Thursday, August 22, 2013

Just a little explanation of some of the what's, how's, and why's of the R.E.A.C.T. concept.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Filter your methods.

When considering the various ways you can counter a violent physical assault it's both logical and practical to assume your attacker will possess some type of advantage over you. Therefor it is imperative to filter the techniques and concepts you train in through that assumption. Simply put, you need to ask yourself if technique or concept 'X' will work for you against a resisting attacker who is larger, stronger or faster than you. Will it work if he is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and thus has an elevated pain tolerance? Will it work if he's armed with a knife or impact weapon, or has an accomplice? No one can answer these questions for you. You must pressure test your methods against live energy and active resistance. Ideally, test them against a training partner who is faster, larger and stronger than you. Perhaps against two partners. Test like your life depends on it because on the street, it does.

Non telegraphic actions.

One of Senshido's five principles is Non Telegraphic Motion.  In essence, it means one should not indicate to your attacker your next 'move'.  A prime example of telegraphic motion is chambering ( cocking ) your limb before striking.  You can blast an eye jab, palm strike, elbow or knee into your opponent from it's current location ( within range ) with impressive results.  Pulling back ( chambering ) so the strike travels a few extra inches betrays your intent, thus telegraphing it.  This also violates another principle know as Economic Motion, but I digress......

I'd like to expand on this concept for a moment and illustrate other actions you may take that will unknowingly telegraph your intent.  There are ( especially 'women's self defense ) instructors who teach women to counter a wrist grab by pulling against the weak part of the attacker's grip, while stepping back and shouting 'No'.  Ummm..... Don't do this.  Ever.  Why?  A couple of reasons:  You've challenged his ego, which is never a good move. It is highly unlikely the 'technique' will break his grip.  Even if it does, you'll earn a punch in the face for your efforts. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, you've just announced to him your intent to fight, or at least resist.

Another example of telegraphing your intent is your facial expression during a confrontation.  Your face can be a dead give away that you're going to fight.  I've had students assume a beautiful passive stance, but curl their upper lip, exposing teeth and stare like they were ready, and looked forward too feeding me portions of my own anatomy.  Their bodies said 'passive' and 'afraid'.  Their faces told an entirely different story.  It's far better to look scared, even terrified when using the passive stance.  There is no use in letting the attacker see, before he feels, the warrior inside you!

Throughout history, be it a war between nations or one on one combat, surprise has won more battles than overwhelming force.  The great Chinese general Sun Tzu once said " All warfare is based on deception ". Be the tiger, pounce from ambush. Employ non telegraphic action and keep surprise on your side.
Not this.
Not this either.
Much better.

The genius of the 'passive' stance.

That's right, I said it!  I didn't invent it so I'm not patting myself on the back.  Nonetheless, it's pure genius.  Read on and I thing you'll agree.......

    When dealing with an aggressor face to face, no other 'stance' offers the benefits the 'passive' stance ( referred to as PS for the rest of this post ) does.  In practice it's anything but passive.  Sure, it looks passive.  It's the universal sign of "I don't want any trouble".  Looking passive and or submissive could satisfy the aggressor's ego, and at the very least it doesn't challenge him.  If all the aggressor wants is to feel powerful, you might just avoid a fight by adopting the PS, verbalizing that he wins, you lose and you're leaving.  Congratulations, for a fight avoided is a fight won. This concept is displayed all over the animal kingdom.  Dogs roll over exposing their stomach,  chimps look away and show their backsides as a way of saying " I acknowledge your dominance, we don't need to fight ".  If however, the aggressor is a true predator, he wants more than to just feel powerful.  Your imagination can fill in the blanks here, but it's safe to assume he won't be satisfied until you're injured, raped or dead.  To a predator the PS indicates fear, which encourages overconfidence on his part.  Good.  Overconfidence breeds mistakes.

    If the aggressor has already decided to attack, the PS limits both physically and psychologically the angle he can strike.  By having your hands obstructing your center line, a hooking strike is inviting and a straight jab is discouraged.  A hooking strike moves ( and is often telegraphed ) more than a straight one and thus is easier to detect and defend against.  Using the PS allows for efficient reactions to the incoming strike via economic motion.  Very little movement is required to effectively protect your head by jamming or crashing the attack. Once you've dealt with the initial blow, finish closing the gap ( if need be ) and apply the R.E.A.C.T. concept ( aka: the shred ).

