Freeze, Flight, Fight – Are You Fearless?

How do you suppose some people seem to be fearless in situations where you might not be?

I think that some of it is due to what you were exposed to during your early years and how others may have reacted to violence as an example. Were those moments of shock met with action, or retraction by others surrounding you at the time? How were your feelings surrounding that violence dealt with – at a young age?

You can’t train out evolution and biology, but you can train to recognize and respond to those built-in safeguards that we all seem to have. Some may not, or it may be graduated in others,   but it’s not without fault. You WILL be caught off guard, in a way that you haven’t thought of, THEN you will find out if your training worked.

Part of it is EGO – ‘what am I willing to walk away from or respond to?’ I think Marc MacYoung said this, ‘we tell ourselves stories’ – he’s on the money. We all do that. It’s what defines who we are – to ourselves, to our associates, family, friends. So here’s one of my stories, as an example: ‘I believe I will stand and defend during an Active Shooter event’, but I may never be tested, and only then will I know if I was buying into my own story OR if it was flawed.

I think I know what my beliefs and value systems are in the broad sense, right & wrong, and that it falls upon my shoulders to defend the lives of others – without all of the available information.

Often when I respond to a call for assistance, ‘help!’,  I arrive there and I freeze in a very specific way. I am unwilling to commit to hands-on UNTIL I have a better understanding of what has occurred previous to my arrival. That may appear prudent, or may spell disaster. My up-bringing has ‘taught’ me to question things before acting. Is it a ‘freeze’ response, or is it a conditioned STOP sign that I have trained in?

© Copyright 2015 tb 121915

Predator or First Responder?

” I haven’t ever thought of what I do as being a predator, and as a ‘first responder’, I am expected to face down violence, be summoned to meet it, and expected to overcome it, safely for all parties involved, BUT with a slant towards THEIR well-being more-so than my own. It seems unnatural, and I know deep inside that it’s NOT a good way to make a living. What kind of monetary compensation would you expect to get for facing violence daily? Or the possibility? Yeah. I believe you can mold behavior through education and training, but I don’t think it’s flawless – we all have the freeze inside of us, and we have ALL reacted that way under some circumstances. We can’t train that out, IMO, because it’s built-in. You can train to that goal, but it will never be removed – it’s all situationally dependent. And it will come out. The question is: will you recognize it and correct for it, and will that be enough?

© Copyright 2015 tb 121915

Gaining Willful Compliance

“Using verbal commands to aid in getting a situation under control can’t be underestimated – you have to tell them what you need in order for them to comply. One person should be doing the communicating. It needs to be slow, concise, and deliberate. Sometimes they fight back as their survival instinct has kicked in – they may be fighting to ‘stay alive’ only, and not fighting ‘you.’ They may be fighting your actions to control them – YOU need to make that distinction, it’s YOUR job to do that. Don’t take the actions personally. Treat it as a negotiation. Put it in context – it may be more than you counted on or outside your experience. It could be drugs, mental health issues, MR or Autism that you are seeing and dealing with. Don’t assume anything. Be the professional, and continually re-assess your actions. To get compliance sometimes you just need to explain your actions while you’re engaging them physically to get that. Your goal is to do so with minimal damage. Explaining yourself to them may make ALL of the difference. Use your Verbal Judo knowledge and skills to get that result – safely, and compassionately. Review often. Improve your skills continually.”

© Copyright 2015 
tb 061815

Verbal Judo & The Jigoro Kano Connection

“Doc has been very active over the last few weeks – nudging me in a few new directions! I’ve been doing some spending and research based on things Doc wrote in his second Verbal Judo book about the origins of VJ and the correlation between the verbal aspects and the physical techniques of Jigoro Kano. To better understand Doc’s intentions, I have to fully understand the connections to specific Jigoro Kano Maxims and techniques that Doc names and describes in the book. Trying to run down Doc’s reference to Jigoro Kano’s study at Oxford whereby he studied muscles and bones and determined that he needed to change some of his techniques based on his newfound knowledge of physiology.”

© Copyright 2015 tb 030215


“The choices you make while attempting clear communication can be the difference between having an average/typical evening and one that ends in the arrest of a person for taking umbrage with your message using less skillful methods.”

i.e. he pulled a knife after I asked him to leave! Yes, it actually happened something like that.

© Copyright 2014 tb 082814

Taxing GUNS to stop gun Violence?

