DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) http://www.darpa.mil is, to put it mildly, an interesting place. It’s the Department of Defense’s Mad Scientist Asylum, the source of major conspiracy theory, and the fountain of much of the high-tech that we consumers take for granted.
I was recently invited out again to give a chat and meet with some folks. Our little company is way out in the weeds doing stuff that a lot of the major contractors and the various DOD customers are interested in.
The focus of this visit was DARPA’s new program, Targeted Neural Plasticity Training.
Accentus-Ludus was invited to Israel to demonstrate and discuss our advanced training methods. Our host was a former member of Shayetet 13, the Israeli Naval Commandos/Navy SEALs. He was involved in the selection, assessment and training of candidates for Shayetet 13. He has an advanced background in Performance Psychology and martial arts. He’d previously trained with Accentus-Ludus CEO Marcus Wynne.
An “open” seminar with select invitees was organized. Among the attendees were instructors from the Israeli Defense Force Counter-Terror Warfare School; Active Combatant IDF military counter-terror operators; former special forces Krav Maga and CQB instructors involved in training military, law enforcement and private security; advanced martial artists and high-ranked martial arts instructors. Continue reading →
With 23 years of experience designing training for high-stress occupations, Marcus Wynne taught at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as well as law enforcement and military academies. He discussed how he uses research in cognitive neuroscience to create his counter terrorism and security training programs. “What I do is I take a lot of the academic concepts,” he said, “and I translate that, through my experience, into something that the guys and gals on the line can use.” He explained that by studying how the brain processes and learns information while under stress, better training techniques can be developed to help law enforcement and military personnel be prepared when they actually encounter such situations.
NASA conducted a detailed search for, and evaluation of, training organizations outside aerospace and military aviation that prepared personnel to perform under extreme stress. These organizations included federal, state and local law enforcement; military special operations and military basic training from all services; and government security and intelligence agencies.
An Other Government Agency (involved with intelligence and security) recommended that NASA evaluate Accentus-Ludus CEO Marcus Wynne’s pioneering work in accelerated learning and stress inoculation. NASA’s evaluation included a site visit to observe an accelerated learning/stress inoculation training, a comprehensive review of previous trainings and a survey of Wynne’s methods.
The TARGET Corporation, a Fortune 50 company, created a National Investigative Team in the mid-1990s. The specific mission of the NIS Team (now Special Investigations) is to investigate – independently or in partnership with the appropriate federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies – crimes against the Corporation by organized retail criminal rings resulting in significant financial loss or potential grievous harm to employees.
Performance issues were identified in the team by corporate management. As a remediation measure the Manager of Investigations and Training retained us to:
Do a comprehensive evaluation of the team’s ability in its core functional areas; and
Based on the results of the evaluation, recommend training and other means to improve team and individual team member performance.
The team was evaluated and assessed in these areas:
The Swedish National Police invited us to do a demonstration of our accelerated learning/stress inoculation protocol to see how our approach might improve their current and future training.
We designed a custom training for the Heckler & Koch MP-5 submachine gun. The Swedish Police issue the MP-5 as a specialty weapon. Qualification with the MP-5 is mandatory for all cadets in the two-year program at the Swedish National Police University. The required MP-5 course takes three eight-hour days of classroom instruction and range training. There is classroom presentation, weapons familiarization, weapons manipulation, live firing, a live fire qualification and a written test. There is no training in tactical application or stress management.
This is the first cut of the “Neural-Based Training” training video directed by top training professional Ralph Mroz and his company The Firefighters Support Foundation. For many years I’ve resisted doing training videos around the mental aspects/accelerated learning/stress inoculation work I’ve been doing. Why? I was very skeptical about the ability to translate those concepts into film. Ralph convinced me it was worth a shot (and he paid me, too, LOL!)
This is the first pass — it’s still rough, but the polished final edition will be available for free on Ralph’s site later this year. PLEASE do not scrape or repost the video on other sites — PLEASE HONOR Ralph’s work, expense and time and if you want to get a copy of it, the final version will be available for FREE on Ralph’s site. Feel free to link to my blog page so people can watch it here, though.
This is the only video I’ve ever done about my work in neural-based training. As I say in the video, I’ve resisted videos, interviews and writing about the work — why? Because my focus is on making it happen in real-time through simple technique.
But the very talented Jeffrey Bloovman, who won ONE MAN ARMY and now runs the progressive firearms training institution Armed Dynamics http://www.armeddynamics.com/ convinced me that a simple Q+A might benefit people who haven’t yet been exposed to a methodology that provides them with a combative mindset in a very fast time.
I recently had several fascinating discussions with the top Program Managers in cognitive neuroscience at DARPA. It came as no surprise, to me anyway, that cognitive neuroscience and, specifically, enhancing neurological and cognitive performance in war-fighters, is a top priority in current military research.
It’s gratifying to me — after 25 years of applying and embedding cognitive neuroscience concepts and principles into training for professionals who go in harm’s way — to see the serious attention (as measured in dollars and human resources) given to addressing the “mental platform” of war-fighters and combat athletes.
In response to some offline questions/comments (don’t be bashful about posting comments; I don’t require you to agree with me, LOL)
1. What I’ve been doing is *not* NLP or neuro-linguistic programming. I studied NLP and found it useful, but the training protocols involve merging accelerated learning principles with stress-inoculation, experiential learning and psycho-physiological state management. I use certain NLP-derived techniques as an instructor (as do most good modern instructors, whether they call it NLP or not).
2. Accelerated learning — more on that later. My friend and long-time colleague Dennis Martin started an interesting parallel discussion here (you may have to register, I don’t know): http://combatives.forumotion.com/t2633-accelerating-the-training that talks about the acceleration of handgun training going back to COL Cooper’s compression of 3-weeks worth of material into the original one week Gunsite program, and covers some of our experiments in Africa.