Learning Violence Dynamics

Today we have a post from Kasey Keckeisen, a Police Officer, SWAT team leader, SWAT training coordinator, martial artist, and a guy I hope to meet in the near future. He’s also friends with Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung, who have written for this blog in the past. Kasey writes such insightful posts for his own blog, that I asked him to write something for us here. Fortunately, he said yes – you will almost certainly enjoy what he has to say, and I hope you’ll leave some feedback, or ask some questions below, so Kasey can follow-up with an answer. Enjoy …

Recently I received this message from Peter Steeves of the Los Angles Guardian Angels:

I’ve been so thoroughly enjoying your last few blog posts. Please keep them coming. Also, if you’d like to expose a new audience to your blog (with links directly to it, of course), I’d still very much enjoy having you as a guest writer for a post on the LA Guardian Angels blog, for which Rory and Marc have both done awesome posts in the past. I look forward to your next posts, and do hope to include one in our blog as well.

I love it when I receive feedback from readers, especially when they have nice things to say 
I asked Peter if there is anything in particular that the Guardian Angels would enjoy reading.
One of the suggestions Peter had was:

Of course, if you have an idea that would serve as an advertisement for Violence Dynamics … it would make lots of sense to write about that concept, too. Readers would feel like they want to learn more, and would be motivated to read more from you and hopefully attend a workshop, purchase a product, etc. I’m not suggesting that you write a long ad … but that’s pretty much what I’m suggesting. I hope this helps.

That got my gears turning.  Guardian Angels are civilians voluntarily stepping up to take on the responsibilities of Operators.  I am writing a book about how Operators can supplement their training with the limited resources available to them.

So, I decided to give the LA Guardian Angels blog an exclusive sneak peak at my book “Operators Manual”

Why did I write this book?
The name of this book is Operator’s Manual: A Guide to the Practical Application of Martial Art.  Other potential titles included:

  • Taiho Jutsu
  • Fighting Aikido
  • Dirty Fighting for Clean Cops
  • Balls-Deep in Ass Kickery:  A Cop’s Guide
  • Badass: Like a Mustache with Titties

I chose Operator’s Manual because it has a double meaning:

Your car, microwave, remote control etc… all come with a manual on how to operate it.  There is no such manual for violent confrontation.  There can’t be because that would imply there are easy answers to complex situations.

The other meaning is that the book is a manual for Operators.

I define an “Operator” as a professional who gets paid to protect others from violence even at the risk of their own life (or in this case, volunteers to protect others).

It is my hope that this book will help Operators have greater access to quality training they need and deserve.

There are many martial art instructors teaching many different martial arts to Operators.  Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of those instructors have never controlled a resistive subject, arrested a violent criminal, or protected themselves against an aggressively combatant adversary.  However, they are teaching Operators how to do those very things they have never done.

There are many Operators placed into Instructor positions with no Instructional training beyond the minimum 40 hour train the trainer course.

What does the military get a couple hours a day for a couple of weeks in a certain phase of boot camp?  Maybe 80 hours at best.

Do you think the martial arts training you got at the local YMCA will prevail in a close quarters interpersonal violence situation?

Do you believe that 8 hours of training a year can prepare you for doing anything well?

Do you think a 40 hour course can prepare you to train others?


This book is for those of you who answered, “No.”

You might get attacked by someone who wants to break you.  You may only get 8 hours training a year.  You may be expected to train others with minimum training, no budget, and no facilities.

That’s the reality of the situation – This book is intended to help you do something about it.

This book will help you practically apply the training you received at your local school to real world violence

This book is not intended to replace any defensive tactics or close quarters combat system an Operator may have, but will enhance and supplement any program.

This book can also be used as Instructor development.  Helping Instructors recognize what Operators need, and improving an Instructor’s ability to meet those needs.

The practical application of martial art is very narrow area of study.  I define this as the martial skills used by professionals in the field.

Professionals whose life and the life of others depend on the quality those skills and the ability to apply them to ever changing circumstances.

