PictureTrash - Before
Many recommendations out there from the experts
on keeping a low profile and not flaunting your level of readiness or preparation, for several reasons. First, so that you’re not so easy to pick out by the bad guys. Second, so that you’re not perceived to be a “bad guy” by one of the “do-gooders” who may not be comfortable with concealed carry, open carry, or any other means that you’ve taken to ensure your rights & responsibilities of self-protection.  
 
So I was pleasantly surprised during a recent Karate Club workout in the PSU squash courts to find that someone (ESACT course?  Squash team/club?) must have gotten a delivery of rackets/cases, only to throw away all of the cases.   So I decided to recycle and turn their trash into my treasure.  
 
These cases make perfect unobtrusive carry cases for my kind of toys - Tomahawks, Bowie knives, assorted training or live blades.   I can have these sitting on the back seat of my car.  I can have them on my credenza at the office. I could have it thrown over my shoulder while sashaying down the street.  And to the untrained observer and most of the sheeple on the streets, it’s just a squash racket.  
 
Something to think about, hidden in plain sight.  What do you have easy access to, that’s effective, without raising the eyebrows of your co-workers, curious cops during a traffic stop, or the neighborhood shrill?


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Trash - After
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Be Prepared - today's Boy Scout: SOG Fusion Tomahawk James Keating Crossada S&W Airweight .357Mag Springfield XD 9mm
 
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Great recent article at Beyond Strength.  With an emphasis on Strength as the base and then Conditioning, as well as references to Martin Rooney, Dan John, and Alwyn Cosgrove, it would be hard for anyone in the combative arts to go wrong in applying this philosophical approach.  

I tend to use a bunch of intervals and complexes in my training.  There was a time period where I found myself focusing more on strength and conditioning than I was on technical skills, so I’ve tried to shift the focus.  If/when I have time to train, then I make sure I get the skill work done first - punch, kick, pad work, stick, knife etc.  Then I get some strength/conditioning in.  Here’s where the intervals and
complexes work well.   
 
Intervals - since I don’t have the fancy HR monitor (yeah, I know I should get one), Fixed intervals are the easiest for me to implement.  Usually in the 20-30 second work range, with 2X rest.  Occasionally I’ll throw in some 1:1 work:rest sets or 2:1 work:rest.   One of the rope intervals that I use follows this sequence

30’ x 1.5” rope: 30 seconds “Fighting”, 60 seconds rest
50’ x 1.5” rope: 20 seconds “Fighting”, 40 seconds rest
50’ x 2” rope: 10 seconds “Fighting”, 20 seconds rest
Repeat 3-5X

By “Fighting” I mean that the rope is not anchored by anything and the goal is to keep the rope moving for the entire period and to keep the entire rope off of the ground.  I learned this from John Brookfield at a Perform Better seminar a few years ago.  
 
Complexes – I mostly use Rep based or AMRAP style complexes with KBs, BW, and Sandbags.  Here’s a sample KB complex:

Snatch 5L; Overhead Carry (scaled to space available)
Snatch 5R; OH Carry
C&P 5L; Rack Carry
C&P 5R; Rack Carry
One arm Swing 5L; Farmer’s Carry
One arm Swing 5R; Farmer’s Carry

Set a timer for your preferred round length (ex. 5:00 min) and see how many times you can get thru.

That’s all for now. Get out there and train, because your next opponent probably isn’t just
sitting around eating Krispy Kremes.


 
Only had time for a quick workout before dinner.  Just did a some Tabata style rope.  Three 4 minute rounds of rope patterns done in 20 sec on/10 sec off fashion.  Two minutes rest in between rounds.  Then a finisher in the back yard which consisted of:

     4 Burpee Pulls {burpees with a pullup on the “jump” portion}
     Farmer's Carry, two 70 lb. KBs, ~ 20 yds
     Lunges – back to the pullup bar

 Repeat for 4:00 min total

 I liked this finisher. Well rounded, push, pull, carry, squat, lunge.  All wholesome goodness.  Could have added a sandbag to the Lunges, but didn’t feel like messing
around with getting any more equipment out.   Could also add or substitute Bear Crawls, Crab Walks, or other Quadrapedal movements in place of the Lunges.  
 
There you have it. About 30 minutes total with a quick warm-up, 4 x 4:00 minute rounds, and rest periods.  Quick and dirty, then done.  


 
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An article in the recent Tactical Strength and Conditioning report, July/August 2013, Issue 29, outlines a pilot study and sample program using KBs for Firefighters.  Although the sample size was small (n=5), the exercises are solid and the program fundamentally sound.  One of the reasons that I like it is that it shows how a few basic exercises (in this case Turkish Get-up, 2H Swings, Military Press, Front Squat)  followed in a disciplined fashion over 12 weeks can result in substantial strength gains (33-200%).  
 
The program consists of 4 sessions alternated 3X/week for 12 weeks.  
 
A1, B1, A2
B2, A1, B1
A2, B2, A1 
B1, A2, B2 etc.  
 
Training Session A = TGU + 2H Swing
Training Session B = Military Press + Front Squats

The specifics for A1, B1, A2, and B2 can be found in the article linked above.  Basically they
consist of focused practice for time (ex. 10 minutes of TGU, 20 min Swings), ladder progressions, or sets of 5X5 or 3X3. 

This looks like a great program to focus on the basic KB lifts.  And if you could only do 4 KB exercises, these are the 4 I would  pick anyway.  The sequence and reps are laid out for you, so it’s a no brainer to follow.   Why not give it a try?  My plan is to work on this as an 8-week cycle as I ease into some KB work after tweaking my back in July.  

 
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Although you can’t always be prepared for an altercation
(surprise does happen), there are some things that you can do to facilitate a better outcome if your situation suddenly goes bad in a hurry.   

One habit to ingrain is the position of your hands.  As
Guro Crafty says “hands are more useful when they’re up” (actually his is a more colorful variation, but we’ll leave that for another time).   By assuming a classic “interview stance” with the body bladed, dominant
leg (& weapon) usually in the rear, and one or both hands up and open in a  non-threatening manner, this does several things.   

a)  Provides a barrier if necessary between the opponent and your head/torso/duty
weapon.
b) Puts one/both of your empty hand weapons closer to your opponent, reducing your time
to contact if necessary. 
c) Gets your hands up in a non-threatening manner and puts them in a closer position to
block/parry/intercept an attack.

As Matt Powell from Pramek discusses in this video, practice your responses – blocks, strikes, counters - from a variety of starting points with one or both hands up. Make sure
they are open hands, since posturing with fists in a classic “boxing”pose is perceived as aggressive by an opponent (and/or bystanders) and can escalate things that may otherwise be talked down.  I’m not a huge proponent in having the hands together or crossed, but as
Matt discusses, there are ways to do it successfully.