Category Archives: Random Thoughts

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.

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

2011-2018 Review

Taking stock of the last year, and previous years opportunities leading up to today, and looking forward to new challenges and accomplishments in 2019.

Starting in 2011 I was fortunate through the wonders of serendipity to meet my teacher/trainer/sensei/friend, Avi Nardia. At that time I was still looking for better solutions to the problems that arise when you are required to address violence in some of it’s many forms.

I’d started my search in 2009, and was lucky to find other like-minded professionals that had already done the hard work, and come out on the other side with new-found knowledge. And here’s the kicker—they were all willing to share their knowledge.

In 2011 I’d started to venture a bit to share some of my knowledge and talents with some of those very same teachers.


I edited my first book by Peyton Quinn, after doing a read on another one of his novels. I was thrilled to be asked to help out, and the result is Musashi’s: Book of Five Rings, In Plain English.

In 2012 I ‘encouraged’ some would say, but I know the author would agree, I pushed Rory Miller to put out one book that became Talking Them Through: Crisis Communication with the Emotionally Disturbed and the Mentally Ill. I asked a few of my contacts to also help provide feedback and input. I am so very blessed to have been able to contribute to a book that is close to home, and thankful to have found Rory. His work was the start of a journey.


In 2017 A(well, really 2015.. wait, 2012… yeah, 2011) I was able to not only Edit, but contribute and co-write many of the stories found in 2017’s Sensei On The Road, with Avi Nardia Sensei. This book is a compilation of many of our published articles (Budo International and Conflict Research Group International) that we were lucky to have a chance to do, plus other material that Avi put together outlining just some of his travels around the world training.

In 2017, I was again sparked to get re-involved in doing research on Active Shooter events and subsequent training. I stepped up my professional credentials a notch and got re-involved in the community’s response. In January, I read a new book on the subject by Aaron Jannetti, and wrote a review for him on, which I think was received well by the author. Immersing yourself in these events is difficult at best. Reading his book brought out some of that difficulty, but in a very good way. His work and his efforts are to be applauded. To my knowledge his work is the first that I’ve seen that is truly on the right road to getting help out into the community that needs to read it, hear it, see it and experience it. Kudos Aaron.


In early summer 2018, I was asked by author
Alain Burrese if I’d help him with his forthcoming Surviving a Shooter book. As with Rory’s book, I added my two cents, did a lot of editing, and I think his book is another one that needs to see the light of day for those seeking answers to the AS event. Alain is a trainer in this area of expertise as well, and has come up with a good book that will surely help others.

In late fall (early winter?) I was asked by Loren W. Christensen if I’d help him with some editing for a new book that he’d been working on. Loren is also one of my early influences, and fluent and frequent resources that was able to keep me safe in a violent environment for many years through his writing and teaching output. He had been working on a book and started to send me chunks of it. I not only helped out, but learned at the same time. Loren really doesn’t need anything more than just another set of four-eyes like mine before he releases any of his work. Truly. Not only is he a great teacher, but a mentor as well, and a very prolific author – with over 60 published titles to date. A very humbling experience, for which I am grateful.

©Copyright 2018, tim boehlert

Another Page in the Book of Knowledge…

Another Page in the Book of Knowledge
© Copyright 2018, tim boehlert

When we discuss the many and varied aspects of violence dynamics, including preferences, techniques, styles and more, we should also keep a few key points in mind:

[01] Violence is different with every encounter. What worked once, may not work in a similar situation somewhere down the road, which effectively forces you to pick alternative responses, preferably before-hand, and no matter who you are or how good you give yourself credit for being. Don’t believe your own story, that’s the first thing that will get you in trouble.

[02] Limiting what you learn may be a great choice, but it could also cost you. For instance, if you choose to limit your exposure or your training for only specific types of encounters, you’ll come up empty when that doens’t happen, but ‘this’ does.

Perhaps you should consider reading more about the differences between possible and probable events, and change your training, or modify it to the most likely (probable) scenarios primarily, but not to entirely discount the other possibiltiies?

[03] Violence in the form that most of us will encounter is going to be social-based, and not asocial violence. Thus, your goals may be merely to set social status, or to protect property, or maybe even to send a message/threat, implicit or otherwise that “it would not be wise to cross this line” or some such similar reasoning.