This field integrates firearms, edged weapons and empty hand skills into a cohesive principal based method and has zero tolerance for nonsense.

I have pursued this field of study for nearly 20 years because I am a SWAT Operator and Police Officer.

I also see the value of teaching skills proven to work by professionals to civilians interested in self defense as opposed to sport or maintaining tradition.

Who is this book for?

So, now you know a little bit about me and how I got here. If I knew then what I know now I could have gotten there more efficiently.  That is a major purpose of this book.

So I set out to write a book I would have bought back in the day:  A book that would have helped past versions of me get to where I am today more efficiently.

This book is for:

1992 Me:  Someone who has always been interested in martial arts.  Someone who is interested in their practical application.  People who want to know how to do what Operators do.  People who want that elite high level training, and want help selecting “the best art.”  I’ll refer to these people as Elite level civilians (enthusiastic amateurs)

1999 Me:  There are two versions of this guy.  One is someone who has been training in martial arts for several (five or more) years and has to ask themselves – “Would this really work if my life depended on it?” That is a scary question to ask.  If the answer is no, Does that mean you wasted the last five years of your life?  What are you going to do about it?  I’ll refer to these people as “The Question.”
The other has just been hired as a professional Police Officer in a small jurisdiction who’s back up is 20 minutes away at best.  He has come to realize that cops and the military don’t get the type of special elite training that Hollywood and comic books suggest and he needs to supplement his department provided training because now his life and the lives of others does depend on it.  This is an “Operator.”

2005 Me:  There are also two versions of this guy.  One an experienced Operator who is teaching other Operators.  Let’s call him “Professional Instructor.”
The other a private Dojo owner teaching Operators.  I’ll refer to him a “Civilian Contractor.”

So, if you are:

  • An Elite level civilian
  • The question
  • An Operator
  • A Professional Instructor
  • A Civilian Contractor

… then this book is for you.  There is no one superior art.  Well, that’s not exactly right.  The best martial art is one you enjoy doing and will continue to practice your entire life.  Keishoukan Budo / Taihojutsu is the superior art … for me.

This book is not about my art except to use it as an example of how an art can be developed to meet your specific needs.  This book is to help others develop their own operational method (art).

What Operators NEED

Where to start?
More important than any physical attribute, more important than any technical skill, is the development of an Operator mindset.
The common mental attributes of successful Operators I have had the honor to work and train with are:

  • Adaptability
  • Shugyo

There is no one correct way of doing things.  Belief that there is and forcing that one thing to work for everything will get you killed.  Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.  Being able to throw away a plan and adapt to the actual circumstances on hand (not what you wish the circumstances were) is a key trait of successful operators and needs to be actively developed throughout your training.

For example, in clearing a room if you have a rigid plan 1st guy through the door button hooks left, 2nd guy goes right it makes sense.  You may even practice that exact plan on a similar room before the operation.  Then on the actual operation the 1st guy can’t button hook left because there is a huge couch in the way and he can barely fit inside the door.  The CI’s (confidential informant) information was wrong – go figure.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

If that first guy through the door is married to the plan they trained and tries to force a button hook even though it is nearly physically impossible for him to do so he will get jammed in the door.  The rest of the team will be stuck out side and #1 will be stuck in the fatal funnel of the doorway all by himself.   The three elements of successful operations stealth, speed, and violence of action all lost.

On the other hand if the “plan” is looser and just based on a few simple rules / principles it is easier to adapt to the circumstances.

1st guy will read the situation and do what he feels is best, 2nd guy goes the opposite direction and feeds into the room, covering any gaps left by #1.

So 1 can’t button hook left he just goes right, #2 goes as left as he can, the rest of the team reads the guy in front of them and feeds into the building.  Stealth, speed, and violence of action maintained.  Much greater likelihood of the subject being apprehended before he can even put up a fight.

