Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cross over blog

Cross over.  That terms has several meanings.  For my fellow comic book book nerds it means when one character crosses over and shows up in another character's book.

Like this Batman / Hulk cross over from 1981

In that cross over Batman defeated Marvel's mightiest hero.  How?  Because he is the god damned Batman that's how

Cross over in regard to training  means training in one discipline that crosses over and improves skills in another.

This blog entry will address both.

I'm sure you have heard the phrase - Haters gonna hate.
I’ve been “hated” on, and even though it bothers me to admit it publicly I have “hated” on others.

Begs the question:
Have you ever “hated” on someone you are doing better than?

There are guys in the fields of close quarter combatives for professionals (military / law enforcement) and private personal protection that couldn’t carry my jock.

But they don’t really care because they are too busy counting all the money they are making.
I will no longer waste time saying anything negative about these people because no, you don’t hate on someone you are doing better than.

I’ve decided to take that energy and spend it on doing better than them.

Easier said than done.  If it was easy I’d already be doing it.  Remember what I just wrote about saying negative things?  So without wasting energy being negative let me just say, there are practices I’ve seen that are financially viable, but I am not willing to follow those practices.

Advertising and marketing are skill sets I do not possess (yet..)
However, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

Enter obligatory pop culture reference here:

Luckily for me I have found that rare flower of someone that runs a commercially successful martial arts school and isn’t a sell out or a douche bag.

He doesn't water down his stuff, doesn't teach children, and he teaches martial arts and personal protection as separate things.
That brings us to the topics of this blog post

Martial Art vs. Personal Protection
And what are viable successful marketing strategies for personal protection

Martial art vs. Self Protection

Let me start by saying I love martial arts (duh right).
I’d even go so far as to say there are no “bad” martial arts.
Hell, I’ll even go a step further and say there is one art that is superior to all others.

OOOooooo controversial!

Calm down, that one superior art is different for everyone.  It is the art you enjoy doing, that becomes a part of your lifestyle, and is something you will do the rest of your life.

As much as you love whatever that art is, no matter how bad ass it is, you must understand that martial art is not personal protection.

If you are studying a martial art for self defense buyer beware.

No martial art is complete for personal protection in the 21st century.
The old schools ones were used before there were laws.
The newer ones were never intended for that purpose.

However, any art can be adapted for personal protection.
To do so you will need a full range of physical skills, and more importantly specific information your Sensei or Sifu never taught you

Physical Skills

To make my point let’s take look at a use of force continuum.
A use of force continuum is an example of rules of engagement found in most Law Enforcement agencies’ use of force policies.

1.            Presence
Physical Fitness

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
Impact Weapons

6.            Potentially Lethal Force
7.            Lethal Force

If you are going to employ your martial arts skills for personal protection you must assure that your own personal style covers all these aspects.

You will have to have skill sets at all levels of force.  I like to use this model as a frame work for people to take the foundation of their martial arts training and 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 a foundation for personal protection or professional use of force you will need to round out your own personal style with skills in
  • ·         Contact Controls
  • ·         Compliance Techniques
  • ·         Potentially Lethal Force
  • ·         Lethal Force

There are fantastic throws, sweeps and take downs in Karate, but how many Karate Instructors teach those aspects anymore?  So this hypothetical person needs to find those lost / under taught elements in his own art or seek out supplemental training to develop those assets.

Integrating skill sets
Just as I learned that Karate, Aikido, and Judo all work together because they all evolved from the core art of JuJutsu.  Anyone interested in rounding out their skill for personal protection should look for 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 violent attacker?

Your training must fit your rules of engagement, your personal ethical codes and work in the environment you are likely to find yourself in. 

So, before you seek out additional training have an operational philosophy in mind to use as your foundation.

*If you are a professional (paid to protect others) or plan to incorporate fire arms skills into your personal protection method, I suggest starting with fire arms skills and building around that foundation.

