Sunday, June 13, 2021



A few weeks ago I was in a very dark place. I don't often let life get to me and outwardly people would say I appear to have my shit together. But  internally I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the totality of my perceived failures. 

What are those failures? I felt like I wasn't progressing professionally, intellectually or athletically. I have attended some training classes in the last 6 months where I perceived I didn't met my own standards. I am doing a job I love but maybe there is no where to go from there? My workouts are no  less  intense, however the volume is waning, as recovery is not only essential but mandatory to maintain the status quo. I have essentially quit running, an activity I used to be obsessed with. Ultimately I felt that at 57 years old I have peaked and things will never progress farther. After a literal lifetime of setting and conquering goals I am struggling to keep from sliding back down the hill. This is very hard to accept. 

"The more we value things out of our control the less control we have-Marcus Aurelius"

I became acquainted with Stoic philosophy a few years ago and have read most of the famous texts. I try to apply the tenets to my life the best I can. As happens to all of us while seeking self improvement I tend to do this imperfectly. After moping about for a few days I realized my descent into depression was all due to EGO. I was feeling down because of what I perceived others thought of me and my failings. What I realized is that I cannot control others perceptions of me. Quite honestly the majority of people are too worried about their own life and problems to think about me at all. Those friends and family that reached out to me were kind and uplifting. My entire focus was wrong. 

"We suffer more in imagination than reality-Seneca"

Making a conscious effort to control the EGO has been liberating the last few weeks. Trying very hard to no longer care what others think about me but to continue down the path as best I can has lightened my mood and increased my enjoyment of the day to day. A small example, I have always had body image issues. I have not been gifted with the most natural physique or most athletic skills. I have worked hard over the years to maintain fitness and develop skills. But genetics being what they are age and time have blessed me with what most would call a "Dad Bod". Recently I mowed my yard with my shirt off because it was hot. No big deal right? To me that was huge. I can count on my fingers the times in my life when I have been in public without a shirt on after the age of 10. I decided to not care what others thought. I quit worrying about what I couldn't control ( their thoughts) and worried about what I could control ( my comfort). Its a small step further down the path. 

I will continue to fail going forward but as Ryan Holiday said in his book Ego is the Enemy, the work is enough. 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Blog update

 In an attempt to contextualize and revitalize my literary output I will be stopping the mission creep here at the Former Action Guy Blog. Going forward this blog will only contain "War Stories and Random Thoughts"

To follow my instructional posts go to


 To see posts on my personal training go to



Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 By the Numbers

 2020: Scam alert over how we write the year in France
 Seventh annual yearly numbers recap

Physical activity

  500.00 miles ran,rucked or walked. Did not hit my goal of 1000 miles.That's about 238 less miles than last year. My movement suffered this year for a lot of reasons. None of them that are good excuses. Making my goal 700 miles for next year with a pie in the sky goal of 1000.

192 workouts that's an average of 3.69 a week, Did not hit my goal of 4 workouts per week. Going to keep this goal the same, I think it is attainable.

5330 push-ups,5335 sit-ups,2320 burpees and 1127 pullups for the year.  None of these hit my goals. The Derecho we had really put a cabash on things due to the loss of my Garage gym. Still no excuse I was just lazy. The original goal was 10,000 pushups and situps , 5000 Burpees and 2500 Pullups. I hit those goals in 2019 so I will keep this goal for next year .

113 BJJ sessions and 210.50 hours of training. That's an average of 2.17 sessions/4.04 hours per week.  Hit my goal of at least 2 session per week. My unbroken attendance streak was stopped at 137 weeks due to COVID shutdown. I will keep this goal at 2 times per week.

21 No Gi BJJ training sessions for the year. My original goal was 2 session per month. I averaged 1.75 times. I will keep this goal the same.

No BJJ Competitions or Go Ruck events this year. I am probably done with both of those. No races either due to COVID cancellations

Mental Activity and Personal Training

13 books read. My goal was 20. I will keep this goal the same. 

11 Audiobooks listened to. My goal was 10. I'll keep this goal the same.
1 BJJ Seminar conducted by 7 time World Champion Xande Ribiero
1 Shivworks Edged Weapons Overview Class

1 Land the Plane class ( my 11th time attending this curriculum)
1 Minnesota CCW Class (renewal)

1 Wilderness Upgrade for the Medical Professional ( Certified as a Wilderness EMT)

1 Shivworks Vehicle Combatives and Tactics Course

1 Flight Medic Course ( Not complete yet)

I didn't get a pure shooting course in this year due to COVID. Hopefully next year. Plan to continue the Flight PM class, attend ECQC and EWO again as well take a basic survival class as a refresher.

