Keep Your Distance!

Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert © 2022/01/21

Man has utilized various techniques, strategies and weapons during recorded history, not only to hunt, but to do battle as well. Typically, if a weapon was discovered, it was used perhaps until a better one was found. Sometimes it was a matter of finding that tool in the environment, sometimes it was making that tool, either through serendipity, or through passed-down knowledge.

Perhaps the first tool was simply using a strike with a hand, or foot. Maybe it progressed to wielding a rock in that hand, or using a switch. That discovery may have been followed up by a rope, which may have led to the club, then the war hammer and finally the hatchet.

With those natural progressions, discovery included ingenuity, thought, observation, and ultimately conclusions. “If I hit an animal with a rock, eventually it becomes a meal.”

As the brain developed, so did the tools. Man learned to better use them, to devise new and better weapons, and new and better ways to access the food resources all around them. It also developed awareness – this tool works best on this animal, in this way, and by doing ‘this’ with it.

Eventually the brain developed the ability to quantify methods based on observed results. Those observations would have had to include – accessibility, ability, prowess, favorable results. Those would develop and progress further to include – risk vs. gain, favorable odds, element of surprise, planning, strategy, tactics and ultimately the addition of distance as a factor to be considered to attain not only victory, but mastery.

In ancient times in order to engage in conflict, one had to be in contact with another. They had to both be within reach of each in order to escalate conflict into combat. Distance. To do that, one or both parties would have had to move closer to the other, or each other. Contact then becomes possible, dependent in proximity, and the weapons range. If that weapon was merely a fist, they’d have had to be with arms reach to be effective at all. If the combatants were a football field away, that would not have resulted in contact/combat.

At the same time, limiting contact/damage/casualties would also require distance – retreat, withdrawal, or simply by not being there!

Distance can be both beneficial and a deficit to your personal safety and that of your tribe/clan/family.

While engaged in contact, you can continually use the gift of distance to improve your tactics, improve your odds of victory and limit the damage your are subjected to. By using it wisely you can counter their attack strategy, eliminate their effectiveness to do damage, and quell their strike capabilities due to their dependence on using distance as well.

Close-in fighters, like boxers, often rely on their own abilities to ‘get in and get out’ during heated matches.  They use their feet way more than they use their hands – the striking tool. Their feet provide mobility, which helps them create distance to eliminate distance issues. They can use one leg to pivot either in or out to create targeting opportunities – the liver punch is an excellent example of delivering a devastating blow to an opponent that absolutely requires good use of distance.

We can use distance to effectively avoid conflict, and thus contact – by simply using the gift of remote location, If we’re not there, the opportunities for contact and damage are limited, or entirely eliminated! If we run away (run, hide, fight), we avoid conflict and contact.

If contact is inevitable, then we must master the use of distance. It needs to be prioritized and mastered to assure positive outcomes – for our team. Closing distance is but one strategy – it provides unique opportunities and may be the only answer, or the best answer for the situation that faces you. Leaving the room may also be the only answer, or the best solution to your conflict/contact.

Distance provides many opportunities. It provides ability. It provides advantage. It can provide surprise. It can provide access. It may ultimately affect the psychological state of the other party – which can include disrupting their OODA loop, and thus their ability to continue the conflict/contact. Which could hand you victory. Yes, it’s effective when used as a psychological tool as well as a physical tool.

You know what it feels like when you have been one-upped in sparring, and your opponent has suddenly taken your base, you’ve lost your balance and you are in free-fall – on your way to the mat, and in that instant, you are in shock, and realize that your strategy just failed. That is a psychological fail for you, and a victory for your opponent. He just used distance to affect victory… and the point. He used distance to get within striking range to sweep your leg, or to attach his center of gravity to your framework and then he effectively used simple leverage to take your center of gravity off axis. Distance. It was really that simple.

You’ll need to consider distance, and all that it provides, all that it entails, all that it can reveal. Use it effectively, and you may prevail. But certainly ignore it, or don’t use it to good effect and you will become the vanquished, the defeated, just another victim of it’s abilities.

…Distance is your friend.

Distance – study it, play with it, learn from it. It really is a gift.

© Copyright 2022 Tim Boehlert/Avi Nardia

Angola: African Roots of Brazil’s Martial Art Capoeira

Avi Nardia w/Tim Boehlert © Copyright 2022

I have been really lucky to travel during the worldwide Covid pandemic. I’ve recently traveled into Africa for different security projects and I was on a mission to teach, as one example.

I always try to do my best to study, and while I was in Angola I had met Israeli Karate and former Champion Feras Faur,5th Dan.Feras has been involved in Israeli Jiujutsu and is a long-time student of mine in firearms, security and Krav Maga Kapap.Hefound his home in Angola a few years back and met with me and with former Israeli commando officer Yosi Aviram and I’ve been following them both to study much about Angola and the land of Africa’s East side. 

From learning about the witch ceremony and Juju culture to learning unique-to-the culture survival skillsincluding discoveringwhat to eat that you find in nature. We explored learning how to use anything you find in the field and to appreciate the explorationof the magicof Africa.

Using and teaching these skill sets led me to the Favela, the poor neighborhoodwhere we met students that have been training in the Martial art Capoeira that has it’s roots in Angola.

I want to be clear that I’m no expert in the art of Capoeira and have no expertise about Africa, but I would love to share with Budo magazine readers some of the magic I met and that was shared with me.

Capoeira Angola, is a version of the martial arts that is rarely practiced either in Brazil or in Angola itself.But it’s name speaks to the origins of an art that reaches back centuries – before people were enslaved and transported from the Southern African coast to South America.It was developed in what is now Brazil using rhythms and call-and-response singing found in the African traditions. The inclusion of instruments was crucial for distracting onlookers.

African influence downplayed

Capoeira Angola has a ritualistic feel and the movements are predominantly low to the ground, with the focus on precision. This is why the music is slower than in the dominant version, known as Regional.

The difference between Capoeira Angola and Capoeira Regional is subtle, but Capoeira Angola includes more instruments and its practitioners feel it is more spiritual.

I sometimes feel a little angry when I think about how Angola’s contributions to Capoeira get dismissed.

The African influence was deliberately downplayed, partly because of racism.

“It was recognized as a part of African culture and labeled as aggressive because of the slave association”

In the mid-16th Century, while working in the fields, slaves created what later became Brazil’s earliest form of Capoeira, disguising fighting techniques as folk dancing.

Following the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, the government banned Capoeira, fearing its use could make any revolt by freed slaves more difficult to overcome.

It went underground, and many black people continued to practice what is now recognized as Capoeira Angola in hidden spaces, using nicknames to protect their identity.

Around 1930, Reis Machado, better known as Mestre Bimba, developed a way of teaching Capoeira that made it easier to learn.

After persuading the authorities about the cultural value of the martial art, the ban was lifted, and Mestre Bimba opened the first Capoeira school in Brazil.

Capoeira was still looked down upon however, especially by the upper class Brazilians.

In response, Mestre Bimba set new standards – he introduced clean white uniforms, required students to show good posture and brought in a system of grading.

As a result, Capoeira began to attract a new audience that became interested in practicing Capoeira indoors.

This was the beginning of Capoeira Regional.

As some practitioners continued to follow the older form, they agreed on the name Capoeira Angola to differentiate it, but over time it was marginalized and largely forgotten.

Regional has a faster pace than Capoeira Angola. Mestre Bimba also simplified the use of instruments relying on only the Pandeiro (hand frame drum) and one Berimbau (bowed instrument.)

‘It relieves my anger’

Despite the name, the claim that Capoeira originated in what is now Angola remains a matter of speculation, as the slaves that left the Luanda docks came from across Southern and Central Africa.

Manuel dos Reis Machado or Mesta Bimba as he was better known, was born on 23 November, 1900 in Salvador, in the home country of Capoeira, Brazil.The youngest of 25 children, his first job was as a carpenter on the docks where he developed his physical strength; by the time he was 18, he could carry 120 kg.
He learned 
traditional Capoeira (known as Angola) from a Mestre called Betinho and went on to teach it for ten years before he developed his own style, which he called Regional.

© Copyright 2022 Avi Nardia w/Tim Boehlert

How Rude! Social Conditioning & Behavior

How Rude!
Social Conditioning & Behavior

© Copyright, 2022 Tim Boehlert

What do you think you understand about the term social conditioning? Did you know that it is both a tool and a weapon? Here’s how it is summarized in Wikipedia:

Social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. The concept is stronger than that of socialization, which is the process of inheriting normscustoms and ideologies. Source:

Can using good manners get you killed? While on the surface that may seem like an absurd question, far too often it is the truth. Criminals in many successful daily encounters are using good manners – yours, against you. Phone scam artists and salesmen rely heavily on this well-known fact. This tool is known and understood by two opposing groups — criminals & law enforcement. Society really only understands one side of the coin, and that understanding is very limited. In fact, it has a tunnel-vision component to it.

Society can be described as a group that adheres to an agreed set of rules, laws, views, and expectations.

Societies construct patterns of behavior by deeming certain actions or concepts as acceptable or unacceptable. These patterns of behavior within a given society are known as societal norms. Source:

The tunnel-vision aspect comes into play because of our social conditioning, and despite it. We are raised and also trained in the social sciences by our caregivers, our friends, family, strangers, educators. We spend a lifetime learning and testing the things that we learn along the way. We learn about boundaries, we test those traits and we learn from both the successes and the failures. We make adjustment shifts in our expectations.

We have some specific expectations, the predominant one being that we all play by the same rules. We adhere to these rules without any drastic deviations while knowing that some will color outside the lines. We also have an expectation that that number is very low. What we fail to see and understand is that that behavior is also a norm, for criminals. The reality is that people we thought we knew, which includes ourselves, use this to our advantage when we deem it appropriate to do so.

We fool ourselves that we live in a safe world, that “it probably won’t ever happen to me,” that “those things don’t happen around here.” You might be right. Is it worth the gamble?