For more information on that and to cover training in one discipline that crosses over and improves skills in another, please check out:

Filling in the holes (don’t get cute with that)

Just as our hypothetical Karateka needed to seek out additional training.  You are going to have to assess your skill sets and find ways to cover missing information.  No matter what your martial arts foundation / background is, in order to use it for personal protection you will need to know:

  • How to hit hard
    • Not how to earn points in competition.  How to generate power and deliver force into an enemy in order to disable an attacker.
  • How Joints lock / break
    • How to control someone using lower levels of force, and how to break someone when higher levels of force are justified
  • How to overcome an ambush attack
    • Not blocking, not evading, but turning the tide.  The Japanese sometimes call this Sen No Sen or attacking the attack.  
      You are not defending but actively counter attacking.  Something that protects you and allows you to deliver force (damage) into the attacker at the same time.  All while improving your position so the attacker can no longer damage you.
  • How throws work
    • It is unlikely you will ever need to use personal protection skills against someone your own size or smaller.  You need to be able to move a larger aggressive enemy.  You need to be able to direct that enemy into the environment (walls, tables, the floor, down a flight of stairs)
  • How to move someone on the ground
    • You don't need to be a red belt in BJJ but you should be able to prevent your self from being taken to the ground, and if you end up there you have to be able to move a larger aggressive enemy.
  • How strangles work - Wreck a neck
    • You will need the ability to use potentially lethal force
  • *Edged weapons
  • *Fire arms

If you are very fortunate you may train in a system that covers most if not all of those physical skills.  As complete as any system that could possibly cover all of that is, still more is needed to make those skills viable for personal protection.

More importantly than any physical skills you will need to know a block of information I like to call – things your Sensei never taught you

Understanding use of force law
Force Articulation
How your brain works – this is your brain
How your brain reacts to stress caused by conflict – this is your brain on violence
Social Violence
Asocial Violence
Conflict Strategy – Avoidance
Conflict Strategy – Escape and evade
Verbal Skills  - Deescalating social violence
Verbal Skills  - Deterring asocial violence
Logic of violence - Understanding criminal behavior
Threat assessment
Reading terrain
  • ·         Self care
  • ·         Talking to the police
  • ·         Psychology of survival

No matter how good your martial arts training is, if it does not cover all of the above topics in depth, it is incomplete for personal protection.

How can one learn the things your Sensei never taught you?

Shameless self plug 1

Every fall I host the Violence Dynamics Seminar in Minnesota featuring Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung.  Over the course of the seminar all of the above mentioned necessary skills / knowledge is covered. 
However, as you can imagine, that is a lot of stuff to cover so the seminar usually runs 7 to 10 days.

I got to thinking, I always performed better on tests that I prepared for in manageable study sessions over time.  As opposed to cramming for 8 hours the night before a test.

The Violence Dynamics seminar is fantastic for all, but especially martial artists looking to fill in the holes so that their martial arts training can be viable for personal protection.  However, as good as it is 80 hours of training over 10 days once a year is a crash course.

How could I present the information from the Violence Dynamics Seminar in manageable portions over time?

I developed the Violence Dynamics Semester course.  The semester course is 10 weeks long.  Two hours every Tuesday night.  Generally one hour of academic training and one hour of physical skills.

Some weeks are entirely academic because the topic takes more time to cover*

Academic Topics                                                                               Physical Skills
Understanding use of force                                                        How to hit hard

This is your Brain*
This is your brain on violence*

Social Violence                                                                                  Joint Locks / Breaks

Asocial Violence                                                                               Counter Ambush

Conflict Strategy – Avoidance                                                     Throwing Mechanics

Conflict Strategy – Escape evade                                              Ground Movement

Verbal Skills Deescalating social violence                               High end use of force - Wreck a neck

Verbal Skills deterring asocial violence                                    Physical skills review - Drills

Logic of violence*

Threat assessment*
Reading terrain*

Fire Arms Training

I found a way to cover the essential skill sets necessary for anyone to use force (violence) legitimately for personal protection.  

I even paired the Tuesday physical topics with Saturday Seminars so people seeking additional training can benefit from taking the fundamentals they learned on Tuesday and applying them to the same topic for three hours the following Saturday.

This has become the favorite class I teach and although I always look forward to teaching, I get more excited about this class than the others.

Why?  For one reason, where I am at with my own progress and personal training this is exactly the type of training I need.  I am at a place where I really could care less about individual arts, ranks, or organizations.  I want to be the best there is at what I do.  The best I can be.  This type of training is ideal for taking someone from zero skill and getting them to proficiency as fast as possible.  Focusing on training the individual, not passing on a tradition.  Which also means it is very good for rounding out skill sets that may be lacking from any one art.

Another reason I have found is that professional users of force, Operators (Cops / Military) need training in personal protection.