    If you are facing an attacker and you believe you must launch a preemptive strike, the PS is an awesome platform from which to do so.  Your hands are already up and normally VERY close to the aggressor's primary targets.  Combine verbal diffusion with economic motion, and the aggressor will have little or no chance at avoiding your strike to the eyes or throat. Again, close the gap ( if need be ) and get busy shredding!

The 'passive stance' is not something you can read about and consider it part of your street 'toolbox'.  You need to train it, to understand it, to feel how it works both defensively and offensively.  Once you do, you'll see what I mean......pure genius.

Making distance is a mistake.

I was adding a new video to our YouTube channel and while reviewing it some interesting clips showed up on the sidebar.  Being the curious type, I watched a few.  What I saw left me shaking my head and wondering 'why'? It appears there are many 'self defense instructors' who place a high priority on making distance during an attack.  Big mistake. No, it's worse than big.  It's a tactical error of Biblical proportions!  Let me explain........

    Being at kissing distance to your attacker offers several important advantages to you.  For starters, it allows maximum use of Tactile Sensitivity and Opportunity Striking ( two of the five principles of Senshido ).  Tactile Sensitivity is enhanced at this range due to the increase in body contact, so you're not just relying on the input from your hands.  You Judo, Ju Jitsu and Greco-Roman wrestlers know what I mean.  Being close enough to have hip or leg contact will help you feel which way your opponent  is going to step ( or fall ).  Opportunity Striking is enhanced by the increase in tools you can utilize.  At extreme close quarters one can use elbows, knees, head butts and bites.  These tools are simply not available in punching range.

    Another advantage of staying in close to our attacker is the psychological impact of the invasiveness  felt at this range.  Most people ( not all, as nothing is 100% in combat ) are between uncomfortable and flat out terrified of being intimately close to a stranger.  It's a survival mechanism humans have developed over the years.  Don't believe me?  Slowly make your way into kissing distance with a stranger the next time you're in line at Starbucks.  Watch what happens.....    If they freak out, make a scene, or call the police I'll deny any involvement.  The invasion of personal space in combat will hasten the Predator / Prey shift and intensify their  Condition Black experience ( See post above on Condition Black ) . Personal space in combat?  Really Rick?  Yes.  The attacker wanted to keep you in a certain range ( most likely 'punching' range ) for a reason.  They're confident and comfortable there ( perhaps they have a reach advantage as well ).  Anything closer is scary to them.  It becomes personal space because they suddenly feel vulnerable, and I assure you they ARE vulnerable.  Unless they have trained to fight at this range, and in my experience 90% of people have NOT, they can't deliver powerful strikes here.  Why?  Because 'distance' ( one of the three elements for effective striking, along with 'grounding' and 'torque' ) has been taken away and the attacker will instinctively know it.  Also, any reach advantage he might have had and depended on just disappeared. Once you're in close and utilizing a shred you attacker will be the one wanting to make distance.  Don't let him.  Keep your anchor and let the shred roll!

    To quote Senshido's founder Rich Dimitri: " distance creates opportunity, for your opponent ".  My street experience has shown this to be true.  I will add to that: close proximity denies opportunity to your opponent, while providing you with the tactical advantage.  So, why would you want to make distance?  You wouldn't.  Why is making distance being taught?  I don't know...........

The 'passive' shred?

I'm really not sure why it's called 'passive'.  There is nothing 'passive' about it.  Nothing.  Zero.  Nadda.  Zip.  Sure, it doesn't inflict the horrific trauma of a full on, balls to the wall shred, but 'passive'?  I don't think so.

    The 'passive' shred is performed like any other; same speed, same tactics, same targets.  What makes it 'passive' is the fact that when it's over no real trauma was inflicted because the shredder ( the person employing the concept ) chose not to. The primaries still work, the ears are still attached, the nose is not broken and the grapes aren't squished.  In fact the shredee  ( person being shredded....  is that even a word? ) felt little to no pain.  So why is he on the floor with that look of shock and confusion on his face?