From a recent FB post:

“We stopped cigarette advertising to prevent smoking, raised the cost of a pack and taxed them to the sky perhaps the same can be done for guns… “

You got me! I couldn’t STOP myself from at least throwing this against the wall:

My two cents: Taxing or changing pricing will do nothing – if they’re desperate and resourceful enough, they will find a way, like smokers did and do, to use your analogy. Laws change nothing as well, IMO – only those willing to abide by them will adhere to them. My recollection – 9/11 – box cutters weren’t legislated out of existence. My proof is that I confiscate many each week that try to bring them into my facility. It’s the INTENT and not the possession that is more of interest to me. Disarming US makes them more likely to use any means possible to do evil. I stand unarmed everyday to at least promote a vision of preparedness so that the public will feel a little more safe and at ease in a place that they SHOULD feel safe. Everyday I wonder – will it happen today? What will I do – with no training, no real support, no plan, and of course no ability to fight back that makes others feel comfortable. Guns makes people uncomfortable, but I see more knives everyday as a ‘norm’ – it’s part of our culture, and only recently has this become a social issue that raises alarm. The issue is too big for a few short ideas in a too short forum such as this. Suffice it to say that I have to disagree based on my experience and knowledge. If we disarm ourselves, we surrender – which is what their goal has been since day one. Legislation will NOT change that. Propaganda – advertising or pre-legislation media blitzes are one and the same – selling an ideology for ‘our’ side. We’ve lost our morals, raised a generation of self-indulged children, and given EVERYONE the right to claim ‘I’m SPECIAL!” – without earning that and forget questioning that – that would be politically incorrect. I see bad behavior every-single-day. Entitlement to do whatever I want because…. we need to change THAT. No laws will change someone unwilling to adhere to them, to respect them. It’s only their desire to do harm that gives them power over us while the rest of us line up like sheep…. and strip away our rights and abilities to fight back, to defend, to live freely.

© Copyright tb 2015

Taking A Stab at Violence!

Violence. It’s all around us. Everyday. Everywhere we look. You may not see it, nor hear it, nor even experience it. But it’s there. In fact, we will never know of every instance, nor ever be able to stop it all. So, I ask, what will YOU do? Will you pretend it’s NOT your problem, of pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s alright, and it may be the norm. It likely is the norm. You can walk away, or walk by it, but you won’t be able to do that forever either.

I too turned a blind eye to it for a long time. It’s not that I chose to do nothing, or ignore it, I just wasn’t aware of what IT is. Simply put, I had no idea what it looked like – at least on so many other levels that I was never subjected to – up close and personal.

Violence is woven into the thread of our lives. Most of us are lucky enough to not have to deal with some of it, for long, long periods. Some of us may only have to deal with small parts of it, and then only now and again. Some of us choose to welcome it into our lives, via our lifestyle. Some of us choose to invite it in to better understand it. it’s strange to me that violence has so many faces that I have either been unaware of, OR, not been exposed to. Being white, middle-class, I’ve been buffered for much of my life.

Who’d of thought that you could go into a bookstore and BUY a book about violence? Who’d of thought that not only that would be possible, but that it would have it’s own ‘section?’ Who would even KNOW enough about it to WRITE about it? Who’d of thought that any one man could not only write several books about it, but earn a living teaching others about it – through seminars, on-line blogging, e-books and in dojo training. Or several men? Or all over the world?

Yes, violence IS that big. It’s a money-maker now. In the same breath, it’s also a treasure trove of great information, and maybe NOT so great information. I guess it all depends on how familiar you are with the subject matter. Of course it’s also susceptible to the same problems that many subjects are subject to – opinions.

There’s some great information in the marketplace, and there’s also some very poor information out there. The problem here is HOW do you determine what’s good, and what’s not? I think that like many other subjects, context is important. Familiarity with the subject can be key, but how do you find the RIGHT answers? And again, it’s dependent on context. There are no right answers, because context is always changing, evolving. There are NO RIGHT ANSWERS. Maybe, maybe not. It’s debatable, like everything that involves opinions. Simply that.

Violence is something that I now pursue. For a living. As a course of what my job requires. To quote a very good source, “The only way to deal with violence, is to be better at it than THEY are.” Wow! That quote changed my life. Unfortunately, those that NEED to hear this, and to understand it, don’t and can’t – they don’t do what we do. Asking someone to watch you while you do your job makes them uncomfortable. And since you can’t schedule when someone chooses to use violence, you can’t ask them to watch, and maybe either comment or critique what just happened. One thing about it is that THEY will probably think you are LOOKING for violent outcomes. Yeah, it’s like that. They don’t understand, so they won’t understand. Simple. If they do happen to ‘see’ it, likely on a video (sans audio, as is most often the case), they can play monday-morning quarterback to affect their analysis, and justifications. They weren’t there, so they’ll never really know: what, why, how.

