There’s more to it than “mah head on a swivel”

It seems any time the concept of “situational awareness” comes up, someone eventually trots out a tired phrase about having my/your “head on a swivel”. As if situation awareness is about constantly rollicking your head back and forth.

The other night, Wife and I were on a dinner date. As we were leaving and about to exit the building, I see on the other side of the door a small group about to enter. At the head of the line was a man being pushed in a wheelchair, followed by a woman leading a blind man (white cane). The door opened outwards (towards them), so it made best sense for Wife and I to just step aside so they could come on in. The man in the wheelchair was pushed in and went past us clearing the walkway, with the pusher eventually stopping to turn back to the rest of his party to decide where to sit.

Woman leading the blind man stepped just inside the door and stopped in front of us to respond to the “where to sit” question. She seemed completely oblivious to the fact she’s stopped in the doorway, blocking it, and that there were people waiting on them to move.

But who did notice?

The blind man.

He was standing right in front of me and after a few moments said to me “Sir, are we blocking your way?” I responded “No worries, you’re good.” And after a few more moments they were on their way and we on ours.

I don’t know how much vision the man had, but I suspect none. The bottleneck of the door area was tight, so the man was stopped literally in front of me – a distance that would normally be considered WAY too close for comfort. I guess he heard me there – breathing. I wasn’t being huffy or anything, just normal respiration.

But he noticed I was there.

He was the most situationally aware of their group.

And there was no ability for him to have “his head on a swivel”.

Yes, it’s important to have your head up and look at what is around and what is going on around you. But we have more senses than just our eyes. We can hear. We can smell. And we can even have that “Spidey sense” that tingles when our gut tells us something is off.

Think about how “situational awareness” can and should involve (all of, more of) your senses. And think about how abridging any of your senses can be a detriment to that same awareness.

Because it’s more than just looking around.

2017-05-30 training log

Today was good. Set a nice rep PR, tho I did have some irritation of my arm pain.

The thing is, I don’t think the inclines necessarily were the source of the pain. For whatever reason, squats have started to cause the pain to flare up again. And then today, I wore elbow sleeves. What I think the issue may be? Acute angles. That is, having my arms really “in” during squats, that elbow angle? pressure. The sleeves? It adds thickness. Angle. Pressure. It’s just a hunch right now, but given what I’m expericing it feels like a good hunch.

I also went ahead and followed the 5/3/1 rep scheme. It wasn’t intentional – it’s just habit. It started down that road, so I just went with it. I was going to start that next cycle anyways so NBD.

All in all, things are feeling good with this modification. Just going to keep on truckin’.

  • Incline Bench Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 80 x 5
    • 100 x 5
    • 120 x 3
    • 150 x 5
    • 170 x 3
    • 190 x 10 (10 rep PR)
    • 170 x 8
    • 150 x 10
  • Flies
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
  • Cable Rows
    • 110 x 12
    • 120 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 12
  • DB Upright Row
    • 45e x 12
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 8
  • Seated French Press
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 12
  • Reverse EZ Bar Curl
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 12
    • 60 x 9
    • 60 x 9

2017-05-29 training log

Today doesn’t count, because I suck.

I felt good going into today’s session, but I lost confidence as I went along. It resulted in 2 reps, but I missed depth. Not by much — maybe 1/2″, but it’s still missing depth. So, today doesn’t count.

Why? Confidence. What’s messed up is I know where I felt my sticking point and it wouldn’t have been a problem in the hole. But yet, I cut it just short out of fear. Not happy with myself.

What’s interesting is I can tell how it happened. It’s the descent. I get under the bar, set up, unrack, and as I go down I can feel when it’s in the groove and I know it’ll come up. But I can also know when it’s out of whack and it’s not going to happen. It does happen, but it’s all mental. I just throw myself off. On the 305 set I was out of groove, the 3rd rep didn’t come up easily, and it blew my confidence — “if it was hard to get 3 with 305, like he’ll I’ll get 3 with 340”.

I screwed myself.

So, I’m going to repeat this cycle; same weights.

But what I got from today? That the descent is something I need to focus on. Hard to describe here, but I know what I felt, I know what I went through, and I know that it’s something to work on. That should help.

We’ll see how things go with repeating this.

