tactical preschool 58

A basic tactical skill is operating in low-light conditions. These days there are a plethora of lighting do-dads that can be carried in hand, attached to your weapon or attached to your body. There are a few basic things to know when using these lights in a tactical situation.


The first rule of thumb to learn is that you should never be wandering around a danger area with your light constantly on like you are out looking for earthworms. Anybody with evil intent towards you will have a beacon to aim at as you move around. You have to learn to search with “bursts of light”. In this example, the good guy is moving down a hallway.

From a position of cover he “fires” a burst of light to clear the area he wants to move to. I recommend that you don’t “sweep” your light around too much. It’s my opinion that it’s better to check an area…turn the light off…then check another area. It is much more disorienting to someone who may be at the other end of your light and makes it tougher for him to zero in on you. Other opinions on that may vary.

Now..very important…turn your light OFF and either move immediately or wait a second before moving out. I suggest you mix that up as you go as it makes your pattern of “light and move” tougher to predict.

With your light off, move to your next position of cover.


Wash…rinse…and repeat as necessary.

P.S. There is also nothing wrong with a burst of light while you are on the move to check danger areas, address threats etc. This illustration is only an example of a basic technique. These rules of thumb are not set in stone.


cop musings

I remember…years ago, days after I returned home from Basic Training  at Ft. McClellan Al, I went out to my car to discover a window broken and my radio stolen. I called the police and an officer showed up to take a report. He was a decent enough guy but I recall distinctly thinking “well he’s not going to figure out who did this”. I sort of interpreted his attitude as simply “delivering the mail”.

Now, many years later, I find myself on the other side of the equation and know full well the differences in expectations that exist between the police and the people we serve.

As in my example, theft from automobiles is an extremely common occurence. Valuables left visible in vehicles, even a significant amount of loose change, can attract a thief’s attention. What attracts them even more are unlocked doors. By and large most of the “carpoppings” (as we call them here) are thefts from vehicles left unlocked overnight. Now…forgetting to lock your car door on occasion is excusable, what is less excusable is leaving your purse, wallet (with all of your credit cards/ID, etc.), laptop, powered up GPS, I-Pod, cell phone etc. in plain view…in your UNLOCKED car…on the street…overnight. How people get in the habit of leaving $100’s of dollars and all their personal ID and credit cards in an unlocked car is beyond me…but anyway…

Sometimes, when we get there we are greeted with an attitude of “how could you let this happen??”. Look. There are a LOT of streets in Town and not a LOT of officers. It’s simple math. If there is a known problem in your area we will do our best to try to catch these people “in the act”; but when all some kid walking down the street has to do is pull on door handles till he finds an open one, odds are that we are not going to be sitting right there when it happens. Not that “it’s your fault”, nobody has a right to take your stuff, but lets say you try locking your doors and not leaving all that crap in your car and I will try my best to try to catch these guys in the act.

We are most likely NOT going to break out the CSI unit for your stolen I-Pod.  If there are obvious fingerprints I may tell you to garage the car till a detective can get to it later in the day or the next day, but a detective getting called in at 0300hrs on OT to dust your car for prints just isn’t going to happen and the mess that print powder makes will probably bother you more than your stolen stuff did. No DNA swabs, no alternate light sources, no tracking dogs.

And, as cold as it sounds, unless I immediately catch someone who is carrying your stolen property, your stuff is most likely GONE. If I catch someone the following week with a ton of stolen property in his car (some of it yours), and I can’t determine who it all belongs to it does you no good. To do that we need the SN# to put in the computer system and hardly anybody knows their serial numbers. If you don’t know the serial numbers of your property (or have it marked with something like a personal code) odds are you wont be seeing it again. I admit that I myself don’t keep track of them. It’s somethhing I plan on doing something about ….someday. I have had some luck with GPS systems and cell phones as long as they haven’t been “wiped”, but that’s rare.

