No styles, no systems, no rituals, no lineages, no masters, no labels, no belts, no katas, no uniforms, no dogmas;

Only the process of self actualization & personal expression of truth through functional combative movement and fitness.

On a purely physical level, we share how to individually and collectively use all of our natural tools as well as extended ones, offensively and defensively in a strategic and tactical manner and in all ranges of combat.

We're put through functional physical fitness training where we learn to push ourselves through our own perceived limitations. We also have much to offer on nutrition, health and optimum performance.

On a more cerebral level we learn about the psychology of violence, fear, stress & confrontation management skills, deescalation strategies and holistic survival tactics.

As the mind navigates the body; by challenging personal self defense dogmas and individual & core belief systems, personal growth and evolution occurs.

On a human level, we learn about the ripple effect and the moral, legal, and ethical consequences of our chosen actions while self examining our darkest emotions. We are encouraged to question everything, to learn to think for ourselves, to be more accountable and research everything we learn and to be open and responsive to life without judgment.

On a personal level, the training can make you face and slay your own demons.

Everything shared here is highly encouraged to be individually researched, to “absorb what is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weapon Retention... Is There a Better Way?

Weapon retention will always be a hot topic in Law Enforcement circles, and for good reason. Every call we respond to is a gun call, because we bring the gun. The statistics we got pounded into our heads in the academy haven’t changed.  Twenty percent of officers shot and eight percent of officers killed provided the weapons to their attackers.  Clearly, this needs to change.

Although different solutions have been offered to combat this problem, the above mentioned statistics indicate those solutions have failed to protect us.  Police administrators have often looked to the holster manufacturer for answers, and the manufacturers have been happy to take up the cause by adding more levels of security into holster designs.  Duty holsters can be found ranging for Level I (one safety device to disengage) to Level IV (four, yes, four separate actions to complete before the weapon will clear the holster).  Common sense dictates that more levels of ‘security’ make for a slower draw stroke.  Is this the direction we want to be going in, a weapon that will not come out of the holster, even when we need it?  I think not.

Some have looked to better training to solve the problem, and developed techniques to counter a suspect’s attempt at taking an officer’s weapon.  Unfortunately, many of these techniques are nothing more than Aikido type moves that have been painted blue to be easily sold to Law Enforcement officials.  These techniques often require that they be practiced religiously to be effective.  Showing a 5’4”, 120lb. female recruit how to do this once or twice (or even 10 times) will not suffice when two years later a 6’2”, 240lb. felon goes for her weapon. What is needed is a concept that will work, is natural and therefore easy to employ, and will negate a suspect’s size or strength advantage.

Enter the Shredder/ R.E.A.C.T. (Rapid Engagement Assault Counter Tactic) concept.  This concept was developed by Richard Dimitri, a close quarters combat and self defense instructor operating out of Montreal, Canada.  Mr. Dimitri has extensive experience in  the ring as a competitor and working the door (read: bouncer) in some of Montreal’s more notorious clubs.  The combat system he founded is called Senshido, and traveling the world teaching his material to law enforcement, military and civilians is keeping Mr. Dimitri very busy.  The history of Mr. Dimitri, Senshido and the Shredder / R.E.A.C.T. concept are beyond the scope of this article, but can be found on his web-site.

Mr. Dimitri’s Shredder / R.E.A.C.T. concept is both scientifically and behaviorally based, and uses only gross motor tools to attack the most vulnerable targets in rapid succession.  The attacks are performed faster than the human’s flinch response can cope with and elicits a panic response from the recipient.  This response is the key, as it will force the opponent to release his hold on the officer’s weapon.

Why does it work?  There are two main reasons the Shredder/ R.E.A.C.T. concept is so devastating. One, the brain goes into complete panic mode when it senses danger or trauma to the head area, especially the eyes and throat. This response is a function of the sympathetic nervous system, specifically the amygdale portion of the brain.  The resultant actions of this panic include flinching, recoiling away from the direction of pressure or trauma, the eyes snapping shut and often tucking of the chin with shrugging of the shoulders. It is difficult, if not outright impossible to launch or sustain an attack when your body is behaving like this uncontrollably.

