Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What sets you apart?

I've been trying to become a better businessman.  Ironically that endeavor is also helping me become a better Instructor.  In the attempt to be a better businessman, I have had to ask myself several questions.

One of the most poignant questions being:
What sets me apart?

Recently I was discussing this question, and my answer with Dillon
{For those of you that don't know Dillon Beyer is my good buddy and teaches the Karate and Boxing at the Keishoukan}

I told him I need a more eloquent way to briefly describe blah blah... I want on for like 10 minutes.
The next day Dillon posted this on the Keishoukan facebook page

"I regard functional self-protection skills as a base-level entry requirement for any system"
 - Iain Abernethy

At the Keishoukan Dojo, we agree. All of the personal mastery, friendships, character development, and sense of fulfillment that the martial arts can offer is of no use if you aren't safe and in good enough health to train.

Our Foundations class is designed to develop survival skills to the level of proficiency as quickly as possible, so that you have the rest of your life to develop your skills to the level of mastery

Sums it up nicely.  It is good to have smart friends.  I'd go so far as to say if you are the smartest of your peer group, you need to find better friends.

Back to the question, what sets me, or better us (The Keishoukan) apart?

There are plenty of Judo / Jujitsu / Wrestling schools out there.  There are also tons of places you can learn Karate, or Boxing.

Despite advertising claims, there are very few places that focus on functional self protection.

Sure, every strip mall McDojo has the words self defense painted on their window, but let me ask a hard question?

How many years of regular training in (insert name of martial art here) would it take to be proficient enough in that art to survive a close quarter assault?

If your answer is anything over a few months, there is a distinct problem.

What if your life depended on it?
Would your prioritize making sure your foot is at an exact 35' angle when you move into stance over how block a punch? Is the time you spend learning how to bow on and off the mat, how to sit in seiza, or fold your gi properly going to help you in any way when you are getting curb stomped?

There is a time and place for everything.

I, in no way want this to turn into a Product A martial art is better for self defense than Brand X martial art rant or debate.  Mostly because that whole discussion is largely bullshit and played out.

The point I am making is martial art is not self defense.

And that is what sets the Keishoukan apart.

Self Defense is the priority, and a prerequisite before you are allowed to participate in any martial arts training.

"I regard functional self-protection skills as a base-level entry requirement for any system"
 - Iain Abernethy

There are plenty of Judo / Jujitsu / Wrestling schools out there.  There also tons of places you can learn Karate, or Boxing.

There are very few that focus on functional self protection.  Of those few many are taught by martial artists with no professional use of force background, or by use of force professionals with no instructor development training beyond a 35 hour intstriuctor school.

Narrowing the field further, of those remaining, (to the best of my knowledge) there are no other schools run by the training coordinator of a major metropolitan SWAT team.

A major component of my day job is training elite law enforcement tactical team personnel.
Their lives and the lives of others depend on gaining and maintaining high end skills.
My job  is to ingrain those skills to the level of proficiency as quickly as possible.

So, of course that training and experience is going to bleed over to my side job running a school.

That bleed over became the Foundations class.  The fundamental skills everyone needs in order to make any other training they may have functional to survive a close quarter assault.

Back to that hard question, and I'll even throw in a dig at me fellow Aikidoka (Randy, an Aikidoka is someone that practices Aikido)

How many years of regular training in Aikido would it take to be proficient enough to survive a close quarter assault?

{Richard Dawson Voice}The top three answers are on the board3-5 years

20 years

We asked 100 Aikidoka and the number one answer is....

A lifetime

A point that was beat into me at Sniper school
Question:  How long do you have to get off that follow up shot?

Answer:   The rest of your life

The implication being that if your location is made and you don't finish the threat, that now knows where you are the "rest of your life" is not going to be all that long.

So Aikido is not great for self defense.
But it was never supposed to be
Aikido was a finishing school.  To go from proficiency to mastery.  To be able to do the "magic" looking stuff.

Back in the day, before you could train at Ueshiba's school you had to have at least a 3rd black belt (or equivalent Koryu certification) in Judo or Kendo.