Teaching Activity and classes taught

1 Community Stop the Bleed class

2 CPR classes

2 Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support Course

1 Advanced Medical Life Support Course

2 Emergency Medical Technician Courses

1 Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Course

1 Paramedic Course

1  Active Shooter Response Course

3 Casualty Care 1 Courses

3 Casualty Care 2 Course

5 Introduction to Defensive Pistol classes
2 Fundamentals of Home Defense Handgun Classes

3 Intuitive Defensive Shooting classes
1 Managing Unknown Contacts Class 

1 Co taught an ICE Training Defensive FireArms Coach  Instructor Development Course

1 Seminars spoken at- Benton County EMS Day

Episode as a Podcast guest

Writing and Podcasts

7 Podcasts episodes produced

10 Personal blog entries

11 Professional blog entries

1 published article on self defense tactics

EMS and PD

256 EMS calls attended.This year was the reverse of 2019. I left my full time teaching gig and went back to being a full time Paramedic about 3/4 through the year. I also quit my PT Medic/Service Director job and went down to just one EMS job.

106 hours worked as a Reserve Police Officer. 

Random Numbers

38 years since Army enlistment
16 years since Army retirement
32 years since Ranger School graduation
30 years since Special Forces Qualification Course Graduation
14 years since becoming an EMT
6 years since becoming a Paramedic
33 years since marriage

That's it. Another great year


Friday, October 30, 2020

Vehicle Combatives and Shooting Tactics (VCAST) 10.9-10.12 2020

Earlier this month I traveled to the Council Bluffs area to participate in a Shivworks Alumni only class hosted by LGHK and taught by one of the nation's foremost experts on entangled weapons fighting, Craig Douglas of Shivworks.  I have attended Craig's Extreme Close Quarters Combatives and Edged Weapons Overview courses multiple times and he is one of my favorite instructors and favorite people quite honestly. His classes are a mixture of good humor, good information and good ass kickings. 

Day One was a short Friday evening session of approximately 2 hours. We spent those two hours learning the proper way to "debus" from our vehicles. As is usual with Craig's coursework I gained a depth of knowledge I didn't even know I needed to know. We exited our vehicles starting belted and un belted, drivers side and passenger side. Passenger side from the drivers side and vice versa. We exited with weapon in hand and without. Time well spent on a subject that seems pretty straightforward. 

Day Two was Saturday. 
Day Two is primarily a range day. We spent the majority of the day engaging targets from inside our vehicles ( using your personal vehicle sure heightens the attention to detail). Both passenger side and drivers side, side and front facing. With a passenger and without. On your side and acrossed to the other side. After working  on engagements from the inside we moved outside and used the car as cover to engage targets and each other using simunitions and Tguns. Finally we wrapped up the day with a scenario using Tguns and vehicles. This scenario tested your MUC skills and your decision making, as well as your markmanship. 

Day 3 was Sunday

Day 3 was the most physically demanding day. Day 3 started with 4 hours of in car grappling. Craig and his Assistant Instructor Scott Oates compared this block to "BJJ and Rock Climbing in a vehicle" We explored many options both as passenger and driver. With the agressor inside the car and out. This culminated in another 1 on 1 EVO between students in the car. 

The afternoon of Day 3 was more of an experiment as we shot various rounds of various calibers and from varios platforms into some vehicles to see the effects. Day 3 ended about 1600. 

As usual this Shivworks offering was fantastic. I learned alot that I was able to apply immediately. I also gained knowledge that will allow me to articulate my reactions if I get caught in a situation similiar to the ones in class. Thanks to Craig and Scott for the time and instruction

NOLS Wilderness EMT

The final scenario on the night of day 4 was one of the most realistic and well-guarded secrets I have experienced in my time as an EMS student, practitioner, and educator. Day 5 was final testing, both written and practical. Leaving as a certified WEMT is a highlight of an otherwise crappy year.  

In Early August I traveled to Western North Carolina to attend a Wlderness EMT course. I had been trying to take this course for almost 2 years and was finally getting the chance. The course was held in Cullowhee NC at the Landmark Learning Campus. LL has a great Campus and the instructors are top notch. 

