Sunday, April 20, 2014

Strong Roots - Useful Fruits

Hey everybody welcome back to the Budo Blog and thanks for reading.

Couple things bouncing around the old noggin recently
  • Roots
  • Expansion and contraction
  • Obtaining knowledge, refining that knowledge to its base principles

The purpose of Operational Disciplines Training (ODIN) is to get a trainee to an effective level of proficiency in the practical application of personal protection as efficiently (see also quickly) as possible.

From zero training and experience to competency in 9 to 10 weeks
Or from Dojo / Dojang training to practical application (not nearly the same thing) in 9-10 weeks

To do this I have drawn heavily on the WWII Combatives training methods / protocols.

20 hours of training is more than WWII ear Operatives / Commandos received

Their training was refined down to the most efficient means to accomplish the tasks required of them in the environment those skills would be used.

I have been having a lot of fun developing the ODIN program, and seeing people learning through play.

The process of developing a program has forced me to grow as a teacher.  If I am honest with myself I have neglected many aspects of running a school (paper work, tracking students’ progress, monitoring enrollment, and drop out of students) to focus on what I find important, and what I enjoy doing,

In organizing ODIN and with advice from Randy King I have come to realize that if I am going to attain the success I want I can no longer ignore those aspects of running a school.

To help get my poop in a group I have been working with my friend Omar Ahmad and the USMAA

[Side note – shameless self plug, if after reading this blog you would like to experience the type of training I am describing I will be teaching at the USMAA national training camp in St. Louis this July
Check out this link for more details - ]

Cool thing about the brain, taking information you know and organizing it in other ways creates more and deeper pathways to that information.
Knowing it is one thing
Being able to teach it is another
Being able to write about it - teach with out being with the student is another
Teaching others to teach others is yet another.

As such organizing what I know into a logical system that other people can follow and teach got me thinking.

I had been training in martial arts for nearly 20 years before I started refining what I had learned down to what is most needed, what can be readily taught to and retained by the student, and focusing on the principles that makes those things work.

If we make an analogy of the end product of that refinement as the fruit, then we must acknowledge that the fruit could have never have bloomed without strong roots.

I am proud of the ODIN project and I have seen students make great strides.  However, I have also noticed that the students that pick it up the fastest also have strong roots in traditional martial arts.  If those roots have ingrained skills with out building blinders.

Those students  are able to make bridges to previous learning and more easily understand the core principle or concept that make 1000’s of techniques work (as opposed to memorizing another 1000 techniques)

This observation along with several conversations continued the thinking that knowledge organization started, and when I think I blog.

I can’t be all things to all people all the time.
If I try it will be to the detriment of all – “The hunter, who chases two rabbits, catches neither one.”

ODIN is for quickly achieving proficiency.  I must fully embrace this and market it as such. 

Budo is for surpassing proficiency and attaining mastery.  It is as necessary and can be as fun as ODIN.  It simply has a different delivery system and target demographic.

How can both be done without being detrimental to each other?

Different strokes for different folks and a solid Venn diagram.
What do I mean by that?  Let me start with a story.
Funny thing happened to me on the way home from the Dojo…

Last Tuesday’s ODIN training was on asocial violence and counter ambush tactics.  We discussed the “interview” and how a predator will use social skills to set up a predatory ambush.
The interview is a term to describe how  predators get close to you and determine how easily you will give up what they want, and if it is worth the risk. 
What the predator wants:
  • ·         Proximity
  • ·         Knowledge of you as a victim
  • ·         Distraction
  • ·         No Witnesses

Be aware of anyone trying to get TOO close.
People get close to you all the time. 
  • ·         On a bus,
  • ·         Busy streets,
  • ·         Crowded restaurant. 

That is a fact of life and is unavoidable. What you need to notice are patterns. 
Everybody crowds everybody in a busy bar.  People don’t crowd at an ATM at night.  If someone is trying to get close to you but isolate you from others (wean you from the heard) be cautious

Knowledge of you as a victim
  • ·         Testing how you control your space. 
  • ·         How do you send the signal that your space has been invaded?

If you pretend not to notice if you shrink you are sending the message that you are a good choice as a victim. 
Meek and silent may prevent social violence, but it will encourage asocial violence. 
Hence important to know the difference and make the distinction quickly.