That is a solid foundation.  You could fight.  On top of that foundation you can enjoy pushing past proficiency to mastery.  You could pull fancy "magic" Aiki moves against someone intently trying to hurt you.

The problem comes from trying to pull  fancy "magic" Aiki moves without that solid foundation.

That is why we have a class called Foundations.
The purpose as Dillon so eloquently wrote is to develop survival skills to the level of proficiency as quickly as possible, so that you have the rest of your life to develop your skills to the level of mastery.

Aikido on top of that foundation allows you to use Aikido for self defense.  Aikido (the way it is most often taught) with out that foundation is a beautiful art.  Just remember despite advertising claims martial art is not self defense (or professional use of force)

Foundations is a 12 week program.

That 12 week process also allows us to see if you are the type of person we would like to continue training with.  For the higher end force on force training used in the other classes you have to be able to trust your partners and egos have to be left outside.

If we feel you are not capable of that you will not be invited to continue.

If you are capable of that you can come and learn Judo and Karate if you'd like.
The Judo and Karate that we do require that foundation.

You can also (and it is highly suggested) continue in the Foundations class along with your martial arts training or as a stand alone program.

Kind of like Top Gun once you graduate you are always welcome back.

There are few schools that offer continuing personal protection training.

Folks have been fighting each other since Cain and Abel, there is really nothing new under the sun. As such the few schools that offer continuing personal protection training have common basic traits.

See if this sounds familiar

Guy likes to wrestle and box.  He is really good.  Circumstances around him cause him to use those skills for personal protection, and then even combat.  As time passes and field experience develops he adds elements of Aikido and Judo to his Boxing and Wrestling background.  Realistic fight training with focus on real-world situations is implemented to prepare students for conditions they are likely to face.

This guy was  Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler as a means of defending the Jewish quarter against fascist groups in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in the mid-to-late 1930s. 

You may know him better as the founder of Krav Maga

Boxing and Wrestling, as formidable as they are, are not personal protection, or professional use of force.  A combative foundation had to be laid to make Boxing and Wrestling functional for those purposes.

OK, back to the question
What sets us apart?

Law Enforcement / SWAT background
Foundations class as a base-level entry requirement for the system

What makes our martial arts different?

• Time Tested
• Pressure Tested

The focus of training is on personal protection and professional use of force using time tested and proven strategies.

For those that choose to, we also employ modern sporting methods that provide an opportunity to train at full force against a resistive opponent in a safe and friendly environment.

As a SWAT training coordinator you have to expose your guys to the situations they will be called upon to face and train them to deal with it in the most realistic manner safely possible.

You don't rise to the occasion you fall to your level of training...in an adrenalized body

How does this relate to martial art?

To quote fight club
"One your first night at fight club...you have to fight"

From the Katamedo Jujitsu Manual

Statement of Purpose:
To support a style of JuJitsu that is based in sound educational, philosophical, scientific and technical competence. The directors agree that Katamedo represents an evolving art form that incorporates techniques grounded in traditional Japanese JuJitsu but builds on these with advanced techniques developed and proven in the modern mixed martial arts setting. The Katamedo style of JuJitsu has been developed from the years of practical experience and application of fighting and sporting principles that spring from Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian and Western grappling philosophies. Practitioners are champions of judo, karate, freestyle, mixed martial arts and jujitsu, and expert instructors. The Board of Directors seeks the highest levels of accreditation, registration and instruction available.
A practitioner of Katamedo JuJitsu will be able to compete equally in any grappling or mixed martial arts setting. Katamedo stresses that the principles of grappling are constant, as are the skills involved; it is the techniques of applying these skills that holds the potential for the progressive evolution of the sport. A great freestyle wrestler will be able to adapt to sport judo, jujitsu, sambo, capoeira or Greco-Roman wrestling, and vice versa. The principles of the arts are common, only the rules differ. As such, a JuJitsuka must also learn the principles and tenets of atemi waza, or striking, which are common to many traditional arts such as Karate, Jeet Kune Do, Tae Kwon Do, and Tang Soo Do. The most confident fighter is one who can compete on equal ground no matter what the rules.

