Monday, December 27, 2021

2021 By The Numbers

 

I almost didn't do this post this year. I have generally neglected the blog in favor of sites like Instagram, Facebook etc... but I lost my Mother this past July and she always asked about and enjoyed my yearly numerical recount. So this is for you Mom


Shoot Move and Communicate Fitness was a general failure this year. There were some high points like consistent BJJ training but otherwise I need to do better in 2022


Goal 700 miles run,bike or hike- Actual just over 320 miles. Not the best I have ever done. I just lost interest this year. 

Goal 36 30 minute dryfire or range sessions- Actual 36. I met this goal so that's good. But this is also counting some 8 hour classes.

Goal 208 workouts of  over 30 minutes- Actual 210. Just barely made it

Goal 104 yoga sessions-  Actual 5. LOL not even close. My doctor says I need to do this to help my sore back. So I need to do this.

Goal 2500 PU,10000SU,10000PU- Actual unsure the amount as I lost the total sometime around September in an app crash. But I was well under the goal. Also lost interest

Goal 104 hours BJJ and 24 Hours No Gi BJJ- Actual 134 hours total with 26 hours of No Gi. Yes met my goal.

Classes attended-  10 pretty eclectic mix of medical, survival, shooting and fighting

Knife Control Concepts ID-Aaron Janetti

EWO- Craig Douglas

EMS Instructor Update

GST1 Recertification- Gracie University

ECQC-Craig Douglas

Webinar Grappling in a Weapons' Based Environment- Cecil Burch

Two Person Armed Defense-Rob Pincus

Pathfinder School Basic Survival Course- Dave Canterbury

Glock Armorer- Glock Staff

Next Level Pistol- Mike Anderson

Work-

266 EMS calls

170 hours Reserve PD

68 individual courses taught- Subjects ranging from 2 hours seminars on how to clean a firearm to 16 weeks Emergency Medical Technician curriculum. Including Pistol, Rifle, Medical, Knife defense, Grappling, Managing Unknown Contacts and Permit to Carry


Leisure-

Goal- Read 20 books. Only managed to finish 15 this year

Goal- Listen to 10 audiobooks. Crushed this one with 14

Goal- Write 12 blogposts and/or 2 articles. Although I have well over 12 blogposts. I didn't really "write" any. Mostly pictures posted with a few lines. Definitely not as prolific as I was a few years ago. Ill try to put pen to paper this year. 


That's a wrap I guess. I lost a lot of my statistics in that app crash. I downloaded a new one to keep track of things in 2022. Love you Mom hope you enjoyed it. 


Saturday, September 11, 2021

To Be or To Do


 Colonel John Boyd was famous for being a legendary fighter pilot and for popularizing his famous OODA loop theory of human cognition. Colonel Boyd was also famous for other things, like his questioning of authority and the fact he never made General.  He once challenged us to Be or to Do


Boyd said "To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?


What did he mean by this? Boyd was trying to say that we can be somebody, gain recognition and be a big shot or we can do something and make positive change. They are not mutually exclusive but they are not the same thing. Many of us, myself included, will fall into a trap of trying to chase that next promotion or the next best thing. we will worry about what others think of us and try to impress them. 

The famous Roman Emperor and Stoic Marcus Aurelius' said " It never ceases to amaze me: we love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own." We often agonize over what people think of us when really they are not thinking of us at all. We can continue to try and impress those that barely notice or we can do. 


We can do by effecting positive change. The US Army Special Forces call themselves "The Quiet Professionals." USASF conducts hundreds of missions globally in support of the National Command Authority objectives and they consider it mission success if no one even knows they were there. 

So are we to be about impressing others or are we to devote our life to leaving things better than we found them? Are we to spend our time accumulating wealth and accolades or strengthening our bodies, minds and families?

On this, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks choose to do, be a quiet professional.



Friday, July 30, 2021

Sharron McElmeel Great Grand-Grandmother, Grand-Mother, Mother, Wife, and Literary Warrior 13 Sep 1942- 26 July 2021

 Buried my Mother today. Here is the Eulogy I read. So many nice things were said. I can't even begin to encapsulate what she meant to me. 











Eulogy



“You will give yourself relief, if you do every act of your life 

as if it was your last-”Marcus Aurelius Meditations Book II


My Mother lived a life worth living. She touched so many lives 

you would be hard pressed to find them all. Through her many activities 

as an Educator, Literacy advocate, Champion of those that couldn’t  

champion for themselves,Wife, Mother, Grand-Mother and Great-Grandmother. 

She was always trying to gently nudge people to be a better 

version of themselves. 


I remember when I was 4 or 5 years old and she brought home 

discarded Dick and Jane Books and started teaching me to read.


I remember when I was in elementary school and  she took 

me to Pizza Hut to get my very own personal pan pizza for finishing 

the Book It Summer reading challenge. I was so excited!


I remember not being able to get away with anything in 

High School because she was the head Media Specialist 

at that High School.


I remember her showing me the albums in that same library. 

The music I listened to then has colored my musical tastes to this day. 


I remember how angry she was when I joined the Army. 

We argued. She wanted me to get an education and 

she thought I was making a mistake.


I also remember how proud she was of my career 

and all the questions she had about places I lived. 


I remember how proud she was of me when I finally got that education. 

When I received my Masters Degree she had my diplomas, 

all my diplomas matted in a huge display at what must have 

been a significant expense. 

 

I remember her constantly helping my children navigate through life’s issues. 

They would regularly call Grandma for help often before calling me. 


I remember her refusing to give any of those same children any 

Christmas or Birthday present other than a book. 

“Readers are leaders Michael..she would say”


I remember her turning every conversation back to children's literature.

 “Hey did you know XYZ author wrote a book about this? 

No Mother but why don't you tell me


I remember many political discussions. My mother and I were 

opposed to many things politically and sometimes it got heated 

but never disrespectful and she always listened to my side 

sometimes even changing her mind.


I remember her talking about her trip to Switzerland for years afterward.

For a small town girl from Iowa it must have been an exciting experience. 


I remember people asking her “ How can you have 6 only children” 

It was obvious she treated us all with her full attention every time. 


I remember her excitedly talking about her Grand-children and 

Great Grand-Child. It was another chance for her to personally 

influence young lives. It was her mission for them to not 

accept the boundaries they set for themselves. 


I remember talking to her 2 weeks ago. The last time I talked to her 

she was in the basement because of a tornado warning. I had called 

to see if she was ok. She assured me she was fine, 

I told her to stay safe and we hung up. It was a short conversation. 

I wish it would have been longer. 


I remember this past Wednesday. I was hiking with my dog and 

I thought of her every time I saw a butterfly or purple flowers.


Your Mother is always with you! ©

By: Deborah R Culver

She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.

She’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, 

the fragrance of life itself.

She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well.

She’s your breath in the air on a cold winters’ day.

She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow.

She is Christmas morning.

Your mother lives inside your laughter.

She’s the place you come from, your first home.

She’s the map you follow with every step you take.

She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy.

But nothing on Earth can separate you.

Not time.

Not space.

Not even death.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ego

 




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 www.eighteenzulu.blogspot.com

 

 To see posts on my personal training go to https://formeractionguytraining.blogspot.com/

 

Ciao

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.