Now you may ask, “why should I call the police if they are not going to get my stuff back”. Well, for starters you may need a report to give to your credit card company or  for your insurance. But more importantly because it helps us to know where the problems are, what time and days the crimes are happening, the method of theft and what sort of stuff is being stolen. This helps us to zero in on who is doing this and when. Believe it or not, we ARE interested in stopping these people from doing this to other residents even if odds of charging anybody in YOUR particular incident are slim. People would be shocked to discover how often that report the cop did, even though they never heard anything more about it, helped catch someone down the road.

So I guess that in conclusion I am trying to say, don’t think that I am uninterested in solving YOUR particular crime. I would love to lock someone up and get your stuff back. But unless there is some decent information to follow up on there is not much that I can do, other than file a report and hope that the data may eventually lead to an arrest in another case.


tactical preschool 57

Todays lesson is a quick one. Inside of buildings you will encounter hallways and intersections. To safely travel during a deliberate search you need to know how to negotiate these danger areas. Below is a basic method of clearing a T-intersection.

As you approach the intersection, determine which direction you want to take. Then begin “slicing the pie” on the opposite corner.  This is to make certain that the area you will have your back to is clear before you take the turn.

After you have visually cleared as much of the corridor as you can, move to the opposite wall.

Once again, slice the pie to clear as much area as possible….

When you are ready to move, cross the “threshold” …I suggest a “quick peek” behind you to check that last thin “slice” you couldn’t clear…then continue to your next problem area.


tactical preschool 56

We have already had a lesson on basic tactical concepts such as; flanking, fire and maneuver and team formations. Now we are going to talk about where these all come together. Offensive Maneuver.  The forms of offensive maneuver are the basic techniques a force conducting offensive operations uses to gain advantage over the enemy. Each form of maneuver has a resultant effect on the enemy. A few fundamental examples are:

The Frontal Attack:

A frontal attack is an offensive maneuver where the main action is directed against the front of the enemy forces. It is used to rapidly overrun or destroy a weak enemy force or fix a significant portion of a larger enemy force in place over a broad front to support a flanking attack or envelopment. It is generally the least preferred form of maneuver because it strikes the enemy where he is the strongest.

The Flank Attack:

A flanking attack is a form of offensive maneuver directed at the flank of an enemy force. As you already know, a flank is the right or left side of a formation that is not oriented toward the enemy. It is usually not as strong in terms of forces or fires as is the front of a military formation. If there is no discernible “end” or “side” of an enemy position, a flank may be “created” through the use of fires or by a successful penetration of the formation. A flank attack is similar to an envelopment but generally conducted on a shallower axis. Such an attack is designed to defeat the enemy force while minimizing the effect of the enemy’s frontally oriented combat power. Flanking attacks are normally conducted with the main effort directed at the flank of the enemy and a supporting effort that engages the enemy force’s front. This supporting effort diverts the enemy’s attention from the threatened flank. This is often used for a hasty attack or meeting engagement where speed and simplicity are paramount to maintaining battle tempo and, ultimately, the initiative.

The Single Envelopment:

An envelopment is a form of offensive maneuver by which the attacker bypasses the enemy’s principal defensive positions entirely in order to secure objectives to the enemy’s rear. The enemy’s positions may be bypassed using ground, waterborne or vertical (helicopter or Airborne) envelopment. An envelopment compels the defender to fight on the ground of the attacker’s choosing. It requires surprise and superior mobility relative to the enemy.

The Double Envelopment:

The commander may choose to conduct a double envelopment. Double envelopments are designed to force the enemy to fight in two or more directions simultaneously to meet the converging axis of the attack. It may lead to the encirclement of the enemy force so the commander must be prepared to contain and defeat any breakout attempts. The commander selects multiple objectives to the rear of the enemy’s defense and the enveloping forces use different routes to attack, seize or secure those objectives.


Infiltration is a form of maneuver where forces move covertly through or into an enemy area to attack positions in the enemy’s rear. This movement is made, either by small groups or by individuals, at extended or irregular intervals. Forces move over, through or around enemy positions without detection to assume a position of advantage over the enemy.Infiltration is normally conducted with other forms of maneuver.