Here’s where social engineering can be used as a binary argument. This coin has two sides, tool and weapon. They can be the same thing – ding ding ding!

Criminals use this tool every day as a weapon. They may appeal to your vanity, or your ego – one and the same. They may also take advantage of your inability to color outside the lines. If they think they can do so, and it’s likely they know they can before they even meet you, they will use the tool as a weapon – to overcome your senses. By doing so, they stun your senses and put you into a mental freeze. “How dare you!” In that moment, while your mind is trying to comprehend their audacity, they strike, effectively overwhelming your senses by escalating their attack. It works like a charm. In fact, they use charm as a salvo – appeal to their ego and the victim drops their guard.

There are too many instances where social conditioning fails us – when the rules are not followed is a big one. An example, when someone else makes a scene at the mall, what is your reaction? How does their behavior affect you? Do you feel it’s rude? Would you say that out loud, in front of a large mixed audience, to their face? Be honest. Most of us would not. “Don’t get involved.” is the typical thought, and response.

I wonder why when we approach our car in the mall parking lot that we’d have any expectation of ownership. Is it just because we have the key in our hand? Do you think a criminal knows that? Do you think that he’d respectthat? You both have the same knowledge – but his is that you’re prey. 

With the prices of used cars in the current economy, everyone is now a target of opportunity. Even salesmen smell the blood in the water. They have the advantage. It’s a marketplace that has never been seen before – an increase in demand, and a very limited pool of products.

The criminal may approach you in several ways:

“Excuse me, do you have the time?”

“Can you help me?”

Or it might be a physical encounter, closing distance, slight bump, or an all-out assault. No weapons necessary, only social conditioning. They appealed to your desire to be kind, helpful, but they appealed to your inability to be rude.

“Excuse me, do you have the time?”, “Nope, I don’t.” Short, sweet, and to the point. No need to apologize, which is probably how you would have normally stated it.

“Can you help me?”, “I can’t, and please don’t get too close as I’m contagious!” So what, you lied a little.

If they close distance, keep moving past your vehicle, or maybe abruptly turn and face the aggressor, and get very loud! You could also be very rude and push past them before they understand that their tactic didn’t work on this one. If it wasn’t an attack, you can explain your way out of it. You may feel foolish, but so what?

Let’s now look at a crime that occurred this week in NYC. I believe the victim was killed as a result of several failures, but the one that no-one mentions is social conditioning, and how it may have enabled the suspect to gain access to the building and or her apartment.

We share some common expectations, one of which is that our home is a secured space. It’s assumed to be a safe place that contains those things that we deem necessary, valuable, and maybe sacred.

When you live in a ‘secured building’, you have certain rights & specific responsibilities. You have the right to deny building access to anyone that you are either unsure of or that does not belong in that building. 

You share the responsibility of being a security officer for that building. By allowing anyone access to the building that does not belong there, you violate the trust of every tenant, and put every tenant in danger.

Unfortunately, this happens daily, everywhere. My aim isn’t to place blame, but rather to raise awareness.

follow-on is any incident whereby an authorized person enters a secured building using an authorized method – let’s presume a key. This person then either pulls or pushes the door open and makes their way inside. And hereis the common mistake. Instead of immediately securing that door, we all assume it will automatically close. We got lazy, our guard was down – because “ah, I’m finally home!” The follow-on person walks in just before that door is secured. Most people don’t/won’t even notice. Many simply shirk their responsibility and don’t care. Their attitude may be that it’s not their responsibility to do security. They may be right, but that attitude might also change their status to prey/victim.

It’s possible that this victim was unaware; it’s also likely that she didn’t want to go against her years of training in the social skills to confront a stranger. Was he a stranger? At 4a.m., would you not notice someone out on the empty street, walking in your direction? It’s possible. Is it plausible that they could gain entry without your knowledge? And again, yes. Could that entry have been prevented? Maybe.

Was she wearing ear buds, headphones, or did she bury her head/attention in her phone… all very bad ideas under these circumstances, but also almost all of the time.

It’s easy to play this mental game – could she, would she, did she? It’s merely a mental exercise called visualization where you play out scenarios in your head. To be good at it, takes practice and imagination. You have to push yourself into some very dark places, tight quarters, places that do exist even despite your inability to see that now.

Everything that’s wrong with this scenario can be found in Gavin de Becker’s, The Gift of Fear, read it and live the lessons between its pages.

Nothing that happens after that unauthorized entry was not due to that failure. The victim’s inability to check and assume a higher level of responsibility, or her inability to color outside the lines of acceptable social behavior, and become very rude let the wolf in the door.

If like too many of us, you believe that the presence of cameras will keep you safe, you need to understand a few things. Don’t be complacent and complicit otherwise.

Most businesses do not invest in the best equipment to keep their properties ‘safe.’ 

Many of these cameras may not be functional, and are rarely serviced.

No one is likely monitoring those cameras 24/7/365, if at all. Most just sense movement and only record short bursts of activity during that time.

The common belief amongst security experts is that cameras are a feel-good solution, a check box at best, perhaps a write-off for insurance purposes or a liability insurance policy.

Most crime caught on camera is very low-resolution, and unfit to be useful for law enforcement.

Cameras are most useful, after the crime has already occurred… or maybe not so much. You can’t/won’t know for sure.

If available, and functional, they can be used after the crime has been committed. In this case we’ll wait and see. 

I feel that the true breakdown happened right at the beginning of the encounter – the victim either allowed the suspect into the building i.e. was too polite to risk being rude by denying access, too afraid to be confrontational, or otherwise distracted.

Denying access was key in how this crime evolved and might have been prevented.

After following her up six flights of stairs, what were her options?

How about SCREAM!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, that would be rude, seeing that it’s 4a.m. and you don’t want to disturb the neighbors, or make a scene with a total stranger. Would it have been effective?

Being rude should have a place in your life. To be an effective tactic, you’ll have to re-condition yourself to pick up and use that tool when it’s necessary. You get to decide when and where that is. You also get to choose how much fuel you apply to that flame. In this instance, full burn was prudent and necessary, and forget the neighbors. That social interaction is off the table at 4 a.m., in a quiet part of town, in a quiet building.

Yes, just be rude, and be very vocal about it. That is dictated by the facts – the entry, the stalking, and the environment. You’re going to make a lot of people very unhappy – but why do you care?

Give yourself permission to wield that tool like a weapon with full-on intent to do some damage. 

That follow-on access trick that you now know more about? It is a trick – you are being played when it happens. The predator knows that what he’s doing is wrong, immoral, outside the lines. He also knows about your conditioning. What’s in his favor?  – your social conditioning. He knows you have bought into that programming, and guess what? He’s now going to use that against you. He’s going to push your buttons hard, by using every rude skill he has to overcome your inability to be rude. And he will overcome your defenses.

Could she have been rude enough to deny him building access? That’s also not her fault, as most of us would have acquiesced. That is the cold, hard, truth.

Look, if you train, start seriously considering training your brain. Violence typically begins with opportunity. The act of violence starts in the mind. Intent determines how much, how far, etc… These are mental abilities, and have little to do with physical skills that too many use to deny fear. Fear is a good thing, not what is pushed by marketers. If you can’t visualize doing damage to another person, damage that requires very solid intent, then all of the time you’ve spent learning martial arts/self-defense techniques is wasted. Criminals know this. Why do criminals beat many practitioners of the arts? Because they color outside the lines.

Learn to be rude! Who cares what anyone else thinks. Being rude might have saved an otherwise precious life here. 

Dedicated to Bev.

Further research:

Operant Conditioning

Classical Conditioning

Psychological Tools Used In Training

Copyright © 2020, tim boehlert

A few weeks ago I watched a YouTube video (How Law Enforcement Taught Me to Dehumanize) that was shared by Sensei Avi Nardia. The video discussed some specific aspects of training used in Police academies and to police recruits. The original poster stated that he’d been a Police officer for 10 years (unverified).

After watching the video cursorily, my initial response was measured, and also incomplete. It’s hard for me to watch something that triggers me because of the underlying bias or skewed aspect that I perceived, real or not, and then to try to sort it out in a few minutes. I’m still working it all out.

I support Law Enforcement, and the title alone set my gears in motion. While watching and listening, I found it disturbing – not just what was being said and how, but because of the numerous and obvious edit points, and seeming underlying script that it was ‘designed’ for. It felt a lot like propaganda, and the poster seems to be reading from a script much of the time. With all of that, I found value in the points made, for either a yay or nay point of view, and mentioned to Avi that this would be a great discussion that we could engage in and share with our Kapap family.

My feeling was that as teacher and student, we were at odds with the topic of policing, the principles, and the outcomes that we have been speaking to for the last few years. This was yet another aspect that we could discuss and perhaps enlighten each other as well as our group on. We’ve done this numerous times, and while we don’t always agree with each other on things that involve the actions of the Police, specifically in the U.S., we respect each other enough to allow for each other’s viewpoints.

In a nutshell, and for me, the video presented some valid points, but was skewed and biased based on the posters personal preferences and perhaps his experiences. At the same time, while he mentions the training, he also mistakes his on-the-job conversations as training – but that is not official doctrine.

We are all formed by our experiences. Some of that is ‘official’ training – school training in any form, much of the rest is conversational persuasion provided by our co-workers, acquaintances, strangers and family members, et al. We use the school training as a framework, but we fill in the gaps with the rest that we pick up by those that hold more influence over us.

In this video, some training was certainly provided, and I don’t take issue with that, the rest however is NOT sanctioned training, but nonetheless holds merit in it’s persuasive value over the end-user, the author of the video. And this is likely my problem with accepting the data t face value. 

The second reason that I didn’t care for regarding the video was the ‘creative’ aspect of the presentation. The hash tags speak for themselves.

The main idea, the idea of ‘indoctrination’, doeshave merit, and again is something that we saw from differing viewpoints, I think.

I will speak to my viewpoint here, but go watch the video first and then continue reading!




