Friday, November 03, 2006

BattleGround Training Center

Here is an article by Heather Lightner that was printed in the East Greenwich Pendulum on Thursday, Nov 2, 2006. It's a nice intro article explaining a bit of the systems we teach and our mindset in how we approach instructing students. The training atmosphere really is one of a kind in the sense that everyone is welcome and ego's get checked at the door. Everyone is here to learn and help others reach their goals be it just getting in shape, learning self-defense, or preparing to get into the ring and fight.

Hope to see you out there soon,

Guro William

PS: I also teach the Muay Thai /Thai Boxing.


Battleground Training Center: Main Street's Gem of a Gym

Tucked away behind the façade of East Greenwich's Main Street there is a secret; a secret that is too good not to share. Something is going on, something unique and unexpected for an affluent town such as this, but this is definitely part of the allure of this special place - Battleground Training Center.

The name sort of says it all - it is ground zero for martial arts and self-defense, offering members a la carte choices for fun and exercise. Battleground Training Center is something different than your typical gym; it's basic, edgy - once inside its walls it is easy to imagine you are in New York City or some other similarly metropolitan city. The elevated boxing ring is the centerpiece of the facility and is surrounded by weight training and cardio equipment; in the back stands a padded room for the various classes the gym offers. An abundance of open space and fresh air lends itself to the charm of the Spartan, yet modern training gym. The clean environment and the friendly patrons will give anyone who enters the gym the immediate sense of feeling welcomed and inspired.
Battleground Training Center (behind K&J Kitchens and Baths), the martial arts/boxing/self-defense gym opened at its current location at 461 Main Street two years ago; prior to that the gym was located in Coventry, where it opened in 2002.
"It's a hobby of mine that grew into a full-time business," says owner Chris Jacobs. "I've always dabbled in it (different forms of martial arts)."
Jacobs, who began doing martial arts about thirteen years ago, says he is interested in all forms of fighting from boxing to judo, and found it hard to commit to just one form of martial arts. So he decided to create a place where he wouldn't have to make a choice. That's when he realized he didn't need to go to a bunch of different schools and teachers to participate in each of his loves. "I can make them come to me," explains Jacobs, laughing.
And make them come to him he does. Battleground Training Center is home to five instructors and offers a plethora of classes to choose from: muay thai, a kickboxing style originating in Thailand which allows punching, kicking,
elbows, knees, and clinching (wrapping your hands around the opponents neck and
controlling them and using this as a means to knee your opponent), a ju-jitsu form of combat based on joint manipulation, strangles and chokes,
and striking,
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (grappling), which is more of a wrestling / ground type fighting that
involves no strikes but ends by making the other person submit by "tapout"
boxing (strikes are allowed above the waist only; matches are done by the round three minutes in length
in professional ranks, two minutes in amateurs) and lastly the Filipino style of fighting (taught by East Greenwich resident William Schultz), which involves training with sticks, knives, and empty hand combat.
Battleground Training Center also offers boxing and self-defense classes. Phil "The Killa" Miller, Battleground's boxing instructor, has exclusively revealed that he will be going professional beginning the first of next year. Before turning professional, "The Killa" will compete in one last fight in October, which will be held at the Columbus Theater on Broadway in Providence.
Phil "The Killa" has been teaching at Battleground for a year and a half. He started boxing three years ago at Wildwood Boxing in Wildwood, NJ. At the time Phil weighed two hundred and fifty pounds. "I just felt uncomfortable and walked in (to Wildwood) to lose weight. "I hopped in and never left."
"The Killa" is currently in the Coast Guard, stationed in Boston. He used to come home to Rhode Island on the weekends, and found the Battleground Training Center after someone told him about the gym.
After walking into the gym, he knew it was the right place for him to train. "The first day I just knew I belonged."
When "The Killa" first started teaching at the gym one and a half years ago there were just three or four people boxing; now there are six people who are boxing competitively and thirty to forty members who are boxing for the recreation. "We've really stepped up," says "The Killa", "Everything is really expanding."
One aspect of the gym owner Chris Jacobs would like to develop more is the number of women who frequent Battleground. While it is not surprising that that majority of Battleground's students are male, it is surprising that men make up the majority of the gym's self-defense classes.
"We have lots of men-we have three or four (women) in each (self-defense) class," says Battleground's self-defense instructor Kristin Marcotte. "We'd like to have more."
For Marcotte, who has been with Battleground since 2002, the martial arts are in her blood; both parents held black belts in judo but "hung up their belts" once Kristen was born. Kristen had an interest in martial arts and pursued ju-jitsu rather than judo. "I felt it was a more practical way to protect myself."
Marcotte says women should not be intimidated to try her self-defense class or any of the classes at Battleground. According to Marcotte, the techniques she teaches are simple and easy for men and women of any age to learn, making it possible to jump right into classes. "It's (the self-defense class) not a pretty class," says Marcotte, "it's just want works."
Fortunately, Marcotte has never had to use her training outside of the gym. Awareness, says Marcotte, is the true key tool in protecting oneself.
"Awareness is a huge part of self-defense," explains Marcotte. "You need to always be on the lookout." Women in particular need to be aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe, says Marcotte. "Women are smaller, weaker - a lot of women can be easy targets unfortunately."
Women and men have many choices at Battleground Training Center - they can work out, spar or take a class. Jacobs' hope is that no one is intimidated, and that everyone feels welcomed. "Anybody who comes in can find something here, from beginner to expert, they'll find something they'll enjoy.
Those who walk through the doors of Battleground Training Center are encouraged to take a free class with no pressure to join. People can pay per visit or can join the gym. Those wishing to join are not bound to a contract, however - it's just not Jacobs' style. "We do everything on a handshake," says Jacobs. "It's a flat fee for everything."
Jacobs, who lives in Gloucester and works as a tile setter and carpenter by day, hopes to go out for his black belt in ju-jitsu soon. Currently, Jacobs is a brown belt in combat ju-jitsu, a certified instructor of Krav Maga, the official self defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, USA Boxing certified coach/trainer, a street combat instructor and is experienced in grappling. His vision for Battleground Training Center was to make someplace special, to set it apart from the numerous martial arts schools dotted across the state.
"Traditional karate schools are all about respect - the teacher gets the respect," explains Jacobs. "Here, we show everyone respect. Everyone is on a first name basis. Anyone who walks through the door is treated with respect. Everyone is treated like an equal here, it's about the best facility around - there is no place like this."
Battleground Training Center is located at 461 Main Street. More information about Battleground Training Center's hours, classes or instructors can be found by visiting, by calling the gym directly at 886-9229, or by just walking in and taking a look at the secret of Main Street which is too good to keep.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Foot work Vs. Toe to toe.