    The simple truth is when you're on the receiving end of even a 'passive' shred, perception IS reality.  The brain perceives imminent damage to the primary targets and reacts to protect them.  The resulting flinching is ineffective due to the speed and delivery method of the shred.  Now panic sets in, also known as............ Condition Black.  Once in 'black' the shreddee is relatively easy to manipulate, to 'manhandle', to dominate.  Shredder 1, Shreddee 0.

    How can I speak with such confidence of the power of the the 'passive' shred?  I've done it for real on the street in the course of my duties several times, and it worked.  Suspects in custody and no injuries to them or me.  Win / Win.  And that look of shock and confusion I mentioned..... it's real.  Real funny that is.......

    So, I'm convinced the term 'passive shred' is a misnomer.  Perhaps I'll rename it.  How does the ' I'm gonna shut down your mind and win this fight, but don't worry you won't be injured shred' sound to you?  Or the 'physical trauma-less shred'?  'Shredder lite'?  'Diet shred'?  Never mind.  I'll stick with 'passive shred'.  However inaccurate and misleading it may be, it just sounds better.

Condition Black: Fear it. Love it!

The professional ( Law Enforcement, Military and related fields ) and highly trained readers can skip the next four paragraphs.  You've heard this before.  For everyone else, I'd like to discuss an extremely important, but often overlooked ( by 'self defense' instructors ) aspect of personal protection: your mindset.

    Lt. Colonel Jeff Cooper ( veteran of two wars and a legend in the tactical pistol world ) assigned color codes to the different conditions your mind can be in.  Condition white is where, sadly, most people spend way too much time.  'White' is defined as unaware.  Completely oblivious to the surroundings.  Being in condition white allows you to be surprised by a predator, and thus an easy mark. Make no mistake, two legged predators can spot someone in condition white a mile away.  Unless you're asleep you shouldn't be in condition white.  Instead........

    Your waking hours should be spent in condition yellow.  When you are in 'yellow' you are aware of what's going on around in you immediate environment.  Your eyes are up and scanning, not glued to your smart phone.  Your ears are listening for sounds that are JNR ( Just Not Right ), not ready to bleed due to the volume of your music.  'Yellow' is not paranoid, it's just aware.  The mind is actively seeking, and willing to accept information that may indicate a threat to your safety.  If a possible threat is detected......

    Now the mind should shift into condition orange.  In 'orange' you acknowledge you most likely have a problem on your hands, and now it's time to gather more information to solve it, preferably by avoidance.  It really shouldn't take too much to force the switch from 'yellow' to 'orange'.  You just returned home and you find your front door closed but not locked, and you know you locked it.  That same car has been following you for miles, despite several turns.  The snap of a twig coming from the woods twenty feet from where you parked.  The motion light by the garage keeps going on, and your little dog is pacing, looking at the door.  You can smell cigarette smoke as you approach your car in the deserted parking garage, but don't see anyone.  All these little things, that you might have missed in condition white, can indicate a problem and warrant switching to 'orange', and then perhaps........

    Red.  Condition red.  It's ON!  Fight or flight.  It's time to go primal.  Despite your best efforts to solve the problem by avoidance, a predator made his intent clear.  You're been grabbed, struck, stabbed..... it doesn't matter.  Stay in condition red until you've subdued the attacker or ran to safety.  In 'red' you stay mentally aggressive and willing to do whatever you need to.   This will help you avoid.......

    Condition bla..........wait.  Are the professionals back with us?  Yes?  Good.  Condition black.  This a state that is seldom discussed, but it should be.  'Black' is panic.  'Black' is brain freeze.  'Black' prevents any usable or meaningful action due to sensory overload.  The overload could be from surprise, fear, pain, trauma (even the perception of trauma, whether or not it's actually happened ) or a combination of all these factors.  If you fall into condition black you're going to lose.  Period.

