Thursday, December 5, 2013

Laugh it up Fuzz Ball

Laughing Monkey

I got into a stupid argument with my wife the other day. You'd think as a guy who teaches conflict communication I'd be better at using it.

The hows and whys of the argument aren't important, but after it happened I recognized that my monkey was doing the yelling and I allowed my self to become angry over nothing.

If you don't understand what I mean by monkey look at some older blogs in which I discuss conflict communications.

So I was replaying it in my mind trying to find when I got angry, and how I can recognize this quicker. Quick enough that I don't say something that is going to piss off my wife, thus triggering her monkey and prolonging an argument over nothing.

But that monkey is fast, faster than conscious thought. I say something back awfully fast.

I consider myself a funny guy and when I say stuff that pisses my wife (anyone really)off it is usually pretty funny.

That got me thinking, how come the monkey is funny?

How can it react with come backs so fast?
I want my physical / lizard reactions to be that fast

I never really thought about it, it is just something I can do. I couldn't always do it. There were times, just like anyone else that hours, even days later a come back or joke I wish I would have said in the heat of the moment came to me. So how did I get from there to where it happens fast enough to get me into trouble?

Is that a trained response?
Where does one get that training / experience?

Sibling rivalry / verbal combat training
Surviving as the youngest

I am the youngest of five children by quit a stretch of years. My closest sibling is 12 years older than I am, the oldest is 17 years older.

My siblings, for a long time were as much aunts and uncles as they were brothers and sisters.
Early on I got attention / acceptance in the group by getting a laugh.

Verbally "sparring" with my brother
No mean intent, but plenty of experience.

When I was in Jr High my brother returned from the Air Force and was going to school. He lived at home. This was really the first time I can remember living with any of my siblings as they all moved out before I was even in first grade ( I was about 6 or 7 )

So now I had a brother. We rough housed just like any brothers do, but he was in his mid twenties and I was like 12. There was never any sibling rivalry there, too far apart to be jockeying for dominance. Physically anyway. We never had any knock down drag em outs, nor did we ever really not get along. But we would (good naturedly) tear on each other, and the rest of the family all the time.

This was the verbal equivalent of sparring. Small doses of verbal confrontation in a controlled / safe setting that can prepare you for actual confrontation.

Everyone has been in a confrontation / argument and hours later you think of the best come back. One that would have been soooooo cool, if only you had said it at the time?

Usually that realization comes after the emotions have subsided and the human brain can process the information.

Diminished capacity caused by the conflict all the human could come up with was something like, your face is a butt.

That is why action movie tough guy one liners are so satisfying. I wish I could do that. I wish I would have said that.

But, the more times that happens , the easier it is to remember those tag lines. And if you have a brother to use them on, to spar with, the easier they become to use.

So how does the monkey get funny. How can you use human brain humor when you are emotionally charged

Less emotional = cool under pressure = easier access to information
Confidence in physical skills allows you to stay calmer. Deep breath, oxygenize the neo cortex. Human can access verbal skills, capacity is less diminished. Helps preclude the need for physical skills

Emotions are contagious. A self depreciating joke can break the tension and offer all a face saving alternative to physical violence. A human level win. Words cost nothing.

Humor as a weapon

"Verbally assaultive" behavior
Just as you can physically assault a buddy with no malice intentions, such as a slug on the arm, you can verbally assault a buddy, also with no malice intent - Ball busting

The reverse is true as well every physically violent manifestation of social violence (different types of monkey dances) can also be seen manifesting through verbally assaultive behavior. Words / humor as weapons.

Language via words is relatively new anthropologically speaking. Humans have been communicating with each other long before words. Body language is trusted over mouth sounds.

Language is the purview of the human brain (neo cortex)
So how come the monkey is funny?

Clearly there is physical humor
Three stooges
Chevy Chase falling down a flight of stairs
Farts are always funny
Some one getting kicked in the nuts is always funny

So, how come the monkey can use words so fast it gets me in trouble?
Has the human learned to work with the monkey in these instances?

Remember the monkey, lizard, human is just a model to help express certain ideas / concepts. It isn't "truth"

The monkey can use words just fine. The tricky part of the monkey is that it acts so fast you think you are in your human mind and behaving rationally.

Trick of the trade if you can feel the physical effects of emotion, you are not being rational. So learn what that feels like and practice getting out of it.

How do you get out of it?
 Similar to breaking a freeze - breathe. Inhale deeply, oxygenate your brain give the neo cortex fuel. That is one thing that effects the world. Follow that up with something else that effects the world. Move, talk, something. Something along the lines of sorry about that I let myself get mad, and there is really no reason to be getting mad right now, how do we fix this.

That has worked for me on occasions I was able to feel / recognize the emotion in time before I escalated things (usually with my mouth).

How come the monkey is funny? Is humor saved in the mid brain? Humor is an emotion. Sense (feeling) of humor. What emotion/s are you experiencing when you laugh:

Release of chemicals and firing of synapses - we tag the the sensation with an emotional label afterword

Have you ever laughed when you weren't experiencing an emotion?

Laughter is tied to emotions, so it stands to reason that the monkey would be calling the shots when you are experiencing these emotions.

Remember in this model the Monkey is the part of the brain that deals with social interaction. Establishing and maintaining a place in that group.
The Monkey does not distinguish between humiliation and death. In the past if you were ostracized from the group that was very likely a death sentence. The Monkey does what it perceives is needed to prevent that.

With that in mind it makes sense that the monkey can use humor:
As bonding
As a tool to cement a place in the group
As a means to establish a "pecking order"
To put others down - a form of social violence

Lets re-examine social violence (the different monkey dances) through the spectrum of humor / verbal aggression.

Monkey Dance
Group Monkey Dance
Educational Beat Down
Status Seeking Show

Classic monkey dance from my youth - last day of high school

Monkey Dance - Ritualised jockeying for position with in a group

The physically violent version of this usually follows this pattern:

Hard Stare
Verbal response - What are you looking at?
Retort - Something clever like fuck you
Words have failed
Overhand right

That is the ritual, but it doesn't always go all the way through.

The dance can end at the retort if your monkey is good at "verbal assault". If you can use humor as a weapon.

In retrospect I have "won"several monkey dances because my monkey is funny and it shut things down before it got physical.

Last day of high school, a kid and his buddy from the rival school across town drove into our parking lot where a group of my buddies were hanging out. This kid used to go to our school and he was on the wrestling team with me, so I went over to his car to talk to him. I'm not sure if he came over specially to start a fight with me or if things just ended up there but eventually the conversation turned to something along the lines of -
Him - So I hear you think you are a better wrestler than me
(Side note when we were at the same school I beat him in practice all the time)
Me-Yeah, yeah I do
Him - Hard stare (see where this is going)
Him - You want some,...Pussy (In case it is hard to follow the context, he was asking if I wanted to fight, then he called me a pussy)
Me - (with out missing a beat) Jerry, If I wanted some pussy I'd still be at your mom's house.

I though, oh shit here we go I'm in a fight now. Instead he just sat there for a moment and stared at me then he spun out his tires and sped out of the parking lot.

I got a bunch of high fives from my buddies for burning him so bad and I went about enjoying the rest of my last day of high school.

My status in the group was raised by making Jerry back down.
I just happen to be able to do that with humor. Because my monkey was funny.

Humor achieved everything a monkey dance does.

Did my humor really shut Jerry down? I found out years latter he came back with two car loads of guys looking for me again, but by that time I was already on the lake fishing.

This might be a very different story had the timing been different.

I guess I'll never know if he just felt out numbered and went for reinforcements

Or if getting punked by jokes left an unfinished script that kept bugging him until he had to do something about it .

Group Monkey Dance (GMD)

The group monkey dance is a show of group solidarity.

