to do if there is nowhere to move to? 
This type of training teaches you that even though space may be limited there is never no where to move.  Instead of focusing on being blocked by where the opponent is, you can move to where the opponent isn’t.  Sometimes called fighting the void.  You also learn to work angles to make the best use of the limited space you do have

Environmental fighting
Conflict is three dimensional.  I like throws / take downs because you are smashing someone into the planet.  However, they become more difficult in tighter spaces.  But those very walls that restrain you can be used to your advantage.  Why take someone all the way to the ground when a wall is right there for you to slam them into?  Or better yet introduce them into the wall and then guide them (their face) all the way down the wall and then into the planet.  In a peaceful and harmonious manner (we put the harm in harmony) totally within your department’s policy and your state’s force statutes.

You better have something in your tool box for in close fighting.  It is much easier to close distance than maintain distance.  If you can take away their comfortable distance you can take away most of their skill set.  If you can only function at “sparring distance” with plenty of open Dojo space around you in every direction you are in for a rude awakening if you ever face an actual physical confrontation (Closer, Faster, Harder, By surprise).

Story time, gather around kids and I will tell you the tale of Karate Ben the black belt.
I used to sub-lease from a Karate Dojo.  Very nice people.  We taught very different aspects of martial art.  We were really never in any competition over students.  However, every once and awhile a new student would come to the Dojo unsure of who they would want to train with.  I would always respond along the lines of, with me the first two weeks are free.  Try out both and stick with the one you enjoy, no hard feelings either way.  If they asked me to compare and contrast, I would give them information on what I taught and suggest they ask about Karate from the Karate Sensei because she knows much more about it and could answer their Karate questions better than I could.

One day when Karate class had ended but some students were still on the mats and my class was about to start a potential student to both classes asked what art he should study.

Karate Ben the black belt told the new student all he knew about Jujutsu (nothing) and finished up with, “You would have to study for 20 years and become an Aikido master in order to block the powerful strikes of (his style of) Karate”
I must say I did a very good job of not breaking his neck right then and there, but I was tempted.  I suggested that if the new student has questions about what I teach maybe they should just ask me.

The next week Karate Ben the black belt was still hogging my mat time after class.  This time he was teaching that new student he convinced join Karate how to block the powerful strikes of (his style of) Karate.  You know what you need 20 years of Aikido training to do.  His strategy was back straight up, back straight up, and continuing backing straight up.

Like Popeye I had taken all I could takes and I can’t takes no more.  Since it was time for my class anyway I asked if he would be willing to show that to me.  I angled us a particular direction (yeah I stacked the deck I don’t get paid to lose).  I bowed and announced the attacks in order that I would perform them.  Jodan Tsuki, Mae Geri, Jodan Tsuki.  He yelled Osu, to show me that he was ready and I attacked.  Jodan Tsuki (High Punch) he backed up in a straight line, he he he.  Mae Geri (Front Thrust Kick) he backed up in a straight line, here it comes.  Jodan Tsuki, oh oh he can’t back up anymore because now he is trapped in the corner of the Dojo, bazinga.  Jodan Tsuki becomes Tegatana Jime (Forearm Strangle).  When you are in close you can whisper and only they can here you.  I suggested he tap before he passed out.  I also suggested that if any new students have questions about what I teach maybe they should just ask me.  That and that it would it be nice if he left the mats promptly after Karate class ended in the future.

I didn’t see much of Karate Ben the black belt after that.  Except for the time Lise pulled him out of a car by his face.  But that is a story for another time

I ambushed you with a cup of coffee

So why did I share this story?  Because I’m so bad ass?  No it’s just a funny story and serves as a good transition to my next category of things learned from fighting in a phone booth

Pinned against a wall - Vertical Ground Fighting

Just as throwing can be modified to a vertical surface, so can ground skills.  You can use the same principles of a mount escape to escape a wall pin.
If you get a chance to attend a One On One Control Tactics Instructor Course you will spend a lot of time with this.  It is awesome (and it doesn’t take 20 years to learn)

Train hard, Train smart (at different distances), Be safe

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Hello everybody – It’s been too long since I updated the blog.  I’m not lazy, things have been crazy.  Seems like I have started a lot of blogs like that lately. 

Things are and continue to be crazy, but good crazy.  The Taiho Jutsu Minnesota project is going very well.  Later this month I am doing a ground skills class for the United States Police Canine Association (District 12), and we have our own Dojo!

I made arrangements with the Elk River American Legion to convert a 34’x 27’ storage room in their basement into a training facility.  Taiho Jutsu Minnesota will have a permanent location. 