    So how do we avoid condition black.  First and foremost, by living in condition yellow.  Doing so greatly reduces you risk of being surprised by an attacker.  Surprise breeds panic.  Another way to avoid 'black' is to focus on the task at hand.  If you're fighting for your life concentrate on delivering trauma to your attacker.  This will help you ignore any damage you may be receiving.

    I titled this post 'Condition Black: Fear it. Love it.'  So where's the love?  Here's the good news; putting your attacker in condition black is relatively easy. All you need to do is apply the shred.  Attacking the primary targets causes the brain to slip into panic mode.  The attacker will not be able to focus on you anymore.  His only goal will be to protect those primaries.  Human psychology and physiology ensure that.  The predator just became the prey, and it happened in a fraction of a second.  It happened by surprise, which as previously discussed, adds to his panic.  He is now lost in condition black and he's lost the fight.  Do what you must, then flee to safety ( or in the case of LEOs: control and arrest ). Easy to love condition black when you're the one exploiting it, no?

    Never in white.  Live in yellow.  Understand orange.  Use red if need be.  Avoid black for yourself, but be sure to introduce it to your attacker.

Remember: when in red, use the shred!!

Pepper Spray / O.C.- is it worth it?

 In a word- NO. Now before any of you get all excited and accuse me of blasphemy, hear me out.  Pepper spray is a generic term for Oleoresin Capsicum (  capsaicin is the active chemical of hot peppers ) delivered via an aerosol spray. OC is an irritant that affects the eyes, the membranes of the nose / throat, and lungs.  It's even hot on the skin as it gets into the pores.  Make no mistake, it's not a pleasant experience to be on the receiving end of a blast of OC.  I've been hit several times in training and on the street and I'm not looking forward to it happening again. That being said......

    If you believe the advertisements of the various manufactures of OC sprays ( and certain media outlets who believe OC is death in a can when used by the police ), once a person gets a shot of OC in the face they'll instantly drop to the ground in searing pain, blinded and only breathing enough to stay conscious.  In the real world however, the results are rarely so dramatic.  In fact the effects of OC are often, well......... underwhelming.

    A wide variety of factors determine the effectiveness when OC is applied.  For example, is the suspect high or intoxicated?  Is he enraged, psychotic, emotionally disturbed, or enjoying an adrenaline dump?  Does he smoke?  Does he normally eat spicy foods ( believe it, it's true )?  If the answer is 'yes' to any of these questions the OC will have a delayed and lessened effect.

    During training I was given a healthy dose of OC in the face, then had to complete a series of tasks including fighting, running and cuffing.  It took over a minute for my eyes to close. I didn't have the benefit of being under the influence of any drugs and I'm no superman.  I've seen OC applied on the street multiple times.  Not once did it have the instant effect of incapacitating the suspect.  Like me, the suspect can take up to a full minute ( often more ) after being sprayed to react to the OC.  A lot can happen in a minute.......

    So, why do cops carry and use OC?  One answer is because OC is PART of the law enforcement use of force spectrum, not the ONLY option.  The police have other options ( ie: batons, TASERs, firearms, additional cops )  if / when the OC fails.  The other answer is politics....... but that's another issue.  Don't get me started.

    There may be a light at the end of the OC tunnel.  A new method of delivery is on the market and it's showing some promise.  Instead of aerosol delivery the OC is applied ballistically at close to 90 mph.  The drawback is, as of now, the OC 'gun' has only two shots so you better make 'em count!  Time will tell if this product brings OC into the realm of serious street tools, but for now this cop is simply not impressed.  Good training will serve you far better than a can of OC ever will.
                                                           No, this doesn't happen.

In-holster weapon retention for law enforcement: is there a better way?

A article I wrote for Ameriacn Cop magazine-  before I was recruited and launched Senshido CT.

Weapon retention will always be a hot topic in Law Enforcement circles, and for good reason. Every call we respond to is a gun call, because we bring the gun. The statistics we got pounded into our heads in the academy haven’t changed.  Twenty percent of officers shot and eight percent of officers killed provided the weapons to their attackers.  Clearly, this needs to change.

