Feet on the ground in Bagdad

Authors name is kept anonymous. This came from a very reliable source.

Gents, thought you might want to hear from the front. Just returned from Baghdad day before yesterday checking on my folks. This is as current and objective as I have seen to date.

The current situation in Baghdad is best described as tense. Mass media coverage over the last few days of unfolding events has seen a run on supplies/fuel/at banks by civilians who are preparing in the event the worst does happen. It is not yet to the point of a panic but locals are nervous. The airport is extremely busy and flights elsewhere (especially to the Kurdish Region) are far overbooked. The overall situation in the country can only be described as very serious and with yesterday’s ‘call to arms’ by Ayatollah Sistani, the prospect of a sectarian civil war is the highest it has ever been – and has the potential to even be worse than the 2006/2007 era.

But – before going any further – it is worth putting the overall situation into context, and describing the ISIS ‘advance to Baghdad’ thus far. The portrayal in the media since this situation broke five days ago has been one of a relentless advance by ISIS. According to CNN etc, ISIS began by capturing Mosul, then advanced in a Blitzkrieg movement south, routing the Iraqi Army and capturing vast swathes of terrain as they went. This continuous sensationalization by the mainstream western media is the number one driving factor for the tension in Baghdad rather than a true appreciation of fact.

While the reporting of the folding of the Iraqi Army in Mosul and areas north of Baghdad is accurate (and is the reason why this situation has developed as it has), the rest of it is far less simple than is widely portrayed in the western media, and the true facts need putting into context. Most of this has already been covered in the GW Daily Reports from Jun 10-14 inclusive, and summarized in the GW weekly released last night. It is recommended these documents are reviewed for a balanced understanding of what has transpired so far. But to put some key points down on paper:

The last week in May/first week in June saw a substantial increase in insurgent activity across the country. Bombings and spectacular attacks ranged across the country, from VBIEDs near Karbala and Najaf, an assassination of a senior Sahwa commander in Anbar, an assault on Sammara and finally the attack on Mosul which caused the rout of the Iraqi Army and everything that then subsequently unfolded over the course of the last five days. The key takeaways, however are:

The ‘advance’ from Mosul to the outskirts of Baghdad has been blown out of proportion. What in actuality happened was ISIS were masterful in capitalizing on their success in Mosul and then gaining and achieving momentum. But rather than a straightforward advance to Baghdad, it is more realistic to consider that news of the Mosul success and fleeing Iraqi Army traveled fast throughout the Sunni dominated areas north of Baghdad. ISIS units already in situ in their traditional locations rallied behind their flag and mobilized in their local areas all at once. Similar news spread amongst the Iraqi Army, whose commanders were the first to flee, which caused the mass pullout/desertion/withdrawal. ISIS then moved into the Iraqi Army positions, taking the majority of them without a fight or meeting only mediocre resistance. What is extremely import to note is: ISIS have yet to move outside of areas where they have always been traditionally strong. In addition, ISIS have met no resistance from the predominantly Sunni population in these areas – who have been downtrodden and marginalized to the point where they are at least passively supporting ISIS, maintaining a laissez faire outlook. Some of this support though is no doubt through fear – ISIS will have presented them with a ‘You are either with us or against us’ ultimatum. In the total absence of official law and order, most Sunni locals will have little choice but to along with it – for now. It should also at this point be noted that ‘ISIS’ is not just ISIS. Other militant organizations and local Sunni tribes who are ‘going along with it for now’ are involved. These ultimately are not interested in the level of radicalism that true ISIS demands – so this is a fragile alliance at best, which will no doubt come to the fore once true resistance appears, or when ISIS start summarily executing peop0le for crimes and issuing strict laws on how to live etc (and we are already seeing evidence of this in Mosul and Tikrit).