With physical violence it can manifest as-
An outsider is discouraged from interfering with group business – a way of establishing territory. A domestic violence victim turning against the responding Officer

The victim is an insider who has betrayed the group. It becomes a contest to show your loyalty to the group by how much damage you can inflict on the victim.

Verbal Group Monkey Dances can manifest as

Scape goat
Bonding by ball busting
Shared Joke - knowing the inside joke means you are a member of this group (random blow job midget)

All the different crews that came to tow for the Violence Dynamics Seminar all had their own goat.

We all love our goat, but we all bond as a group by teasing / blaming the goat for no reason.

The Goat puts up with it because it shows he / she is part of the group.

Hazing as ritual
The Goat puts up with it and as the group continues to exist new members are brought in and someone else can be the goat.
Pass on to next generation continues the survival of the group

No one else picks on our goat.

Can the new guy handle it?
If he can't he will lose his shit in the street.
If you cry during your Filed Training how the hell will you ever handle the real stress of being a Police Officer?
If mean words make you quit how will you ever make it as a professional athlete?

High end skill selection process removes most hazing. If you can pass the entry testing, you can handle it, but ball busting occurs as bonding.

Case in point grouping up on me.

I don't want to give anything away but there was a bar room brawl exercise we were doing in training. The team did not bother with the objective of the drill but took the opportunity to have a 20 on 1 fight and kick the crap out of me.

It was fun and it was funny and it was payback for all the times I knelt on their heads in training. Bonding, we are all tighter for it.

Educational Beat Down
Reinforces the rules of the group

Physical violence examples include
A thwak to the head like the Three Stooges, or Mark Harmon on NCIS. A spanking between adults if you will.

The verbal equivalent of an Educational Beat Down include

Demoted to van driver
Tactical bra

Again it is not my place to divulge the details of these stories so I will make my points as vaguely as I can as I refer to stories.

A story from another Operator. His team had a guy that was letting himself go. Not meeting the physical fitness requirements of that team. If your life may depend on the fitness level of your teammates then this becomes an issue for everyone. The team retro-engendered an entry vest into a tactical bra that could accommodate the guys freshly spawned "bitch tits" (see also man boobs, or the fat that collects in the chest of fat guys).

Humor was used as an educational beat down. Your behavior is unacceptable. You are going to be shamed in front of the group to teach you a lesson, and to show others what happens when the rules written or otherwise are violated.

In both cases the educated got the point of the beat down and modified their behavior.

Status Seeking Show

In a marginal society like criminal subculture it is better to be feared than loved. A reputation for violence is a valuable thing. So how do you safely earn this reputation? By beating up your allies? Not conducive to having guys watch your back. You could fight rivals. But those rivals have friends watching their back and it could easily escalate beyond what you are prepared for. So that leaves an outsider but not an enemy. Someone by themselves or at least with no large male companions. A relatively easy mark. A SSS will violate almost all the rules of normal social violence. That is the point. Look how crazy I am did you see what I just did? Better not fuck with me. A SSS doesn’t need to follow the steps of the monkey dance nor limit damage either. A savage beating, knifing, or killing serves the purpose of seeking status by showing how crazy you are.

The verbal equivalent of a SSS

Class Clown

I've got myself into trouble with this, with a former Chief of mine.
I never saw humor as a weapon until I wrote this.
Now I can see how / why he with reacted the way they did.
I spanked his monkey. Let me clarify that.
No violation of policy, but my jokes (verbal assault)felt like an attack.

Just as with an educational beat down children don't spank their parents, subordinates don't tease / embarrass their superiors. Especially in front of others.

Not anything he could really do.  He was not going to out joke me, nothing to gain by going physical, and who would want to fight me?

I didn't break an "official rule" but there is an unfinished script. An unfinished script causes uneasy feelings and compels the need to finish it.

Come on in shut the door please - that phrase is never followed by a fun conversation.

My perception - ball busting / bonding
Their perception - verbal assault

What I have learned the hard way. What I perceived as a compliment, one meat eater accepting another into a group by talking to them like they are still a meat eater, even though they are no longer operational doesn't work. It comes off as disrespectful.

Treating non operational administrators as just that, admin - shows respect, even though if I were in their shoes I would still want to be part of the ball busting.

The perception of the person receiving the message is what is important here. 

Let them set the tone, in fact the less you talk all the better.

Naturally gifted athletes and martial artists make the worst coaches / instructors because they never had to learn it, they could always just do it.

Telling someone to just do it doesn't teach them jack. The best teachers are technicians that had to find a way to teach themselves to compete against the naturally gifted and have a means of transmitting what they learned to others.

What can I learn from how I gained those skills, and how can that be applied to other aspects of human communication and conflict?


Emotions are contagious. If you are dealing with someone who is pissed off it is easy to become angry too. Even over very trivial matters. The key is to recognize the physical symptoms / manifestations of emotion and realize that anything you say in an emotionally charged state will not be productive.

When you experience the physical sensations of emotion Inhale deeply, oxygenate your brain give the neo cortex fuel. That is one thing that effects the world. Follow that up with something else that effects the world. Move talk something. Something along the lines of sorry about that I let myself get mad, and there is really no reason to be getting mad right now, how do we fix this.

Have you ever experienced or witnessed someone smoking to chill out after something happened. It works, but nicotine is a stimulant, how does it calm you down? I offer the theory that the tobacco really has nothing do to with it. However the ritual of smoking, or more to the point of the rhythmic breathing associated with smoking is similar to that used by martial artists and shooters to stay calm and concentrate.

What can we extrapolate to physical conflict?

Training and experience.
You are only as good as your training buddies. Having someone I joked with all the time made me better at joking with people.

Sparring with my brother was not the same as backing Jerry down with Jokes, but the regular "training" with my brother made dealing with Jerry less scary and allowed me to access skills before capacity diminished under adrenalization.

Having good people that push you under safe conditions is not the same as physical confrontation but that hard training provides stress inoculation which allows one to access skills before capacity diminished under adrenalization.

Also the more actual experience with conflict the longer the negative effects of adrenalization can be pushed back. The conflict is less scary because you have been there before, this isn't your first rodeo.

With that experience you can bring more accurate context and feeling back into your training

Lastly so this blog is useful to others, and not just a mind dump for me what else can the readers take away?

In writing this blog, a lesson finally sinked in for me.  Simply stated it is harder to get yourself in trouble with your mouth shut.

Train hard, Train smart, Stay Safe

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stepping up / My own voice

11 Days in October. 

Just wrapped up Violence Dynamics 2014.  After 11 days of hard work it has been a challenge transitioning back to “normal” life.  So much going through my head.  So many aches and pains healing up.

The seminar was great.  I am blessed that I had an opportunity to have so many of the teachers that have influenced me all in the same place at the same time.  My Aikido Sensei was there for a day, my Judo Sensei was there for a day, and for all 11 days I had Steve Jimerfield Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung to play with.

One day I even got the SWAT team there.  I had a very Zen moment of lots of my favorite people doing some of my favorite things.  Great week, but that week is over time to forge on. 

For an in depth review of what we did check out Rory Miller’s blog.  

It doesn't make any sense for me to rewrite what he has already written.

And that is kind of the point.

My biggest take away from this seminar personally, was the reoccurring theme of “my own voice”.
As awesome as those guys are, the world doesn't need more pale imitations of them.

Any time I take on someone as a mentor my personal challenge to myself is to surpass them.  Take what they have to teach, make it my own and change it into something better.

I now understand that better is not enough.  I have to embrace making it my own and not only make it better but make it different.

Express my own voice.

The world doesn't need pale imitations, but I fell the world could benefit from the one and only me.

Ha can be translated from Japanese as style, or particular to.  Especially when used after a family name.  Keckeisenha Jujutsu for example would be the style of Jujutsu done by, taught to the Keckeisen family.  It may differ from what is taught to others because you keep the really good stuff to your immediate family.  It is your particular flavor.

So it is time for me to step up.  No longer managing the “talent”, but to embrace being the talent.  Also to embrace doing things my own way the Keckeisenha.