This is an article written by Maginoo-Mandala Tim Waid which is worthy of breaking out of the "What Is Pekiti-Tirsia Kali" thread. The key here? You need to develop proper striking mechanics with the ability to flow with, or go force to force with your opponent while simultaneously incorporating footwork & bridging tactics (i.e. maneuverability). If you can't work these elements together from any angle while moving in any had better keep practicing....or find another instructor.

Guro William


Footwork Vs. Toe To Toe

First, Pekiti-tirsia is a combat bladefighting system, not “stickfighting” as many FMA have become. However, the system can be and is employed with many types and combination of weapons, or as Tuhon Gaje has termed, the Edged-Impact Weapon Strategy. In Pekiti-tirsia we regard all weapons with the same lethality as bladed weapons. A Bolo, steel pipe, hardwood flatstick, or rattan stick can all maim and kill, it just takes more application the farther away you get from an edged weapon. This principle dictates that you do not want to be hit with any of these weapons and protecting yourself should be your first priority.

Tuhon Gaje has always taught footwork as the foundation of the system and the key to all fighting strategies. Footwork provides protection, offensive and counter-offensive maneuvering and quartering. Footwork is one of the first signatures you see of the system. Regardless of how you employ your weapon, which will be detailed next, footwork is vital to survival. It is your first method of protection. The same is with modern military strategy. All great military leaders have employed some form of maneuver warfare. Fireteams to Battalions to Divisions and above can employ maneuver on the battlefield. However, while the principle is the same, maneuver of military forces does not equate equally to how hand held weapons engage in combat.

Next, let’s look at the structure and systems of Pekiti-Tirsia and what specific strategies are taught. Pekiti-Tirsia is composed of three (3) principle systems. The DOCE METHODOS ( the source of 64 attacks), the Advanced CONTRADAS, and the CONTRA-TIRSIA DUBLA-DOS. These systems teach how to employ and engage other weapons in close quarters combat.

The foundation system, DOCE METHODOS, is comprised of 12 methods that define every manner and method in which a bladed weapon can be used to strike with. Doce Methods defines attacks by angle, motion or energy, weapon anatomy (strikes with the edge, point, back of blade and butt) and manipulation (i.e. Florete). Doce Methodos also teaches the different ranges of combat. Specifically, Tirsia Largo (long range), Tirsia Corto (close range), and Pekiti-Pekiti (lit. close-close or extreme close range fighting including grappling). Note that “medium range” is not defined within the system and for good reason. Medium range is where both combatants can strike equally and have equal range of weapons. Tuhon Gaje has always taught to “Bridge and strike through” this area or range. To “get in and get out” is to bridge or close the gap from long to close range and back out again. Tuhon Gaje teaches specific footwork and striking combination Bridging techniques from specific methods.

The main strategy of Doce Methodos is the principle of PASUGAT (Illongo) or CONTACT. Meaning all of the methods, which are the specific tactics executed, are all based on techniques where weapons make direct contact with each other. For example in 5 attacks : 1 contacts 1, 2 versus 2, etc. the same in Break-In, Break-out. The same in Panastas/Sungkete and back to the first counter-offense method and technique taught which is Quatro Cantos or Four wall.

All of the Doce Methods teach contact of offensive and counter-offensive techniques. The only exception to this is the method of Pekiti_Pekiti where the application of diagonal and vertical strikes with the punyo or butt are taught through the drills of Sagang labo. #1 diagonal punyo strikes obviously cannot be countered with another #1 punyo. #2 punyo strikes can be countered with another 2 which is back to the application of Pasugat or Contact.

The Doce Methodes teaches the fighter how to engage an enemy “toe to toe” or more correctly how to close the gap and protect yourself from your enemies strikes directly with your weapon. In the end you must be bale to engage any opponent in what Tuhon Gaje terms “Blow by Blow”/ Power versus power. This is the direct contact tactics of the system of Doce Methodos. Also, the Doce Methodos is taught with the solo Blade/Baston. Once you understand the full capabilities of the solo blade, each method is applied to Doble or two weapons of equal length, solo Daga/Knife, to the Handblade/mano Mano/Pangamut and so on through all weapon categories.

The advanced system of the CONTRADAS is composed of the Contradas, Recontras, Recontradas, and other advanced combat methods. This is not a series of numerous multiple techniques but a system of attacks that continually counter and recounter any angular attack. Basically, any angular attack (slash or thrust ) can be countered by the Contradas, which can be countered by Recontras, and both can be countered by Recontradas. As Tuhon Gaje has always taught, you have three strikes to enter and control/quarter/terminate your opponent or you should range back out again. The further you advance in the system the more it is simplified.