Back to the ‘Advance on Baghdad’. Understanding the above – it should now be clear that ISIS have not yet set one foot outside areas where they have traditionally been strong. Which is why the ‘advance’ has stalled in the area of Samarra/Balad. In Diyala with its more mixed populace, they have not even ‘advanced’ that far south in parallel – Shia militia groups such as AAH are openly fighting them and the Iraqi Army is maintaining a presence there also. Not to mention in Northern Diyala, the ‘limits of control’ are tested between ISIS/Peshmerga – testing the Peshmerga are currently winning as they consolidate positions and expand their region (they will likely be the ultimate winners in all of this). The minute they step off their traditional turf into areas where they have no popular support (i.e. Shia parts of the country – northern Baghdad for instance….) we will see how well they do trying to fight conventionally….

The massive Shia mobilization that is currently occurring in Baghdad and the south means that the ‘advance’ in a conventional sense, is likely to remain stalled where it is if not beaten back some in the coming days.

So what’s the realistic prognosis of the situation for Taji and Baghdad?

Taji has become the main reception point for falling back troops and the point from where counter offensives will be planned and organized. On current available information, the massing troops there and the size of the facility means that ISIS as yet will have very little chance of attacking it in a conventional sense, so will get back to what they do best – car bombs, suicide attacks etc, along with IDF. The fact that the group has consolidated ground now with a ‘frontline’ behind which they have almost unrestrained freedom of movement means that supply lines will be extended so possibly we will see the frequency of these kind of attacks increasing. Not to mention the masses of military equipment (and cash) they have captured (although it appears much of it has gone to Syria – which is indicative that the campaign there may be of greater or least equal importance to the movement). Same goes for Balad airbase to the north of Taji – as yet the facility has not been directly attacked despite ISIS proximity, and both will be extremely well defended but no denying the facilities will be ISIS priority targets.

It also goes for Baghdad itself. In addition to the northern ‘axis’, we need to consider what is happening Anbar to the west (and the linked Jurf al-Sakhr district of Babil province to the southwest of Baghdad). There has been a noticeable drawing back of Iraqi Army units from Fallujah (presumably so properly battle hardened veterans can redeploy elsewhere). The has led to more freedom of movement for ISIS/anti govt elements – again with the implication of being able to stage closer to Baghdad. But again even from this axis – at this juncture we are talking increased unconventional guerilla attacks in the capital rather than the media ‘Lets all drive right into town’ sketch. I do see increased suicide attacks, car bombings – possibly even IDF on the BIAP and IZ (and maybe even increased conventional clashes in Abu Ghraib and therefore encroaching on the outer BIAP perimeter), but based on current info, not a conventional type assault as the press is talking. Baghdad is absolutely teeming with Iraqi Army troops and now, Shia milita of all kinds, including the now gloves-off Jaish al Mahdi (JAM) and Asaib Ahl al Haq (AAH), and I don’t doubt (as with some other parts of the country) Iranian Quds force too. Iranian involvement is set to increase as this progresses.

So to conclude – for ISIS to just go strolling into Baghdad as they have in a similar fashion in the areas where they’ve always been strong is currently completely unrealistic (again, media to blame for it). However what is likely is an increase in car bombings, suicide bombings, IDF threat to BIAP and IZ. Short notice lockdowns throughout the city are also possible, as is the potential for short notice vehicle movement restrictions and curfews (already one in place from 10pm till 6am). The other major burning issue right now – is the mass Shia mobilization and the fighting that is to follow north of the capital: Once this begins, we are going to hear many reports of atrocities committed against both Sunni and Shia communities as such a mass, fast mobilization means that training will be poor as will discipline. And we already know what the other side is capable of. This has the very real potential to spark bitterness and a renewed civil war period. In Baghdad, this may well translate as mass sectarian killings on either side on the streets in capital in conjunction with attacks on Mosques etc (as happened in 2006/2007) depending as to what transpires over the coming days .

I hope that helps clarify the current situation.

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The Internet Is Full. Who has all of the IP Addresses

With the Americas running out of IPv4, it’s official: The Internet is full
Where did all those IP addresses go?

