Teenager shot by police at Reno high school: Lessons to learn

I just got sent this link to a video of a teenager shot by the police at a Reno high school:

You can view another angle here.
What seems to be known so far.
The predictable response here.

What is likely to happen now:

  • There will be the usual outcry along the lines of “Why did he shoot him, the kid only had a knife?” from those with no understanding of the dynamics involved in such an encounter.
  • Then there will be some more outrage as the journalists, pundits and professional rabble-rousers do their thing.
  • In the end, nothing will change and it’ll be waiting for the next incident.

In the mean time, I suggest focusing on the lessons we can learn from this. There are several things to take away form this video:

  • Disarming somebody with a knife without hurting him is not easy, nor is there a guaranteed technique you can use to pull it off. What’s more, a knife represents lethal force. Such a threat is typically responded to with lethal force, such as a firearm. Why? Because when you don’t and things go wrong, they can go wrong in catastrophic fashion (fast forward to 7min15 for the attack):

  • If the officer didn’t stop the kid and went down himself like the officers in the previous video did, the kid could have slaughtered several of students who were standing there. It’s the officer’s duty to avoid that, along with not dying himself. So if you brandish a knife and threaten others with it, act erratic and refuse to drop it when ordered, you should expect a definite response from law enforcement.
  • For those who don’t understand this, here are some realities about violence, about knife vs. gun and also this article. As an overall strategy, when faced with a knife and you have the option: run. Run for your life. Which brings us to the next point.
  • Look at the other students. They refuse to leave and even come closer as soon as the kid is no longer looking right at them or moving in their direction. There is no way to emphasize enough how monumentally stupid this is… If you have kids, teach them to flee when an event like this happens. I teach this to my children and repeat the lesson regularly: being an innocent bystander doesn’t make you safe. On the contrary, you can become a victim in an instant or become collateral damage when law enforcement takes action. Here’s an article with many examples. Here’s a video that shows exactly how fast bystanders can become victims, even when they think the fight is over…
Teenager shot by police at Reno high school - Lessons to learn

Teenager threatening with a knife in Reno high school

Early reports claim the kid was bullied and lashed out like this to protect himself. I have no idea if this is true, the investigation is ongoing and should reveal more. If true, is this enough to give him a pass on pulling a knife like that? That discussion is beyond the point of this article. The point is to learn from this incident and avoid becoming a victim.

Good luck and stay safe.

Webcast 004: My books and Q&A

It took a while but here is webcast 004, in which I talk a bit about my books and answer some questions. I ran a bit long in this episode, 50min instead of 30, because I wanted to be thorough in my answers instead of glossing over the questions. So grab a drink, take a seat and I hope you enjoy my yapping into the the microphone…

Here’s the episode guide and all the relevant links are below in the content guide.

 

Content guide:

1. Update:

Receive an email update when my books are published

 

2. My books. 5min, 25sec.

The Fighter’s body

Timing in the fighting arts

The Fighter’s Guide to Hardcore Heavy Bag Training and also the companion video.

Martial arts, self-defense and a whole lot more

Horrible Endings

Hong Kong Brawl and also this article for more information.

 

3. Q&A 29min, 45sec.

Jose’s question: Power/Control video

 

4. Get in touch. 51min, 40sec.
New book/video email notification list
Facebook Page
Instagram
Twitter

Thanks again for watching and I hope you enjoyed it. Please like and share if you want to help the webcast grow. As I said, for the next episode I’m planning to interview Marc “Animal” MacYoung, so stay tuned for that one.

 

New editions of my books

Last year, my first publisher went out of business and the rights of my first two books went to YMAA. They just re-released them and you can find them here:

The fighter's bodytiming in the fighting arts

These are the same books as before, except for the cover. I like the covers a lot better than the original ones, but that’s just me. Anyway, if you haven’t gotten round to buying these before, please consider these new editions. Also, if you could post a review on Amazon, I’d appreciate it.

Thanks.

How to train the leg kick for MMA

I’m busy editing and shooting the pictures for my Leg Kick book, so I’ve been testing ways to train the leg kick with my students for a while now. There are many possibilities, too many to mention, and what I explain in this article is not the only way to train. But it is something I haven’t seen many coaches use, so I wanted to share it here.

If you want to get an update when the Leg Kick book is released, follow the instructions here to get on my notification list. It’s free and I don’t do spam, only an occasional email when I have a new book or video out.

That said, here goes for the training drill.

How to train the leg kick for MMA

Before we go on, some key points:

  • If you are new to the leg kick, this drill isn’t for you. The assumption is that you have trained the leg kick already and know the different variations of it.
  • This drill isn’t the only way to train the leg kick; there are plenty of other ways. But in this drill we focus on something very specific so you have to follow the instructions. If you want to do other variations, change the drill.
  • I’ll explain my reasons why the combinations are set up the way they are, but that doesn’t mean you always have to do it that way in a fight. The combinations in the drill are like that because they force the student to train in the precise way I want them to train so they learn what I want them to learn. There is a time for improvising and free play; this drill isn’t one of those times.
  • The drill is not supposed to teach you good technique; you should already have that. Instead, it teaches skill within technique. Meaning, having the ability to change and adapt the technique depending on ever changing circumstances and do so instantly, without needing time to think it through.
  • The drill incorporates a key principle: compare/contrast. You might have had to write essays in this manner back in the day, but this method works just as well for training the leg kick in MMA. By comparing two techniques, the similarities and differences become clearer and your understanding improves. You contrast them by putting two versions at opposite ends of the scale next to each other. This makes those similarities/differences stand out even more.

