06 July 2017

Bullshit & Fairy Dust- Rising to the occasion

After my last post about where I have been, several people have contacted me because they thought I was going to stop doing classes.  That is absolutely not the case.  However, I will be doing things a bit differently.  For the most part you will not see me doing "public" courses in where you will be registering with me.  From now on if an individual, group, or agency wants me to do a class they will book it and and collect the money and I will show up to teach.

You will also be seeing more of my Bullshit & Fairy Dust posts identified by the graphic to the left making them easier to find.  There are no shortage of topics so there will be many.  For today's installment we will talk about the myth of rising to the occasion.

A while ago I watched a video in which a dog trainer was discussing how people buy dog breeds known for protection and think they will automatically attack an intruder.  He had a client who had pure bred German Shepherds from Germany.  The dogs were very expensive and came from blood lines known for Shutzhound and police work.  He assumed that the breeding would be enough for them to protect him and his property. No.

He put on a full bite suit and entered the gate of the neatly manicured mansion lawn and the owner released the dogs.  As he continued to walk towards them, they barked a bit before retreating to the back door looking for the their owner to let them in.  Him not opening the door resulted in lots of lip licking and them making themselves as small as  possible as the trainer walked towards them.

In contrast, he went to the home of a client with a plain Jane German Shepherd that he had trained for a few months.  As soon as he reached over the fence to open the gate, the Shepherd came around the corner and got a full mouth bite on the trainer.

Of course dogs are naturally equipped to defend or attack with their teeth.  As humans we learn to use our personal weapons or carry mechanical weapons.  In people and dogs, long before the fight / flight response, is the natural instinct to avoid stupid places, things, and people.  Humans however choose to ignore that instinct or choose to go anyway.

The absolute best survival strategy is to avoid anyone showing unstable behavior, and this includes aggression.  Even totally tacked out tough guys would agree that this is the response they would like to see from their loved ones.

Whenever you discuss a use of force situation, many are quick to tell you what they would do.  Avoid these idiots, because the truth of the matter is unless you are seeing, tasting, and breathing the situation in real time you don't know.  People are quick to spin a yarn around their response and tactical prowess because they will never be in the exact situations because not even force on force training includes all the variables.  So if your training is limited to the square range and dojo, you will have even less than a clue.

See, that is why I love training people and their dogs so much.  You can learn a lot about a person by observing their response when walking their dog on a leash and it attacks or is attacked by another dog.  There is no faking it.  Before long, they get really good at avoiding their dog's triggers and spotting other unstable dogs and people.  

Making avoidance your go to reaction makes it a lot easier to know when it is not a possibility and you need to fight.

30 June 2017

Where have I been? Putting first things first

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has supported MCS over the years by following me on the forums, buying stuff, and attending classes.

Me, right around the time of the shooting
On 02FEB00 I was working patrol after almost losing my wife Lisa, and my son Frank during childbirth in September.  In November he had actually died and they brought him back with Atropine and Adrenoline before putting him on the ECMO machine for 6 days before his first heart surgery.

That night I had a fatal police involved shooting with five other officers from two departments.  A few months later I was transferred to Special Operations and was at the top of my professional game.  That fall I was diagnosed with PTSD.

A few months passed and my partner, who is now the deputy chief, was promoted to corporal and not long after I was sent back to patrol due to manpower issues.

Long story longer, from after the shooting until 2007, I seldom left my bedroom unless it was to go to work or the dojo.  In April that year, I left the department and would eventually retire due to PTSD.

Elizabeth and Mom June 2014
In June of that same year, my Mother who was my best friend in the world wrecked her motorcycle and suffered many injuries including a traumatic brain injury and paralysis below the chest down.  Dad kept her home but in June 2015 she was hospitalized due to breathing issues and passed away due to complications.

My Sailor 17MAR17
Last year after two years of nursing school, my daughter Elizabeth found it to be too expensive so she enlisted in the Navy.  It was about that time where I realized how much my PTSD and depression had caused me to miss out on with my family and life in general.  I decided I needed to make some changes to make the most out of my second half.

My partner Odin
Through the American Legion I became aware of Veteran Service Canines located in York PA.  They provide free service dogs and free training to all Veterans and First Responders.  Elizabeth knew her leaving would have a devastating effect on me so she got me my Olde English Bulldogge pup Odin.