[04] Having a weapon on your person at the time of any encounter may determine to a judge/jury an outcome that you didn’t expect, foresee or plan for. Think of how others will see your actions – “You planned it.” Thus, a pre-mediation factor creeps in by the other sides legal team. And again, you need to understand your laws, because I can guarantee you that the arriving officials may not, and/or do not understand the laws concerning the UOF and threat of UOF when displaying/brandishing as an example a ‘pocket knife.’

I will give you an example of how and why my path differs from yours. In one of my jobs in a Security force function, we had to follow policies (those of the institution – the employer.) We were never allowed to strike, kick or throw anyone. Now if you’d already learned your ‘art’, a lot of your go-to options have effectively been taken off the table. What now? You’ll spend a lot of time un-learning everything you know about your MA or your combatives training.

We were also limited in our responses and options by local, state and federal laws. Have you got any familiarity with any of the typical laws regarding the use of force in your community? If you do, that’s a good start. Now, throw in dealing with a vulnerable population – the homeless, those with substance abuse issues, those with mental health diagnoses, those showing altered mental status (AMS) symptoms – which could include some of the above, but also consider the autistic, those with dementia and those with alzheimers disease.

Now, add these restraining factors:

[a] You are being watched and recorded in almost every interaction – by the institution, and many times by the public. And while the institution may back you up in your response, the public likely won’t. Why? because violence is ugly, no matter who you are. And the only way that you can even approach ‘getting it’ is by studying it, doing it and learning from it all, good and bad.

[b] You could be reprimanded, suspended, fired, sued or some combination of all of these possible ‘disciplinary’ actions. And then there may be the media exposure…

[c] There’s also a toll you pay – with every, single transaction. With some, you may feel confident beyond a doubt that your use of force (violence) was justified. but with many events, you’re going to question what you did, how you did it and more, if not now, based on how your work develops and the amount of support or lack of support that you receive along the journey. Unfortunately, you still need to make your own choices with almost every encounter. The toll may be feeling guilty, or bad, but another cost is in your future performance factors – will you step up the next time, will you throttle back your response stance for better or worse? Again, these are personal choices based on several factors – the law, the policy, your moral compass, the views of your peers, the views of the public or other employees that surround you.

[d] There are also environmental factors that need to be considered, maybe specifically in my model, but I’d say likely in yours as well. As a much used training example: after hitting another combatant, he goes down, and hits his head on a curb. He dies as a result of his injuries, and your actions. Your life as you knew it ended when he died.

Now of course there are times when you may have no worries, but I can’t think of a specific one at the moment. Even as an employee, whose job description cites protecting property and the public in/around your facility, and even if he’d pulled a knife on you, and you may have legal grounds to justify your actions, it’s not over – not by a long shot. Knowing your environment may convince you to re-think the options you choose to deploy in all or most of your actions. Sometimes that’s not possible, but you may have to plan that into your ‘threat response kit.’

Violence is an ugly option, but it’s also a necessary one when dealing with violent people. The only outcome should be in your favor, and in conjunction with all of the legal and moral lines that we all typically follow and/or are held to. There are more mental aspects to dealing effectively with violence than there are physical aspects perhaps, but years of study has shown me that, and your experiences may be different. One quote that I learned early on was: “to stop a violent act, you need to be better at violence than they are.” For me, that set the tone of every encounter. It started the ‘conversation’, helped set my mindset when ‘the dance sequence’ began, and added confidence at the beginning of every dance.

I dealt with hundreds of acts of violence over the years that I was active, and I can honestly state that I never had a plan other than to end it in my favor. I never used more than a few go-to techniques. I transitioned into control after the ‘attack’ with no abuse, no ego issues, and no threat of retaliation or to punish. It was never about punishment. When it was over, it was over – not personal, just a business transaction between two parties that didn’t view the transaction in the same terms you might say.

I can also state that I dealt with a varied population – MH patients, family members, friends and acquaintances, but also substance abusers, those at risk, child molesters, murderers, rapists, thieves, juveniles, men, women, transgender ad all of it’s associated labels and children. They all had one thing in common – they were all violent. The one takeaway for me is that it was a great learning time, with either willing or unwilling participants that all had one thing in common: they knew how to use violence. It mattered just a little about why, but you need to let that go too. Rather than to reject their reasoning, or to argue about it, you just need to embrace the fact that you may not change their minds, and when it’s time, it’s time. You need to pick the when, where and how. Everything else is open for discussion, but perhaps afterwards.