To experience physical violence, you usually have to be involved. You HAVE to be there. To understand it is a whole different thing. there are many factors and facets to a violent act. There are underlying issues, underlying emotions, and unknowns – those things that makes us who we are. Violence can never really been quantified or quantized. It’s a fluid thing, with no outline, no boundaries, and maybe no real beginning – or ending. It’s a slice of life. Complex doesn’t even cover it.

Violence does do one thing well – it sends a message. It conveys meaning, it defines an action, it makes progress happen – for one side or the other, or maybe even both. I’ve spent five years studying to deal with it. Scared? Yes. Indecisive? Yes. Reluctant? Yes. Willing to go there? Again, yes. Someone HAS to go there. It’s our way of being a stop-gap for those that would use this tool for their benefit, to your detriment. I’m an unlikely candidate to be here, now, but if I don’t, who will? And will they do it the way I’d do it? Not likely. Too many go there for the wrong reasons. It’s NOT about being a bigger man, but it is about being a better man. To stand up for what’s right, and to stand for those that can’t or won’t stand on their own. Because, they don’t feel they can, or should perhaps.

Too many ‘people’ use violence as a tool against us or those that we love, care for, care about, or are responsible for. That’s not to say it’s always on purpose, or willingly with bad intent. It’s a tool – and can be misused, used for the wrong purpose or for the right purpose, but wrong circumstance I suppose. Many know what they’re doing, many don’t, or may have underlying issues that change their perspective. Drugs, alcohol, mental health issues, emotional distress.

Violence as a tool – what a concept. It was hard for me to wrap my head around this one! But it now makes ‘perfect sense.’ Odd how five years of constant reading, viewing, and discussing this subject has changed my outlook, my mindset, and my humanity. I’m often sad about it, but also proud that I now possess some of the things I need to deal with violence. I have many sources that ALL have contributed in many special ways to getting me ‘here.’

Martial Arts has provided me with new insights and a different perspective on violence. I first tried MA when I was in my early teen years. Karate was what was available, so Karate it was. I got my White Belt, and that seemed like a lot of work to get there! The stretching required alone about broke me!  What finalized my first brush with MA was not the work necessary, but the ability to get to it. Suffice to say that I and MA parted ways, too early for me. It was not until late in life that I re-discovered MA – this time with a purpose. I now had what I felt was a real need. In fact, it was a requirement as far as I was concerned, no two ways about it.

Five years in and I don’t consider myself a Martial Artist – I’m a believer in positive MA, and try to avoid all of the negative associated with it, and sadly there’s way too much negativity flowing through the arts – mostly due to ego, in my opinion. I’m not sure what I’d consider myself – I do practice, but not enough in a dojo, and certainly not with a partner most of the time. I do spend a lot of my income on educational materials – books, DVD’s, seminars however. I’m also of the belief that you CAN do some of it, even without practice, as I have clearly proven to myself. I don’t need to prove it to anyone else, despite their claims to the other viewpoint. I have experienced MUSHIN, once specifically that I can clearly recall, and likely many other times when I was too busy trying to effect a positive outcome to a violent outburst.

What I do consider myself is a voice to promote the positive in a new era of MA awareness. I specifically refer to my co-writing and experiences with my Sensei, Avi Nardia and my good friend, Hanshi Patrick McCarthy. The short story is this: in 2008, I took on a job that I had no idea about – well, not a very good understanding of, shall we agree on that? At that time I enrolled in a MA Dojo, Karate again, as that is what I ‘knew’, or thought of at that time, and with what I thought would be a good solution to an immediate problem. It wasn’t the right solution, but it did give me some grounding, and a lot of self-confidence – something I was lacking in, and will likely always fully acquire.

Before obtaining my Purple Belt, I’d determined that the training wasn’t what I needed. I didn’t know what I needed, but I knew this wasn’t it. That’s not to knock the style at all, as I did take away some very important pieces to MY puzzle. It’s just that I didn’t feel this was going to get me to where I needed, and specifically FAST enough! In doing some background searching, and after learning one joint lock combination, THEN I started to look for THAT! That piece fit my understanding of what I thought I needed – it made sense, and seemed to fit my needs. In doing Kata, which I love for the traditional aspects as well as the reasoning behind doing so, I was lost – the steps weren’t clear as to WHY they were performed. What was I doing making a series of moves, in a rough circle – who was the opponent, and HOW was he moving? I think if that had been explained UP FRONT, better, it would have made more sense, but that’s how I interpreted it. Motion without understanding, pointless to me at that point.

I checked out another school, and was determined NOT to start out from scratch again – I was determined NOT to be a cash cow for another school, simply so that they could make more money, and not really care about where I had been or gotten to. It seemed like I was just another income stream, with little to no interest in what I felt I needed even being considered. You were expected to follow THEIR program because that’s how THEY did it. Period. I call Bu Shido! McDojo reality, again.

