Marcus on "Artifice"

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Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:32 am

While I was overseas in 2004 Marcus did a great job of keeping the forum going with this terrific thread
Den


ARTIFICE
Dennis and I have an ongoing conversation that’s run for eighteen years now and I hope will continue for many more. While that conversation has rambled all over the map, the core of it is about combatives. If you all don’t mind, I’d like to ask you about some of the things Den and I have discussed and get your take on it.

Just a brief note about why I’m here and posting: I avoid internet forums like the plague and haven’t posted anything anywhere for many years. Dennis has repeatedly invited me to come and join in on the civil and knowledgeable discussion that goes on in this particular forum. I am by no means an “authority” and I am no longer an instructor; I’m asking you about your experiences and tapping your expertise to broaden my own understanding of the subject. I’m a writer, and occasional combatives researcher, and a combatives practitioner in a limited way because of injury and illness. The only things I bring to any discussion I might engage in here are things I know, from weekly discussion with Dennis, to be in line with his thinking. And I do that out of a deep and abiding respect for Den – this forum is his house, and I’m just a visiting guest.


So in the spirit of keeping things going while Den is away jumping out of helicopters in Africa, I’d like to ask about the psychological components of combatives.

“Get the best training you can afford. But train with the understanding that firearms practice is about 75% physical and 25% mental. However, a gun fight is about 25% physical and 75% mental.”

Clint Smith, a highly regarded American tactical instructor.

When I asked Clint how he thought those percentages applied to unarmed combat, he said something to the effect of (I don’t have the exact quote): “Fighting is fighting, whether it’s with a pistol or your empty hands. I think it applies across the board.”

Den and I found that to resonate with our own takes on the matter, and that was one of the reasons we worked together to develop methods of bringing more mental effort into the physical training – the state-based work – and have experimented over the years with ways to better deliver that. I’ve always been interested in the refinement of the mental aspects.

One of Fairbairn’s principles is Artifice – a mental/psychological principle. I understand the principle of using distraction or verbal engagement to set up an opponent for a pre-emptive strike. But is that all Fairbairn meant when he talked about Artifice? Pete Robins (God bless you and rest you, Peter) and I had a long correspondence about this as well, and my opinion then, and now, is that those techniques of distraction were really the tip of the iceberg in Artifice. I found it interesting that, at least in the OSS/SOE sphere, the training was provided to people who’s very survival depended on the sophisticated use of deception to survive, the undercover operators working in denied territory.

It’s been my experience that in personal combat, the “fight” starts a long time before the opponent is in your face and you’re setting them up for a strike. The psychological assessment process goes on in many instances long before the players move into striking distance, whether with weapons or empty hands. It’s the early “Mental” part of the fight. Part of that assessment is based on the evaluation of you.

What I mean by that is the human being is by nature wired to communicate constantly: body language, verbal cues, eye accessing cues, choice of clothing, etc. What do you communicate consciously or unconsciously about your fighting capability to others who observe you? And how might that information benefit your opponent?

I refined my observation skills working on a door, like many here (and that was really the experience that moved me from the martial artist expression to a combative expression) and then later in military and government service, as a protection specialist, and as a researcher in neural-based training. One of the really profound lessons I learned was from another operator, a woman (one of the very few at that time working in a gun carrying counter-terrorist position). I had made a stupid, ignorant remark about the suitability of women for the job. This gal, who later became a great friend, had been a uniformed police officer in Florida and then later worked in very high risk undercover work for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

“Marcus,” she said. “When things get ugly and we have to go to work, tell me something: who do you think is going to get shot first? Little ole me in my mini-skirt, or you? Take a look at you. Swaggering around in a leather jacket, sweatshirt, jeans and boots. It’s like you’re wearing a sign that says “Tough Guy. Shoot here.” Bad guys won’t expect me to be tough. Or armed. And when push comes to shove, it might just be me to save your macho ass.”

Hmm. Hurt to hear. Truth sometimes does. So I started taking a look at what I was transmitting about me, both on the job and off. And that’s when I really started looking for ways to apply artifice and deception across the board.

I didn’t want to look tough. I didn’t want to appear to be trained. I wanted to be the “grey man.” And when I started looking at myself, there was a lot of work to be done. First were easy things, like clothing and accessories: lose the tough guy undercover clothes and soften the profile. Off duty lose the martial arts sweatshirts and hats from the shooting schools that advertise your possible training and experience. Stop training in public. Don’t talk about your skills unless people had a need to know. And so on.

The hard part is changing your physiology. The way you stand and move, the patterns of tension in your musculature, the way your eyes move, all of those things spell “Switched On” to the skilled observer. Ever notice how cops pick out cops even off duty, or how you can spot a trained guy by the way he moves? I remember working on a door and watching how guys would puff up, or not, meet my eyes, or not, when they came up to me. And that speaks volumes about what they’re thinking and what they’re capable of.

I would venture to say that all of you, whether you’re professionally involved in violence or not, go through this type of evaluation of other people consciously or unconsciously, even if it’s just, “Could I take him or not?” What do people think when they see you? And how could they use that to hurt you? What could you do with your “presentation” that would benefit you in a combative scenario? I see that as part of the “mental fight” and a combatives aspect worth considering.

So in my long winded fashion (and I apologize for that…I’m a writer and storyteller by profession, so I tend to go on and on…) what I’m most curious about is this:

1. Do you accept that strategic deception (hiding your capabilities and intentions from all who observe you) is an integral part of combatives? If not, why?
2. If you do accept it, what do you do to train that?
3. What kind of experiences would you share about the practical application of strategic deception?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and getting the benefit of your experiences.

Cheers, Marcus
===================
From Mika
Marcus,

Excellent stuff and much food for thought....personally I always went the opposite route, its really hard for somebody like me hiding my bulk and build.
So when I worked for a while as an courier I just went for the beer guzzling, skinhead haircut,powerlifter look...trying to squeze at that time 260lbs on a 5´7 frame into suit would just look ridiculos.

The bomber/leather jacket look served me well in places like Dam/Marseilles in melting in with my surrondings...but i had to stop projecting my cop/minder aura around...that took some work.

What I worked most on was making my eyes flat,avoiding blatant eye contact and working on a non-arrogant somewhat clumsy stupid look and body language.

Marcus, while I am a GREAT fan of your novels...what we all are waiting is a manual....The Manual, on NLP/COMBATIVES/MINDSET a book that only you and Den could write.

So the only thing I am wondering is ....when can we find it on the shelves?

P.S Dont stop writing those novels btw...they are my favorite source of gun porn...a bit to heavy on the emerson-knives,but hey they will do in a pinch:-)

/Mika
================
From Al Beckett
Hi Marcus and mika, firstly I have to say it is great for me to be able to communicate with you chaps as you are consumate professionals in this field and I am an amatuer in every sense of the word.
However the questions are still valid as even I have had people say to me "you always look ready" which is not something I cultivated therefore it must be a side effect of training.

1) Hiding your capabilities definately comes into play. If I am out and about during the day I love to wear my martial art/combative sweats & T's but if I go out of an evening I know that I will encounter more drinkers etc. and these clothes get left behind, no point fueling the flame.

2) If caught up in any bozo's heated conversation I try to keep my own voice quiet and controlled, it then makes them take a step back when I hit them full on with a verbal torent often resulting in the reply "okay okay I was only saying".

3) Just as I have said above I have avoided many physical confrontations by surprising people at the interview.