What do I mean by this?
Just because you are skilled at using violence in one context does not mean that those skills cross over to other aspects and rules of engagement.  No matter how bad ass you are, at the end of the day, at the end of your tour, you will find yourself off duty in the capacity of a civilian.  Surrounded by other civilians.  If you don’t know / have never been trained how to operate in that environment using your bad ass skills is going to get you into a world of hurt.

Lastly, the reason I get a little more excited about this class is it has become kind of a spy / commando class.  

How to become Bourne, Bond, Bauer (or Batman) if you will.  

I would never advertise the class as that.  That was never my intention.  However, because of my personality, and because I’m a pop culture nerd it has kind of morphed into that.

Maybe give it a cool covert operations group acronym like ODIN


Can you blame me?  The class is held in a semi secret, semi hidden subterranean training facility. 

Also people learn better and quicker by playing.  Playing also wires the information to the part of the brain that will be active during conflict.  So, many of the games I use or have developed myself involve playing the role of a highly trained operative

The problem I am having is, although this is my favorite class, I only have 3-4 students in the class.  Most of who have had this material several times before.

Remember as I stated marketing and advertising are skill sets I still need to master.

A possible solution I have come up with is turning this class into a permit to carry class.

With all of the emphasis I put on understanding force laws there is a lot of cross over any way.

The pros:
Many people have asked me to do a permit to carry class (potential clients)

Permit to carry classes fill up all the time

If people that want permit to carry class get a taste of the other things the class offer they may become regular students.  Or at least continue taking this class

There are plenty of skilled martial artists around.  Part of them knows they need some sort of additional training to make their skills viable for personal protection.  Many do not seek out this additional training because they have a deep investment in their previous training.  And even as easy going and style neutral as I am, I feel many that would benefit from training with me do not because there may be a loss of face.  “I’ve spent all this time doing (insert name here) and he is saying it won’t work for personal protection”.  That is not true I never say that (re-read the beginning of this blog) but sadly that may be the perception, until I can actually get them on the mat and play with them

How is that a pro?  I think fire arms are so far out of normal martial art skills that it circumvents that possible perceived loss of face.  Get them in the door with fire arms, don’t let them leave until they can make their existing skills viable for personal protection. 

The cons:
An average permit to carry class is 6 – 10 hours
My class is at least 20 hours.

So why would anyone spend 20 hours training with me to get the same permit to carry they could get with 6 hours of training anywhere else?

Anyone who has gone to an NRA instructor school and meets the minimum qualifications can teach a permit to carry class.

I far exceed those qualifications (please forgive the following shameless self-plug 2)

I am an Operator on multiple different tactical teams (well two, but that sounds sexy as hell right?)
I am a sniper
I am a SWAT team leader
I am a SWAT team training coordinator (which means I teach operational skills to tactical teams)
I have been hired by several tactical teams to train their personnel
I have taught at the SOTA Midwest regional SWAT conference multiple time (well twice, but I am rolling  here)
I use what I teach professionally on a regular basis (It's not a hobby it is my profession)

Bottom line any one can teach a permit to carry class.  I can teach you how to fight with a gun (America’s martial art).

Why the distinction, why do I think the extra 14 hours is necessary?

Let’s take a look at the Martin / Zimmerman shooting.  Take away any possible political leanings.  Take away any possible race implications.  Take away any blame.  Bottom line there was a conflict between the two.  The conflict became physical.  Any time conflict goes physical it has the potential to become lethal. Zimmerman was losing so he used his fire arm.

My hope is in the extra 14 hours I provide, the students will develop their own personal protection method that integrates fire arms with other necessary physical defense skills.  So that situations like Martin / Zimmerman might not escalate to lethal force.  And if God forbid it ever did the the academic skill sets would enable students to know when lethal force is justified and be able to articulate their actions.

Sounds like an awesome class right?  You can see why I am so excited about it.  Not only is it necessary, but it is fun and you can get your permit to carry after completion.

So how can I fill my classes?

Man needs to know his limitations.   I need help.  I am not worried about losing face, I want to develop the skills I need to fill that class.
1 I would like to make some money.  I have become cool with that.  Batman has money.
2 The information is no good if I can’t get the information out to the people that need it and will use it.

