Saturday, December 24, 2011

What is Self Defense? Where Does Personal Defense Education Fit?

Self Defense at its core is simply ‘keeping safe’. Education in personal defense includes many more levels and much more information than just the physical strikes and kicks training. The most important aspect in keeping safe is mindset. Mindset will get one through and beyond anything, whether they have skill or not. 
Self Defense has a strong, deep connection in the martial arts and karate. Therefore the two are often synonymous when in fact, they are very different. Martial arts and karate were developed in an age when violence had infinitely different social ramifications than today. History and evolution has created a vast crevasse between karate and self defense. Training in karate or martial arts is often training for contests. The self defense segment of a class is composed of techniques that have been handed down from instructor to student many times and usually without question. Without knowing how violence really happens, techniques are ignorant of the violent reality, in which things can go very bad very fast - as the target and as the defender. 
A good personal defense program educates. That education includes the ethics of defending, understanding the body’s fear response, verbal practice, force law, levels of force, violence dynamics and what can be expected after a violent encounter. The skills practiced must be taken from a reflexive response, simple and effective without requiring memorization. But it also includes de-escalation, escape and evasion, and trusting your intuition. It is so much more than mere physical techniques. 
Finding a quality personal defense program takes research. There are no magic moves or silver bullets when it comes to personal defense. Ask questions and trust your instincts when researching schools and instructors. Any program offering a “just... “ or “always...” solution to defense is one to be wary of. There is never a ‘just’ or ‘always’ answer when it comes to personal defense. The best anyone can do is raise the percentage points in your favor and you want the most accurate information you can find.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

At least there hasn't been any bagpipes.

There are times of the year that are more than challenging than others. So far on some years, albeit only being six total, this time of year has been fairly unscathing. But this year... this year is beyond emotional belief.
One of the traits that makes us human is emotion. Keeping emotion in check is challenging enough when one is grounded. In today's world of constant distractions, with media and electronics, and not taking the time to learn to truly learn how to calm the spirit & soul, emotional drama queens run amuck.
Young people from infancy are bombarded with noise, a cacophony of sound to uncontaminated ears, under the pretense of 'entertainment'. Parents forget that just because they have come to learn to block it out, doesn't mean that the frenzy of sounds doesn't have a negative affect to their young offspring.
The silence of no sounds, is something that our society is casting aside as if it were not important. Rather, it is more that people are afraid of the silence. If one learns to go to the silence, they would discover so much of themselves, they would become stronger.
I like the silence. I can go and have gone for days in complete silence and alone.
But during this time of year, the silence gets dark.
Society, and all its shortcomings, seriously become a large albatross with my silences. Ignorance and idiocy, lack of common sense, and irresponsibility of humankind looms heavily. I become a tyrant myself.
Life, death and that little dash between.
This week three funerals. This week six years since her end of life care for her last week with us. It is a dark time of year for many. For me it is not as tough as it is for others.
But so many services for those who have died this past couple of weeks is more than it seems possible to bare.
Its cold, its dark and I would very much like to just stay in bed for a very very long time. But responsibility calls. And I am still a is a part of maintaining this homeostasis called life. I go about the day. Low energy, dispirited, and literally an hour at a time.
And as it is well known, nothing stays the same, there will be an emergence from this black-hole status into an awakening once again. Soon. Eventually.

And the bagpipes... when they play, all emotional-maintanance is lost...
So, so far. So good.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Debt to the Dead

The pace that life takes very often makes it challenging to be consistent at posting. The other challenge is to figure out what to write about. Often based on the training and martial arts I have experienced, the writings have been directly related upon that. 

Life is training. Everything I do has some relation directly to my passion of personal defense or martial arts. "Practice with the little things." as my teacher Phil says. It is a constant mantra. 

Today's blog is about life. I could pose a inspirational quote about life. There are many. 
Rather, this post will be a rambling of how precious life is. The responsibility of bringing life fourth onto this planet. Life, and the alternative, are all apart of that great circle. It could be over in the blink of an eye. Therefore, it needs to be lived to the fullest and not recklessly. 

