19 October 2014

American Dad Part I- Accepting your responsibility to lead

For as many people high speed low drag types that are hopefully reading this blog I surmise there are many more that have taken an interest in personal protection and preparedness since the last one or two elections.  Since I have been doing this stuff since ALICE packs and Maglites were tactical, I cannot imagine how overwhelmed someone looking for good basic information must feel.

Having been blessed with an amazing wife and three incredible kids, along with my background, I believe this gives me a unique perspective to talk to the other American Dads out there trying to equip and train their families on a budget.  Except for being free, why should you consider the information that I provide?  First of all, I don't live in a vacuum and am willing to change my personal SOPs based on new information.  The second reason is that I am not trying to sell you anything.  A very small percentage of our readership will ever end up training with me.  The money I do make off the blog and website is from a few inexpensive popular products.

So where is a Dad to start?  Usually with picking up some gun magazines and the internet gun/tactical forums.  Before long, you will be seduced by the need to equip yourself as if you are deploying to the sandbox.  As packages begin to show up on your doorstep, you will get the "look" from the wife.

Before buying a single damn thing, you need to first assess your needs.  The first thing is to accept that by default you are officially your family's training officer.  Even though over the last 40 or so years the TV and media has done its best to portray Dad as just another fumbling idiot of a kid that an all knowing Mom has to take care of, we know our families still depend on us.  Now I don't know about you but in my family I am the doctor, the vet, the mechanic, and overall owner of the responsibility to make all tough decisions.  So regardless of whether or not you are willing, the wife and kids will turn to you to deal with life's unpleasantries.

So now that you have come to terms with your training officer position, how well do your wife and kids listen to you?  Do they take you seriously?  Most likely you will find that getting them to listen to all this personal protection and preparedness nonsense is like trying to get a grumpy old man to take his medicine.  You need to wrap it in something they like.  For me that has meant road trips, bonfires, and role playing.

Coming soon American Dad Part II- how to start equipping you and your family on a budget.

Project Pencil- The three "A"s of Survival

Hopefully some of you have identified the people you would like to reach with your own project pencil.  Some might have even spoken to the folks on your list.  The probability is high that the people you have chosen to share this with have previously not made their personal protection and preparedness a priority.  That means you need to keep your "trainings" short and interesting.  Think of them as building blocks.  By providing them a sharpened pencil you have already given them a mental trigger for what is to follow.  Everything we do is based on the foundation of the Three "A"s of Survival.  I discuss these in every class regardless of who attends from soccer moms to police officers.

Awareness-  Awareness is a buzz word in the tactikewl community.  It's use is akin to someone who knows nothing about cars asking you "what's" under the hood.  I always say "aware of what", context is needed.  We teach three types of awareness.

Personal awareness-  Before leaving the house ask yourself "out of 100% how am I feeling today?"  Am I going to be capable of "living in the moment" today or am I distracted by personal issues?  Do I feel half loopy from taking cough medicine?  Is my body working the way it should, or am I fixated on some real or imagined pain?  Based on the answers, should I change my plans in order to make me safer?

Team awareness-  Guess what, whoever is with you when something bad happens is your team.  If your luck is anything like mine when something bad happens you will not be surrounded by your A team.  In an emergency, the people with you are either an asset or a liability.  The vast majority of the time you will be surrounded by well meaning liabilities.  Since my kids hit their early teens and began to venture out with groups of friends, I emphasized two things-

1)  Bad things can happen even when you are having fun.

2)  You know more about personal protection and preparedness than your friends do.  That means whether you like it or not you are the team leader.  You protect yourself first and than worry about others.

When you are alone, their is zero confusion as to who is in charge of your well being.

Situation Awareness-  This is what most people mean when they say awareness.  But what is most misunderstood is that being aware of a dangerous situation without the ability to recognize and act on your options is like standing on the railroad tracks being excited to see the train coming but not thinking of getting out of the way.  This leads us to our next  A ..... Avoidance.

Avoidance.-  this is easier than most people think.  The problem is that people hate to be inconvenienced by their intuition.  Often the difference between life and death is acting as soon as something doesn't seem right or waiting until you have figured out what it is before acting on it.  Except for straight up ambush type situations, most situations are extremely avoidable, especially the earlier you become AWARE of them.  Most of the time this means things like deciding to stop at the next gas station for coffee because the one you had in mind has people hanging around outside or you cannot see at least two clerks inside the store from the parking lot.  Of course the level of exposure you are going to be comfortable with will be based on your Team awareness.  Are you beginning to see how creates a foundation?  Listen to that little voice in your head and cross the street,  make a turn to see if someone is following you, or just say "NO THANK YOU" when someone tries to stop you in the street.

Aggression-  This is the area where tons of people make their living...teaching people how to use aggression to survive lethal encounters.  The truth is that if you get an addicted mindset to Awareness and Avoidance, the chance of you ever having the need, time, or opportunity to use aggression is quite minimal.  What will save your life, what makes you different, is that because you have habitually practiced Awareness and Aggression, you will recognize immediately that there is no other choice but to be violent.  You will not hesitate like those that only know how to fight.  As for the population of youngsters and women that we are trying to reach with Project Pencil, the Aggression option we will concentrate right now is using the pencil to stab the attacker in the face, neck, and hands.

When you become Aware of a threat, Avoid it, if you cannot Avoid it, use overwhelming Aggression without hesitation to escape it.


