Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Tactic of the Technique is the Ethic

"All actions derive from philosophy."
                       ~ Ancient Greek saying

"Even if unsure what that philosophy is."
                                             ~ Jack Hoban

Well, it's been a week since I dropped Jack Hoban off at the airport - everything before that is a blur. The annual ILEETA (International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association) conference, annual Chicagoland Buyu Workshop, the new RGI Tactical Maneuver video shoot, candid talk and training (and steaks!) with Jack - the Ethical Warrior himself - not to mention my first ever experience of the man behind the man, the late Dr. Robert Humphrey, Jack's mentor. Arguably, the most profound moment of our time together.

With the great Tom Cline,
Chicago Police Academy
It is no coincidence that members of ILEETA, as well as some of the most prestigious tactical trainers and experts in the field today, showed up to hear and promote Jack on his Ethical Warrior(EW) presentation and mindset. LE officers from across the US showed their great support for Jack and his mission - to better protect those who protect - for one simple reason: It works. Not only has the training been tried, tested, and approved by the US Marine Corps no less, it is now being discovered by many others including the likes of the NYPD and the Park Ranger Service. Even leaders of the Chicago Police Academy offered their tremendous approval. And with violence out of control here in Chicago, they know we could sure use it.

What is harder to describe is why the EW method feels so right. See, the psychology of our inherent "life value" is rather inscrutable. When we hear the "Hunting Story" is it empathy we feel? Humility? Compassion? What is it that drives us to its inevitable conclusion, that our lives really are equal, in that we value them in the very same ways?

Now, the Hunting Story may be unconvincing and simply too abstract for the materialist, Randian, or relativist who may wish to say, 'We are obviously not all equal human beings, and as such do not deserve respect simply because we exist.' Which, you know, is fine to believe I guess, so long as they can answer this simple question: Then why not take the knife offered in the Hunting Story, jump down off the back of the truck and kill the villager? If life truly is relative, and not an objective, universal value as we suggest, then this action should bear one no concern.              

Jack and the team at Resolution Group International(RGI), offer ongoing certifications in the methodology. In fact, our next cert is this July. Join us! For more information goto: Resolution Group International

Also, check out Jack's interview by PoliceOne.

Chicagoland Buyu Seminar 04/21/2012
The annual Chicagoland Buyu seminar always brings together new and old friends alike and has over the years become the conduit for many in the Bujinkan to capture once again the feel for the positive warrior ethic. And we covered so much in just one afternoon: Integration from within the body of Taijutsu's physically sustainable protections, ethical transmission of tactical maneuvering, submission, and weapons, not to mention tried and true aspects of the Kihon Happo delivered with Jack's signature perceptions.
Not me smiling.
Jack's frank and sincere perspectives on training and warriorship are as valuable as they are prescient. For the more we "get tactical" without getting ethical first, the more apt we are to incur the very kind of physical, mental, and emotional trauma and scars we are out to avoid through the single-minded pursuit of tactics and techniques. In other words, trying to "out thug the thug" just doesn't work.  

I was happy to see my RGI colleague Craig Gray, who came in from Michigan to train with us. Craig has become an integral part of RGI and assisted with the filming of the new tactical maneuver video we shot last Sunday. And a big thanks goes out to good friend and fellow Buyu Jon Phillips who was gracious enough to lend not only his production expertise, but also his studio for the shoot. Looking forward to the results!

But by far the most poignant moment came Sunday night. We had just returned from an incredible dinner at Morton's - the original, no less - when Jack reminded me about Dr. Humphrey's video: nearly two hours of interview in the year before his untimely death in 1997.

Hearing him, seeing him was dramatic. I have studied his work and writings for almost 10 years now, but within minutes, he shattered whatever soundtrack and image I had. I pictured him with a baritone voice and broad shoulders, but that was not this man. The image that looked back was soft spoken, gentle even, with a wise and even handed gaze - Yoda-like. But his hands looked like baseball mitts - large and broken in - from all his years boxing, I suppose.

