The Why’s Behind The What’s

“The experience of helping a fellow man in danger, or even of training in a realistic manner to be ready to give this help, tends to change the balance of power in a youth’s inner life with the result that compassion can become the master motive.”
— Kurt Hahn

I have been asked numerous times what motivates me to train the way I, (and we), do? Why try to cover so many bases? Develop such a broad spectrum of skills?

Because this question comes up frequently I’ve shared these thoughts with a few folks over the years.

I don’t train because I fear anything.

Or hate anyone.

I train because I want be useful in those moments when folks need help.

I train because I love my life and everyone in it, and I’m not willing to give that up easily.

I train because I want to make it really difficult for anything or anyone to remove me from the life I live.

I train because I want to be an asset, not a liability.

 

Those are some of the why’s that drive what I do. What drives you?

A Few of My Favorite Films

During the holidaze it’s not unusual to experience a bit of the blahs. Here are a few documentaries I like to watch for inspiration. Most are fight sport related. Check them out if you need a little boost.

Choke – (A Rickson Gracie Documentary) is mandatory viewing. I watch this at least twice a year if not more.

 

 

ROLL: Jiu-Jitsu in So Cal which features my coach Chris Haueter is easily my favorite. I watch this or parts of this film twice a month… at least twice a month.

 

 

Jiu-Jitsu VS The World which also features Chris Haueter. You can learn more about Chris  here.

 

 

Anything featuring Karelin will get you motivated. The Experiment was on another level.

 

 

The Highland Games and strongman competition is near and dear to my heart. I simply love every aspect of the games. Stoneland inspires me due to my Scottish heritage and some of my earliest memories are seeing the men in my family participate in feats of strength.

 

 

The Rogue Series contain some real gems, and I get a lot of inspiration and motivation from watching these.

 

 

Anything featuring Ramon The Diamond Dekkers makes me want to throw hands.

 

 

Steve Prefontaine set a standard that others can only strive to attain. Pre’s mental approach to the sport inspires my mental approach to everything I do.

 

I hope you found some inspiration if you needed it, if not just keep it in mind for the time when you do. Happy holidays, enjoy the time with your family and friends.

Embrace the Debrief

I’m in my 20th year as a Peace Officer. During that time I’ve been involved in quite few debriefs, and I’ve noticed something… most people don’t like to honestly, and ruthlessly seek the truth in performance.

 

Before we go further let’s take a look at something I found on Wikipedia regarding the debrief;

Ernesto Yturralde, experiential trainer and researcher, explains: “In the field of experiential learning methodology, the debriefing is a semi-structured process by which the facilitator, once a certain activity is accomplished, makes a series of progressive questions in this session, with an adequate sequence that let the participants reflect what happened, giving important insights with the aim of that project towards the future, linking the challenge with the actions and the future.”

Debriefing sessions can be made directly without the use of “props” or with them as support tools, achieving highly productive sessions. The skill levels of professional facilitators and their visions for each process, will be essential to capitalize on the experiences of experiential workshops, in moments of inspiration, teachable moments that become Debriefing sessions, into commitments for action.

“Emotional Decompression” is one style of psychological debriefing proposed by David Kinchin in his 2007 book by that name.

Experiential learning debriefing is the basis for debriefing in Medical Simulation, used widely within healthcare.[3]

 

See, here is the thing; in every profession where potentially life changing decisions are made there needs to be a systematic approach to the debrief. The debrief must be honest, and most of all ruthless in pursuit of anything that will improve future performance. Now, most folks will say they are down with this approach. They will swear that they want to hear feedback. How to do things better, to have mistakes highlighted so they can be better prepared in the future. After all, our mistakes help us develop training plans. Yet, I’ve been in debriefs that would lead one to believe everything was perfectly executed. “Nobody got hurt”, is heard frequently during those debriefs, as if that means everything was done right. I think it would do some folks well to remember the only reason “nobody got hurt” is because the opponents they faced sucked worse than they did. “You can’t judge my actions now”. Actually yes we can, and we should. You/me/we should embrace that judgement.

 

A debrief is essentially an opportunity for peer review. Our peers and mentors give us feedback. Why wouldn’t we want them to be as ruthlessly honest as possible? It is to our benefit. We must push back against our ego which will kick and scream telling us these people need to walk a mile in our shoes, or stop Monday morning quarter backing us. Crush that ego, don’t be a weakling. They have, and they are not.

 

We must embrace the debrief. After every roll ask your training partner what you need to work on. Every live fire practice, or match you shoot, ask your squad mates what you need to work on. And if you’re ever in a position where you sit in on an organized debrief,  and it is your turn to be in the hot seat? Embrace that moment, and the subsequent growth.

Shotgun Love

Doing some work recently on my home defense skill set. I was reminded of how versatile a shotgun can be as well as my life-long love of this beast. As a 10 year old kid I shot my first clay pigeon using a 410 single shot shotgun on my grandmothers farm in the heart of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It’s a great memory of time with my dad, uncle, and great-uncles. Since then I’ve always loved and owned shotguns. Even this many years later there are few things firearms related that are as fun as an afternoon busting clays with friends and family.

The shotgun has maintained a significant position in the the defensive shooting world for good reason. However, it is interesting to watch things cycle through the defensive firearms world.

This month shotguns are out! Wait, because it is a month later and now shotguns are in! Sometimes it is like the weather in South Florida; don’t like it? Wait ten minutes, it’ll change.

Regardless of what’s hot at the moment, an ounce of lead moving at 1,600 feet per second is always going to make the shotgun a viable home defense option. Particularly for folks on a budget. For less than $500 you can pick up a solid pump gun, and enough ammo to function test your new shottie as well as a box of whatever defensive load you choose to run.

Of secondary interest are tactical considerations like backstops, fire lanes and such. This is just one choke point, and line in the sand in my home. The back stop is a concrete basement wall under the wood floor. A little higher is the tile and concrete entry way floor. Behind me are windows and an exterior wall so when I take incoming rounds I don’t have to worry about my family taking rounds meant for me. The walls on each side create a funnel, once in the stairs my opponent’s have two options: 1) come up the stairs into my muzzle or 2) go back down the stairs and away from my loved ones. There are no other options.

Home defense strategy and tactics is a fascinating study, and something I enjoy pressure testing on a regular basis. If you have neglected the shotgun and/or your home defense practice take some time to visit both again.