Although different solutions have been offered to combat this problem, the above mentioned statistics indicate those solutions have failed to protect us.  Police administrators have often looked to the holster manufacturer for answers, and the manufacturers have been happy to take up the cause by adding more levels of security into holster designs.  Duty holsters can be found ranging for Level I (one safety device to disengage) to Level IV (four, yes, four separate actions to complete before the weapon will clear the holster).  Common sense dictates that more levels of ‘security’ make for a slower draw stroke.  Is this the direction we want to be going in, a weapon that will be slow to come out of the holster when we need it NOW?  I think not.

Some have looked to better training to solve the problem, and developed techniques to counter a suspect’s attempt at taking an officer’s weapon.  Unfortunately, many of these techniques are nothing more than Aikido type moves that have been painted blue to be easily sold to Law Enforcement officials.  These techniques often require that they be practiced religiously to be effective.  Showing a 5’4”, 120lb. female recruit how to do this once or twice (or even 10 times) will not suffice when two years later a 6’2”, 240lb. felon goes for her weapon. What is needed is a concept that will work, is natural and therefore easy to employ, and will negate a suspect’s size or strength advantage.

Enter the Shredder/ R.E.A.C.T. (Rapid Engagement Assault Counter Tactic) concept.  This concept was developed by Richard Dimitri, a close quarters combat and self defense instructor operating out of Montreal, Canada.  Mr. Dimitri has extensive experience in  the ring as a competitor and working the door (read: bouncer) in some of Montreal’s more notorious clubs.  The combat system he founded is called Senshido, and traveling the world teaching his material to law enforcement, military and civilians is keeping Mr. Dimitri very busy.  The history of Mr. Dimitri, Senshido and the Shredder / R.E.A.C.T. concept are beyond the scope of this article, but can be found on his web-site.

Mr. Dimitri’s Shredder / R.E.A.C.T. concept is both scientifically and behaviorally based, and uses only gross motor tools to attack the most vulnerable targets in rapid succession.  The attacks are performed faster than the human’s flinch response can cope with and elicits a panic response from the recipient.  This response is the key, as it will force the opponent to release his hold on the officer’s weapon.

Why does it work?  There are two main reasons the Shredder/ R.E.A.C.T. concept is so devastating. One, the brain goes into complete panic mode when it senses danger or trauma to the head area, especially the eyes and throat. This response is a function of the sympathetic nervous system, specifically the amygdale portion of the brain.  The resultant actions of this panic include flinching, recoiling away from the direction of pressure or trauma, the eyes snapping shut and often tucking of the chin with shrugging of the shoulders. It is difficult, if not outright impossible to launch or sustain an attack when your body is behaving like this uncontrollably.

The second reason is the way in which the targets are attacked. The speed at which the tools are employed keeps the attack ahead of the opponent’s defensive reactions. The source of the speed is near perfect economy of motion. Very little force is needed, as the targets are soft and poorly protected (if one has the hand strength to fire a weapon, then one has the strength to attack these targets).  With so little force required to inflict the trauma (or perception of trauma) no chambering of the hands is needed.  The hands just move from one target to the next.  In some cases, the hand doesn’t even move after an initial strike, just the area of the hand applying the pressure changes.  Imagine striking the nose with the palm, leaving the hand in place and applying pressure to the eyes with the finger tips, and then re-applying pressure to the nose with the palm again. Three distinct attacks, three separate perceptions of pain and trauma, all taking place in a fraction of a second.

How does it work?  Follow along with a break-down of the application:  Picture yourself squaring off against a cop, a cop that’s much smaller and lighter that you are, perhaps the 5’4” 120lb female previously mentioned. You lunge forward, obtain a strong two handed grab on her holstered weapon and begin to pull like mad. This action is very likely lifting the officer off the ground and at the very least destroying her balance. Instead of trying to anchor the weapon in the holster, the officer reaches forward with her left hand (assuming a right handed officer) and grabs you by the back of your neck, pulling your head toward the ground.  While this is happening, her open right hand went to your nose, palm first.  Before the pain of the broken nose sets in and without the officer’s hand leaving your face, the officer’s fingers have found your eyes, and began to gouge with a downward motion.

