Monday, November 9, 2015

HOLD ON A MINUTE!!  That’s just wrong…

Definitive [dih-fin-i-tiv] 

1.most reliable or complete, as of a text, author, criticism, study, or the like: the definitive biography of Andrew Jackson.
2.serving to define, fix, or specify definitely: to clarify with a definitive statement.
3.having its fixed and final form; providing a solution or final answer, satisfying all criteria

I have spoken out before on what I have seen/read on the Internet and I know it might be becoming tedious. All too often, the person or group who posts on line is not trying to offer solutions to real world problems, but to raise their profile in an ever -growing world of personal security subject matter particularly training.  For example, I do not read the comments that accompany my You Tube videos for this very reason… some are just mean and spiteful so why do that? Respond? You're just doing what they want. Recently, however, I stumbled across one that criticized an ammo I review I did. I stated clearly that I could not get ammo from a rival company because they refused to supply it, thus, I could not supply any information regarding its viability.  What was the criticism? Maybe I should wait to get information from this rival company before I post my review! What did this fucktard not understand about they would not supply it?!  Why did he post such a stupid statement? He wanted to be heard, even if it did make him look like an idiot. Idiocy can be contagious, too!! 

The desire to be the ultimate “expert”  (ex-spurt= ex is a has been and a spurt is something you do in your undershorts) can be intoxicating just like gaining political power, with individuals shouting others down, calling each other names or becoming more outrageous than the next for no other reason than to garner attention. Let's be quite frank here, there is little truly ORIGINAL (new is when you first see or hear something…its new to you) in the combative arts and skills. There are only so many ways to shoot a gun, throw a punch, use a knife or swing a club and they have all been invented. Even in the field of human movement there is little to make human motion efficient has been known for a long, long time, as has how to develop such efficiency. If someone tells you they have invented the “latest, greatest technique/tactic” it is wise to be very, very wary…but it is being done all the time and people are buying into it!! Stupidity can be contagious as well...

It’s hard to believe, but there are folks out there who will lie to you to get your hard earned money.  I know of one very well known instructor who when confronted with the shortcomings in his system responded with “Look, I don’t know if ----- works or not…I’m in this to make money!” Great guy, eh?!  Your name on a head stone could put money in his pocket…nice. Does anyone else see something terribly wrong with this trend?

Because I am old I have a database of knowledge that younger folks do not. It is the natural order of things and will always be. It will happen to you, too. Sure, you can gain a great deal of knowledge in your youth, but you will continue to gain more as you age…as time goes by…unless you choose to stop doing so. THAT choice is up to you. In my case, I continue to seek out that which is note worthy (though I have seen very little I find useful over the last decade or so, I still continue to look), things useful when trying to fight for my life or to pass on to my students. When I was first exposed to the Internet I thought I had been brought to “The Well of Knowledge” and it truly was… at first. Then the tactical knuckleheads (I'm told they are called "trolls") discovered it was their way to gain notoriety without having to spend time in the military, law enforcement or face any greater threat than a sore finger. They didn’t have to prove themselves or even spend their own money going to training! They could just pretend and pontificate, they could post their stupidity via a blog or video and because it had big, tactical–sounding words full of catch phrases or flashy content they could become a celebrity. Is this where you want to gain the knowledge you need to protect yourself?  It’s a question worth asking as the desire to gain fame is HUGE...

The concept of people wanting to gain their personal security knowledge from the Internet is quite perplexing, if not just lazy, but they apparently want to do it quickly as well. My son-in-law recently informed me we need to keep our free You Tube training tips videos to four minutes or less as those that go over are not watched.  Interesting…so not only are people wanting to get their “karate in a can” on line versus hard earned, hands on training, they want it to be in short doses as well. In truth, many are not really interested in learning the art of personal security as long as they sound like they are “knowledgeable” when they log in to their favorite forum or Facebook page.  Once again, it’s about raising ones profile, as the desire to be a celebrity in the age of social media is the ultimate goal of many.  Maybe it hasn’t happened yet…I do not know…but people will die due to this trend and it gives me GREAT pause.

