As many of you know, I am a Combat Focus Shooting Instructor. The Founder of the CFS Program (http://www.combatfocusshooting.com/) and Owner of I.C.E. Training, Rob Pincus, forged an amazing opportunity for the CFS Instructor Cadre recently. We were given an opportunity to set up a table and provide training information to the attendees of the “Bullet Proof Mind” seminar when the it was in our local area. In addition, we had Combat Focus Shooting Books and DVD’s on hand for purchase. The huge upside for me was being able to see the “Bullet Proof Mind Seminar” live. While I have read a few of the books authored by both Ken Murray and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, until this weekend, I have never met either Dave or Ken, nor have I been able to make this seminar.
I made the trip up to Philadelphia with friend and fellow instructor Deryck Poole of Echo-5 Training Group, llc (http://www.echofivetg.com/). I wanted to write about my experience at this seminar because I truly believe that this seminar is a must for not only the Law Abiding Gun Owner and Concealed Carry Permit holder, but also any citizen that values their personal safety.
I will start by providing some profile information on both Dave and Ken of “Sheepdog Seminars Group International” (http://sheepdogseminars.com/).
“Lt. Col. Grossman is a director of Sheepdog Seminars Group International. He is also a director of Warrior Science Group, owner of www.killology .com, member of American Board for Certification in Homeland Security and a member of American College of Forensic Examiners. Lt. Col. Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier and speaker who is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime. Col. Grossman is a former West Point psychology professor, Professor of Military Science, and an Army Ranger who has combined his experiences to become the founder of a new field of scientific endeavor, which has been termed “killology.” In this new field Col. Grossman has made revolutionary new contributions to our understanding of killing in war, the psychological costs of war, the root causes of the current “virus” of violent crime that is raging around the world, and the process of healing the victims of violence, in war and peace. He is the author of On Killing, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; has been translated into Japanese, Korean, and German; is on the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant’s required reading list; and is required reading at the FBI academy and numerous other academies and colleges. Col. Grossman co-authored Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence, which has been translated into Norwegian and German, and has received international acclaim. Col. Grossman’s most recent book, On Combat, has also placed on the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant’s Required Reading List and has been translated into Japanese and Korean.” (Biography info from http://sheepdogseminars.com/lt-col-dave-grossman-bio/)
Kenneth Murray is a co-director with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman for the Sheepdog Seminars Group, International. As the Director of Training for the Armiger Police Training Institute located in the greater Orlando area of Florida, Ken has spent his entire career as a police and military trainer, specializing in the field of Reality Based Training. His commitment to the realm of Reality Based Training (RBT) began after he co-founded SIMUNITION® with David Luxton as an offshoot of the Armiger Corporation in Ottawa, Canada. With RBT in its infancy and given the scarcity of information on the topic, he wrote numerous articles and policy papers on the safe conduct of projectile-based simulation training exercises.
“As the concept of force-on-force training started to gain popularity, he began to study the complexities associated with realistic training. In the wake of the increasing number of serious injuries and deaths that were beginning to occur during tactical simulations, he authored and taught the first instructor schools in North America on how to conduct safe and effective tactical simulations. Since that time, his training principles have been adopted by thousands of agencies, nationally and internationally. He continues to lecture on both a national and international level on the topics Officer Safety and Survival, the Psychology of Lethal Force Encounters, and is regarded as the leading authority on Reality Based Training. He continues to personally conduct instructor certification schools on Reality Based Training Topics covered in his instructor classes include both the governing principles for effective training as well as the safe use of the broad spectrum of available and emerging technologies designed to improve realism in training for dangerous encounters. Group training and individual consulting to agencies is available to organizations seeking to improve the safety and effectiveness of either their established and existing, or new and developing Reality Based Training programs.” (Biography info from http://sheepdogseminars.com/kenneth-r-murray-bio/)
One of the first things that I noticed when I arrived on Saturday and introduced myself to LT. Col Dave Grossman and Ken Murray, was how down to earth and genuine the two were. They screamed sincerity and honesty. After spending the day with Dave and Ken I truly feel like I have made two new friends in the industry. Lt. Col. Grossman was kind enough to give me a copy of his book “On Combat” which he graciously autographed with a personal note that read, “To: Evan Carson, fellow sheepdog and warrior trainer! Psalms 144:1” Both Ken and Dave spent almost all of the break time and down time between seminar blocks talking with attendees, taking pictures, signing books, discussing training, telling stories and getting to know everyone they could. While Col. Grossman presented for 99% of the day, I don’t think I saw him sit down once throughout the day. He utilized every possible moment to talk with attendees on a variety of topics. In addition, Col. Grossman is one of the most charismatic and polished public speakers I have had the pleasure of observing. He is truly a master of the craft.
