Answers…or Questions?

Training partner of mine said something today that I thought was very well put. Paraphrasing roughly:

“Most martial arts offer answers;

Interdisciplinary (or multi-disciplinary) training presents questions.”


Methed Martial Arts


Ever handle a guy tweaking hard on meth?

Or try to restrain him without any damage done – to him or you!

PCP? Spice? Bath Salts? In the throes of excited delirium?

There’s a point – you will not talk them down. That doesn’t happen and anyone who says different is selling something….

Perhaps someone having a psychotic break?

How ’bout a combination  of one or more of the above – what I call the Three Ds- drunk, drugged, deranged?

Recently I had two reminders of this kind of “high” performance: One just a guy freakishly strong for his size- where once again jiujitsu proved its effectiveness as a method of restraint; The other a dude doing spectacular, movie-quality stunts in his supercharged state of desperation.


Think you might be dealing with some of these in a self defense encounter?

That this could be the guy you cut off – or that cut you off and you just had to say something out your rolled-down passenger window?

Or that you yell at to “Back Off!”when all he did was try to bum a smoke?

Or that you said “hey!” too when he stepped on your foot on the bus?

How are you preparing to handle such people? What are you learning? Because many instructors betray a lack of experience when they begin talking about what “works.” When they make it seem like every encounter is “easy,” like a drunken panhandler that can barely stand.

Sure the latter are probably more likely, but is that really what you are training  for?

Over the years I’ve heard teachers, and read posts and blogs say some good things,  only to shake my head when they wax pedagogical on things way outside their lane. And don’t think that former cops and convicts,  bodyguards and bouncers, and “street fighters” are immune….All such claims to fame are prevalent in the personal myth-making (and money making) in the training community.

What people say they know, and how they say it, says a lot about what they don’t know.

I don’t take much for granted, nor do I take certain statements – or certain instructors – very seriously. Even though the rest of the world seem to think they are preaching gospel. You just need to have been around long enough, and seen enough, to get a balanced sense of things.

2018 Pac Northwest Tactical Conference

If you are a sometime reader here, this is a great opportunity for some training in the Pac NW that is normally quite a bit further away. Several of these trainers I’ve mentioned here and trained with myself. I just signed up, hope to see some of you there!

From the Site:

NW/Pacific Regional Tactical Conference, 2018

We try to keep the Tactical Conference centrally located in the US, so that as many practitioners as possible may attend. That’s why it is usually in Memphis or Little Rock or other central location. There are a number of committed students of The Art in the Pacific Northwest, which is still a really long way from Tennessee or Arkansas. To accommodate them, we will be holding a regional conference at The Firearms Academy of Seattle (FAS) in July 2018. FAS is located between Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, and is a very nice training facility with numerous ranges and a modern classroom.

The dates are July 27-29, 2018, Friday through Sunday. This will be a smaller event than the national conference, with about 100 attendees, plus staff and trainers. We have an impressive array of trainers presenting two hour and four hour blocks of instruction, including live fire with handgun, shotgun and carbine; classroom instruction on a variety of topics; and hands-on training in empty hands skills and immediate trauma care. The trainers include Tom & Lynn Givens, Massad Ayoob, Marty Hayes, John Holschen, Lee Weems, John Hearne, John Murphy, Gabe White, Tiffany Johnson, Karl Rehn, Cecil Burch, William Aprill, Lori Bigley, Caleb Causey, and Belle McCormack. That’s a total of sixteen well respected trainers presenting instruction over three full days of training! There will also be a defensive pistol match concurrent with the training events. Advance registration is required.

Use of Force Case Law



This link from Policeone regards Use of Force case law that police officers should know…

Probably good for anyone who carries a gun, or teaches self protection to be aware of even if not representing the government; much of this impacts the way use of force in self defense will be viewed by the legal mind, and how that legal mind thinks related to UoF.

We have discussed striving to be multi-dimensional as well as inter-disciplinary tacticians and this is probably the most critical dimension of all, though among the least rehearsed in skills-based training.

1. Graham v. Connor — This is the essential use of force rubric in the country.
2. Tennessee v. Garner — Addresses deadly force to prevent escape.
3. Terry v. Ohio — Established the legality of so-called “Stop & Frisk” searches.
4. Plakas v. Drinski — No constitutional duty to use lesser force when deadly force is authorized.
5. Pena v. Leombruni — Addresses suspect’s known mental state regarding force.
6. Thompson v. Hubbard — Case where suspect appeared to be drawing a gun and no gun found.
7. Smith v. Freland — Examined policy violation but no violation of Constitutional law.
8. Bush v. City of Tallahassee — Addresses excessive force applied through Graham.
9. Green v. N.J. State Police — Addresses excessive force applied through Graham.
10. Forrett v. Richardson — Unarmed fleeing felon applied through Tennessee v. Garner.
11. Elliot v. Leavitt — Addresses 20/20 hindsight on officer shooting.
12. Brown v. United States — The original (1921) Graham v. Connor style decision.
13. Wardlaw v. Pickett — Punching an approaching verbally argumentative person.
14. City of Canton v. Harris — Addresses liability and “failure to train.”
15. Popow* v. Margate — Addresses shooting an innocent person (training).

(*name corrected from original article)


A Happy Anniversary

Ten years ago today,  almost to the hour as I tap this out, I barely escaped being shot to death during a crisis entry hostage rescue operation. In many ways that operation could be seen as a failure.

A “negative outcome.”

Instead I have come to see it as definitive. The first day of the rest of my life, a life that changed a great deal in light of that experience.

Most clearly defined was the juxtaposition of the different strains of training and practice I’ve pursued over the years, before and  since. The mental and physical elements that go above and beyond “techniques.” Modern and traditional approaches, which I have struggled at times to reconcile – dissatisfied with this or that take, always looking toward something else to meet my perceived training goals  – only to look  back and find they were being served all along, and that the seemingly discrete, even incompatible paths I trod were in truth two sides of the same coin.

Of  course other areas of my life were impacted, to the point that great changes ensued in fundamental ways. But this thing of ours in terms of martial and tactical training is so fundamental on so many levels that I keep coming back to the lessons  it offers.