As I said at the outset mine is a totally amatuer point of view.

Alan
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Last edited by on Thu Aug 24, 2006 4:13 am; edited 3 times in total

Dennis M
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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:40 am

From Slackbladder
1. Do you accept that strategic deception (hiding your capabilities and intentions from all who observe you) is an integral part of combatives? If not, why?

An excellent concept. One of Sun Tzu's maxims was "When strong, appear weak - when weak, appear strong." The Chinese general always got things right.
We train to defeat not only the garden-variety street scum, but the rare "Black Swan" that is the prepared, skilled, determined adversary. The kind of man that will spot the callouses on the knuckles of a pugilist, the clip of a knife in the pocket, the weapon "printing" underneath a shirt, the 5.11 khakis, the ball chain the neck-knife hangs on, the photojournalist vest, the scars that come from extensive knife handling, the blood blisters from a long day on the pistol range, patches of forearm hair missing (Cheers for that one, Marcus) from the testing of a blade... et cetera, et cetera.
In the event of such a dangerous adversary singling you out as a target, the fewer signs that may indicate your possible responses and avenues of action, the better.

2. If you do accept it, what do you do to train that?

Wardrobe:

First off, the "Gutterfighting International Seminar" t-shirt stays at home.
I try to wear a middle-of-the-road selection of clothes. By deliberately dressing in clothes that offer me maximum advantage in range-of-movement and concealment, I do stand out in the proverbial line-up. Magnum boots, 5.11 khakis, split vest, Galco gun-belt and Gargoyle eyewear all screams "Touch me and feel my wrath."
I opt for roomy denim jeans, nondescript t-shirts and comfortable shoes. By no means do these offer me an advantage, but they DO NOT signal my preparedness, something that could negate all the advantages I work so hard to create.
Colour also plays a part. The classic black outfit looks TOO mean. I can always spot the bouncer on his weekly shopping trip, because he is the only muscley chap wearing plain black clothes in a heated supermarket. The "black commando" look is even more obvious than DPM clothing in signalling combative mindset.
Therefore, I opt for lighter, blander colours like khaki, light blue and grey (I'm really colour-co-ordinated, me!) as these light, nondescript colours are the best "sheep" colours I can find. Bold primary colours feel like a no-no to me. Most colours in my wardrobe are muted, not bright.

The "cut" of my clothes is generally loose-fit. The tight, torso-flattering t-shirts are nice to wear in clubs to woo the ladyfolk, but I wear loose, roomy shirts and jumpers to disguise my physique.
On the topic of physique, I exercise to develop strength, not bulk. The massive chest of a bodybuilder is not only unnecessary, but it is a dead giveaway. Real strength comes from the lower back, abdomen and legs. Train your core to be strong, and the limbs will develop as much as they need to by themselves. Developing the bicep and pectoral to massive proprtions will lose you the surpise of unearthly strength in a tangle. I have met a european cage-fighting champ and he didn't look like much. All his strength was in his middle.

Behaviour:

This is what I find tricky. You can always spot the predator through the way they stand, the places they stand, the way the head moves and the eyes. This is a mindset "splash" that can been seen from space.
The classic "back to the wall facing the door" is the best way to spot the security-minded folk in a public place. I surrender this place to them and opt for a second or third position that leaves me with a good view, but lets me see who moves into "prime position". These people are marked for further attention in the course of my observations.

I have a tendancy to stride everywhere, not just walk. Ramrod straight back, brisk pace and intent gaze on my destination. Have you ever seen the scene in "Point Blank" when Lee Marvin is striding down that hallway, his footsteps echoing with murderous intent? I can do that! I've found that by shortening my stride length, landing on the flat of my foot rather than the heel and hunching my shoulders slightly, I can look rather unnassuming for a skinhead. I've found that using a role-model from cinema helps enormously. Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man" has the quintessential victim shuffle, with Woody Allen providing excellent support. Lee Marvin (Point Blank) or Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast) have a murderous stride.
Standing upright with the shoulders back is a no-no if you feel eyes on you. I autmatically hunch and alter my stride if I reckon I need the advantage of surprise.

The way I talk is subject to change too. The human voice can be given a steely edge with little effort (Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs is an excellent example.) When each syllable is clearly and carefully enunciated, the voice is assumed to have power, for that kind of precision is usually found through the whole spectrum of a persons actions. A mumbling, stuttering voice is the exact opposite. I sometimes practise a believable stutter just to see how people react when they hear a voice that is devoid of authority.

Movement: Returning to Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, he once gave an interview on the why and how of his performance. He said that he thought of Lecter as the ultimate predator. A supreme creature that exists only to hunt. Therefore, he modelled his performace of Lecter on the behaviour of big cats such as tigers, lions and cheetahs. He said that the stalk of a big cat will consist mostly of total stillness followed by economic movement. How many of us have noticed that guys will sit totally still in their chairs (or stand still in a corner) and constantly monitor their surroundings like statues with moving eyes? Then they will move from A to B in a straight line and resume the vigil. The "sheep" among us rarely sit still. They fidget, wander, crane the head back and forth, lean forward in the chair, wave their hands while talking, etc. They move a lot and therefore reveal the violent-minded in their stillness.

3. What kind of experiences would you share about the practical application of strategic deception?

The only real-world experience of me using this kind of thinking happened a few years ago. I got onto a bus with maybe 8 other people and took my seat about 5 rows forward of the rear of the bus. Only one dude sat behind me and I just knew he was a bad guy. He sat right where I would sit if I wanted to follow a guy on the bus. True enough, as I got off, so did he, as I walked in a loop around busy-ish streets, so did he. I was almost hyperventilating with terror as I took measures to lose the bastard in narrow streets. (Counter-survellance techniques are worth learning, btw)

Excellent questions. Real thought provoking stuff.
Slacky
====================
From Belisarius
I think the value of deliberately cultivating a soft-target appearance varies depending on whether you are dealing with a "closed system," in which case the attacker seeks to dominate/control a pre-defined, closed group; or an "open system," in which an attacker wants to select (from a random sample that may for all practical purposes be open-ended) a target that meets certain simple cost-benefit analysis criteria. In the first example, the attacker will want to neutralize the strong, potential threats first; in the second, the attacker will want to avoid the strong, potential threats and presenting a soft target will only encourage him to select you.

My feeling is that professionals who are working under surveillance in a denied or non-permissive area will probably indeed want to avoid looking like what they are, but self-defense-minded civilians should look like badasses because, from a probabilistic standpoint, the badass is the guy that only an idiot would pick a fight with. ........
By looking like a badass, I mean looking like someone who would not be fun to fight. I don't think this entails trying to stare people down or to behave in a provocative manner and I apologize if it came out that way. To use but one example, Bas Rutten walks around smiling pleasantly and generally being a nice guy, but ultimately he looks like what he is: someone who can knock your head off with a straight right.

A fool looking for a quick adrenaline dump and the "fun" of a Saturday night fisticuffs might start trouble with anyone, especially if he's got friends with him and is loaded up with enough liquid courage. Here I am talking about a criminal predator who is looking to profit economically from his attack---he wants a victim, and so the harder the target looks the less sense such an encounter makes from a risk-reward standpoint.