The phase, "it's not fair" applied to a death doesn't make sense because life and death isn't about 'fair'. The question is just a reflex I think. Death isn't fair, life is fragile. 

There is not much one person can say to another who has lost a young loved one. Sorrow is heartfelt and prayers for the family is very much felt. 

The strengths that one needs to get through any tragedy and challenge is also a part of 'practicing with the (not-so) little things'. This the time that our faith is put to the greatest test. This is the time when one has to dig the deepest, accept grief as a part of their everyday life from that day forward. 

I lost a dear, close friend several years ago. There are still time when the grief surfaces as all out bawling. There are other days of simple melancholy. More often than not though, there is a consistent feeling of support. Even more so, more like a wanting to live a life of passion, enthusiasm, grabbing the bull by the horns, that she would want me to. "Don't waste it, don't waste your time in despair, anger, pity. Don't do that to me." She once came back to tell me. 

Every day of life I get to have, is entirely dedicated to being present in the moment and knowing I am living the best way I can, the best example I can be, the best attitude I can have. 

This one thing we owe to all those we have lost. 

Monday, September 05, 2011

Wise Masters

"The unwise master gives his students answers. The true master gives his students the ability to find answers." -Phil

This quote is on the dojo wall and it keeps me reminded of my responsibility as a teacher. It's also a reminder of the teachers I have and have had. Of course our teachers present themselves as soon as we enter this world. Parents and families are our first teachers. Good, bad or indifferent, they are the first impressions we have or our world and we learn from them. As a parent it is our responsibility to keep in mind, we are not raising kids, we are raising future adults. Ultimately a parents job is to develop independent, responsible, contributing citizens.

To step into the teaching arena is to take up a responsibility that reaches into areas that one cannot be aware of. We teach the way we know how, the way we learn how to. Improvements upon our abilities are as vast, as long as we keep an open mind. When we choose to teach, our responsibilities are immense and our influences boundless.

In the core system of martial arts studied, my instructor was very much militaristic and patriarchal. It was a traditional style. That was the only way it was suppose to be. Period. Evolution was not an option. To evolve was betrayal. In a school where questioning the master was unacceptable, demise was inevitable. The goal of the dojo is to appease and impress the instructor. 

When I left the system, I had no idea where my skills would lead me. I had no concept of how valuable my martial education was. I had no reality of the depth of learning I had obtained. That education and training alone, opened the doors to train and learn from so many others. 

So basically, my core instructor paved the way for me to come into the graces of further education with other wise masters. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rubber - Meet Road.

One again I am off to train with Rory Miller, author of Meditations on Violence and Facing Violence. I don't know why...
...because more training won't bring in more students.
...because more information won't encourage more people to come in and become more educated.
...because what am I going to do with more information?
...because figuring out how to make all this fit into the time frames I have is tough.

Yet at the same time I do know exactly why I have to go train...
...because he is a no-nonsense, accurate, knowledgeable teacher.
...because the feeling of training makes me feel alive. (pain does that)
...because in order to be the best teacher I can be I really gotta know this stuff.
...because when the shit hits the fan, I need to know that I have done everything I possibly can to prepare.
...because it is only at the trainings I attend do I find the most comfort zones in my life.

It is these opportunities that have afforded me the realization that it is time to begin teaching the martial arts again. But it is time for evolution. Tradition has its place, but the vision I have has less ritual. Because of my travels, I have met and participated in the type of school I envision having. Learning to step outside the box, and create something this area has never seen.
So now I find myself on the edge of a new yearning. Thrilled by the concept and possibilities and apprehensive as well.
Apparently it is time to put the peddle to the metal; to put my money where my mouth is; to walk the talk; to step up to the plate; to stand and deliver; to do what I know needs to be done... and quit beating around the shrubs.
Classes begin in one month.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Here I 'Go' Again

I was in San Francisco when he said, "You seem to be the "go-to" person.
A 'go-to guy' is the guy that gets stuff done or figures out how. I had to think about that... the stuff I do, the stuff I know I can do, the stuff they have approached me to do or handle..... um, yeah, I guess I am a 'go-to' kinda person.