I’ve even had to address other Martial Artists. I had one technique that I used under those circumstances. It never got physical, despite their sometimes impressive attempts to convince me that I was not going to be able to stop them because of their knowledge, which was scary during more than one encounter. Any Martial Artist has this knowledge, and knows what my solution was. There was of course a backup plan, and that was just too easy – it makes me smile to think about it, because might isn’t always right. And that is a technique too.

Give choices – it MAY work… A lot of social violence is about saving face – learn that. Respect goes a long, long way, even when it’s not deserved or earned.

Learn to actively listen without feeling the need to respond – immediately at a minimum. Most of us listen half-heartedly while we are formulating a response. STOP doing that! Be conscious of it when you are doing it, and work at getting better at not doing it in the future.

Expand your vocabulary, expand your training potential, expand your capacity for discovering that you’ll never know it all, you’ll never be the best, or undefeated even. Embrace the possibilities, educate yourself, and share.

This knowledge, my knowledge, is specific, to and for me, because I know what worked for me. I wasn’t ever the best, but I was never the worst. I was effective, and had only a few close calls where it could have gone the other way, but the social aspect of the struggle was on the table and in play, to my advantage. I was maybe the most studied. I continue to learn, and expand my horizons and educate others based on my knowledge and experience, because it can make a difference for someone, somewhere – you’ll never know.

The book of knowledge is deep, and it needs to be shared.

© Copyright 2018, tim boehlert

“It’s NOT Their Job!”

“It’s NOT Their Job!”

© Copyright 2018 tim boehlert

If you think/say “It’s not THEIR job!” when discussing Active Shooter events regarding possible training, you’re wrong. Please don’t take offense, but hear me out on this.

Until Law Enforcement and/or Medical Professionals arrive on-scene during and after an Active Shooter event, pretty much everything that would normally be ‘their’ job – is your job right now. These responsibilities can include threat denial (access/ability to start or continue the killing), notification (calling 911), wound treatment/victim care, stopping the threat through disarming or other physical methods (verbal de-escalation is off the table at this point), and evacuating or helping to rescue others and get them to a safe place.


It was mentioned to me that some people may be expected to undergo training on the new ‘Stop the Bleed’ program being rolled out to the public/schools/institutions – and then this quote comes into play: “that’s NOT their job!” You are absolutely right, but also very wrong at the same time.

Under ‘normal’ circumstances, most of us might agree with you, that it’s NOT their job. Your thought process is responding to the ‘normal’ aspect of what typically might happen during any other violent event where people are hurt or killed. But, even then, your ability to step up and perform some of these skills MIGHT be a contributing factor to saving those very same lives. You are also correct in thinking that that may be dangerous, and even crazy. Now consider that you MAY save a life, or not through your inaction. Can you live with the ‘or not’ option should you so choose when you could have chosen otherwise?

This isn’t about trying to turn anyone into a hero; it’s about doing the right thing IF you are capable of and willing to do so. Thinking “it’s not their job!” is normal, and expected, but we need to change the thought process and educate on WHY it IS their job if/when the opportunity presents itself.

Typical response times for most Law Enforcement agencies (FBI data, 2018) to an Active Shooter event is three minutes – nationally. If you’ve ever been in a fight, three minutes can seem like forever. Now, keep in mind that ‘arrive’ means that they appear on-scene – OUTSIDE. It may be quite awhile before they make their way to YOU. Now, your survival will depend on YOUR skills, and not theirs. Does that turn some dials for you?


We can agree that under normal circumstances teachers should NOT be expected to learn martial arts or gun disarms. They should not be expected to be triage practitioners or combat medics either.

It was in the not so recent past (1950’s) that a similar circumstance may have occurred – making it the responsibility of teachers to be Civil Defense Administrator’s for their schools – responsible for conducting and teaching bomb shelter drills. That shouldn’t have been their job either. By the 1960’s they were also expected to be Fire Marshals. Responsible for the lives of their children and being expected to set off fire alarms and evacuate their students to a pre-determined, safe location.

An Active Shooter event is this generation’s reality event. So yes, it’s NOT heir job, but denial is not going to change the realities of what can be expected to happen during such an event.