Now that we have the context out of the way, let’s look at the drill itself.

How to train the leg kick for MMA

How to train the leg kick for MMA

The drill

The drill is done in a progressive manner, starting from simple to a bit more complex. You only go to the next phase when you can do the drill consistently without error. [Read more…]

Germany and weapons for self-defense

It took longer than I thought, but here it is:
Expect more of this around the EU soon and in the short term, it is anything but a good thing. For more background, read my articles on the Paris terrorist attacks and the Brussels terrorist attacks first. They are long, but they give you the information you need to understand the factors at play here in Europe. These are radically different from those in the US.
Germany and weapons for self-defense

Frauke Petry wants all Germans to have weapons for self-defense


Some thoughts.
  • I am not against civilian weapon carry. Self-defense is a basic human right and weapons are tools for that. My issues aren’t with the principle, but with the execution.
  • I talked to one of my German students two days ago and he confirmed that Germans are arming themselves. I’ll bet a sizeable amount of money that if we could get the numbers, aside of the 50% increase in small firearms licenses, a multiple of that number of people are carrying (legal or otherwise) non-firearm weapons.
  • People are scared and it’s not unreasonable for them to be so. They now realize they are on their own and safety is something they also have to provide for themselves. They can’t only rely on the police for that. Scared people + weapons = bad combination. Scared people who never used weapons before and who live in a country where owning a weapon has been frowned upon and made difficult for decades + weapons = even worse combination.
  • The previous does not mean those people shouldn’t be allowed to carry effective tools for self-defense. My point is that I don’t hear Frau Petry mention anything about training or responsible use. The only thing you hear is “we want you to have a weapon so you can defend yourself.” She doesn’t add “and we’ll fund training and awareness campaigns so you know how to use your weapons and not be a danger to others or yourself.” That’s neglecting a critical safety factor when people who are scared, untrained and unaccustomed to living in a weapons culture suddenly all arm themselves. You can expect a shitload of problems as a result, including more blood in the streets.
  • For my US friends: don’t bring up the 2nd amendment. It is at this stage irrelevant to this discussion in EU countries. If you think any EU country will quickly change its constitution in that regard, you are sadly uninformed or delusional. Nothing shy of a post-civil war context would do that, and even then.

Germany and weapons for self-defense

For my German readers, I would suggest the following:

  • Read up on what self-defense actually means. Start with reading this book and then read this one. Then read both books again. If self-defense and weapons are new to you, the information in those books will fill you in on critical aspects you need to know before getting a weapon. You’ll learn what is important vs. what is Hollywood nonsense.
  • It’s not just about weapons. True self-defense requires a layered approach and lethal force is only one layer, hopefully the one you need the least often. It needs to be there, but you need to work just as hard on all those other layers as you will need them more often. They also prevent the situation from escalating to lethal force being necessary, which is equally important. Again, read the previous two books to learn more about this.
  • Get good training and keep it up. A weapon does not do magic tricks. It doesn’t make you invincible, nor does it make the bad guy go “Poof!” and disappear. Like any tool, you need to learn how to use it first and then keep on practicing. Find good training in your area and then keep up regular practice. That gives you the skill necessary to use your weapon should you need it, but keeps that skill alive over time. If there is no good training near you, spend money and travel until you can get it. You are making the choice to carry the tools that give you power over life and death. If that isn’t serious enough for you to get the training you need, then you have no business carrying that weapon.
  • Be smart and stay cool. If you strap on a weapon every time you go outside, do all you can to not get in a situation where you need to use it. Yes, it gives you more options to defend yourself, but that comes at a price. Using deadly force is not like in the movies and the consequences are not only for you, but also your family as well as the family of the person you killed. Those consequences also never go away, ever. So as much as possible, stay out of trouble. Especially if you are already scared. Read this article for some information on that.
  • Germany is changing, change with it. Like I said, there is the spectacular increase in legally owned weapons, but there will also be a huge increase in people carrying illegally or weapons that masquerade as tools. This means your society is changing into a weapons culture at an accelerated rate and you need to adapt to that. For instance: whenever you are in an argument with somebody, whenever there is a conflict, the odds are good the other person is armed. People are emotional, irrational beings, they don’t think clearly when they are emotional. An emotional person with a weapon who is upset with you and you escalating the argument is not a good thing, especially if you are armed too. So adapt your behavior along with the society you now suddenly find yourself in. Heinlein’s quote is relevant here:

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

Stay safe and good luck.

UPDATE

I received some comments on my Facebook page re. the nature of the “small firearms license” in Germany. Apparently it wasn’t clear in the text above and I fixed the one sentence where I think the misunderstanding started. So here’s what I meant:

I am well aware that the license is for blank guns and pepper spray as opposed to firearms.

I am well aware of the strict German gun laws.

I’m not talking about the kind of weapons people are picking up. I’m talking about the fact that massive numbers of German citizens are picking up weapons in a very short time frame. That, combined with the fact that a populist politician is calling for people to carry firearms. These two points together are what this article is about.