Originally posted by Iljitsch van Beijnum – NETWORKING THE WEB
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In April, ARIN, the (North) American Registry for Internet Numbers, announced that it had reached “phase 4” of its IPv4 countdown plan, with fewer than 17 million IPv4 addresses remaining. There is no phase 5. APNIC, the Asia-Pacific registry, reached the 17 million (one “/8” or 2^24 IPv4 addresses) threshold three years ago, and the RIPE NCC in Europe less than two years ago. LACNIC, the Latin American and Caribbean registry, reached a similar threshold of a little more than four million remaining IPv4 addresses earlier this week. APNIC and the RIPE NCC will give ISPs and other network operators one last block of 1024 addresses, the rules for LACNIC are similar, and ARIN is tightening the address supply but still allows ISPs to come back for more. Only AfriNIC in Africa is continuing to supply IPv4 addresses as needed to network operators in its service region.

How did we get here?

It could have been worse. In the 1980s, there were several widely used networking protocols, such as DECNET, AppleTalk, IPX, and CLNP. DECNET had 16-bit addresses, AppleTalk used 24 bits, IPX 80, and CLNP a maximum of 160. The newly invented TCP/IP held the middle ground at 32 bits. However, unlike most of the other protocols, which were never intended to underpin global networks, IP is the Internet Protocol, designed to interconnect all kinds of smaller networks into a unified, global one. As such, making the addresses a meager 32 bits was a big failure of imagination. That’s only ten digits when written down as a regular decimal number.

The result was that it took only a decade before IP address numbering ran into trouble. Originally, IP addresses came in three classes: A, B, and C. Class A consisted of 128 networks with room for 16,777,216 connected systems (hosts) each. Class B was 16,384 networks with 65,536 hosts, and class C 2,097,152 networks with 256 hosts each. In the early 1990s, more and more universities connected to the Internet. Universities typically had more than 256 computers—or at least the potential to grow beyond that number—so they tended to get class B networks, which quickly started to run out. Giving them a dozen or so class C networks was much more efficient, but now routers had to keep track of ten times as much information, and routing tables started to explode. The Internet Engineering Task Force was barely able to avoid disaster by abolishing the class system so an organization that needed, say, 3,000 addresses could get a “/20”: a range of IP addresses sharing the same 20 bits (the prefix) with 32 – 20 = 12 bits left to number hosts within the network.

Enlarge / Approximate use of the IPv4 address space by year.
IETF
Under the new classless regime, the deployment of new IP address space slowed down to a much more sustainable pace as the Internet boomed and then busted (a little). Around the turn of the millennium, more and more people got broadband always-on connections, and a few years later the mobile era dawned, where untold millions of smartphones were continuously connected to the network, too. Surprisingly, these developments only produced a small uptick in the IPv4 address usage rate. The reason for this is probably that by now, NAT was seeing broad adoption.

Network Address Translation

Before there was Voice over IP, there was IP over the voice network; i.e., in the 1990s we used modems to encode digital data such that it could be transmitted as screeching noise over the analog phone network. (Actually, the core of the phone network was already almost exclusively digital by then.) Apart from cute noises, tied up phone lines, and mind-numbing slowness, dial-up connections had the property that a user only required an address as long as she was connected. So an ISP with 10,000 users may have had a modem bank with 1,000 modems and thus needed 1,000 IP addresses.

As dedicated ADSL or cable broadband connections became available, the notion of making a connection, doing your online business, and then disconnecting, quickly went away, and we became always-on. So now 10,000 users required 10,000 IP addresses. However, in the early days, a cable or ADSL modem was still connected to a single PC. That PC thus held the IP address provided by the broadband ISP.

It didn’t take long before people wanted to use more than just one PC with their broadband connection. ISPs were, of course, happy to provide more IP addresses—for a small extra fee. However, a cheaper solution is to share a single address among multiple computers. This is what Network Address Translation accomplishes. With NAT, computers and other IP-capable devices get an address from one of the IP address ranges set aside for private use: 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12, or 192.168.0.0/16. A home router that implements NAT then translates between the internal address and the regular, public address given out by the ISP. By modifying the TCP port numbers where necessary, the NAT device can avoid conflicts between the TCP sessions from different internal systems when they’re active at the same time. (And much the same for UDP.)