Courtesy and respect for others are part of the larger package, too.
Just my $.02.
Bel
============================

From Slacky
Belisarius:

While you have an excellent point about the desirability of "target hardening" to dissuade the opportunist criminal, I feel the "cloak of abject cowardice" has a place in the combative toolbox.
There are times, however rare or unlikely, when appearing vulnerable and non-threatening will add to the surprise element of the final, violent action:
Becoming a hostage in a bank-robbery gone bad, car-jacking, boxcutter-related problems with your aircraft, gate-crashers at a party, et cetera et cetera. These are all cases when appearing like a rough-and-tumble kinda guy will single you out for sepcial attention.

Any crime which requires some form of crowd control will have criminals identifying and negating the individuals who could be a source of resistance.

There is a time and a place for all things, including varieties of demeanour.
Slacky
==============

From Mika
"There is a time and a place for all things, including varieties of demeanour."

Very well said Brother Slack....Looking like Bas is not always a solution, several years back he was teaching a seminar in Sweden and when visiting a nightclub...some of the bouncers decided to have a go at him...Bas did well,very well btw.

/Mika
========================

From Belisarius
SlackB, I agree. That's what I would consider one of the aforementioned "closed-system" problems. The attacker doesn't have the option of de-selecting certain individuals for inclusion in his target group, so he has to take those guys out.

If you get specifically targeted because you are famous, because there is a woman/are women involved, because of revenge or money, or because your reputation makes you valuable to some young gunslinger who wants to make a name for himself, then it doesn't matter what you look like. I'm just referring to the notion that most bad guys are at least nominally concerned with being severely hurt or killed, and given no other information will choose to rob a gas station rather than Fort Knox (especially since the economic payout may be the same in either case).
Bel

Dennis M
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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:49 am

From Marcus
From Marcus
Hey Guys –

Some really great and interesting and educational responses here so far! You guys have done some really serious thinking on the subject. Impressive! I’m learning a lot. Thanks for the great education!

Like I said, I don’t have any answers. I’m curious as to your experiences and your thought processes. What I see in the responses is an examination of your own processes of threat evaluation and individual representation…a conscious examination of a process that is, for most people most of the time, a completely unconscious process. And that might be useful in extending your toolbox in the realm of mental warfare.

In the course of doing research and training, I’ve been shown by people much smarter than me how the brain automates processes…you learn something to the level of unconscious competence, make it a program, and then you move on to something else, with that program running in the background. And often we don’t tinker with it once it’s up and running. Those programs are shaped by a lot of things, three things in particular: your genetics, your life experiences, and your training.

For instance, evaluating another human’s threat potential is a pretty essential basic survival skill, wouldn’t you agree? Your genetics play the first part, giving you a certain neurological/cognitive predisposition. People who are drawn to work in high threat environments under lots of stress tend to be mismatchers – we see not what’s in place, but what’s out of place. Part of that is a genetic thing, which can be reinforced by experiences. It’s been my painful discovery along the way that it’s the things that are out of place that can hurt you (as Slack illustrated so well in his post, when he lists things to look for). So genetics, and your experiences with dangerous people, people who can hurt you, are the first shapers. And then there is the aspect of training, which starts in the cradle. Your parent’s behavior and their instruction shape your early perceptions of what dangerous means in people. And that program tends to be shaped unconsciously, and we make decisions based on that program running.

Training is the biggest variable you can bring to the table, and the one you have the most control over. Do you think that consciously modifying your currently established programs in threat evaluation and your personal representation might be useful to you in a combative situation? That might be an interesting aspect from which to approach training.

I talked earlier about my own reshaping of my representation. The first thing I had to do was become aware of what I was sending. Then I had to modify that. Like I said, the easy thing to do was modify the external trappings – clothing choices, etc. The hard thing was dealing with the internal processes.

Your posts lead toward an interesting question: what is it about some people that transmits “Badass – don’t fxxk with me” – without it being blatant and in your face? And how can we learn to do that and add that to our arsenal? Would you agree that might be a useful tool?

When I was researching that question, I went to some of the same places you guys mention – looked at actors, looked at acting. Because of my training and research position in the Air Marshal program, I was also able to reach out to agencies with lots of people undercover and talk to their trainers and operators. And I spent a lot of time talking to professional bad asses trying to figure out how their brains worked.

One thing NLP is really good for is modeling…that’s not just mirroring somebody’s technique physically. It’s also, through a detailed process, uncovering what their cognitive and emotional strategies are, as well as their physical representations. As Dennis has told you, a state has two components: physiology (the physical processes) and internal representation (the mental/emotional processes). If you change one, you can change the other. So modeling is all about finding out about those two components. And then duplicating it.

That internal representation is what sends the signal about the “real badass” that some of you have talked about as your aura, your presence, all those words. That internal representation sends out a subtle signal in your physiology, in how you stand, in your muscle tension, in your gaze…

So I went and talked to guys who were true bad asses but didn’t look like it to the untrained/casual eye. They were for the most part professional practitioners of violence in the military or intelligence fields. What I’ve found is that the truly dangerous men I modeled had many characteristics in common in their internal representation and that was mirrored in a subtle way in their physiology. “There’s just something about him. I can’t put my finger on it” was something I heard from people I interviewed about my modeling subjects. One thing they had in common was a “strong neutral” as a default position – something several of you brought up. Not tough, not weak, not looking for trouble, not at the ready, not food, but not a hunter, either…neutral. Strong. By default position I mean that’s their baseline state – which could be modified to look weak or stronger if it was tactically advantageous on the psychological battlefield. Another characteristic was a relaxed situational awareness – not constantly panning, checking out all the angles, but a relaxed awareness of what was going on around them. Another significant characteristic was the ability to multi-task – to be carrying on a casual conversation while being aware of a situation unfolding near them and preparing to deal with it. A real interesting aspect was their ability to assume different “personas” when it suited them. One man I spent a lot of time with had wartime special forces experience and then a lot of experience working undercover in very hostile environments. (I don’t want to make this about professional needs and the needs of the “civilian” interested in self-protection, so extract what’s useful for you…). His default persona was of a southern good ole boy, slightly befuddled, asking lots of questions, mild and curious. Think of the character of Columbo in the old tv series, the one about the absent minded police investigator. That was him to a t. He had the physiology down…glasses, battered sport coat, hunched posture, the whole nine yards. That persona lulled a lot of dangerous people into thinking that he was a little slow, a little dense. Some of those people died. He had another persona, a dynamic one, when he stood in front of a classroom and taught from his real world experience. He had another strikingly different one with his wife and kids. And he had another one when he was walking by himself down dangerous streets. These were thought out personas, adopted for a reason and carefully constructed by a cunning and dangerous man to give him the advantage on the psychological playing field of combatives.

The bottom line is that all these guys exuded at one level a willingness to do a violence. And not just willingness…but experience. Successful experience. And they were able to amp that up when necessary, and hide it away when it wasn’t. But it was still there, not completely hidden, giving off that subtle warning message to the automated evaluation programs of predators.

Would the ability to create in your own mental representation those kind of characteristics be a useful tool in the psychological battlefield? Would the ability to cloak that also be useful? What kind of implications might that have for your approach to training? How might you train that? Is it even useful, or is too much work? What are your thoughts?
Marcus
=============================

From Belisarius:
I think we look for weaknesses and if we find one or more we are relieved. The absence of weaknesses signals trouble. "Weakness" is relative to our own capabilities in the areas that we are judging others on, but I think it probably initially comes down to heuristics straight out of evolutionary psychology. Women have highly evolved heuristics for finding suitable mates, as do men, and these have been successful tested and found to be fairly universal.