For personal protection and professional use of force you have to be able to compete on equal ground no matter what the rules.  Confidence in this is built through competence.  Using modern sporting methods to  expose our guys to the situations they will be called upon to face and train them to deal with it in the most realistic manner safely possible.

What sets me apart?

Law Enforcement / SWAT background
Foundations class as a base-level entry requirement for the system
You have to fight

Our classes are different in that they are all interrelated.

It is one thing to train in Tae Kwon Do on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Judo on Saturdays.
It is another thing entirely to train at different combat ranges in a manner specifically designed to enhance your ability to transition from one to the other.

"The best fighter is not a Boxer, Karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt on any style. He kicks too good for a Boxer, throws too good for a Karate man, and punches too good for a Judo man."
 - Bruce Lee

Clearly sets the foundation.  Developing survival skills to the level of proficiency as quickly as possible, so that you have the rest of your life to develop your skills to the level of mastery

Building on the foundation the next range of combat is striking skills.

Personal self protection, and professional use of force are incomplete without the ability to strike and defend against being struck.

This class is rooted in full contact Kyokushin Karate and includes the fundamentals of Bare Knuckle Boxing.
Kyokushin is well known for its disciplined and rigorous training
The Keishoukan Dojo is the only school that provides training in Kyokushin Karate in Minnesota.

The next range of combat is grappling.
Being able to control another person is a vital skill for personal self protection, and professional use of force.  This class focuses on enhancing practical grappling skills through Judo and Wrestling.

"Judo is the study of techniques with which you may kill if you wish to kill, injure if you wish to injure, subdue if you wish to subdue, and, when attacked, defend yourself."

 - Jigoro Kano - (Founder of Kodokan Judo)

"Do not abandon the warrior arts of the past. Absorb venerable traditions of the old ways into this art by clothing them with fresh garments, and building on the classic styles to create better forms"
 - Morihei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido)

Each class is different.  However, if you choose to train in all three, it is no longer three different classes, the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts

All of these classes combine to form Taiho Jutsu

Similar to how Krav Maga translates as contact combat

Taiho Jutsu translates as Tai: Body – Ho: Control – Jutsu: Techniques.

Taiho Jutsu is a system designed to maximize control.  Control of yourself, control of situational and environmental factors, and control of violent aggressors.

That is why I use the KTC logo
When I am teaching cops it is Keickeisen Training & Consulting
When I am training martial arts it is Keishoukan Taihojutsu Club

Wow, I wrote a lot.  This blog kind of morphed into a brain dump for me,
So if you stuck with it and read this far, thanks.

Let's wrap it up
What sets me (my school) apart?

  • There is a clear distinction between self protection and martial art.
  • Law Enforcement / SWAT backgorund
  • Foundations class is a base-level entry requirement into the martial arts classes
  • Martial art classes that focus on pragmatic application.
  • Using modern sporting methods to  pressure test in the most realistic manner safely possible.
  • Interrelated - The three classes offered, are greater than the sum of their parts

If that sounds good come join us


If you'd like to place that foundation under the skills you already have contact us
Or come to the Operational Foundations Clinic featuring Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung this November.

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Saturday, March 7, 2015

One thing or if many your favorite thing

I have developed a habit of ending class by having the students circle up and tell everyone one thing they learned.  If I did my job at all they have to have learned at least one thing.  Hopefully they learned a bunch of stuff.  If so they have to say their one favorite thing that they learned.

Last weekend was the USMAA North Central Regional Training Camp.
I decided to use this blog to list the favorite things that I learned

Thursday the focus was on Law Enforcement.

So it was me teaching One On One Control Tactics the way that I do it all day.
One thing that was very cool was that Omar Ahmad was also there.  Omar has been around One On One Control Tactics since day one.  He was deeply involved in its development.  It was neat to get his feedback on how I deliver the material.