A penetration is a form of offensive maneuver where an attacking force seeks to rupture the enemy’s defense on a narrow front to disrupt the defensive system.

Penetrations are used when enemy flanks are not assailable or time, terrain or the enemy’s disposition does not permit the employment of another form of maneuver. Successful penetrations create assailable flanks and provide access to the enemy’s rear. A penetration generally occurs in three stages:

  • Rupturing the position.
  • Widening the gap.
  • Seizing the objective.

A penetration is accomplished by concentrating overwhelmingly superior combat power on a narrow front and in depth. As the attacking force ruptures the enemy’s defenses, units must be tasked to secure the shoulders of the breach and ultimately widen the gap for follow-on units. Rupturing the enemy position and widening the gap are not in themselves decisive. The attacker must exploit the rupture by attacking into the enemy’s rear or attacking laterally to roll up the enemy’s positions.

Reference: MCDP 1-0, Marine Corps Operations, pgs. 7-16 to 7-23


tea master

A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill.

As he was served by his friend, the Zen master could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. “Tomorrow,” the Zen master said, “when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony.”

The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.

The Tea Ceremony:


well…i think they should give the deer guns…

I once addressed the ethics of hunting in a forum discussion. The topic of Hunting can sometimes devolve into accusations of “cruelty”, the necessity of it, the evilness of calling it/considering it “sport”, etc. and some of that came to light here. This is how I addressed MY experience with hunting and how I see it’s place in my life.

I hunt Whitetail Deer every year. Have done some small game (rabbit, duck, pheasant, grouse, etc.) and have taken boar w/rifle.

In terms of “right and wrong”. I am a meat eater. I eat what I kill…always. I think that if you are a meat eater you have no grounds to criticize my “cruelty”. My food can and often does get away to live another season. Your meat (and mine too because I eat “store meat”) is born, raised and taken to slaughter. It NEVER had a chance.

I think that hunting has given me many gifts. I respect what it means to be a carnivore. I have a respect for the wilderness. My licensing fees do more to conserve wildlife and land for wildlife than almost all private foundations in this state combined. And to be “sadistic” in some people’s worldview..I know how various caliber weapons “work” on animals of large size and get to have a yearly reminder of what it means to kill. I take no pleasure in the kill but I know that I have the capability. And for those who think that martial arts is about “warriorship”. Hunting has been the pastime of “Warriors” (and probably the prehistoric forerunner to the fighting man) for eons.

 The photo below is of a boar I took in the late summer of 2010:

I was invited to a private hunt at a game preserve, something I don’t normally do, nor something I can really afford to be honest; but as it was a “gift”, I went. I like ham, we buy quite a bit of it from the local markets. While many of the “anti-hunters” may like to ignore this fact, the plain truth is that this animal suffered no more (and hopefully less) than the animal that we buy in those sterile foam trays from the supermarket. It was fed and allowed to roam free till I took it as expediently and with as little “malice” as any other predator in the wild would when it hunts for its sustenance. It wasn’t cooped up in a pen till it was time for that terrifying ride in a truck and then the herding down the slaughterhouse chute. Mind you, I don’t really have an issue with the necessity of that scenario either, it’s the reality of feeding the people of this world.

The additional benefits I gained from this hunt and from hunting in general was a field testing of my weapon and my marksmanship. Unlike simply shopping for ham, I got food PLUS  real-world training and a testing of the effectiveness of my “tools” and ammunition selection. So while the vegans out there have my respect as far as putting their “morals where their mouths are”, the meat eating “antis” need to explain to me where my choice of acquiring some food is so wrong.


ropecraft: hasty rappelling harness

An important skill to know is how to tie a hasty rappelling harness.

This dude calls the securing knot a “tape knot”, also known as is the “water knot“, which I showed you here previously.

As crazy as it may sound, and I DO NOT recommend you self-instruct this way, I learned how to rappel using this harness, a carabiner  and a length of anchor rope from a boat when I was a stupid and “invincible” teenager.