I spent the week attending what was essentially an accelerated EMT course with a wilderness slant. The course was limited to medical professionals so the learning curve was sharp. I was housed in my 2 man tent surrounded by the woods at night. 

Every day followed a pattern of scenario and lecture as we covered all aspects of EMT scope of practice. We delved deep into consideration for remote medicine and how to make do with what you have. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Yellow River Forest and Backbone July 2020

My Labrador and hiking companion Mel went with me on a short overnight hiking trip this past week.

We took off on Tuesday about 0800 for the 2 hour drive to Yellow River State Forest in Northeast Iowa. Once we showed up we geared up signed in and headed out. This is the same place we did some hiking last year so I was familiar with the area. We decided to do some exploring and go a different route from last year. That lead to our first tactical error. The first mile on the trail we selected was super steep. It took us about 45 minutes and Mel was blowing pretty hard. Being a black Lab she gets overheated quickly and its was over 90 degrees. We rested, ate  and I took her pack off for awhile. We drank about half our water so my next plan was to make towards the camp we had stayed at last year be because I knew there was a creek there. So we hiked that way drinking the rest of our water enroute.  When we got there I refilled water and let Mel drink her fill. I also got her soaked down from the creek. We then made our way a short distance to the camp site. To take a break. When we got there we ate again and this was about 3:30 in the afternoon. I decided to take a small nap and let us both cool down.  After about 15 minutes I heard what appeared to be thunder and the wind picked up. I decided to set up the tent "just in case." Lucky I did because right after I got the tent up and everything inside it started a torrential downpour. Mel and I stayed in the tent for about 90 minutes before it stopped. At that point neither of us felt like going farther so we decided to spend the night. Day one mileage 5 miles.

The next morning we got up about 0545, ate and filled our water up at the stream. We were back on the trail about 0715. I planned on hiking back to the vehicle and then heading south to our next park. Cooler temperatures and easy terrain made the morning hike enjoyable. We basically followed the backpacker loop except when we veered off to climb a bluff and come back down for the views. Getting back to the vehicle about 1045 we had knocked out another 4.2 miles. 

We then headed south to Backbone State Park. It was about an hour drive to the campsite I had reserved. We laid out our gear to dry from the previous days rain storm. We decided to wait on setting up the tent which turned out to be a good move. I took a day pack and Mel had her pack with a small amount of food. We decided to hike the West and East Lake trail loop. We started about 1200. The first few miles were shady and easy going. But then the terrain changed and Mel was getting noticeably hot. I stopped multiple times during the loop to get her water and dunk her in the lake or streams. She continued to overheat and was getting exhausted. When we got back to the truck I decided to call it a trip. I needed to get her cooled off as I thought she was close to heat exhaustion. This loop was 6.8 miles. Total for the day was 11 miles. When we got home she was sore and very lethargic. I got a little concerned but today she was perked back up after food and water. All and all a great trip and shakeout.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

By now you have all probably seen and read about the St Louis couple that confronted a large group of protestors with armed resistance as the protestors moved an around their property. I am not going to argue the legality of the situation as we don't have all the facts. What I want to talk about is how they could have potentially handled the situation better. 

Ultimately it appears this couple reacted out of fear. Fear causes people to improvise. Improvisation is what you saw on display. People improvise when they have no plan. 

An important concept to understand before coming up with a plan is Should vs Could. Just because you can do something doesn't always mean you should. Pointing guns at people and displaying atrocious weapons handling skills is something you probably shouldn't do even if you can. 

Here is a simple plan anyone can and should follow when they plan the defense of their home and property.

The Five Fundamentals of Home Defense

1. Evade- Put yourself in a position where the threat cannot hurt you. Simply put seek a position of advantage. This is tactics 101. Seek the high ground. Abandoning your home to confront a mob on your lawn is a mistake. 

2. Barricade- Make it harder for the threat to get to you. Build a defense in depth. Primary, alternate, contingency and emergency fighting positions. Strengthen your perimeter externally and internally. Have a barricade spot prepared and designated. 

3. Arm- Obtain a tool that can increase your ability to disable a threat ( and prepare it for use). Obviously this couple did that. However part of preparing a lethal force tool for use is knowing basic manual of arms and safety procedures with that tool. This appears to have been lacking. 