My opinion would be, that a person who fits this category, would be someone who is obviously reliable, otherwise 'they' wouldn't keep 'going to' them, right?

A 'go-to' person would also be someone who is consistent in accomplishing the goal. If not, it defeats the purpose of going to them.

The person would be someone who is competent. Having enough knowledge base, experience or resources to figure out how to do what needs to be done. 

Someone who is confident enough to implement a plan, follow it thru, re-evaluate or redirect when necessary. 

Reliable. Consistant. Competent. Confident. 

So once again, this 'go-to' person will be taking on another call. The shift from one segment challenge and onto a whole new new sector of challenges. Handed over with complete confidence. 'Go forth' do what needs to be done to make this successful. 

OK. No problem. Life is good. 

Friday, July 29, 2011


"Change is the result of all true learning." -Leo Buscaglia
Education is a lifelong journey. A passion followed becomes our driving force. The journey to get to where we become who we are is often elusive at the time. When I was training formally in the traditional martial arts, often I thought to myself,

"What the hell am I doing?"
"This is insane."
"Why am I here?"

Especially after about the thousandth strike, or after the absurdly extended amount of time sitting atop of my feet in 'saiza' listening to the loooong winded instructor wander back and forth in front of us lecturing. Once your feet go numb, they don't really 'hurt' anymore. Until you stand up. The pain is intensely indescribable.

But the trials of my training, and the methods in which I have been trained have all brought me to the point where I am now. No, it wasn't always 'fun', there were contusions, concussions and dislocations, but, yeah, overall, in retrospect, it was fun. (We ol' school martial artist have a warped sense of fun.) I still get to roll around in the floor (sometimes in the dirt and concrete) but now the learning has reached the next level, it's all for discovering something specific. Learning how to see what I was training for.

A quote from George Bane, "Theory may inform, but practice convinces." should always be a part of one's education. We can hear lectures from long winded instructors, and we can have the discipline to do hundreds of thousands of strikes, but when the rubber meets the road, one's foundation must be massive.
Education helps build that foundation.

My long-winded instructor had lots of information, personally I didn't mind listening. The brutality of training was also a positive in maintaing a body that still has its original knees, is flexible, and a mind that can push beyond what the body 'thinks' it is able. The foundation has opened doors to allow me to train along side Middle East US Embassy body guards and it has provided mentors to guide my way because of the depth of the foundation.

Education. It is not something that you can horde away and keep to your self. Nor is it something you can force onto others. It is not something that is concrete. It changes as you change, and it flexes when life does.

Education is something that becomes wider and broader the more we open-mindedly share it.

I have much gratitude for the educational foundation that was built with my core teacher(s) and often give thanks to the universe for allowing many unparalleled opportinities to continue my education with phenomenal teachers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In search of...

I have heard the saying, "When a student is ready, the teacher will appear." ...or something along that line. It seems we live our lives having teachers appear from out of nowhere, right there in front of us. Many times it is not realized until they have come and gone and their lessons finally sink in.

Life is full of gifts, ya just gotta recognize them as such. I had been gifted with a teacher whose training was so engrained, very harsh, and yet comprehensive. His process of teaching has opened doors for me that would not have been otherwise. I am very fortunate. Yea, though I walked thru the years of traditional training methods, I realized that at one point, I needed to find other expertise to enhance and refine what I had.

In setting the course to familiarize myself with the vital aspects of self defense, specifically for women, I had to find a competent, well-informed teacher who had walked the talk. I knew I did not have the critical information to educate women of their personal defense. I found that teacher, the bad news was that he was clear across the country, the good news is he was authentic, sincere, and warrior. A modern day master. Phil.