To me, this is what the Ju in Jujutsu means.  Just as the Hawaiian word Aloha has multiple meanings (even language can be adaptable), so does the Japanese word Ju.  Ju as in Judo or Jujutsu means ‘soft’ or ‘yielding.’  It also means ‘pliant.’  I believe that this pliant mindset is adaptability.  If something isn’t working, don’t force it. Switch to something else.  To do that, you have to be able to recognize that something isn’t working and you have to be skilled in many alternate options.  That isn’t easy, that takes training, which leads us to Shugyo.

Shugyo is another Japanese term.  I don’t want to make this a Japanese martial arts dictionary, but I don’t really know an English term that encompasses this idea.  Shugyo can mean ‘sweat and motion,’ it can be described as ‘pushing your limits,’ but the ideal that it expresses best is:  “Embrace the suck.”  There are no easy one size fits all answers.  There are no magic pills.  It takes a lot of hard work on a regular basis to develop and maintain the skills and attributes necessary to be a successful Operator.

Don’t shy from it, don’t cry about it, revel in it.

There is a price to be paid to be able to do things that few others can.  Enjoy paying the price required to do these things.  Be the 1st to show and the last to go, and put a smile on your face.  The best Operators I’ve had the pleasure to work with embrace the price that must be paid.  Weather it is in pouring rain, blistering sun or knee deep snow they push hard until the job is done.  They make comments like, “Can you believe we are getting paid to do this?”

When the weapons are cleaned and the gear stowed away they tend to share each other’s company (and maybe a cocktail or two) and talk about how even though that sucked it was fun (and maybe brag a little bit about how bad ass they are for having gone through it).

The only way to earn the skills necessary to be an Operator, the only way to earn a seat at that table is through blood and sweat.  Know that ahead of time, embrace it while you are going through it, and enjoy the rewards as they come.

Another part of the book I thought Guardian Angels could benefit from is Violence Dynamics.

As Peter mentioned, I put on a clinic every year with Marc MacYoung and Rory Miller.  I feel the principles addressed at the seminar are fundamental necessities to be operational regardless of your background.

I have the honor of being one of the first recognized Conflict Communication Instructors.

For anyone with any field experience, there are things you have instinctively known or perceived but struggled to put into words or describe to others.

Marc MacYoung and Rory Miller established Conflict Communication, which we call “Con Com.”

Con Com takes principles and concepts that take Operators years to comprehend and provides a common language / lexicon for dealing with violence, a lexicon for use in reports, and to pass this information on to new Operators.

More than any other skills understanding how violence happens, and how your body deals with violence is what separates Operators from hobbyists.

Understanding behavior patterns in yourself helps you avoid violence from others and articulate why you had to act if violence can’t be avoided.  Fundamental communication skills for those who get paid to be where others can avoid violence.

Specific Objectives

Students will display an understanding of:
Conflict Strategy

  • Avoidance
  • Escape / Evade
  • De-escalation
  • Self Protection

Violence Dynamics

  • Social
  • Asocial

The logic of violence

  • Why criminals use violence

The awareness spectrum

  • Develop and maintain an Operator-Mindset (Situational Awareness)

Topics include:


Conflict Communication Improves your understanding of violence, and interpersonal communications, and increases verbal skills which helps to reduce the number of use of force incidents.

If you’re emotional and caught up in the default human conflict behaviors, the best de-escalation training in the world (Verbal Judo, C.I.T., etc) is of no use to you. You’re not going to be able to do it.

The essential message of Conflict Communications is:  De-escalation starts with You.

The goal of Conflict Communications is to teach you how to prevent conflict whenever possible and to minimize its impact when it is unavoidable.

Most conflicts can be successfully controlled by using the principles of this system. This is not specialized education only a select few can master. The program is designed so anyone can use it to prevent a conflict. We do this by teaching you to de-escalate yourself first.

Originally designed for law enforcement to be used when confronting violent felons, the principles of this program also work in business, social and casual situations.