Which brings us back to the beginning of this blog.  The cross over, just like in the comics.  That rare flower (I'm sure he loves me calling him that) is Randy King of KPC.  I met Randy at the Violence Dynamics seminar (which he regularly attends).  He also produces a video blog Randy Rants.

Recently, we were discussing the problem I am having, and Randy’s last rant.  The rant was against fear based marketing.  One of those practices I will not follow that I mentioned earlier.   The rant generated a lot of response.  However, one internet troll wrote pages and pages on how he was wrong and basically called Randy out asking how you advertise a personal protection service if you are not going to exploit fear.

So here is the cross over.  We decided to kill several birds with one stone.  I will write a blog (the one you are currently reading) on the necessity of personal protection training different than adding the words “for self defense” to the end of any martial art you may be teaching.  Kendo for self defense for example.  I will also provide an example of what is required for personal protection.  Randy will help me fill the class by showing me and the internet troll (p.s. fuck that guy) how to successfully market that class without resorting to practices I find distasteful.

Train hard, Train Smart, Stay safe...and Stay tuned for Randy's response

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mechanics of throwing

Last week I went back to my hometown for my Dad’s birthday [happy birthday Dad] and to watch a wrestling quad ( a competition between four teams as opposed to a wrestling meet or tournament).

The purpose of the quad was to raise money for a former football and wrestling coach of mine Bill Durbahn.

Bill is recovering from Leukemia and the proceeds from T-shirt sales went to help pay hospital costs and medical bills.

Good luck Mr. Durbahn you are in my prayers. 
The reason I mention it besides to praise the Mankato area wrestlers for doing something cool for a genuinely  good guy is a couple things from the quad and some recent training got me thinking about the mechanics of throwing

At the quad I saw Don Krusemark, who was the head wrestling coach back in my day.  He asked if I still had that killer double leg.  I said I am still taking people down but now I use different methods.

I took my daughters along.  Before the quad I realized that they had never seen wrestling before.  We watch WWE every now and then so I thought I better explain that it is very different.

My oldest watched for a while then  asked me, “why doesn’t he just hit him?”
I responded that you can’t hit in wrestling.
She shot back when we wrestle you, you always hit us.
Now you may be asking, why does Kasey hit his little girls.
1 – Hitting little girls is fun
2 – I really like to win
3 – I’m the kind of “feminist” that refuses to let being a girl be treated like a learning disability
I rough house with them the same way my brothers did with me.  The same way I would if they were boys.
Why?  Like last blog hard hands I want them to know getting hit especially in the face isn’t the end of the world.
I never want them to hit someone (other than me) but if they ever have to I want them to be able to do it well.

Females traditionally are socialized very differently.  They are told never to hit.  They are not rough housed with.  Then they don’t learn the rules of violence social or otherwise.  If they ever hit they are punished, or the hit is responded to with a higher level of violence (educational beat down).  So they are taught violence never works, comes with penalties, and will only get you hurt.

This conditioning may prepare them on how to deal with some forms of social violence, but is victim grooming for asocial violence.

I hope my daughters follow career paths that make them happy and they make oodles of money so they can take care of me in my old age in the manner I have become accustomed to.

I don’t want them to become Operators  - professional users of force.

However, we have a lot of fun playing / preparing to become superheroes




If they learn something of value while we play so much the better.
I would much prefer they had this knowledge and never had to use it, than need this knowledge and not have it because they played Prince Charming is going to come and save them.

Side note  - for an excellent article on women learning to use force and better ways to teach women to fight please check out:

I told my daughter that  I use the word wrestling as a generic term for any kind of fighting, but this is the official sport of wrestling
She said - Sure would be easier if you could hit him.
Yes, yes it is and that brings me to the point.

Sporting applications are great.  Wrestling truly is the sport of kings.  Two individuals of equal size test their skill against each other by attempting to take the other down and hold him down while the opponent  does everything he can to stop you, and do the same to you.  No judges, no one to help you, no one to blame just you and him.  Very true / pure form of competition.

Outside of sport, outside of a display of skill, what is the purpose of throwing ?

Sure Law Enforcement and Military need to capture and control people, putting someone on the ground to limit their mobility so they can somehow bind them makes sense.

Do take downs have any logical place in personal protection?
If you have no need to control the enemy are throws an appropriate force option?
When there are no weight classes, ref, mats, do throws make sense?


Fade to black roll credits great blog see you next week.

Yes, that is it, just yes?