The Stanford vs. China story

In articles from a decade ago that forewarned the looming predicament we find ourselves in today, it was frequently noted that Stanford University (or MIT) holds more IPv4 addresses than the entirety of China. However, by 2006, organizations in China held a total of 98 million IP addresses, nearly six times as much as MIT’s class A block. Stanford also used to have a class A block, but had returned this in 2000. Before that, the story was actually true, as China held fewer than eight million IP addresses by the end of 2000. However, China (and some other Asian countries) used up a lot of IPv4 addresses while the getting was good: about 50 million addresses a year between 2008 and 2011, for a total of 330 million today. This makes China the second largest holder of IPv4 addresses, behind the US with 1.591 billion.

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Regional Internet Registries
If the numbers were reversed, both countries would have about one address per resident. But in the current situation, it’s about a quarter of an address per person in China and more than five per person in the US. In Africa, the number of addresses often dips below less than one address per ten people. Only in the US, Canada, parts of Europe, and a few selected countries, such as Korea and Australia, is the number of addresses per person larger than one. And with just over 3.7 billion usable addresses, the average for the entire planet isn’t going to be better than 1:2. Out of a possible 4.295 billion IPv4 addresses, 268 million are set aside for multicast. Another 268 million are marked as “reserved for future use,” and many operating systems don’t allow them to be used, unaware of the fact that the future has now arrived.

So what now?

In a statement to Ars, John Curran, president and CEO of ARIN, stressed the need to adopt IPv6: “This issuance of IPv4 space in accordance with global policy has been expected for some time (and will occur several more times in smaller amounts) but doesn’t change the need for ISPs and websites to move to IPv6.” LACNIC echoed that tone in its announcement: “Today, the need to deploy IPv6 is now more pressing than ever. It cannot be delayed any longer if connectivity providers still wish to meet the demands of their customers and those of new users.”

It’s true. There is no plan B. During the past 10 years, 1.6 billion IPv4 addresses have been given out. It’s inconceivable that the Internet as we know it today can continue to grow at a meaningful rate over the next decades with pretty much no new addresses being added, even as addresses are now traded. Even if no additional addresses were required, when one ISP grows and another loses business, the contracting ISP is left with a Swiss cheese-like address space full of holes while the growing one needs to find new addresses in the form of reasonably sized blocks to avoid exploding routing tables.

IPv6 is a new version of the IP protocol that increases the address length to a mind-boggling 128 bits, solving the problem, if not forever, then at least for many, many decades. Unfortunately, IPv6 is not compatible with IPv4—it only helps once everyone has upgraded. However, as Geoff Huston, chief scientist at APNIC, observes:

Yes there are some countries and some ISPs that are doing amazing things with IPv6 over the past 12 months: The United States at 7.5% continues to move quickly, as does Germany with 10%, but many many other countries appear to be sitting on their hands. LACNIC has now run out, but the level of IPv6 penetration in Brazil is 0.04%, which is better than Argentina (0.01%), or Mexico (0.02%) but not by much. 13 countries are above the average of 2.2%, while the other 190 or aren’t. Given that networking is a matter of everyone working roughly at the same thing at the same time, things are still not looking good.
These are, of course, numbers of individual Internet users that have IPv6, (almost always) in addition to IPv4; see Google’s measurements. It’s also important to get websites and other services on IPv6, but those only use a tiny number of IPv4 addresses—it’s the consumer ISPs that get the bulk of new IP addresses, which means that they’re also the first ones to run into trouble when that’s no longer possible.

And it gets worse: deploying IPv6 doesn’t solve the short-term problem, as IPv6 users can’t talk to IPv4-only services or other users who still only have IPv4 connectivity. Current operating systems can all use IPv6, but they don’t always work as expected in an IPv6-only environment. And some applications and, especially, networked devices simply don’t work with IPv6. The most notable example is Skype. All of this means that ISPs really have no other choice than to keep IPv4 running in some way for now.