A lot of damage occurs during these events. The most egregious may be the long-term effects — the long-term/permanent psychological after-effects that can and will destroy individuals, families and communities. Living with the terror is one strong possibility. Living with the guilt of NOT doing something may be more detrimental. That guilt can extend out to those that say ‘it’s not their job.’ Because, only then will you see/experience the effects of the damage that that statement may have on another that MAY have been willing to do more than we should expect of each other.


I will agree that it should be a choice. I will also agree that certain skills belong only in responsible hands. How will we determine who is best, and who is truly capable? They may not be the same person.


In order to put this in proper perspective, we need to educate more extensively on how these events happen, and discuss in depth some of the personal choices we may have to make in order to survive or ensure that others survive. We need to also have an in-depth discussion about facts of what has happened to survivors of these events – including their emotional well-being. Better than most, they can tell us how they feel about the idea of training teachers/students/co-workers to be able to triage potential casualties during an event like this. They may be able to express why they think it may have been helpful or a necessary skill that they did or could have used during this stressful encounter. They may be the only ones besides the experts that can put teeth into the argument FOR such preparation and training.

For many years I did security at a hospital. We were never expected to provide and First-Aid, CPR, or even Psychological counseling to anyone in or around the facility -which included areas immediately adjacent to our property lines. We were always taught to ‘call it in’ to our Base operator, who would in turn notify the proper resources to advise/address the emergency situation. We were never taught nor expected to deal with emergent situations: sudden child-birth in a vehicle adjacent to property; heart-attacks; patients in emotional distress; drug overdoses; victim of vehicular accidents; gun-shot victims; stabbing/slashing victims; The public’s perception of our capabilities however was exactly the opposite! We were expected to do the right thing at the right place and right time, every time. We were never trained, and yet we may have been the first on-scene responders. The expectation is that you are there to do more than just to be there.


Do I feel differently because of all of those experiences? Absolutely. I did whatever was within my power to learn what and how to do many of the skills that ‘weren’t my job.’ I took all of the time and money out of my own pocket to get me closer to being able to do some or all of that. I attended seminars, read the material, watched the videos, got hands-on training. I educated myself. I did so because not only did I feel un-prepared, but also because I knew it was the right thing to do – for me as well as for others. I am different in that perhaps, but I’m not alone.


Maybe the argument to put forth is ‘is it the RIGHT thing to do’ vs. ‘it’s not THEIR job!’ We can only make our own personal choices. It may never become a mandatory commitment, or expectation, but inter-personal dynamics could become the determining factor in some instances. Peer-pressure to get involved, to get educated could be a strong factor to get you to go along with the program. That may be forgivable if you factor this in: we’re all in this together. If the SHTF, I may expect you to know how to care for a gunshot wound or knife laceration; I may expect you to know something about how to properly attack the guy with the gun if that opportunity presents itself; I may expect you to simply stop freaking out long enough to dial 911. The difference will be – you tried, or you didn’t.


Choices need to be made – now. Sometimes the ability to make those choices can and will change. Life changes, and your abilities will change, your attitude will change, and your thought process and experiences will change. Change is hard sometimes. This should only be about someone’s ability and willingness to take charge, do what they are able to until the experts arrive on-scene. Three minutes, or several hours – it all depends on the threat presented/present, the size of the venue, and the resources available to address all of that. It now becomes a choice, your choice. Under these circumstances it’s not an un-reasonable expectation. That choice, your choice, will affect your life, and the lives of others.


Act or defray? It will affect more than just one life, and it will likely have a long lasting after affect on yours, either way. It won’t ever be about success or defeat, only about trying – or not.

“It’s not THEIR job!” – my two cents.


© Copyright 2018 tim boehlert

What’s The Point?