We see a Playboy Playmate and we have a good sense that she is physically desirable, not only for us but from the perspective of other men. I think we also have a good sense of the characteristics that we can equate with raw physical capability of the type that can hurt us in a fight.

The next level might be outward manifestations of training, special experience or a professional background, etc. The clip of a Sebenza in a pocket or waistband. The olive-drab Eagle three-day pack that looks like it has been to hell and back. Good boots. A professional-looking dive watch. A Strider t-shirt, Mid-South polo, or H&K ITD ball cap. A fleece jacket that you recognize as a USSOCOM-issue SPEAR. A tatoo of a parachuting skull. You all know what I mean. Little things that those who know tend to notice.
As a third and final level you have some kind of abstract vibe that the person gives off, which is probably due to some combination of relaxed alertness, lack of pretension, and physical confidence. I don't think this is an affectation that can be taught---I think it's the end product of having done a lot of difficult, perhaps very dangerous things and come through them all based on your own capabilities. This is the one that can trigger alarms even when the first two levels indicate a fairly harmless individual.

This is probably a simplistic assessment, but I think this is kind of what I go through when I am trying to categorize someone. Great thread, Marcus!
Bel
===================

From Marcus
Just want to acknowledge those of you addressing comments directly to me -- thanks for your welcome! And thanks for the great educational discussion here.

Mika -- thanks for the welcome and for your thoughts on the books! Too many Emerson knives? LOL! Ernest Emerson is a good friend and we talk a lot, and he keeps me in blades. But my friends at Spyderco sent me some cool ones lately. But I'll put a Fallkniven in my next one for you!

A book with Den? Well...let's just say we've discussed the possibilities. If you'd like, maybe you'd start a thread where you could list what, specifically, such a Manual might cover? Topics, specific things like that.

Alan B -- I've been at this a fair amount of time and I definitely think of myself as a student too! You make some good points and you've put them into practice!

Resident Weevil -- thanks for the welcome, and I think I'm the one being enriched!

cheers, Marcus
====================

From Mika
Marcus,

All that emerson "brain washing" has made an effect....I am about to buy one( I fondled "daredevils" commander at the international)....I carried spyderco´s for ages,but kind of switched to fixed blades a few years back.( a couple of CRKT Kaspers and benchmades have been in my pockets also)
fallkniven makes nice knives,but I never even owned one.

My serious carry type blades today are "perrin" claw type neck blades, OSS sleve dagger copys and "pistol" gripped push daggers...my favorite was the Blackjack knives "highland dirks"( http://blackjack.0catch.com/pages/dirk.htm ) series sadly out of production, so I have to make do with cheap pakistani copys.

Always hade a special fondness for Gerber daggers, still trying to find a "old pattern" mk2 to replace one I lost in the feild.

Stay safe!

/Mika

Dennis M
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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:49 am

From Marcus:
Hey guys – I had a thought about clarifying a point this morning: based on what I’ve found (see earlier post), the implications of the different presentation are like this:

If you appear weak, you may attract predators. However, you may gain a significant tactical advantage in surprise when they underestimate your defensive capability.

If you appear strong, you may deter casual predators. However, you may elicit a response like, “Think he’s tough, I’ll show him…and bring a weapon or more friends or whatever”

In both these instances, the enemy’s evaluation system has you pegged as “either-or.”

If you’re “neutral, strong” then you may introduce an element of uncertainty into the enemy’s evaluation of you…like, I’m not sure about this guy, there’s something there, I don’t know what…

That uncertainty introduces a hitch into their OODA loop. They don’t have a comprehensive Observation of you, and that interferes with their decision making component. In any event, it introduces a stutter into their cognitive process that you can take advantage of........
Hi Belasarius!

Glad you're enjoying the thread...thanks for bringing your experience to the discussion. I think your three-tier evaluation system is a useful evolution. I think the critical component in that strategy is the last step, mainly because that "vibe" is the hardest thing to hide or modify. You can take a big power-lifter and dress him up from the Brigade Quartermaster catalog, and he might scare off some people, but without a core level belief transmitted through his physiology, that last and essential step will be missing.

What interests me is how people with that vibe hide it, and also what kind of experiences/belief systems create it. I believe that it's possible for the "average guy/gal" whatever that might be, through the appropriate physical training coupled with the right psychological training, to create the life experiences that modify their belief systems so as to exude that confidence.

I've seen this for myself, in classes that use adrenal stress or appropriately designed training protocols. That's why I'm such a believer in addressing the psychological components of training...there is a possibility for quantum leaps in student outcomes.

Anyway, food for thought, and I'm trying to discipline myself not to run on and on! It's like the parable of the scorpion: "It's just my nature."

...............Hi Mika!

Den mentioned that you're a blade man! Blades and all that power, too...remind me never to get you mad at me! ; )

Ernest makes great knives and has great customer service; you won't go wrong with them.

I mostly rely on fixed blades as well for personal carry -- Den turned me onto the CRKT Companion, and I'm adding a Southnarc/Trace Rinaldi designed clinch Pick -- really brilliantly thought out equipment solution to a tactical problem. I like Ernest's take on Perrin's La Griffe, too. Carry it laced into my collar or in a pocket sheath.

Old school Gerbers! The centerpiece of my collection of users is a battered old Gerber Mark II I got at Fort Bragg when I was young and strong and thought falling out of planes was fun. It's so old it's got a low digit serial number on it, and I've worn the metal oxide off the handle!

Take care, I hope to meet you (all of you guys) some day.

cheers, Marcus

ps: my son likes the video of you beating the padded man on your website. he said, "Daddy! That man is strong!" ; )
=====================================

From Belisarius
Marcus, I wish I knew more about NLP and its applications to this area and I am fascinated by the work that you and Dennis have done with it.

One of the things that I think we all have noticed is how unconvincing some types of people are when they attempt to go into plainclothes mode and appear to be non-warrior types. It's actually kind of funny.

An operator who has to go into well-guarded areas, whether for R&S or to take someone out, will obviously be able to clear more security barriers with a benign, harmless/incompetent appearance than he will if he looks like a square-jawed, hyper-mesomorphic hero taken straight out of Marvel Comics. To indulge the tired canine analogy cliche, he'll get more mileage out of looking like a French poodle or friendly Lab than he will out of looking like a big Rott or an Akita. We all know that technical skills, highly developed problem-solving methods, and tools can allow a French poodle to bite and maul like a Rott, but most people don't fully comprehend this because they tend to rely on assumptions and heuristics (which do work most of the time).
Oh, and in terms of that "X" factor aura that some people have...I think we could probably try to decompose it and look at some specifics. I think some major indicators besides the obvious ones regarding physical conditioning and so on are how the person uses their eyes (checking out people's hands, relaxed-but-fearless eye contact), confident body language---especially the smooth and intuitive use of things like "the fence," and a personality that seems to reflect a very strong background in courtesy and interpersonal respect.

As you are well aware, a lot of ex-military guys intuitively do some things, like replacing their bootlaces with paracord and so on, that are only really meaningful to another guy with that kind of background. They might also use terminology that reflects some kind of specific experience---calling the floor the "deck" or using myriad other military terms. I wouldn't expect a professional guy on a low-profile job to be doing these things (although God knows it and worse has happened), but a person who is not currently operational certainly could
Bel
============================

From Marcus
Hi Belasarius!

I'm enjoying this dialogue. I admire your thinking on subjects I've followed on your posts at SDF. Just a couple of quick thoughts, as I have to get on with some things here...

