Archive for March, 2013

Keeping Calm Under Fire

First, I wanted to extend a heart-felt thanks to the folks at 1440 Foundation for supporting our work and making real change possible in the heart of our community.

For those of you who don’t know us, here’s where we’re coming from: we believe awareness practices develop and sustain the basic capacities at the foundation of human performance. Like 1440 Foundation, we see self-awareness as the heart of the matter – it changes relationships to self, family, and others. With our deep background in martial arts, combat and athletic performance, our goal is to share the mental conditioning techniques that cultivate awareness in ways that can have a profound impact on both the performance and wellbeing of Type A individuals.

Here’s a quick story to illustrate what I mean:

A military SWAT unit we trained last spring was called to support an operation by the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). Parents had killed their older child and were home with their small baby. The HRT mission was a “snatch and grab” of sorts – snatch the baby before any harm could be done and grab the parents to subdue them before they could hurt themselves or anyone else.

MWThe HRT team was to enter from the front of the house; the SWAT unit we trained was to enter from the back. As they waited on high alert at the rear door, battering ram at the ready, the SWAT team lead felt the growing tension and whispered to his teammates, “Alright everybody, belly breath.” A collective deep breath ensued, re-regulating their nervous systems. Almost immediately, the team lead heard a whisper from behind, “Hey, is the door open?” A simple question, but way outside of the box. SWAT teams are trained to Go, Go, Go!  but this team now saw a new option, a new choice point, thanks to the mind training they’d done with us.

Reaching out, the team lead silently turned the doorknob. The door wasn’t locked. The baby was in a crib right by the door. They scooped up the baby and closed the back door. Safe baby.

When the entry call came, all hell broke loose up front, but the SWAT team just entered quietly through the back. Distracted by an explosion at the front door, the parents missed the SWAT team advancing on them from the rear of the house. They were both subdued with no weapons fired and no further harm done.

On the way home, the team did a debrief and a collective belly breath exercise for nervous system re-regulation. Against the odds, it had been a very good day. Mission accomplished for the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and the SWAT team (safe baby and no further casualties), and mission accomplished for us (the awareness, modulation and regulation of body and mind under extreme duress produced the best possible outcome for the situation).

That baby is alive today as a direct result of the training we do. So, when we say our goal is to share mental conditioning techniques that have a profound impact, we mean exactly that.

Mark Williams is CEO of Dynamic Human Solutions, a 1440 Grantee.