Here’s a short presentation that I’d put together a few years back (2014) to try to educate other officers on what possible damage a ‘pocket knife’ might do in capable hands. It was in response to allowing these restricted items into a ‘secured’ facility. To conclude the presentation, I’ve included a graphic image at the end that depicts the point of what an innocent item (a pencil) is capable of doing::


For The Want Of A Nail: The OODA Loop – Is It Just A Sound-Byte?

copyright © 2018, tb
For those that know, this is a no-brainer. But, many have only learned this cursorily and may not implement it or give it it’s due. Many can tell you what the acronym is, but do they live it? Can they describe it in detail, in every day terms and situations that will create another student or convert a nay-sayer?
I’m going to do a deeper study of this, because I feel it’s important, and it’s also not well-documented – even by the originator.
In a lot of training this simple concept comes up, but it’s always just given a short intro and then we move on. I know time is always a constraint, so I’m wondering if there’s a better way to inject this material so that it hits home harder, and creates an avenue for further research and deeper understanding for students.
Here’s the thing. Anytime you present material that is difficult for most to truly understand (i.e. violence – it’s uncomfortable at a minimum, and downright difficult to understand and come to terms with) there needs to be more bricks and cement to pull it all together in a full program. So the learning needs to be compartmentalized.
Yes, having a short presentation is the product of attention span, availability, understanding and depth of knowledge of the whole. But, It’s the morsels that will fill you up and continue to nourish you.
Boyd’s material is one of those deceptive morsels – it seems simple, and rolls off the tongue easily, but do we really give it credence? Do we do Boyd justice by only glancing at it to make a relevant point to the rest of our presentation and then move past it as if it’s been understood or merely heard?
To me concepts are like the difference between learning a technique and learning the principles behind the technique – they both get it done, but if you understand the principle, the technique becomes secondary.
There are so many great opportunities out there to learn new material and/or explore ground already covered. I’ve enjoyed each one and brought something away each time. And more importantly, I keep coming back for more – to glean the deeper aspects. Boyd’s OODA loop is one of those that I feel needs more research and a deeper understanding, and perhaps just a bit more of the overall program real estate. Do we relegate it as ‘something to be aware of’ or do we give it a push and ensure it’s place in the overall presentation as a necessary component?
Food for thought, but I think it’s worth the consideration and investment. Tony Blauer comes immediately to mind for me because of how he’s made this concept work. He’s done a ton of research (I have it in my library) on the concept of flinch response. Sounds simple right? And it MAY be at first glance, and how some may present it similarly. BUT, understanding it on a deeper level takes more commitment from us. And it’s worth that extra effort. I can use it better if I understand it better. What’s not to like?
Having learned a lot about violence over the last many years, I kept whittling it down to advantage – it’s not your size (height, weight), but your mindset that will get you through. It’s what you know. It’s what you’re learned. It’s the simple over the complex – what will win in the end of an unexpected encounter.
The hardest part for most of us is coming to that conclusion – finding the art and forgetting about using the hard tools, because the secret is in the soft ones. It’s right in front of us, yet we may devalue it or ignore it because we’re tool-men, and not artisans.
copyright © 2018, tb

Deeper Teaching Questions

Deeper Teaching Questions

© Copyright 2016, tim boehlert


Yesterday (06/14/16) I listed some questions on a post by *a Martial Arts/SD instructor* that I felt were important to consider and discuss, specifically about Women’s Self-Defense, but really about all Self-Defense courses and all Martial Arts programs that promote their program as effective self-defense platforms.

My questions were meant to put a spotlight on what I find to be problems that I have seen over the last 8 years in Martial Arts in general that I also felt were worthy of consideration and open and frank discussion. Well, Frank couldn’t make it, so I welcome your input and feedback:

1) Does anyone teach about the other aspects of violence that will surely enhance a person’s abilities to deal with actual violence?:

  1. a) Verbal aspects:
    1. Verbal assault
    2. Verbal escalation
    3. Verbal de-escalation
    4. Verbal deflection
  1. b) Awareness aspects:
    1. Situational awareness
    2. Environmental awareness
  1. c) Psychological aspects:
    1. How you will be affected when it starts to go wrong?
    2.  How you will react to an extremely aggressive verbal assault?
    3.  How you will deal with an actual physical assault?
    4.  How you will deal with the aftermath?
    5.  How you will deal with the legal aspects?
    6. How you will deal with your reaction to your actions?
    7.  How you will deal with your feelings about your self-image?

2) How many start their programs/seminars with those aspects, and don’t immediately go to the physical aspects, the techniques or the principles?

3) Does anyone discuss ‘permission?’ It’s a concept that I learned about through Rory Miller, and I find that it’s an absolute MUST UNDERSTAND aspect for anyone to comprehend when dealing with violence. This needs to be discussed FIRST for anyone that considers taking a Self-Defense program. If you can understand Rory’s two-cents on this, it will make a huge difference in how you will be able to proceed with the remainder of your program. Your students need to first comprehend this concept and then accept it BEFORE you move forward. This will be one of the easiest but also hardest aspects of your program – easy to discuss, but hardest to accept. It represents a total mind shift to what we are accustomed to. It bends the golden rules of how most of us were raised, and that’s not going to be easy for anyone.