  • ·         What time is it (gets you to look at watch)
  • ·         You got a light (ties up one hand in your pocket)
  • ·         How do I get to…(engages your brain in a cognitive process)

I made the point that someone holding a map and asking for directions has the perfect set up to close distance and distract you.
A student asked something along the lines of  - “Are you saying we should never help anyone”
I replied that you have to assess the situation and trust your intuition.
I’d be much more inclined to help Lise than I would to help Clint

That is Lise ( The one with less facial hair)

That is Clint.  Clint gives Bane nightmares.

But even if Lise was giving me the creeps I have to allow myself to be rude.  Lise can slip a knife in my ribs just as easily as Clint.  Even easier if you underestimate her.

Thursday night we had a proto type run of the Budo class I will describe later (Thursday’s class focused on Aikido and it’s Daito Ryu and Kenjutsu roots – it was a blast)

My girls love coming to the Dojo, and because my subterranean semisecret training facility is hidden underneath a bar, and because they didn’t have school the next day I treated them to popcorn and chocolate milk after class. (In the bar because I'm classy like that)

Ironically enough as I am packing 3 little girls into my truck in a now all but abandoned parking lot outside a bar (Avoid places where violence is likely to happen)  I see a big bald tatted out guy approaching us.  

We make eye contact and he keeps coming.

{If someone is trying to get close to you but isolate you from others (wean you from the heard) be cautious}

I think no fucking way is this really happening, am I going to have a great story next week on how I justifiably used force on a criminal that happened to hunt in an apex predator’s back yard?

When Neck Tats (that is the name I gave him in my head) got to the line I mentally drew in the sand,  I hopped out of my truck and asked him what he was he was doing.

{How do you control your space?}

He asked if he could borrow my phone
I simply told him no

{How do you send the signal that your space has been invaded?}

He asked if they (The Legion) was still open
I told him yes and they even have a public phone he could use.

Was this an interview precursor to an ambush?  The world will never know, because there was no way I was going to let that guy close to me or my little girls.

I often say that anytime you allow things to get physical there is the potential for things to go lethal.  So don’t fight over anything you are not willing to kill or die for.
Nearly everything in the world I am willing to kill for was in my truck (My daughters not my comics) so fuck yeah I was willing to go physical.  However in calmly showing that I have seen this guy, recognized what he might have been doing, and confidently using social skills to deter potential asocial violence I sent subtle but real not to be fucked with signals to Neck Tats that precluded the need for any physical confrontation.

Whoopty f’n doo  - what is the point of this story, what does it have to do with this blog?

I faced a potential violent confrontation after class in the Dojo parking lot.

If someone with absolutely no training came to an ODIN class and gods forbid needed to protect themselves on the way home from that first class, I want them to be able to pull off whatever they were taught.

It doesn’t take much training or skill to punch a guy in the dick, but it sure works well

To get to proficiency that quickly many things from traditional martial arts training must be stripped away.  There is simply not enough time, and people interested solely in self protection have no interest in those aspects anyway.

(Different strokes for different folks)

Some of the things that I am capable of doing, some of the things that I do instinctively (and therefore sometimes forget to teach) are only possible because I have been training in Japanese martial arts for 22 years.

There is a product I can provide for those interested in traditional martial arts training.

An organization, defined requirements, skills testing, rank.
All of that, but more importantly martial art for the simple pleasure of martial art.  Being able to do certain things (difficult things) with your body that others without training are incapable of doing.  Just for the fun of it.  As I mentioned previously Thursday’s class was a blast.

How can both be done without being detrimental to each other?

ODIN training is based on fundamental principles without the trappings of martial arts

Budo is traditional martial arts training, with the caveat that it cannot ingrain bad habits or sport mentalities that would be detrimental to practical application.

Just as I want ODIN students to be able to use their skills that very day.
I want all of my Budo students to be able walk into any Judo, any Yoshinkan Aikido, any Kyokushin Karate, and / or any Kenjutsu Dojo in the world and hold their own, know their shit, handle their business. 
To do this I have borrowed heavily form a variety of sources but two in particular.