  • Squats
    • bar x whatever
    • 145 x 5
    • 180 x 5
    • 215 x 3
    • 270 x 5
    • 305 x 3
    • 340 x 2
  • Pause Squat
    • 270 x 3
    • 270 x 3
    • 270 x 3

Sunday Metal – Obituary

Obituary, still going strong. Off their 2017 self-titled album, this is “Ten Thousand Ways To Die”.

This video is awesome. So many jokes, so many funny references. You will want to watch this video over and over, just to catch all the jokes. It’s hilarious!

And the song is awesome.

 

Thinking about putting a red dot scope on your carry gun?

To put a red dot scope on a handgun used for personal protection and/or concealed carry is growing in popularity. But is it really an improvement? Is there something to be gained, beyond Instagram likes and “cool-kids points”?

In 2015 & 2016 KR Training partnered with the Texas A&M Huffines Institute to jointly fund and conduct an academic study comparing shooter performance using iron sights, green lasers, and slide mounted red dot sights (with and without backup iron sights).

Karl is finishing up publication of the complete study, but he’s been freely talking about  the key points from the study. He just wrote up an article summarizing the key points, and it’s well worth a read if you’re considering a red dot.

I was one of the participants in the study. I’m not a red dot shooter, and for sure it was a different beast to shoot with the red dot than irons. I spoke with other participants and they all echoed similar sentiments. One thing that truly surprised many of us was how well we all shot with the laser. I had poo-pooed lasers in the past, but after going through this I feel a laser is going to wind up on my gun one of these days.

Me personally? I don’t see myself getting a red dot any time soon (tho again a laser is a different story). However, don’t just go off my preferences. Give Karl’s study a read, take in the data, and seriously consider his final 5 advice points. And if you don’t like what you read, replicate the study perhaps adjusting for variables you have a contention point with. That’s what science is all about: one study isn’t the final word, merely a starting point.

Listen to the 911 operator, but blindly obey them? Well…

You call 911 for whatever reason, usually because something bad or dangerous is occurring.

What is the 911 operator going to do? They’re going to ask you a lot of questions. They have to ask questions because they aren’t there with you – they don’t know what’s going on and have to rely upon you to tell them. They are trying to assess the situation to determine who to send (police? fire? EMS?), and then to help relay as much information as possible to the responders so the responders can respond accordingly and know what they are about to walk in on.

This is quite reasonable.

However…

I am of the opinion that you do not and SHOULD not BLINDLY follow the directions of the 911 operator.

Should you listen to them? Yes.

Should you work to be as helpful as possible? Yes.

Should you risk your own personal safety? No!

Case in point (and what motivated me to write this).

Friends of mine woke up to a truck idling outside their house. The truck’s front bumper was pressed up against the tail their son’s car (parked on the street). Car running. Driver passed out.

911 operator told them to turn the car off.

Nope. Sorry.

That would require  me to approach the vehicle. That would require me to reach into the truck and/or open the door, and otherwise interact with someone that is demonstrably not within normal faculties.

Consider as well there have been numerous events where people have observed crime occurring, reported to 911, and the 911 operator tells the caller to follow the criminal! Often the caller proceeds to follow the criminal, risking their personal safety.

For example, Paul Saustrop was an Austin, Texas CHL holder who 911 dispatchers told to follow the attacker that had threatened him and his wife because there were no officers available four blocks from the police station. It resulted in a defensive shooting where the press crucified him for “chasing down the victim”. All kinds of errors there:  starting with listening to the dispatcher and following the threat. (h/t to John Kochan for jogging my memory on this event).

Why does this happen? One explanation is obedience to authority figures. See the Milgram Experiment.

Of course, it’s your choice to actually follow-through with any request from the operator because you are there and have better knowledge and context about what’s going on. Just remember, while the 911 operator may have requested it, if you feel it’s a risk to your personal safety, exercise judgment and politely refuse.

 

 

2017-05-26 training log

Today was quite awesome.

I actually hadn’t thought about what it would take to make a PR. I mean, I did last night before bed, but totally forgot about it until AFTER my top set today. And today’s top-set was a GREAT PR.

Rep 4 almost didn’t happen as I got out of rhythm on my breathing, but I got it and kept going. Rep 5 was easy. I thought 7 was possible but on 6 I peeded out. So it was what it was. What was great tho was despite the weirdness, it was both a weight and rep PR, and a good one over what I had previously done at that weight and rep. As well, calculated theoretical 1RM is now over 200#, which is pretty cool. Of course it doesn’t mean I could hit a 200# press, but to see this degree of progress is welcome.