The process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically

Definitions from Oxford Languages

Uncritically = with a lack of criticism or consideration of whether something is right or wrong.

In my research, I’ve spent a bit of time trying to understand the terms used for this process, and explored the outcomes — the ‘benefits’ — of the ability of the use of indoctrination to influence favorable outcomes, depending on your viewpoint.

Now, this is where I think we both saw it from opposing sides. I see it as a positive, and I believe in the way it was intended to be used, and I think Avi sees it as being a negative, and something that is not what we should be using as training.

My familiarity of the concept of indoctrination goes back more than 50 years, to the 1960’s when I may have first become aware of the word but more importantly the concept, and the negative nature in which is was presented to me then. My early memories are all negative – something that was wrong, maybe even evil. At the time it may have had political leanings, but I think I recall it as being a bad thing.

Over the years, those initial impressions held up – and forged my feeling about the word.

In 2008, I’d read Rory Miller’s Meditations on Violence, and learned a bit more about the use of indoctrination, through his use of the term/concept, ‘other’, but without directly connecting the two. It was thisnew term where I started to see the positive aspects of indoctrination – and it was all purely situational.

“In every war, both sides have had a slang term for the enemy to depersonalize them and make them easier to kill, an attempt to emphasize the “otherness.”  
Rory Miller. Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence (Kindle Locations 785-786). Kindle Edition.

To ‘other’ someone is to diminish their value or status in your mind. The process has been referred to using many terms:



Classical conditioning

Operant Conditioning


…and I’m sure there are other terms used in different industries. It reminds me of MILspeak – the deliberate use of terminology for specific purposes – which can be good, or bad.

While the words cannot fully represent their use, intended or otherwise, in the end it comes down to purpose. The word and the action may not jive, but serve specific purposes, perhaps designated by the wielder.

Here are a few on-line definitions of some of these terms:

Classical (a learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired: a response which is at first elicited by the second stimulus is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.) and operant conditioning (Operant conditioning, sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning, is a method of learning that employs rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence (whether negative or positive) for that behavior.)

“…classical and operant conditioning. That is what is used when training firefighters and airline pilots to react to emergency situations: precise replication of the stimulus that they will face (in a flame house or a flight simulator) and then extensive shaping of the desired response to that stimulus. Stimulus-response…”
On Killing: The Psychological Cost Of Learning To Kill In War and Society
Lt. Dave Grossman (Kindle Locations 319-321).

“We do not tell schoolchildren what they should do in case of a fire, we condition them;”
On Killing: The Psychological Cost Of Learning To Kill In War and Society
Lt. Dave Grossman (Kindle Locations 324-325).”

Othering:view or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself.

Historically this information has been developed and used successfully in some cases to influence behaviors, and thus change results.  In his groundbreaking book, On Killing, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, I furthered my research about the use of indoctrination, and discovered a bit more about the history of it’s purpose and use.

“…despite an unbroken tradition of violence and war, man is not by nature a killer.”
On Killing: The Psychological Cost Of Learning To Kill In War and Society
Lt. Dave Grossman (Kindle Location 227).


 While Miller’s book put my head into one mindset – learning the ability to distance oneself from a potential hostile person, Grossman’s revealed another angle I hadn’t thought anything about – theresistanceto such training. It was based on the work of S.L.A. Marshall and his work regarding the effectual use of combatants in war, and their inability to use force against their enemies. 

It opened my eyes to the fact that while many of us may believe otherwise, man has the ability to kill, but for the most part doesn’t have the desire to do so. Thatis what indoctrination in the armed forces of the time was designed to overcome.

With this foundation, let’s dissect and analyze the points made in the video:


Othering references – “These people”,  “unlicensed drivers”, and the responsibility on Law Enforcement Officers for not applying the law if they merely turned a blind eye to ‘minor’ infractions.

“It’s just a transient, addict, gangster”

Here, the use of the word is derogatory by choice and through intent to lessen the value of the person being addressed. Yes, it happens, yes it’s wrong, and yes, we’ve alldone it – more than once, and for sure over a lifetime. Think about the terms you use daily when you are triggered by a person or event – getting cut off in traffic, watching something you deem stupid, how we refer to one another even while ‘kidding.’ We’re all guilty, and thatis the result of indoctrination. You need to examine yourself and your behaviors, it won’t take long and you won’t come up empty. Be honest.

Why do we not see it the same for a Police Officer? Because we hold them to a higher standard. We expect more, no, we demand more from them. We do so without a true understanding of their job, and what/who they face every day. That is not to dismiss it, nor condone it. It is merely to educate and perhaps start down the path of making some changes – at home where we have some control over what we do. Make changes to who we are, and what we project to society through our use of the same ‘techniques.’ Let’s start there, and take responsibility for us, before we judge others.

The techniques that ‘Phil’ stated in his video ring somewhat true – recruits are taught about officer safety, and that includes the danger that canlurk in the unknowns that they will face every day, and on every call. I believe the intent of that ‘indoctrination’ is as stated. It’s meant to keep them safe – they are no good to anyone if they get injured or killed while performing the task of applying the law as we’ve relegated to them. I think the training is meant to get their attention, task them with the responsibility to above all pay attention, and to make them understand that if they don’t do a good job of that, they could die, or someone else could.  Phil then makes interprets the training as a bit more ominous and foreboding. He thinks it’s meant to make them paranoid, and that the use of the terms he uttered above, are meant to dehumanize the public that have been addressed in this manner and with these words/terms. It is a mindset that is deliberately being formed, but I disagree that it has the intent behind it that he alludes to. It has its purpose, but all of the terms he used were handed to him by fellow officers, he says. That was not a part of the official training.

This brings us to the specific use of the term/concept/ideology of ‘othering’:


… Spivak was the first to use the notion of othering in a systematic way. Although Spivak uses the concept in a review of Derrida as early as 1980, it is not until 1985 that the concept is used systematically in her essay “The Rani of Sirmur”.

What causes Othering?

“Othering is not about liking or disliking someone. It is based on the conscious or unconscious assumption that a certain identified group poses a threat to the favoured group. It is largely driven by politicians and the media, as opposed to personal contact.”

What is Othering in psychology?

The Basic Nature of Othering in Human Psychology

“In short, this effect speaks to how we differentially treat those whom we see as “in our group” versus those whom we see as some kind of “other,” meaning someone who is defined as in “some group other than my own group.”

What is Othering in sociology?

“We define “othering” as a set of dynamics, processes, and structures that engender marginality and persistent inequality across any of the full range of human differences based on group identities. 13. While not entirely universal, the core mechanisms the engender marginality are largely similar across contexts.”

What is negative Othering?

“The practice of Othering is the exclusion of persons who do not fit the norm of the social group, which is a version of the Self.” … The usual negative othering (or anti-othering), such as racism, sexism or xenophobia is contemptuous disregard of those categorized as instances of despised groups.”

What is the concept of othering?

“Othering” refers to the process whereby an individual or groups of people attribute negative characteristics to other individuals or groups of people that set them apart as representing that which is opposite to them.

Othering can be as subtle as: Ignoring people’s ideas, work, or opinions. Not giving people the benefit of the doubt. Failing to share important information.”

What is Othering in criminology?

“Othering in the context of research is the term used to communicate instances of perpetuating prejudice, discrimination, and injustice either through deliberate or ignorant means. Othering is most obvious where researchers, their paradigms and processes, and their … Entry.”

Rory Miller

“Othering is the ability to convince yourself that another human is different from you. In most cases the ability to other determines how much force can be used on another person. Propaganda in war or mass rallies in a police state are attempts to co-opt the Monkey mind —the limbic system —into believing that the enemy is not a person, not like us, not one of us. If you can be convinced that the enemy is not human, you can butcher or hunt a person just as if he were an animal. If you are truly convinced, not just following the crowd with your Monkey mind, you will not even suffer from guilt reactions.”

“For some people, othering is a skill. A new criminal usually has to work himself up to an act of violence, talk himself into it. He convinces himself that he is only taking what should be his by right, if the world were fair; or tells himself a story where his victims are the bad guys. Police officers and soldiers, especially the extremely professional veteran, other by behavior. “This person did X which elicits Y force.” “If I see A I will do B under the Rules of Engagement (ROE).” The ability to other by behavior is one of the most important skills in force professions. It prevents over-reactions (whether excessive force complaints or atrocities). Because it is not personal, it removes the Monkey-mind from the equation. It also prevents, in my experience, burnout. Having an emotional connection, whether that connection is love or hate, increases the stress of a force incident. Othering by behavior allows one to maintain absolute respect for an enemy or a threat even if it is necessary to kill. Not being othered is also a skill, and one that is critical in de-escalating potentially violent situations.”

“The ability to deal with someone who is acting immorally and/or illegally — without disrespecting or othering that person — is a priceless skill that is available to you through reading this book. It is the key to being an adept problem resolver — and an ethical protector, for that matter.”
Miller, Rory. ConCom: Conflict Communication A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication . Unknown. Kindle Edition.

With all of that information, you get a better understanding of the concept – and perhaps can see for yourself how and why it may be used as a ‘training tool.’


Scripted Quote: “People that break the law don’t deserve sympathy. We should make law breaking as painful as possible to teach ‘em a lesson to dissuade them from committing more crimes or to prevent them from turning the city into, you know…”

That is not what he was taught as official training. That is what he claims to have learned from his fellow officers. He then goes on to state that his training was broken down into roughly two parts:

40% Legal codes and procedural stuff

60% Physical toughness, UOF and officer safety

“Early in the Academy they would sit you down to watch lots of dashcam footage of police officers being murdered, police officers being ambushed, police officers being shot to death on routine traffic stops and it would be drilled into you “there’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop. At any moment somebody might run up on you with a gun and you’ve got to be ready.” And once your head is full of cop death, that’s when they start teaching you the boxing and the wrestling and the judo and the Aikido and the firearms training. That’s when you start learning the laws about when you get to use force and how much force you get to use. And I’m being precise on that last part. I would say most of the use of force instruction that I received was on knowing what was the maximum amount of force you could get away with.”

