Wednesday, October 08, 2014


I have lesson plans. I have lesson plans coming out of my ears. I've written lesson plans for SAR, the Sheriff's Office, the National Guard, the Iraqi Corrections Service... but, sometimes, damn.

So I'm in Germany. Some evening classes for civilians, cool. The regular Ambushes and Thugs/Intro to Violence seminar over the weekend. Cool. Conflict Communications on the campus of the Mainz riot police, cool. Conflict Communications is always cool since it doesn't matter what the problem is. Bad guys? Clueless bosses? Family? ConCom explains it pretty well. Tuesday was ConCom.

Wednesday was scheduled for physical control. I had been led to believe that this group needed some skills in arrest and control tactics. Perfectly cool, I'm relatively good at that. But no. Sigh. 37 people. Maybe fifteen agencies. None of them had the same policies or tools.

My normal arrest and control lesson plan is pretty practical. In eight hours we cover:
  • 1-step
  • Joint locks
  • Take downs
  • Leverage and leverage points
  • Stance integrity
  • Ground movement
  • Pain (ethics and application)
  • Lock transition to cuffing
  • Momentum
  • Using the Environment
All useful, all intuitive...
Tuesday I found out some of the students weren't allowed to arrest, so they didn't need cuffing. Most carried weapons ("waffen") --pepperspray and batons-- but not firearms. I had 10-15 agencies with different policies and equipment.

Turns out I'm relatively good at this. Yeah, international trainer and all that jazz, blah, blah, blah... but I have never felt like I'm a good teacher, which probably has a lot to do with the tendency to improve...

Fighting organizes.  It can organize in several ways. So I made the most appropriate organization for this group and let them vote on what they needed. We can talk about why later. The thing that I got excited about is that, as much as I train and think about conflict, I'd never organized it this way. Three levels: Escape, Control, Survival.

Completely different in every aspect. Only the Principles (things that made everything else work) crossed all three categories. And some became awesome insight. Power generation (one of my building blocks) is entirely different in "escape mode" and "damage mode" and doesn't apply (as I define it) at all in control mode. So I put the building blocks under the categories in which they were important. And let the students vote.

Okay, that's good teaching, let the adult students take control, blah blah blah...
But I don't think i have ever once looked at my personal lost  of critical skills (the BUILDING BLOCKS) and tied the to the basic goals--escape, control, disable. And it was easy. And powerful. And empowered the students.

Good day.


Verner Riecke said...

Escape, Control, Disable

Sorry, I'm stealing this. :-)

Charles James said...

Hi, In Marc's book he discusses using escape as a tool in SD and when I read your three levels: Escape, Control, Survival, I wondered if you plan on writing about those specifics either in your books or on your blog?

As an MA I suspect the systems regarding self-defense are wholly inadequate. In my personal case in those early years the idea of escape, for instance, as a valid SD process to be taught never once came up.


pax said...

Would be interested to hear you riff on differences between escape vs survival.

Vaughn Heslop said...

This is exciting.