It IS interesting to watch how hardened operators, who are the Gods of Death and War with a SAW in their hands on a hot LZ, struggle with the transition to plain clothes or undercover.

During the First Gulf War, I had to take my crew through a major European airport many times. This particular city had a forward deployed element of SOCOM operators who would be the first responders in case of certain terrorist activity, including hijacking. From time to time they would be at the airport to take a look at us, sometimes operationally to see who was watching us, sometimes on their own business following players, sometimes I honestly think just to check out the women operators who worked with us! ; )

It wasn't too hard to pick out the impressively fit guys with the long hair and ear-rings dressed in various kinds of blue-collar drab staking out the best positions for overwatch and static post...my gals, who loved to play on the psychological battlefield (where they have a SIGNIFICANT advantage), would target the guys, go up and chat them up a little bit as though they were civilians...

There's nothing quite so funny as watching a highly sexed and aggressive warrior struggling to keep his composure and stick to his task when he's got a gorgeous 27 year old in a low cut top and mini skirt coming on to him! And the guys never made the weapons those gals had on them...

There were some of your brethren among them, I believe. Or at least my gals came back with "He's from Virginia Beach and he's telling me he's in construction...I think he got his tats in Subic Bay, though...

I think you're on the right track when you talk about those characteristics that serve as indicators. What I find of most interest is the belief and experience systems that operate beneath the surface that drive those outward indicators.

Any way, got to go! Thanks for contributing.

Cheers, Marcus

Dennis M
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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:57 am

From Mika
Marcus,

Great stuff, thanks for taking the time writing it up.
I agree with everything so far.

One other "sticking point" I never quiet managed to perfect....since I more or less employed "method acting", was when I was acting out the fat, no money, typical "beer" tourist..was that a I lost a lot of my awerness, since my role was to look confused,a bit stressed and non confident. This was the part I used around airports,customs and stuff.

Never quiet perfected that part on loss of awarness...but It worked fine, I dont think I was ever made.

I still employ some of that acted out clumsiness...its works great on "unmarking" you as "player".

On the other hand I did spend several days once in the Dam...just watching the "middle level mangment" soldiers and minders of the "crime bosses" who run buisness in the redlight district.I modeled my body language and other outward signals after them.

I later used that very sucessfully when moving through "bad neighbourhoods".

These guys where perfect "models" for my purposes at that time...because they were the only males that moved around by themsleves and who where never bothered by the drug addicts,prostitutes and youth gangs.

Btw, I did run through Athens a lot back in the early 90´s....I loved the airport there, lots of guys trying very hard not to look like they were watching anybody...got to love the greeks also:-)

Your son sounds like a promising young man....tell him I said hi and if he wants to he is welcome over for some wrestling and weightlifting lessons:-)

Take care and stay safe!

/Mika
================

From Slacky
It was only when I carefully read what Mr. Wynne posts that I realise what great info I can glean from it. Do return to these posts, guys. Every word counts.


quote:

Originally posted by Marcus Wynne:

Training is the biggest variable you can bring to the table, and the one you have the most control over. Do you think that consciously modifying your currently established programs in threat evaluation and your personal representation might be useful to you in a combative situation? That might be an interesting aspect from which to approach training.


This is an excellent point. In training, we should pay careful attention to the WHOLE O.O.D.A. cycle. Where training in orienting yourself in response to the threat is common, making decisions under pressure is still more common (drilling the Cooper Colour Code in scenario-based training) and training to ACT is virtually universal, we see that developing the OBSERVATION part of the cycle is sadly lacking.

Observation is a far more complex skill than simple "Large, scowling fellow on street corner, cross road." just as "action" is far more than "hit him." The ingrained process of observation seems to stop with location of the threat and recognition of body-cues related to impending violence. This is natural observation just as the right-haymaker is a natural strike. We MUST NOT SETTLE for what is given. We have refined our strikes and made better on what was given to us. We must apply these same unforgiving standards to observation also. Observation is an extremely valuable tool and MUST be refined if we are to glean full benefit from it.

The vast majority of us form our initial observational guidelines in school. This environment is typically safe and free from weapons. Our primary exposure to violence is heavily based in recognising genetically-based pre-fight behaviour that is common in apes, big cats AND humans. As children, we learn to spot an angry, juiced up human being. We DO NOT learn how to spot the child with a weapon in his sleeve a murder in his heart. That's a different ball game.

Observational training development MUST include drills whereupon a person performs a visual inspection of a person who makes an approach. The first place to look being the palms of the hands, then the face and eyes, then back to pockets, belt-line, shirt, weapon print, scars and all that jazz I mentioned before. The ingraining of a habit to examine a person before treating them as friend or foe is a valuable one. I might even go so far as to train myself to subtly frisk (a la pickpocketing methods) a person whose wardrobe caused me weapons concerns.
This could be done with a single-person approach at first, before warming up to multiples and dialogue.
Recognising behaviour that precedes either a strike or weapon-access would prove handy. The targeting glance that takes place before a sucker punch (staring at the jaw, glance toward groin etc) is a part of the OODA cycle that we can learn to recognise and thus disrupt.


quote:

The bottom line is that all these guys exuded at one level a willingness to do a violence. And not just willingness…but experience. Successful experience. And they were able to amp that up when necessary, and hide it away when it wasn’t. But it was still there, not completely hidden, giving off that subtle warning message to the automated evaluation programs of predators.

Would the ability to create in your own mental representation those kind of characteristics be a useful tool in the psychological battlefield? Would the ability to cloak that also be useful? What kind of implications might that have for your approach to training? How might you train that? Is it even useful, or is too much work? What are your thoughts?
-

I'm of the opinion that these kind of characteristics represent the foundation mindset needed to tackle and defeat a threat. Animals that occupy the top of the food chain DO NOT exhibit signs of hypervigilance. Sharks, bears and big cats have NO natural predators and therefore do not need to be wary.
They look around their surroundings, sure, but they're looking for PREY, and so the nature of their observation is relaxed, not furtive. Predators dont exist because simply put, nothing out there is badder than they are. The only thing that will elicit a response will be the prospect of a KILL. Not a fight, not a battle, but a KILL. The outcome is already fixed in the mind of the high-end predator. There is NO CONCEPT of defeat in battle. Other organisms that live as both predator/prey are treated with an airy distain at best.
Maybe it is this distain for other self-styled predators that is the air of "strong" we have been trying to screw down.

This is the FOUNDATION mindset that all others should rest upon. Whatever alterations tactics may demand of us can be placed upon the base mindset, like a cloak. Not swapped, not replaced, but laid upon it like a cloak.

Therefore, training should revolve around KILLING the opponent. No "restraint through unconsciousness", no "traumatic injury negating further action" but DEATH. The student should regard the death of an opponent as the NORM. Once competance is achieved, additional training in choosing less-than-lethal outcomes can be supplemented, but the majority of training should be to KILL if you are choosing to create a two-legged high-end predator.

As has been commented many times before on many other threads, mindset can be easily scaled down in the heat of the moment. Scaling up under pressure is a different matter. Once you are as "high up" as you can get, the high-end predator mindset becomes the norm and the cloak of bad-assedness settles upon your shoulders. Maybe. It's just my opinion.