She bought him the day after he was born.  From then until we could pick him up we visited and I  fixated on finding everything I could on dog behavior and training.  We began training with Veteran Service Canines two days after we got him.  Since then he goes absolutely everywhere with me.  He has changed my life.

Around the same time I had an opportunity to open MCS York in
June 2017
Fitness 1440 York PA.  This also led me to get back into the gym seriously for the first time since high school.  Older, injured, but smarter.

With Odin and lifting, my outlook on life started to change drastically.  The next step was to rededicate my life to the Lord.

We had been attending a local church for several years, but really just did not fit in.  I wanted to be out among the people and share what God had done in my life.  Soon after we began to attend the Freedom Biker Church in York PA, I knew I had found a home. Before long I was asked to join the core team and be in charge of security.  I run the detail during our services and on rides I am always the tail gunner to watch over the flock and deal with emergencies.  I also accompany the Pastors as we visit very interesting places to minister to the unchurched biker community.

Me with Pastor Jim & Pastor Arron heading out on the highway searching for lost souls.

Through Veteran Service Canines I met the director of training, Bob Fink a Vietnam Veteran and retired LEO who has become my dog training mentor and is like a second father to me.  Early on he saw how good Odin and I were doing as a team and asked me to apprentice under him as a trainer.  I of course accepted.  Being a dog handler was the one thing I had always wanted to do in the PD but never got the chance.

The best way I can describe MCS York was that it was a flop.  Over the course of six months I found a handful of dedicated people who got it.  The vast majority of others were not interested in learning realistic skill sets, still others thought they were ready for a much higher lever of violence than Richard the Great and I thought they were.  This led to me calling it quits as far as having a fixed training site.  I had always thought that a fixed training site would not work for what I do.

Recognizing that most people have no idea how to train their dogs, and the fact that there are no other dog trainers around, I started along with Bob, MCS Dog Training.

Not only do I have the credentials to prove it, but I also consider myself a master instructor and can train anyone to do anything I can understand.  I am blessed with the ability to take the complex and make it simple.

Having taught approx 1200-1400 people over the last 10 years of life saving skills, I decided to apply that to dog training.  This along with my understanding of dog behavior has made MCS Dog Training a fast success.

Bragging about how well your dog behaves at home is like bragging about how well you do on the square range shooting cardboard.  The difference is that it can be hard to get paper punchers to subject themselves to reality based training.  All dog training is reality based.

 My pack
One of the most common things we deal with is on leash dog aggression.  Dogs and people have a lot in common.  They insistingly know that the best thing you can do is avoid unstable people, places, and things.  The difference is that dogs don't ignore or rationalize their feelings, they act on them.

Off leash a dog will avoid an unstable situation.  On leash he is connected to his human and his ability to avoid is beyond his control.  Under stress the instinct to avoid elevates to flight, again tethered to his human this is difficult.  Feeling that they are backed into a corner, they become aggressive to keep the unstable dog away.

The human anticipates this and their energy makes it worse.  They are not going to fight a dog so they go into the avoidance / flight response.  This is amazing to watch as the dog and human lose their composure.  This is what happens whether you are handling a dog or carrying a gun when you are not inoculated to reality.  You will fixate and not recognize your options.

I now have a peace of mind that I have never enjoyed before and want to share it with other humans and dogs.  You will not see me arguing over things on forums or Facebook anymore.  Anyone who has trained with me knows that I have a reason for the way I do everything and can evidence it.  I am getting back to writing and will be doing classes combative skills classes here and there for real people to prepare them for real scenarios.   The truth is that I can no longer spend time trying to make sense to keyboard commandos and tactical LARPERS.   Life is all about priorities and as for me it is the Lord, my family, Odin, and helping people and dogs.

If you are a fan of my approach to all things related to personal protection and preparedness, I apply many of the same principles to dog.  If you are into that like my new page.

MCS Dog Training

06 March 2017

Stick vs Knife

On a forum someone asked about a stick vs a knife-

 Here are my thoughts-

I am only going to talk about "stick". While training with Nick Hughes, I first became aware that all other things being equal, a man with a stick has a distinct advantage over a knife, if he realizes it. Most won't and will be overwhelmed by the sight of the blade.

