Rapid Recognition Training...Be Ready To Be Frustrated

Writing this blog has been a great experience. First it keeps us all in contact to discuss the various issues surrounding law enforcement and security that helps us become more effective at our jobs and stay safe while doing so. Secondly it has put me in contact with numerous people who are dedicated to professional development and making our performance on the street more effective. John Demand is one of those people.

I met John about 6 months ago via this web-site and have since then had long conversations via the telephone and email discussing how to better improve our programs for peacekeepers of all walks, law enforcement, security and the military.

John is another student of he late COL John Boyd and his theories. , He is also a translator, meaning he translates theory to practice.

John Demand of Observation on Demand has developed a great DVD training program designed to help law enforcement recognize threats rapidly in the performance of their duties.   John has spent a great amount of time researching and developing the concept and in my view is on to something very powerful and worthy of your knowledge. 

RRT is a methodology that trains your eyes and brain to see faster then you have ever imagined. The human brain is the most incredible operating system known in the universe. It has often been said that we only use a small portion of our brain, estimates of about 10%. That is not true according to the most current research. We do use all of our brain for different functions. It is the potential of what our brain is capable of that we only use a fraction of. If you have ever done any athletic or fitness training you realize that your physical body will make changes, even grow to accommodate for the stressors that physical exercise can place on it. We know we can increase muscle mass by lifting weights or increase agility by practicing sports like football, baseball, basketball or soccer. The same holds true for our visual and mental processes. When we exercise our visual system and brain our bodies will accommodate to learn new skills.

John has taken this proven methodology and enhanced it through the use of computer technology, thereby making it a convenient system that only requires a personal computer or a DVD player to practice the skill. In addition, the Rapid Recognition™ mental workout has been designed to be law enforcement specific and can be practiced at a self regulated pace.

This program takes hard work on the part of the student. It designed  to condition your observation, orientation, decision and action cycle which in my view is the crux of winning on the street. Superior situational awareness, decision-making under pressure combined with the physical ability to apply what we know in the context of real world dynamic encounters is what it takes.

Take a look at what John has put together.  I have and it works! Like marksmanship,Combative's and individual and team tactics takes hard work and practice so to does creating and nurturing situational awareness and decision making. It takes more than talk. It takes walking our talk and John’s program will help you start the walking towards officer safety NOW!

Stay Oriented!


Read about John Demands Program bellow

Raid recognition Training (RRT)

clip_image006Already this year police officer deaths are up 42%. Worse yet, this deplorable trend appears to be continuing and possibly will increase. There are many societal reasons why this is happening, yet every law enforcement officer, both on and off duty needs an edge to protect themselves and the communities they swore to protect.

We are our Nation’s first line of defense.

Be it an active shooter, terrorist, militia member, mentally ill person, disgruntled employee, person negatively impacted by the economy or some “wack job” that just hates police or sees the police officer as the representation of the government. having a strategy that includes better observation and critical thinking skills are the edge you need .

clip_image004Jet fighter pilots have to make decisions in hundredths of a second running sorties. They train and hone their observation skills to instantaneously adjust

to rapidly evolving dynamic and complex situations to instantly make critical decisions.

John Boyd was such a fighter pilot and developed the OODA Loop

(OBSERVE, ORIENT, DECIDE, ACT). By getting inside an adversaries' OODA Loop you will consistently be victorious. These are the same type of circumstances that LEOs can find themselves faced with in today’s environment and they can occur at any moment without notice.

Look at the diagram below of John Boyd’s OODA Loop and see where your prior training has been. As you will notice most LE Training has been on the left side clip_image002

(decide - act) of the loop. To be effective you need to develop your skills on the right side (observe - orient).

Today’s economy has precluded many law enforcement training programs at a time when they are needed the most. After a counter terrorism training mission I attended in 2006 I have dedicated myself to creating performance-centric training programs that can give you the critical skills that are necessary not only for survival, but to be victorious when facing adversaries. My goal is to get every officer in this Country trained with these skills.

The initial course is called Rapid Threat Recognition. We have beta tested this course with police officers, tactical officers, security professionals, and former military and have demonstrated a 32% average increase in target acquisition in as little as six hours of training using laser based firearms equipment. So between this and what the Air Force has proven with fighter pilots we have proof of concept; i.e. We know this stuff works.

What is essential, and I will warn you now: Rapid Threat Recognition takes dedicated practice to obtain these skills. This course is not for “Joe Bag of Donuts” who sits reading the paper during training sessions. However, I have made this training in bite size sessions (10 minutes) to practice.

Observation On Demand (O2D) has several options to obtain this essential and potentially life saving training.