I’m quite happy with today.

Next week is the 1+ week, and it freaks me out a little bit because my top sets flirt with all-time maxes. For example, my squat 1RM best is 345 set back in December. Next week I’m to squat 340, and I want at least 2 but am going to aim for 3 reps — which, even with 2, exceeds my best. Pressing will be at 180, and my prior 1RM best is 185. So I’m a little nervous going into next week, but I’m also really excited about it because it’s awesome to venture into totally new territory.

  • Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 75 x 5
    • 95 x 5
    • 115 x 3
    • 135 x 3
    • 150 x 3
    • 170 x 6 (6 rep PR)
    • 150 x 7
    • 135 x 9
  • Lat Pulldowns (pronated grip, to chest)
    • 110 x 12
    • 120 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 10
    • 130 x 8
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way above head)
    • 25 x 22
    • 25 x 17
    • 25 x 13
  • Skullcrushers
    • 80 x 12
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 9
    • 80 x 8
  • Hammer Curl
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 6

2017-05-25 training log

Continuing to work on technique.

So I went back to setting up with the bar over the 3rd eyelet of my shoes (from 2nd). That was better. I tried 4th, but the bar just rolled away from me.

Well…

I woke up too early this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I watched some YouTube videos. I haven’t watched any of Alan Thrall’s videos in a long time, but I always liked them – Alan knows how to convey information, teach, and produce effective videos. As I was flipping through the ones I hadn’t seen, I came across this one about “How to Deadlift: Starting Strength 5 Step Deadlift”

It’s all about the setup, according to Starting Strength (which I have a soft spot for).

Since I have been adjusting my setup, I thought to try this today — what would be the harm.

My setup? Not over the 3rd eyelet, nor the 4th – but the 5th! Man, that feels so close, too close! But I used the cues from the video – especially step 4 (squeezing the chest out) – and lifting.

It was… strange. Actually, it felt good, it felt “right”. But as well, every rep felt totally strange because it’s a different setup. Because of the length of my limbs, torso, legs, it FEELS like I have barely any bend in my knees and my back is parallel to the ground. That’s not the case, but it sure feels that way. When I lift, I don’t feel like there’s much knee extension at all – like barely any “push” with the legs. That it’s mostly hip hinging. BUT that was interesting. On the last set I found myself working to reset better between each rep, and when I did step 4 and really worked to get the bar loaded, I also really felt it loading up on my hamstrings. Boy! They got quite taught, and I reckon I was feeling it on the last set (and not sooner) since they were getting exhausted.

I don’t do touch-and-go with deadlifts, but I’m going to need a little more pause-and-reset between each rep, at least until I get this technique down. Because one key part is the descent and ensuring the bar winds up in the right place to pull again, and pull again “properly”.

So I feel good enough about the technique that will keep going with it. It feels strange, but that’s purely a n00b issue. It does feel like a better pull.

That said, top set intended to do 6 (last night’s goal) but I stopped at 5 because of this new technique. I could have gone forward, but I was flip-flopping between lifting, rhythm, the new technique, etc. and things were just going to shit so it was best to stop. But this is part of why I am feeling the technique is good (for me), because I know how prior technique would have had me feeling vs. how I was feeling (even tho I was way sloppy); and this was feeling better, this was not feeling as worn out.

So, I’ll take today. Not a paper-PR, but a good learning point. I’m going to continue to work on this new technique.

  • Deadlift
    • 175 x 5
    • 220 x 5
    • 265 x 3
    • 310 x 3
    • 350 x 3
    • 395 x 5
    • 350 x 6
    • 310 x 8
  • Hyperextensions
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 15
    • BW x 13
  • Leg Curls
    • 55 x 12
    • 55 x 12
    • 55 x 8
  • Crunches
    • 25 x 12
    • 25 x 12
    • 25 x 8

Life worth protecting? Get medical skills!

‘Blood was coming out of her mouth and down her shoulder. …

‘I grabbed her and she was a puppet. I was walking to her towards the door and got her through the foyer and she collapsed in her arms.

‘I put her down and blood was coming out of her mouth and I thought she would have choked. Her eyes were staring up and I lifted her up and her little arms were broken. She had shrapnel in both her legs, her shoulder and her face.

