One of the true innovators in the Police Tactics and in Use of Force world is Phil Messina of Modern Warrior. I had a chance to attend his two-week high-intensity officer survival course early on in my path as an instructor. Phil can only be described as a legend in the use of force training world. He was a man who was at the forefront of scenario-based training. In fact, his whole facility was set up to teach officers how to survive real-world violence. Multiple assailant training stems for his school. Before this type of training most if not all training was one to one. To this day his ideas and principles permeate all police training. Combining physical and firearm tactics “John Wick” style was something Phil was teaching 30 years ago. Modern Warrior ground fighting tactics is something I have taught more times than I can count. One officer told me that this method likely saved her from significant harm when she was attacked by two men on a train. The idea that a survival mindset was way more potent than the effects of pepper spray to stop officers was another of Phil’s important contributions. I have a lot of gratitude for Phil and his training cadre to this day. And to especially one NYPD Police Officer, a former teacher and student of Phil’s, Mike Bruen. A true friend and street tough cop who’s able to put into perspective with honesty and humour the real value of the teachings of Modern Warrior for the modern-day police.
Understanding that your first move in a spontaneous attack is a physical blink is the epiphany of another one of my teachers Tony Blauer. The genius of understanding that the flinch is our first automatic move when attacked by surprise and then using this reaction as a starting point for aggressive forward momentum tactics is a remarkable insight.
For defining violence in a clear purely business way, I have to thank Tim Larkin from Target Focused Training. To know in your gut that the only response to asocial violence is to cause injury until the threat is extinguished brings clarity to an often muddled area of defining force responses. Tim and his teaching team have taught me a straightforward narrative with corresponding tactics to confront gut-wrenching asocial violence. Direct your thoughts to what you are going to do and eliminate all the cognitive load that comes with trying to process what the other is going to do. Be the predator! Again clear purpose and mindset for asocial violence
There have been many more use of force instructors that have influenced my teachings for the last 29 years. The master of scenario design Ken Murray “Training at the speed of life," provided a framework to implement real-world reality-based training safely. My friends Toby Hinton and Al Arsenault hybridization of Judo with police training have opened a new way of training that brings the values and the sheer street effectiveness of Judo to the police world. Having policed the downtown east side for over 50 years combined, they bring street “Cred” that other approaches have not delivered on.
I have learned from the best to inspire myself to be the best. I have worked hard to further deepen my knowledge in all areas of tactics and human behaviour. I intend to deliver the best training so that people will have the confidence and the necessary skills to handle anything they encounter.
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