4. Communicate- Communicate with the 911 operator. Tell them where you are, what is happening, who is armed and with what. Description of the threat and description of you. This couple claims they called 911, Police dispatch disputes that assertion. Call 911 and stay on the line. 

5. Respond- Respond appropriately of you need to. Know what constitutes a lethal threat and be able to articulate why you believed so. Did the threat have the ability to hurt you? Did they possess the power to kill or cause great bodily harm.  Did the threat have the opportunity? Did they have the capability to immediately employ deadly force or cause great bodily harm? Did the threat put you in jeopardy? Did they show manifest intent to kill or cause great bodily harm?This is referred to as the AOJ triangle. It is important if you respond you be able to articulate why you felt it was justified. 

When preparing to defend your home and property you need to have a plan. Its not as simple as walking outside barefoot with your AR to confront the threat. 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Blog is Ten Years Old

This blog just turned ten. I realized that as I was answering some comments on previous posts. The anniversary had kinda slipped by me as I haven't been posting here as much as I used to. Are blogs even a thing anymore? I find myself posting more often with short posts on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. I originally started this blog to have a centralized location to place my recollections and thoughts on my military service before I forgot them. Eventually as my military service faded into the less recent past this blog became a place to archive my activities and review training. Now it is a place where I throw down a random thought or two as they pop up. I'm not quite sure how much longer I will keep it active. I really like the idea of having a place to archive my thoughts so for now it stays active albeit nominally so.

A lot has changed since I started this blog. The actual day I wrote my first post I was working as a Semi Truck dispatcher on the night and weekend shift and I was 5 years retired from the military. I am now close to 16 years retired and I have moved on from that job. In the last 10 years I have worked as a Security Officer, Security Manager, Small Business Owner, EMT, Paramedic and currently I am working as Faculty at a Community College and managing a small rural ambulance service.

10 years ago I ran my first Ultramarathon. It was a local 50K. Over the next 6 years I ran 37 races of marathon distance (26.2 miles) or longer to include finishing a 100 mile trail race in under 30 hours.I sustain a nagging injury that curtailed my long distance running but introduced me to the rucking community. Since my injury I have completed 6 GoRuck Light, 1 GoRuck Tough and a GoRuck Star course.

I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu five years ago and while I might never make it to black belt I consistently train and have even competed on 6 occasions. Currently I am a one stripe Blue Belt and I continue on the path.

5 years ago I started my own training company and make a decent side hustle training people in defensive pistol and rifle use,medical training, active shooter response plans and general defensive tactics. I enjoy it and can make my own schedule. Its good to get in front of folks and make them better.

When I started this blog I had one child graduated and working,one in high school and one in junior high. Currently all my kids are graduated and working. One is married and living in another state. My wife was managing a fast food kitchen and now she is retired.

I set a goal to try and post twice  amonth onthis blog in 2020. I am a little behind right now so I need to step it up.A lot has changed in the last 10 years here is to ten more

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Landing the Plane 3.22.2020

I attended Landing the Plane presented by My friend Mike Anderson this last weekend. With all the COVID nonsense going on it was great to be able to actually train a little. Since the entire focus of the class is managing space and distance with unknown persons it was a perfect context. I have been to this class over a dozen times and I always learn something. When people ask me what the need to learn to defend themselves I tell them the top 3 are CPR, Stop the Bleed and Managing Unknown Contacts. This class is all about MUC. One percent better.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Carl Principle

This scene from the movie Sling Blade caused me to formulate a principle that I have tried to stick to over the years. I call it the Carl Principle. The Carl Principle is simple. It states " Always check the obvious problem first." Utilizing the Carl Principle has saved me countless issues and wasted time over the years. Remote not working..check the batteries.  Phone/computer not synching..turn it off then on again. 

The Carl Principle is especially relevant to my job as a Paramedic. Patient not oxygenating? Make sure to Oxygen is actually on. ECG looking funky..make sure the patches are connected.

Always check the easiest thing first and go from there. Give it a try

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Moving Forward

I've been reading about and listening to a lot of podcasts on stoicism the last few years. The stoic philosophy appeals to me. Primarily it has helped me mitigate my temper as it teaches you not to worry about what you can't control. The other thing it has helped me with is living a life worth living. I have come to the realization that if you are not happy you are wasting the limited time you have on this earth. I am not sure if that is actually the stoicism or just maturity.