(I really like this thread. I'm having to think pretty hard.)
Slacky
====================================

From Marcus:
Hey Mika --

Good points there...modeling the behavior of those guys is an excellent example of "blending in" at the psychological level of warfare...when you're among sharks, it's useful to look and act like one...
I've had some interesting discussions with some guys about how to maintain the appropriate situational awareness when you're working with a "persona" to deceive...one thing I noticed was how they continued to do their "radar sweeps" but disguised them as such, and also amped down their presence...instead of a hard scan, it was a slow sweep, with lots of use of peripheral vision, not making direct eye contact. Some interesting possiblities there.
And Athens is a fun city! I worked there a lot and really enjoyed myself. Ate a lot of roast lamb and drank a lot of red wine!

Hey Slack!
You have a very good mind and insight into these things...I enjoy reading your posts. It'll be interesting to hear how you actively experiment with this in the future...
And I'm glad you find this stuff useful!
Take care.
cheers, Marcus
======================================

From Romulus
Gents, this is an excellent thread full of different perspectives from varied backgrounds. It's interesting to see how people actively engage the mind when out and about in order to remain switched on and camouflage their distinguishing strengths/weaknesses but does it have to be such a conscious act?

What I mean by that is, do you feel that people over complicate something normally natural to them simply because they don't link the thousands of actions they go through in everyday living with the actions involved in deceiving others for purposes of avoiding conflict.

All of us are natural actors from as early as playschool, we constantly set up false personas in order to get what we want and we unconsciously catalogue every instance of success and failure until we have a bank of information about which "face" will work best with specific charecters. When you meet your girlfriends parents for the first time your radars are working overtime to work out how best to create a good impression, the same thing happens on a job interview, out with a client or from one random conversation in a pub to another. it's like applying what Den calls "reactive combinations" to a situation, only your responses are not physically aggressive because you are not yet in a fight, it doesn't matter what label you give it, "fluid adaptation" or whatever, you simply adopt a slightly different posture, apply a look of compassion or intensity to your features in order to get a result. For instance, if you sit down in a crowded place and watch lots of different people you'll pick up little variations in stance and body language when, say, someone has seen their loved one and is preparing to say hello. Their features soften and their body language is welcoming. Conversely, people visibly stiffen and give off defensive energy when a drunk comes stumbling down the street and into their personal space.

It's because thoughts carry presence, hence the phrase "if looks could kill", we take a feeling or a thought, let it work inside us and hey presto we get a physiological response. This is where visualisation comes into play, if you see a crushed windpipe before any other equation is processed then relaxing into a non threatened/non threatening poise is easy because the confidence that you will not be taken off guard is reinforced. Marcus's gunslinger motto's..."be polite, be courteous but have a plan to kill everyone you meet", make this particular aspect of artifice so much clearer. It starts before you leave the safe confines of your own home.

External influences trigger certain aspects of our charecter on an unrecognised level and we switch appropriately from one personality to another in a matter of seconds and without missing a beat. If we maintain the same attitude towards these things that we do towards combatives I think for many people the understanding that they already have the ability to apply artifice to a confrontational situation, or out in a public place or whatever would make their task easier. Every man is a master at his own art. if we try and take too much from elsewhere without having the necessary attributes to make it work then we fail.

This is why in prisons etc there is a hierachy, everybody knows where their place is despite their ego, because any abnormality will be swiftly ferreted out under stress. Criminals are wonderful people to use as mirrors, how they see you will tell you a lot about your appearance to predators on a wide scale because the motive behind their examination springs from the same corrupted source.
Rom
==============================

From Chris
Hi all,

Just as a quick thought... the best people I have ever observed employ and act most successfully on artifice are the dis-advantaged, disabled or bullied.

Ask any bulllied child what strategy they employ to prevent their torment and the results are astounding. They employ deception, escape and evasion, avoidance and awareness that would impress any CP expert.

They clothe themselves accordingly (not wearing brands or styles of clothing that will stand out or provoke a response from their peers). They maintain the lowest of low profiles through their physical demeanour and their vocal tone or speech patterns. They have already ascertained, evaluated and acted on a threat before many of their peers would even be aware of its existance.

They have alternate routes home or to class, they associate themselves with the right individuals or crowds in a sometimes very oblique manner and they effectively learn how to become the grey man within any group. (The main difference being the lack of strength and the prey mentality inherent in the psyche of a bullied individual)

Everyone who noted above that each individual has a myriad of physiologigal and psychological personas, to be adopted as the situation and the desired result is required is absolutely correct. Each relationship formed with another person, even by so little as visual contact and assumptions made from appearance is unique and dependant on controllable factors.

You cannot hope to be all things to all people in all circumstances but you can adopt and adapt the correct persona in line with your remit or requirements. The key.. I suppose is to simply be aware of the importance of controlling the persona you adopt and fully understanding both the needs and expected results of adopting that guise.

Plus, in order to be truthful and believable, it has to be true to you. If you are not convinced you are the person you are portraying, you will not convince others. This is where visualisation comes into play and effective modelling takes precendence I suppose.

If you want to "learn" a tough-guy persona.. observe tough guys..their walk.. their language.. their physicality.

If you want to "learn" a "GREY MAN" persona then you must observe and learn from the most effective grey men you can find.

If you want to "learn" a survivor mentality then observe the best survivors you can (usually the bullied or victimised individuals touched on above)

It's all a chess game really, various traps set, impressions given and sacrifices made to fool an opponent.

cheers, I'm really enjoying this thread. Many thanks Marcus for the food for thought!

regards
Chris

Dennis M
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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 4:03 am

From Marcus:
Hey guys – I’m really enjoying this thread. You guys are giving me a great education! Thanks! Just a few thoughts --

Romulus –very good points. I think people have the resources to be successful already. My thought here (and mind you, I have no answers, just questions) is that perhaps if people were to consciously examine and deconstruct what they are already doing subconsciously, maybe they might find some components of their process they could choose to modify to enjoy even more success. I don’t know. Just food for thought.

Chris – excellent observations…those without the weapons of strength and attitude are forced to rely on guile and deception and disguise to survive. My food for thought on that aspect is to perhaps prompt some consideration about how you might expand your current arsenal…and, also, as you said, what if you become ill and what about when you become old? Then the psychological battlefield becomes even more critical.

I’ve always been fascinated by the psychological battlefield because it seemed to me to be the fastest road to victory…I saw in my own early exposure and experiences with violence that strength and physical skills weren’t always enough. One brief story…Back around 1970 or so, a guy who was a big, muscular tournament karateka and notorious for picking fights with guys and using his fancy spinning back-kick on them got into a disagreement with a friend of mine, who was slightly built but blue collar tough without an ounce of quit in him. During the pre-blows interview my friend slung his jacket over his shoulder while karate guy dropped into his stance and started to run for his kick. My pal stepped forward and threw his jacket over karate man’s head, tripped him to the ground, picked up a rock and smashed it into karate man’s head several times. End of fight. My friend’s parting comment?

“Karate that, motherfxxxer.”

Attitude, willingness, environmental awareness, and a rock versus superior size, strength, athletic ability and skills.

So, in my humble opinion, it may not be enough to be strong and fit and highly proficient at combatives without fully developing all the mental attributes that make up mindset, which include willingness to do violence, deception/artifice, situational awareness (to include environmental awareness), tactical decision making under stress, behavioral flexibility, sensory acuity, state management, and so on. Strength and fitness and physical prowess will carry you a long way, but there will be times you can win on the psychological battlefield and never have to come to blows…and there may come a time when you have to deal with illness, infirmity, or old age…or you may need to teach your skills to someone who doesn’t have the physical attributes you may take for granted. There’s a quote I tried to find but I can’t, but it goes something like this: Strength and technical ability on the battlefield are not enough; you must have the ability to read the battlefield, use the terrain and the enemy’s decisions against him.