The skills and information gained from Phil, his courses and students was what I was looking for when it came to filling in the areas missing from teaching self defense that I needed. Training at Modern Warrior is an experience that leaves me in awe every time I go.

Then, when it was time for the next level of my training. Which is really the morrow of what my path is about - violence. Personal defense is about violence. Avoiding it. But when the fecal matter clashes with the flat revolving blade, what really happens? Violence is a few seconds of chaos, you may or may not 'win'; you may or may not survive. You will, however, be hurt and be changed for the rest of your life.
It's not the movies.

The person I have found for the next phase of my training is again someone who has been in the foxholes, and truly knows the topic. Authentic, bona fide and humble. He is a great human.

For anyone who is sincerely interested in personal defense, and all it entails - reading, "Facing Violence" by Rory Miller is a must.

When I think of the teachers that have crossed my path, (the list is much greater than these two gentlemen), and realize they all did so at the time of my searching... I am blown away. I am honored to have been in the presence of such wonderful guidance and friendship.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility - we each feel it at some level. It is my personal responsibility to educate and empower as many ladies in the skills of personal defense as possible. Hitching my mission to National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, by offering opportunities to learn personal defense for FREE! is the perfect setting.

Each year, for the last three years, I have tried various methods to entice people to take me up on the free programs. This year has been the best participations since starting the offer. I was able to reach a wide variety of people, from teens to every age of adult imaginable. With my own training becoming more informative and proficient it only helps me truly prepare students better.

Preparing for violence is challenging, mostly because it is difficult to find accurate information. Much of what is available is simply handed down from teacher to student, without any authentication. It fun, fanciful moves that look good in any movie. But the realty is that violence is NOT like the movies, NOT like the last sparring match you had, NOT like any MMA match. But that is the vision many people have of what violence is and how it happens.

It is my mission, my duty to pass on the education. To give my students the best possible ammunition to defend, along with all the pertinent details. I look forward to each and every class, and I especially look forward to honing my presentation.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Just give it up... Speculation

Probably won't. Probably not. I Doubt It... these are words of speculation. Speculation is a pet peeve of mine. It has become such an innate, subtle way of rational that I don't think people even realize that speculation is a negative habit. Speculation could be a form of educated guessing or theory based on pattern. But if it is not an educated guess or pattern-based theory, then it is just a blase comment that only perpetuates negativity thru submission to defeat without even trying.

Any time one says "It probably won't happen"... or any of the opening statements. It is a defeatist attitude, which is automatically negative. Let's think of this... if your kids or colleagues constantly hear ...probably won't... probably not.... I doubt it.... what do you think is constantly embedded about your attitude and perspective. It is draining. I avoid conversation with those who use these words consistently.

So take a moment to monitor your words and responses to things. If "probably won't" "probably not" "doubt it" are a regular part of your vocabulary, then change that negative habit. It will take a conscious effort to change the word habit.

There is enough negativity in the world, don't contribute. For your kids, it will help them learn to keep a more positive attitude to see and hear you maintaining a positive outlook thru vocabulary.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Integrity. Is integrity a dying quality? I know it is not, but some days the hope runs thin. What is integrity, or how do you define it? Everyday we all have choices to do the right thing. What we do and how we act when no one is watching is the true test of integrity. One of the ways we can see lack of of integrity is through one's words. Interacting with others whose lack of integrity on a daily basis, is truly draining.

We live our lives as an example, whether we want to or not. Someone, somewhere sees our actions and it becomes embedded. That could either be a positive thing or a negative thing, either way, it creates a ripple effect in levels we cant even comprehend.

If one would take a moment to self-evaluate their actions and/or reactions, to consider all perspectives viewing, it would be possible to begin a mindful movement of right-ness. Like the phrase, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Unprofessional, inappropriate comments spread like wildfire, and when it is repeated then there are two people making unprofessional, inappropriate comments.