Just as Batman by 40 is as much a brain dump and a way to keep myself accountable to my goals, for the most part so is this blog post (I hope readers may get something out of it as well)

But Batman by 40 has served me well and yielded results

Here are some before and after pics

I set goals, developed an action plan to meet those goals then stuck to the plan (Batman never gives up)

So here and now I launch the Minnesota Martial Art Mafia project.  

As I am writing this I became nervous.  Should I really be sharing this?  Should I really call it that?  Nervous?, fuck that I routinely kick in the doors of armed dangerous felons, I won’t be afraid sharing my feelings, my personal goals publicly.  But mafia?, why call it that you might ask.  

Without coming off more overly arrogant (more so than I usually do anyway) I am too good at what I do not to have my own voice, not to be known. 

I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn't very nice business

There are folks out there that couldn't carry my jock that sell out training venues for seminars any given weekend of the year. 

I call it mafia because I’m coming into their territory and I'm going to take it over.  They can benefit from working with me or be crushed

Nevertheless, I'm taking over. You can either profit by this... or be destroyed!

There are plenty of talented instructors teaching 3-10 people out of a church basement or a YMCA.  I will not be that cliché.  It is easy to romanticize those guys as pure.  And to villainize less talented Instructors that run financially successful schools as sell outs.  Fuck that! Time to pick it up a notch. 

It has always been important to me to get good information out to the people who will use it to protect others.  That is the mission first and foremost.

However, that information does no one any good if no one gets it.  If no one gets the information, it doesn't get applied in the field. 

The information I can uniquely provide hasn't gotten very far by me giving it away for free.  Nor have many of my bills been paid. 

That does not make me stoic.  That does not make me honorable.  That means I’m failing at getting the information out.  Batman doesn't fail!

Batman becomes who he needs to be to get the job done.  If I’m not getting the information out I can’t afford to be disdainful of business men.  I am not above them.  We do not live in a caste system that separates warriors and merchants.  I will steal every solid business practice that allows me to get the message out. 

I will be Batman by 40 I got that down.  I also need to become Bruce Wayne and kick ass on that side of things as well.  Hell even Luthor if it gets the job done

So here it is I’m dropping the gauntlet. 

Operation Minnesota Martial Art Mafia - Short term Goals [1-3 months]

Finish the book.
·        You have heard me talking about this thing for three years.  Want to read it?  No one can until I finish it.  Time to nut up and get it done

Have useful functioning website for the school
Create and advertise training schedule for 2014

-Intermediate goals [3-6 months]
15 new students
1 seminar per month with 30 students
Establish play group cells / branch Dojos
Sell book to publisher

By Jan 2014
30 regular full time students
Sell out all available training slots for Violence Dynamics.  Be forced to seek new training venue to handle more participants
Hand my father a published copy of the book.

Now it is out there, I better hustle to make it happen.

It felt good writing this.  Thank you for reading it.  Although this was for me, I hope you took something from it too.
As a reward for reading it the whole way through here is the song that will be going through my head as I stay motivated to meet the above stated goals.

PS everyone still reading this that has thought about coming to Minnesota to train with me or inviting me to your school for a seminar better book now while you can still afford me.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Windows of opportunity

Let's starts this blog with a video

I'm not usually a fan of MMA shows like this one, but lots of good stuff there.

So I would like to focus this instalement of the Budo Blog on how to specifically train for Kinetically Adaptive Unconscious.

That same concept is what I believe Ueshiba meant by Takemusu Aiki or randomly creating technique - the highest level of Aikido.

So how can one train themselves for Kinetically Adaptive Unconscious?

Start by developing your personal combatives platform and defining your training goals.  After that focus on human physiology.  What are humans capable of under extreme stress? Work backwards to training from there.

All of that is to refine your skill sets down to what works for you.  The skill sets you want to have available to you under "Combat Stress" (Kinetically Adaptive Unconscious.)

You want to refine your response tree down to as few as possible.  Train for what happens most and you can handle most of what happens.  Joe Lewis only had like 4 -5 moves, but he owned those 4-5 moves.

Once you have discovered that you need to build the strongest neurological pathways to those skill sets possible.

This can not happen over night.  You have to put in, as the guy in the video said- tons and tons of reps.

However, not all reps are created equal.

Practice does not make perfect, PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT

Perfect practice (conditioning quality responses) makes perfect.

Fundamental principles must be understood before repetitious training, especially self lead training.  Otherwise you just get very good at doing it wrong.  Practice makes permanent good or bad.

Once you have developed  fundamentally sound skill sets - DRILL THOSE SKILLS with lots of high quality reps.  Repetitions in solid fundamentals establish a neurological pathway with strong myosin links.  The more reps the stronger the links, the bigger the neurological pathways.  The bigger the pathways the faster the reflex, and less cognitive capability is required to perform an action.

That training will help lay a concrete foundation for your personal combatives platform.

You will understand what it feels like when you are doing the techniques correctly and it is working.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.  Rarely does an operation unfold exactly as planned.

You must be able to adapt.

In order to have skill sets to unconsciously adapt to you must also know what it feels like when you are doing the technique correctly and it is not working.

Once you recognize that felling, that stimulus has to trigger a response that takes advantage of their resistance.

Last blog I showed a Nage Waza work out that I like to do.  Here it is again:

Rear Off balance (Irimi Kuzushi)

  • Ura Otoshi - Rear Drop
  • Koshi Nage - Hip Throw
  • Osoto Otoshi - Great Outer Drop

Lateral Off balance (Yoko Sabaki Kuzushi)

  • Ura Otoshi - Rear Drop
  • Koshi Nage - Hip Throw
  • Osoto Otoshi - Great Outer Drop

Circular Off balance (Tenkan Kuzushi)

  • Yoko Seio Nage - Side Shoulder Throw
  • Soto Maki Komi - Side Winding Throw
  • Harai Goshi - Hip Sweep

Opening Off balance (Hiraki Kuzushi)

  • Uki Otoshi - Floating Drop
  • O Goshi - Big Hip

Take Downs from Contact Control

  • Ikkajo / Ude Osae - Arm Bar Take Down
  • Tai Otoshi - Body Drop
  • Uchi Matta - Inside reap
  • Hiji Ate Nage - Hitting Elbow Throw

Rear Off balance (Irimi Kuzushi) is my bread and butter.  I know what that feels like when done correctly. When it is working I can do any rear off balance throw because they can no longer resist.

I also know what it feels like when it is not working, and what actions / forces created by the opponent are causing it to feel that way.

Their resistance is the stimulus, using their resistance, taking them in the direction they want to go is the response.

Transition to a different off balance, take what ever technique is gifted to me form their loss of balance.

So you need to know:
What it feels like when it is working - establish control / limit variables

What it feels like when it is not working - adapt to something that is working / take the gift their resistance provides

What it feels like when you are fucked and  - Increase chaos / increase variables the opponent has to deal with.

We will be focusing on those first 2 feels like stimulus - responses on today's blog

That last one deserves an entire blog of its own.  But to help illustrate the concept I'll use an example I stole from Rory Miller.

Let's say you are a Corrections Officer walking the 3rd tier of a detention pod.  A convict gets you in a rear naked choke.  You are defiantly experiencing that 3rd category what it feels like when you are fucked.  You have 3 seconds or so before you are unconscious (assume dead).  Increase the chaos / variables the attacker has to deal with.  You are about to die, do you have anything to lose by throwing both you and the convict off of the 3rd tier?  You know what is happening, he doesn't.  Maybe the lunge towards the railing will scare him enough to let go.  Maybe not.  Maybe as you fall you can position him so you land on top of him. Maybe not.  The point is you are going to die anyway, you have nothing to lose by making things more chaotic for both of you.  That chaos may gift you what you need to survive.  Also you won't make it into Valhalla if you don't at least go out swinging.