My one thing?  What did I learn from myself?
The thing about teaching is I learn as much from the students as they learn from me.
My one thing was confirmation  / affirmation of the idea of teaching fundamental principles that can be adapted and improvised under pressure yields better results than memorization of specific techniques.

Proof of the pudding is in the eating, and so with his permission, here is a text I received from Adam after the class:

Travis and I got a few more guys who want to get in on the next training. I felt like a monkey fucking a football a certain parts of the day but it was great material and because everything tied together I think I improved as we progressed. This method of teaching built my confidence in the techniques. Truly amazing stuff Kasey can't thank you enough. I studied a lot of stuff and got to train with many great instructors but this is the first time I felt like I learned a natural fighting style that taught me to fight like a cop, not a BJJ practitioner, not a TKD practitioner, but a cop faced in real modern use of force situations. How much does a Steve Jimerfield text book cost? Where do I send my cash? And are there anymore trainings coming up that Travis and I can sign up for? Again thank you for your time today?

That text made my day

Friday - This was an opportunity for the younger Instructors (Youngbloods) to teach

I started the day with the practical application of joint locks.

After that Dillon was up with Kyokushin Karate.  The focus was on in-fighting showing possible applications of a particular kata.  Naihanchi is what the Okinawan folks call it, Tekki is what Shotokan guys calls it.

My one thing?
K.I.S.S keep it simple stupid.  You are not going to be able to implement a complicated strategy during the stress of interpersonal violence.  So get really good at simple strategies.  One such strategy we worked with Dillon was getting off line and delivering elbows.  If the 1st elbow didn’t end the confrontation follow up with more elbows .

The head is like a bowling ball full of Jell-O.  You can’t break the bowling ball, so you need to scramble the Jell-O.

Next up, straight out of Edmonton Randy King presented reality based self defense.

If you were to draw a Venn diagram of what I teach and what Randy teaches there would be a huge middle section of the same stuff with a small slice on the left for Randy’s background in FMA and Krav and a small slice on the right for my background in Japanese martial arts and Wrestling.

What was cool for me then was to see how someone presents very similar materials in a different way.

Randy had some very cool drills that I have shamelessly stolen and will be incorporating into my counter ambush training.

My one thing?
Confusion and surprise are so similar neurologically that they go down the same pathways of the brain, or close enough to it so as not to matter.
When a student comes to a counter ambush class, much of the surprise is removed.  You can’t surprise someone who knows they are going to be surprised.

Well there are ways but not many are morally sound or help in student retention (both their retention of the material and your school’s retention of students)

However, you can use confusion drills to artificially replicate surprise. Just as you can artificially mimic fear and stress response by elevating the heart rate.
Randy will get the students to ask nonsensical  questions about random things and the student has to answer the question actively while being attacked.

Here you can see Omar asking Randy a random question:
What is the sound of one hand choking?
The correct answer was  - gurgle

Dillon and I were up next.  

We have been having a lot of fun playing where Judo and Catch Wrestling are the same thing.  Same being said of Karate and old timey bare knuckle boxing.  So we decided to have an old timey theme to our training block.

Dillon enjoys his ribs tenderized

We called it Cobra Kai-ropractic.  Using striking to safely close distance, then putting on kubi hishigi or what Wrestlers call a neck crank.

My one thing?

A reaffirmation of one of the tenants of Katamedo Jujitsu:
The principles of grappling are constant, as are the skills involved; it is the techniques of applying these skills that holds the potential for the progressive evolution of the sport. A great freestyle wrestler will be able to adapt to sport judo, jujitsu, sambo, capoeira or Greco-Roman wrestling, and vice versa. The principles of the arts are common, only the rules differ. As such, a JuJitsuka must also learn the principles and tenets of atemi waza, or striking, which are common to many traditional arts such as Karate, or boxing.

Friday ended with Tim Jurgens Sensei demonstrating Kobudo.

My one thing?
How nunchaku were intended to be used, as opposed to how they are shown in popular media.

Saturday was for the guys who taught the guys who taught on Friday (Old Skool)

Q branch started the day with pre-hab, re-hab, injury prevention, and training longevity.
After 16 hours of getting thumped this class was a God send.

