Danaher on Military Strategy

Photo from Jiu-Jitsu Magazine.

Renowned jiujitsu coach of the Renzo Gracie team John Danaher is interviewed in the Sept/Oct 2017 issue of Jiu-Jitsu Magazine. On p. 51 he’s asked to elaborate on studying military strategy to improve one’s jiujitsu. He replied:

“Yes, I believe jiu-jitsu is combat on a one-on-one scale. It’s one individual against one individual. It mirrors many of the elements we find in mass combat – between armies…even between nations. So many of the profound thinkers in the history of combat concern themselves with combat on a grand scale, namely military combat. These outstanding thinkers have written about it in a very profound fashion. Many of the lessons they derive apply just as well to single combat as they do to what they talk about in mass combat.

Often if I find myself bereft of ideas or stunted in growth…I’m not progressing in certain directions..I will draw inspiration from people like this.  And very often it jolts my mind to directions I hadn’t investigated, or I had forgotten about, or I hadn’t paid enough attention to. And then, of course, you have to bring it back in a practical fashion to the sport of jiu-jitsu. It can’t just be abstract thinking. It has to be brought back to concrete results and actually enhance the performance of the jiu-jitsu athlete. So,I use them for inspiration to make me think about things differently, and then its up to me to make the abstract thoughts practical that will improve jiu-jitsu competition.”

If you’ve read your Musashi, it sounds like he’s reading Musashi… Otherwise this is an example par excellence of the usefulness of not only of military strategy, but of the martial tradition – in which jiujitsu (jujutsu) holds an honored place. And it’s usefulness isn’t simply for sport competition, but in terms of tactical and self-defensive performance as well.





In Command and Out of Control (expanded)

An article from law enforcement and security consultant Fred Leland’s LinkedIn page:

In Command and Out of Control – how complex and chaotic events require adaptive interaction and adaptive response…..what I would call an Integrated, Adaptive, Interdisciplinary response.

Taking Boyd off the page and into the action!

I’ve been able to read more of his work and there is much value here, not only for Law Enforcement leaders and professionals, but for anyone interested in the principles and concepts behind Adaptive Interdisciplinary Studies.

Psychology Today on Cops Getting Help

This article in Psychology Today highlights why many cops needing help won’t get it. Often not until after they have flushed their careers down the tubes.

One sad fact of police work is that many times, the post-shooting visit to the psychologist ends up being a lot more about the years of personal trauma and stress you’re dealing with instead of what happened in the shooting incident.

There is such a huge effort now with recognizing similar issues in our vets who have come home, and this is a positive thing; but cops don’t get to “come home.” They already ARE home, and serving for twenty or thirty years builds up.

What ‘Works’


If you are at all serious about the study of personal defense and combatives, you’ve no doubt noticed that devoted practitioners generally select one of two camps when it comes to cherished notions of What ‘Works:’

The “Used in Battle” camp – which appeals to authority on the idea that the chosen art was used on a traditional battlefield (i.e. Japanese samurai, Chinese bodyguards and caravan guards, Asian tribal warfare, etc.) or by “commandos;” generally from WWII, or nowadays, Russians or Israeli “Special Forces;” Or that the discipline is “reality based” in that it was purpose-designed for “street fights.”

And the Combat Sport camp – their appeal to authority is that since combat sports can be trained at full speed, with full power, and only in this way can real pressure be brought to bear and the true efficacy of a particular skill be measured, and that this is how we know What Works. They tend to look to “high percentage” competition performance for “proof.”

Partisans in the former camp tend to spend a lot of time attacking the ideas of the latter by saying “that sport sh*t” isn’t combat effective because it has “rules,” and training it “will get you killed in the streets.”

Not surprisingly, those in the second camp tend to spend a lot of time criticizing the former as blind to the realities of pressure testing and the necessity of practicing against a true opposing will, and turn the phrase around by mockingly joking that their sport technique will “get them KILT in DA STREETZ.”

This is seriously the level at which many practitioners are operating…Combat Cliche.

My own response to reading or hearing a strong partisan of either camp is that old stand by:

They don’t know what they don’t know.


Personally, I’ve always reserved the right to reserve an opinion on What Works:

In terms of control, restraint, and arrest tactics taught by someone that has never controlled, restrained, or arrested anyone; Let alone a lot of people.

What Works in a street fight being taught by someone that has never been in a street fight;

What Works in a shooting, from someone that has never been in, around, or at a shooting. Let alone multiple shootings;

Use of force from someone that has never been an officer: has never had to de-escalate a situation, or escalate one. Or escalate then de-escalate one. Let alone a number of them under different circumstances. Like one of those people that was a cop for like three years,  then “left” for unspecified reasons, and yet devoted their life to things cops do ever since. Always seems odd to me, barring injury rendering one incapable of continuing to serve, why not just stay on the job?

Or the opinions of people who’ve had no involvement in use of force for the last decade or more – like a thirty year cop that spent the last two decades at a desk job, further and further away from the streets.

Oh excuse me.. “Da StreetZ.”

Like a big city Chief lecturing on how to “fix”policing talking about training and de-escalation….something he hasn’t done or used in thirty or forty years.

We humans tend to get better with age, at least in our own minds. I think back to some of the scenes I have been involved in and if I’m honest, I don’t think I was as good as I think I was…

While we are at it, has anyone noticed that while there is a general agreement that the vast majority of police officers and soldiers receive little or no hand-to-hand combatives training, and we can point to generally poor performance from the former and that close combat almost never happens for the latter, we still look to cops and soldiers (or “commandos”) as the litmus test for What Works in close personal defense? It’s more complicated than that, for sure, but that is kind of funny.

Holding such opinions does not endear one to partisans in either camp, or both if one won’t be categorized. Doesn’t work well in a rigidly hierarchal system, whether traditional or modern, when one questions “sensei.”

Or with cults of personality when one has a different opinion than The Personality.

I’ve opted out of more than one group for these very reasons. Chosen not to think what the Group Thinks, and simply looked for What Works, no matter from where it comes.









“The Benefit of Jujutsu”

“A westerner once said, “if you combine a robust physical form with a vigorous mind you will end up with a body that is strong and a mind  that is active. Such a person would be able to succeed at any endeavor that they choose to embark on.” The success or failure of a country also depends upon the robustness of its people. Though there are all manner of methods by which one can strengthen the body, there are none that can exceed the benefits of Jujutsu.

This Jujutsu of which I speak contains the essence of the military techniques, the martial arts of Japan. Through the techniques of Jujutsu one can craft a body that is strong and healthy while the mind is conditioned to remain tranquil. Should an incident occur let there be no doubt that you will be able to control the unexpected both deftly and nimbly. There are two precepts within Jujutsu that can be of great benefit. The first corrects the fundamental character of a person’s physical form. Then thru Jujutsu that person will be able to topple larger and stronger foes easily and fluidly. Another aspect is making use of the eight Kentai, or strikes with the body and the long and short sword, and striking the six Kyosho, or vital points of the body, to easily subdue and tie up a stronger opponent. It is for this very reason that I once again state that you should endeavor to strengthen your body.

In addition, those employed as police officers often must make use of these techniques when subduing gangs of lawless ruffians and binding them with cord. In the past training in and study of Jujutsu was of upmost importance to such persons…”


The above is from the introduction to Eric Shahan’s translation of Tetsutaro Hisatomi’s Kenpo Zukai, also titled “The Police Officer’s Essential Illustrated Guide to Kenpo,” originally published in January 1888.  It’s a fascinating book.