State Change - Lateral Thinking

In trying to keep with the notion that brevity breeds clarity, I will attempt to keep this snippet as brief as possible. This is a fevered recollection of a series of thoughts wrapped around the notion of systemic evolution and systemic state transformation.

While listening to this mornings audio-book, a vision of some form of grand unified life theory struck me like 230gr TAP hitting a gourde. The powerful feeling of having jumpered into some overarching truth propelled me to call my mobile and leave a voicemail with explicit details regarding these thoughts. After about 16 hours of mulling concepts of state and state change throughout the various bodies of knowledge I dwell in, I have some thoughts I wanted to share with the community at large.
While many philosophers and physicists have gone over these ideas in exhaustive detail, I believe i have synthesized the ideas of state change in a slightly different interdisciplinary manner.

These are the two concepts of "state" that I will address below

1. A condition or mode of being, as with regard to circumstances:
2. Physics. The condition of a physical system with regard to phase, form, composition, or structure: Ice is the solid state of water.

As humans we spend our lives chasing a "state". We chase states of happiness, states of consciousness, states of love, states of relaxation, states of passion, and often state states of chemical enhancement..there is no such thing as simply being. There seems to be a "process of being" which requires persistent adjustment in trying to achieve some form of equilibrium between one state or another. Being alive equals being in a state motion----those who are longer in motion are have typically stopped breathing or are frowned upon and referred to as the living dead.

This being said, the more rapid the state change found in humans, the more desirable the effect is! Love turns ones world topsy-turvey, as do slam dancing, car accidents, loads of meth-amphetamine, and being hit with a right-cross!

So as humans what we really are seeking are controlled, rapid and sustainable state change mechanisms:

As practitioners of martial systems, we spend our days training to dynamically & rapidly alter our own state as well as impacting others states. Inducing immediate introverted & extroverted state change seems to be a component of every valid martial system practiced from boxing to fencing to Tai Chi on to the Art of the Hand Canon. How quickly can you shift threat levels from condition yellow to condition red, and back to a reasonable condition yellow once again? The mark of a professional is the ability to shift zone or move states instantaneously - which (for the sake of the armchair practitioner) is truly challenging. In my eyes, what validated the utility of my mother art Wing Chun from other hand to hand combatives is that the student was taught how to efficiently and rapidly dispatch an opponent in a highly scientific manner. How so? Rapid systemic shock to the opponents nervous system induced by the streaming application of multiple simultaneous blows shattering the opponents OODA loop. Perform the indicated response until the opponent(s) have ceased placing you in jeopardy and your own OODA loop has cycled.

If sucessful, you would have just experienced the following: your training/conditioning created anchors within your psyche and nervous system. A stimulus/response altered your state eg your reaction to a threat. Ideally, this in turn allowed you to rapidly immobilize your opponent by terminating their current state and jolting them into a new one. Ideally, a state of much less aggression!

A blurb about weapons:

Blades: cutting a femoral artery will induce a rapid state change---say within seconds to minutes. Shock is a state change, as is the termination of a threat.

Firearms: A double tap to the chest followed by an ocular hit will typically terminate an encounter. Much like Wing Chun, this is due to the profound state change (a nervous system meltdown) induced by the rapid impact of the projectiles.

But wait, there's more!

Have you ever been in an encounter and "psyched" somebody out? Have you ever felt so confident and powerful that someone capitulated to your will or backed down from your turbo-ninja powers?

Here are some examples:
Athletes do it all the time, a known home-run hitter staring down the pitcher in an attempt to intimidate them. Authority figures such as police psychologically confronting those they are investigating. Interrogators skilled in the art of coercion drawing people from their comfort zones and into dramatically different worlds where their resolve collapses. Perhaps you have experienced a woman in a club reducing a man to incoherent me thru subtle assertions, innuendo, and strategic *looks*? These are all psychological battles of state where one persons consciousness is battling the state of another. In terms of mental jousting, this where the ideas of seducion and persuasion come in...why battle a psyche when the psyche can be twisted and leveraged into an entirely different state? Some come to the battle prepared, others fail to realize that there is a battle at all.

Never fight on even grounds, nor fight an equal opponent...find a way to create a disparity in the playing field by altering the opponents state! This is the readers exercise to operationalize.

While humans seems to have it difficult time of managing our state, we have perfected working some of these ideas on our best friends: Dogs!
In K9 training handlers condition their dog from puppy-hood for rapid state changes. This is a bad man, growl. This is a baby, be gentle, protect. Play time, get excited! You are in the house now, slow down & relax. Adapting to the stimuli, a properly training K9 can shift between various drives instantly. If dogs can do it, why can't we do it so easily? Can people turn on and off as quickly as our canine companions? I believe we can, however the ONLY reason k9 do it is thru the persistence and continual conditioning by their handlers.

I am an InfoSec professional by trade, and my temptation is to expound on the correlations between state technologies and the more real state syetems. Rather than bore the reader, I will simply outline some technologies and tools that are "state" dependent.

Infosec is the ultimate in state change!

1) Stateful firewalls: These tools track the lifecycle of a tcp/ip session builds/teardowns. Should traffic arrive in an altered state (syn 1/2 open etc) it is flagged improper, bad or malicious and potentially dropped.