By understanding how and why confrontation occurs, Conflict Communications will show you conflict management, de-escalation, situation resolution and, if necessary, articulation of why action was both necessary and reasonable.


Force physics is not a defensive tactics system or a “martial arts” style.

Force physics is a training method developed to enhance your ability to use the defensive tactics or martial arts system you are trained in more effective.

Increasing your competence, and confidence in your existing training.

Force physics will not only make you better at applying force to a resistive subject, but will help you understand the fundamental principles that make the application of force possible.

Force Physics will increase your ability to:

  • Articulate your use of force.
  • Instruct others in the application of force.

Repeatedly attempting to apply ineffective tactics on a resisting subject:

1) Creates hesitation to engage
2) Causes fear of committing WHEN engaged
3) Results in excessive use of force

Force physics enhances your ability to successfully use departmentally approved tactics against an actively resistive subject, increasing officer safety and decreasing use of force complaints.


Violence happens by surprise: closer, harder, and faster than in most defensive tactics training.

Integrated Defensive Tactics focuses applying your defensive tactics skills under those dynamic situations.

Integrated Defensive Tactics is non-system specific training to adapt to emergency applications of force.

Integrated Defensive tactics teaches:

  • How to choose, apply and justify an appropriate force response.
  • How to articulate your force response

Topics covered will include:

  • Context of violence
  • Efficient movement and evaluating efficiency
  • Violence Dynamics (Types of violence)
  • Use of force law
  • Improvised weapons training
  • Use of environment / terrain
  • Force Articulation
  • Action Debrief
  • Peer feed back / counseling

This training will improve the student’s ability to improvise effective joint locks, move a larger threat on the ground, and demonstrate effective weapon retention.

Integrated Defensive Tactics further develops conflict communication and the force physics skills worked on throughout the seminar and focuses on their application to violent situations. Advanced training include methods to bring application of force into accord with written force policies.

I hope you enjoyed this preview of “Operators Manual” and I hope you find the information useful.
For more information, check out my blog at http://practicalbudo.blogspot.com/
Train hard, Train smart, Be safe

Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung, and Kasey Keckeisen

Rory Miller spent more than 17 years in a metropolitan jail system as a line officer and supervisor, investigator, tactical team leader and mental health specialist. He also spent a year teaching Iraqis how to run humane and effective prisons. He is the author of several books including; “Meditations on Violence,” “Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected,”  “Drills: Training for Sudden Violence” and another post on this blog!

Marc MacYoung grew up in situational poverty in the gang-infested streets of Los Angeles. Before turning his life around, he freely admits he was ‘part of the problem.’ As well as living in some of the most violent and crime-infested areas of LA, he’s worked as a body guard, bouncer and director of a correctional center. He’s taught de-escalation and defensive tactics to police from nine different countries. He’s the author of 21 books and videos on subjects ranging from crime avoidance to professional use of force to street knife violence and street survival. Check out this post by Marc on this blog, too.

Kasey Keckeisen is a Police Officer, SWAT team leader, and SWAT training coordinator. He teaches Control Tactics and Combative Measures to Universities, Law Enforcement Agencies, and Special Operations Teams. He is the United States Midwest Regional Director for an International Taiho Jutsu organization, and the Minnesota State Director for One-On-One Control Tactics. Keckeisen has extensive experience in Jujutsu, Aikido, Judo and Taiho Jutsu. Keckeisen runs Taiho Jutsu Minnesota, an organization that provides free training to Law Enforcement and Military, and operates a training facility in Elk River Minnesota.

  • Jill Shames

    I’m in! Let me know when this book is out in electronic format. Thanks for contributing, Kasey and thanks for publishing, Peter.

  • disqus_18wN7x5TnC

    I have trained with a lot of people and I can honestly say that Kasey is the real deal! It is not often that you come across an individual that is intelligent, talented, experienced and dedicated. He is all of those.
    If you are serious about your training, Kasey, Marc and Rory are all people you should seek to train with and read their writings.
    -Dr L. Steenerson

DreamHost coupon