He spoke methodically, yet causally about the very same things we speak of today, using the very same words we continue to use - his approach to cross-cultural conflict, his thoughts on the value and meaning of life. He told not the Hunting Story, but talked about the hunting trip itself, a rare glance into his mindset at the time. There was no rush, no hurry to his thoughts, they came easy as he explained himself, his history, and his work. There was confidence there, assuredness in where he had been, what he had done, and how he had done it. It was not bragging - someone had simply asked and he answered, as he might answer a curious student, an interested service member.

Jack mentions the filming was actually done one night at training when Dr. Humphrey had visited the dojo. Which made perfect sense, for at the end of the interview, he kindly excuses himself and says he has to get back to the other room ... get back to training. Then the image went black.

I just stared at the screen like I'm staring at this one.

Shit. I gotta get to training. 

Evolve, Connect, Inspire: A Heart-Centered Approach to Business & Life

Written by John Kowalski  - Babicita on May 1, 2012 -  Re-posted from Evolvingbeings.com

Throughout my career, predominantly made up of marketing agencies, corporate communications and consulting, the primary driver of ethics was always front and center. But over the years I’ve learned that simple ethics aren’t enough. Not enough for business. Not enough for me personally. Not enough for the world. We can do better.
I heard this said the other day after an injustice “It’s just business, Kelly… It’s just business.” Bullshit. Businesses running with that mindset are dinosaurs. Those days are long gone and if they aren’t evolving (quickly), they will be left behind. We are entering the democratic age and business now is shifting to the heart. Loyalty, productivity, talent attraction and retention, creativity and innovation, customer preference, community and the bottom line. It’s the right thing to do on every level.

Many years ago I had the privilege of working with Fred Keller, Founder and CEO of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Cascade Engineering.  An amazing entrepreneur who has built his business based on purpose and heart, Keller lives by a simple checklist that supports his values:

  • Do all the good you can
  • By all the means you can
  • In all the ways you can
  • In all the places you can
  • At all the times you can
  • To all the people you can
  • As long as ever you can
Pretty cool, huh? This has stuck with me over the years and I now see it coming out in my work.
I had always referred to myself as a “marketing guy.” But looking back, putting that label on me was so limiting. I was much more than a “marketing guy.” I was a systematic thinker, a creative individual, a dreamer, a connector, an efficiency and process expert. As people, we don’t fit nice and neatly into boxes, so why should I? That was the beginning my journey.

A Journey to the Core

Fast forward to just over a year ago. With the need to differentiate my consulting business – get me out of a box – I put myself through a personal branding exercise. It took several months and was the most extensive exercise I had ever put myself through. But in the end it wasn’t my consulting business that I was outlining, but my own core values.
Through this exercise, I am now happy to say that I can articulate exactly what my core values are:
  • Service – A sense of doing more for humanity and human rights
  • Compassion – A true sense of giving and helping others
  • Organization – Forethought and planning, systematic, efficient
  • Accomplishment – Driven and motivated to accomplishment and providing value
This is who I am. With these values, through my work, I help individuals, departments and organizations Evolve, Connect and Inspire. That is my value, my Self, my heart-centered approach.
So what does this all mean? It means that every action that I spend my time on supports these core values. From a marketing and branding perspective it’s consistency and brand strengthening, from a personal approach. It feeds and nurtures who I am and from a client perspective, it’s passionate value.

As part of my values, I also hold my clients to this higher standard. In addition to donating 10% of my fees to one of my favorite non-profit organizations or one of my client’s choice, I have developed a set of criteria for clients. Here is an excerpt from http://babacita.com/doing-good/:
The following criteria have been put in place, and need to be met, for Babacita service acceptance:
  • Mission/value statement includes mention of community/regional/global positive impact
  • Dedication to community/regional/global service through time, resources, products or services in excess dollar value of $2,500 (adjusted based on size of organization)
If you do not meet the above criteria, Babacita service acceptance will be issued upon verification of:
  • A donation of $100 (individual), $500 (under 50 employees) or $1,000 (over 50 employees) must be made to (choice of above organization)
Ok… so now my consulting business was on track and I was off and running on exactly what I was meant to do.