2) Intrusion Detection systems: In both the physical and digital realms these systems track the "state" of their respective environments.

Physical: when the IDS flags events as being amiss ex. as thieves entering into a secured room, it alerts the guards.
Digital: These IDS systems track session state much like a firewall, however in theory they track the state of the network traffic to a deeper level. A comparison in the physical realm would be a IDS that alerts on movement in a room vs an advanced IDS that alerts on the size, weight, and body temperature of the body moving in the room.

In both physical and digital realms, a successful attack against and IDS implies the ability to bypass/trick the state-tracking mechanisms within the respective systems. Fragrouter, resource exhaustion etc etc

3) Security Assessments are examples of snapshots of security state. Even as an product, place, event is deemed secure, someone somewhere is attempting to (or perhaps already has) altered the secure state of the system.

Somewhere, some people still think that time and reality are linear. Perhaps only in their instance of reality....

Please share any flames or thoughts!



Holsters, kydex, leather and more!


I'll avoid the whole sorry argument prone tangent of Kydex vs Leather. WCC is *combat oriented*. If that means you place your ti-chopstix in your socks for maximum tacticallity, so be it. We use what works. Period.

Recently I tore the rubber hinge on my iwb kydex holster. this was a sad thing, as it had served me quite well for nearly 4 years of training, travel, edc use and abuse. Well, initially I attempted to call Dave Elderton the manufacturer for a replacement piece the manufacturer, however he proved unresponsive. I hope all is well with him in OK, he is a great guy who makes top shelf gear. At any rate, as I pondered what to do, I also considered the large laceration/bruise that developed on my right hip over the past several years of consistent carry. What from you ask? Well, my holster while being blazing fast, just rubbed me the wrong way. Literally.

Being the sharp-witted individual that I am, it took a couple years of grueling pain for me to arrive at following blissful moment of brilliance - I should choose a holster that is a touch more forgiving, perhaps even sacrifice some performance for the sake of not wanting to leave my geat at home. After all, what good is a CCW if you don't actually WANT to carry your hardware? Anyway, I realized that I would have to compromise, at least if I am going to wear it for more than 4 hours at a time. So, I went forth to the land of research and came back the idea of getting a leather holster to wear close the the body.

Alessi stuff is awesome, however with his gear requiring some form of 6-9 month wait, that would simply not do as I was lacking carry gear in the present.

After much research and gear splunking, I found
the following holster from Andrew's Custom Leather.

WOW! The gentlemen at Andrew's were knowledgeable, helpful, pleasant to talk to and oh yes, their gear is fantastic! I was so enamoured with their offering, that immediatly after receipt of their McDaniels holster, I proceeded to order a belly holster for my lil pup, a S&W 340 PD. If you have played with center-mass waist carry, it IS tactically efficient and deadly fast----however if you are using a kydex holster AND are a male, AND have to occassionaly sit while armed, every torso movement presses both the firearm AND the rigid holster deeply into areas that were not meant to be compressed. Ouch. I'm still awaiting this custom piece, as Andrew's does not stock McDaniel's Cross-Draw holsters for lil wheel guns.

Ok, so Andrew's holsters rock, and are fast.....for leather. This is the critical point of the piece. Much to my chagrin, the leather was slower. So much so that I can feel it drag. I have utilzed kydex based holsters for so many years, that I had forgotten the uniqe tactile nature of flesh pressed agains steel. On the humerous side, the rough edges of my TRP are tearing up the leather holster rather than being scratched & marred by the kydex!

So, was the comfort - performance tradeoff worth it? I say yes. This is entirely an issue of WHAT are you trying to do with the gear? Quite frankly kydex is faster. MUCH faster. Yes, noticeably faster. With movement, drawing from concealment with a 1911 & an IWB Ky-Tac Braveheart holster I can draw AND hit (yes, actually hit the mark) sub 1.20 secs. I'm not Jeff Cooper, but by God I have a day job.
Same pistol,
same clothes, leather rig, my best time was 1.74. Oh, and while at 10 yards, I hit the target, that shot wasn't picture perfect. Kinda weak considering the distance.

But that is combat (albeit a poor simulation). Unideal situations synergistically conspiring against the protagonist and favouring the aggressor. With sweat from the SoCal midday sun, my t-shit stuck to the leather like a stick in molasses. This made each inital pistol grab THAT more challenging, followed by a significatly slower draw and therefore a persistently mistimed frontsight alignment. I won't even discuss how the off-hand speed drills went. However that's why you move while drawing down on the threat. Furthermore, old Mr Tueller says that if you are trying to draw a pistol against a knife wielding opponent inside of '21, you are toast. I've personally particiated in SIMS drills where that range extended to '30. You should be moving and have your weapon presented long before the threat is within theoretical striking distance.

So >1.20 vs 1.74? Is this an acceptable tradeoff for being able to comfortably carry a full-size 1911 for upwards of 16 hours? In my personal threat model, several 1/10s of a second are well worth the lack of wear marks on my hip & kidney areas. Lastly, bear in mind combat is a different experience that practicing a quickdraw with your buddies and a sonic-timer kicking off your motions.

Be it kydex, leather, or a tactical teak spork, always choose the right tool for the task at hand.