Those are psychological attributes. And you can train them in the same way you train your physical techniques. But you may have to examine what you are already doing, which you guys are doing in a really excellent fashion!

Again, I don’t have any answers, and I certainly don’t profess to know much about this. I’m a student like all of you, and I’m learning a great deal from your responses. Thanks!


I also wanted to explore what Belisarius posted in his last post, about perhaps decomposing some of the elements he was talking about as indicators: physical conditioning, relaxed/fearless gaze, confident body language, etc. And we also talked a bit about some of the signs that military guys have in their choices of gear/clothing/language use.

In my opinion, all those outward signs are manifestations and communications about the internal representation. That’s what a trained observer practicing sensory acuity reads to determine the internal representation of another person. The military guys in that early example are sending a message: I’m a member of a particular group. In the case of Belisarius and some other people who post here, that they’re members of a severely tested and highly elite group, that they share a common experience, common beliefs and values. At the core is identity. I am this and not that. I believe this about myself. I believe this about this in the world. I am physically fit. I have won a fight. I train hard. I have already won in any fight I enter into. Etc.

Those beliefs, values, and core identity are among the things transmitted when you get the message about somebody, and when you’re sending a message. And some smart people have told me that beliefs and values and core identity are formed when young, but can be modified by experiences and training.

What core beliefs that you have about yourself might be changed by creating successful new training challenges for yourself to experience?

Just a thought.


Some parting thoughts about specific aspects of physiological components to go with mindset I’ve discovered in research…

Superior fighters (and I include H2H, firearms, fighter pilots, small unit combat leaders) have a number of distinct similarities, despite a universal range of actual physiques…

Excellent situational awareness. There are two primary sub-components of that: vision skills and sensory acuity. Vision skills doesn’t mean that they necessarily have perfect vision. It means they use the full range of their available vision more often then not. They are efficient at visual processing.

Vision skills are trainable.

Sensory acuity means that they utilize all of their senses to a higher degree. Sight, sound, feeling, tasting, smell (did you know that the body odor of someone undergoing hormonal preparation for combat changes distinctively? I didn’t, till Den and I went through a detailed NLP modeling process in Minnesota to identify and break down components of the fighting state. My nose has been broken so many times I can’t smell anything) and those controversial additional senses: intuition, intention, ambience. The last three are controversial because despite detailed scientific studies done in those three areas, the vast majority of “scientists” refuse to accept them as additional sensory functions. I think intuition might be a cognitive function as opposed to a sense, but I lean toward the theory that intention and ambience are sensory – but then I don’t know anything for sure, I just like to pose questions.

Sensory acuity is a trainable skill.

Superior state management: They can manage their physiology and mental representations. They control their minds and their bodies under stress. They know how to use behavioral flexibility to their advantage by using the appropriate state and state change when necessary.

State management is a trainable skill.

Efficient use of their temporal sense: That’s a fancy way of saying they use time differently. Here’s something to try out, especially those of you who have been in combat or fight often or have in the past: use your visualization skills and create a watch face with a second hand on it. It’s important that the second hand move smoothly, without a sound (no ticking, no tick tick tick motion), move smoothly. You need a friend with a stopwatch for the next part. Close your eyes and visualize the second hand stopped at 12. Have your friend start you (and he starts his stopwatch) and you make your second hand go to ten seconds. IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOUR FRIEND SAY NOTHING ELSE AFTER STARTING YOU AND GIVE YOU NO FEEDBACK. When your internal clock hits ten seconds, raise your hand or say stop and have your friend stop his stopwatch. Compare the times.

Try it and report back your results, and next time I’ll tell you what that means.

Time distortion is a trainable skill.

There’s more, but I got to go back to work. Have fun with it guys, and thanks for the continuing education.

Cheers, Marcus
================================

From Romulus
Marcus,

You wrote:

"My thought here (and mind you, I have no answers, just questions) is that perhaps if people were to consciously examine and deconstruct what they are already doing subconsciously, maybe they might find some components of their process they could choose to modify to enjoy even more success."

How do I then take something that I know I do well and improve the quality of it when it is such a natural action and difficult to analyse whilst in motion? I mean I don't think about walking or running because I can do them automatically and put my mind somewhere more useful. Are you saying that i should take a mental picture of the action, break it down and view it through a different lens? I'm not sure of the process...?
========================================

From Marcus:
Hey Romulus –

The short answer is first look yourself at whatever it is you want to change, be it walking or fighting or interacting with your girlfriend’s parents. You have your own set of perceptions. Then check with those in your immediate circle to give you feedback (a training partner will often be intimately aware of places where you can improve). That gives you another set of perceptions to cross check against. The ideal next step is to approach someone who’s a good coach and understands what you want to do (for instance Dennis, who is not only as well trained in that as you can get but also gifted in his ability to sort out quickly where you might improve) with the perceptions and have them check it and provide some guidance. Then make changes.

For internal processes, it’s a bit more complex. A lot of it has to do with asking yourself the right questions. Some questions might be: How effective and useful is “x” right now? How much better can I be at “x”.? How much better am I willing to be? What am I willing to change in order to be better at “x”? What, specifically, do I need to do in order to be better? How will I measure my performance and know when I’ve reached my interim goal?

For instance it might be looking at your use of artifice and deception. How effective is your use right now? There’s your perception of it, and then there’s the outside world’s perception. Useful to gather the outside perception to balance out your own – I’ve found I’m not always the best judge of my own performance, that it’s useful to have an outside observer give me feedback. How much better could you be? That helps you formulate a specific goal. How good are you willing to be? Some people have a built-in limitation to how good they’ll allow themselves to be. What are you willing to change in order to have better artifice and deception? Are you willing to train it? Attend training in psychology or NLP or learning theory or magic tricks…go out and practice it in public with people…what? Are you willing to devote the time to do it and is there a benefit to it? Once you know and have clearly defined your goal, it’s easier to identify, specifically, what you need to do in order to reach it. And it’s important to figure out how you’ll measure your performance so you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal.

I just realized that’s not a short answer!

The short answer for a solution to a combatives problem physical or psychological is to go to the world class resource you have in Dennis Martin. One thing I’d really like to re-emphasize at this point is that all of you who are training with Dennis are receiving world class instruction in mindset and all these attributes we’ve been talking about in this thread right along with your instruction in the physical techniques, conditioning, and so on. One of the things I really admire in Dennis is his ability to embed within his training the sort of psychological principles we’ve been talking about in this thread. He teaches you overtly some NLP and accelerated learning things…and he’s teaching you so much more about the psychological elements in a very subtle way through his examples, his demonstrations, the way he structures his training, stress scenarios, his use of language, and the model he presents. Den is also very good at the modeling aspect of things, and for a combative oriented issue, that would be the shortest and best route to take to improvement.

Hope that helps!
M
==================================

From Belisarius
Gents, this isn't as sophisticated an application of NLP/modeling/Design Human Engineering-type work as Marcus is involved in, but there is currently a great deal of interest in a similar type of mental conditioning within the trader community, particularly among the top commodities traders. Trading is a form of mental warfare that has immediate feedback in the form of a Profit & Loss statement at the end of each trading day.

I don't agree with everything that he says, but Brett Steenbarger has looked at how some military professionals, Olympic athletes, and martial artists apply mental conditioning techniques and he has some interesting insights on his website.