The main strategy of contradas is the principle of PASUNOD (Illongo) or to FOLLOW. Meaning the opponents angle of attack is evaded with footwork and the hand directly hit with the Contradas. For example, a diagonal #1 strike countered directly with a #2 diagonal strike. This is the basic drill of the Contradas. There are also Contradas for horizontal, and vertical attacks and thrusting. The same for Recontras and Recontradas, they all attack the weapon hand. Once the weapon hand is attacked then direct attacks can be followed up with. The difference in systems is the Contradas or Pasunod is executed from the same side as the attacker (i.e forehand #1 countered by backhand #2 which is again Contradas), where the counters follow the attacks. Doce Methodos or Pasugat is forehand to forehand or backhand to backhand where attacks meet and make direct contact.

Today, Tuhon Gaje begins students with the basics of the Contradas system and advanced ranging footwork. Depending upon time, you will go through many of the Doce Methodos.

Footwork or maneuver is always executed in combat regardless of what strategy (Pasugat or Pasunod) and tactics you employ with your weapon. The Pekiti-Tirsia system teaches the fighter to enter “blow by blow” with the direct protection of the weapon or, to evade and attack directly to the weapon hand. In the end, both systems are one.

The philosophy of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali:

We believe in life, not in death.

We believe in health, not in sickness.

We believe in success, not in failure.

Written by Guro William Schultz
Excerpts from the Pekiti-Tirsia Kali Instructors Guide
By Maginoo-Mandala Tim Waid
© Copyright 1996 Timothy D. Waid

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

OODA Loop. Do you get it? You better....

Here is a good article on the Boyd's Cycle or "OODA Loop" by Ken Good. If you don't understand it, or you're not familiar with this concept, then you have a hole in your CQC arsenal. It's a long read and my comments follow at the end.


Guro William


Got a Second?”
Boyd's Cycle - OODA Loop
June 2000
by Ken Good
Director of the Sure-Fire Institute

Because all tactical operations are dynamic, they are also time sensitive. Decisions and actions that are delayed are often rendered ineffective because of the constantly changing circumstances. When an adversary is involved, the operation is not only time sensitive, but also time competitive. Time or opportunity neglected by one adversary can be exploited by the other. Recognizing the importance of this characteristic, Napoleon said, “It may be that in the future I may lose a battle, but I shall never lose a minute.”

A useful tool for understanding the importance of this concept is the OODA Loop. The OODA Loop, often called Boyd’s Cycle, is a creation of Col. John Boyd, USAF (Ret.). Col. Boyd was a student of tactical operations and observed a similarity in many battles and campaigns. He noted that in many of the engagements, one side presented the other with a series of unexpected and threatening situations with which they had not been able to keep pace. The slower side was eventually defeated. What Col. Boyd observed was the fact that conflicts are time competitive.

According to Boyd’s theory, conflict can be seen as a series of time-competitive, Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action (OODA) cycles. Each party to a conflict begins by observing themselves, the physical surroundings and the adversary. Next they orient themselves. Orientation refers to making a mental image or snapshot of the situation. Orientation is necessary because of the fluid, chaotic nature of conflicts makes it impossible to process information as fast as we can observe it. This requires a freeze-frame concept and provides a perspective or orientation. Once we have an orientation, we need to make a decision. The decision takes into account all the factors present at the time of the orientation. Last comes the implementation of the decision. This requires action. One tactical adage states that, “Decisions without actions are pointless”. Actions without decisions are reckless.” Then, because we hope that our actions will have changed the situation, the cycle begins anew. The cycle continues to repeat itself throughout a tactical operation.

The adversary who can consistently go through Boyd’s Cycle faster than the other gains a tremendous advantage. By the time the slower adversary reacts, the faster one is doing something different and the action becomes ineffective. With each cycle, the slower party’s action is ineffective by a larger and larger margin. The aggregate resolution of these episodes will eventually determine the outcome of the conflict. For example, as long as the actions of the authorities continue to prove successful, a suspect will remain in a reactive posture, while the commander maintains the freedom to act. No matter that the suspect desperately strives to accomplish, every action becomes less useful than the preceding one. As a result, the suspect falls farther and farther behind. This demonstrates that the initiative follows the faster adversary.

Written by Ken J. GoodObserve, Orient, Decide and Act. OODA
The acronym is easy to remember. The cycle itself is absolutely crucial to understand if one is regularly in harms way.

In order to consistently and effectively defeat opponents, you must sequentially move through the OODA cycle whether you are aware of it or not. It is model that can be used to dissect compressed timeframes in a logical and sequential manner. All engagements whether they are air-to-air dogfights or an up close and personal, hand-to-hand confrontation, conform to this simple, powerful, and insightful model.

I have noted that by studying and learning to apply this cycle, one has a effective way to segment, analyze, and improve human performance in confrontational situations. It is a gemstone to be admired and constantly examined.

Recalibrating the Internal Clock
The first issue is our perception of time itself.

I often illustrate people’s perception of the time by walking to the back of the classroom and then back to the podium while elucidating some tactical point. While the class is still trying to digest the point, I then ask several students, how long did it take for me to walk to the back of the room and return to the podium? Typically I get a few turned faces, questioning looks and frowns. They are non-verbally asking me, what difference does it make how long that took?

The answers I do receive will typically range from 2 seconds to 10 seconds, a substantial variance. Some will argue that I did not give them any preparation to ready their internal stopwatch. But this misses the point. No one in a rapidly developing engagement is going to stop and remind you to calibrate your chronograph. The point is, using recall alone, the same event witnessed by trained observers is perceived to have taken place in different universes where physical reality moves at different speeds.