SURPRISE!!! This wasn’t even close to being accurate.

Heart-Centered Creativity

You see… as part of this process of identifying my values, my heart was now opening up wider than it had ever been before. An awakening to a higher consciousness! I was seeing colors more vibrantly, my senses were heightened, my work was better, my creativity was off the charts. I was feeling deeper than ever before. I was evolving.

Speaking of my creativity, I self-published a book, Train to the Moon. Now this book isn’t about marketing or organizational efficiencies, but a love story of two souls connected in spirit. I think this shocked a lot of people, but this is just an example of the new level of creativity flowing effortlessly from me. It had always been there, but had just been hidden away until my heart finally knocked my mind out of the way and took control. I have never felt such freedom, such power and it’s all because of my heart-centered approach to everything. Work… life… everything now honors my Self.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the planets were aligning and things were just falling into my lap. I was meeting some amazing individuals and developing new relationships, new connections… all of which supported me and my values. I also became a PeaceWalker Project Conflict Management Certified Coach and was chosen to be one of ten consultants representing WorldBlu and the mission of workplace democracy, two opportunities that directly fell in line with the direction I envisioned myself and my business heading.

The PeaceWalker Project is based on Dr. Robert Humphrey’s Universal Life Value that all life is precious and to be respected and protected. PeaceWalker’s are confident, open-minded individuals who inspire. They live courageous, empowered lives of awe, curiosity and wonder. They continually learn, practice, grow and contribute, as they become the change that they want to see in the world around them. A defining quote on the PeaceWalker is from Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: The last of human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

WorldBlu’s purpose is to elevate the human spirit through organizational democracy and freedom-centered leadership. This is based on the WorldBlu 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy:
  1. Purpose & Vision
  2. Transparency
  3. Dialogue & Listening
  4. Accountability
  5. Choice
  6. Individual & Collective
  7. Fairness & Dignity
  8. Integrity
  9. Decentralization
  10. Reflection & Evaluation
Both of those things directly support me and Evolve, Connect, Inspire. Through the value supporting trainings of both, the PeaceWalker Project and WorldBlu certifications, I am continuing my evolution.


So, I know this is a lot of talk about me, but use my journey as a guide. My journey is one of absolute transparency, a new perspective on work and life, and one that everyone is capable of. This new level of consciousness resides in us all, and I challenge you to evolve and shift to a heart-centered approach. You will not regret it and ultimately, neither will everyone around you.
The main point I want to make is to first, be true to your Self and identify your values. Then do anything and everything you can to support and nurture them. That is where the evolution really takes off. You will see a difference personally and professionally. This is honoring your Self and moving into a higher consciousness. This is a good thing for all of us.

With me and this heart-centered feeling approach, I’m making a difference and I feel that I am just scratching the surface. I am discovering new things every day about my Self and this beautiful world in which we live in. There is so much more in me. I am making this world better, and I’m just beginning.

I challenge you to open your heart, to evolve and to honor who you truly are. You will be amazed at the results.

About the Author

John Kowalski is a strategic marketing professional of 20 years embarking on a life-changing career direction guided by values, purpose and skill-set. With a heart-centered approach to work and life, John utilizes experience, process and change disciplines to empower individual and organizational evolution, connection and inspiration to enable clients to reach their true potential. To learn more, visit Babacita.com

Monday, June 4, 2012

Saving the Balloons at Caliber 3

Mike Benson and I at Caliber 3 training facility in Israel

We were all excited to do some tactical shooting at Caliber 3 training facility located in the Israeli Desert. As our van pulled up to the training facility we could hear the rifles shooting and smell the gun powder. It was going to be a great day! We were introduced to our instructor Shi who was a veteran IDF Operative. He currently teaches counter terrorism and security ops to law enforcement, military and select civilians in Israel and abroad. He will be coming to the States in a couple months to conduct a training session down South for a few days.