You’ll try to pull you head away, but the officer’s left hand holds fast, while the right continues the attack. The officer’s right hand is still on your face, but now she’s applying pressure to you broken nose with her palm, her middle two fingers are still exploring your eye sockets, all while pushing your face to your right. Just as your neck has reached its full extension the officer’s hand has left your face, only to be replaced by a hard forearm / elbow strike to your jaw.  As the officer’s right arm retracts, her hand has found your face again, her fingers return to your eyes, and once again twists your neck, this time to your left.

As you pivot to your left, the officer has stepped to your right, establishing a flanking position. Her right hand has finally left your face, and found it’s way to your throat, where she obtains a vise-like grip and pulls you to your rear, denying you of what little balance you had left. Her left hand went from the back of your neck, around the left side of your head, partially tearing off your left ear, and picked up where her right hand left off.  Your eyes and nose are under assault again, and to top it all off, the officer is providing a barrage of knee strikes to your right thigh.  Think you might have let go of her weapon in the four seconds since this assault on your vitals started? Yeah, me too.  In fact, your hands would have likely left the weapon and went to your face area to protect your eyes the instant your brain perceived them to be in danger. It wouldn’t have mattered; the officer’s attacks would be well ahead of your defensive response.

Bear in mind that these attacks only came in that order because that’s the order the in which the targets presented themselves. The Shredder / R.E.A.C.T. concept contains no memorized sequence of attacks.  The attack could have started with a throat strike, followed by a chin jab which flowed into an eye rake while an ear is being ripped from the head, setting up for the head-butt to the temple and so on.

In ending this scenario the officer has several options when she disengages you. She could simply push off, make distance and deploy the appropriate weapon.  Or she could step back and using your throat and eye socket as handles, throw you to the ground.  Head first, of course.

After training with Mr. Dimitri I realized the potential this concept had as a weapon retention tool.  So armed with this concept I approached some co-workers to try it out. We started with my ‘assailant’ having one hand on my holstered weapon.  One by one, they tried to free my Glock 22 from the lever III holster it’s carried in, and one by one they failed. The Shredder/R.E.A.C.T. concept worked, and obviously I wasn’t inflicting the trauma I would during a life and death struggle. I was only applying mild pressure on their closed eyes, lightly tugging on their ears and gently pushing on their noses, throats and chins. I didn’t even include elbows or knee strikes. We tried another round of attempts. I thought the concept wouldn’t work (without real trauma) as well the second time because my ‘opponents’ had the luxury of knowing what I was about to do. I even stacked the odds in their favor by lowering the hood on the holster. The second round had the same result: the Glock stayed put.  They managed to hang on a little longer this time, but not by much.

The Shredder/ R.E.A.C.T. concept deserves a place in your street ‘toolbox’.  Like anything else worth learning, proper training is essential.  Richard Dimitri travels the globe giving seminars and sooner or later, he’ll end up somewhere near you. Dimitri also has certified instructors throughout the world who can teach you this concept.

Tactile Sensitivity: why is it so important?

If you've trained with a Senshido instructor for any length of time you've heard the five principles mentioned.  Repeatedly.  I know.  It's OK.  While the principles are in no particular order and they are all important, I want to get a little deeper into tactile sensitivity here.

What is tactile sensitivity ( referred to as TS for the rest of this piece )?  Really it's nothing more than gathering information through touch.  We all obtain information through touch countless times every day.  Hot, cold, smooth, rough....  You get it.  So why is TS important to you when engaged in real violence?  Simply put- information.  More information than you can get with your eyes alone, information you often can't get with you eyes at all, and often it's received faster through TS than through vision.

Let me explain with a few examples:  When training in Senshido's counter knife material students will engage in the clinch drill.  Two students will start in a neutral clinch and they'll be applying live energy in trying to unbalance each other.  One student has a training knife somewhere on his / her belt line.  When the knife armed student wants to bring the knife into play he / she goes for it.  The other student feels through TS that the energy has changed, that the intent has changed, that SOMETHING is happening.  Without having to diagnose WHAT is happening, the student reacts without hesitation and starts a shred, resulting in the knife hitting the floor followed shortly by the student who had the knife.  Now, after doing this type of drill until the students are comfortable with it we add another element.  More precisely, we eliminate an element: vision.  The drill gets done again, but this time the 'defending' student closes his / her eyes. Guess what...... nothing changes.  The knife never gets to be used because the 'defending' student using TS alone feels the intent and energy change, and reacts accordingly.