And again, partial truth at best… Yes they use ‘training’ films to educate the officers, perhaps to inoculate them. It’s a wakeup call to reality. He oversimplifies it, and skews it with his agenda showing. He then tries to make the final point that the UOF training is designed and taught for officers to break the law, and I call bullshit. UOF is taught in different ways, in different agencies. It is an evolving and ever changing program. It used to be taught using a ladder schema, and is different now. The ladder concept was about escalation of force – either matching it or being one rung above what was being used against you, but look it up for the precise definition.


Graham vs. Connor ‘mantra’ cited. 

Look up the case law, and educate yourself on the concept, terminology and language. Pay particular attention to the language – legal words and terms have very accurate and specific meaning, and not what you may think.


Tennessee vs. Garner cited

‘Reasonable Officer’ standards vs. Probable Cause cited

ibid above.


Rookies “spent hours watching cops being murdered by members of the public and then they get told that justifiable use of force revolves around the officers perception of how dangerous members of the public are.”

Indoctrination continued onto the streets – ‘what could have happened scenario’ talk by other officers.

Again, he goes off the rails and pushes ‘guy-talk’ as training – yeah, it can be, but it wasn’t official training, and it’s incident specific perhaps. Using experience to help others is not necessarily a bad thing. The thinking man will set his own boundaries and taboos. The possibility of death in that job are astronomical as opposed to what any one of us may encounter in our lives, and that doesn’t change  because it makes us feel uncomfortable. The thinking man will consider the possible, and hone in on the probable. Worry is nothing more than fear of the unknown – and about future events specifically.


“The training teaches you to be ready to kill, it teaches you to want to kill, so that you don’t become a victim.”

I call bullshit, again. This is a bold-faced lie – the training does not teach you to want to kill. I doubt they even use ‘victim’ in relation to Police training.

“If the legal standard for use of force relies on what a reasonable officer would do in that situation, what is a reasonable response to years of training that says ‘everyone might try to kill you’?”

Again, years of training, or years of street-talk? Reasonable officer is outlined in the case law. Read that.


Col. Dave Grossman’s landmark essay citations:

“…Killology, which aims to reduce officers’ psychological inhibition to kill suspects. Grossman describes a facet of his training as it relates of the human reluctance to kill as “making it possible for people to kill without conscious thought.”

Yes, his training is designed to reduce the inhibition to the use of deadly force when deemed necessary and by applying reasonable officer standards. By eliminating conscious thought, you enhance your survivability. 

Think of it this way – in the MA and SD programs that we teach, we try to eliminate doubt, boost confidence, and ensure good outcomes for the student. To do this, we teach skills that create those possibilities. We use mental, psychological and physical training to achieve that goal – victory, survival. We think of the physical aspect, as muscle-memory. 

Having the ability to respond to a stimulus without conscious thought, Mushin. 

In my opinion, it is a useful tool. Even legally armed citizens have specific legal and moral obligations when it comes to the use of deadly force. You have to ask yourself, “can I kill someone, under what circumstances, and could I do it without hesitation?” Hesitation kills. 

There is so much more to it than what I can spend time here on. I ask anyone that is considering the purchase of a gun for self-defense to answer one question: “Can you use your purchase to take the life of another.” It’s extremely complicated, and I don’t know anyonethat ever wanted to kill another person, but I know a few that hadto. It never sits well. They’d used their training to save the lives of others. It was the most effective solution to the problem – in the moment. It comes with baggage.

Col. Grossman classifies people into three groups as a model to work from:

Sheep (members of public)

Wolves (bad guys)

Sheepdogs (cops)

Phil embellishes it this way:

“The sheepdogs protect the sheep from wolves, but, the sheepdogs are not sheep themselves and according to Dave Grossman, the sheep distrust the sheepdogs because they kind of resemble wolves and the sheep don’t like being told what to do.”

I’m not sure you can generalize that, but some sheep likely do think that way – some.

Phil then states:

“I know it’s supposed to be a cute metaphor or whatever but think of the messaging at play here. Cops are not members of their community, they are above and in charge of that community and the community rarely appreciates it. All the sheepdogs have is each other.”

Embellishing, again. ‘The messaging’ is all his since he crafted the idea into words. Cops are members of their communities and the communities that they serve. Their purpose is to mete the law within those communities.

10:20 “Pinned in the brains of Cops.”

Phil sums up his three main points about how Police are supposedly trained to dehumanize the public:

“Cops are fundamentally separate from members of the public.”

Very open to interpretation. In essence, yes they are separate. They choseto put their lives in jeopardy to protect us. They walk amongst us. Therefore, they deserve better. We ask them to do things for us that we can’t or wouldn’t do to preserve our lives, and our way of life.

“Members of the public might kill a cop at anytime.”

Ding. Ding. Ding. TRUTH. That is always a possibility. One should be trained to understand that kernel of hard truth.

“Breaking the law should be as painful as possible to deter crime.”

That wasn’t included in the official training Phil. That may be yourtakeaway based on yourexperience. I guarantee that is not a universal.


“Mentally what must you do to hold these three lessons in your head and still feel like a nice person at the same time. You pretty much have to begin dehumanizing the community in your mind to be able to do what’s necessary, to be safe, to prevent crime and to protect your fellow officers from being murdered.”

You use the tool where and when appropriate IF that tool works for you, in your hands, and is legal, ethical and moral. Nothing more.

“The rule in training for dealing with people was: you ask, you tell, you make.”

True. Let’s not forget that when an Officer asks, tells or makes you comply, it’s through the lenses of the law. I don’t know if it’s anything more than a guideline, and likely brought about because it was improperly used somewhere at some time, but it’s a legal responsibility to comply with his commands. It is not a request, legally.

“…that deviation from social control will be painful and may be deadly.”

A bit skewed towards the agenda, but there is truth there as well. 

“If you dehumanize people long enough, you won’t like who you’ve become.”

I have to agree with this. We can get jaded, when exposed to the worst that humanity has to offer, day in, day out, year after year. It takes a special person to walk that line. If all that you know is one-sided, your view will always be the same. If you follow the donkey long enough, all you see is the ass. That doesn’t make it the reality. Sometimes you just have the ability to focus on the journey vs. focusing on the view. 

One last quote from Col. Dave Grossman. Here he’s referring to a milepost set by S.L.A. Marshall regarding training and the use of more realistic paper targets vs. the traditional bulls-eyes incorporated during WW II, a change that is still in effect today:

“Today the body of scientific data supporting realistic training is so powerful that there is a Federal Circuit Court decision which states that, for law-enforcement firearms training to be legally sufficient, it must incorporate realistic training, to include stress, decision-making, and shoot–don’t shoot training. This is the Tuttle v. Oklahoma decision (1984, 10th Federal Circuit Court), and today many law-enforcement trainers teach that law-enforcement agencies are probably not in compliance with federal circuit court guidance if they are still shooting at anything other than a clear, realistic depiction of a deadly force threat. And, again, we have S. L. A. Marshall to thank for that.”

On Killing: The Psychological Cost Of Learning To Kill In War and Society
Lt. Dave Grossman (Kindle Locations 268-273).”

To me it’s more than that – it’s about finding, creating and developing tools that have one goal in mind – to mold a better student.

In SD and the MA, we use the tool that Phil takes issue with – dehumanization. We have some of the same responsibilities in disseminating it, and howwe do so. We should do so with the three pillars in mind – legal, moral, ethical. This is a concept that was brought to light for me through the teachings of Arcadia Cognerati’s Greg Williams and Brian Marren.

To devalue ‘dehumanizing’, or any term you could apply to the concept is a difficult task, as it is used for good against evil. It has been taught in martial arts and self-defense classes, but it’s also taught to all of us from early childhood. “Stay away from the badman.” “Don’t talk to strangers.” You can fill in the blanks. It does have value when used responsibly. 

To denigrate it because you can only see the ass of the donkey is to miss the value, to miss the lives saved, the heartbreak avoided, the ‘best outcomes’ achieved as a result.

In short, view it as a tool. Nothing more. Possessing the ability to not only learn and use the tool responsibly, but by also using the concept of Mushin – without mind, gives the student advantages. We teach it to prevent having victims, to uphold morally right responses to assaults by eliminating the doubt, and the hesitation that come naturally to many of us because of our cultural grooming. We use psychology to teach others how to  overcome one’s natural instinct to dismiss the possibility of evil. We use terms, and words that enhance that abilitiy – sometimes we don’t like what we see or hear, but the journey is the goal, not the view.

Training Changes Behavior

“Training must change your behavior, make you smarter, faster, stronger and harder to kill.”

Copyright © 2020, Tim Boehlert

“Can I out-think, can I out-mentally maneuver (cognitively overmatch) my opponent. If I can’t out-think them, then I may be a victim. Training has to have a cognitive component.”

—Greg Williams, Director of Training & Innovation: Arcadia Cognerati, Left of Greg Podcast, Episode 1

So much of our lives are controlled by an over-reliance on technology.

Training has been defined as “the practical application of educational material,” by Greg Williams of Arcadia Cognerati (, a U.S. Based Training conglomerate based in Colorado.

Arcadia Cognerati is a small, agile team of Human Behavior Pattern Recognition & Analysis experts who believe that risk should be mitigated, not managed.

We all train, and we all have goals that fit out training regimen, our pursuit, and all of us have one tool in common – our brains.

Greg says that all training should be “Inspirational, memorable, and should also create spirals within our minds”– that unique ability to be creative, to engage one’s abilities in critical thinking skills, (if/then) scenarios.

When you apply advanced critical thinking skills, you will use visualization – scenario training to enhance your training. This is one skill that I learned to develop many years ago, and while in an environment that required critical thinking and quick decision-making skills, with the ability to physically engage when necessary, and without hesitation.