If anyone is interested, go to http://www.brettsteenbarger.com/articles.htm
and scroll down until you find the article "Trading the Ranger Way." Marcus, I would be particularly interested in your thoughts on this because this appears to be a classic case of using modeling techniques to rapidly "export" certain capabilities from one user group and instill them in another---something that I would imagine to be a staple of NLP.
Bel

Dennis M
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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Thu Aug 24, 2006 4:05 am

From Marcus
Hey Belisarius!

I did read over the article you referenced. There is some useful stuff in there from the perspective of modeling excellence and designing training to transfer attributes and skill set from one group to the next. Overall the concept as presented is sound (from a training design perspective) from a basic NLP approach. If I were asked to design a program like that, I’d take a slightly different tack…I’d simply find the “best” traders, according to whatever the real world criteria for determing “best” is: in this instance I’d imagine it’s who makes the most money. I’d take a pool of those, only the very best performers, and then I’d analyze what they think they do, and then I’d analyze what they actually do (people’s self-reporting on their strategies for success aren’t always the best indicator of what they are really doing, in large part because of the “implicit learning” paradigm mentioned…they don’t consciously know how they do what they do). I’d do that for the top sampling and then do a critical path analysis, eliminating anything extraneous till I had the core strategy elicited. There’s a cognitive strategy and tons of subcomponents, there’s an emotional strategy and there’s a physical strategy (even in trading there will be specific physical components of the most resourceful state – one that is conducive to that Zenlike flow state mentioned in the paper). Once you have that strategy, you can train it to other people. Then test it in the real world. That’s a faster way to the same place.

The Ranger training model has obvious transference to combatives. Dennis incorporates many of those Ranger training principles into the training he does. For instance, everyone who went to the International had an intense training experience culminating in a peak, all out physical/emotional/mental effort in the final stress scenarios that Si and his partner gave such a great effort in! There was total immersion in the process, shared values, great challenges…” You cannot prepare for extraordinary performance by rehearsing under ordinary conditions” That’s a quote from your cited document…and that’s how I think Den’s training works so well. He pushes people out of the ordinary comfort zone so as to elicit extraordinary performance from them.

When Dennis and I first started experimenting with NLP modeling for the fighting state stuff, we were fortunate to have access to some really high level NLP people and equipment to help us out and teach us about modeling. We then ran what we learned through our own filters when we turned it around to look at other people. When we looked around for models, we knew we knew lots of high level fighters in a variety of venues. We had to narrow it down, our criteria was multiple victories in real world combative experience. It wasn’t enough to be a great technician, though we talked about that – we wanted people who were great technicians AND had proven their stuff on the street or in the battlefield. So we talked to street fighters, door men, bodyguards, instructors, martial artists who’d fought for real, fighter pilots with combat experience, small unit leaders in special operations and conventional military w/combat experience, intelligence officers, police officers who’d been in multiple shoot-outs. I spent some time talking to sport combatives guys, boxers, wrestlers, etc., but decided that the real meat was in training plus experience in the real world, i.e. w/out rules of any kind. It was by no means a “scientific” (whatever that means) sampling…but it gave us what was useful in designing training programs.

And, as the quality of Dennis’s students is ample evidence of, it works very well indeed.

Cheers, Marcus
======================================

From Belisarius
Marcus, that's very interesting stuff. There have been a few trading coaches who have taken an NLP approach, but I haven't seen any detailed studies of what happened. A consultant to top traders named Ari Kiev used to help Olympic athletes with their visualization skills and stress management---I'm not sure what he bases his practice on.

In terms of military applications, I am aware of the SportsMind project with Army SF---famously chronicled in Richard Heckler's rather condescending book. I heard of some work that was done with modeling Army Marksmanship Unit guys to bring new recruits up to speed very quickly in terms of fundamental shooting skills; it sounds like it was a very successful program.

Beyond that, we had a member of the Feldenkrais Guild (also licensed in the Alexander Technique) in the NSW community who was able to get some impressive results, albeit with a completely different approach to what we are talking about here. He modeled actual physical movement and felt that mindset was the result of physical posture as much as physical posture reveals mindset (more of a loop than a one-way "conversation" between brain and body).
============================

From Marcus
Hi Belasarius -- I'm not familiar with any specific cases with trader modeling, but I'm sure they've been done...it would seem like a good place for that application.

On military stuff, yeah, I read Heckler's book too, and that was wayyy back. I haven't read the new edition, where he comments on the fact that several of the guys he trained were operators killed in Mogadishu. The work done with the Army Marksmanship Unit is well detailed in a very interesting (and controversial) book titled THE WARRIOR'S EDGE, by Alexander, Groller, and Morris. The book also describes some other out of the box thinking processes and applications, but the book is well formed according to NLP principles. The three authors have been extremely influential in a quiet, behind the scenes way with encouraging some of this work in the military and government sectors for a long, long time. Also worth taking a look at for it's completely opposite tack is the ENHANCING HUMAN PERFORMANCE report, which denounced a lot of the experimental approaches with NLP, biofeedback, autogenics, early state management, etc.

http://books.nap.edu/books/POD271/html/49.html

The HUMAN PERFORMANCE report is on-line in its entirety at above url.

Wyatt Woodall, Anthony Robbins and another NLP practitioner whose name I forget ran the modeling project for the Army -- code named the Jedi Project. I don't think Woodall's papers on that were ever published, though I have seen an extract during a training I attended.

The Feldenkrais/Alexander stuff is fantastic. Richard Bandler and John Grinder did model Moshe Feldenkrais (who was a long time judo player) to get his stuff elicited. I've done some work with them for my own rehabilitation and what they can do is fantastic.

One thing, though, that it seems I haven't made clear...in the model of "state management" that I work with, the mindset definitely influences posture and "presentation" as we've been talking about -- and as you say above, posture and physical movement also influences mindset. That's why when I talk about state, I talk about the two components -- internal representation (mindset, thinking) and physiology (which includes posture and physical movement). It is a loop, and most definitely not a one way conversation between brain and body. The key to state management is understanding that if you need to move to a different state, you can do so by changing your mental representation...or you can do so by changing your physiology...or you can do both simultaneously. And also, for tactical consideration, if you want to disrupt your opponent's resourceful state, you can attack mental representation, or physiology, or both simultaneously. So your understanding of the loop model is exactly right. My apologies for my miscommunication there.

Actually, one of the key elements in identifying successful access of the fighting state (for close quarters) is calibrating posture and posture change as the adrenal/hormonal surge takes place, whether it takes place quickly or is more slowly ramped up by the practitioner to save long term wear and tear on the adrenals.


[Here Marcus demonstrates the fighting state, while teaching a counter-terrorist response drill. Den is the unfortunate bad guy]

And a good way to lead the new practitioner without experience in that is to have them physically model the skilled practitioner/instructor/demonstrator through the process. In the evolution of the training process Den and I used with this, I adapted some exercises from professional acting to combative applications, and were able to get very good results through physiology initiated state change.

Thanks for contributing!
Marcus

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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:42 pm

Thread edited to add photos
Den

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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

Post  Dennis M on Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:34 am

Lads,
I referenced back to this thread to check on a passage, and ended up reading the whole thing again. There is just so much hard, relevant information above, that you could get a week seminar out of it.
It's interesting to read in conjunction with other recent threads, as it answers many questions.
This is really one to download and archive
Cheers,
Den

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Re: Marcus on "Artifice"

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