In Meditations Marcus Aurelius reminds us that once we die eventually we will be forgotten. Unfortunately this is true. So living as if you will live forever is folly. You can't live without a care in the world but you need to do things now because if you don't you may not ever get a chance.

About 5 years ago I was working a job that paid me well but I was miserable. I hated going to work everyday. I was working part time as a Paramedic and a full time opportunity opened up. I decided to take the leap even though I would take a significant pay cut. Fast forward and I am happier doing a job I enjoy and I am actually making more money with better opportunities than I was before.

I am determined to actually take time off during my time off this year. Enjoy life

2020 Power list

Workout 30 minutes 4X per week including:

10,000 Push ups
10,000 Sit ups
5000 Burpees
2500 Pull ups

Lift weights 2 X per week

Run/ Hike 3 X per week

Run/Hike/Walk 1000 miles

2 BJJ sessions per week

2 No Gi BJJ Session per month

Attend at least 2 professional classes

Read 20 books

Listen to 10 books

2 athletic events ( race, GoRuck, BJJ)

Study Cardiology 1 hour per month

Study Respiratory issues 1 hour per month

Certification as a Tactical Paramedic

Shoot or dry fire 30 minutes per week

Influence change

Monday, December 30, 2019

By the Numbers

Image result for 2019 pictures 

Sixth annual yearly numbers recap

Physical activity

738.04 miles ran,rucked or walked. Hit my goal of 700 miles. That's about 300 more miles than last year. Next year I hope to hit 1000 miles for the first time in about 5 years.

165 workouts that's an average of 3.17 a week, Hit my goal of 3 workouts per week. Next year will raise the goal to 4. 

10,000 push-ups and sit-ups and 5000 burpees for the year.  Hit my goal on this. I will keep this goal for next year and add 2500 pull ups.

69 BJJ sessions and 156 hours of training. That's an average of 1.32 sessions/3 hours per week.  Hit my goal of at least 1 session per week. Currently on a 125 week unbroken attendance streak. I will set my new goal at 2 times per week.

18 No Gi BJJ training sessions for the year. My original goal was 2 session per month. I averaged 1.5 times. I will keep this goal the same.

2 BJJ competitions. Got a 1 gold and 2 silvers. I am probably on hiatus from competition for awhile.

4 GoRuck events 3 Lights, 1 Tough and a 26.2 mile Star Course

1 25K Race. I rucked it with 30 lbs 

Mental Activity and Personal Training

13 books read. My goal was 20. I will keep this goal the same. 

1 BJJ Seminar. Week long seminar and got certified as a Gracie Survival Tactics Instructor 

1 Home Defense Tactics Class

1 K9 TCCC course

1 Land the Plane session. I have probably attended this curriculum at least 10 times. Still the best bang for the buck in the self defense realm. 

My own training suffered a bit this year, since I took a full time teaching position. Ill try to do better.  However teaching is a form of training so there is that. 

Teaching Activity and classes taught

3 Community Stop the Bleed classes 

3 CPR classes

1 Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support Course

1 Advanced Medical Life Support Course

1 Emergency Medical Responder Course

2 Emergency Medical Technician Courses

1 Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Course

1 Paramedic Course

3 Active Shooter Response Courses

6 Casualty Care 1 Courses

1 Casualty Care 2 Course

3 Introduction to Defensive Pistol classes

3 Intuitive Defensive Shooting classes

1 Intuitive Defensive Carbine classes

3 Seminars spoken at- Hiawatha EMS Day, Jones County EMS Day and Critical Care Paramedic Refresher

Writing and Podcasts

2 Podcasts episodes produced

14 Personal blog entries

19 Professional blog entries

Slow year on the writing front. No published articles for the first time in a few years. Will get back up to speed in 2020. My personal blog will hit 10 years in 2020. Are blogs still a thing?

EMS and PD

246 EMS calls. I took a full time job as an EMS instructor at a local Community College and quit my full time Paramedic job. This caused my personal call volume to drop some. I also took over as Service Director of a rural ambulance service. Still working about 24 hours a week as a Medic.

116.5 hours worked as a Reserve Police Officer. 

Random Numbers

37 years since Army enlistment
15 years since Army retirement

31 years since Ranger School graduation

29 years since Special Forces Qualification Course Graduation

13 years since becoming an EMT

5 years since becoming a Paramedic

32 years since marriage

That's it. Another great year

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

12 Months 12 Pictures 2019

I started this last year. This will be the second annual