Before it comes…

” If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes.”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On Festivals and Fasting

Letters From a Stoic


“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 kind of 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.