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.


Summing Up


“You are the sum of the five people closest to you.”


I’ve seen this quote attributed to different people, and others put it as “you are the average of the five people you most associate with;” I think the summing up version is better – heard that way from Rich Mason.

Thinking about it, it really is telling. Looking around you and assessing, it could be inspiring… or frightening.

It has probably changed for you over the years – or you have.

And it’s something we have total control over in our lives, though most of us probably have trouble exerting such control.

Gets you to thinking…




“A situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.”

Some training is a crucible, a trial demanding all you have and more, and challenging your notions of your own capacity across layers of skills.

The kind that makes you nervous just contemplating it.

When you are just so tired, you started at noon and its 2am the next morning and you are still at it and gearing up to do another run – and you know you will do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. It’s pitch black when the lights go out, though all your practice was in the day time. You have to multi-task now and run everything with lights and lasers. Tests of competencies that start to fall off under duress.

It’s in the 90s with 90% humidity, and you are fully geared up, including the gas mask you wear every stinkin’ run, and you can’t breathe very well, and you can’t hear for various reasons, and everything you say to your partners goes unheard or misunderstood and you are pressed, from all sides, all the time, and damn it hurts when you take another mag of simulated training rounds from one side – and then another. You were given a short look at the tactics they want you to run but not enough to get any good at them and you screw everything up. With more epic fails than before and you start to question your qualification to even be here, doing what you are doing.

The lessons are written in bruises and scabs from the rounds all over your arms and legs and hips and ass, that you discover when, exhausted, you peel off your sweat-sopped clothes, so wet you may as well have jumped in a swamp.

Deeper lessons are marked by irritability, impatience, even anger. With your instructors, your partners (most of whom you don’t even know), and yourself. And then you do it again.  And again.

This isn’t about Embracing the Suck. This is The Suck embracing you.

It gets down to a core part of you when you go through something like this. You are broken down in many ways, before you climb back up.

Not a lot of people are comfortable with this kind of training. Afraid to put themselves out there, where egos are not simply bruised but battered, and in a way realistic to the problem tactically, technically, and psychologically. But after decades of training combatives and tactical disciplines, this is the kind that I like, and need the most, more than yet another feel-good class based on minimum standards or “wanting the student to be successful.”

Don’t read that the wrong way. I think most instructors want students to be successful; It’s just that most spoon-feed or softball their students to success.

Others basically demand the student be responsible for that success.

That’s how resilience is built.



The Samurai and the Zen Cat



In spite of all his prowess as a master of the martial arts, a certain samurai found himself incapable of getting rid of a large rat that had set up housekeeping in his home and was making a continual nuisance of itself. The rodent was very alert and extremely cunning. It could dodge any sword blow and was too smart for any trap. So the master of the house was finally driven to his last resort. He went to the marketplace to buy a cat. He found a merchant who seemed to have what he was looking for and returned home with a young and vigorous male cat. After a week of meowing, pouncing, and frantic chases around the house, the spirited young tom remained without a catch.

So the disappointed samurai went back to the market to return the cat to the merchant. The latter at once began touting the merits of his latest acquisition, a striped male cat in the prime of his life. If you went by what the merchant said, a better rat hunter would never be found.

And in truth, the new arrival quickly showed itself to be both more experienced and more subtle than his predecessor. It waited in ambush behind pieces of furniture for hours at a time. It stole furtively about close to the walls, creeping slowly so as not to arouse attention. But after a week, the rat was still running free. Furious, the sword-bearing householder returned the cat to the merchant and demanded his money back.

The samurai was in the habit of paying regular visits to a Zen monk from a nearby temple. He found himself telling the monk about his problem.

“Well,” the monk responded, “you should borrow our old cat for a while. Thanks to him, we have no rodents here.” And he took the samurai into the dojo, where asleep on a zafu, a meditation cushion, lay a somewhat decrepit, plump old tomcat, with a half-bald head that looked as though it had been tonsured. The warrior brought the old puss back home and deposited it, still asleep, on a tatami mat, where it continued snoozing away, giving not the slightest sign of knowing it had changed residences.

The attitude of the monastic feline was extremely irritating. It spent its time sleeping on the tatami, always in the same place near the fire, without getting up except to eat it’s food or see to its basic needs. You could believe that it had taken on the worst habits of certain monks, who after filling their bellies, sit zazen for hours while picking their noses!

Not a week had passed before the samurai carried this useless creature with a mouth not worth feeding back to the temple.

“Don’t be so impatient,” the monk exclaimed. “Keep him a little while longer. Trust me. I’m positive that in the end he will provide you with complete satisfaction.”

Skeptical, the gentleman took the old tom back home. One day followed another without any change in the cat’s attitude. And as the proverb says “When the cat sleeps, the mice dance.” In this case, the rat made itself more and more comfortable. It even became so bold as to sample the food waiting to be stewed over the fire, frightening the daylights out of the maid. Since the old tomcat still showed no sign of moving, the rodent now paid it no more heed than it would to a stuffed animal. And one day. as the rat was trotting by in paw range, with a sudden move, the Zen cat seized it. In a flash, it was a dead rat.

The samurai, who had witnessed the scene from a distance, could hardly believe his eyes. He at once recalled one of the principles of Chinese strategy: numb the vigilance of the enemy. He returned the old tom and made a gift to the temple. Then he meditated on the lesson he had just learned and, it is said, made considerable progress in his practice of swordsmanship.



Balance and Consistency

Read an article about “old man jiujitsu” the other day, in which the author was talking to those “older” guys “on the wrong side of”,,,wait for it….”thirty!”


A good buddy of mine is looking at 49 and 20 years on a SWAT team.

Many people have entire police careers of 20 years. He’s had a SWAT career that long, and from the looks of it will go much longer.  He is consistently at the top on all team firearms quals and competitions, all fitness quals and competitions (we do both regularly, sometimes combining them), and is arguably the best tactician on the team.(And by that I mean I sometimes argue with him over tactics….heh)

Some may say “Well, he’s obviously genetically gifted. Been lucky and not been hurt. Had the time and freedom from responsibilities those of us with work and kids and stuff have to deal with…”

Nope. Struggled for years when he was younger to GAIN weight. He is now pound for pound astonishingly strong, and that in both “lifting heavy things” and in body weight work like pullups and the like.

Never juiced in his life. He did do the GOMAD diet for a while when he was younger and thinks it made him lactose intolerant.

Had major double hip surgery in his mid-40s. Came back better than he was before.

And no, he did not neglect his family to make sure he always got to the gym or the range, like I sadly see some so-called “action guys” do. He’s raised an outstanding young man whom he communicates with on an almost daily basis due to the foundation of time and effort at parenting he spent in the formative years.  No chaotic home life or divorce or the like, either.

His secret is no secret. Balance and consistency. He balances life and work and training and just consistently shows up. He takes it seriously every single time.

When he can’t show up all the time, he does when he can and takes it seriously every-single-time.

When injured he does what the doctor tells him to heal it, and works around the difficulty.  He has his low times, his frustrations, to be sure, but he inverts the dominant paradigm so many struggle with: he motors along most of the time functioning at a high to very high level, with occasional down times; many function at mid- to low levels with occasional highs.

This sets patterns. If we are consistently high, our baseline is high. Lows will come and go. But higher order patterns mean higher order functioning becomes habit.

That’s not easy. I wish I could do what this guy does. Watching him and emulating him has made me much better, and though I may not be able to keep pace with him, I have certainly been able, through his example, to make sure he always sees me in his rear view mirror, and not lost in a cloud of his dust.

Thank you, brother!