Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Self Actualization - Imagination - Inoculation

Last week’s SWAT training started with the Commander busting my chops.  When I saw him he had this shit eating grin on his face.  I asked him what was up.  He replied, “oh nothing much just trying not to get too big or run too slow”

He was of course referring to information on the new class I sent to the team:

[Many Officers lift weights and run.  That is fantastic.  However, those training methods may actually work against an Officer in a violent use of force confrontation.
Training to move heavy weights slowly and to run at a moderate pace for miles does not improve the attributes required to control a violent aggressive criminal.
Combat conditioning focuses on enhancing strength and endurance training by adding explosiveness]

That’s fine, I bust chops so I expect to have my chops busted in return on occasion. 

However, I think my point was proven with the training we conducted that night.

After weapons qualifications we moved to a “undisclosed location”.  The actual location isn't a secret but part of the training was making sure no one ever knew you were there.  That and phrases like “undisclosed location” add to my international man of mystery cred.

The skill we were training was low light / no light maneuvers

The training we conducted was similar to the show “The Great Escape”

We were broken into 8 men units.  We had to get all 8 guys undetected through an urban environment to a check point several blocks away.  Pick up an item, carry that to another check point several blocks away.  Put the two items together and return to the starting point undetected.

There were 2 “guards” in marked squad cars on patrol in these urban areas.  If the guards shined their head lights or spot lights on you and your team had to start over again.

Local police knew we were there and what we were doing.  Part of the training, as I mentioned before was to make sure that no one else knew we were ever there.  Implied was that if the local PD received complaints of teams of large men in camouflage and tactical armor roaming the city with automatic weapons -  you, and your team had to start over again.

So although the guards only had 2 cars, they had a relatively small area to patrol by vehicle and were supported by every other car on the street.  We had to assume all headlights would get us sent back.

Even though we were wearing all our gear and carrying our equipment we were not allowed to “neutralize” the guards.

So we had to achieve our goals using only
  • Stealth
  • Communications
  • Team Work
  • Effort

You get sent back, what is the big deal?  That last one effort is the big deal.  As fun as this sounds it is a lot of hard physical effort.  It’s challenging because you have to quickly cover large open space.  There is limited cover, street lights, pedestrians, and vehicles everywhere.

Sprinting, jumping diving, carrying a 4 man ram, carrying an injured officer on a stretcher.  It is all ball busting hard work.  The type of work you don’t want to do twice if you don’t have to.

Remember the SWAT Commander busting my chops about:
[Many Officers lift weights and run.  That is fantastic.  However, those training methods may actually work against an Officer in a violent use of force confrontation.
Training to move heavy weights slowly and to run at a moderate pace for miles does not improve the attributes required to control a violent aggressive criminal.
Combat conditioning focuses on enhancing strength and endurance training by adding explosiveness]

This is exactly what I was talking about. 

Secondary training effects:
  • Operant conditioning
    • Getting caught is punished – Stealth is rewarded
  • Fear of having to do it over helps simulate “combat stress”

Which leads me to:

Self Actualization - Imagination - Inoculation
Nice alliteration J

What do I mean by this?

I am a self actualized nerd.  I own it and I am proud of it.  As such I have a good imagination.  So I wasn’t just leading a SWAT team on a training mission we were the Devil’s Brigade, we were Kasey’s Commandos behind enemy lines.  The fate of the free world depended on the success of our mission.  If a light was shinned on us we were dead and so was freedom, justice, and the American way.

In retrospect a grown ass man playing G.I.Joe may seem pretty lame, but it made things more “real” for me.  Because it was more real for me it better simulated combat stress.  I’ve mentioned many times before you can’t accurately reproduce combat stress with out putting the trainee’s life at risk.  But you can combine; competitions, risks – rewards and punishments, and physical stress to approximate it.  Because the combat stress was simulated, I received inoculation to combat stress.  The been there done that part of my brain has something it can refer to when I am sneaking to an actual position

This was fun, we saved the word, but it kicked my ass.

Doctor Keckeisen self prescribed a couple of ibuprofen and a couple more Miller 64's to be able to function the next day.

Booo Fucking Hoooo.  Suck it up Sally
Shugyo is a Japanese term.  I don’t really know an English term that encompasses this idea.  Shugyo can mean ‘sweat and motion,’ it can be described as ‘pushing your limits,’ but the ideal that it expresses best is:  “Embrace the suck.” 

It takes a lot of hard work on a regular basis to develop and maintain all the skills and attributes necessary to be a successful Operator.

Don’t shy from it, don’t cry about it, revel in it.
There is a price to be paid to be able to do things that few others can.  Enjoy paying the price required to do these things. 