The other interesting thing to note is that I will never get an answer like 3.345 seconds.
Why is this so? True sometimes I get an answer of 31_2 seconds, but that’s as fine a gradient ever expressed. Our everyday existence does not require a division of time any closer than seconds for most events, in terms of verbal articulation. But in the world of close quarter engagements, using only full seconds to measure time is like using a sledgehammer to fine cut a diamond.

Tremendous and significant changes can happen in one second. A proficient adversary can fire three rounds out of a semi-auto shotgun while passing by an open doorway, horizontally and vertically changing position in relation to you in under a second.

To further illustrate the calibration point in the classroom, I ask someone to stand up and I give this volunteer a “red gun”, an inoperative hard plastic replica handgun. I tell them to put it in their waistband, and I do the same. I tell them that they are now part of a futuristic new game show that pits one man against the other in a six-foot gunfight. The participants face each other, winner to receive one million dollars. Both are wearing metallic braces on their wrist and ankles and are held in place by a strong magnetic field. Both will actually be using real, perfectly functioning firearms. When the green light is observed, you will be free to access your firearm and dispatch your opponent as required.

Now I throw a twist into the scenario. I tell the student, that he was smarter and more cunning than I and he offered 1_2 his winnings to the operator of the magnetic field, if he would release his magnets 1 second earlier than mine. The operator says no, because one second was too obvious and the producers would have him executed for this breach of the rules. So the negotiations continue.

How about .9 seconds? How about .8 seconds? How about .4 seconds? How about .2 seconds? The operator finally agrees to release my opponent’s magnets .125 seconds prior to mine. At this point in the discussion, I then ask the student, would you take this time advantage if given to you, even if you had to pay $100,000 for it? The answer is inevitably, in the affirmative! Any sane person would take any and all time given in a gunfight, no matter how small the increment.

We zoom back out. How important is time? How important is learning to perceive time? How important is it to re-calibrate our internal chronographs? How does one get better and more efficient at anything?

A familiar shooting drill that many trainers use to roughly gauge a shooter’s proficiency is the ”El Presidente”.

The shooter starts out back facing to the target with a loaded and holstered handgun. At the sound of the buzzer the shooter spins to face 3 targets, 10 yards away, equally spaced 1 yard apart. The shooter is required to fire 2 rounds into each of the targets, reload and fire 6 more rounds, 2 in each target, attempting to hit the “A” zone of a standard IPSC target.

When you ask a new shooter to perform this drill you are not even looking for a time hack, but are more concerned about weapons handling and overall safety during the entire process. If the shooter safely completes the drill under 15 seconds, everybody is happy.

Give that same shooter some solid instruction and a few hundred rounds of practice and he or she should be hovering around 10 seconds consistently.

How does one go from 10 seconds to low 4-second runs? What should be examined is not how fast the shooter is shooting. But one should examine closely by what process did this shooter eliminate so much unnecessary motion and negative mental distractions in order to consistently repeat this performance?

For the remainder of this discussion, let’s assume that we are talking about split seconds of time to move through the OODA cycle. Let’s enter into the matrix.

Observe – The Starting Blocks - The First Quarter
This has to be your highest priority, find the threat before he or she finds you. An insight on the obvious you say! There is more than meets the proverbial eye!

Evaluating the modern battlefield, one should note that an enormous amount of effort and resources have been dedicated to “seeing” or observing the battlefield in real time. The investment in these resources has paid off handsomely during recent conflicts. The U.S. military exploits a tremendous satellite network, flies high altitude reconnaissance missions, deploys airborne and ground based radar systems, runs patrol operations, gathers real-time intelligence from a variety of sources, all in an effort to gain an overwhelming advantage as hostilities unfold. At this point in our military development, if we can see it, we can destroy it.

If you place yourself in the cockpit of a modern fighter jet, your prime directive is to find your opponent first and deploy your weaponry in a firing envelope advantageous to you before your opponent even knows your are there, just as it was when aerial combat first unfolded.

It is no different in a close quarter battle situation using handheld or shoulder-fired weapons. You must first find the threat through your main “radar system”, your eyes, deploy your weaponry in a firing envelope advantageous to you before your opponent even knows your are there.

Zooming back in, let’s examine some areas that can cause a degradation of our “on board radar system”.

Placement of the Weapon. Under the duress of searching for armed threats, we have noted that even very experienced operators have a strong tendency to place the weapon in the visual cone before they have located the position of the threat. (More often than not their finger is on the trigger, a well-known unsafe practice) The weapon, arms, and hands are now blocking out vital visual information.
This would be exactly like a fighter pilot placing a 3” by 5” note card over part of their radar display and putting their finger on the missile release button, all the time believing they are somehow more ready to defeat their unseen opponent or opponents.
Body, Head, and Eye Movements. The body obviously carries the head, and the neck articulates the head, and eyes are directed from within the head. This body movement coupled with head articulation, eye direction, angle, and focal placement allows for an almost infinite number of possibilities for employment your main sensor system, your vision.
This freedom can lead to large “gaps” for potential threats to move through unopposed. You must understood this and deal with it through proper training. An easy way to visualize this is to imagine watching a home video a friend filmed. You sit down and have an expectation that you are going to receive good visual information. As the videotape is played you soon become agitated because the camera operator was inexperienced and out of control. The recorded images are jumping and jerking all over the television monitor. Important details of the dynamic situation are lost and undistinguishable. Lot’s of good intent, energy, and activity, but unfortunately the most important aspects of the event go unseen.This video camera example illustrates the body, head, and eyes moving without intelligence and efficiency. To make matters worse, the individual who was operating the camera was using the zoom feature in and out with completely random patterns. This illustrates an individual improperly setting the focal length of his or her eyes while searching for an unseen threat. I have noted that individuals and teams have a strong tendency to tune their “radars” to one distance and angle and leave it there. This is especially true when the first threat is located and identified. Tracking one target, and one target only could spell death to a fighter pilot over the battlefield.

