Feel free to leave comments


Friday, April 29, 2011

Push pass your limits

Yesterday was another day I found myself privileged to train with Ramsey County SWAT team, the best of the best. What a great bunch of guys.

The day started with physical fitness. Kasey designed a fabulous obstacle course that was not only designed to push yourself physically and mentally but to specifically train in skills that would serve them well in their profession: run, climbing stairs 2x2, push ups, body drags, belly crawls, fireman carry of another team member, crunches, zigzags from one door to another, more running till you wanted to throw up and when all this was done a shoot, testing your accuracy after heavy stress: 3 bad guys standing alone and 2 more bad guys hiding behind a hostage.

I watch them all go through the course while I was keeping time. Those guys worked hard and got pretty excited as this was turned into a contest between team #1 and team #2, for time, speed and accuracy. You are only as strong as your weakest link, you shoot only as well as your least accurate shooter. So team effort is highly promoted to encourage everyone to increase and better their skills. And frankly a bunch of Alpha males given a challenge, always push themselves a bit harder. Great way to train for reality and to encourage, support and develop all the skills necessary for a great SWAT team. Awesome training!!!

It is very important to know exactly why and what you are training for in the first place THEN you can develop a training program. First ask the question, and then provide an answer. Never just randomly select a training method because it looks cool or your best buddy is swearing by it. If it will not help you accomplish your goals. It’s a waste of time at best and negative reinforcement at worst.

At the end of the day they offered me the opportunity to run the course by myself. Of course I jumped on it… I am a bit crazy and seem to enjoy pain. And frankly, how hard could it be. Those are all exercises I already have included in my own personal training. I know I can do this easily. Still I was a bit nervous as the pressure to keep up at least with their average time was definitely on. They were spurring me on. I started off full speed, no problem, I run all the time, this is easy. Switch to push ups, no problem. More running then belly crawls, damn those were tough. I was pushing hard to get it done in good time. The guys were awesome. They encouraged me the whole way through. They were cheering, spurring me on, shouting , “Get going! Don’t give up! Keep that ass moving! You’re almost there!”. This was actually really helping. The body drags and fireman carry were hard. Those guys are just a bit larger and heavier than I am, even their smaller guy. I honestly thought I was going to throw up half way through. But no stopping for me. Giving up is for sissies. At the end of the second round, I was tired, shaky… good time to put a gun in my hands. Strangely, the minute I had a gun in my hands and with the guys around me putting the pressure of a realistic shooting scenario, I became strangely calm and collected. I nailed the first 3 bad guys then the hostage situation… that was nerve racking. Killed the first guy and honestly I still am not sure if I put a bullet in the hostage trying to kill the second guy. No time to stop as I had to run back to the starting line. I finished in 12 ½ minutes. Their average time was 11 minutes with the fastest guy clocking at 8 and the slowest at 14. So I was happy. Heck I would have been happy just finishing the course at that point. It was amazing to me how a course I could have normally ran through with no problem brought me to the limit of my physical fitness by just adding the pressure of time and getting spurred on the whole way through. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest and burst at one point, I was honestly looking for a bucket at another. My legs were shaky, my lungs were burning. I felt great!

This is the kind of pressure you might find yourself under when you are fighting for our life. Can you handle it? Will you keel over by yourself and stack the odds in the bad guy’s favor or will you “get that ass moving”? Everyone needs to push themselves hard at some time. This might not be a typical training day but if you don’t get an occasional workout that will bring you past your limit, how do you know where your limits truly are?

This old grandma kicked her own ass yesterday… and smiling about it too

So get that ass moving

Be smart, stay safe

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Making a comeback

For those who have read “Death of a beloved friend” take heed. Common sense is making a comeback. It is alive and thriving at the Keishoukan Dojo . We are privileged in being taught principles and common sense. I know, unusual theses days.