NAT to the rescue—again

When broadband users couldn’t get extra IPv4 addresses from their ISPs at a price they liked, they adopted NAT. So now that ISPs can no longer get IPv4 addresses at a price they like, they’re also turning toward NAT. Of course there is a difference between a $50 home router that can handle the NATting for a single home and a NAT that can handle an entire neighborhood. These are called a Carrier Grade NAT (CGN), but they basically do the same thing. To avoid problems with the private addresses in the 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12, and 192.168.0.0/16 ranges, there’s a separate semi-private address block that ISPs can use between the CGN and their subscribers: 100.64.0.0/10. If you get an address in the range 100.64.0.0 – 100.127.255.255, that means you’re behind a CGN. According to Geoff Huston, at least 3 percent of Internet users are already in that situation:

“A lot of CGNs are being deployed. Some recent work I have been doing shows that upward of 3% of IPv4 users present on a different source IPv4 address within 10 seconds—i.e. a minimum of 3% of users lie behind CGNs with relatively aggressive address lease timeouts. Secondly, a lot of shared Web hosting is being deployed. It is evidently commonplace to see upward of 10,000 Web host environments co-existing on a single host IP server address.”
ISPs are playing their cards close to the vest, but it looks like many of the ones that are planning to start rolling out IPv6 soon will be deploying IPv6 along with CGN-based IPv4 for new users. They’re reluctant to change anything for existing users, because the first rule of being an ISP is “don’t generate support calls.” Providing broadband Internet access is a very profitable business, but the profit generated by a customer evaporates faster than you can say “have you tried rebooting your router?” when said customer calls for support. ISPs that started deploying IPv6 in past years had access to enough IPv4 addresses to give users their own along with a range of IPv6 addresses. That is no longer true, or will no longer be true as soon as ISPs use up their own stashes of IPv4 addresses.

The downside of NAT is that it only works well in one direction: from the inside to the outside. When connections must be set up from the outside to the inside, such as in the case of peer-to-peer audio or video conferencing, additional logic is necessary to find a way to the right internal system through the NAT. This is bad enough when two users are both behind their own home NATs so that two NATs must be bypassed, but it gets much worse as ISPs deploy CGNs, so now four NATs can be in the path. CGNs also can’t open up ports as easily as home NATs. As long as it’s not firewalled too severely, IPv6 has none of these issues; with 2^128 addresses there is no need for NAT. So it makes sense for ISPs to deploy IPv6 along with CGN-based IPv4. However, there are still ISPs that pooh-pooh IPv6. Huston again: “The pessimistic view is that so far nothing much has broken in IPv4-land, so there is still some more time left to do nothing!”

Unless the ISPs that have been ignoring IPv6 plan to just keep their existing customers and not sign up any new ones, those ISPs are still going to be bitten by the IPv4 address exhaustion and will almost certainly be forced to deploy CGN at some point. With no pressure relief valve in the form of IPv6, all user traffic will have to flow through the CGN, which can then easily become a bottleneck and a single point of failure. As a result, the quality of service delivered by different ISPs will diverge more and more, with the ones providing unshared public IPv4 addresses as well as IPv6 doing the best and the ones using CGNs with relatively many users per public IPv4 address and no IPv6 doing the worst.

The good news is that so far, the Internet has always managed to adapt just before collapse was imminent. In the late 1980s, TCP congestion control saved the Internet from massive congestion. In the 1990s, classless interdomain routing and route flap damping kept the routers going. This time we only have to turn on a feature that’s been in our operating systems for a decade and maybe replace an aging modem or two. Call me an optimist, but I think it can be done. But only at the very last moment, of course.

Prespectives

Modular BladeHave you ever done something in your life for a very long time, but still have that nagging feeling that’s there’s more or you’re missing something. Then one day you do or hear something that just clicks in the brain, and suddenly, it all comes together in harmony. Then, you look back and say, how simple? How could I have not seen it from that perspective?