There were several aspects to consider – and therein was the conundrum. I’d learned through my martial arts training, that questioning every possible application of skill was impossible – the “What if?” that we all find ourselves in at one time or another. I knew what my needs were – I needed something that I couldn’t even define at the time, and I needed it right now!

I started to learn from resources that seemed to be farther and farther away from my martial arts training. Along the way, I discovered the concept of visualization. “Well, that doesn’t seem like it’s too useful – seems to be more like daydreaming and fantasizing to me!” It turned out to be one of the best tools I have ever picked up and used.

Brian Marren, VP of Operations, and host of the Left of GregPodcastsays this:

What’s the “so what? What’s in it for me? Why do I need this?” factor in the material being presented to this class. My bottom line is that I need to understand so that I know how to apply it conceptually.”

When looking at any training, ask yourself  – “How is this useful to me?”

Visualization Is Training:

You are learning to train your mind. My methodology was simple: It was never negative; it was always with a positive outcome for me. I would look at an aggressor and visualize the best way to overcome his abilities. It was never “can I?” but always “how will I?”

“You need training that’s going to enhance your ability to make those hard decisions when the alarms are sounding.” 

Training vs. Education:

The skillset that Arcadia Cognerati can give you is based on some very simple logic:

“The difference is that training changes behaviors. Education passes knowledge. If you can’t change the behavior, that is NOT training.”

According to Greg, good trainers use these three things:

Cognitive Task Analysis:

              [1] As trainers, we need to understand what it is that we are trying to train.

              [2] We need to know that there is a need for that training.

              [3] What specific skills do we wish to pass along?

Enabling Learning Objectives:

              What pieces are essential to getting that core task across to the student?

Terminal Learning Objectives:

              [1] What is it that we want the student to take away?

              [2] As trainers, we need to transfer a skill to those students.

              [3] Those skills need to be tangible skills – skills that they didn’t know before the training, then after the training they did know.

In Greg’s Combat Hunter program, developed for the USMC, he’d put together an observation technique: 

“Our algorithm is simple: Baseline + Anomaly = Decision. Anytime you have 3 or more anomalies you need to make a decision. (Obviously if the anomaly is strong enough you don’t have to wait for 3.) The algorithm can be broken down this way: Baseline – what is normal in this environment or scenario? Anomalies – what doesn’t fit or what is missing from the baseline? As an example, watch for body language and physical cues.”

This can all be stretched across a timeline – and again is defined by Greg as Left of Bang (pre-event), Bang (moment of act), and Right of Bang (post-event.) Greg also defines anomalies in two states: Above the baseline are defined as indicators that are there that should not be there, and Below the baseline are defined as indicators that aren’t there that should be there.

It’s a great tool for everyday use. It’s all tied into observation skills, and it’s universal – you can do this in any environment, in any culture, anywhere in the world – it’s that universal.

Greg teaches one simple concept: All decisions must be legal, moral, and ethical. His teaching relies on science and human history to backup the methodology that they employ.


Profiling as used in their training “has nothing to do with human pedigree or lineage, but everything to do with how humans interact as a species. Using context and relevance and measuring against a baseline anywhere in the world, the profiler can make a moral decision, a legal decision and an ethical decision. It’s the first non-material solution that up-armors the brain.”

Cody Bandars, trainer, describes it this way: “information in the human terrain is there for the taking.”

Greg continues: “clusters of cues are orbiting us 24 hours a day, everywhere that we go. When we had to rely on reading those environmental cues we were much more in tune with our personal safety and security. We’ve devolved. Those skills have retarded over time because we haven’t used them.”

“If you can outthink a human, if you can predict their next likely move, you can save lives on the battle space.”

Mindset is everything.

Reality-based Training:

While discussing a shoot, no-shoot scenario where one chair in a room was labeled ‘cover’ and an identical chair next to it was labeled ‘concealment’ Greg expressed his thoughts:

“Your brain knows bullshit and your brain will call bullshit with that type of training and it will put that into your pre-frontal cortex, and it will say, ‘that was really good training, and it’s helpful to a point, but, training for the real event you’ll need to train your brain ‘what would I do in that situation.’”

Training needs to be a continuous commitment.

Brian uses this mental rehearsal mantra daily. It’s simple. It wakes up the brain: “Someone may try to kill me today.” That simple statement preloads his survival instincts.

Human Behavior Pattern Recognition & Analysis

Making Order Out of Chaos

“All people, events, and vehicles give off certain ‘signals’ when they are measured against context, relevance, and societal or environmental baselines. Once learned, the operator can read these ‘signals’ as anomalies or as benign behaviors. 

Learning how to quickly establish a baseline and then detecting and acting on these anomalies are the essence of Human Behavior Pattern Recognition & Analysis.”

Understanding a “Left Of Bang” Mindset

“While the majority of training and education throughout the globe provides individuals with the skills necessary to REACT to high-stress incidents (IED’s, sniper, crowd violence, individual violence, border incidents, security breaches and the like), only HBPR&A trains individuals to be both predictive and proactive, thereby completely avoiding or mitigating the catastrophic event.”

“HBPR&A is the only vetted, tested, and validated method currently available that is proven to increase your situational awareness all while promoting advanced critical thinking. This skillset will give you the ability to ‘read’ human behavior. That means you can predict danger if you can read these pre-event cues and clusters.”

“Whether you’re fighting on the battlefield, the boardroom, or on the playground, our programs will give you the cognitive edge you need to be successful!”

The 10 MAXIMS of Arcadia Cognerati:

[01] Memory is Fiction 

Your brain cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy during recall. The brain’s reward chemistry can be manipulated. This means that the more positive or negative emotion you attach to a memory, the easier that memory will be to recall in an emergency. This also means that you can ‘add’ human memories to overcome cognitive shortcomings through training.

[02] Training Changes Behaviors

There is a distinct difference between Training and Education.

[03] Memory and Emotion Links Make Humans Creatures of Habit

All humans will repeat behaviors when given the choice. Being able to read human emotions gives the operator the ability to predict what will likely happen next.

[04] Humans Won’t Pay Attention Unless They Have To

Humans have evolved past being able to detect predatory looks and mission focus without training. This creates an environment where predatory looks and mission focus will allow us to find terrorists, criminals and predators hiding within and among us.

[05] Humans Are Predictable

Humans are lazy and they follow simple patterns. These pattern are observable, measurable, repeatable, and can be analyzed and defined to satisfy a legal or professional standard. Science proves that human behavior will likely repeat over and over again unless acted upon by external arousal or influence. When given a number of choices humans will follow the path of least resistance.

[06] The Harder Humans Try To Mask or Hide Their True Behaviors, The More Those Behavioral Traits Will Stick Out

Deception can be detected, and all criminals, terrorists, or insurgents must use deception to hide in plain sight. Humans lie often, yet they are terrible liars and those deceit cues can be detected when compared against the baseline.

[07] Your Brain Hates Divided Attention

The more humans engage in polyphasic skills or multitasking, the worse their performance becomes. Especially their cognitive performance!

[08] All Humans Telegraph Their Intentions Unknowingly

Your unconscious mind controls your behavior. Anything a human being touches will likely retain a trace of that humans influence. This allows a trained operator to detect subtle ‘signature’ cues to use as artifacts and evidence when prosecuting them or impeaching their testimony,

[09] Cognitive Illusions Can Be Overcome With Training

This allows us to determine where a sniper needs to be to shoot us, where an IED needs to be placed to kill us, and how an insider threat will hide in order to betray us.

[10] Humans Betray Their Affiliations Unknowingly

This allows us to track humans and their relations within a group in order to determine their leadership and structure.

If this presentation opened your eyes to a whole new world, congratulations! I confess that this material is something that speaks very deeply to my brain, and I encourage you to explore the possibilities that this training suggests – we are all humans, and we all behave in similar manners, thus, we can predict, detect, and avoid a lot of violence, if we open our minds to another way of training!

“Violence is a simple, powerful means of communication, it is a currency…” 

–Greg Williams

Edited Excerpts from a 30 minute Q&A with Brian Marren & Greg Williams of Arcadia Cognerati:

From what I have learned from a variety of resources, your program was initially designed for the military, and was originally known as Combat Hunter in the USMC version. Greg was one of four subject matter experts called upon to design a program to help our troops while they were deployed overseas. It reminds me of the process that Law Enforcement went through in the early 1980’s when too many officers were dying. During that process data was revealed that changed the face of training forever. I get the feeling that this does the same, and was born of the same ideas. Was this your intent?

A1: Greg: Remarkable, because you tied everything together very succinctly, and so the simple answer is this: I was a martial artist back in the mid to late 70’s in Detroit. That really meant something. That was the advent of true, and mine was Japanese martial arts. There were only a few really good practitioners. That was still the days where you walked into a dojo and challenged the other senseis. I mean it was rough and tumble. And one of the things I noticed being a hood-rat was that there were certain patterns of the police in the neighborhoods, so I knew when to ply my trade when the cops weren’t around, I also had a dad that was a Marine and a mom that was German, so they were very detailed oriented, so I found a way to navigate around them.

After I went into the military, I found that the military was all about structure and organization and there were seams and gaps everywhere, and my special knowledge of how to read humans and landscape would allow me to read the military landscape and get through and solve problems based on the sense-making that I had taught myself on the street.

The only good jobs in Detroit were General Motors and cop work. I got into cop work and the first thing I noticed is profiling a cop and profiling a criminal were the same thing, so I created Human Behavior Profiling and was teaching it to police agencies all over the world. So that, that you saw, and it wasn’t just me and I’m a humble guy, guys like Massad Ayoob and many others were legendary in bringing these street skills to coppers. So I was part of that and then I continued my professional career in teaching and training and the military goes, “hey if that works, would it work for us?” So, out of that was born Combat Hunter. We built programs for the Marines, ASAT for the Army, US Border Patrol, ICE, Customs. Once people see that this is a classic, people go to that. And one cautionary thing: on the shoulders of giants. A broken clock is right twice a day.