As I wrote this a scene from Sherlock Homes popped into my head

I think it illustrates the third point nicely.  Need to know it but you can't really practice it on a regular basis.

Back to the first two.

After those skills have been ingrained you need to get them form the mid brain to the hind brain (survival instinct).  You need to own those skills on a cellular level.

That is achieved by not only “pressure testing” these skills with scenarios but ingraining these skills sets under difficult conditions in the actual environments you will need to use them in.  Creating that dopamine tag for retention and retrieval under “combat stress”

Pressure testing and scenario training require partners and high levels of instruction and preparation.
For an example check out this blog from the past (which was published on Aiki Journal's Website)

It is great training, and necessary but difficult to do well.  Not really something you can do by yourself everyday.

So follow the advice in that blog and set up some scenario training, but today's blog is more focused on the "SMAKED" concept:


Just like studying for a couple minutes every day starting a week or two before a test yields better recall than cramming 6 hours the night before the test.

Training in difficult conditions (decreased physiological and cognitive capacity) in the actual environments you will need to use them (weather, noise level, light level, type of clothing / equipment) for some time every day will serve you better than one or two big scenario training seminars a year.

So how do we train like that?

We need to create windows of opportunity to train combative skill sets when we naturally find ourselves in difficult conditions.

In the Road Warrior blog I discussed the need to maintain fitness while traveling.

The process of maintaining fitness naturally puts us in a difficult condition  

Regardless of the type of workout, if you are working out intensely, your body will use glycogen as fuel. Glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver is best described as your body’s preferred fuel source for workouts. Depending on the duration, type, and intensity of exercise, glycogen stores can become depleted.

I took that paragraph from an article written by Marc Perry.  I have included a link, and most of the article below.

Intense physical training depletes glycogen.  
Glycogen depletion mimics the physiological effects of combat stress.

The stress caused by interpersonal violence, a person trying to hurt / kill you, is very different then the stress caused by surviving the violence of a tornado or house fire (forces of nature)
When you experience, let’s refer to it as combat stress, your brain functions change.  Your cognitive “thinking brain” functions don’t shut down, but become limited because other parts of your brain are taking over.

Don't believe me?  On a day you have been working really hard at the Dojo, have you or your partner suddenly forget what technique you are supposed to be training?  Or whose turn it is?  For the last 10 minutes you have been doing, for the sake of argument let's say O-goshi.  Right side, left side switch.  Your partner throws left side, right switch.  Not hard.  Then all of a sudden you step in to through and you are like duh, what am I doing?  There are probably only two or three of you in your group and for some reason you can't remember who is supposed to be doing what to whom?

Sound familiar?  If not, maybe you should train harder.  That is an example of decreased cognitive function caused by glycogen depletion.  If it can happen during the fun of training with your buddies you better know it can happen when someone is intent on causing you harm

You are exhausted and you have to continue fighting, or you will die.  You can't stop and catch your breath.
Death does not wait for you to be ready.

Again, that is why it is so important to have quality ingrained responses.  In a gun fight if my gun goes click, I can’t waste what cognitive function I have left trying to remember how to clear a jam, or re-load.  My cognitive function needs to be finding cover, figuring out how to out flank the shooter or coordinating with other Operators.  I need my hands to just take care of the problem without thinking about it.

Window of opportunity 1 glycogen depleted training

Again, this is only valuable after you have fundamentally sound skill sets, and strong neurological pathways to those skill sets.

Regardless of how you became glycogen depleted (exhausted) you can drive those skill sets into your hind brain (which will be calling the shots during combat stress) if you practice them in difficult conditions (decreased physiological and cognitive capacity) in the actual environments you will need to use them (weather, noise level, light level, type of clothing / equipment).

After your work out, its time for skill set training.  This should not be physically intense or cause over training. If your skill sets are physically intense, you are working too hard.  That means they will only work on people you are bigger and stronger than.  If that is the case you need to put more time into fundamentals.  Get a better understanding of structure and power generation.

Side note this type of glycogen deprived skill set training will show you any weaknesses you have in those areas.

(See also will teach you what it feels like wen it is not working, how to make it work, or when to adapt to something else that will work in these conditions)

Develop training procedures specific to your personal operational method that cover each aspect of your combatives platform. Remember we want the response tree to be as small and fast as possible so only a handful of techniques in each category.

For example, here are a list of work outs I use for this type of training:

Friday - Ne Waza (Ground Skills)
Saturday - Tachi Shime Waza (Standing Strangles)
Sunday - Kansetsu and Kuzushi (Joint Locks and Off Balancing)
Monday - Atemi Waza (Striking / Heavy Bag)
Tuesday - Nage Waza (The Throws/ Take downs work out I have listed above)
Wednesday - Close Quarters Striking (Plyo Bands) 

Figure about 15 minutes or so for training after a work out.  Or double that for a stand alone training session  first thing in the morning before you eat.

Training in those conditions trains the parts of your brain that is available to you under combat stress

For more information on the general (not skill specific) benefits / effects of glycogen deprived training check out this link:

The Science of “Bonking” and Glycogen Depletion

You worked really hard for a specific training benefit.
You took advantage of that state to drive skill set recall into your hind brain.
Now what

Time to rebuild baby!

Window of opportunity 2 - Replenishing glycogen stores

Remember, Oyama said you should train more than you sleep.  But sleeping and eating, when done well, and with purpose are all training.  So let's eat!

Post Training Nutrition

Post-Workout Meal: What Should You Eat After A Workout?
by Marc Perry

While the world of nutrition is rife with controversy, most experts agree a proper post-workout meal can improve results versus no meal at all. The challenge is simplifying all the nuances to consider so you can eat a post-workout meal that works well for you.
What are the specific benefits of a post-workout meal? What meal ideas can work best for you? These questions and a lot more will be answered in this introductory article on post-workout nutrition. For more reading, I’ve linked to several research reports throughout the article.

Numerous studies2 show the benefits of post-workout nutrition, which include:

1) Prevents Muscle Breakdown – A tough strength training workout will create microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. If adequate nutrients are not supplied before and/or after the workout, these muscle tears can lead to further muscle breakdown, which means your muscle is broken down to form protein that your body uses as energy to repair itself.

2) Increases Protein Synthesis – After a strenuous workout, your body is biochemically primed to suck in nutrients. Your muscles are highly insulin sensitive, which means those carbs you eat can help shuttle protein into your muscles, instead of getting converted into fat. Insulin is a storage hormone that has a bad reputation because it is integrally involved in fat storage. After a workout, however, insulin is your friend and a proper post-workout meal can improve muscle building and increase fat loss.3

3) Faster Recovery – A properly timed post-workout meal with the right nutrients can help decrease soreness in your muscles for a given amount of training. For example, if you are able to recover in only a day as opposed to 2-3 days, that means you can train harder and more frequently, which will lead to better and faster results.

4) Glycogen Replenishment – Regardless of the type of workout, if you are working out intensely, your body will use glycogen as fuel. Glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver is best described as your body’s preferred fuel source for workouts. Depending on the duration, type, and intensity of exercise, glycogen stores can become depleted. Eating ample carbs after a workout can not only promote protein synthesis, but also help replenish energy stores to keep you feeling energetic the rest of the day.

Post-Workout Meal Timing

There is a lot of debate as to the proper timing of a post-workout meal, but the preponderance of evidence suggests eating immediately after a workout as generating superior results.

A 12-week study4 conducted with previously untrained men examined the effects of consuming supplemental protein “immediately after versus two hours after a strength-training session. Those who consumed protein immediately after their workout gained significantly more muscle size and strength than those who consumed it two hours removed from their workout.”

Because of studies like this one, the 30-60 minute period after a workout is known as the “window of opportunity” to help maximize the training effect.