 Edged weapons seek bone, and impact weapons seek flesh. Regardless of whatever offensive prowess one may believe they have achieved in a clinical training environment, once pushed back or back peddling the arms come out to the side for balance. This primal response will override your "knife fighting" skills and you will swing wildly attempting to stay on your feet and hit whatever part of your attacker you can. You will be flailing outside of your silhouette as well as your attacker's

From the outside in, there are anatomically more opportunities to strike bones such as the head, clavicle, elbow, wrist and fingers, knees, shins, and ankles. The same area slashed with a blade will have little immediate effect, that is what spawned Inverted Edge Tactics. During the folder into the fight drill, trained "knife fighters" once moving backwards during their defense did not stab as they said they had been trained to do. They slashed and the vast majority of cuts were across my chest and upper arms. These areas are covered with muscle by design. The body is well protected from the outside against laceration of vital targets. We don't use the stick against the muscles or hope to hit nerves. We hit the areas at the outside junctions where the bones are exposed. We use the blade on the inside. This requires you to get into the inside of your attacker fast.
Always a fan of the expandable baton for work, but I am not a cop anymore. Now it is a walking stick next to my car seat, and a tennis racket and ball on the passenger side floor board that I use to play with my dog. Can you imagine getting hit in the face with a tennis racket? How about the side of it across your face? Some rambling thoughts. Just my $.02.

05 March 2017

Thoughts on one and two fingered knuckles

Posted by a fellow formite-  I don't want to disparage anyone who is selling the one or two finger knuckle devices but I'm thinking it would hurt almost as bad to hit someone as it would be to be hit with one.  Wouldn't it break the users finger?  Has anyone ever used one?

You are correct sir.  You are about as likely to have the time and opportunity to use one of these things to jab someone in the face as you are to cut/or stab someone with the knife you carry.

Let's start with anatomy and physiology.  In MCS, we teach people to avoid striking with a closed fist unless it is a hammer fist.  MCS Instructor Richard the Great is not only a fan of boxing, but is also an instructor.  Even with instruction,  wraps, and gloves, fractures still occur.  When someone asks about punching with a closed fist, he just laughs after 12 years as a professional bouncer up and down the east coast.  A major principle of MCS is to do as little damage to your body while damaging your attacker's.  This is based on best practices, and one of them is not striking with a closed fist.  Did I say no striking with a closed fist?

In this article, I discuss how to wear a set of traditional knuckles correctly, and how to use them. There is a reason why they call them knuckle dusters.  Police and bad guys alike in the old days were able to experiment and measure how much force to use in striking a part of the body.  Dusting is done in a circular swinging motion, not a jab.  Jabs have too high a likelihood of permanently injuring or killing someone.  Whether cop or crook, a strain of permanently injured, maimed, or dead people at your hands can be hard on a career.  There is no ability to use dusting with one and two fingered knucks.  Yes, the small surface area will increase the concentration of force and increase trauma. Quite possibly much more trauma than was justified.  They will also cause a great deal of damage to your hand, causing immediate swelling, effectively taking that hand out of the fight.

 There are four parts to adding a tool to the arsenal; selection, carry, deployment, and use.  These things are selected because they are cool more than anything else, they are usually carried in a pocket, eeemmm, the how and when of deployment is the rub, as it is with ALL weapons.  Its only real use would be offensive.  You would have to be aware of a potential threat and decide to deploy it.  Here is where laws come into play.  Will you hesitate to even deploy it for self-defense for fear of being charged with possession/use of a prohibited weapon?  Use, if you do have it out, or manage to get it out and into use, you are severely limited in strikes and targets.  Most of the time it is going to have to be a jab into the head.

Regardless of what they may think from behind the comfort and safety of a keyboard, very few people would have the stones to hit someone with any sort of a knuck.  The primary reason is sort of what I teach to police officers.  There are many who will struggle with you so they can run away, then there are another very scary few who will kill you so they can walk away.  Using a knuck is a taboo, and so is using a knife.  You need to know if your mind can accept that after you use a weapon, your life and that of someone else's may likely never be the same.  This will be going on in your head during the altercation.  They are called intrusive thoughts and happen during tachypsychia (the distortion of time) that occurs under combat stress.