Oh, allow me to explain.

Although I am a wrestler, I feel that striking is the simplest, most gross motor response to violence.
I like to think of strikes like Lego blocks.  Meaning anything more complex than a strike will be made up of strikes.

So, outclassed in size and strength, I’m not going to waste motion establishing my favorite Judo grips.
If you force me to put my hands on you, it will cost you.  I should be like a buzz saw or an electric fence.  Every time I touch you it should cause damage.

If in the course of causing you damage I knock you off-balance and you give me an opportunity to hit you with the planet it only makes sense to take advantage of that opportunity.

With this philosophy in mind Karate has some great throws and throwing application to movements performed in kata, sadly few Karateka are taught this.

Watching the 170 lb. match the kid from Mankato West kept getting pushed back.  In a brilliant move he held him tight in an under hook  and opened (what I call opening) like a bullfighter  letting  his opponent’s push go past him.  He pulled and fell on his chest.  Because of the under hook the opponent landed on his back.  The kid from West pinned him.

Got me thinking - How else are throws viable for personal protection?

Sacrifice throws.  In the realm of personal protection there is a phrase for when you are losing.  It is called getting your ass kicked.  Not losing by points, but having things broken.  If you are losing you have nothing more to lose by increasing chaos.  You may not be able to stop the enemy from moving you around, or throwing you to the ground.  But, you can do things to make sure they hit the ground first and you land on top of them.

Do throws make sense?  I have been wrecked by a throw.

I was bigger, stronger, and more skilled than the guy that did that to me.  That happened in a “friendly” randori session at a new Judo school I was checking out about six years ago.  My opponent trapped my foot to the ground and fell, pulling me on top of him.  I dislocated my foot and broke my leg.  

My point being if I could be wrecked by accident, throws can be used to disable on purpose.

So should everyone reading this go down to the local high school and start roiling with the wrestling team?
It would be cool if you could, and they would let you, but it is unnecessary.  

You don’t have to be a wrestler or Judoka to throw people.  People slip and fall, people trip over things all the time.  So if the planet and inanimate objects can throw people, it should be easy for folks smart enough to read this blog.

Part of my own training lately has been a mental game.  I have spent over half my life gaining the skills I own and I have the scars to prove it.  
How can I transmit that knowledge to others better?
How can I get them proficient faster?  

The mental game I have been playing is assuming the role of William Fairbairn in WWII.  I have to prepare someone to be able to use violence to take someone apart behind enemy lines as fast as possible.  

Or the role Ra’s Al Ghul, someone has come to me with the need to be proficient in the use of force.  I don’t have time to pass on an art or tradition.  I have to instill in them the fundamentals so that they can spontaneously improvise the best methods and tactics for them and the circumstances they will be in.

What are the fundamentals of throwing?

Like joint locks, if you go into a violent encounter with a Rolodex of throws you are going to try to do, you will have a very low probability of success.  However if you understand how throws work and are able to recognize opportunities to improvise throws you can take advantage of the “gifts” the enemy  may hand you.

What makes throws / take downs work?

  • Off Balance
  • Leverage
  • Placing an obstacle in path
  • Removing Structure
  • Slaving / Sacrifice
  • True throw
    • Half entry
    • Full Entry
Off Balance

It is hard to use one’s strength without balance.  Imagine your best dead lift.  Now try doing that same weight on a frozen lake, or while wearing roller skates.  So taking someone’s balance robs them of much of their strength.

If you’ve been attacked, it’s because they figured they could take you.  Bigger, stronger, meaner, are not qualities predators look for in prey.  So it is safe to assume that they are or believe themselves to be Bigger, stronger, and meaner than you.  They only way a throw will work against an enemy like that is if they lose their balance or you take it from them.

If you can move someone’s head or hips outside “the cone of balance”

They will fall over or they will need to step to reestablish a stable base


Using part of their body as a lever arm to move them out of the cone of balance.
An example of a lever throw would be Irimi Nage or Ago Ate Nage for Aikido
I couldn’t find a video to illustrate so imagine a palm heal strike to the chin that rocks their head back out of the cone of balance, then continuing to drive their head to the ground before they can regain balance.  You use the spine as one large lever arm to move the body.

Placing an obstacle in path

There are only so many ways a person can move to regain a base.   When you take their balance, but they do not fall, if you put something where they will need to step to regain balance they will fall.