We had the proof of this at SOTA. SOTA, Special Operation Training Association, is basically a convention for the SWAT teams in the upper Midwest, a conglomeration of the best of the best. This happens once per year and offers classes to all operators. We were asked to teach a class at this year’s convention. Our great leader put together a formidable class: very professional, awesome information and great teaching methods. This was a tremendous need to be filled and he rose to the occasion. But then we never rise to our expectations, we always fall to the level of our training. This goes a long way to describe the incredible training he provides.

The class started with a bunch of big burly alpha males sitting cross armed in their chairs with a “go ahead impress me” attitude. Kasey did just that.

As a small grandma (and the only female there), I can’t say I quite fitted the profile of a SWAT instructor. And to add to the list of drawbacks, I am a civilian. Cops notoriously do not like civilians instructing them and for good reasons. Most civilians have no idea what cops, especially SWAT teams, really need to learn. Never judge a book by its cover. We got going, started teaching the basic motions and techniques. After putting a few big guys on their asses (that never gets old), applying a few cross face, amazingly they were all ears and willing to listen. Cops at this level are able to recognize common sense (they should anyway). And this was pure and simple common sense teachings. Things so simple that a person like me who has never served a warrant or even arrested someone can still easily apply, understand and teach. They became eager to learn and grateful for the instruction. All those guys worked hard and did a great job.

This goes to show how awesome our training is. To turn plain civilians into good operators with simple common sense techniques, how much better will actual operators that take this training be?

Instead of complicated techniques, having to remember too many steps, trying to decide on “he is attacking this way so I need to respond this way”, Kasey uses key principles that will work in any circumstance, aka… common sense.

I can’t explain how refreshing this is.

So Common Sense, my long lost friend, welcome back to the world. May you live long and prosper.

Friday, April 22, 2011

An old Grandfather, whose grandson came to him with anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice, said, "Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Death of a beloved friend

An Obituary printed in the London Times - Interesting and sadly rather true

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;

I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

True power

"Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself."

-Elie Wiesel

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I know 2 ladies who are business partners. Both are very nice people. One of them I would rather spend time in a stinky bathroom than have a conversation with (we will call her X) and the other I totally enjoy spending time with (we will cal her Y). The other day I was thinking to myself, “Self… why are you acting this way? X has always been nice, friendly and courteous. Why do you dislike her this much? Are you a friendship snob?” …. And the short answer was yes. But not being a snob to friendship as much as to personality traits. Mainly I have gotten to the age where I don’t have time to waste on useless things. And mediocrity is at the top of my list. But this brought a question to my mind and forced me to do a bit of introspection. Not everyone has high skills levels, a lot of people just do the best they can and still will never get to the top of their profession, activity, hobby. Why should I be such an elitist? I am not the best at everything I do either.

Let’s look at the dictionary definition of mediocrity.

“mediocrity - ordinariness as a consequence of being average and not outstanding

Now here is my definition of mediocrity= unwilling to move forward; to better yourself; never wanting to proceed onto the less traveled, more difficult path; looking at oneself with blinders on, refusing to see the flaws, the imperfections and thus never trying to improve oneself; refusing to accept responsibility for one’s actions.

Basically, to me it’s people that work harder at finding excuses than they do at improving themselves.

None of us are perfect. We all have some areas of our life that could use some improvement, some changes. We can spend our time making excuses why we don’t need to work on it, we can put the people around us down so we feel better about ourselves, or we can pull up our sleeves and get to business.

Extraordinary people don’t have a problem getting their hands dirty, they don’t have such an overinflated opinion of themselves that they can’t be honest about their own lives. They have goals and are not afraid to do everything in their power to achieve them, even if sometimes they fall short, they get back up and go forth again. They may fall 7 times but they will always get back up 8.

Those are the people I want in my life.

So yeah, I am a huge friendship snob…. And I am proud of it.

And to all the extraordinary people in my life… KUDOS.. I am so proud of you!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sun Tzu

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”
~Sun Tzu quotes