Through training I do my best to remove this hurdle for students by having a foundation of violent, effective open hand combatives.  You always have your natural weapons, tools are a luxury.  The world is filled with sunlight and we walk around with a flashlight in our pocket.  Few realize how fast it can get dark and train to deploy that flashlight fast and in a hurry.  Automatically going for a tool can be problematic.  First, it takes your primary hand away from your defense, and secondly the chances of drawing the right tool to deal with the situation based on little to know information can have you choosing the wrong tool, or just freezing.  See Hicks Law.

Now, I teach mostly citizens.  They do not have a bat belt to draw from.  Most are not paid to put hands on people for a living.  After open hands, we prioritize the use of the pen, when the lights are on, and the flashlight when they are off.  You can carry both of them in your hands in the most secure environments.  This removes the need for deployment, although we of course teach it.  There are fancy things you can teach, but our go to is forward movement and hammer fisting into the attacker's face violently until they stop, allowing you to get away.  There is no hurdle to get over.  You have a common, everyday, legal item in your hand.  When someone gets inside your space and / or refuses to obey verbal commands, you are justified to defend yourself and do not hesitate to do so because you were trained to do so.  If they are outside your reach with a knife or gun, good.  They need to be close to cut and they have not shot you yet.

Back to knuckles, especially the two finger versions.  If you are attacked and have them on your hand, it is damn near impossible to throw an effective jab while back peddling. Hammer fists are natural and made more effective with a pen/light.

So why do people make em and why do we buy em?  Because they are fn cool, that's why.  I have several and will end up with more.  I also have an M4, but is easier to carry my 38 snub nose.- George

24 February 2017

Flint Windshield Wiper Video & Self-Defense for Women

One of our most popular courses around the country and locally at our school York PA is Women's Only Self-Defense.  The recent viral video about the experiences of one young lady in Flint Michigan sheds some light on the difference between what "self-defense" means to women vs men.

Our school in York PA is located inside Fitness 1440.  There are huge guys that lift there.  They must be content with their belief that they will never be the victim of an attack based on their size, appearance, and athleticism, and you know what, they are right.  Men are usually the attackers of other men and women.  Predators look for those who appear old, young, injured, weak, or mostly just distracted.  It is easier for a man to bluff another man into leaving him alone or submission during a confrontation.  Face it men are much less likely to be the victim of a sexual assault or to be abducted by another man.  It is women who are most often the victims of sexual assault and/or abduction.  Adult men are not worth much when it comes to human trafficking.  Once abducted and moved south across the boarder a woman is not very likely to be heard from again.

When men do turn up for classes they are usually much more familiar with violent physical (non-abusive) contact.  The reason is that boys from an early age wrestle and roughhouse, often to the point of bloody lips, noses, broken bones, and even being knocked out.  Then they grow up and become involved in contact sports like wrestling and football, again more violent contact.  From there they are likely to pursue a martial art.  By adulthood even the meekest of boys have been knocked around a little bit buy other males and therefor at least partially inoculated to the stresses of interpersonal combat.

More so than men, the ladies who show up at classes have a story to tell, it is a story of abusive violence that manifest in three primary ways.

1)  They were mentally, physically, verbally, and sexually abused as a child by a man they should have been able to trust.  This has left them with a fear towards men.

2)  They have been or are currently involved in a abusive relationship with a man, and it is usually not their first.  This very often stems from #1.

3)  They have been the victim of a violent criminal attack.

Just in the last two classes I can share with you these two stories-

"Pam" was violently attacked in York PA while she was 21.  She was beaten so bad that her family did not recognize her at the hospital.   She was his 9th victim and she testified against him.  However he was found not guilty on a technicality.  Now middle aged she is still attempting to come to terms with it and has decided to seek reality based training.

"Kristen"  with her young daughter in her car was attacked on a backstreet of a very small town here locally.  A man became angry after a traffic disagreement.  She was stopped at a red light behind another car, when he exited his truck, walked up to her open window, it was hot and she had no AC, and punched her once in the face before walking back to his vehicle and driving away, around her when the light changed.  She was almost knocked unconscious.  No one stopped to help her or even called the assault into police.

When it comes to self-defense women have different needs than men do.  Women prefer Awareness, and Avoidance over Aggression.  The aggression we teach them is not based on size, strength, or speed.  The reasoning being that for most, if they have it, it is only for a period of their life.  Not when they are very young, or older.  And on the way to being older disease and injury occur, and that has to be taken into consideration.  Also seldom taken into consideration is the differences between the way a man attacks another man and the way he will attack a women.  When men attack men they often do so with the intention of injuring them and/or taking something from them.  The goal with women is typically sexual assault.  They will break contact with the man to get away, but with the woman they are going to spend time at the location of the incident or move her to another place to spend more time with her there, at the second location they are usually murdered.

