Monday, October 07, 2013


This has been a long eleven days. Roughly eight hours a day of training preceded by an hour or two of prep and finished with four or more hours of campfire-level talk.  One or two hours (depending on the day) for travel.  I'm a little wiped.

Friday.  Landed at the airport.  Killed time until Marc's plane got in.  Lise picked us up.  Drive to Lise's for dinner, scotch, talks.  Of the four instructors, (yours truly, Kasey Keckeisen, Marc MacYoung and Steve Jimerfield) Marc and Steve hadn't met.  Lots of story telling.  I listened.

Saturday.  Eight hours of mat time with Steve Jimerfield as the lead instructor.  30-year cop, retired.  Even at his age he moved and adapted like a force of nature.  Good techniques, structure and thought process.  Every art, system and instructor is formed by his or her environment.  Steve's was as an Alaska State trooper.  Back-up hours away, criminals with high confidence that they could make your body disappear if they got the upper hand and an environment (cold, slick, hypothermic and numb) that in some cases was more dangerous than the bad guy.  He lived in a world that had no room for error and a teaching environment where bullshit would kill rookies.

All week, each class and each day was debriefed by the students and each day began with a safety briefing.  Starting Monday, each new skill was thrown back into the One-Step to begin the integration process.

And usually followed by dinner, scotch and cigars.  And talking.  Lots of talking.  I won't go into these much because in many ways it blended into a single long conversation.

Sunday.  Day two of the cold weather One-on-One Control Tactics, plus two hours on a little pain compliance tool called the Talon.  I'm not big on pain compliance, it's extra and pain is legendarily idiosyncratic and unreliable.  I can ignore it so I assume most bad guys can.  That said, "ow."  Nice little bruises.  Also- Jimerfield is an old judo guy.  Between the judo and the experience, he moves the way so many aikidoka try to move and fail.

Monday.  Our first hiccup.  This entire seminar was Kasey's brainchild to see how our styles meshed, whether we could work together and take the first steps to designing a combined lesson plan.  Which would be cool, because Jimerfield's DT program blows away anything I've seen and the program we designed at MCSO does, too, but in different ways.  The meld might be amazing.

Unfortunately, we'd promised a 1on1CT Instructor's cert and that requires 40 hours with Steve for the basic. So we had to split into two tracks.  Half of the mission was accomplished-- I got a good taste of how Steve taught, but he was going to miss most of what Marc and I taught.  So we split into 2-tracks and I didn't get to watch one of them.  Our track included:

Intro to the basic drill (with all the little lessons in that)

  • Context (me) With a segue into teaching philosophy and teaching methods for emergency skills
  • Structure while moving (Marc)
  • Compliant cuffing (Steve) 
  • Power Generation (Marc's version)
  • Power Generation (My version)
  • Warm-up
  • Sightless (me)
  • Strikes to takedowns (Kasey)
  • Violence Dynamics (Me)
  • Threat Assessment (Marc)
  • One Step
  • Practical Locks (Me)
  • Force Law (Kasey)
  • Leverage (Me)
  • Ground Movement (Me)
  • Ethics and Application of Pain (Me)
  • Counter Assault (Me)
  • Drives and Impacts (Marc)
We were joined by the RCSO combined SWAT for their regular training.  First part of their morning was getting them up to speed on our methods and, especially, safety protocols.  One of the few places I've ever seen where civilians are allowed and encouraged to train with high-end police units. Then:
  • Environmental Fighting (Me)
  • Weapon Retention (Steve)  I took the few civilians who didn't carry off to the side to cover spine manipulation, infighting strikes and creating and exploiting pockets of space.
  • Blade defense (Marc)
  • Neck manipulation and structure on the ground (Kasey)
One of the themes that had consistently come up was the interplay between movement, structure, leverage and space.  Fighters that can actually use structure in a brawl are rare.  It's not, generally, something that young men grasp and the guys that get it rarely fight.  Good judo players are the exception.  Anyway, a lot of the 99% effective techniques were failing with Kasey (although he is a good uke) Dillon, and me because over the years we've learned to structure instinctively. So Kasey and I decided to do a class exploring how we were preventing or escaping techniques and how it could be used against us.
  • Structure on the Ground (Kasey)
  • Plastic Mind (Me)
  • Size Difference Fighting (Marc)
I know there was some more in here and some stuff I'm taking out of order.

Saturday, we had four new people joining us, and whereas every one of the regulars had agreed to get some sleep and start at ten, I couldn't reach these guys so I was there before eight.  Ran them through the academics-- Violence Dynamics and Context and ConCom.  Steve took most of the physical stuff.  It looked like fun.

Sunday, we met at the Mall of America for an advanced people watching course.  We included the Clothespin Game in the course.  Check out Drills for a description.  We broke into very small groups to draw less attention.  All of the students got a session with each instructor.

This was extraordinary, according to the feedback.  They got four entirely different ways of seeing the same thing and I'm frankly jealous I couldn't be a student for the other instructors.  Kasey used his tactical and sniper experience to show them space.  Marc taught a form of cold reading and evaluating relationships between people.  Steve used his extensive experience watching criminals to point out criminal and pre-criminal behavior and attitudes.  That's what I picked up in the moments I could eavesdrop and what I gathered from the debrief.  I hit:
  • How to expand peripheral vision, including seeing both ways down a corridor when you break a T, and how to look directly behind you 
  • Shadows and reflections
  • Risk assessment as separate from threat assessment
  • Moving without being noticed (stalking in the wild is about not being seen, stalking in crowds is about not being noticed)
  • Active shooter options for civilians
  • Defensive observation in pairs or teams
As you can see, a full week.  I can't even begin to describe how cool the students were.  Open minded, physically gifted, critical, smart.  Could not have wished for more.

Hopefully, I'll have more time for writing.  Things are already percolating.



Ben C. said...

"It's not, generally, something that young men grasp and the guys that get it rarely fight."

explain. Is it because pros don't monkey dance/

Lise Steenerson said...

The week was beyond extraordinary. All our heads still swim with information, new knowledge, twists on previous knowledge.
There was a great dynamic between all the students and instructors.
Kudos to all of you

And Sunday was my favorite day... best time I EVER had at a mall. Learning from all 4 point of views was an amazing experience.
Those of you who missed it... go ahead and kick yourself.... because you truly missed out!!!

Jim said...

Sounds like a fantastic week.

Maija said...

Yeah ... The Mall thing sounded particularly cool.

Scott said...

Kicking myself now....

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Rory.
Beyond all expectation.
Expect to see me again. ;-)

Lise, your a great training/play partner and I appreciate your hospitality.
I'll get to the rest of those knives next visit!


Kasey said...


I have your I-pad

Anonymous said...

I knew that.
What is your demand?


Lise Steenerson said...


I had a blast training with you!! I hope you can make some of our class and keep it going.

Anonymous said...

Which Talon was used--the FAB Defense Talon ( or the ST Action Talon ( )?

Anonymous said...

julioshinobi ;-)