4) While I don’t ‘teach’ SD, combatives or Martial Arts, I do participate in my own way, and educate myself, and have been to other’s schools and seminars. I primarily read and view whatever I can – internet, books, blogs and videos, but I don’t recall ever seeing anyone discuss these specific aspects or advertise them either. You usually get the usual boxing gloves pic, or perhaps the Red-Man suit etc., but I never see the White Board, the students seated watching/listening to the teacher or other aspects – reading, or watching actual footage of assaults. I was just wondering WHY that is so, and if in fact it was just missing in the advertising, and/or in the actual classes. To me it seems of paramount importance to include this material up-front before even starting to teach anything about fighting back.

5) Does anyone teach about violence specifically? By that I mean, do you ever just gather and discuss what really happens in the world? Have any of you invited in a Dr. or an RN, a Mental Health Professional, a Law Enforcement Officer, a Coroner, a Funeral Home Director to talk about violence from their perspective? Do any of you actually show images of gunshot wounds, stab or slash wounds, and by that I mean the really graphic content?

6) Do any of you speak to the actual legal matters involved with Self-Defense? Do you speak to the legal system, the rights of the victim AND the aggressor? Show statistics of actual outcomes? Do you discuss HOW your training may be used against you in a court of law – pre-meditated actions that may likely be held against the victim that has trained?


I’m just really curious about HOW and WHAT we are actually disseminating to keep others safe. I deal with violence on a regular basis, and have lots of time to research, but also ponder about the outcomes. This is something to consider. While it may be done and forgotten after an altercation, are you prepared to step into court a few years down the line and testify as to your position and actions while ‘defending’ yourself? It happens.

Do you document these events, or teach your student to document properly? Have you prepared them for any of the legalities? Do you discuss justifiable actions and train HOW to properly explain your responses to violent encounters? Have you trained them to LOCATE witnesses and obtain statements from them or to direct law enforcement to them to do so? Have you given them the tools to create witnesses that will favor their side if called upon?

These are just a few of the things that I wonder about whenever I think about things that I’ve learned, and see missing, but that seem like as teachers we should be addressing.

© Copyright 2016, tim boehlert


Taking TSA to Task?

Taking TSA to Task?

I will give you my two cents of what I have just reviewed in brief and without the facts that should accompany an opinion on an event like this, but with the perspective of a security professional who’s job it was to screen anyone entering our facility.

source1: []

source 2: []

I will preface that with some background: I was a security officer at a health-care facility for almost 9 years. One of my daily mandated duties was to ‘screen’ anyone entering our facility for weapons. As a professional in today’s world, I took my job very seriously. I did the best I could within the ‘guidelines’ provided by the administration.

I also caught a lot of grief for doing so from people that should have been better informed, or perhaps felt slighted or even privileged. I can understand some of those sentiments based on growing up in what had been a much freer society until the events of 9/11. Sadly, that has changed many, many aspects of our society – “land of the free, home of the brave.”

During those years, I personally confiscated lots of weapons, including some that had me shaking my head. I learned how to do my craft by doing research, paying more attention than others doing the same job did, and by recognizing behaviors better. I learned about knives in particular, because in my experience that is what I would most likely encounter. I learned how to find the most likely concealment places, the most likely ‘open-carry’ spots, the ‘tells’ of carryin weapons, and really much more than made me comfortable.





I can also confess to being afraid of who and what I might encounter. It was never comfortable, I never enjoyed it, and I resented that the world had changed and that this was one change that we had to ‘get used to’ as a result of someone else’s behaviors and actions.

I was raised to trust people, unless or until they provided evidence to the contrary. If anything I was most likely to trust blindly. Times have changed, and we have to extend our education to encompass many things that now make us uncomfortable. One of those things is the extension of trust, which necessarily has to be more constrained, more limited.

To the point, I learned through experience that not everyone is as they seem. Too many feel privileged and even entitled to have to stop, provide proper identification and identify themselves and their purpose for entering a facility like ours. They feel that it’s a public facility, which it is not, and that it’s none of our business. I understand that, but that’s not the reality.