An example to illustrate the point would be tai otoshi

Removing Structure

In the course of off balancing someone you may load all of your and their weight on one leg.  Temporarily immobilizing them.  If you kick the weight bearing support structure out, then they have to fall.

An example to illustrate the point would be osoto otoshi

Slaving / Sacrifice

If you latch on to them, make yourselves conjoined twins as I like to say, and drop, they have to come with you

To see what this might look like I like to use osoto makikomi as an example

True throw

After you have off balanced them you use your structure like a catapult or a trebuchet and throw the enemy over your hip.

These are usually broken down into half and full entry throws.  For personal protection it is dangerous to give the enemy your back so I prefer half entry such as O Goshi

Clearly I used a lot of Judo after I said you don’t need to study Judo.  The point I am trying to make is if you understand the principles that make those Judo throws work you know how to throw someone you don’t need to memorize 100’s of throws. 

If you memorize things, that knowledge gets stored in the wrong part of your brain and will be difficult if not impossible to access in violent confrontation.

Ingrain principles and you will be able to improvise throws under pressure.

Understand a hand full of key concepts and you know every throw in Judo.

On the flip side don’t take this as a dig on Judo.  Kano’s Randori – playing, training against resistive partners, these methods pushed the boundaries of martial arts training.  That wired the information to the part of the brain available in conflict.  Sport Judo today is not the same.

If Judo or any majority throwing art is the basis of your own personal system that is great.  That is a solid foundation. Throwing  is viable for self-protection.   Just be aware that you will need to subsidize your skills with other training to make sure you cover the gambit of use of force skills. 

Chin up, just as folks who don't train in a throwing art can acquire throwing skills by mastery of principles. 
Throwers can master the principles of other aspects in the use of force spectrum to incorporate those skills into their own personal protection method.

Train Hard, Train Smart, Be safe.

Here is a shout out to all the strong women in my life I am proud of you, and I am better for having known you

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hard Hands

In the last year, two law enforcement officers that I know have wrecked their hands having to defend themselves from attack.(They were jumped by people they were dealing with) 

You may be saying to yourself big deal, Kasey is always talking about how cops don’t receive enough training, and too few train on their own.  What else would you expect?

Granted I do bitch about that a lot, and in this blog post I’ll discuss ways to address that issue.

I’d like to use this blog entry to address striking in general and specifically how striking is taught to Law Enforcement, and how it needs to be improved.

However, before we get there I need to mention one of the cops that busted his hand is a top notch operator whom I respect.  One of the few that does train on his own. (With me)

Let me be adamantly clear.  I am not second guessing or Monday morning quarterbacking these officers.  I don’t do that to anyone out there actually facing dangerous situations.  Especially my friends.

If anything the opposite is true.  I consider this a win.  Someone I trained overcame being ambushed and injured and rendered an assaultive subject incapable of doing any further damage.
It is a great story.  But it is not my story to tell.  Maybe later I can sweet talk him into posting a guest blog.

I do want to hit upon how a guy like my friend would even be jumped in the first place.
My buddy is a big dude.  Like the last guy you would want to pick a fight with size dude.  6’6” 290lbs big.
There was a time when a uniform and a badge protected most officers from being attacked.
Now there is a distinct fuck the police culture in and of itself and an ever growing fuck the police attitude in society as a whole.

Like this classy lady

The uniform and badge have gone from protection to a liability.  (A target on your back)

However many officers still rely on the uniform and badge to protect them.  They are unprepared for the increased assaults on Law Enforcement Officers.

If someone is willing to attack a huge guy in uniform like my buddy, what is protecting you?

There are criminals that believe they have nothing to lose by fighting Law Enforcement.  They will earn “street cred” for injuring a cop or they will sue the department and the Officer for excessive force.

Officers are forced into more and higher level use of force incidents than ever before with no additional training.

Officers are rarely taught how to strike because hitting appears excessive to the public and to administration.

Because Officers are not trained how to hit efficiently, when forced to hit they are ineffective and try to compensate for skill with volume, using many strikes which appears excessive and still fails to achieve the purpose of striking in the first place.  That purpose/goal is to end the threat's ability to damage you.

So what can be done?
As I have mentioned in previous blogs training priorities need to be shifted.
It is unlikely that there will be any significant increases in training time or budgets in the foreseeable future.  So what is taught and the order training topics are prioritized are the only realistic changes that can be made to address the problem.