Since our visual sensors do not obtain data like phased-array radars, we must constantly change the distance and elevation of our vision, in a systematic manner.

One must relegate this cycling of the vision to the sub-conscious mind through proper training and experience.
A famous German Fighter Ace was asked, what is your secret?
Answer: “I have an acute awareness for the back of my neck”.

He was also asked what he thought about the P-51 Mustang. He response: “Three of the four that I shot down today did not even know I was in the same sky with them”

Notice he did not talk about hardware here. He drilled down to the inner man.

As our eyes are set in the forward area of the skull, representing an approximate 210 degree field of view. This leaves us with an additional obstacle to overcome, a large area unseen directly behind us.

What is the optimal sequence for establishing the best direction, angle, focal length, body speed, and timings to use the vision properly in a tactical environment? This is the art and science of using your vision to properly observe. This is where the inner man reigns supreme over the external tools deployed in the environment.

This is an area of combat that begins to immediately separate a highly proficient shooting sportsman and a combatant on the modern, urban battlefield or street.

Orient – Establishing Reality - The Second Quarter

Once you have obtained good visual data, ideally before your opponent has, you must orient yourself to the overall situation. You must put things in proper perspective based on real time input, previous intelligence, and generated assumptions. You are not processing in a linear sequential manner; you are processing in parallel. If you had the opportunity to freeze frame these moments and ask yourself, what data are you considering at this moment, the list would grow quite long as the subconscious is probed with the conscious mind.

To help illustrate the concept, imagine a personal computer with an outdated central processing unit, a few megabytes of memory, not enough data storage, a black and white 10” monitor all controlled by an antiquated operating system. Now try and run a sophisticated software package that requires significant resources. You will be immediately frustrated with the result.

When I was in the military, I had the opportunity to free-fall parachute out of a per
fectly good airplane. When I immediately recalled the first jump experience, it appeared to be a virtual slideshow. Only key images where etched into my mind. I remember checking my altimeter numerous times, verifying the location of my rip-cord (this dates me!), seeing the beauty of an inflated canopy and finding the “T” and then contact with the ground. The entire event was 5-7 minutes long. After 60-100 jumps the staccato slideshow morphed into a streaming digital video. Same timeframe, but now my brain did not have to spend precious resources finding a “spot” to burn the information in since it was no longer new information but familiar territory. I could now casually see everyone exit the aircraft, immediately place myself in proper perspective to all jumpers, the aircraft and the ground. I was spending plenty of time doing relative work with other jumpers, flying my canopy and landing extremely close to the desired target. I was now able to assimilate huge blocks of visual data effortlessly, as well as recall them with great accuracy and clarity. I was now “oriented” to this somewhat stressful event.

The brain has an amazing capacity for data storage, recall, and decision-making, provided it has some meaningful reference points. But when we are presented with a totally new set of circumstances, with no prior reference points, we become disoriented. I.E., when is the last time your brain had a threat with a loaded firearm swinging in your direction displayed on its internal movie screen?

Hence, the need for realistic training that creates these movies and turns them into valid reference points. High quality training paves a new and much needed information access road to a now cached experience. The experience will be real enough to prevent disorientation when actual combat is faced.

Consistent with the personal computer example, you are giving your brain upgrades specific to orientation. A larger cache of stored experiences on the hard-drive, a faster CPU, memory, and data transfer rate, greater display size, resolution and color. You now have a greater probability of arriving at a sound solution in a shorter period of time.

I have spoken with numerous law-enforcement officers and military personnel following firefights on the street and in combat who have participated in good force-on-force training prior to the real thing. They were not disoriented, quite the opposite. They could articulate the details of the engagement and followed a logical and effective sequence of events during the engagement.

Since all participants in the engagement must move through the OODA cycle to achieve consistent and repeatable results, you must strive to disorient your opponent. Note I did not say, out shoot, out run, out shout, the prime directive is to disorient your opponent. Once in this state, he or she should be overcome by events as you move smoothly on to the next phases and around the clock again and again. The opponent’s perception of time becomes distorted, incoming data is dismissed, decisions are irrational, and actions become erratic and ineffective. This is an immensely powerful and often overlooked tactical tool.

You should have no sense of hurrying or waiting. You should be in harmony with what is actually happening.

Decide – The Pipeline - The Third Quarter

Practical decision-making can easily divided into two basic paths. The subconscious mind which can process hundreds of variables simultaneously, in parallel and the conscious mind which works in serial or sequentially, handling seven plus minus two variables before disregarding or misinterpreting incoming data.

Any process that must be accomplished in a compressed time frame should be relegated to the powerful subconscious mind, through training.

“If you consciously try to thwart opponents, you are already late”
- Miyamoto Musashi
Japanese Philosopher/Warrior - 1645

Subconscious decisions are decisions arrived upon based on what we perceive, how we orient that perception and the time allowed to make the decision. If the threat is close and the time frame compressed we will automatically default to the sub-conscious pipeline. Whatever we brought to the situation, genetics, personality, training, assumptions, tools available, will pour out of us without conscious thought or effort.

I frequently use an example based on a real world incident in Southern California. A police officer has pulled over a motorist on the roadway to issue a traffic citation. Starting off, the officer does everything correctly. He finishes his initial assessment and begins to approach the vehicle to make contact with the driver.