16 October 2014

Combat Pen Course THU 20NOV14 Frederick MD

Combat Pen
hosted by
Edgeworks Knife & Supply
200 N Market St 
Frederick MD 21701


7-9 PM

  • Use of force
  • Combative Anatomy
  • Selection of the Combat Pen
  • Carry of the Combat Pen
  • Deployment of the Combat Pen
  • Use of the Combat Pen
  • Intro to integration of open hand combatives
Cost $25

Call 1-800-520-0321 to register

No prior training or fitness level required

Space is limited Call Now

15 October 2014

Project Pencil- arm the children first

Hopefully some of the the people you have picked for your own Project Pencil are kids.  Personally I have a daughter in college who not only has to walk around campus but also works at night.  This means she needs to park her car off campus and take a bus back to the dorm.  Being only 18 means she cannot carry a firearm,  She does carry a knife but cannot walk around with it in her hand.  She makes a habit of having a writing utensil in her hand.

My son is 15 and walks a short way to and from the bus stop.  As of this year he also attends high school football games by himself.  Being minor, on school grounds, he has to leave his knife at home.  But again, he always has a pen or pencil.

Keep it simple, you don't want them trying to "hurt" someone who grabs them, you want them stun them long enough to get away.  Attacks on them will most often begin with them being grabbed so as to be drug into a vehicle or other location.  Regardless of the weather, the attackers face, neck, and hands will usually be unprotected.  Stabbing these targets needs to be a conditioned response.  Try holding up a used pizza box so they get the feeling of puncturing something.  Ensure they have their thumb on top of the eraser and stab from their chest instead of over head so that they are not easily blocked.   The suspect should be easy to identify.

MCS presents Project Pencil

Project Pencil

Mission-  MCS' Project Pencil is a grassroots effort to educate and train every man, woman, and child about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to self-defense.  The symbol for this is the simple pencil, the most common and basic improvised weapon that anyone can carry in their hand anywhere.  Our vision is that this becomes to self-defense what direct pressure is to bleeding.

Imagine a world where it was easy to identify pedophiles, domestic abusers, rapists and other criminals by the scars on their face, or the eye patch they wore, as a result of a person who vowed not to be a victim.

Project Pencil Pledge-  I will purchase and sharpen a pack of pencils and give them to people in my life that I care about.  It will be used as a not only a symbol that they are always armed with the right mindset, but as a physical reminder to always be aware and ready to protect themselves and others.

More thoughts and training ideas will to follow.  Please share this.

12 October 2014

Bag Of Evil on a budget...Medium ALICE PACK

These days I do most of my traveling on my 92 Harley Davidson Fatboy.  Over a period of time, I tried to make just about every bag that has attained BOE status work on the back of the bike.  They all had at least one of the following problems:  they were either too tall, or they were clam shells.  Too tall meant they were taller than the sissy bar, and clam shells meant that if they were bungee corded to the bike it was hard to get stuff in and out.  Instead of running saddle bags, I only have a small swing arm bag that contains a TIMS Kit and some tools.  I like it that way because I don't like to leave a bunch of stuff on the bike for someone to walk off with.

The solution turned out to be the first pack I was ever issued, a medium Alice Pack.  Picked this one up at the military flea market WWII Weekend in Reading PA this past summer.  I think I paid $30.  A little cheaper than your average "tactical" pack.

The first thing I did, as with all new packs, was to go over it with a fine tooth comb and burn off all loose threads.  The second thing was to get rid of the ridiculous buckles on the main straps and replace them with this Fastex Mod.  Then I pulled some gutter paracord loops through some of the eyelets to provide additional bungee hooking points.  Some small carabiners were added for the same purpose.  On one side you will also see something that I do with every one of my bags.  Using some elastic and a cord lock, I make a little loop to hold my Mechanix Gloves on the outside of the bag.  This way I don't have to dig for them in an emergency.  The bottom two paracord loops hold a 12 inch bungee that is used to attach it to the sissy bar.

If I am riding solo, the pack goes on the passenger seat and doubles as a comfy back rest.  If I have a rider, it rides on the rear fender just above the license plate and tombstone taillight.

The pack has three large outside pockets.  The one on the far left contains my TIMS/Boo Boo Kit and is conspicuously marked with red on the outside.  The middle compartment contains my admin pouch, spare glasses, and hand sanitizer. The outside of the middle pouch has a piece of black paracord with a reflective pique adorned with a GITD bead.  This allows me to locate the bag easily in low light conditions (like when the lights are turned off).  The last pouch holds my Cat Crap, lens cleaning cloth, and water bottle.

The inside is usually about 60% empty but does contain my rain gear, power pouch (cell phone charger, batteries etc), and repair pouch (bank line, sail needle, wire, 100 mph tape etc), shemagh, Bind Horse Bushcrafter, and some other things.  The incredible thing about the ALICE pack is exactly how much you can carry in/on it if you let the straps out.  The manual says it was designed to carry 50 lbs.  When Momma and I go out for a ride when it is cool out, you start off with everything on and take stuff off as you warm up.  The pack is great for compressing lighter items under the main flap.  Being a top loader using a draw string closure allows me to get stuff in an out while mounted on the bike without dropping stuff all over the ground, or people seeing what's inside the bag.

Some will say that it looks too military and draws attention, but I say people look at me, my big American Legion Riders back patch, and figured the pack was issued to me long ago.

In the future, I plan to get a new one and do some other mods including replacing the snaps with Fastex.

Even though things get a little raw during the winter here in southwest PA, I still ride all year and look forward to this pack serving me well.  So whether you are on a bike or are just simply looking for a BOE on a budget, consider picking up a medium ALICE pack and some pouches and see if it works for you.