This facility will focus on providing free training for Law Enforcement, Military, and veterans.

We have begun calling it The Legion….of DOOM

We will be up and running full time April 10th.

This is a fantastic opportunity.  We don’t have to work around any other school’s schedule.

Because we will be hidden in a basement, because the training will be geared for Law Enforcement and Military, and because I’m a nerd, we are setting up the facility like Division from Nikita.  More of a paramilitary training facility vibe as opposed to a strip mall Dojo.  We even have a hidden secret entrance. 

I can’t guarantee the presence of co-eds in form fitting training togs looking for a chance at redemption, but a fella can hope.

The area is basically a large empty brick room.  Every thing we put in there can be moved and stored somewhere else.  So we can set it up like the X-men’s danger room.  We will have a Dojo setting, class room setting, room clearing setting, reality based scenarios setting etc.

We will still provide traditional martial arts training to civilians, and women’s self defense classes but the primary focus of the school will be training by Operators for Operators.

Ok, now that we are caught up we can forge on.  I heard this news story on the radio during my commute this morning. 

Louisiana man dies at ‘Wrestlemania' party after refusing to ‘tap out' of cousin's choke hold

A LOUISIANA man died at his own "Wrestlemania 28" party after he refused to "tap out" of his younger, much smaller cousin's "rear naked choke hold," causing him to stop breathing, police said.

Stephen A. Arceneaux III, a 24-year-old from Destrehan, was pronounced dead at 10:39pm (local time) Sunday night, The Times-Picayune reported.
Mr Arceneaux had invited a number of friends to his home to watch the pay-per-view professional wrestling event.

He and his cousin, aged 14, began wrestling on an inflated mattress at the party and the teenager, who weighed just 110 pounds (50kg), placed his arm around the 100kg Mr Arceneaux's neck.

Witnesses said Mr Arcenaux was in the hold for 30 to 40 seconds, but refused to give up or "tap out."
When one of the witnesses saw Mr Arceneaux turning blue, they told the youngster to let go, but by that stage he had already stopped breathing, the report said.

Mr Arceneaux's girlfriend tried unsuccessfully to revive him before he was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing.
"It's bizarre," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes. "We're still investigating it. But when you have violent horseplay like that, it just goes to show you that anything can happen."

So what can we learn from this?

Violence Dynamics
  • Social Violence

First, I wasn’t there.  All the information I have is from the article I posted, and the report on the radio.  It is possible that the guy refusing to quit could have been him freaking out because of the air choke. 

Maybe he didn’t know how to tap. 

Maybe he couldn’t get air to say stop, I quit. 

Or maybe the fear of losing status to his friends by getting “tapped” by his cousin wouldn’t let him quit.

Again I don’t know, and no one will ever really know what exactly happened.  Just for illustrative purposes lets examine the little information we have through a social dynamic.

Arceneaux is 24 years old.  The radio report said he weighed 220lbs.  He invited a bunch of friends (social group / tribe) to watch wrestle mania at his home.   
His cousin, aged 14, weighed just 110 pounds.

They started play wrestling in front of everybody.  Simple, even playful social violence between members of the same group.  Not intended to injure, but has the connotation of establishing status (peeking order)

The cousin placed his arm around Arceneaux's neck.   Arceneaux doesn’t want to look like a chump in front of the group (lose social status). 
[Witnesses said Mr Arcenaux was in the hold for 30 to 40 seconds, but refused to give up or "tap out."]

Instead of giving up Arcenaux wrestles back, but he can’t get air.  Before he knows it he is out

The cousin doesn’t know to let up or thinks Arcenaux is just playing.  Before you know it…

[Arceneaux turning blue, they told the youngster to let go, but by that stage he had already stopped breathing]

Chokes are no joke.  Which makes you look more like a chump?  Tapping out and patting your cousin on the back.  “Wow that was awesome you really got me there I was starting to see stars”.  Or being killed by a 14 year old?  No one knows why Arcenaux didn’t tap, but if you find yourself in a simular situation just tap.  Your not tapping doesn’t impress anyone.  Nor does tapping ruin your status, even in competition.  There is a reason the tap exists!  Better to tap and learn from your experience than break an elbow and be out for 6 months learning nothing.

Law Enforcement:
Again, Chokes are no joke.  A 110 lb 14 year old ended a guy twice his size with out trying in 30 seconds.  A subject putting their hands around your neck is a lethal force situation.  When lethal force is justified USE LETHAL FORCE, you can ease back if control can be gained, but you don’t have time to try less effective lower force options. 

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be Safe