As Col Grossman explained on Saturday, The seminar, which is part of the Restoring Responsibility Tour, was originally developed to help police and military personnel come to terms with the mental aspects of deadly encounters. With an estimated 2.5 million reported defensive firearm uses per year, Grossman decided that it was imperative that these seminars be brought to Mainstream America. Being your own first responder, as Grossman states, “begins a journey that starts with changing your mindset”.
The following are just some of the bullet points of the topics discussed during this one day seminar:
The truth about the explosion of violence in America – think things are getting better? Think again
What it takes to be a warrior capable of stopping multiple attackers and mass-murdering lunatics
The hidden truth about lethal combat
How the body responds to a violent attack and what you can do now to ensure your body responds the right way
How to prepare your spouse for an attack
The New Killer of the 21st Century and why most people aren’t willing to talk about it
Important drills that NOBODY practices that would save countless lives
Who is teaching our kids to kill? Find out now so YOU can put a stop to it!
By the end of the seminar I had a much different view on violence in America and the people responsible. Many of the points that Grossman made throughout the seminar can be extrapolated from his writings. However, the seminar wrapped up the above topics and served them perfectly. If you have not read Grossman’s books, make sure you go out and get copies or purchase the audio book versions through iTunes.
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society(1995) (ISBN 0-316-33000-0), an analysis of the psychology of killing both in the military and in civilian society, which he calls killology.
Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence (1999) (ISBN 0-609-60613-1)
On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace (2004) (ISBN 0-9649205-1-4)
Warrior Mindset (2010) (ISBN-10: 0964920557)
From start to finish during this seminar I was glued on to the front listening to Col. Grossman. It definitely made me think differently and helped me mold my warrior mindset. While hands on in context firearm training and physical conditioning is imperative, mindset formation and training is just as important, if not more so than the former. While most of my training in the past has been firearm training, I have not spent as much time training my mindset or partaking in intellectual seminars like this one. There was so much great information packed into the seminar that I can’t wait to attend another one. A few people that I discussed this seminar with who have participated before had similar thoughts. They stated that they picked up more information the second time through than the first and that they planned on taking the seminar again in the near future.
Are you a sheep or a sheep dog? How will you respond in the moment of truth? How will you respond after using force to defend your family and loved ones? Will you embrace the decision? Are you mentally prepared to possibly take a life to save another? These questions seem simple but they are not. As Ken stated at the beginning of the seminar, you will probably leave the seminar with more questions than when you arrived. However, they will be more important ones. With your rights come responsibilities. You have a right to defend yourself, your family and your loved ones. You have a responsibility to be physically and mentally prepared through training to use deadly force so at the moment of truth you can respond appropriately.
As Grossman stated, you will walk away from the “Bullet Proof Mind” with an understanding of the magnitude of the threat, you will understand that denial is destructive, it kills you twice: once physically and once physiologically, you will strip away denial and learn to embrace acceptance and preparation and finally you will learn what happens after the smoke clears to survive both mentally and physically with the things that will happen to your body after combat. Throughout the seminar Grossman uses many case studies, personal examples, stories from individual warriors, information from massacres from our schools, law enforcement and military stories that are truly inspirational. These presentations are intended for the protectors, the sheepdog.
I will leave you with this final thought, one that Grossman mentioned in the presentation. Psalms 144:1 “Of David. Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”
Are you a Sheepdog? Will you be prepared at the moment of truth?
A special thanks to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Ken Murray, and Rob Pincus.
To find a Restoring Responsibility Tour date featuring the Bullet Proof Mind near you click on the following link.
- Video Link:Sheepdog Seminars: Bulletproof Mind & Counter Ambush!
- Video Link: Promotional Trailer for The Bullet Proof Mind
Reference information and links below.