My one thing (3 things actually – hey it’s my blog I’ll do what I want)

Using motion to prepare for motion

Using foam rollers to “squish out” swelling and inflammation so new fresh blood can deliver nutrients to the area

Test for change

The next session was Dr. Omar Ahmad’s Jujitsu class.
He focused on guard passes and sweeps.  Then drilled those guard passes vs. those sweeps

He also worked on progression drills form different positions.  For example from the sweep you end up having him in Kesa Gatame (like a side head lock pin for Randy who doesn’t speak Judo).  From that position what are the available high percentage attacks?  If they fight off one they hand you another.  Take the gift they hand you.  It is rare to get the 1st one so you have to have a chain.  Eventually something will give.

My one thing?
Drills for skills baby!
I really liked what I’ll call the A,B, Avs.Bpattern of instruction.
A – Technical (in this case guard passes)
B- Technical (in this case how to sweep from your guard)
Avs.B – Drill
I have discussed on this blog how people learn better through play, the need for force on force training, and the need for injury free training.  This pattern hits all of these things and is fun (and gets your heart rate up too)

Gary Rudenick Sensei was up next with Judo

Gary worked on variations of Osoto Gari (great outer reap or leg sweep for Randy) If the throw didn’t work it is because they resisted.  There are only so many ways a body can resist being thrown in that manner, all of which hand you a variation of that throw.

Rudnick Sensei also worked on an arm crush that is known as “The Rudnick”.  
We worked on hitting the Rudenick from many different positions both in offense and in defense

Rudenick Sensei always picks the best looking guy in the class, then spends the next few hours beating the hell out of him

My one thing?
K.I.S.S part 2 – Adaptability
Better to know a few basic concepts that you can apply under a wide variety of situations than many techniques that only work under very specific situations and fail as circumstances change.

The final physical class of the seminar was Goju Ryu Karate with Dr. Lewinski
Dr. Lewinski used Kururunfa Kata as a platform to work on power generation and structure.

Dr. Lewinski runs The Force Science Institute and used many stats from his research to explain particular strategies
My one thing?
I have often said if you are inside striking range no one is fast enough to employ a defensive strategy successfully (100%)
Dr. Lewinski provided scientific studies confirming this.
Maintain reactionary gap or go on offense as you close range

After we cleaned up and got out of the way of the wedding planners taking over the space graciously provided by The Mermaid Convention Center, Randy presented a business for martial arts class.

My one thing?
Stay tuned true believers.  I learned a ton!  So much so that this class deserves a blog of its own.
Or, I might keep these things close to my chest. 
If you want a business consultation you can come to our next seminar, or go visit Randy

For now though I will just say this.  I was very successful in the Batman by 40 project.  I planned the work then worked the plan.
Now, for the first time I have developed a smart and realistic plan business plan. 
So I am starting project Wayne by 45, building up Keck Enterprises to earn enough money to be able to do some truly amazing things.
Last year I broke the Bat, now it is time to break the man, and make it rain like Bruce Wayne.

Along those lines check out these awesome Keishoukan Dojo T-Shirts and Hoodies

Keishoukan Dojo T-Shirt by sabertooth117


If you pick up some Keishoukan swag be sure to send me a picture of you wearing it doing something cool in an awesome place.  Pictures will be posted on the blog and we will play where in the world is...?

Saturday was capped off by the announcement that I had earned my teaching certificate in Katamedo Jujitsu.

This too deserves a blog of its own, more to come

Wow what a great day!

After class we went to BW3’s for much deserved chicken wings and to watch UFC 184

My one thing?
Although the Camp focused on personal protection and professional use of force, several of the fights were won with stuff we had just covered in camp.  
To mention a few:
Alan Jouban defeated Richard Walsh via KO (elbows that Dillon covered) at 2:19 of Round 1

Ronda Rousey defeated  Cat Zingano via submission (armbar that both Omar and Gary covered ) at 0:14 of Round 1

It was a great Training Camp.
I hope to see all of you there next year

Train hard, train smart, be safe