Post-Workout Meal Size & Breakdown

Given that the speed with which nutrients reach the body is critical, we need to take into account rates of digestion to maximize the nutrient delivery effect. Dietary fat slows down digestion, so a post workout meal should be low in fat. While protein in the form of meat can take a good 3-4 hours to digest whey protein5 takes as little as 20-30 minutes to hit the bloodstream. Fast digesting carbs are ideal post-workout to help maximize the insulin effect and replenish glycogen stores. The only time when eating processed carbs is a good idea (other than on the occasional cheat meal) is post-workout. Fruit can also work well, which is what I prefer. (me too)

Whey protein combined with a fast digesting carbohydrate in liquid form has emerged as the top post-workout meal of choice for anyone from athletes to bodybuilders to recreational exercisers. Consider a carb to protein ratio of anywhere from 1:1 to 3:1, with an average of 2:16 depending on the duration and intensity of the workout (i.e. 60 grams of carbs to 30 grams of protein). Sports nutritionists will typically recommend consuming 0.25 to 0.40 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight.

Your post-workout meal is the only meal in my opinion where a protein shake should be considered. Whole, natural foods are superior for getting a lean, healthy body for a number of reasons ranging from greater satiety to increased thermic effect (food burns calories during digestion whereas shakes do not).

Please keep in mind focusing on total calorie intake, smart food choices, and proper exercise are far more important than maximizing the “window of opportunity” of the 30-60 minute post-workout period. I can’t emphasize this enough. Sadly, pre and post-workout nutrition has sabotaged many fat loss programs because of excess calorie intake. People lose sight of the forest amidst the trees.

Post-Workout Meal Ideas

Let’s tie everything together we’ve learned so far to create some effective post workout meals:

Whey protein shake mixed with a couple handfuls of fruit (banana, strawberries etc.)
Whey protein shake combined with dextrose (fast digesting carbohydrate)
Whey protein “Ready to drink” shake with 20-30 grams of protein and 20-60 of carbs
Lean protein with fast digesting starchy carbs (i.e. grilled chicken with potatoes and veggies)
16 ounces of chocolate milk (not as effective as whey shake, but adequate)
…and don’t forget to drink plenty of water! A good 16+ ounces can help you optimize your performance.

In addition to whey protein, there are two other supplements worth mentioning that are supported by research (1) creatine and (2) glutamine. As I’ve discussed in depth, I’m not a huge fan of dietary supplements in general, for a number of reasons. With that said, ingesting 5 grams of creatine post-workout has been shown to help7 and 5-10 grams of glutamine post-workout can help improve recovery8 from a workout. In fact, some people swear by glutamine substantially reducing muscle soreness in the days following a workout (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Train Hard, Train Smart (take advantage of those windows of opportunity), Be safe

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

In Memory of Amos Parker Shihan

If you stick with martial arts long enough, eventually you will reach an age where your mentors and teachers start to pass.

The other day I received this e-mail from Steve Miranda Sensei:
It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I inform you that Amos Lee Parker, 9th dan Shihan, passed away at his home in Houston, Texas. Funeral services are pending, however condolences can be sent to this email address and will be forwarded to his family. (( Information provided by the family regarding services will be posted on his Facebook group page, Yoseikai Yoshinkan Aikido. Please feel free to forward this message as you see fit.
Yoshinkan Aikido has lost another great teacher and friend. Sensei will be sorely missed by many.

Steven Miranda, Chief Instructor
Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento (AYF)
Seikeikan Dojocho USA

As I have mentioned before on this blog

I am very fortunate to have the Aikido Sensei (I looked it up to be sure but Sensei is the plural of Sensei) that I have had.  Amos Parker was one of those Sensei and served as the technical advisor for the Aikido aspects of my Dojo.

Amos Lee Parker was born December 12, 1936 in Houston, Texas. He is the 7th of 16 children.

At age 18, Amos joined the United States Navy and it is here where his life in Aikido begins. Amos spent 35 years training in Japan with Kiyoyuki Terada Hanshi, 10th dan.

Amos began his full-time study of Yoshinkan in 1962 while a member of the United States Navy in Yokosuka-cho, Japan. Upon his retirement after 20 years of service to his country, he remained in Japan for another 20 years to further his own development and understanding of Yoshinkan Aikido.

Some of his career highlights include:

Highest ranked non-Japanese instructor in Yoshihan Aikido
Highest ranked member of Terada Honbu Seiseikai
Highest ranked Yoshinkan Aikido instructor in the United States
Received the title of Shihan in 1986
Received the rank of 8th dan in 1995 and 9th dan in 2009
Served as a presiding judge at several Enbutaikai

Parker Shihan had great technical skill and was a stickler for the fundamentals.  His voice always reminded my of Jazz from the Transformers (cartoon not movie).

I remember if my stance wasn't right he would say "Kasey, too tall, too tall".  Or if someone just wasn't getting it, he would say in that very distinct voice, "Do you even know Aikido?"

He was a very good teacher and he will be sorely missed.

Appreciate those who are willing to share their art with you  Work hard and spend as much time with them as you can.

Tomorrow is promised to no man and before you know it people are gone.

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Monday, August 19, 2013

Avenue of the Saints

Several months ago I was asked to teach Aikido at the 2013 United States Martial Arts Association (USMAA) National Training Camp.

It has been a long time since I have considered myself an Aikido guy.

My passion is for how Aikido, Judo, and Karate work together. Especially for modern practical application. That generally makes me an "Old" Jujutsu guy or Taihojutsu guy, or even a "Combatives" guy.

There is nothing wrong with being an Aikido guy.  Aikido and Aiki Kenjutsu have served as the foundation I have built my combatives platform around.

However, being "just" an Aikidoka is something I feel I have out grown.

I had an opportunity to teach but that opportunity came with challenges.

The training camp is multidisciplinary. If I am being billed as the teacher for the Aikido Instruction block, there will be traditional Aikidoka who paid for the camp and expect traditional Aikido training.

My Aikido is very different than most.

There will also be students there that could care less about Aikido. They will be killing time waiting for the instruction block they paid for. If I don't interest them they will just sit on the side lines until the next class.

So that was my starting point. How does a "Old" Jujutsu / Taihojutsu /"Combatives" guy teach Aikido to Aikido traditionalists and martial artists from a variety of different backgrounds? How do I give both groups something they want / need without isolating / pissing off the other

Solid principles are solid principles. No one owns a copyright on them and it doesn't matter where they come from.

So I decided to focus on principles that are universal to all styles and cover the entire combatives spectrum.

I developed a lesson plan packed my gear and hit the road on the "Avenue of Saints"
That is the major highway system between St.Paul and St. Louis.

I car pooled with my Judo Sensei Gary Rudenick so my first stop was my home town of Mankato MN.

I stayed with my folks Tuesday night so we could get an early start Wednesday morning. After dinner my Dad likes to have a pipe and I like to have a cigar. We sit and talk and solve most of the worlds problems - if anyone would ever listen to us.

My dad was a teacher then he got into curriculum development and student teacher supervision. What that means is he taught, then he taught how to teach, and helped teachers become better teachers. Dad isn't overly interested in martial arts per se but he is passionate about the art of teaching.

So inevitably the conversation turned to - well, what are you going to teach?

I told him my concerns about teaching both groups something they want / need without isolating / pissing off the other

I busted out my lesson plan notes on my trusty tablet. As I was handing it over I realized it was just a bunch of Japanese words. So I started to explain my plan by talking.

Anyone who has sat and talked martial art with martial artists quickly comes to realize that we are a very kinetic bunch. There is not that much sitting and the talking we do about the subject mater is much more easily expressed through contact and motion.

What do you plan to teach? Stand up, I'll show ya.  I promise this won't hurt...much

Everyone reading this who has had a similar experience is smiling because they know exactly what I'm talking about

So I beat up on my Dad to explain what I was going to teach.
He was an excellent student. He represented someone with a limited training background and asked excellent questions. He helped me prepare and reinforced my belief that I must teach everyone as if it is their first day on the mat.