Last week was the world’s largest blade show, an annual event, in which Bram Frank and I do together every year. He always stays at our home, we talk and we train! We talk and we train some more. This year was different. It was as if, a different energy had entered the room. It wasn’t on the training floor that it finally happened; it was during a talk late, the night before he left. We were talking about entry points, and how Sinawali and Redondo came together. What really brought it all together was a discussion on perspective and space. Maybe he explained it differently, maybe I finally heard it, or maybe it took that much time to perceive it. I don’t know. What I do know, is suddenly, everything clicked. It was an epic achievement for me. I just really wanted to say, thank you to Bram. He has been actively studying martial arts, for over 49 years. His talent and passion for the art and his knowledge and persistence in development of his modular system and knives has saved many lives. It is used through-out the world, in law enforcement, federal agencies and military, as well as, civilians. It would take more than a small book, to list all of his accomplishments and credits.

One would think that, after so long of studying and training in the same subject/art, you would know it all. All I know is that, I don’t know. I do know for certain that continuous training and teaching is a must. It has been Bram, always telling me to teach is to learn. The knowledge is always there for the taking. I asked him, “Bram, how do you know what to teach?” You have no curriculum, etc.? He smiled, and softly said, “Teach what you feel like teaching. Teach what you know.”

Self defense, whether for yourself or your family, needs to be a priority in your life, as much as, golf, working out or any other hobby in our lives. After all, isn’t taken care of our family, our children and ourselves our top priority?

It seems as though every time, I post something about self defense and edged tool training, I will always get the occasional email or post about, why do I train so much? Or, why would I train in weapons? Best one, is why do I train at all, because I live in a fairy tale world? 🙂 That’s pretty easy for me to answer. It has happened to me, I’ve been there, done that. What I can tell you is and I’ve said it before, is that, if you train intensively, like your life depends on it, whether shooting, edged tools, self defense, etc., “If you learn intensively, how to be the bad guy, you will understand, how to defeat and defend yourself against the bad guy.”

The best part of Bram Frank’s modular training system is, it is one of the best self defense training classes you can possible receive. Its common sense self defense with a tool. It trains you to survive a close attack by using edged or blunt tools. If you think of the body as a pulley system, like a machine with cables, it will help here. CSSD teaches you to use biomechanical cutting to shut down that pulley system, not maim it: Thus keeping you out of jail. Bram has told me many times, “people say, I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6, but I don’t won’t to be tried in court. I want to come home…to my family.” When you cut and maim a person, a jury is likely not going to see it, as self defense even though it could be. That’s where perspective comes in. How do I train bad guy, good guy drills. Whenever a strike comes at you at any part of your body that is considered a kill zone, that’s a bad guy strike, you counter that with a good guy strike, at the limbs; shutting down the limb that holds the tool. It’s disarming in a literal sense. Once that is done, there are options. There is so much to learn about the human body and how it reacts. This is just a minute, but important part of modular training. Understanding perspective is a critical part of modular. Thank you again Bram and all the CSSD instructors worldwide, for believing in Bram, CSSD and the system, for taking time out of your lives to teach others and sharing the knowledge. Thank you.

 

From Israel with love,

From Israel with Love,

Israeli warplanes struck areas of Syria, as they targeted a shipment of highly accurate, Iranian-made guided that was bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.
Syria’s government called the attacks against its territory a “flagrant violation of international law” that have made the Middle East “more dangerous.”Israel has every right to protect themselves, just as we do. The timing was not perfect, of course. But, it is what it is. Syria has been told many times about their weapons of mass destruction.