The session began with two of the younger instructors demonstrating tactical moving and shooting.  Check out the video that Benson took. Very cool!

Now I would like to say that my shooting performance was equally impressive, however that would be a bit of an exaggeration. More on that in a minute.

Shi taught us the Israeli method of shooting pistols and rifles, how to move, run, stop and fire. The methods are unique, yet the IDF finds them to be very successful in the environment that they operate in. Shi first demonstrated the correct method, and then had us follow along. The stances were wide and deep. They felt a bit uncomfortable at first but with a little practice I could see the practicality of them. As we continued to move they began feeling more natural.

After a few practice runs it was time to fire the weapons. We lined up on the nearest firing line and each of the instructors coached us through a couple rounds of shooting. It felt good. Now, I am no marksman, but my grouping was decent; 8 hit the center bullseye the rest were within a four to five inch circle... not bad. However the black cloud was looming...

Shi explaining the finer points of safety and the Israeli perspective of shooting

After our training and practice rounds, we were broken up into two teams and reassembled in the rear of the range. We were each given a balloon to attach on our target down range. This was the balloon we were to shoot after running a couple suicide sprints. We lined up and voted who would go first. Due to my performance during the first part of our shooting I was chosen to go first and Elliott second. Little did anyone know that this decision would cost our team the victory. Mike and I were going head to head. We started at opposing sides of the range, we had to run back and forth, go to our firing positions, grab our weapons and shoot the balloon. Easy, or so it seemed. Shi yelled for us to begin and... well, this is where it gets a bit embarrassing... I got a good start on my run, until I turned around for the last leg of the suicide sprint where I lost my footing causing me to almost fall down. Refusing to quit, I managed to recover. I kept a pretty good pace even if I was sprinting on my hands and feet for a few steps. Gaining my footing again I quickly got to my firing position a millisecond behind Benson. I grab my weapon, line up the crosshair of the scope on the big yellow balloon down range, took a breath, squeezed the trigger and... BANG! I completely missed my target. So I shot again, missing once again. Two clips later the d**n balloon was still flapping in the breeze. Elliott was telling me I was shooting low, so I kept going higher until the crosshairs were well above the balloon. Impossible I thought, inspecting the weapon with my instructor. I'm no sniper, but this is ridiculous! After holding my teammates up enough, I motioned for Elliott to go. The weapon I was using was abandoned for another rifle. Everyone except for me was able to hit their target in one or two shots. The instructor and Elliott established that the scope got bumped or somehow jostled and it was no longer sited in. Now I don't know if they were just being nice or what. All I know is this, everyone else did alright... As for me it one of three things: 1) Elliot and our caliber 3 instructor were just being really nice telling me that the scope was not sited in any more and I am really that bad of a shot. 2) I just have a soft spot in my heart for yellow balloons and refuse to harm them in any way. 3) The site was legitimately off and needed to be sited in again. I'll let you be the judge. All I'll say is this in my defense. Everyone else hit their balloon within two shots AND the weapon I used wasn't shot again by the others. My performance for the other portions of the training went well. A set up maybe!? A cruel joke on the American?! =) Hard to tell. My target showed that the last clip of bullets were hitting in the center but low, so the first clip probably went under the target altogether. Needless to say, regardless of the reason, the teasing was soon to follow about my stellar performance ruining our teams chance to win the competition. Any which way, it was a great day of training and Caliber 3 was top notch! I look forward to going there again on my next trip to Israel. (SO you balloons better watch out, cuz I'm practicing! Maybe I'll bring my own rifle next time just to be sure=)

Here's a shot of me when I was actually shooting well! =)

I would write more, but it's off to the range to site in a scope so I can protect a balloon or two. =)

More fun & shenanigans later,