As he makes visual and verbal contact, the driver reaches down between his legs to grab a handgun, with full intention to shoot the officer. The officer has just entered the OODA cycle in terms of this particular engagement. The suspect has already started cycling. As the officer reads the body language then moments later actually sees the handgun coming into view (Observation), he begins to orient to the situation. It is not something he regularly witnesses. During the orientation phase, he concludes that this is really a handgun, this threat is real and imminent and he must decide what to do. As the threat is relatively close and the time frame is compressed, the sub-conscious immediately dominates the decision phase and the officer is now on autopilot.

The officer is driven backwards by the pressure of the moment and rotates 90 degrees to his right and begins to accelerate and run to get back to his vehicle. The vehicle represents everything that is friendly and safe. It embodies familiarity, cover, concealment, communications, and additional weapons with which to neutralize the threat with.

Simultaneously, the suspect, attempting to engage the officer, immediately creates a decision-action by the officer to turn and leave the immediate vicinity, a subconscious decision he is now exploiting. The suspect continues to move through the OODA cycle again arriving at the top to observe. The suspect now exits the vehicle and observes a police officer with his back turned, essentially attempting to outrun super-sonic projectiles.

Let’s get back to the police officer. Where is he in the OODA cycle? He is in the unseen third O as in “Oh Sh#@”. He can no longer obtain any good visual information in relationship to the moving, now firing suspect. Only the grace of God can help him now. How did he find himself in this situation with little prospect of successfully overcoming the circumstances? A virtually instantaneous subconscious decision compelled him to arrive here.

Could it have been avoided? Most certainly it could have. How? Through well directed “Force-on-Force” training. Training that would allow an officer to observe this situation not for the first time while under extreme duress. These observation opportunities should be given progressively and repeatedly. This observation process starts creating a cache that ends up becoming a reference point from which to properly and efficiently orient. All the non-verbal cues, timings, the bio-mechanical possibilities and constraints of the combatants are now identified, sorted, stored and are ready for retrieval by the powerful subconscious mind. New courses of action will be discovered and can be experimented with.

The subconscious now has new experiences from which to draw upon. This creates an improved matrix of actions, increasing probability of success in the future.

Act – What we Dream About - The Final Quarter

We have finally arrived at the phase where most spend the majority of their time practicing and from my perspective the least significant in terms of what is really required. This is where you pull the trigger, push the button on your pepper spray, call for back-up forces, or any number of actions. Don’t get me wrong! You must be able to act powerfully. You must develop a smooth, accurate look-down, shoot-down capability with your shoulder-fired and hand-held weapons from a variety of positions and circumstances.

Let’s put this in perspective. If you were given just enough instruction to successfully fly an F-15 Strike Eagle off the runway and around the sky, and you also received good instruction on how to release a missile, by simply pushing the red button on the joystick, would you consider yourself ready for aerial combat? Combat taking place in 360-degree battle space flooded multiple threats, while sorting critical information and dealing with the physiological and psychological factors associated flight in combat.

To increase your chances of survival in this complex environment, you might construct a mock joystick at home and practice pushing the button really fast, over and over!

Operators love to show others how well they see the relationship of two pieces of metal and pull a lever. They will run down range, carefully pull their target and hold it like a newborn. They will cherish it and show all interested and non-interested parties, including their neighbor’s dog, their prowess at pulling a lever (pushing a red button). It’s comical sometimes.

If you simply learn to properly release a tiny metal missile from your handheld or shoulder-fired missile launcher. You are no more ready for combat on the street or the battlefield than your newly found piloting skills.

It is all that leads up to the point of missile release that ultimately matters. Your observations, orientation, and decisions are what allows a relatively minor action on your part define the difference between success or failure, life or death.

Whether you are in an F-15 or controlling a firearm, once you push the button or pull the trigger you are not going to make any difference on where that missile is going to strike. It will conform to its “programming” and the immutable laws of physics.

If you talk to the Gracie Brothers, you would find out that their best selling Brazilian JuJitsu videotapes are the submission tapes, the last in their comprehensive series. This hunger to learn submissions (pulling the trigger) is enormous. Nobody is saying submissions are not part of the total package and skill set, but the Gracie’s will tell you, “Position before Submission”. Prior to submitting someone a sequence is in effect. You must maintain proper distance and balance relationship to your opponent, close the distance with your opponent at the proper time, take your opponent to the ground, establish a dominant position over them, then submit them (force them to give up, damage them to point where they can no longer fight back or choke them into unconsciousness).
If you watch the greatest submission fighter in the world, Rickson Gracie, you will notice that he does not vary his routine by much. Rickson more often than not ends up choking out his opponents using the same dominant position and the same finishing hold. Why is he undefeated after over 400 plus no holds barred fights? Why can’t his opponents just counter the strategy employed time after time?

I believe it is his total mastery of the time and space prior to the relatively simple position and finish. It is the game within the game. The OODA Cycle in action.

I have had the opportunity to work with quite a few shooters that have the action phase of their personal development honed razor sharp. Their ability to shoot a handgun, shotgun, and rifle at paper and steel is literally world class, far outpacing anyone on our training staff if the only measuring stick is speed and accuracy on non-threatening targets. This is certainly not a negative, but can lead to a false sense of security and accomplishment.
When weapons are out and everybody is carrying lethal force at the push of a button, the proverbial wheels fall off the chariot until all phases of the OODA are understood, mastered and consistently applied.

A smooth running OODA cycle translates to good situational awareness. Situational awareness is the ability to collect, collate, and store data in a fluid, dynamic environment, accurately predicting future events based on that data.

Predicting future events in a tactical environment is a potent asset to have in your personal arsenal.


Ken J. Good
Director of the Sure-Fire Institute
714-545-9009 FAX
18130 Mount Washington
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

William wrote:

There is a wealth of information in Ken Goods OODA Cycle (see above). One point is something that was touched on constantly by my Krabi-Krabong instructor Chalambok (AKA Ajarn Wilson) is what's called the Tachypsyche effect.