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Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi from Damascus claimed the Israeli strikes are evidence of the Jewish state’s links with Islamic extremist groups trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s regime.
However, I am not shocked about the recent events in the past few weeks after interviewing the military, snipers and a few from the IDF, hearing the stories first hand, even the day before the first strike.
My good friend and anti-terrorist intelligence source said, “It has been like the chugging `climb to the top (and stillclimbing) of the first insane drop on a roller coaster ride.”
I spoke with him this morning to see if they were ok, and to let them know they were in our prayers. We had just spoken last week about this very thing, but had thought that the conflagration might wait until after the election in Iran.
He said, “I am no longer sure.  Syria’s Assad cannot allow many more slaps-in-the-face from Israel, one in January, now two more this past Friday and this again morning.”
In a very low and tired voice this morning, he stated, “I simply continue to refine my web gear and the rest of what I must carry so that it is as light as possible.  I find I am waking up in the early morning hours with a fresh thought about what I can leave behind and what I’ve forgotten that I must now take with me.”

FIREARM TRAINING IN THE NOW

 

 

SHOOTING IN THE NOW

Lets talk about training in more of a meditative state. Is there such a thing, as firearm drills in the now. Well, we try to live our lives in the now, why not train in the now. And don’t get me wrong, realistic training is my favorite. But, there is always room for improvement and change.

 
My drills this month have been very different and I have to say, quite effective. The progress is really showing, in more ways than one.

 
As most of you that shoot, know and will practice the Par Drill and basic speed draw and of course different reload drills. At the range, you have a lot of loud noisy around you and this helps you not to think about what you are doing and eliminating the stress and tension in the body as you practice. Same as with any practice sport, you will crank up the music and it takes away for thinking about the task at hand.

 
What we don’t realize is that just like golf or anything else, repetition is extremely important, but at the same time, practicing incorrectly can cause really bad habits that are hard to break. A good friend of mine and expert firearms instructor, Ken Nelson, as well as, owner of one of the top firearm schools in the nation, Tactical Performance Center
has preached this many times. As a new shooter even up to advanced levels, we know the importance of the fundamentals. If we are just constantly moving through the motions, are we really achieving excellence? Even breaking down the basic draw into 4 to 6 reference points you don’t fully achieve the awareness of the movements.

 
We need to understand how an exercise or drill like this helps us become more aware. Becoming aware we start to uncover the layers of mis information. We uncover these layers by paying attention to subtleties. So, not only breaking this drill into 4 steps, but holding each step for a few minutes will make us aware of what our bodies are actually doing at that moment in time. At that moment, is the now.

 
I want to really emphasized the importance of how we process stress and, how it effects our body. Understanding stress is the universal law of energy: energy flows along the path of least resistance, as we all know, yet tend to forget, all to often. We know that energy moves toward what is easiest. So why not align ourselves in what we do.

 
Most of us tend to motivate toward what is easiest for achieving the end result. It focuses on the comfort that we will experience when we achieve that end result. It’s focused on fast, to get to the end fast; and loud, to create distractions for the mind so we don’t experience as much stress doing it. But when doing this, you don’t find the minute things that can take you from good to perfection.

 
If you ever watch a video of yourself at a match or any stressful situation. You will notice how our body will tense up and contract. I know I’ve looked back, and can see my shoulders rise and elbows lock.

 
What we need to do Is notice the subtlety of our breath. Is it deep, continuous, and regular? Under stress it will become shallow and irregular. Then we notice subtle tension in our muscles. Are we holding any unneeded tension? We notice our posture. Is it contracting, arms getting stiff, shoulders rising or dropping, elbows locking? Our legs, knees, etc., so we make subtle adjustments to hold the pose correctly.

 
The muscles will contract again when we’re stressed or from just the stress of tension holding the pose. The breath will become more shallow, muscles will tense, and our posture will slowly change. These are layers covering up our awareness. All of our attention is needed to notice subtle contractions so we can redirect our attention to proper breathing, relaxing, and body posture. Once we can achieve this, everything else comes natural and the flow returns.

 
A few of the things I have been doing is first, speed drills broken down into 4 points. Take each four steps and hold that pose for 2 minutes, taking breaks of course between each one. Make sure you set up a video camera. I use Coaches Eye. It allows me to store each video, edit and re-play in slow motion to see every body movement. I want to see what happens to my body as I hold each of these poses. What tenses up first, is my body in the correct position, legs, feet, knees, shoulders, grip, arms, etc. feel your body, in the now. Breath, and really feel the now of each muscle. What do you feel?