What I did is I assembled a whole bunch of great theories that went back to the 1600’s and said, “This is how to explain those things” and created my own lexicon. So if you run into weird words on Combat Hunter or ASAT, those are words I had to invent because there was no scientific word for it.

Brian: It starts out with that Street Survival, or you called it Edge Courses, right here at Bang for Police. And it looks like to me that Greg went with continuing so deep into human behavior. And what you get is farther and farther ‘Left of Bang’, and you’re 1000 meters out before anyone knows you’re there. It’s the same skill set, it’s done from the advantage of time and distance. You can continue using it right through to ‘at bang’ and ‘after bang.’ 

Greg: Brian is a martial artist as well. He started out in Aikido in Japanese martial arts as a young kid too. Miyamoto Musashi, very influential in my youth, said, “you win or lose before you ever draw your sword.” And that fascinated me. How did he know how to read humans? That was a genesis. Funakoshi said “if the nail sticks out, pound it down.” That was amazing to me. That meant baselines and anomalies. So history is full of these examples, I just codified it.

Q2: Can you explain the concept of what you teach in terms that anyone can understand?

A2: Greg: I took a nebulous concept and put architecture towards it that anybody, any human can follow. You don’t have to do it all even if you do a little bit because I believe that you’re responsible for your own health and safety and security. Even if you do a little bit you’ll find out that the answers are right there. Just like escalation and de-escalation there’s an answer right there you just have to take time to study it.

Q3: For martial artists specifically, do you have a program designed to teach the many aspects of your architecture in terms that they could relate to for example in their self-defense programs?

A3: Greg: It all started with the martial arts! My martial art was out-thinking the opponent. I did a Boyd’s OODA loop on my martial arts training and said “here’s where you could de-escalate, here’s where you could break this down, and psychological de-escalation telling the person before you fight, I don’t want to fight —  how to work that dialogue and stances into suggesting to this person that this isn’t the time and place for this fight. The shortcoming of all of this is that it’s ‘at bang’, and slightly left of bang.” 

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room.”
—Greg Williams

Brian Marren, Greg Williams, Shelly Williams

tim boehlert



KAPAP-Krav Maga/Israeli Jiu Jitsu

© Copyright 2020, Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

KAPAP is a blend of multiple systems, originating in Israel, and designed to be a bridge between systems. It was inspired by the pioneers of Israel and their work, such as the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, and is based on Jiu Jitsu.

In 1933, Feldenkrais met Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo in Paris. Kano encouraged him to study Judo under Mikinosuke Kawaishi. Feldenkrais became a close friend of Kano and corresponded with him regularly. 

In 1936, he earned a black belt in Judo, and later was awarded his 2nd degree black belt in 1938. 

He was a co-founding member of the Ju-Jitsu Club de France, one of the oldest Judo clubs in Europe, which still exists today.

KAPAP was developed in Mandatory Palestine by a group of instructors during the 1930’s and 1940’s, where the main body of it was organized and taught. KAPAP and Krav Maga remained one and the same until at least 1958.

Krav Maga as a term appeared for the first time in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) in 1965, but in the IDF dictionary of 1965 it was not defined yet and only  KAPAP – Krav Panim El Panim (Face to Face combat) defined Hand-to-Hand Combat. Hands, knives, rifles, hand guns and bayonets and any weapons can be used in face to face combat (CQB – Close Quarters Battle.)

Krav Maga and KAPAP were terms used interchangeably for the same body (much like CQB and CQC – Close Quarters Combat) but not always containing the same knowledge (techniques and drills) in the IDF for the entire decade between 1948-1958.

The hand-to-hand combat curriculum was adopted for the most part from that which was practiced in the Palmach.

Although the term KAPAP first appeared in 1940, many of its contents were processed in the 30’s in the ‘operating companies,’ especially in boxing and jujutsu. 

The short stick fighting method was developed by Moshele Horowitz (RIP) in the framework of the ‘immigrant camps.’

Key figures in the development of Israeli Martial Arts:

Gershon Kopler

Yitzhak Stiebel

Heinrich Cohen

Emanuel Gil

Kurt Benjamin

Menase Harel

Moshele Horowitz

Yehuda Marcus

Joshua Globerman

Akiva Atzmon

Amos Golani

Musa Finkel

Raphael Atlas

Amnon Yona

Jacob Solomon

Avraham Adan

Micha Perry

Uzi Nemirovsky

Paul Beaver

Imi Lichtenfeld

Giora Shanan

Iftah Zaid

David Levy

In 2000, after no one had used the term KAPAP since the 60’s, either inside or outside of Israel, Avi Nardia established a new self-defense program for the Yamam, Israel’s top Counter-Terrorism unit. 

As the unit’s official instructor and because the unit recruited him to setup a new hand-to-hand combatives program, Avi made the decision to respect the memory of all instructors that were not mentioned previously.

He built the KAPAP Federation (IKF ) in 2001 and started to spread the system outside of Israel. Later, and from only one school, Kapap is the most Israeli martial art known around the world.

KAPAP has many respectable beliefs and solid values:

• We teach proven techniques, each thoroughly tested and vetted.

• We dress according to the mission – gi, or street-clothes.

• We have higher standards and higher values and bullies are not amongst our ranks.

• We are a ‘normal’ driving school, we’re not a formula one school. 

• We teach self-defense to civilians and not to become Ninjas.

• We develop confidence and skill sets, not professional fighters.

• We teach with love, peace and friendship and not by using fear or by bullying students using slogans like  “Don’t be victim” or “we do bad things to bad people.” That’s not our motto.

• We don’t teach our students to boost their egos or to be evil or ‘Tacti-cool.”

• We teach using a humble attitude and not by using words like: “touch me and your first lesson is free.” That is the wrong attitude, in our opinion.

• Ours is a school where you can send your wife, or your children to study.

• We share knowledge freely.

• We teach traditional and modern martial arts.

• KAPAP is a well-thought-out and researched blend of styles.

• We have a ranking system suited for civilians.

• We teach respect and discipline.

• We use anything that can help us grow into a system.

• We analyze all components included. That is what we do.

• We offer videos, but they are not meant to replace actual training or teachers.

• We believe that our teachers must know their students. 

• We won’t sell advancement certificates and we require our students work their way through the training to earn their belts. 

• We are honored and privileged to teach and lead our students. 

• We will not try to grow the organization more than we can handle. 

• We demand teaching quality and adhere to a higher teaching standard.

• Our teachers must gauge the efficacy of what is taught to their students.

• We are a family, and we will all grow together.

In too many training facilities, students are injured by over-enthusiastic instructors that let their egos dictate the lesson plans, often ending up in an emergency room, because as trainers, they were not following good training standards.

Others sell their systems using good and/or bad marketing, depending on your point of view. It’s good marketing, as it relies heavily on people’s fear, and lack of education. There is a market for that. It also preys on their wish to be more than ‘wimps.’ 

This tactic has worked for years, but that does not make it right, nor good. This marketing tactic ensures income, but at the expense of the students, and in many cases the instructors.

So, why all of the ego, and testosterone? Why the need to sell yourself based on a movie character? Anyone can call themselves an ‘expert’ these days and through effective marketing, they will put many students at risk.

Far too many students are paying the price for this dubious marketing trend. In martial arts, all study should start with a good attitude. We must teach the proper attitude and the proper safety. It is our duty as instructors and educators. We teach martial arts. We are martial artists first and last. 

With education in traditional martial arts, we wish to make it more ‘real’ to our students. We don’t require military fatigues and helmets to prove our methods and techniques work.

A true teacher is always a student and his attitude must be “always a student, sometimes a teacher,” and it needs to remain so. As you pick your teacher avoid anyone who represents himself as a grandmaster, for in combat, no-one is a grandmaster.

KAPAP is more about teaching people how to live a quality lifestyle and not to live fearing people.

We are not a ‘normal’ martial arts training program, because we provide more tools for our students including training in tactical driving, swimming and free-diving and cold-weather survival – all components that make KAPAP a modern martial art.

The KAPAP Gideon Test

Trusting people is the only way to know if you can’t trust them. Our Gideon Test is more of a self-test. Depending upon the person, successful completion of the KAPAP instructor program is either very easy, or else completely impossible.

With enough time and effort, virtually anyone can gain the technical and tactical skills to become a KAPAP instructor. However, the biggest test in KAPAP is to demonstrate integrity – an attribute which candidates either embody completely, or not at all. 

Those who only seek to collect ‘ego’ certificates will find our KAPAP program impossible. Thus, we use the Gideon test to distinguish our team members.

At Avi Nardia Academy (ANA) we constantly work to distinguish our Gideon Fighters/Instructors. In order to find those who will lead KAPAP into the future we actively weed out others who only chase certificates and titles but fail to behave like professionals. This constant process ensures that our team maintains the highest standards.

As the founder of KAPAP combatives I lead KAPAP worldwide with a family model. I am very pleased to attract so many good quality members and representatives. 

Today, 20 years since I first began teaching KAPAP to the public, I am proud to see KAPAP spreading its wings and beginning to soar very high with new members around the world joining my team each day.

I have devoted my life to martial arts and I hold Black Belts in many different martial arts and I will continue to explore more and more.

There are not more than five principles in modern KAPAP (push and pull, balance displacement, high and low, relative position, two points of contact) yet combinations of them can produce more techniques than can ever been seen!

Martial arts are about love and peace, and being yourself, free of ego, smiling more and enjoying life, as life is martial art.

“Keeping an open mind is the most skill I own.” — Hanshi Patrick McCarthy

“It is better to be a student of reality, than a master of illusion.” — Avi Nardia

“It’s not the size of your stones, but what you build with them.” — Tim Boehlert

Hero to Zero

© Copyright Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert, 2020

Understanding Use of Force. Seeing things that others don’t. Learning to not rush to judgment – we can’t know many aspects of violence that we see, because we only have limited access to all of the facts.

