Random Thoughts: A Mindful Miscellany

from Marcus Wynne

STEALING FIRE, or How To Be Promethean and Keep Your Liver (Edit)

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A review of this excellent recent book.  The book is the best *(right now) overview of the field Accentus Ludus does our groundbreaking work in.  Extremely well written and sourced.  The concepts of “state access” and “state management” as fundamental foundations for improving cognition under stress in combative applications is something we’ve been working with since the late 80s.  This book does a good job of the history, and I expand on it in my podcast.  I’m a wee bit presssed for time right now, so I’ll post some of the original documentation from the mid 90s on our work later today.

As I mention in the podcast, one of the interesting aspects of the research coming out is that it’s reinventing the wheel, albeit with better technology, on work that I and others did back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  For academics (and gunfighters/trainers) who grew up with the Errornet and the World Wide Web of Wisdom and Worry, it’s as revelation to understand that there’s A LOT of original research that has never been archived on the internet or appeared in formal academic journals, or was translated from Russian, Czech, Bulgarian or German into English.

For a perspective from 1994, when many of the academics involved in the current field were still in elementary or high school, see below for one or two articles after I dig them out of my archives.  The principles and theory discussed will be familiar to those hearing them for the first time in the book (which is not to take away from the book which I highly recommend) and probably piss off some patent and intellectual property lawyers as it may constitute “prior art” LOL.

Enjoy.  Comments always welcomed.  Direct link to the podcast below:


Also now on iTunes:


This ancient (1993/1994) compilation of discussions and UseNet posts from Way Back In The Day distills some of the work we were doing back then.  Full warning:  much of this is old, outdated, was wrong and subsequently corrected.  I’m posting it for historical purposes in context of my podcast discussion.  As I mentioned in the podcast there’s a LOT of information and research in this field that goes back to the 70s and 80s that has never made it on the Errornet , or at least not in English.

Neural Based Operator



Written by marcuswynne

August 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm

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Training Intuition, or Spidey Sense Without The Bite

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A friend of mine in Israel sent me this link:  http://time.com/4721715/phenomena-annie-jacobsen/ 

It references a program I’m familiar with and some colleagues at the Office of Naval Research and elsewhere.  This program focuses on training intution, or “spider sense” as we comic fans like to call it.  I cover my thoughts about this in this short podcast which also includes two exercises you can do in real time to jump start your own spider sense.  I’ve taught these exercises to the most experienced counter-terror unit in the world who came in off the street to do it and then went back out to use it. References in this short podcast.  I also list some errata I made in there — just a note, I do these podcasts as a labor of love for some people who are interested and either can’t train with me or are too busy.  So I cram them in between a lot of other things that take up my attention, hence occasional mistakes.  I made two in the podcast:  when I was referencing DARPA I should have also referenced ONR; when I reference my lead researcher training the Dalai Lama and his monks I should have said that was on the border of Tibet, not in Tibet, as the PRC is not particularly friendly to the Dalai Lama.  So instead of taking another half hour to make and post, just remember the errors.

Have fun!


Written by marcuswynne

July 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm

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Podcast 6: Visualization Skills, or “Shooting With The Mind’s Eye.”

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This podcast will train you to dramatically increase your visualization skills in exactly the time it takes to listen to it.  About 17 minutes.

It’s based off this ancient article from 1994 written by some fossil named Wynne, another curmudgeon/fossil (and brilliant trainer and training commentator for over twenty years) named Ralph Mroz discovered it in his archives and was kind enough to share it as a PDF here:


Go here to listen — do the exercises along with listening and improve.  Or not.  Up to you.



Written by marcuswynne

June 30, 2017 at 12:07 am

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Protecting Our Kids In A Time Of Terror

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I recently got a very nice note from someone I shared some learning with way back in the day, when she was coming up as a superstar firearms instructor. She’s now a world class firearms instructor, and her company www.loukatactical.com is one of the world’s finest especially for women and those training women. Lou Ann Hamblin, aka “Black Widow” to her pals, sent me a nice note recently: “Marcus, I’m glad to see you still contributing at a high level…”

She wasn’t referring to me being high, since I swore off that for Lent, but because this little blog and my podcast, while sometimes puny in numbers, is mighty in who it reaches and where. Which is a gratifying thing to hear, as us Old Guys get mightily frustrated when we have a thing or two that’s been validated in the real world to share and we get drowned out by the younglings and Young Jedi hawking their latest and greatest wares.