1) Mixed Martial Arts.
Anyone who trains in "just" MMA generally sucks at MMA.
Those who are most successfull have a day of:
Muay Thai
Jui Jitsu (Yes I misspelled it, that is the way MMA guys spell it)

And then a day of MMA to work all aspects together

2) The Air Force Combative Measures Instructor Course (From 1959 until 1966)

The 155 hours course consisted of the following:
·         36 hours fundamental Judo
·         12 hours Aikido
·         12 hours Karate
·         12 hours Air Police techniques
·         12 hours air crew self-defense
·         18 hours Judo tournament procedures
·         5 hours Code of Conduct
·         48 hours training methods.
There was also a 20 hour combative measures course and a 12 hour combative survival course for air crew members.

In order to deliver the best quality product to interested demographics I have adopted the following training format.

Kyokushin Karate

10 weeks of the year ODIN – Violence Dynamics / Permit to carry
The rest of the year Keishoukan Budo (how all these aspects work together)

ODIN – Super Hero Training

Keishoukan Budo (Traditional Roots Training)
·         1 week Judo
·         1 week Aikido and Kenjutsu
·         1 week Karate

1 week ODIN – Violence Dynamics / Permit to carry
1 week Judo
1 week Aikido and Kenjutsu
1 week Karate

I run 10 week Quarters.  Like the Air Force Combative Measures Instructor Course that should give students the following :

[Things your Sensei never taught you] – 18 to 20 hours
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                                                        

Scenario Training
Firearms Training

Judo – 18 to 20 hours
Keishoukan Budo – 36 hours
Yoshinkan Aikido – 18 to 20 hours
Kyokushin Karate – 36 hours

I have had a lot of fun organizing things this way and rediscovering aspects of my training I haven’t played with for a while.

The traditional roots Thursday class follows a format:
30 min warm up.  That warm up has to cover specific basics and skill sets required for that art.
That leaves 90 minutes to be broken into 6 -15 minute training blocks.

Limiting the teaching to 6 topics forces you to prioritize and value asses training.
What is the essence of the art you are teaching?  How do assure that if your student visited another Dojo that teacher would be impressed with their skills?

I can’t teach 1000’s of techniques, so I am forced to focus on the principles, that once mastered allow students to understand every technique.

ODIN is for proficiency
Budo, beyond the fun of martial arts training is for surpassing proficiency and obtaining mastery.

If you have no interest in martial art ODIN training is complete and sufficient in and of itself
If you are only interested in martial art Keishoukan Budo can provide a quality product.

The Venn diagram -
If you are interested in both, the Keishoukan Dojo is uniquely equipped to provide training that provides functional personal protection skills first and foremost, and also provides an outlet for a lifelong study of the martial arts.

In a way I’ve come full circle

I’ve spent years gaining knowledge, then refining that knowledge down.

Now I’ve come to see that, that refined product can be enhanced by reviewing the previous training with new eyes.

Keeping with the ODIN vibe let’s look at the Norse tree of life

Full circle
Strong roots - Traditional Training
Trunk - Fundamental Principles
Branches / fruit – what you can / choose to do with those principles
Circle – return to the source seeing the roots with new perspective after having used them in application

And it all starts again, but now you know which roots when tended to yield the best fruit.

With that tree of life cycle in mind , what I am excited about, the experiment I will be conducting is…
Can I use this training methodology to surpass my teachers?
How fast can I get a brand new student to proficiency?
How fast can I get a student to with previous other martial arts training proficient in practical application?

How fast can I get either of those students past proficiency to mastery?
How fast can I get them to surpass me?

So I can't and won't be all things to all people all of the time.

I will provide ODIN for those interested in Personal Protection
I will provide Budo training for those interested in Martial Arts Training

I will also encourage those interested in either to eventually cross train in the other for the betterment of both

Full circle

Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm not a nice person

Quote1 If Clark wanted to, he could use his superspeed and squish me into the cement. But I know how he thinks. Even more than the Kryptonite, he's got one big weakness. Deep down, Clark's essentially a good person... and deep down, I'm not. Quote2
-- Batman

The other day at work I stopped by the local stop and rob (that is cop slang for convenience store / gas station) to grab something to drink.

As I was leaving the clerk said, “Go out there and beat up some bad guys”

I couldn’t help but grin the cocky grin that gets me into trouble on occasion and proceed with some impromptu grass roots violence dynamics education.

I don’t “beat up” bad guys.  If circumstances call for it I use force to stop criminal behavior.
However, {evil grin again} if the day happens to yield those circumstances I’m not going to shed a tear about it {wink}

That conversation got me thinking.  I like to employ the analogy of the judicial use of predatory tactics as hunting.  More accurately big game catch and release.