Basically it is controlling/preventing tunnel vision during a confrontation by raising and lowering your line of sight while fighting/training. In effect, it prevents you from getting tunnel vision during a confrentation and reatain the ability to focus on multiple factors/opponents.
Quoting Chalambok:
"Krabi-Krabong, though centuries old, had an early and unique view of what is currently called the Tachy-Psyche Effect. The Tachy-Psyche Effect is a kind of mesmerization that occurs under extreme stress, such as in mortal combat, i.e. gun battles or knife fights. The fighter becomes fixated upon a visual
point of stimulus and seems to have tunnel vision. This is actually our raptor vision (a remnant from our early evolutionary, predator stages) coming into play, where we focus much like a predator intent upon our victim to the exclusion of everything else. This causes a lack of outside perception. As martial artists this is usually when the action begins to play out slowly. This can be a good thing when you are attacking, but must be taught out for defensive purposes. The ONLY way to break this effect is to change one's horizontal plane of vision, by moving up and down".

In the OODA Loop by Ken Good (article above), you can see he is touching on this very same subject.

"Body, Head, and Eye Movements. The body obviously carries the head, and the neck articulates the head, and eyes are directed from within the head. This body movement coupled with head articulation, eye direction, angle, and focal placement allows for an almost infinite number of possibilities for employment your main sensor system, your vision. This freedom can lead to large “gaps” for potential threats to move through unopposed. You must understood this and deal with it through proper training. An easy way to visualize this is to imagine watching a home video a friend filmed. You sit down and have an expectation that you are going to receive good visual information. As the videotape is played you soon become agitated because the camera operator was inexperienced and out of control. The recorded images are jumping and jerking all over the television monitor. Important details of the dynamic situation are lost and undistinguishable. Lot’s of good intent, energy, and activity, but unfortunately the most important aspects of the event go unseen.This video camera example illustrates the body, head, and eyes moving without intelligence and efficiency. To make matters worse, the individual who was operating the camera was using the zoom feature in and out with completely random patterns. This illustrates an individual improperly setting the focal length of his or her eyes while searching for an unseen threat. I have noted that individuals and teams have a strong tendency to tune their “radars” to one distance and angle and leave it there. This is especially true when the first threat is located and identified. Tracking one target, and one target only could spell death to a fighter pilot over the battlefield. Since our visual sensors do not obtain data like phased-array radars, we must constantly change the distance and elevation of our vision, in a systematic manner. One must relegate this cycling of the vision to the sub-conscious mind through proper training and experience. "

This could spell death for the fighter pilot or to the individual dealing with multiple opponents. Chalambok and Mr. Good are both touching on the dangers of tunnel vision. This tends to be an area that is overlooked by many Instructors and practitioners.

Pekiti-Tirsia has many drills that touch on this concept. Even basic transitory footwork drills will touch on this effect in the transitions from light, rapid movement to a power base and back to light, rapid movement.

Is this emphasis present in your system? If so, did you realize it? Just knowing can make a big difference.

Guro William

Thursday, March 09, 2006

One Highly Effective Animal.

I originally posted this on the Dog Brothers forum between 2002 & 2003.

I haven’t been able to keep up with the list in the last 6 – 8 months but one of my students showed me a thread going on about Filipino and Thai Martial Art’s. Please forgive me if I cover any points that have already been made on the subject.

In my curriculum I teach Pekiti-Tirsia Kali and Muay Thai. I teach them separately and do not intentionally blend them together. But, students who train in both systems soon discover that the systems can and do go well together. What results is a different but highly effective animal.

As Crafty pointed out, KK does integrate Thai kicks & close range elbows and knees with weaponry. Unknown to many practitioners of “sport” Muay Thai, and people from other MA’s, the art of Muay Thai descends from the weaponry system of Krabi-Krabong. Similar to the Filipino Martial arts, Muay Thai is an open hand system of combat that is based off of weaponry technique. In my opinion, this is why they are able to blend so well together if you understand the systems.

What is important is not that you learn to “kick” while using weapons; it’s the emphasis on power generation from any angle. Kicks are used sparingly and strategically and are usually restricted to the low-line Thai round kicks and foot jabs. Anyone who has experienced Muay Thai either as a practitioner, or has been on the receiving end understands the raw power that is generated by the mechanics of the system at close and long range. Add to that the fluid foundation footwork of Pekiti-Tirsia Kali and the ability to flow with an armed or unarmed opponent and things start to get real interesting. Pekiti-Tirsia is a complete system (meaning covers all ranges), Muay Thai stands on it’s own as well. When the two start coming out together, you end up with fluid movement and timing combined with raw devastating power.

Guro William

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Pekiti & The Sjambok

I did a short write up on the Sjambok one or two years ago on the Pekiti Forum. Some folks have suggested using paracord on the handle and I guess that's fine. I removed the red plastic handle that came on it. I prefer using it bare. It just looks like a piece of extruded plastic (which it is). You start putting on handles and a lanyard, it starts taking on the look of a weapon (IMHO). I prefer low key.

