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.
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.
(part of an occasional series on neural-based training)
A couple of my beliefs about mindset training for combatives:
You don’t train it by reading about it.
You don’t train it by listening to somebody else talk about it.
You don’t train it by watching DVDs or playing video games.
So how do you train it? Based on experience, research and observation, I think there’s a lot of ways to approach that.
Knowing in advance, for instance, about the impact immediate-onset-threat-to-life stress has on one’s physiology *can* help mitigate the symptoms when an educated person experiences those symptoms. No guarantee, but it can certainly help. That’s part of the basis behind stress inoculation and pre-exposure training, which can be embedded (most of the time without much thought or attention to the way the brain learns best) into training.
(part of an occasional series on neural-based training)
It’s interesting for me to watch the evolution in mental aspects training in combative applications. When I started researching and developing ways to inculcate mental training into combative training in the 80s, the only people (officially) involved in that were the folks parodied in the movie THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. Ronson’s book of the same name, in my opinion, was one of the best pieces of disinformation ever put out about a sensitive training program, but it does make for amusing reading.
In 1996, I published what may have been the first article in the popular “tactical/gun” press on John Boyd’s OODA loop as a model for maintaining situational awareness and decision making for personal combat. I presented a simplified version of Boyd’s elegant thinking and detailed expansion of the OODA loop, in a way that I felt, at the time, would be immediately usable by tacticians unfamiliar with the concept.
Sixteen years later, the OODA loop and Boyd’s work and how to apply it to personal combatives armed and unarmed are the subject of endless articles and internet forum debates and the concept is an integral part for most credible combative training systems.