Another example, this one from the street:  I was escorting a handcuffed prisoner to my cruiser.  This guy had already attempted escape and made it quite clear what he thought of the police, society in general and my mother.  While we were walking to the car I had my left hand on his right arm, just above the elbow and I wasn't watching him, I was watching for approaching traffic.  Several steps from the cruiser I felt the energy change, just a slight shift in his balance. Because I felt it coming through TS ( although I didn't know what 'it' was ) I was able to avoid his take down attempt ( he had dropped his weight and stuck his right leg in front of mine, trying to force me to trip face first onto the pavement ).  I learned afterward that he's done this before during arrests, and put one cop out of work for a year due to a dislocated knee.  Nice try, but it failed.  I felt it coming when there was no way I could have seen it.

Clearly TS is a tool that needs to be in everyone's street arsenal.  It's not something that can easily be explained or learnt by reading about it, it has to be experienced. Train in Senshido and you will experience the importance and power of tactile sensitivity................   Got Shred?

Realism in your training.

Training needs to be as realistic as possible to be truly effective.  The physical elements should mimic those of your day to day life.  For example, why train for a street fight while bare foot when you usually wear shoes?  Why train in sneakers if you wear business shoes during most of your waking hours?  What good is training in loose clothing if you wear a suit all day?  When cops train ground fighting without wearing their duty belts or body armor they are really just setting the stage for disaster......

This idea applies to the emotional and mental element as well.  A Senshido instructor will often try to elicit an emotional response from a student before attacking, because street altercations often start that way.  Piercing glares, profanity, threats and shoves are often displayed before the attack on the street, so why not incorporate them into training?  Surprise attacks, that start as casual conversation ( "excuse me man, you know what time it is" ) ​then switch to violence in an instant, occur on the street as well and training should reflect this fact.

Practice does not make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.  Training does not increase your chances of winning when it's for real.  Realistic training does.......

Static vs. Live Energy

I recently asked a buddy of mine, who happened to be a L.O.C.K.U.P. instructor, to show me his method of in-holster weapon retention.  He happily agreed and placed a 'blue gun'  ( a solid plastic, training faux gun, with the same sized, shape and weight of specific firearms ) in his duty holster.  I got a firm, one handed grasp on the 'weapon' and stated I was ready.  He wrapped his hand over mine ( securing the 'gun' in the holster ), stepped back and hammered my extended forearm with his free arm.  After 3 or 4 hard ( ouch! ) strikes on my arm he peeled my hand off the gun.  Interesting........

I asked if we can do that again but this time with live energy ( read: active resistance ).  He agreed and we gave it a second go.  This time as he began his technique I slammed my shoulder into his chest ( yes, he really is that much taller than my towering 5' 8" frame ) and drove him back into a wall.  While screaming a string of profanities I delivered strikes to his chest, ribs and head.  His retention method fell apart and I had his 'gun' removed from the holster in short order.  Another example of anything working static, with a compliant 'opponent'.

As you can imagine, my friend now wanted to see Senshido's method of weapon retention.  The 'blue gun' went into my holster and he locked his huge paw on the grip.   When he slammed into me ( Did you think he wouldn't after the way I dealt with him?  Really? ) I grabbed the back of his neck with my left hand, anchoring us together.  My right hand went to his face, palm mashing into his nose and fingers gently pushing on his closed eyes.  In an instant his hand left my 'gun' and both hands tried to get my right hand off his face.  It didn't matter since I was already stepping to his flank where I was able to reach his throat ( primary targets! It's all about the primary targets! ) with my left hand.  The shred continued for another second or two before I let him fall to the floor, my 'gun' safely in the holster.

The REACT concept prevailed under live energy and active resistance, again.. Real energy and real resistance makes for real training, and real results you can count on.  Anything less is unacceptable when your safety is on the line.