I can't assume people know things like:
How to fall
How to hit
How to tap

If I do, at best people get embarrassed that they lack training at worst they get injured.
Rule of them only injure on purpose and only those that you are justified in injuring. Never injure by accident.

Day two - Road trip

I woke up early and hit the road to pick up Gary.
Gary is a fairly quiet guy, who has led an interesting life. We were going to be in the truck together for 10 hours so I wanted to hear some of those interesting stories that his other Judo students may not have ever heard.

Gary was a State Champion wrestler who went on to wrestle in college.
After college he became a Marine.   While a Marine he started Judo.   During training he broke his Instructor's leg.  At that time there were very few martial artists in the armed forces so Gary took over his Instructor's position.

Gary traveled the world teaching Judo and hand to hand combat at different military bases.

Eventually he was stationed in Hawaii and received his Shodan at the Zen Monastery where he trained when he wasn't teaching.

Sounds like an 80's action movie, pretty bad ass.

We arrived save and sound at my sister Kay's house just outside of St. Louis.
I can't thank her or my brother-in-law Jim enough for graciously hosting us and how nicely they treated us. Thank you very much!

Day three training camp.

The day started with warm ups and Judo training led by Sensei Matl.
You can read more about him here

You know those days you don't feel like training?
Well,  next time you do I want you to remember Sensei Matl.

He grew up in a Soviet occupied eastern block country.   If he was caught training he would have been sent to Siberia or killed.

Your excuses are weak, man up bitches.

After watching him teach I was happy that he too focused on universal principles applicable to all facets of martial art.

After that I took Ukemi for and helped Jimerfield Sensei teach Taiho Jutsu.
Some folks think I am nuts for taking all those thumps.  The way I see it there are some things that have to be felt to be learned.  Taking Ukemi always teaches me something new.

Then it was my turn.  I started with Uke Waza - Evasion Techniques

Not getting hit is a skill that is necessary to all martial artists
Not getting hit while:
Improving your position
Worsening their position
Protecting yourself from damage
Directing impact ( damage ) into the attacker
May be equally new and equally useful to every one there so I figured I'd start there

I had a hell of a time loading video onto the blog.  Best I could do was offer links to the video on Face Book.

Apparently that only works if you are face book friends with me.

So I tried youtube and that was weird too.  I couldn't just embed a video but I could embed a link.

Directing impact see also striking may be a sticking point for some Aikidoka
"We do not hit in Aikido"

So I have a pull quote for that situation
"Atemi (striking) is 80% of Aikido" - Morihei Ueshiba

But I also make the point that as a Police Officer I don't strike to injure or punish but affect the skeleton so I can control.

Day Four

Well, the plan worked and the training was well received.  So much so that I was asked to return and teach next year.  Also, one of the other Instructors could not make it so I had an extra opportunity to teach on Day four.

That day I worked some close quarters neck controls that you will have to train with me in person if you want to see them.  (I can't give it all away for free)

Great experience, with great people.  I hope all of you reading this can make it next year.

If you do, or if you have an opportunity to attend any multiple disciplinary type seminar I offer this advice.

1)Try to have just one thing.
At the end of all of my classes I ask what was the one thing you learned today, or if many what was your favorite.  At a seminar like this tons of information will be thrown at you.  Too much to process all at one time.  So pick one and make sure you remember it and can take it home and work on it.

2)If possible take Ukemi.
Like I said before there are some things that have to be felt to be learned.  Also these Instructors have paid their dues in similar ways and appreciate people who step up.  They tend to teach them something special that the others don't get.

3)Try everything offered.
If it complements your combative platform steal as much as you can.  If not, don't do things that are contrary to your training, but try to get a feel for how that style operates.

“Know your enemy, know his sword.”

― Miyamoto MusashiA Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

4) Have fun and be respectful.

Train hard, train smart, be safe.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2013 One On One Control Tactics / Cold Weather Control Tactics International Convention

This year the Violence Dynamics Seminar will feature the...

2013 One On One Control Tactics / Cold Weather Control Tactics International Convention

That will be the 1st weekend of the seminar.

Here is some information about the training:

Each year, Law Enforcement agencies in Minnesota are required to participate in inclement /cold weather fire arms training, and for good reason as it is a necessary skill for our environment. 
However, the majority of law enforcement personnel will never have to use their firearm in the line of duty.
Conversely every LEO has to control and cuff suspects nearly every shift of their career including the cold weather months. 
But LEOs never receive training in this area.
The COLD WEATHER ONE-ON ONE CONTROL TACTICS course is an excellent opportunity for Use of Force Instructors to increase their knowledge base and improve the quality of training for their Departments

One-On-One Control focuses on gross motor skill, high percentage techniques that are effective for all Law Enforcement Personnel regardless of their size or gender. 

This program is not meant to replace the defensive tactics system you have, but will enhance and supplement your program, increasing officer’s competence in hand to hand confrontations both standing and on the ground.

One-On-One Cold Weather Control Tactics protect LEOs physically, legally and they also project a positive public perception. 
Over the last 30 years One-On-One Control Tactics have been proven effective in application on the street and 100% defendable in court. 
Use of these techniques have resulted in:
•           0 – LEO injuries
•           0 – Suspect injuries
•           0 – Use of Force complaints

With the courts looking at every contact police officers have with the public, this integrated One-On-One Control Tactics 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!

About the Instructor:
The class is taught by Steve Jimerfield.  Jimerfield is a retired Alaskan State Trooper and a state trainer in law enforcement control tactics.

Cold Weather One-On-One Control Tactics is a defensive tactics system that was developed by Mr. Steven N. Jimerfield after his partner Bruce Heck was killed by a felon in a hand to hand confrontation. The theory behind One-On-One Control Tactics is that movement defeats strength. Application of this principle will allow you to take and retain control of a non-compliant or compliant subjects. One-On-One Control Tactics is an integrated self defense and control tactics system of managing a subject‘s body from various positions and always following through to a handcuffing position.

 The training is clearly geared towards people that use force professionally, but is open to all who would like to attend

Dates and Times: 09/28/13 – 09/29/13

Day One 09/28/13

Session 1 8:00 -10:00
Self Protection / Escape Techniques

Session 2 10:30 – 12:30
Control Positions / Tap Drills

Session 3 2:00 – 4:00
Take Downs and Ground Positions Into Cuffing

Day Two (Ground Skills) 09/29/13

Session 4 8:00 -10:00
Kick Defense

Session 5 10:30 – 12:30
Mount Defense

Session 6 2:00 – 4:00
Ground Escapes

Elk River American Legion (The Legion Of Doom)
525 Railroad Dr
Elk River MN

Entire Convention       $150
1 Day Pass                  $100
1 Session                     $40

Officer Kasey Keckeisen
763 360 7200

Sunday, July 21, 2013

“For how we train so shall we fight”

Recently I received a message on face book ( from Myron Cossitt.  Myron trains at KPC Martial arts ( in Canada.

I met him last year at the Violence Dynamics Seminar.

Here is a picture of him breaking my heroic lantern jaw

I cut and paste our conversation

Myron Cossitt
Hey man, can I ask you a training/violence related question?

Kasey Keckeisen

Myron Cossitt
When you're training things like BJJ or wrestling (or even maybe Judo?) the goal of the art doesn't usually line up with "violence" principles. Best example I can come up with based on my limited Martial Arts knowledge is:
In BJJ, your goal is to take your opponent to the ground, but in an actual violent encounter, you obviously wouldn't want to take them to the ground, but instead to have a solid ground skill set in case you ended up there.
When you're training, how do you avoid accidentally training "bad" habits that might make your situation worse or get you hurt? How do you not train those "bad" habits but still train the required skill set for a worst-case scenario (like being on the ground/the BJJ example)?
Does that make sense what I'm asking?