May 22, 2017. Manchester. Almost 2 dozen dead and 10x as many injured at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. Many were children.

‘She lost pints and pints of blood in the time I was there. ‘We made makeshift compressions to press on her wounds on her legs and shoulder. I was holding her up and talked to her, asking her name.

A sick, evil creature inflicted this.

‘We stopped the bleeding but I couldn’t move as she screamed if I did,’ she said.

‘It took so long for help to come. I was holding her all the time crying we need help we need help. Every time i moved a little bit she screamed she was in that much pain.

‘The armed police swarmed in and sit seemed to take forever to check the place. I was sat there so long and all I could see was the bodies and the blood. I saw a body in half, there was so much blood. Peoples clothes had been blown off them and people crying in agony.

(Full story. h/t Greg Ellifritz)

It’s maddening.

People go on and on about wanting to carry a gun to protect their lives. I totally get that.

But let me ask you this.

How many times in the past year have you needed a gun?

How many times in the past year have you needed medical skills? Even so little as having to clean a cut and put on a band-aid.

Which do you think is going to go further in terms of your ability to preserve your life and the lives of others? Carrying a gun? Or having medical skills? First-aid. Field trauma. You don’t have to be an EMT, but there are critical life-saving skills you can possess.

What drives me (and many of my colleagues) crazy? That people will plunk down hundreds or thousands of dollars for a weekend shooting class, but when presented with the ability to take a medical class, they go out of their way to make excuses to NOT take the class. I shit you not, I’ve seen it first-hand.

WTF?

My buddy Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics is coming to KR Training June 3-4, 2017 to teach his Med-X EDC course. And you know what? Last I checked, the class is at risk of not making. Not enough students interested. Back in February when Caleb was down for his Dynamic First Aid class? Class was able to make because 4 of the students were my family members.

I’m appalled.

No, I’m not trying to advertise and drum up enrollment; I was pissed about this before the Manchester tragedy. It’s manifestation of the fact people do NOT put emphasis on medical training, when it’s pretty damn obvious such knowledge could do more to save lives than carrying a gun ever will.

Carrying a tourniquet and whatever other things you can? Is there any reason not to?

Next time I go into a concert venue, when questioned about why I’d bring a tourniquet into a concert my response is pretty much:

  • Ask Dimebag Darrell
  • Ask the Eagles of Death Metal and their fans at the Bataclan
  • Ask the people at the Pulse nightclub
  • And now, ask Ariana Grande

Folks, if you believe in carrying or owning a gun to protect your life, if you believe that life is that precious that it should be preserved “at all costs”, then damnit – get some medical training.

 

2017-05-23 training log

So far, inclines are working.

Interesting thing with the arm pain – it’s been consistently lingering for the past few days (I’ll come back to this). So inclines this morning and I wondered if the pain would get worse. Nope. Things stayed the same, as far as I could tell, so that’s good. I’ll just keep working inclines for a while, since it seems to provide me a way to keep pressing without pain. If things are good next week, then next cycle I’m going to try moving the rep scheme back to a normal 5/3/1 progression and see how that goes.

But to that it’s interesting. I’m finding if I spend time with my forearm vertical, eventually the pain comes in. For example, laying on my back in bed, upper arm parallel to the floor, 90º bent elbow, forearm perpendicular to the floor. No real weight, just say my iPhone while I read and do things on it. And eventually, the ache creeps in. Interesting.

As for the rest of the session, things went as I’d expect. All good. Flies still feel painful because stretch, but that’s what I’m wanting, so just progress slowly.

  • Incline Bench Press
    • bar x whatever
    • 80 x 5
    • 100 x 4
    • 120 x 3
    • 140 x 3 (supposed to do 2 but did 3)
    • 160 x 1
    • 180 x 10 (10 rep PR)
    • 160 x 12
    • 140 x 10
  • Flies
    • 20e x 13
    • 20e x 13
    • 20e x 13
  • Cable Rows
    • 110 x 12
    • 120 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 12
    • 130 x 10
  • DB Upright Row
    • 45e x 12
    • 45e x 10
    • 45e x 8
  • Seated French Press
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 10
  • Reverse EZ Bar Curl
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 12
    • 60 x 10
    • 60 x 8