Tactical Tani

A foray into video demonstrations with the Tactical Tani-otoshi…

What makes it “tactical” versus just any old throw? This variant avoids the “sag and drag” style which drops to the floor and pulls the subject down with you –  instead, it is more a back foot sweep that allows putting the opponent to on the ground first, with the thrower on top for control, while retaining hand control/monitoring ability.


For the blog followers here, let me know of there are problems, my tech-fu is limited…


“Don’t Die Today, Daddy”

The other day I  sat with a friend, coworker, and fellow trainer and he spoke of an encounter one of his children had at school.

A young classmate asked his girl if her dad was a police officer – something already known to most at school. When she said yes, the classmate retorted “How come he’s not dead yet?”

The things kids say.

It turned out it was more a lack of sensitivity than it was any political statement, it was particularly rough for this particular child of his, who was quite sensitive when dad promoted out of a long term training position where he did much good, and went back to “the road” because of what she had seen and heard.

Of course, newly promoted, he was also headed back to “graveyard shift,” a turn of phrase not lost on his young daughter.

The things we say, not thinking.

The next day, without knowing the above tale my own daughter, upon saying goodbye to me as I was heading out and heading in to work, left me with these words:

“Don’t die today, Daddy.”

I’m thinking she was just not paying attention to her words. Normally she leaves me with “Be Safe,” the common language used in the profession as a farewell.

But as she has before been at my hospital bedside as I lay there with a bullet in my chest, there may have been something deeper in it.

After a wild night with a pursuit of an outrageously drunk driver (who also happened to be a felon with gun in the car) and a later response to a mentally unstable man with a gun (who also just happened to be a self admitted gang member flagged for his violence and hatred of police), in which there were tense moments where a possible hostage situation was thought to be in the making, there is always something deeper in it for me.

For many this study of tactical and combative subjects is an avocation. Perhaps a way of delving deeper into some forgotten animus, some vital principle now so foreign to our daily lives that it has taken on a glamour of sorts for those men sidelined by a culture that not only no longer celebrates that vitality but rejects it pejoratively.

This is of course a good thing. An enjoyable past time that strengthens body, mind, and character and imparts skill and resilience can never be bad.

But for some it really boils down to four words…

“Don’t die today, Daddy.”

I’ll do my best, baby.


Seven Exercises for Martial Training

Al at Modern Kogusoku sent this to me the other day – it presents a fascinating perspective on the approach to martial training:
Seven Exercises for Martial Training
1. Experience cold, heat and rain by climbing high mountains and crossing deep valleys.
2. Rest in open fields and sleep in mountains.
3. Never carry money or food on your person; never wear warm clothing.
4. Travel everywhere by engaging in contests.
5. Reside in graveyards, haunted houses, or among savage beasts.
6. Associate with dangerous criminals.
7. Live off the earth among peasants.
Bukyo Goden Ryu
Al didn’t have the source of this in his notes – anyone who is familiar with it please chime in.

Efficiency vs Efficacy

From Robert Drysdale:

Robert Drysdale on the Future of Jiujitsu: Part 1

Part 2

Part III

“Take Helio Gracie’s classic battles with the Japanese in Brazil. There was much debate surrounding these matches. Helio, who had a clear preference for a submission-only style match, refused to fight the Japanese under a point system that would clearly put him at a disadvantage. The Japanese, being superior on the stand-up aspect of the game, wanted their takedowns to be rewarded. Helio, in his turn, knowing that his closed guard was perhaps his best tool, took the opposite view.

Perhaps the best example of this are his two battles against Yassuiti Ono, a Japanese immigrant and student of a Kodokan graduate Kanemitsu Yaitibe, the man who is said to be, alongside Tsunetane Oda, behind the “sankaku-jime” or triangle-choke (Serrano, O liver proibido do Jiu-Jitsu vol.6 pag. 397). In their first encounter, Ono threw Helio a total of thirty-two times (O Imparcial, December-8th-1935). In their second encounter, he threw him twenty-seven times (Correio de S. Paulo Oct-5th-1936). These matches however, were officially ruled as draws. It is obvious why Helio preferred a no-point system against the complete Ono. He would also go on to challenge Helio for a third match, this time with a point system in place (Diario Carioca Oct-8th-1936). There are no records of him ever receiving a response.”

Back to Basics


A tactical leader and brother o’mine sent this out as a reminder to his teammates, as he put it, that “lifting heavy things” does not equate to fitness. As he is an incredibly strong individual, not to mention incredibly resilient, returning from double hip surgery and nearly a year’s recuperation to full operational status, while in his late 40’s, and still a model for many of his peers decades younger, it bears attention.

Interestingly, he got it from the book Organizational Behavior, 16th Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins and Timothy A. Judge.

Once the above nine basics are in working order – to the extent that we keep working on them where we are at right now, as age, hurt, injury, and the like visit and re-visit – I’d add some basic applications that we should be working for next up the list…

How well do we change position from standing to kneeling, kneeling to lying, and back up again? Are we a contained package of efficient motion, or flailing, arms out (including with weapons), head bobbing, back precarious, legs splayed?

This is directly relevant to defensive work, whether unarmed or working with weapons, especially important with firearms and positional shooting, as we have muzzle discipline and lasering issues to be concerned with.

And how do we move in non-standing positions? This is very important. Many people spend their lives standing, wearing shoes almost all the time; reclining in soft couches and chairs, and laying flat in bed.  How well do we organize ourselves when moving through non-standing positions?

How about foot flexibility? Some people don’t have the foot flexibility for basic kneeling positions with toes, or feet, tucked under, important postures in traditional arts and jiu-jitsu – and surprisingly very useful in kneeling and low clearing and shooting postures with long gun and handgun. The kneeling shikko “samurai walk” movement seen in some arts is very efficient for clearing attics or crawlspaces, for example.

How well do we rise from a supine or prone position? This is a particularly critical matter as its all about getting up off the ground, where we don’t to be if we can avoid it in an actual encounter. If we can’t avoid it, we want to be able to reverse the situation. The jiujitsu technical standup (in defensive tactics and shooting I’ve heard it called “tactical rise”) offers a physical organization capable of receiving pressure (from incoming grabs or tackles or strikes, or from recoil) to stay in a solid posture during movement, versus only in the places where we stop. For people wearing body armor and heavy gun-belts, or in tight clothes, or who are running a pistol during the stand up, I advocate first taking a knee and then continuing the stand up – the reasons for this are several fold and should be obvious. I’ve heard Craig Douglas describe the gun-in-hand stand up as similar to a Turkish Get Up . Just imagine running a pistol forward instead of a Kettle Bell.

Check this one out if you are a doubter…

Finally how do we fall? One of the most neglected personal protection skills we should be practicing.

Can we fall well, to minimize the impact or at least the potential injury a hard surface may do? This holds increasingly true as we age, falls exacting a terrible toll each year. And obviously an important consideration in combative situations that occur on hard and uneven surfaces. I’ve been thrown and taken people down on concrete, fallen multiple times on the street or steps or stairs wearing full gear, and once did a heels-over-head flip over bike handlebars (unintentionally, and as an adult) and rolls and breakfalls learned in judo and jiujitsu saved the day each and every time.

Once we have the basic attributes described in Exhibit 2-3 down, the ability to fall down and get up,  or simply get up and get down, is the next step in personal preparedness.