Be the 1st to show and the last to go, and put a smile on your face.  The best Operators I’ve had the pleasure to work with embrace the price that must be paid.  Whether it is in pouring rain, blistering sun or knee deep snow they push hard until the job is done.  They make comments like, “Can you believe we are getting paid to do this?”
When the weapons are cleaned and the gear stowed away they tend to share each other’s company (and maybe a cocktail or two) and talk about how even though that sucked it was fun (and maybe brag a little bit about how bad ass they are for having gone through it).
The only way to earn the skills necessary to be an Operator, the only way to earn a seat at that table is through blood and sweat.  Know that ahead of time, embrace it while you are going through it, and enjoy the rewards as they come.

So along those lines I need to spend as much or more time sprinting as I do writing about the need for Officers to sprint.

And with that I will leave you with one of my favorite comic book quotes

“The key isn't winning -- or losing, it's making the attempt. I may never be what I ought to be, want to be -- but how will I know unless I try?

Sure, it's scary, but what's the alternative? Stagnation - A safer, more terrible form of death. Not of the body, but of the spirit.

An animal knows what it is, and accepts it. A man may know what he is -- but he questions. He dreams. He strives. Changes. Grows.”
― Wolverine

Chris Clarmont and Frank Miller's "Wolverine"

Train hard (embrace the suck), Train smart, Be safe

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The logistics of training.

This blog will pick up where the last one left off.  Actually, I haven’t blogged then because all the time I have allocated for things like blogging have been dedicated to figuring out how I am actually going to pull off the class I described at the end of the previous blog.

Hence the title of this blog – The logistics of training.

It is one thing to have a neat idea, it is an entirely different thing to turn that idea into something tangible.


This is the approach I took

The raw materials I took from Rory and Marc can be boiled down to this
  • Chiron 2 day DT course
  • Principles and Concepts (unpublished manuscript)
  • Drills
  • Facing Violence
  • Logic of violence
  • Conflict Communications
  • Violence Dynamics
  • Force Physics

These things are generally taught in a seminar format and / or an academic setting

How do I square that with what I already teach in a Dojo setting?

I took the approach of mimicking a semester (10 week) long college course.

Tuesday and Thursday are class room
Saturdays are like “night class” (all of the material from the day classes jammed into one longer session)
Sundays (The New Class) are “Lab”.  To experiment on your own and come up with your own methods

On Sunday’s I’m more of a facilitator than an Instructor.  Primarily making sure no one gets hurt or blows up the lab.

However, there is a ton of “academic” stuff that I lump together under the category of [Things your Sensei / DT / Combatives Instructor never taught you, but should have]

Things we hit once a year with the Violence Dynamics seminar but that I feel I need to train more often, and that more people need to know (more on that to follow)

So, 4 of the 10 Sundays the 45 minute skill conditioning portion will be replaced with a brain conditioning lecture

Things your Sensei / DT / Combatives Instructor never taught you, but should have lectures:
(1) Human reactions to interpersonal violence
  • Human reactions to interpersonal violence
  • Your brain on violence
·         The Lizard [Hind Brain]
o       Survival instinct (rhythm , and ritual)

·         The Monkey [Limbic System]
o       Emotion
o       Social behavior

·         The “Human” [Neo Cortex]
o       Rational thinking
o       Judgment
  • OODA
  • Moral  / Ethical
  • Breaking the freeze
  • Legal  - Use of force

(2) Violence Dynamics
n      Violence Dynamics
        Social Violence
        Asocial Violence
n      Conflict Strategies
        Run – Escape / Evade
n      Predator Eyes
        De-escalation (Social Violence)

(3) Logic of Violence
  • Understanding how and why “bad guys” operate

(4) Awareness
n      Deterring Asocial Violence (You can’t de-escalating asocial violence) {Thanks Marc}
n      What the predator wants
n      Predator Counters
n      Awareness
n      Threat Assessment Scanning
n      Operator Mindset
n      After

I have been busy developing teaching tools to help me present this information.  Power Points for the lectures, lesson plans, and an excel program to help people understand the logic of violence and to help me generate custom training scenarios that are logical and meet the needs of individual students.

I feel I am ready to go.  I will be dong a test run starting this Sunday (October 7th) and running through mid November.


Training Dates:
Sunday 10 /7/12
Contact Controls & Joint Locks

Sunday 10/14/12

Sunday 10/21/12
Impact / Drives

Sunday 10/28/12
Counter Assault

Sunday 11/4/12
Ground Skills

Sunday 11/11/12
Vascular Restraints

Sunday 11/18/12
All classes incorporate scenarios and reality based drills.  If you want to participate in the scenario training 11/18/12 you must attend at least three other classes to learn scenario safety protocols

525 Railroad Dr
Elk River, MN 55330
(The Basement of the Elk River American Legion)

11 am – 1 pm

$75 for the entire course or $20 per session
This training is provided free to Law Enforcement and Military personnel

This will give me a chance to work out any bugs and refine the class for full 10 week implementation next year

By then I hope to have lots of students that want to work scenarios, so I plan on have scenario training on the lecture classes 4 out of the 10 weeks.