I had received a 36" Cold Steel synthetic Sjambok from one of our linked companies, knivesplus. They come in 36", 41", and 54". The 36" is a bit over 1" in diameter at the handle and tapers down to just over 3/8" at the tip. I have been wanting to play around with one of these for a while and I have to say...I REALLY LIKE IT!!! It fits in very well within our PTK structure. It's non-lethal in the sense that you would really have to beat someone continuously for quite a while to kill them. But for changing someone's mind about F-ing with you, it will do the job very, very quickly. The sound of it cutting through the air is probably enough give most people second thoughts. It will cut through light clothing and even moderate power strikes cause searing pain and welts. Stiff enough to thrust to the face effectively, full power strikes cut through cardboard can imagine what that would do to bare skin. Lightning fast, and effective for punyo strikes at close quarters. You could easily place one on the floor of your car between the side of the seat and the door jam. Inconspicuous and quickly drawn. Slip it up your coat sleeve. The tip flexes enough to bend around the shoulder, and palm the handle. It's extremely fast and when you combine that with our PTK footwork, striking mechanics, and bridging have a formidable non-lethal (but debilitating) deterrent.

We've done some sparring with these and believe me, they are nasty.

One of my favorite "toys"

Guro William

Monday, November 28, 2005

Muay Thai Terminology

Here is a Muay Thai terminology guide given to me many moon's ago by Ajarn Steve Wilson. It will give you a very basic understanding of how to pronounce the words correctly. I will post part 2 shortly.

Guro William


Glossary and Terminology

It is impossible to give the correct pronunciation of Thai words by using the Roman alphabet without auxiliary signs. However, by observing the following pronunciation guide, the words will be understood if used in context.

pronounce "a" like the "u" in cup

pronounce "i" like the "i" in fit

dt is a consonant somewhat between a "d" and "t".

Aenken - Anklet. protecting instep and shin.
Andap - Ratings.
Baak - Mouth.
Bangkok - Capitol of Thailand.
Bat - Block.
Chaikrong - Floating ribs.
Champ - Champion. The word is borrowed from English.
Chiang Mai - Provincial capitol in the North. Second largest city in Thailand.
Chok - Fight.
Choraked Faad haang - Turn kick. literally the crocodile thrashes it's tail.
Dadsin - To judge. To decide.
Daihuachai - Region under the heart (vital point).
Dermpan - A form of betting.
Dontree Muay - The music played during a match.
Dtaa - Eyes.
Dtaai - To die.
Dtae - To kick.
Dtae Kao - Knee kick.
Dtae Tao - Kick with the foot.
Dtae Wiang - Round kick.
Dtai - Kidneys (Vital point).
Dtai kao - knee kick from the side (side knee).
Dtee - To hit.
Dtee mat - To hit with the fist.
Dtee Swak - To hit with the elbow.
Dtoi - To box. Boxing.
Dtoi Lom - Shadow boxing. literally to box with the wind or air.
Faad - To thrash, wipe, swipe.
Faidaeng - The red corner.
Fainamnerng - The blue corner.
Gamagan - Referee.
Gaan Dadsin - Judging.
Gangkeng Muay - Boxer's trunks.
Gawn Welaa - Literally before time. "gawn welaa" are held before the actual program starts and are reserved for novices.
Grajab - Groin guard (typically steel).
Grammom Srisa - Top of the head (vital point).
Grasawb - Bag, punching bag.
Hua - Head.
Huajai - Heart.
Hook - Hook (borrowed from English).
Jamook - Nose.
Kaa - Leg.
Kaen - Arm.
Kai - Camp.
Kai muay - Boxing camp.
Kagangai - Jawbone (vital point).
Kamab - Temples (vital points).
Kao - Knee.
Kao Kong - over arm knee kick (high side knee).
Kao Loy - Jumping/flying knee.
Kao Drong - Frontal/Straight knee.
Khuen Kroo - The ceremony during which a teacher accepts a new student.


Spam spam spam spam.....

I apologize for having to shut down the comment section of my blog. Unfortunately I'm getting increasing numbers of Spam posts for Items that have no relevance to the content of this site.

To the folks that have posted comments that actually pertain to combative arts, and my postings on the subject, thank you for taking the time to write and for your positive comments. I invite you to continue to do so by using my address in the Bio section.

Stay safe,

Guro William

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Great Motivator (aka Getting the "dummy" out)

Live blade training: A great motivator for heightening your awareness as well as getting students to see the point (pun intended) of the principles being taught.

Flowing and moving full speed with a live blade is not the same as flowing with trainers. The physical movement is the same, but the mental component is not. Being able to Flow with trainers is beneficial (but they also allow you to be sloppy), but you will find out real fast that a live blade changes the dynamic dramatically. I’ve seen people fly with trainers, but hand them a live blade and many look like their learning all over again. You need to be able to over come the fear of cutting yourself, and develop the heightened confidence, awareness, and skill to avoid doing so.

One (of many) training methods I like to use, and advocate for advanced students is to practice being able to flow at full speed with live blades (single and double of varying sizes). You start out going slow working through movements from various drills and gradually speed up to full speed. Then just start free flowing while moving around utilizing footwork and simultaneously changing the height and angles of your attacks. Your awareness becomes much more heightened and tuned with the added danger of the live blade.

I’ll also practice this with different blade types and sizes which force me to be able to modify my technique to make the most of the weapons capabilities. Another variation is to add in moving targets (that I hang from the ceiling…or trees if I’m outside) that help me develop my targeting and hand eye coordination as well.

I also advocate two person controlled live blade training…blade to blade and open hand to blade. I know it doesn’t precisely simulate a real confrontation, but that’s not really the point. The point is to build the students blade awareness and to get them to develop the mental component of confronting real steal. To many people who always train with dummy blades develop the bad habit of just waltzing in to perform their technique/disarm believing that is really going to be how it goes down, not developing a healthy respect for a real metal edge. Hand someone a real blade after watching them work with trainers and see how much their technique and focus changes.
It’s not the end all be all of training, just a component among many. The goal is always to keep your training partners/family intact and healthy while training as realistically as possible.....REALISTICALLY AS POSSIBLE.


PS: Recommended reading: Go read the first post in the "knife" article at the begining of this Blog site.