Knights of Awakening Podcast: Episode 8 “Toolbox of the Knight”


By Justin Gates

While training at the Jedi Praxeum, a class given by Otori Mikko involved building a “toolbox”. These were skills and training that helps a Knight better serve the world at large. My toolbox looks something like this…

Drawer 1: Tactics

Force Continuum- A use of force continuum is a standard that provides law enforcement officers and civilians with guidelines as to how much force may be used against a resisting subject in a given situation. In some ways, it is similar to the U.S. military’s escalation of force (EOF). Although this is the accepted standard of LEO and Civilians concerning detaining and arresting others, it is a good standard when approaching situations that you may face while out and about in the world. NOTE: Never go above your ability level, and always let LEO and Security professionals deal with Law Enforcement issues. Don’t be a vigilante. But if you are ever forced to use force against another, make sure you know what kind and how much.

Skill 1: Presence— This is the “first impression” if you will when dealing with situations that require some kind of outside intervention, whether that is simply verbal intervention (this is always the intention) or situations that have or could devolve into violence. Also called “Command or Officer Presence” this is one of the most important parts of the Force continuum because if the person intervening carries with them a commanding presence, it goes a long way in helping to de-escalate a situation. I have personally deescalated dozens of incidents by merely showing up, I tend to look imposing (I am big and strong), I am confident and calm (unshaken and professional), I am dressed and groomed in a way that gives off a professional demeanor. Whether or not you are in a uniform, you carry this with you everywhere you go. If you approach a situation where intervention is needed, if you look the part, if you carry yourself in a way that tells others that you can handle business, most times this is all that will be needed to settle up.

Skill 2: Verbal Judo—Created by Dr. George Thompson as a way to verbally deescalate incidents with as little physical force as possible. It is a tool used by LEO, Security, business professionals, Educators, etc. From their website; “Verbal Judo teaches us how to listen and speak more effectively, by engaging people through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language) and to use proven strategies that allow us to successfully communicate our point of view and take the upper hand in most contacts, regardless of the kind of day people are having. What differentiates Verbal Judo from other communication systems is that it offers practical solutions that work when people are under pressure. It provides techniques and conditioned responses that have been extensively tested in the field. The Verbal Judo philosophy is that when you react, the event controls you, whilst when you respond, you’re in control.”

Drawer 2: Self defense

Skill 1: Martial/Defense tactics and techniques— I studied Kuk Sool Won a few years before leaving high school and joining the Army. Kuk Sool focused on basic strikes, grabs and throws, joint and pressure point manipulation, basic weapon techniques, and blocking and parrying. I only studied briefly (1.5 years); I attended a few tournaments in San Francisco, Ca. I joined the Army shortly out of High School and learned basic hand-to-hand combat, basic Judo techniques, and other basic combat tactics both armed and unarmed. Since 2001 I have worked as an emergency responder and am proficient in both unarmed fighting techniques (open and closed hand control and defense tactics) as well as armed tactics with Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Baton, and Chemical agents. These skills have served me many times outside of work as well.

Skill 2: Awareness— Being present and aware of your surroundings is the biggest part of self-defense. Knowing who is around you, knowing where you are and how to deal with the physical limitations of the area you are in, as well as, knowing your limitations, all come together into what we call the “totality of circumstances”. Everything that you do concerning defending yourself and/or others needs to have the circumstances calculated before taking action. Sometimes we don’t have time to do this and this is why having awareness of the totality of your surroundings is very important. If you are aware of the potential danger you can avoid it before it becomes a problem. The best way to win a fight is to avoid the fight in the first place.

Drawer 3: Lifesaving

Skill 1: CPR/AED—I have held CPR/AED certifications for the better part of the past 25 years. I have performed CRP and used an AED roughly 15 times with 4 successful attempts.

Skill 2: Advanced First Aid.

Drawer 4: Jedi Arts

Skill 1: Meditation

Skill 2: Energy work and practice.

What does your toolbox look like? Tell me in the comments!

Awaken the Knight Within!

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