Most new hires have never experienced any type of violence before starting their careers in Law Enforcement. Where this becomes a problem is more cops are being attacked. They are both being forced to use higher levels of force and -- out of fear -- resorting to same when it is unnecessary.

In the past there was an assumption that recruits knew how to fight, and had been in fights.   Starting with that assumption, the hows and whys to control a subject was added.  Boxing and wrestling were common aspects of training progrmas.  Now force on force contact like boxing and wrestling have been removed. New hires clearly don’t know how to fight and have never been in a confrontation.  But training hasn't changed.  That assumed common knowlege that is no longer very common is still the foundation upon which the rest of control tactics is built

We don't want to put “fighting” into a lesson plan.
We DON'T want to teach them to fight, we want them to learn the necessary side benefits that come from having fought.

We need to put the fight in them, but we have the same amount of time to train them.

{Don’t come to me with a bitch unless you also have possible solutions}

This requires a paradigm shift.
The knowledge gained by “Fighting” or “Scrapping”  on the school yard used to be assumed as common knowledge , now it must be taught.

We have to make gaining this knowledge a priority.

We have to start with a means of instilling that knowledge as a foundation and build other skills on top of that. 
We can no longer do it the other way around.

The term -Defensive Tactics implies that you have to be on defense.  A losing strategy.  For defensive tactics to work you have to be 100% successful all of the time.  For offensive tactics to work you just have to be successful once.   Action is always faster than reaction.

Offensive tactics sums up the concepts of:
  • ·         Knowing use of force law and department policies well. 
  • ·         Understanding human behavior and recognizing pre-attack indicators. 
  • ·         Confidently using pro-active force efficiently to end the confrontation quickly.  
  • ·         Intelligently articulating your force options in plain language so that anyone that hears your story or reads your report responds with –“ that seems reasonable to me, guy is lucky he didn’t get worse”

·         Training
·         Admin buy in

You can’t just toss a new hire a 3 ring binder with your use of force policy in it.  You need to make sure he / she  understands it, and knows how to use it.  Competence in this area will lead to confidence in using the correct and justified level of force whatever that may be.

From the previous blog, LEAP leading by example - how do I do that?

I use lecture format / PowerPoint presentation I helped Rory Miller develop for Chiron Training.
If you would like to see this presentation please contact Chiron Training at:

{Side note this program is also excellent for understanding use of force laws for civilian self-defense.  If you are teaching / advertising self-defense at your martial arts school you had better have a solid comprehension of the materials in this presentation}

How to hit
Principle based training must be implemented, so with a few hours training a new hire with relatively no skills can leave that training proficient and capable of delivering force into a control subject rendering him incapable of doing any harm to another.  Learn the principles, not memorize techniques.  Play and improvise what works best for them (wire to the hind brain) not mimic the instructor.

  • ·         Structure
  • ·         Power Generation
  • ·         Anatomical Weapons
      •   Big Bone Theory
      •  Hit with things that don’t break
  • ·         Targeting
  • ·         Follow through into control

How to take a hit
In his soon to be released book ,“In The Name Of Self-Defense: Stuff you don't want to know about violence, the streets & self-defense, but can't afford not to” Marc MacYoung writes:

{P.S. this is a sneak peek available nowhere else so enjoy, and you are welcome}

… You cannot accurately assess where a situation is on the spectrum if you don't have stable data.
A huge stable data point is your ability to take a punch.
You cannot intellectually or emotionally work around this gaping hole in your knowledge and understanding. Without it, you will not be able to accurately assess the danger to your person and act 'reasonably.' (Yeah, remember that pesky legal term?)
Until you
1) develop the ability to take a hit without having an emotional melt down,
2) have firsthand experience that you can be struck and it won't destroy you,
3)  don't get all trauma drama-esque and 'triggered' about being hit in your past
4) you get over the fear of being struck --
a)  have no baseline to accurately assess danger
b) are likely to freak out and emotionally overreact when confronted
c) will be attempting to negotiate and de-escalate from a position of fear or
d) will be attempting to deal with the situation from a position of over-confidence.

Take the numbers from that list and imagine someone who hasn't developed those traits. Now mix and match by attaching the various letters to a number. Pretty much any of those combos have serious potential to go bad. In, what I might add, are some rather predictable ways.