1. Individual self paced learning program. This program was offered at an incredible price of $224.00. Because we want every officer to have this training, and if officers have to pay for it themselves, for a limited time we have reduced the price to an unbelievable $79.95. The program includes a Pdf. Workbook and DVD with 11 lessons that can be practiced at an officer’s own pace. This program does require self-discipline and dedication to practice. (Note: This program is sold only to law enforcement officers and vetted security professionals)

2. Rapid Threat Recognition - Train the trainer roll call training. This is one of the most effective ways to train this skill because it can be done in short blocks of instruction, after an initial 2 hour session. The competitive nature of cops actually make this a fun process as they try to outpace each other to learn the skill. (Call for details and pricing)

3. Rapid Threat Recognition - 8 hour course that takes you through the theory and methodology. We provide an ongoing training DVD to be used beyond the course. $2000 plus travel and expenses. For up to 10 students. ($35.00 for additional students up to 30) Course includes workbook and DVD to continue practice.

Be ready to be frustrated!

The Rapid Threat Recognition training program has been scientifically created to challenge the brain. This process is different to prior training or the education you have experienced. The reason for this is you are using a different part of the brain than the logical or reasoning part used in most training situations. So be prepared to be frustrated, very frustrated.

Where the frustration occurs is that you will want the satisfaction of being able to see the numbers in the early exercises at the high speeds and be able to write them down as you have done in the past. Because of the way you have learned in the past, you will be looking at the image and reading it from left to right. RTR is trying to interrupt this process by flashing the number at such high speed that you cannot immediately interpret it.

When you look at a series of seven digits e.g. 6859403 you have trained your brain to put meaning to each number, otherwise it is only a set of symbols. The eye sees the set of numbers, but the brain is now going to try to interpret what each of the numbers mean. If we were to slow down the speed of seeing the numbers you will continue to interpret the numbers, rather than see the seven digits as a whole image.

What will occur in time from attempting to see the image very rapidly is that your brain will adapt and you will begin to be able to recall; i.e. write down the set of numbers correctly without putting meaning to them. To do this requires a change in mindset to allow, rather than force this to happen. Image hitting a golf ball or shooting a pool cue. If you tense your muscles and hit the ball as hard as you can, you will fail to make an accurate shot. If you try to hit it harder, you fail again. But if you relax and practice a smooth and steady motion you will hit the ball more successfully. The part of the brain you are training works much the same way. Trying harder, as we have been taught in school is not the answer. You need to relax.

Although, this is very counter-intuitive to your prior training, to get the image you need to trust your brain and write down what you think you saw. Just write down numbers! With practice you will begin to get the numbers correctly and you won’t know where they are coming from. When this happens, we call it the “Ah Ha! Moment”.

You are now accessing another part of the brain. Your reasoning side cannot figure out what just happened. What this is similar to is what occurs when your body senses danger. You feel something (hair stands on end, muscles tighten, the “the spidy sense”, the guy looks “hinky”), but often you cannot articulate what you are sensing. Your brain wants to interpret, “Why do I feel this way?” “What is it?”, but the reasoning side of the brain cannot make sense of what your sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, balance, are sensing.

So why is this important? As you begin to see that the flashed images can be recalled without the interpretation, you will hopefully begin to trust this instinctive or intuitive side of the brain. Although this part of the brain is not as sophisticated as the rational or reasoning portion, it is incredibly faster at detecting threats. Malcome Gladwell in his book, Blink refers to this process as “thin slicing”. As skill and trust in thin slicing occur reactions become almost automatic. The skill takes practice and time for the brain to adapt and you will experience frustration as this happens. Just stick with it and realize what is happening and frustration is normal.

Think of Michael Jordon or Tiger Woods as they practiced and practiced shooting baskets or hitting a golf ball over and over. What has been termed, “muscle memory” is really a misnomer. Muscles don’t have memory, the brain does. What has happened is the brain is “thin slicing” the repetitive movement and remembers very fine adjustments. The brain accounts for an entire and complex mental process of vision and motor skills; i.e. Where should the ball go? How far away am I? How much pressure does the shot take? What is the arc of the shot? What position should my hands be in? Is my body sensing a breeze that will affect the shot? Where should my head be? etc, etc. All of the sensory input and coordination of muscle movement, become an almost automatic reaction. The control mechanism is the brain. They are using “intuitive thinking” rather than reasoning when they take the shot in real time. You have heard athletes refer to this as “the zone”. This is what they are talking about.

Rapid Recognition training is designed to help you increase your visual acuity, i.e. ability to see things faster and more accurately, but also to teach you to trust your intuitive brain. Imagine driving a car and a driver cuts in front of you. You most likely did not take the time to think, “What did I just see? Is this a source of danger? Is this person trying to kill me? Let me sit and think about this awhile, maybe get a committee and call a meeting. No! You instantly react and turn your wheel away from the danger, instantly apply the brakes or speed through it depending on the situation. From your experience, memory, skill and intuitive thinking, you thin slice the danger and react without thinking about what to do because you are already doing it.

The goal of the threat vs. non-threat exercises is to train yourself to see in fractions of a second the difference between a weapon and an object with the hope that when you see them in a real situation you can instantly differentiate and react accordingly. The same is true with pre-assault indicators.

Put into the perspective of John Boyd’s OODA Loop.


If you can instinctively observe and orient, then you can rapidly decide and act to out maneuver your adversary.

To order and learn more go to: www.observationondemand.com