In both cases above the women were both attacked from behind and in disadvantaged positions.  Predators don't attack even what what they deem "easy pray" head on.  They want to use the least amount of effort necessary.  Go into your local Mcdojo, especially during your introductory class and ask them how to protect yourself if attacked behind the wheel of your car or attacked from behind by a large aggressive man.  If they tell you anything it will be about a physical response, not about being aware of and avoiding that situation.   Guys want the physical stuff, women who have already been victimized want to know how to avoid it happening again, and if that fails some simple techniques that will give them time to get away.

I don't know about you but I don't want my wife or daughters training to be cage fighters.  I want them to be able to mindfully process their intuition so that they learn to recognize their options in worst case scenarios instead of shutting down.  When they become aware of something that could potentially put them in danger I want them to make a habit removing themselves from the situation.  Of course if all else fail they need hard skills that I know will work against someone my size and intensity, not things like pepper spray and wrist locks.  There is a reason while it is called reality based training, but often I am left shaking my head as to whose reality is it, the instructors or the students.

At present  I have two options for ladies to learn more.

If you are not located around York PA, my Personal Protection for Women book on Kindle is an inexpensive way to begin or further your self-defense education.  If you are local to us.  Women's Self Defense is the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month from 7-8.  We are also happy to bring our training to you.  Feel free to contact by e-mail or call 717-693-2085.


Limited Time Offer- mercharnesses are buy one get one free

For a limited time only, mercharnesses are buy one get one free.  So if you buy a single you get 2.  Buy a 3 pack and you get six.  Just write "special offer" in the comment section of your order.

23 February 2017

Onetigris Military Patrol Dog Harness

Even though my daughter bought my boy Odin when he was three days old, it did not stop me from shopping for him over the next 8 weeks until we picked him up.  One of the things I looked long and hard at was a vest for him.  Even though there is no requirement to have a service dog identified by a vest, collar, or otherwise, it makes life a lot easier when they are.

Even though Odin is a working dog, he is not searching warehouses on a midnight shift or fast roping off the Space Shuttle with SEAL Team 6.  As a matter of fact, I don't need to attach his leash to the harness or typically even use the handle on the vest because we train like crazy and at 6 months old he is doing very well.  I wanted something that was made well that had a bunch of Velcro on it for pimping out with patches from identifier panels and morale patches.  The Onetigris Military Patrol Dog Harness has the most Velcro that I could find, and interestingly enough, the Velcro is also on the MOLLE webbing so that you can choose to put patches over it, put MOLLE pouches on it, or place Velcro backed pouches on it.  I thought that was pretty cool.

The "yoke" of the vest.  I used a few of my wife's
hair bands to manage the webbing for a neater look.

At the price point I have to admit that I was expecting something cheap but hoping for something inexpensive.  I was actually quite flabbergasted when it arrived when I saw the quality of the vest.  My first impressions were that the good materials such as fabric, hardware, and thread were fashioned into a fine piece of thought out gear with good sewing and attention to detail.  Onetigris may be in China, and having only this vest to judge them by, it is better than some of the Made in the USA gear I have come across.

Odin at 4 months
Odin is now 6.5 months and 60 lbs.  He grew into the size large vest adjusted to its smallest adjustment about 8 weeks ago.  It has tons of strap left and he will be able to wear it when he is full grown at about 80-90 lbs.  He is an Olde English Bulldogge and has a huge chest.  This is one of the features I like most about this vest.  It features a "yoke" that runs all the way under the dog instead of three unconnected straps like some vests.  I also like that this features a Velcro patch that I have used for a bright orange Service Dog ID.

As a service dog, Odin is on the go more than a pet.  On average a dog sleeps 80% of the day.  This is not the case for a service dog.  He is always on the move and wears the vest most of the day.

Like I said earlier, I cannot speak for the strength of the leash attachment or handle, but I would not hesitate to trust them based on the quality of the vest.  This is my first piece of gear from Onetigris but I will be checking them out more.

So, if you have a service dog or just want your dog to be tacked out because face it....its cool,  consider checking the Military Patrol Harness.