I learned one exceptional piece of information from my teacher, many years ago while sitting at the dinner table in his home. Besides being a very deep thinker, he was able to pass on to me the ability to ‘see’ where I was blind.

Avi and I would sit in his home and have the most impromptu conversations, and I would just sit and listen in awe, as he could talk for hours, non-stop. It was hard to catch my breath, and I forgot so much during the course of those lessons, but the one thing that stuck was that I was being gifted with insights that most of his other students would never get. Humbled does not even begin to cover it. Thankful? Of course, but how can that word cover the totality of the process and opportunity?

I specifically recall one conversation where Avi pointed out to me a flaw in a common Krav Maga technique. While discussing it, Avi inserted his insights, and the switch flipped in my head. I was stunned – and hooked. I want to learn how to do THAT! Because learning the technique is one thing, the bigger takeaway is finding the flaws, but the BEST takeaway is SEEING it in the first place.

Avi has a very analytical mind, and it’s no doubt because of his unique training opportunities.

Can that ability be passed on? Can we as educators change our path and start to build better programs based on evaluations? Well, we can certainly affect some changes in our industry, perhaps starting with a few basics – so let’s discuss a few of these.


All programs need to have a solid foundation built on and with some basics, a solid base to build upon, a base that is thoughtfully constructed, and that requires high standards of moral conduct.

One concept that has been in use for an unknown length of time to me is called operant conditioning, or behavioral modification:

“Men have always used a variety of mechanisms to convince themselves that the enemy was different, that he did not have a family, or that he was not even human. Most primitive tribes took names that translate as ‘man’ or ‘human being,’ thereby automatically defining those outside of the tribe as simply another breed of animal to be hunted and killed. We have done something similar….” (e.g. using derogatory names to describe a person, a culture, a race, or a group/tribe)

Grossman, Lt. Col. Dave. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

“Othering is the ability to convince yourself that another human is different from you. In most cases the ability to other determines how much force can be used on another person.”

Miller, Rory. ConCom: Conflict Communication A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication.

The principle is to minimize and de-humanize others to the point that we would be able to inflict more severe harm than we would without this conditioning. We use psychology and words designed to help us overcome our natural tendencies to resist these changes in our personalities. Name-calling is one tool. When we diminish others by using their faith, race, sexual orientation, beliefs against them, we have successfully been indoctrinated.

As one common example, we might use the term ‘engage the target’ as a substitute for saying ‘kill the man.’

This concept is in fact a very useful tool. It can be good or evil, and that depends on its intent. We all know the evil use, as previously illustrated. The good use would be to use it to move others do things they would never normally consider – as an example, to save a childs life from a sexual predator – a pedophile, we might goad (indoctrinate) a mother to envision the evil acts a pedophile may perform on her child to get her to intervene and do damage to the predator.

It’s what we do with this tool and how we teach it that defines its ethical purpose.

When a training program uses this technique to define everyone that is not a part of their particular tribe as a threat that is when it has the potential to be used for evil. As an example, when a security company or martial arts studio trains its students to view everyone as a threat, they provide a disservice. Everyone is NOT a threat. But, that mentlaity persists, and soon the employees or students begin to get it ingrained into them that every situation is threatening. Everything becomes a nail, and the answer is always a hammer. They forget to train in a manner that presents the  hypothesis that training should be about the probable, and not the possible. One is the best route, the other is the trap.

Having the ability to distinguish when to use ‘othering’ is an absolute requirement.

Avi and I have written another article recently for Budo International where the My Lai Massacre is mentioned, for one reason – to point out the ONE individual that was able to step up, and speak out to prevent any further acts of violence against the citizens of the small village in Viet Nam during the war. These acts were no doubt fueled by and enabled by the ability to ‘other’ the Vietnamese people, which included their children. When this ability to ‘other’ becomes so strong, it also becomes the most dangerous. The one person that was able to see through the fog in this example personally paid the price of speaking out, for years, and no doubt carries the burden for a lifetime from the costs to he and his family. The military machine was successful with it’s indoctrination techniques in this instance to overcome one’s natural inability to kill another. 

In this instance, group dynamics were also at play:

Hive mind (noun)

A group mentality characterized by uncritical conformity and loss of a sense of individuality and personal accountability.

This can be seen in rioting situations, where any large group gets together for what they perceive to become a common purpose, but the resulting protest turns into a riot situation, based on the actions of one or more individuals and where the majority of that same crowd follows suit. It may result in looting, property damage, or violence against any other factions not directly related to their tribe.

This can also happen in groups of as few as two.        

Group dynamics – crowd-think – can be a very powerful force. It usually doesn’t take much to spark off events that can then spiral down to basic primal actions by many within that grouping. The result is anarchy.


We have always spoken out against our group using uniforms of military design. What we teach is not military entrenched dogma, nor aimed at a military ideology. Wearing any uniform of camouflage sends a very clear message to the group/tribe and also to those outside the group. It’s not a good signal to be sending out necessarily, especially during these trying times. As a group, our intent is to teach the civilian market self-defense, not Para-military or an at-war ideology.

We don’t train our students to kill; we train them to defend themselves. If we teach techniques that could result in damage, harm, or death, we also teach about proper recovery techniques to counteract those movements, medical application for recovery, and we try to convey a better understanding of the technique as it relates to physiology, and psychological damage that could occur. This then is only appropriate where death or grievous bodily harm may be imminent. We teach to use only the force necessary to stop an attack.

We weed out those from the group that step over specific boundaries through their actions or through their words. This includes displaying specific behaivor, social media posts, and training taboos.

T   H   I   N   K

I was having a discussion today, re: UODF – Use of Deadly Force between two civilians with a few members of a specific training group. Most do not understand what their eyes are telling them. They THINK they see one thing, while I see another. When I point it out, it immediately draws some fire. My ego tells me one thing, but when I stop to think, I respond differently. I educate instead of criticize. I try to make valid points without making it personal. I struggle at times, but then remember that I was there once as well – BLIND.

Knowing what tools to use is a game changer in many instances. The true magic, the power, is in knowing WHEN, WHERE and WHY and HOW, and also in when knowing enough to STOP.

“THIS is what’s important – the thought process, NOT so much the actions. If we are to use our training properly, we need BOTH components – the hardware to do the act, the software to dictate the when, where, why and how.” tim boehlert

If we are to truly teach, we need to include everything that we possibly can – and that includes the MORAL use of force. Most Police officers are taught that the threat is over when the threat stops. When active resistance ceases, the arrest can continue. A Police officer is a human being, and susceptible to the same flaws that we all face and perhaps struggle with.

It may be impossible to ever know what one’s true intent is or what drives one to do something egregious to another – outside the norm, outside the legal remedy. We get blinded by our own interests while acting in the interest of others at times. We make things personal – and it matters. So, we need to be aware of our emotional investment when using force against another, and to not only see that change of attitude, but to also respond appropriately to those changes. If we take on the role of judge/jury, we enter into legal waters that are over our heads and we’ve now participated in signing our own guilty pleas! 

We need to therefore work on learning more about how emotion drives us, and to be aware of it – recognize it when it takes over, and learn how to throttle back any emotional response, maybe with the exception of empathy and compassion. We should merely be trying to STOP a threat, as quickly and decisively as possible. When we let emotion color our response, we lose the moral high ground. 

Tim Boehlert

Avi Nardia

The War on Cops and The Death of Journalism

I wrote the following article in response to this published account of 8 officers shot in two weeks in one community:

We cannot rely on the media to do the right thing, or to report the truth anymore. They are no longer trustworthy, nor should they ever again be referred to as journalists. They have clearly not displayed any of that for more than a few years since the trend started to take hold that reporting FIRST was the primary objective, leaving the truth far behind. They now favor the blind-eye approach, to reporting anything regarding illegal actions against our LEO. In fact, you will only see articles when it favors their agendas – gun control, racism, use of force issues against citizens, or any inflammatory piece they can concoct to make LE look bad. They will never take the time to learn the law, read the UOF policies, or learn anything about violence the way our officers have to the hard way, and at their own expense too often.

This trend started during the last administrations last two years in office, leaving many of us dumbfounded. It started because of actions that appeared on the surface to some to be race related – without facts to support that viewpoint, even through today. It started because of the lack of education by too many ‘reporters’, politicians, and other no-name ‘celebrities’ who felt compelled to comment and were enabled to do so, again, without facts, but with personal and emotional outbursts that had no merit, or little at best. Social media is to blame as much or more-so than mainstream media is – it has given a platform to those that would abuse the freedom to expound although clearly irresponsibly, and because they feel compelled to say something – anything. And ‘anything’ is what we usually see/read. We give it weight where it’s not deserved. When the opportunity arises to educate them as to the error of their statements and ways, they turn a deaf ear – and that includes all of the mainstream media outlets. They don’t want the truth, unless it’s their version and fits their agendas.

Sure there is a lot of racism – and we are all guilty, it’s not just a one-sided deal as much as many would like to portray it. Sure there are bad cops – the good cops don’t want them either. Sure there are plenty of instances where we can second-guess the outcomes, but hey, you know what? We weren’t there. We weren’t the ones that had to make the tough decisions. Let’s try to remember that these officers are volunteers. YES. They volunteered to defend your rights, your life-style, your family.

They also are human. And like you, they make mistakes as we all have. But they also RUN to your house when you call. They run into danger, with little to no information. They have to sort it out all out in as little as 0 seconds. They have to determine who the good guy is from the bad guy. They do that willingly.

Because this is America, we have certain privileges that allow us to think differently, and often times that thinking is clearly skewed towards an agenda. Where once there was respect for our law enforcement teams, that has eroded thanks to the nonsense that we CHOOSE to believe through our choice of news media outlet ‘truths.’ It hasn’t dawned on most yet that THEY could be wrong, or that they would willingly LIE. Because they have yet to be taken to task for their lies, and pay a price, they continue to alter our realities with every falsehood that they push on us, without the benefit of background checks, fact checking, and educating themselves on the laws that are on the books before they publish the lies.

