Seminar in Tradecraft and HumInt/Moscow Rules



Warrior Mind Coach


I have found a new blog,  Warrior Mind Coach.  It is written by Greg Swanson, who is a leading mental and physical strength and conditioning expert.  Gregg specializes in driven individuals including athletes, executives and sales professionals.  Gregg has developed a unique and powerful approach to his mental strength training by aligning a person’s body, mind and spirit so that they can reach their peak potential. He has authored several books and over 30 articles on the subjects of mental and physical strength.

Please check it out.  There is a lot of great information.

Taking Hits

The other night in the Combat Hard Krav Maga class, we did a drill wherein students have to learn how to cover and take hits from all sides.  Feeders circle up with focus mitts in hand and one student with boxing gloves enters the middle of the circle.  The feeders on the outside can hit the student at the center and he or she has to cover.  After a few seconds, the “controller” with focus mitts slams two focus mitts together to signal to the practitioner in the center that it is time to strike; he or she comes out of the circle and performs a jab-cross combination.  Then, another student enters the circle and the drill begins again.

This drill is not unlike some of the Outer Limits drills we performed at Mark Hatmaker’s bootcamp in May of this year.  Certainly everyone should learn how to take a hit and keep going; it is critical to stay in the fight until it is over!  Granted, we are not hitting as hard as we can in the drill, but some people have never even experienced something like this before anyway.  In addition, one would not generally take this many hits before launching a counter-attack on the adversary or multiple assailants.  This is nevertheless a good starting point.  The contact is excellent for building mental toughness.  Doing it in a controlled environment can help students slowly build up confidence in their abilities.  Confidence and ferocity in lethal encounters are crucial for success and winning.

I have found through my own continuous training that what hardens the body also hardens the mind.  I don’t think this is the only way to build mental toughness, of course, but it is an effective way.  I have experienced physical barriers, especially when I sustained injuries or I was getting back into hard training after hiatus.  But when I am in the midst of a really physically taxing drill and I am not sure I can finish, and then I dig deeper to keep going, I know at that point I am overcoming a mental barrier.  About a month ago, I was on a plateau, and right in the middle of a drill, I experienced that Zen-like state of being in the zone, and everything seemed easy and fluid.  It was as if I had a brand new body, flowing with ease and efficiency throughout every movement.  The truth of the matter is that I broke through a mental barrier, and I can fully attest to the fact that the rigors of training can build a stronger mindset.  The benefits carry over to other aspects of life, without a doubt.

Article on Controlling Fear

Here is an excellent article on controlling your fear and preparing the proper mindset that is needed to function under the stress of a lethal encounter.  He is specifically talking about carrying a firearm, but the same principles apply even if you are not allowed to carry a gun where you live.  Mindset, mindset, mindset–it cannot be stressed enough.  And, mind you, there is nothing wrong with fear.  Fear can be a very useful thing, but we cannot allow it to paralyze us.  Courage is only the decision that something is more important that fear, and getting the job done.  After mindset, comes training.  He says it should follow the three R‘s: Relevant, Realistic and Recent.  Is the training relevant to self-protection?  Is it realistic with those same parameters?  How recent is it?  Think of your skills as perishable and stay sharp.  Anyway–enough of my yammering:

Awareness and Color Codes

We have talked before on this blog about developing awareness skills and the color code system.  Here is a great refresher on the subject and a review of the color code system of situational awareness with the explanation of each state.  There are those who say we should be in Condition Yellow from the time we open our eyes in the morning to the time we close them at night.  Not a bad idea.  There are really excellent articles on ATSA!

Questions Regarding Use of Force

Questions about use of force come up so often, which is why I find myself talking about it so much.  Last night, we were drilling some knife disarms in the Kali class and I made a short point about stabbing someone after a disarm.  I see a lot of students immediately following up with a deadly force maneuver using the weapon as soon as they acquire it.  The response to my cautionary comment was a common one: this guy just threatened me with a weapon and I am going to stab him.  I’ll grant you that your attacker does not give one hoot in Hell about your rights when he pulls a weapon on you.  I’ll grant you that the art often includes a very aggressive follow-up that would be appropriate for war.  Nevertheless, I must ask some serious questions that must be framed within the proper context: outside of a war zone or hostile territory.  I ask them because I want you to think about them from the vantage point of those whose duty it is to enforce the law of the land.


What would a reasonable person do? 

What does your local law say about self-defense?  Better yet, how is it interpreted—have you spoken with an attorney?  What force are you authorized to use after you have disarmed an assailant and/or gained the advantage?

What is the thought process for any follow-up?  Have you considered your options with the acquisition of an assailant’s edged weapon: stab him, slash him, throw down the weapon, run, strike him, hold him at knifepoint and call the authorities, etc.   

If you choose to use force after a disarm, shouldn’t you be able to articulate why?  Are the powers that be going to be interested in those kinds of details?

When might it be appropriate to stab him, i.e. use deadly force?

Do or Die

I was reading an interesting blog post by Brian Willis on use of force, which is a topic I would like to get into in more depth on another post.  Brian is specifically talking about the subject as it relates to police officers.  He says that all too often, when the topic comes up in classes, people say that they will do whatever is necessary to win a fight, but are pretty vague about what that means to them.  The discussion usually ends at that point.  Brian says we need to probe further and think through specifics, as opposed to leaving it all to be figured out at the moment.  I am certain there are a lot of people, officers and civilians, who have not answered the serious question about deadly force.  Am I willing to take a human life to save my own life or the lives of others?  Brian lists some interesting examples of what one might consider doing in a battle royale.  He also makes a great point about officers who have improvised successfully to save lives simply because they had considered certain tactics and methods prior to an event.  They used the power of imagination and it enlightened them to possibilities.  The great Albert Einstein said that imagination “will take you everywhere.”  Let imagination become part of your training.  Whether through “reality” and “experience” or through mind play, options and possibilities are still borne of the mind.  In any case, I feel myself about to go off on some long tangent about the fluid concept of reality and another article about lethal force encounters.  No need for that today, but check out Brian’s post!

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