August 19, 2014

The Ethical Protector

The Ethical Protector
Jack Hoban and Bruce Gourlie have just released their newest book, "The Ethical Protector" through RGI Publications and it is a tremendous work. 

I say that not simply because I had the privilege of editing it and writing its Foreword, which you can read below, but because the book is solid, from its moral philosophy to its actionable ethic. 

Geared for Law Enforcement Officers on the heels of Jack's previous work, "The Ethical Warrior," it is a nuts-and-bolts approach based on a series of articles written for 

Pick up a copy for yourself and one to giveaway. 

You will not be disappointed.


Some years ago I traveled to the west coast for training at a weekend event led by Jack Hoban. You may know of Jack. If you do, consider yourself lucky. If this is the first you’ve heard of him, consider yourself lucky.

During one of the segments, I was called to the front and given the task of physically defending another person who was to be attacked. Now, I was a highly adept martial artist training since I was nine and even lived in Japan for several years studying with the very best teachers of my art. I was not concerned about getting physical with an attacker. The attacker should be concerned about being attacked by me.

A fellow stepped up and proceeded to attack my “protectee,” at which point I interceded to use my 20-odd years of experience to handily dispatch him. I can remember feeling pretty satisfied as I loomed over the aggressor, now face down in the dust, and twisted him into an airtight submission. I probably wanted to impress Jack and anyone else watching.  I remember that moment as well as I remember the next: Turning to my “protectee” to acknowledge his safety, I realized I couldn’t find him. He’d been silently nabbed by an unknown second attacker—cue the laugh track and the fool. I could be thankful it had not been “real life.”

Jack was the one who had (sneakily, I might add) arranged the abduction. He had nothing against me, he was simply taking advantage of the opportunity to teach a larger lesson. And I have never forgotten that lesson. It laid bare the one thing no professional ever wants to admit they possess—a weakness they weren’t even aware they had. My ability to serve up martial skill when needed lacked the one thing truly necessary for right action: Clarity of what one ought to do. My job, my role, in that moment was not to attack the attacker. It was to defend the person I was supposed to safeguard. Protect his life. Be his protector.

With all my training and experience one might think that I should have already known this; that it would be second nature, a given. It was not. And the truth is, it is not for many other professionals. In that crucial moment, I was convinced I was doing the right thing, but I was wrong. I was confused. I failed in my ethical duty.

After training and studying with Jack for some 15 years, working with him these past several, teaching conflict resolution to LEOs alongside the experts at Resolution Group International (including Bruce Gourlie), being inspired to achieve a master’s degree in Ethics, and having now trained martial arts for more than 35 years, I cannot over-emphasize the value of philosophical clarity for the protector ethic. The best reason to study martial arts or defensive tactics inevitably brings us full circle to the originating purpose behind their ancient conception and ageless refinement: Protecting others. The clarity of this protector ethic is by far the most important lesson for the simple reason that it puts every other lesson in context. Protecting others is to protect oneself; protecting self and others is to protect the value of life.
It is no mistake that within the annals of martial history, the highest order of mastery has always been the ability to undo an enemy while sparing his or her life, if at all possible. And within the philosophic realm, the value of life is the absolute value that qualifies all other human values. What good are any of our relative values if they are twisted to violate the existence and dignity of even one human being?
The LEO “Ethical Protector” knows this. It is second nature. It is a given. The protector ethic purges the confusion of moral ambiguity and offers an actionable ethic to reinvigorate ourselves, recalibrate our motivating purpose, and challenge us to act in accordance with who we know we ought to be. Clarity of moral purpose leads to ethical action.

The authors’ wisdom and talent to deliver these lessons is unsurpassed. Bruce Gourlie is a Federal Supervisory Special Agent, certified in firearms and Police instruction. He is a leadership instructor, a published author, a former US Army infantry officer and a long-time practitioner of martial arts. Jack Hoban is a Subject Matter Expert for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and president of Resolution Group International (RGI). He had the privilege of being mentored by Dr. Robert “Bob” Humphrey, a Natural Law sage and Cold War conflict resolution expert, who first articulated the Dual Life Value Theory. Jack also is a long-time student of Japanese martial arts master Masaaki Hatsumi, and under Dr. Hatsumi’s tutelage, has attained true mastership of the martial ways.  
Mastering these two halves—our natural, life-protecting ethic, as well as, the physicality required to protect it morally—places both Jack and Bruce in a particularly rare position and grants the rest of us an extraordinary opportunity to train and learn this clarity for ourselves.

The Ethical Warrior concept was developed and is practiced by the United States Marine Corps. It is transmitted to the Marines through the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). The concept has been adapted for Law Enforcement and is referred to as the Ethical Protector concept.
This book is adapted from a series of articles written originally for LEOs on, but be assured, the lessons herein are timeless and immutable. They can, have, and will grant us clarity. Clarity for the protector in all of us.

James V. Morganelli

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