Over the last few months, I have read a number of blogs that talk about what criminals will do or dispel the “myths” of what really happens during armed conflict or criminal attack.  These are widely read articles as people want “The Answer” to short cut their alleged “preparation” and further their journey to be all knowing in four minutes.  The problem with such blogs is they are not definitive, but questionable at best. To say something like “a criminal will always display (or not!) his/her knife in this way” is absolute bullshit! Having spent much of my adult life dealing with Violent Criminal Offenders (VCO), there are several things I can definitively tell you is:

1.    They don’t think like you do
2.    How they behave is never consistent but based on the moment
3.    They will hurt/kill you without remorse

Those who state a VCO will act in a certain way has probably gotten most…if not all…of their information by reading a book.  I spent time working with them in jail environments, transporting them to and from penal institutions, arresting them on the street, investigating their actions and interviewing them in depth so I have a little “hands on” knowledge and to try and place what they will or will not do into definitive, specific actions is wrought with peril.  READ SUCH ARTICLES WITH A DEGREE OF SKEPTICISM AND DO NOT PLAN YOUR ACTIONS BASED ON WHAT YOU HAVE READ! Sure, trends do emerge over time, but little is definitive. While it would be safe to say “the majority of police shooting occur inside ten feet” not all do, some are at long distances so you can't count on closer quarters and you would be mistaken to only practice close up.

Those who have studied the combative arts for more than a few days know it is not the person who can stab the hardest, swing the quickest, draw the fastest, or shoot the tightest group that will win the fight.  While such skills are worth having, it is the person who can keep their head, read the situation for what REALLY is and ADAPT correctly to a rapidly unfolding situation that will prevail. What are they adapting?  Their foundational, essential combative skills to meet the task at hand, something you cannot learn, practice, master and anchor by reading a blog or watching a video. Talking or typing a “good game” on line may make you sound knowledgeable, but you will be far from skilled and situationally adaptive. Being situationally adaptive starts with being generally AND situationally aware as the person who sees the fight coming at a distance has more time to prepare. In a nutshell, the Internet ex-spurt might be dangerous, but not in a useful way as stupidity does not win fights.

Those who try to tell you your opponent will act in a definitive manner are doing nothing more than setting you up for failure and slowing your ability to adapt and respond quickly and appropriately. Why? Because you were told the bad guy would do “this” and they did “that” and now you are trying to figure out what to do next while being punched, stabbed or shot.  Oops…

I still “surf” around the Internet looking for nuggets of wisdom because they ARE out there. But I also have the knowledge base to know when someone is posting stuff that could get me killed. For those that don’t, they could be setting themselves up for serious injury or death if the Grim Reaper ever visits their home, work place or parking lot. What should you expect from a violent attacker? For them to attack you! How that unfolds will always vary to a certain degree. Rest assured, they won’t feel bad for you, cut you a break or view the event with your morals as THEY DON’T THINK LIKE YOU DO!

Train hard and train real! Get off the Web as a primary information source and get hands on training from an instructor who knows what they are teaching and can tell you WHY it is important to you. I know, its expensive but what it your life worth? Be wary of instructors who refuse to tell you WHY what they are teaching is worth your time, money and energy to learn, practice, master and anchor.  “Because I said so” or “because this is how I teach this” is not enough.  As I was told many years ago by a former member of the 22nd SAS …Right now someone is training so when they meet you, they beat you. Train hard and stay on guard!


  1. Dave, Well said. I sincerely thank you for your directness. I retired from Law Enforcement in Sept. of 2013 after 37 years. I have been and instructor since 1982, starting with in service officers, and students at our local JC. Then went onto the Police Academy setting with cadets and now civilians at a new indoor range and retail business as of 2014. I know you served your career in Ohio. Mine was served predominantly in Central Calif. (28 Years) and the balance in Central Illinois as a small town Chief. Your statement
    that "Criminals do NOT think like we do rings so true. I tell my students that they are under the influence of many things such as illicit drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, rage, mental disorders, Anger at their perceived station in life, or all of the above. I may even have missed some. I also say you can never know what is in the mind of anyone else particularly a bad guy. I would like to think I am the type of instructor who knows what I know but who knows I will never know it all and when I think I do know it all, I'm probably dangerous and you should get away from me. I understand that I can always learn more and am open to it always. Anyway, just Thank you for what you do to pass on the knowledge. I lean on instructors like you and others to keep sharp and to verify what I know and to point out what I don't know. I hope you will not mind if I hold you up as a professional example of how we as instructors should think and act as we teach others. In the past I have learned from mentors like Bill Jeans, and others from the Gunsite crowd. Now that I am retired and have more time I have made a more in depth study of our craft. I think I have gleaned from you, that this is a calling not a job. I know I take a pay check but while I'm not rich, I don't need the job or the money. It has always been about passing it on the right way. So, Thank you for your service, Thank you for your instructor's knowledge, and for helping any of us out there in the country who are those that work hard to pass it on the right way. I appreciate every bit of what you have done and are doing.


    Gordon Beck