The second reason is the way in which the targets are attacked. The speed at which the tools are employed keeps the attack ahead of the opponent’s defensive reactions. The source of the speed is near perfect economy of motion. Very little force is needed, as the targets are soft and poorly protected (if one has the hand strength to fire a weapon, then one has the strength to attack these targets).  With so little force required to inflict the trauma (or perception of trauma) no chambering of the hands is needed.  The hands just move from one target to the next.  In some cases, the hand doesn’t even move after an initial strike, just the area of the hand applying the pressure changes.  Imagine striking the nose with the palm, leaving the hand in place and applying pressure to the eyes with the finger tips, and then re-applying pressure to the nose with the palm again. Three distinct attacks, three separate perceptions of pain and trauma, all taking place in a fraction of a second.

How does it work?  Follow along with a break-down of the application:  Picture yourself squaring off against a cop, a cop that’s much smaller and lighter that you are, perhaps the 5’4” 120lb female previously mentioned. You lunge forward, obtain a strong two handed grab on her holstered weapon and begin to pull like mad. This action is very likely lifting the officer off the ground and at the very least destroying her balance. Instead of trying to anchor the weapon in the holster, the officer reaches forward with her left hand (assuming a right handed officer) and grabs you by the back of your neck, pulling your head toward the ground.  While this is happening, her open right hand went to your nose, palm first.  Before the pain of the broken nose sets in and without the officer’s hand leaving your face, the officer’s fingers have found your eyes, and began to gouge with a downward motion. You’ll try to pull you head away, but the officer’s left hand holds fast, while the right continues the attack. The officer’s right hand is still on your face, but now she’s applying pressure to you broken nose with her palm, her middle two fingers are still exploring your eye sockets, all while pushing your face to your right. Just as your neck has reached its full extension the officer’s hand has left your face, only to be replaced by a hard forearm / elbow strike to your jaw.  As the officer’s right arm retracts, her hand has found your face again, her fingers return to your eyes, and once again twists your neck, this time to your left.

As you pivot to your left, the officer has stepped to your right, establishing a flanking position. Her right hand has finally left your face, and found it’s way to your throat, where she obtains a vise-like grip and pulls you to your rear, denying you of what little balance you had left. Her left hand went from the back of your neck, around the left side of your head, partially tearing off your left ear, and picked up where her right hand left off.  Your eyes and nose are under assault again, and to top it all off, the officer is providing a barrage of knee strikes to your right thigh.  Think you might have let go of her weapon in the four seconds since this assault on your vitals started? Yeah, me too.  In fact, your hands would have likely left the weapon and went to your face area to protect your eyes the instant your brain perceived them to be in danger. It wouldn’t have mattered; the officer’s attacks would be at least two moves ahead of your defensive response.

Bear in mind that these attacks only came in that order because that’s the order the in which the targets presented themselves. The Shredder / R.E.A.C.T. concept contains no memorized sequence of attacks.  The attack could have started with a throat strike, followed by a chin jab which flowed into an eye rake while an ear is being ripped from the head, setting up for the head-butt to the temple and so on.

In ending this scenario the officer has several options when she disengages you. She could simply push off, make distance and deploy the appropriate weapon.  Or she could step back and using your throat and eye socket as handles, throw you to the ground.  Head first, of course.

After training with Mr. Dimitri I realized the potential this concept had as a weapon retention tool.  So armed with this concept I approached some co-workers to try it out. We started with my ‘assailant’ having one hand on my holstered weapon.  One by one, they tried to free my Glock 22 from the lever III holster it’s carried in, and one by one they failed. The Shredder/R.E.A.C.T. concept worked, and obviously I wasn’t inflicting the trauma I would during a life and death struggle. I was only applying mild pressure on their closed eyes, lightly tugging on their ears and gently pushing on their noses, throats and chins. I didn’t even include elbows or knee strikes. We tried another round of attempts. I thought the concept wouldn’t work (without real trauma) as well the second time because my ‘opponents’ had the luxury of knowing what I was about to do. I even stacked the odds in their favor by lowering the hood on the holster. The second round had the same result: the Glock stayed put.  They managed to hang on a little longer this time, but not by much.

The Shredder/ R.E.A.C.T. concept deserves a place in your street ‘toolbox’.  Like anything else worth learning, proper training is essential.  Richard Dimitri travels the globe giving seminars and sooner or later, he’ll end up somewhere near you. Dimitri also has certified instructors throughout the world who can teach you this concept.  Both a seminar schedule and a list of instructors are on line at   


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