You may have noticed that I charge the kingly sum of exactly nothing for sharing 44 years of experience, research and training expertise here so keep that in mind when I start to bloviate or pontificate or whatever-cate.

What’s the point of a lifetime of experience if you don’t pass it on?

So back on point:

Kids and protecting them.

Go here for background   https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/repost-you-cant-always-be-there-or-situational-awareness-for-kids/  for my discussion with John Douglas of FBI Behavioral Sciences fame and protecting children with training.

There’s a lot of people smarter and more recently experienced than me adding their useful take on vehicle attacks. See here for what I said before the latest trend took off https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/random-thoughts-on-killing-trucks-repost/. So all that is useful info, I suggest you go to www.activeresponsetraining.net and check out what my colleague Greg Ellifritz has done in collating the latest and the greatest from the Interwebz and sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Here’s some basic protocols and ideas to protect your children (and you, and elders or handicapped) when you’re out in about in a time of terror where a vehicle can jump the curb and chase you down in the blink of an eye.

1). Acknowledge that it can happen.
2). Hard as it is, look at some of the videos to see how fast it happens.
3). Acknowledge that YOU and YOU ALONE are responsible for your safety and the safety of your children in the moment.
4). Implement these practices and procedures and training for your children immediately. I’m doing this for kids from pre-school to 8th grade soon and will report back the effectiveness in scenario testing.
A.  Whenever possible always face traffic. Make it a game with your kids: “Which way do we face when we walk on the sidewalk?” Just like “hold hands when you cross the street” — “We face the traffic so we can see the cars” or “We walk where we can see the cars.”
B.  Where do we look when we walk on the street? “We look down the street and we look behind us.” Make it a game: “We walk five steps ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE and then we look down the street AND we look behind us. Ready? ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE LOOK FRONT AND BACK! Good job!”
C.  What are we looking for? “Cars coming fast!” Are they coming fast on the street or are they coming fast right at us?
D.  What do we do when we see a car coming fast? “We shout CAR CAR CAR and we get out of the way!”
E.  Where do we go to get out of the way? Sideways away from the car! (90 degree offset from line of attack for you tactical thinkers. Why? Because you can’t expect kids to absorb and implement under pressure refined tactical thinking). Keep it simple and at a 6 year old level, make it a game and play it often to install it. Works pretty good for the tacti-cool who are willing to admit they don’t know everything, training at the level of a 6 year old. Jus’ saying.
F.  Hardware practices: make sure your teens/tweens and family numbers are set up on group text. In a crisis easier to send texts than to call.
G.  For your littlest ones, including your infants in strollers, print out on laminated paper their names, cell phones of parents/trusted adults, Address, blood type and any medical conditions (diabetes, asthma, antibiotic allergies, general allergies). Why? Don’t assume you’ll survive an incident intact able to care for your kids. Make sure you have a plan and the means to implement so that your children who may not be able to speak or may be injured themselves can be rapidly identified and medically triaged as priority if necessary. And do the same for yourself. In the aftermath of an incident I’d hope children would be given priority, but toddlers and infants can’t identify themselves or their parents, and if you are separated, injured or killed you want to make sure somebody has what they need to tend to your babies if you are not able.
H.  When planning an outing, especially to a crowded public venue that has access to vehicles, take a look around and think about where you would go if your kids starting yelling CAR CAR CAR! And make sure your kids see it too.
These are simple steps, simple to implement in the fashion advised to young kids, the most vulnerable of all, and simple to constantly reinforce.

Just my two cents worth from 44 years of going in harm’s way to protect others.

Your Mileage May Vary.