Kasey Keckeisen
Answer is fairly long
Is it cool if I use this conversation as a blog?
Kinda too long to give an answer here. And I want time to answer it well

Myron Cossitt
Just let me know when you post it cause it's been going around and around in my brain for the last while.

So guess what fans of the Budo Blog, that is what today’s blog is going to cover - How do you gain all of the skill sets required with out accidentally training "bad" habits that might get you hurt?

Easy answer find an instructor who received lots of training before they applied it in the field and has refined what they teach

Hard answer you receive lots of training then refine it down.

Also if you are a fan of the Budo Blog you will know that I am working on a book.  As it so happens a chapter or several deal directly with this idea.

So here is a teaser sample to get us rolling.

What to look for Seeking out those attributes – TRAINING
Just as I learned that Karate, Aikido, and Judo all work together because they all evolved from the core art of JuJutsu.  An Operator needs to round out their skill sets in ways that complement each other.

If you train in one system that preaches always stay on your feet and another that suggests you pull an attacker to the ground on top of you, how are you going to make those skill sets work together under pressure against a resistive opponent?

Your training must fit your rules of engagement, your personal ethical codes and meet the needs of a professional.

So before you seek out additional training have an operational philosophy in mind to use as your foundation.
I have been asked several times are traditional martial arts a waste of time?  Or do you feel you have wasted years of your life training in traditional martial arts? 

No, and here is why.  If I use the metaphor of a tree with solid, efficient, practical application combative measures as the end product or the fruit of the tree if you will.  Then traditional martial arts training are the root system of that tree.  The deeper better developed the roots are, the stronger the tree, the better, and more fruit the tree can yield.

However, every tree will need a pruning process

Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.

If you seek wisdom, seek the destruction of the illusions you hold as true more than you seek new truths.

-Karl Ludwig Börne

Cut all that is unnecessary, contradictory and unproductive.  Nurture and refine what is left.

My goal as an Instructor is to get my students to yield quality fruit of their own through a process that is more streamlined / outcome based than the path I took.

However, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water.  There are many great aspects of traditional martial arts training I strive to maintain while streamlining the process.

There are certain training methods that will take a student from nothing to proficient very quickly.  However, if that is all a system has to offer, that student will peak and plateau at proficient.  There are training methods that have long term effects.  They may not produce noticeable results in the short term but allow a student to surpass proficiency to mastery and really own these skills.

So you must be careful what you chose to prune.

 In his book “The Structure of Aikido” Gaku Homma makes some great points about natural motion.
Basically his point is our most effective movements are those we do naturally.  I reference this a lot when I work with Tactical Teams.  If you take a step with your left foot, the next step you normally take is with the right.  Simple movements like this we use everyday are the most powerful and effective movements we have available to us.  When you push open a door you naturally take a step forward or you would lose your balance and fall.  When you pull a door open you naturally take a step back so you don’t smack yourself in the face with the door.
You probably didn’t fall down, smack yourself in the face, or run into anyone on the street today.  No one taught you how to do this, you didn’t receive any special training.  This self preservation ability is something that you have developed for yourself since you learned how to move.

Let’s say you are 30 years old, and you have been walking since you were 1.  You have 29 years and 1000’s and 1000’s of repetitions in your own style of movement.  Even if you train everyday for 10 years, it could not compare to the 29 years of experience you already have.
You may have heard the saying it takes 3000-5000 repetitions to achieve muscle memory.  There is no such thing as muscle memory, but repetitive training can develop neural pathways which transmit signals from your brain to move your body in a specific way more efficiently.

The 3000 – 5000 repetition numbers comes from a 1941 book called Motor Learning by Doctors Richard Schmidt with Craig A. Wrisberg.
In Motor Learning, Dr. Schmidt states that it requires approximately 300-500 repetitions to develop a new motor pattern, and that it takes about 3000-5000 repetitions to erase and correct a bad motor pattern.

You are never going to “undo” 29 years of training.  Don’t fight this, EMBRACE THIS!  Your natural motion has to serve as the foundation of your operational method.

I guess I’ve never counted reps so I don’t have my own statistical data. But from my own experience I know it is much harder to break a bad habit and rebuild a positive one, than to build a positive habit from the start.
Whether you agree with those numbers or not I think we can all agree on the necessity to get as many quality reps as possible. We can also agree that when doing those reps we must be aware of unintended consequences and prevent ingraining bad habits.

If we can agree on those two points then we must also agree on the need to avoid contradictory training.
What I mean by this is that if one aspect of your training tells you to do one thing and another aspect tells you to do the opposite it will cause a freeze under pressure. Similar to how starting too many programs at the same time causes your computer to freeze.

A classic example of this found in Law Enforcement is shooting vs. defensive tactics. Most Law Enforcement firearms training is done on a range from a rooted shooting position. Officers easily receive 300-500 repetitions of standing still in front of a lethal threat and delivering rounds. These same Law Enforcement Officers are trained to move and use leverage and physics to physically control an arrest subject.
Now when those Law Enforcement Officers need to go hands on the conditioned responses are conflicting each other. The result is a freeze when action is needed, even to the point of receiving damage from the control subject. Most officers root right in front of the control subject (the worst possible place to be) and rely on muscle (instead of motion, leverage, and physics) and try to over power the control subject. Unless they are much larger and stronger this approach fails. Their back up arrives and does the same thing, repeat as necessary until physics are on their side (keep adding officers until there is enough mass to over power the control subject). This results in the ever popular pig pile.

What did you think?  Pretty awesome right?  You are probably throwing money at your computer screen now yelling at the internet to send you a copy of the book.  Be patient, all in good time.

From that portion of the book I want you to take away how repetitions ingrain neurological pathways, and how we need those pathways to operate under stress.

I recently went to the L.O.C.K.U.P Instructor school.

Law Enforcement

Panoply?? What the fuck does that mean?
1 it means that someone really wanted the acronym to spell out LOCKUP.

2. A complete or impressive collection of things: "their concerns range over the entire panoply of disciplinary functions".
3. A splendid display.
4. Armor

Monopoly means one panoply roughly means everything

The phrase it is most commonly associated with is "The panopoly of Spartan Warrior".  The complete Spartan Panoply consisted of helmet, thorax, greaves, round hoplon/shield, short sword and thrusting spear.

So no matter how ripped a Spartan was they went into battle like this

Not like this

Only folks that went into battle naked were the Gauls.  Who oddly enough were summarily wiped out by the Romans.

Ok back to the point

In this context meaning that skill with all the equipment / weapons (panopoly) a Law Enforcement Officer uses is integrated into the unarmed training.

LOCKUP is run by Kevin Dillon 
(Not to be confused with George “Death Touch / Power of the Force” Dillman)

This guy

Not this guy

Kevin starts the class with a silly martial arts video set to “kung fu fighting” as a icebreaker / introduction
He reveals that he is the person in those videos doing flash tournament fighting and demonstration.  He tells the class that he started training in traditional martial arts in his early teens and then started training in practical application with a Green Beret fresh back from Viet Nam (see easy answer).  He loved it, training and tournament competition were his entire life.

When he became a professional Police Officer and needed to use his skills to control / stop a violent criminals.  He found several times that he would nail them with one of his favorite techniques.  But they would just get back up and keep coming.  That was an eerie sensation for him.  Things that won tournaments were inapplicable for his profession.

He realized even though he was hitting very hard he was hitting targets that score points in tournament but have little to no effect on stopping a threat.

He also realized that if he was going to continue to be a Police Officer he would need to change the way he trains.

The motto of LOCKUP is
“For how we train so shall we fight”

Dillon stopped training for tournament even though he loved tournaments and focused on another area of martial arts.

Dillon then went on to a very good presentation on neurological pathways. 
Which brings us back to the blog.

Dillon discussed the need for repetitions in solid fundamentals to establish a pathway with strong myosin links.

The more reps the stronger the links, the bigger the pathway.