Not fighting – Hunting

Hunting has rules.
Even beasts in the wild have "the law of the jungle"
If you violate that law you will die

Wild predators don't have regulations.  They don't have bag limits because the DNR (department of natural resources) told them so.

If they over hunt, if they take too many females, too many cubs eventually their prey will no longer exist. The predator will have to find new prey or new hunting ground.  Both of which are very risky.

So predators that over hunt die out
Prey that is over hunted dies out

Nature finds harmony.  The predator is not evil.  It's job is not nice but it is a necessary and natural process.

The predator culls the heard, the weak, the diseased, the old are removed.  Only the best genes are passed to the next generation.
A better generation of prey is harder to hunt.
Only the best predators feed.  The weak, the diseased, the old are removed.
Only the best genes are passed to the next generation.
Natural harmony.

If a predatory beast instinctively knows "rules" how much more so a thinking man.

“The key isn't winning -- or losing, it's making the attempt. I may never be what I ought to be, want to be -- but how will I know unless I try?
Sure, it's scary, but what's the alternative? Stagnation - A safer, more terrible form of death. Not of the body, but of the spirit.

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

There in lies the rub.  Most people today have not eaten anything they have killed themselves.  Even fewer would have gone hungry if they did not hunt and kill something to eat.

The further a modern thinking man gets away from natural harmony the more he vilifies the predator.
To the point where he has created psychological barriers  / social norms preventing him from using the predatory skills that kept his ancestors alive.

Know the laws so you can use them to your advantage
Don’t get trapped by limiting norms

"Good guy"
There was a time where I self identified myself as good guy - the hero.
That lead to arrogance.  That arrogance under the most slight of different circumstances could have gotten me and my partner hurt.  I was lucky enough to learn a lesson with out leaving a scar.

"I'm not the devil but I won't be your hero"
I can be a "hero" but I don't have to be nice.  In fact I have to give my self permission to not be nice in order to be a hero.

Brings us back to the quote I started the blog with.

Quote1 If Clark wanted to, he could use his superspeed and squish me into the cement. But I know how he thinks. Even more than the Kryptonite, he's got one big weakness. Deep down, Clark's essentially a good person... and deep down, I'm not. Quote2
-- Batman

When I lecture about asocial violence I like to use the example of a bear

Anything you would do to fight a bear you have to do to fight a predator.
  ▪Would you talk to a bear??
  ▪Would you apologize to him?

  ▪Would you try to reason with him?

Would you try to be nice?  Would you use low level force options while you were taking damage?

Superman can be a “nice guy” because he is all but a god
He can try to reason with the bear while it chews on his arm

Batman is a mere mortal just like you or me
Batman can't be nice.

If he doesn’t hunt the bear and end its ability to harm him he will get ripped to shreds
That doesn’t make him less of a hero.  But he has to give himself permission to do what is necessary to survive.

A quote I like to help remember this is from "Coogan's Bluff"
Clint Eastwood's character, Coogan is asked why he dosen't have any compassion.
He responds "Compassion is a puddle of blood on an Arizona bus stop floor"
Once Coogan was "Nice".  That lead to arrogance.  That arrogance lead to a knife between his ribs and him nearly bleeding out on the floor.  His lesson left him with a scar, he wasn't as lucky as I was.

Coogan is the hero of the show but he is no longer nice.

If you haven’t asked yourself hard questions, given your self permission to be “mean”, practiced doing harm to another human being don’t expect to be able to flip that switch when needed.

I have written on this blog many times that it is hard to go from officer friendly to being able to use high levels of force fast enough for any force to be effective

You have to start as a wolf hiding as a man and be pleasantly surprised when no force was necessary

So, how do you practice predatory tactics mind sets with in the law with out taking unreasonable risks.

Fake it until you make it.

Another reason for / justification of the ODIN project.
People are wired to learn by play.  You can read my words until you memorize them but that will not ingrain predatory tactics.

Playing a game where you pretend to be a covert operative and you have to sneak a cloths pin onto someones clothing with out them noticing will ingrain predatory tactics.

It will also help you to better see the other predators and circumvent the circumstances they need to hunt you

Train hard, Tarin Smart, Be Safe

Be a hero, just don't be nice when it is not time to be nice