A by-product of this willful ignorance, and the diminishing of what used to be a respectable profession, was to destroy a profession that embodies men and women that willingly put their lives in jeopardy every day – for all of us.

I’ve been hoping for a turn-around event to happen that would start to quell this disturbing trend, but apparently the silent majority doesn’t have it in them to do the right thing and speak up and speak out. I think they’re too afraid of criticism, and are willing, at the expense of our officers, to let things be. It’s a trickle UP effect. If the majority don’t speak up, then the media gets the message that they can pull the wool further over our eyes.

The day will come when the lines will dwindle – the lines of willing recruits. The young and ambitious recruits that want to do the right thing, for their communities. The children that have grown into responsible adults, that want to make a difference. Those that are willing to give their lives for truth, and freedom. Your freedom. Those willing to protect your community, your neighborhood, your home, your family, your lifestyle.

When that day comes, and it’s coming sooner than you think, you’ll be picking up a phone that no one will answer on the other end. No one is coming to save you. No one. Because, well, you wanted it that way. You didn’t want Police to have the powers they’d need to intercede on your behalf. You didn’t want them to make the tough choices because you didn’t understand what it took to do that, and wouldn’t take the time to educate yourself about what it took to get them to the streets in the first place. You didn’t care enough or have what it took to step up and volunteer to do it yourself, but yet you want to discriminate without anything understanding of what it takes to become a Police Officer.

Sadly, these same officers are your friends, family, neighbors, or someone that you have a connection to however slim that might be. They are the ones that get to deal with the things you didn’t have the gumption to. They deal with the violent, the substance abusers, those pesky panhandlers, the thieves, the spousal abusers, the girl that hit your car and left the scene without a care, the guy that shot your dog – because he was in his yard, the truck owner that ran the stop sign and totaled your car – and has no insurance. You can fill in the blanks – they’re not coming to deal with any of that, because of your silence your lack of support, your inability to set the record straight. They’ve decided that it just wasn’t worth it. No future in it, and lack of community support is killing that profession, and it started with the media attacks, media lies, and the gullibility of the community to believe most of what was said, written, and daily ‘reported’ as FACT, without merit.

Crime is going up. Look at Chicago – where killing is rampant in the days since this trend started. When the police aren’t around to keep things in check, these trends start up. It can no longer be blamed on racism, because it’s happening in all of the communities – white on white and black on black violence out of control, and not enough blue men and women to respond. Their numbers are dwindling because of retention problems and attrition due to so many retiring – many before their scheduled dates.

You think it’s bad? You have no idea. The worst is coming, and you’ve not only allowed it, but you’ve welcomed it because of your lack of commitment to set things right, to support those that would give their lives for you. If you think it’s okay to kill cops, or won’t even try to get involved to change this status quo, then you are the problem. You have no one else to blame.

© Copyright 2019, tim boehlert

Jay Wadsworth DVD: Police Self-Defense Tactics for the Street


Recommended for S/O, C/O, LEO Review by tim b. on 8 Dec 2019

“Force never looks good,” Chief Kenton Buckner, SPD 06/17/2019 

Use of Force is hard for the un-educated to witness. Not everyone has the ability to give themselves permission to use it when it is not only justified, but necessary. For those with a Duty To Act, or contracted Security Officers that need to go hands on, this program gives you some very viable solutions to your commonly encountered issues. Jay is not only a Martial Artist, but a competitor in his sport, and a certified LEO, and SWAT DT Instructor. He knows the rules, knows the game, and knows the adversary. He’s also studied cause and effect to the point that he tells you what you can expect ‘if you do this, he’ll do this.” The techniques are easy, and work. Pay attention to the details that he may not have explicitly spoken aloud – watch his body mechanics. Train slow, and make it work for your body style. Listen to what he’s saying as well as watch his movements. Sometimes the magic is in the details that are either assumed or not spoken. Jay does a good job of revealing those little things, especially during the C&C portions of his program. Research your laws as well, and understand your rights and responsibilities. Watch these techniques often, and work them into your ‘possible responses – either solo or with you partner. Oftentimes you will be the first and possibly only responder, so pick your training well. This package is a good start to getting more than you likely got to begin with.

Copyright © 2019, tim boehlert

Policing Saigon

Policing Saigon

Loren W. Christensen


© Copyright 2017

When I graduated High School in June of 1974 I was reluctantly headed into an unpopular war – forced into the breech by the Draft. When the draft was discontinued, I considered myself one of the lucky one’s. I’d found myself aligned with many of my age group that didn’t understand the ‘conflict’ in Viet Nam, and disagreed with the government on more than a few things we didn’t understand.

After a few years of struggling with my feelings about how I felt about not wanting to go, and seeing the fate of others deliberately avoiding the draft, some by choosing to leave the country, times had changed and I had changed, matured perhaps.

I’ve always felt guilty about not doing my duty for my country, yet relived that I didn’t have to give my life for a war I didn’t believe in. But, how is an 18 year old supposed to understand things like war?

During all of the ensuing years, I’d come to some compromise that I managed to live with. I also know I’m not the only one – I know others are out there that also continue to deal with the feelings.

The Viet Nam war was our war. Everything about it has captured my attention for a lifetime. The movies, the images, the controversy, the politics, and shame, the inhumanity. 

During my years as a Security Professional, I had may encounters with Viet Nam veterans, beginning in 2008. Because of the nature of my job, most encounters were not without challenges. I met many vets over nearly nine years of doing the job, and befriended a few. I learned not to ask questions, but to listen when they chose to speak.

During one visit, a vet with a history of frequency came in, greeted me and while he was being triaged, he’d excused himself from the small exam room to come back out to my desk, where he pulled a large knife out of the front of his pants. He placed it on the counter-top in front of me, and said “I’d like you to hold this for me please.”

Not your everyday verbal exchange, and yes, it caught me by surprise, but not one tinged with fear.

At some point, I’d asked him to explain it to me. I said, “you spent time in Viet Nam, correct?” He nodded. “You must have learned a lot about defending yourself while you were there, right?” Again, he nodded. “Why do you feel you need to carry something like this around with you?” “Brother, it’s not safe out there in the streets.”

We had quite a long and complex friendship over the years until he passed. I always felt comfortable around him, never threatened, even when he was clearly trying to be threatening to others. We had an understanding and respect for one another. I listened, even when he wasn’t speaking, and he tuned into that.

One year, I volunteered to stand watch on the ‘traveling wall’ that was in our area for a weekend. It was an experience that I felt compelled to do. I will never regret that decision.

Perhaps these are my penance, but I know they didn’t happen out of thin air. Some times we just have to accept that things happen for a reason, and accept the fact that we may never truly understand.

There’s the background, some of it in a nutshell.

I chose to buy a book that made me uneasy due to the nature of it’s content – or so I thought. My wife refuses to watch anything to do about Viet Nam, and war in general. I have a fascination with conflict, and have studied it for years – now apparent to me.

I have been a fan of the author for many years, all of my years of Security. He was one of my early finds when I chose to look for good educational material on how-to do the job. Loren filled the bill, with ease. His style was akin to an easy conversation with an old friend, if you will.

His advice was welcomed, and it was always about good choices that I could live with – it wasn’t about machismo, or ego, but strictly about getting a job done quickly, effectively, efficiently and without doing deliberate damage.

I have purchased nearly 2/3’s of his output to date, but have stayed away from anything not related to self-defense or control and constraint related training.

When he released this book, Policing Saigon, my interest was piqued, but yet I waited nearly two years to purchase it. Read the above introduction.

This morning, the day before Veteran’s Day, I have finished reading it cover to cover. I will say that it was challenging, especially after the 2/3’s point of the book, when my mood changed. The deeper I got into it, the more I found myself reflecting on my personal feelings. Near the end, it was just a series of waves that I rolled with, along with the author. Some of his writing caught me by surprise to be honest. Not in a bad way, but by exposing his own feelings and un-resolved issues.

This is not a book about war stories, although it is all of that, but from the perspective of a very young man who found himself doing his service all the while developing skills for his chosen career path as a Law Enforcement Official.

What Loren presents here is a very unique look into his personal experience. It’s not a hard read, or at least it wasn’t for me, and yet I had to push myself at places to continue and to finish up – all the while wondering what I was going to find, and or how I was going to write a review of this material.

It’s not a training manual, and yet you will learn some very interesting things. I learned a lot about the man I didn’t know, and a lot of that was through his very personal insights.

I have always respected Loren because of the amount of information that he put out there to keep others safe. In an age where paranoia within the ranks runs too high, there are a very few professionals that understand that information that has been hard-won is useless unless it’s shared with others that can make a difference. Loren is that guy, all day long.

A lot of this book is about personal perspective, mutual interests, and sharing an experience unlike anyone else’s. Loren succeeded. Sometimes we need to face those things that make us uncomfortable – they happened, and life goes on. What Loren shares within these pages are his personal recollections of a very difficult time in America for a whole generation of us that didn’t commit to that contract. I have mixed feelings about how I feel now that I have read his story, a lot of which I know we will never know. I can see through fresh eyes things that I never experienced, and yet know that we both had similar feelings about specific events.

For those of us that chose the profession of dealing with the violent, we get each other, and yet we never touch upon some of the personal weight we each bear. There’s a lot to explore there. This book is about Viet Nam, but it’s also relevant to LEO and Security professionals in many ways.

I sensed mutual feelings along the journey, and my respect for Loren is total. Not only does he write about a difficult period of history in a unique and personal way, but he laid out his soul along the way. They say to never look at your heroes too closely. This may be as close I will ever come to doing that.

This book is sure to conjure up something inside of you – it surely did in me, and while it’s always difficult to look at oneself in the mirror, sometimes one needs to do so to re-focus. Thank you Loren for yet another excellent read, and for baring some of your soul.

Thoughts on Violence Dynamics and more…