If you are using a new skill, that has lesser pathways than an older similar skill, under the stress of violent physical confrontation you will skip to that stronger pathway.

This accounts for failures in drawing a weapon from a fairly new level 3 holster after using a level 2 for years and years.  This also accounts for Officers that attempted to deploy their Taser (relatively new) but used their firearm by mistake (years and years of repetitions)

So how did he, how do any of use make the transition from traditional training to practical application?  How can we retain and retrieve (under pressure) the skill sets we need and not slip to an unnecessary / ineffectual skill set we still have strong pathways too?

Let’s revisit some answers

Easy answer find an instructor who received lots of training before they had a profession where they have to apply those skills it in the field and has refined what they teach based on what has worked for them. (Like Dillon’s Green Beret, like Dillon himself, Steve Jimerfield, Rory Miller, and what I strive to do).

If someone like that is not available in your area seek out opportunities to travel to where these guys are.  Find Instructor level training.  For civilians see if you are allowed to attend these type of classes.  (You will probably need to know someone who can get you in but it will be worth it).

If neither of those options are viable you are stuck with:

Hard answer you receive lots of training then refine it down yourself.

In this context, and to more directly answer Myron’s question… When you're training, how do you avoid accidentally training "bad" habits that might make your situation worse or get you hurt? How do you not train those "bad" habits but still train the required skill set for a worst-case scenario (like being on the ground/the BJJ example)?... 

I’d start by defining your personal platform and establishing your training goals.

Physical Skills Platform
A use of force continuum is an example of rules of engagement found in most Law Enforcement agencies’ use of force policies.
Here is an example of a use of force continuum
1.      Presence
Physical Fitness
Awareness* situational awareness program
2.      Verbal commands
Communication Skills
3.      Contact Controls
Touching or Seizing the offender
Escort Compliance
Standing Controls
Pain Compliance
Joint Locks
4.      Compliance Techniques
“Soft Hands”
Take Downs
5.      Disabling Techniques
“Hard Hands”
Impact Techniques
Striking / Kicking
6.      Potentially Lethal Force
3 – 5 – 7
Weapons Techniques
If you are going to employ your martial arts skills in the professional use of force you must assure that your own personal style covers all these aspects.
All Operators have to have skill sets at all levels of force.  I like to use this model as a frame work for operators to develop their own operational style.
For example
If you have been training in Karate you should be well versed in Disabling Techniques / “Hard Hands”.  If you want to use Karate as an Operator you will need to round out your own personal style with skills in
·      Contact Controls
·      Compliance Techniques
·      Potentially Lethal Force
There are fantastic throws, sweeps and take downs in Karate, but how many Karate Instructors teach those aspects?  So this hypothetical potential Operator needs to find those lost / under taught elements in his own art or seek out supplemental training to develop those assets.

Then start with human physiology.  What are humans capable of under extreme stress and work backwards to training from there.

Taking time to get into position to execute a perfect oma plata while some one is burying your face in a snow bank might not be feasible.  So why spend a lot of time on oma plata set ups?

So in Myron’s example he is seeking out ground skills.  He does not need to learn the panoply of BJJ (see what I did there), nor does he need to learn the rules of a catch as catch can, or submission wrestling tournament.  Myron wants to learn how to say off his back, and if he can’t then, how to get off his back and out to safety, or, oh shit, barring those two how to stop a threat on top of him if he can’t get off his back.

So be discerning, be respectful, and most important be honest.

Find an instructor in that skill set, tell them why you want to train with them, tell them your concerns about conflicting training, and see if they will work with you. 

It may have to be private instruction.  It may be helping you work on what you need during open gym time.  But an instructor that can help you will be excited by the challenge of helping you.  If they can’t help you their reasons will be something along the lines of my (sport / traditional) art is perfect as I teach it.  It is everything for every body in every circumstance.  You just need to come and train 3 x a week for the next 10-15 years to understand.  If you are not willing to put in 10-15 years to master it then refine it for the needs you had 15 years ago you might want to seek out a different instructor.

If you are going to train with them for an extended time be a wise consumer.  Again be humble be polite, but abstain from training that ingrains habits that are antithetical to your goals.

From Myron’s BJJ example.  If the focus of the day’s class is pulling guard, and you are training because you want to stay off your back.  Getting good at pulling guard is detrimental to you.  So what can you do?  Volunteer to be the all time guy that gets pulled into guard.  Understand the strategy so you can fight against it, avoid being taken to the ground.  If that doesn't fly respectfully find a way to do something else or nothing at all but don’t get good at the opposite of what you want to be good at.  You are paying for training you have every right to only participate in the training you require.

If you are having fun and you understand that what you are doing is just play, that is fine.  There are plenty of Judo classes I have attended where I have thought I will never use this.  But picking up a guy and slamming him into the planet is always fun so I go with the flow.  The “flavor” of my Judo is different from my Sensei’s.  

That is cool we still have fun rolling together and learning from each other.  I’m not worried about ingraining pathways to “play skills”, because - for skills to be available under stress you need additional training methods anyway…
(was that a killer transition to the next topic or what?)

The reason I suggest all that gets us back on topic, you need to get in quality reps.  You need to build strong neurological pathways to fundamentally sound skill, that you can retrieve and execute under the stress of physical violence

“For how we train so shall we fight”
“We do not rise to the occasion, we fall to out level of training…in an adrenalized body”

So in summary find good skills that fit the needs of your personal “combatives” platform.
Then gets lots of quality reps in those skills.

Develop your own tool box then - DRILL THOSE SKILLS!!!!!

Next, how to we avoid slipping from these skills to older maybe more deeply ingrained neurological pathways?  How do we assure we retain and can retrieve the quality skills we need under pressure?

When you survive something scary your brain marks those memories with a synaptic tag using dopamine.  Basically like a giant yellow post it note.  Your brain is saying hey dumb dumb we just lived through this scary thing, be sure we can remember what we did to survive if we are ever in a similar situation.

Most people have heard of, or maybe even experienced the phenomenon of “my life flashed before my eyes” when someone lived through something scary.
That is your brain searching for dopamine tags to a similar experience.  If you don’t have any relevant tags you see your entire life.

So we need to put dopamine tags onto the quality skill neurological pathways?

How is this done?  Lucky for us your brain can’t tell the difference between surviving a stressful event and surviving realistic stressful training or make believe.

That is why quality reality based scenario training done as realistically as safely possible is so important.
Studies also show that people who studied in the same room they took a test in did much better than people that were moved into a different room for the same test.

Rarely will you need to fight for your life inside a Dojo.  So environmental training in the elements on the terrain is crucial to building stronger pathways to quality skills.

So in summary to answer Myron’s question:
How do you gain all of the skill sets required with out accidentally training "bad" habits that might get you hurt?

Find an instructor who received lots of training before they had a profession where they have to apply those skills it in the field and have refined what they teach based on what has worked for them.

If someone like that is not available in your area seek out opportunities to travel to where these guys are.  Find Instructor level training.  For civilians see if you are allowed to attend these type of classes. 
{Shameless self plug the Violence Dynamics Seminar is chalked full of those types of guys and provided instructor level training}

If neither of those options are viable you

Seek out training then refine it down yourself.

If so, start by developing your personal platform and defining your training goals.  After that focus on human physiology.  What are humans capable of under extreme stress? Work backwards to training from there.

All of that is to refine your skill sets down to what works for you.  Once you have discovered that you need to build the strongest neurological pathways to those skill sets possible.

This is done with lots of high quality reps.  DRILL THOSE SKILLS!!!!!

After those skills have been ingrained you need to get them form the mid brain to the hind brain (survival instinct).  You need to own those skills on a cellular level.

That is achieved by not only “pressure testing” these skills with scenarios but ingraining these skills sets under difficult conditions in the actual environments you will need to use them in.  Creating that dopamine tag for retention and retrieval under “combat stress”

I hoped this helped

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be Safe.