 
I have been doing this everyday now for about the last 30 days, filming every session and I am amazed at the improvement not only physically, but mentally.

 
I hope you will give this a try over the next month. I would love to hear your feedback and as always stay safe and carry on. I’ve been doing meditation and yoga for over 20 years, but doing it with SIRT, brought it to a whole new level.

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How to prepare an Emergency Kit for your home and car

Winter storms are rare here in the Metro Atlanta area, but when they do hit, how do we deal with them? Yesterday the snow started around 10:30 in areas across Atlanta. The weather was in the 60’s just a few days before. Monday night I received an alert from the national weather indicating a major winter storm watch for our area, beginning Wednesday morning, after tracking the radar most of the night, you could see the storm was coming in early and going to hit hard. Thankfully, most of Fayette County took heed and closed businesses and schools, unlike other areas, such as Atlanta. 

Now the mayor of Atlanta is saying the best hope we can get is warm weather, but today will not get much about freezing. The strong winter storm is a rarity for one of U.S.’s most congested cities. 

How do we better prepare ourselves and family for these kind of events. What we need to remember is a storm or disaster or even an accident can happen anytime, anywhere. 

One basic essential should always be an emergency supply kit for the home and car. And, if you can a one day bug out bag. Something, I made for all of my children.

What goes in an emergency supply kit? I will start with what you should keep in your vehicle. This is so critical. I can’t stress enough how these two simple kits can save your life.

THE VEHICLE

This kit should include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and necessary medications in case you are away from home for a prolonged time
  • Food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  • Water for each person and pet in your car
  • AM/FM radio to listen to traffic reports and emergency messages
  • Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

Also consider:

  • A fully-charged cell phone and phone charger
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child

Be prepared for an emergency by keeping your gas tank full and if you find yourself stranded, be safe and stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives.

You may say, we don’t have storms that often. Ask yourself is $50-$100 in a kit that stays in my car and last season after season, worth it? Remember these kits are also for any emergency, like disasters, storms, accidents, etc. Don’t be a victim. Be prepared.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both. Yes, we also have alerts on our phone, but in some cases, the phone will not work
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit (I will list general items for it below)
  • Whistle to signal for help (Very Important) Make sure every family member has one when walking or doing any outdoor adventures)
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • First Aid Kit
  • Supplies for Unique Needs

Once you have gathered the supplies for a basic emergency kit, you may want to consider adding the following items:

  • Infant formula and diapers if you have kids
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change ( remember in major storms or disasters, banks, ATM’s will not be available and could be down for days to weeks)
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. 
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or free information from this web site. They make these in apps or you can pick up for only a few dollars on Amazon
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate. (Always keep blankets in your car in the winter) 
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

In any emergency a family member or you yourself may suffer an injury. If you have these basic first aid supplies you are better prepared to help your loved ones when they are hurt.

Now for your First Aid Kit (First Aid Kits such as this can easily be may for under $20. Most of these things you will already have.

Knowing how to treat minor injuries can make a difference in an emergency. You may consider taking a first aid class, but simply having the following things can help you stop bleeding, prevent infection and assist in decontamination.

  • Two pairs of Latex or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to Latex
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • Thermometer
  • Prescription medications you take every day such as insulin, heart medicine and asthma inhalers. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies

Non-prescription drugs:

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Laxative

Other first aid supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant

 

These are simple life saving kits. Another thing everyone should make is an emergency plan, that includes numbers of loved ones, in state and out of state. Locations to meet in case of disaster, such as a local place to meet close to your house, one in the county and one that is about 3-6 hours away. Remember, in some disasters, the local phone system may not be operational. So having a contact out of state, that all the family knows is a good idea. 

 

Stay Safe and Be Prepared, 

Christian Swann

 

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58 November Down 03/13 by Christianswann | Blog Talk Radio

 

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58 November Down 03/13 by Christianswann | Blog Talk Radio

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58 November Down 03/13 by Christianswann | Blog Talk Radio.