Here’s the reality – we are a target. We are an opportunity for those that would do us harm. We are an open-door to a highly valued mission that hasn’t yet happened. We are a high-profile training op for those that would strike merely to test their abilities, to test our weaknesses, for their gain, and media attention to themselves and their cause. Nothing more. We do what we can in a too-limited sense in my opinion to keep you and your family safe. I take on that responsibility to make you feel safe, to keep you safe, and so that you don’t have to.

I don’t want to let anyone down because I wasn’t vigilant. I don’t want my family to suffer because I let down my guard and let something or someone slip through our ‘net’ because of trying to be politically correct or to try and appease that ‘sqeaky wheel’ that we have been taught to grease, to avoid the spotlight of public scrutiny. There are people like me that do this job, because someone has to, someone else chose not to. I am willing to put my life on the line for those that don’t understand or even appreciate that what I do is for them.

One last thought. Just because you are in a public place don’t be fooled into thinking you are safe, and don’t be complacent. Public places are places where everyone is ‘welcome.’ Think about that, because I guarantee you haven’t.

I would often be treated rudely by parents because I’d caution them to watch their own children more closely, to not let them wander freely, and to never let them use the bathrooms unattended.

I knew who wandered our halls, they didn’t, and we wouldn’t want to ‘alarm’ them so as to not make them feel uncomfortable. More politcally correct nausea that defeats security and actually empowers those that would do us harm.

Pedophiles, rapists, spousal abusers, thieves, murderers, drug addicts, those with mental healt issues/histories, kidnappers, muggers – they are ‘welcome’ in a public facility, and you will never know because of the politcally correct rhetoric and/or perhaps because of the laws that don’t allow that information to be shared freely amongst us.


Here’s my summation of what I viewed and based on my limited understanding of the facts in this video. I would like to know who shot the video, because it does matter.


I was under the impression that this ‘action’ was mandated by his supervisor, who was present and also due to the mother’s behavior prior to this pat down procedure – I think she’d either refused to cooperate or stone-walled TSA efforts to screen the family. I’d guess in the minds of the TSA staff that that type of behavior sets off alarms, as it does for me. Her behavior brought this on as it raised red flags for the TSA staff I believe.

This action is inappropriate under normal circumstances to most of us, and that’s what the general public is used to. As a security professional though, mom’s behavior sets off alarms for me. If you’ll recall at sometime near or around this event authorities had discovered an even younger child ‘carrying’ wearing an explosives vest in another country.

I also know that TSA had changed it’s frisk rules giving them more freedom and ability to do more thorough searches. Again, as a security professional, it’s a needed advancement based on the current status of what’s going on in our world, but still upsetting to many.

It’s hard to say it’s right or wrong, it’s obviously more wrong than right based on our common morals in the country in which we preside, but they are viewing it as a safety procedure.

I haven’t reviewed the new procedure, and after viewing this again, I can’t find fault with how this TSA agent performed his job (at the request of his superiors) – he was clearly very thorough. Patting, using the back of the hands in some areas (appropriate). I know approaching the groin area makes everyone upset, but you need to understand that many (and I’m not saying this child or children at all) conceal contraband in, or near their genitals, and rectum areas because they know it won’t be searched.

This is a part of our cultural taboos. The reality is that I’ve seen and experienced the results of non-thorough checks. In one instance a gentleman pulled a bag of heroin (evidence) from his rectum and swallowed it in front of staff, which created an emergency extraction situation – he could have died as a result, and his action made it our responsibility to act.

In another, a female representative conducted a weapons search on a female. Eventually a knife was discovered after the female had been turned over to our staff from this agency. Where was it hidden? She later told staff. So, a criminal mindset will use their knowledge of our standards and their criminal mindset against those that would try to prevent it. It’s a moral difference that we need to acknowledge, and understand that it is a reality.

I believe in this instancel this search procedure was done deliberately to create an atmosphere of discomfort for the family (a strategy perhaps?), maybe to design an outcome whereby mom would confess to whatever she/they might be hiding, or to surrender any contraband?

It’s really hard to assess without having all of the facts. You will need to remove the emotion though if you are to view this event, in my opinion. While overly thorough, and if you disregard that it’s a child, it was proper I believe based on what I know at this time.