The Swarm

If you haven’t seen this video, and it’s not for the faint of heart of a Walmart shooting, please watch it for reference on this post.

I don’t post things like this often, and perhaps I should do more analysis of current videos, as I tell everyone to look at the internet for mental modeling of fights. My intent is not to second guess the officers…I wasn’t there. This post is instead to put forth the idea of what is occurring.

Groups of people are living organisms beyond the individuals themselves.

The officer on scene seemed to have the situation under control. It escalated from controlled arguing and a good control position to a complete mess when the second officer came in and penetrated the swarm.

What do I mean by that?

Swarms, what we call situations like this in Pramek, tend to react like bees or hornets or ants. They are a group that is leaderless. Swarms are different than a pack, which has a leader. They are fine as they are, they control their area, but when penetration to the swarm is made it reacts. It stops the confidence of the group and causes complete chaos, as the group confidence is broken and members begin to fight on their own or scatter. This swarm was penetrated…instead of using the swarm as a controlling measure – letting it stay where it is, working around it, controlling it ontop of itself.

When reason meets procedure…


If you’ve read the CLM on conceptual learning, you know when I talk about procedural based learning (PBL) I have certain views on it.

One area where I truly believe in and practice it is in firearms.

The fine motor skills required to operate a firearm require PBL.  There is no question when you watch Aaron Cowan that PBL is the primary ingredient to firearms mastery.  Unlike martial art, firearms mastery is a different animal when it comes to neurology and how you learn.

An unfair advantage


Recently while teaching in Portola CA a student said to me, ‘I use leverage all the time.’ I said to the student, ‘But do you understand it?’
I had him show what he does on a much larger student and it was unsuccessful. He was repeating what he was taught but did not understand why he was taught it.

‘Using’ mechanical leverage in martial art is not enough…for every strong fighter, there will be a stronger fighter.

‘Understanding’ mechanical leverage, we access the greatest equalizer: physics. It is the understanding of mechanics and mechanically based execution that creates an unfair advantage.

That RMA video…

(originally published on September 28th, 2014)

This one is a long time coming and needs to be written. Flame war, engage. But this is about business, not people or personalities.

As many know from the Pramek Radio podcast, I am not a fan of EFO or empty force methods. I have even said publicly for a decade I don’t doubt such things exist, but as a means of defending one’s self…I think it’s something that should not be taught. That being said, I’ve been innundated with FB and email requests asking me to explain a video.

Let me first say I have never trained with Mikhail Ryabko, Vasiliev, or in Systema. My time in the Russian styles, in the US and in Russia, was on the scientific side. After leaving the Russian styles, I focused on creating Pramek to further scientific application and study in the martial arts and how they are taught. But, my lessons from Russian style have never left me like any student honors their teachers by teaching what was good and avoiding what was bad.

I was sent the below link in an email from someone that read:
‘Is this what you studied in Russia???’

I clicked, thinking, ‘Ok, I’m gonna get Rick Rolled.’
A friend of mine was in the kitchen and came running in, confusion on her face as I exclaimed very loudly, ‘What the hell is this shit?’

I think we all have to ask this to keep a system, style, or teacher honest. A lot of other arts (I haven’t even looked at Bullshido or Cage Potato yet) will ask the question of this video, but those who have ties to Russian styles or study this art have to ask the same. These kinds of videos affect us all, as those who see ‘Russia’ or ‘RMA’ in our resume see these things and judge us based on the popularity of Systema as the predominant Russian style.

Like it or not, the general martial art public, having viewed these kinds of videos, see us in this light.

Anger in the past turned to frustration, and eventual embarrassment, when people brought these kinds of videos up to me. It was hard enough explaining the old videos of Mr. Kadochnikov knocking people down without touching them – but those videos are twenty-thirty years old now and explainable as cold-war propaganda, regardless of what the videos were actually demonstrating.

But, what about this video?