Predictable ways as in your name in either the victim or the offender line of the police report.

This is why I tell people who want to learn self-defense to they're going to have to learn to take a punch. Hell, sign up for boxing lessons for six months. This is critical for something that has been lost in most people's consciousness.

That is: You got hit. So what? A big part of boxing is learning that you can take a hit and keep going.  Yeah it hurts. Again so what? Having stable data that you can take pain and keep on going gives you confidence and an understanding -- an understanding that there is no way to intellectualize your way around if you don't have it.

 Our fear of getting hit is more debilitating than getting hit. You can take a hit. It's not the end of the fuckin' world. It's not going to traumatize your psyche for the rest of your life (unless you go out of your way to define yourself over it).  After you get the hang of it, you discover an amazing fact. That is: You can get hit and still function.

And by function I mean still think. Your brain doesn't just shut down because someone punched you. You can still mentally process -- and most importantly assess the danger and react with appropriate force. Hey remember something I said earlier? You are NOT adrenaline's bitch!...

Only way to learn to take a hit is to take a hit.  Some sort of contact sparring has to be implemented.  Learn what being hit feels like without developing sport strategies / habits for professional force users.

Being able to take a punch and recover is important.
But you know what is better than taking a punch?
Not getting hit!
Remember Danielsan best way to block, no be there.
Don't stand there and be a punching bag

Be able to take a punch and still operate so you don't take more. 

How to prevent being hit

Counter Ambush Training
This is about the 1st contact of an assault.  The critical ¼ second. 
When a threat attacks you, he has a plan and is counting on surprise.  He is expecting you to freeze, allowing him to succeed. 

An operant conditioned response will kick in before that adrenalin dump.  At the speed of nerve.  It will give you one technique with all your speed, power and precision before your fight or flight response kicks in and robs you of your fine and complex motor skill. 

An operant conditioned response will mess up a threats plan, especially if it causes him damage.  It will force the threat to reset his O.O.D.A. loop and have his fight or flight response kick in. 

It doesn’t guarantee victory but it sure helps level out the playing field.

I would go so far as to say that if you have never received this type of training, the majority of your martial arts / self-defense / control tactics skills are moot because you will never be able to use them against an ambush

I understand that is a bold statement to the point of being controversial, even confrontational.

That is not my intent.  It is an easy solve.

Again you can contact me here:
Also this guy does a pretty decent job too:

This is far from style specific, This type of training helps you discover what works best for you.  What ever your background is, counter assault training can help you make 

If we reorganize what and when we teach new hires we can instill in them the formerly assumed knowledge that was once earned in scraps in the school yard.  We can start with Offensive Tactics:
•             Knowing use of force law and department policies well. 
•             Understanding human behavior and recognizing pre-attack indicators. 
•             Confidently using pro-active force efficiently to end the confrontation quickly.  
•             Intelligently articulating your force options in plain language so that anyone that hears your story or reads your report responds with –“ that seems reasonable to me, guy is lucky he didn’t get worse”

Then build control tactics on top of that.  All in the same time we are now currently allotted

How to sell to admin
Administration is going to be afraid of training injuries and public image
Use their fear of litigation to achieve your goals.

There are no acceptable losses.  The danger  of untrained  / undertrained officers getting hurt or killed far outweighs the danger of training injuries.  Training is a controlled environment, for the most part the dangers can be mitigated.  Department liability, and workman’s comp is going to be far greater in the uncontrolled environment of field application.

The flip side is untrained / undertrained Officers will use ineffective force.  Because it will not work they will get damaged, scared or both.  Resulting in skipping over offensive tactics and going to lethal force options that could have been handled with a lower level of force by a better trained Officer.
The cost of excessive force or unnecessary force is way higher than that of training injuries
Better training instills competence.  Competence grows confidence.  Competence and confidence together lowers uses of force and use of force complaints.  Well worth the occasional bruise or scrape endured in training.

Last blog I asked the reader to help keep me in check.  I stated that I will lead by example, and do what I can to increase my influence to more and more people.
This blog is an after action report of sorts.  I held the first Hard Hands seminar on Saturday 2/1/14.  There were Defensive Tactics Instructors there form several disciplines and back grounds.  All of them left with something that they will incorporate into what they teach their guys.
This information will spread and that paradigm shift can begin to happen.

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe.

“Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.”

- Theodore Roosevelt