Written by marcuswynne

June 9, 2017 at 5:14 pm

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Random Thoughts Podcast #5

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The process of seeing and how to train your brain to see faster and more efficiently to enhance shooting and situational awareness. Discussions about field applications in international police training, steps to refine your own practice to enhance your vision specific to whatever you want to improve. A few funny tales from the gunslinging world.


This particular podcast came out of a discussion between several of my friends about seeing, vision, and shooting, specifically about red dots on pistols, and then generalized into a riff on enhancing cognition in the process of seeing and improving visual pattern recognition.

Which is a bunch of ten dollar words that add up to if you do these exercises you get way faster and more efficient at processing information under stress.  If you care about that kind of thing.

Enjoy.  About 30 minutes worth.

Written by marcuswynne

June 3, 2017 at 3:22 am

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Podcast #4: Transferring Cognitive Expertise to Novices or, How To Learn From Old Guys And Not Get Shot In The Face

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The latest Random Podcast.  I focus on transferring expertise, especially cognitive expertise, from experts to novices.  How to identify an expert, how to be a good student, how to be a good instructor in transferring expertise, along with concrete recent examples of How To from Tier 1 Units.  How to remain relevant (or become relevant) as a combative skills instructor in the era of automating the learning of motor skills.




Written by marcuswynne

May 13, 2017 at 6:51 pm

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Random Thoughts Podcast #3: How Consciousness and Pattern Recognition Build Lethality (edited w/additions)

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How understanding consciousness and perception can make you a better gunfighter and trainer of Gunfighters; how to accelerate learning of situational awareness and physical gunfighting skills by utilizing pattern recognition in training; experiments in compressing a months worth of situational awareness training into four hours (successfully).

About 25 minutes on the above.  Books referenced:

PRECONSCIOUS PROCESSING by Norman Dixon https://www.amazon.com/Preconscious-Processing-Norman-F-Dixon/dp/047127982X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493573281&sr=8-1&keywords=Preconscious+processing

THE USER ILLUSION by Tor Norretranders https://www.amazon.com/User-Illusion-Cutting-Consciousness-Penguin/dp/0140230122

THE HOUR BETWEEN DOG AND WOLF by John Coates https://www.amazon.com/Hour-Between-Dog-Wolf-Transforms/dp/0143123408

EDIT/CORRECTION:  In the podcast I mention LONE SURVIVOR as an example of what uncontrolled high-end situational awareness looks like; I meant to say AMERICAN SNIPER, specifically the coming home and adapting part at the end of the film.  An example of the “hallucination paradigm” in terms of processing visual data is the scene where Chris Kyle attacks the dog that he saw as a threat to his child — and the look of shock and fear on those civilians watching that reaction is an example of conflicting pattern recognition with others.  FYI.

EDIT/CORRECTION:  In the podcast I make reference to “Paul Navarro” body language reading; that should be Joe Navarro’s work.  I was practicing curriculum compression and combined Paul Ekman and Joe Navarro ; ).

Also I make reference to the DOD projects focused on training marksmanship by “downloading” the skill-sets from experts to novices.  Here’s a recent article on that subject:  https://futurism.com/darpa-is-planning-to-hack-the-human-brain-to-let-us-upload-skills/

Here’s a link to my blog post after I presented at the conference mentioned in the above article:  https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/marcus-goes-to-darpa-again/

There’s also a YouTube of my very brief Bottom Line Up Front talk at the conference in that post.

If firearms instructors want to remain relevant as the mechanical manipulation skills and basic marksmanship skill training are automated in the next five to ten years, they’ll focus on the human part of the equation in the gunfight — decision making, tactical expertise, situational awareness.  The prototype training programs and devices ALREADY EXIST to teach 80% of what currently constitutes firearms training in around 20% of the time, so Paretto’s Paradigm applies.  The next five to ten years will be interesting, to say the least, for those who are currently earning a living teaching firearms.


Above link from a press release yesterday — definitely a hot topic these days ; )

“May you live in interesting times.”  Chinese saying (curse).

Written by marcuswynne

April 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm

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