I decided to try the DVD route – buy into some training materials that I found on the internet. I bought a ‘complete’ system that seemed to display MORE elements of what I thought fit my needs. Through that ‘set’, I found my Sensei, so it was worth the investment. Kapap is HIS art, and now mine art of choice. Through Sensei Avi, and his circle of influence and friends, I have come to appreciate what MA can offer to a ‘student’ – positive growth, family values, compassion for other cultures – things I find lacking in what I know of some of the MA arena. Ego seems to rule the day, and with the rise of MMA, which I found brutal when I was first introduced to get, now has a different feeling. As does violence – I don’t view it the same, but I do view it as an opportunity. Kapap has introduced me to many new things, but mostly new ways to view my world, with an opportunity that many miss – to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

© Copyright tb 2013

Security: Inconvenience?

  • Sadly too many people have no idea what a security person at a private institution does. Please check yourself before trying to access their facility. We provide security for everyone – you, your family, and our co-workers. We take it seriously because we have seen what many are capable of. We see the many weapons that people insist on carrying. We confiscate many, but can’t get them all – that scares me for your safety. We try to locate the bad apples and weed them out or check them with notification that we will be watching them. If I stop you to ask some questions, please understand that I am doing my job as best I can for your safety and mine, not to inconvenience you. Please stop using the term terrorism as if it doesn’t exist.Would it help if I scared you to educate you that MOST men carry folding knives into facilities everyday, and that we can’t possibly find them all – or box cutters, screwdrivers, hammers, chisels, hunting knives, folding knives, switchblades, razors, expandable batons, stun-guns, mace, pepper spray, handguns, ammunition, and almost every sort of device that has no place being on your person when you enter a hospital to visit a loved one? Well, it’s all true. Everyday someone is stopped and searched and we find these things even though the visitor has said NO when asked if he was carrying any weapons. It’s a fact.So, please check your attitude before you enter a facility that you expect to be safe in – we are doing the best we can with what we have. I’m sorry if it inconveniences you, that’s not my intent, but it is my job. I do my job well so that you can feel safe, not inconvenienced. Think before you speak, and if it really bothers you that we ask you to not only carry identity with you, but that you display it when asked to do so, consider some of the facts that I have provided.Coming into the facility inebriated or otherwise compromised is also frowned upon, and again, don’t take it personally – it’s for your safety and ours that we ask you to visit our facility some other day. Please keep your negative comments in check. This is only a small portion of what we face and/or prevent every single day, every single hour that we are on shift. We are not just sitting around, relaxing, and having fun – when you see what you interpret as an easy job that we have, know that in the next few seconds, minutes or hours we will be asked to intervene in a family dispute over a shared loved one, or have to deal with any number of criminals brought in by local law enforcement and left in our care, or asked to have someone leave the facility because they couldn’t behave properly, or assist a Nurse or visitor that was just assaulted by a patient or visitor, or any number of events that we have to walk into without any prior knowledge of who or what is happening.I am good at what I do, I take it seriously, and I am diligent in doing my job so that you can feel safe. Period. So please take a second today to check some facts, do some research, and please be more understanding when a security professional asks you to comply to his requests. We are here for you and your family, loved ones and their safety.
  • © Copyright tb 2013

Taking Responsibility… for yourself AND others!

In the most recent ‘event’, the shooter followed behind another person that was NOT aware of their surroundings, nor concerned enough to secure the door behind them. IF people would raise their awareness level, pay attention to actually securing things for themselves, and taking responsibility for others through those simple actions, many of these things would be avoided. It will never be eliminated, but we can reduce the occurrence of events using these simple actions. Pay attention to what and who is around you – close enough to affect your life. When you go in or out of a secured door, make sure you re-secure it immediately. Don’t wait for the pneumatic door arm to do the work, reach out and grab the handle and pull or push it closed. Keep in mind that your laziness/inattention/lack of responsibility CAN effect outcomes for others. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Raise your awareness level. Clear your plate between destinations – don’t immediately get your phone/ipod out and in your hands, scan your surroundings instead. Pay attention. Listen to your inner voice – if something seems odd/wrong, that’s your internal alarm going off – PAY ATTENTION to it! Make change first in YOUR actions. Don’t simply let someone follow you through a secured door. Challenge them, it’s NOT about not being polite, it’s about taking responsibility. If your facility demands ID you should too. Security is not just someone else’s job, it’s yours too. Educate yourself, get involved, and HELP stop the madness using these simple directives.

© Copyright tb 2013

Thoughts on Violence Dynamics and more…