Of all the elements of the new class, I am the most excited about implementing scenario training for “civilians”. 
I have developed and run scenario training for Law Enforcement and Tactical Teams for the better part of a decade.

I even wrote a blog detailing how to run scenarios for your martial arts school based on that experience that was featured in Aikido Journal Online

But I haven’t really used this training method with my own guys very often.  Here is a video of some scenario training we did with Jeff who was a security guard at a medical electronics company at the time

Not to rip on Jeff but you can see from the video how his performance could have been enhanced by the - Things your Sensei / DT / Combatives Instructor never taught you, but should have lectures.

And Jeff is one of my guys; he has been to the Violence Dynamics seminar, which brings me back to:
I feel I need to train this more often, and that more people need to know this.

Case in point

This summer a Police Officer was arrested for assault.

Like any incident I review on the blog I make it clear that I am not second guessing or judging the people involved.  I am just trying to learn from the incident

Even more so in this case because I know and respect the Officer involved.  Dave ran my initial SWAT school, and just recently ran some advanced team leader tactical training.  He is a top notch Operator and from what I know of him a good guy.

But this summer, he got in a bad situation and the only information most people have about it came from the media (who are generally not friendly to cops) and the best buddy of the victim.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis police sergeant and SWAT officer — who was apparently angered by a loud cellphone conversation — was charged with assault Monday for allegedly punching a man in the head, seriously injuring him.
Minneapolis police Sgt. David Clifford, the executive officer of the Minneapolis Police SWAT unit, was in the Anoka County Jail on Monday. He is charged with third-degree assault, and is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday.
"You wouldn't think a police officer would behave in this way," said Anoka County Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer. "It's kind of a shock to our system."
Sommer identified the victim as Brian Keith Vanderlee, 34, of Ramsey. The hospital was not providing information about Vanderlee's condition, but Sommer said that, as of Monday morning, Vanderlee was on life support and had undergone two brain surgeries.
Minneapolis Star Tribune spokesman Steve Yaeger said Monday evening that Vanderlee is an account executive in advertising sales at the newspaper, and spelled his last name as Vander Lee. A report in the newspaper also said that he is 43 years old.
The discrepancy in the spelling of Vanderlee's name and his age could not be resolved Monday evening.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Vander Lee family," Yeager said.
Sommer said video surveillance from Saturday night shows that Clifford and Vanderlee were seated at adjacent patio tables at Tanners Station, a steakhouse and restaurant in Andover, a Minneapolis suburb.
Sommer said Vanderlee was apparently talking loudly on his cellphone to a friend when Clifford got up and approached him. Sommer said the video shows Clifford appeared to say something to Vanderlee, who was still on his phone.
As Vanderlee was about to get to his feet, Sommer said, "Clifford strikes him with a closed fist, just once in the head."
Vanderlee fell backward and may have hit his head on concrete, Sommer said.
"From what I saw, there was no fight," Sommer said. "It was a one-sided assault."
Clifford, 47, of Andover, fled on foot. He turned himself in Sunday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint, Clifford told police he was at the bar with his wife and others to talk about National Night Out, and that he "took offense to some language" Vanderlee was using and asked him to stop.
Clifford told authorities Vanderlee stopped using the offensive language for five to 10 minutes, but started using it again. Clifford said he went over to Vanderlee, and when Vanderlee stood up and cursed, Clifford punched him, thinking he was going to be hit himself.
"The defendant admitted he did not de-escalate the situation by talking to employees or moving tables," the complaint said.
According to the complaint, employees of the bar did not hear Vanderlee use offensive language and heard no complaints that he had done so.
Clifford has been placed on home assignment, and there is an internal investigation, Minneapolis police spokesman Bill Palmer said.
Palmer said Clifford joined the Minneapolis department in 1993 and has been a SWAT officer since the mid-1990s. He has no disciplinary action in his file, and has received two medals of valor and other awards. He was promoted to sergeant in 2008.
He also has worked for the United Nations as a police officer in Kosovo, Palmer said.
The name of Clifford's attorney was not immediately known. The Anoka County Jail does not accept messages for inmates.
Jeff Bienne contributed to this report from Minneapolis.
Here is an example of how the story was reported on TV
Mind you the person being interviewed was in the parking lot and never saw the alleged 15 step running start superman punch he described.

My point in sharing this is – If a top notch Operator like Dave with all his training and experience can get caught up in something like this.  Anyone can get caught up in something like this.

That is why the learning information in the “Things your Sensei / DT / Combatives Instructor never taught you, but should have” lectures is so important, and practicing using that information and those skills under stress in scenario training even more so.

I feel I need to train this more often, and that more people need to know this.

That is why I have gone through all the trouble developing the teaching tools (logistics) to provide this type of training.

Taking a neat idea and making it happen.

So again shameless self promotion

If you want to join us on Sundays c’mon over
If you want me to visit your school or if you want help developing this type of training yourself – contact me samurai2717@hotmail.com

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be safe