Integrity, saying what needs to be said, without malice. Holding one's tongue when comment or opinion would only cut and damage. Knowing when to speak and when to listen. Knowing that the only true value anyone really has is their word.

When one's very words are corrupt or hold no merit, then how could one even consider establishing a rapport of honor?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Anyone who angers you conquers you

The world is not evil.

There are evil people. Evil acts. Evil thoughts. But the World is NOT evil.

For one to live in paranoia of something that may happen, is to waste ones life. To shut out people, and live suspiciously is to only breed more distrust, hence more evil.

When violence happens many people get the perspective that 'the world is an evil place', or 'what is this world coming to' and 'I hope I live thru today'. These are all phrases of one who feels they have no control of anything. This isn't true.

We have control of many things. One of the most important things we have control over is our attitude.

Attitude is a choice. This was pointed out to me one day in February 2006, a few minutes before 8 am, I had a dear friend scold me about the lousy, rotten, stinking attitude I had been displaying. "Don't you waste it. Don't you dare waste it. Don't waste your time in in this pity-party attitude. Don't you do that to me."

For any of us to come face to face with tragedy, death or just a really rough day. We have to keep in mind that every moment of our lives is a learning moment worth experiencing.

Part of people's problems is that they hand control of their emotions to others. For example, the phrase, "That asshole really pisses me off" is simply handing yourself over to the other person.

'Anyone who angers you conquers you' is a quote you may want to post. This phrase is so true. To go through your day becoming angry as others so quickly over irrelevant matters is to add evil to the world. Anger is an emotion that stems from ego. And it does no one any good.

I am not saying no one should ever get angry. Anger, in the right context is useful. It can motivate. It can drive ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

But it is also negative when the only emotion one lives in is anger. If your anger is out of control, your ego has a problem and everyone else is pulling your puppet strings.

Take a moment to consider how you react to things. Believe me, the world doesn't revolve around you, so don't take things so personal. If you find yourself angered, step back and ask why? If the answer is 'because that guy is an asshole.' then you may consider your own reaction.... maybe they're thinking the same thing.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Tragedy. The heart of grief.

I am not certain of how to start this post. The tragedy at West Wendover has ripped me up. It was tough to get out of bed today.

Not only because it has hit so close to home, but because it is a young life, who in one moment has her whole future, and is living carefree and hopeful.

Then violence strikes.

How do we prepare our youth for the future. We don't teach them skills that will keep them debt free by understanding the process of credit cards, percentages in applying it to every day consumerism.
We don't prepare them how to prepare a nutritious meal, or how to plan for a week's menu, nor how to shop, store or budget for it. How many households teach the kids living sharing it with a parent or adult, show their dependents any of this stuff. When those having kids are kids, without these skills how the hell do we expect the offspring to learn what the parent doesn't know?!

Neither does our rural youth know violence. Nor are they prepared. It is known more so than many realize, but when it is predatory is is a foreign concept.

How in the world can a good, young, uninformed person, or even one who has lived a life not affected by violence possibly comprehend predatory violence.

Predator: (n) an animal that naturally preys on others.

Predatory violence is exactly that, simply the hunt for prey. They want resources or they just like the process of the hunt. There is no rational rhyme or reason to those who cannot consider hunting for the kill, another human being.

It's like the spider you squashed, or the deer you got last season. Same indifference, except most people would not ever think of applying this indifference to other people.

There is no answer to "why". It isn't consoling to hear how awful the world and people can be. There is nothing that will give solace to this tragedy. NOTHING..

Except a drive forward to try to educate. Accurate, informative education so that other families don't have to go thru this.

Bullshit information will only set up illusions of safety with out having actual security.

This is not about physical abilities. It is about education and training of how to apply that education.

In a previous post, I mentioned feeling like Neo, who took Morphius' red pill, and realized he was far more into a rabbit hole than he knew he ever wanted to be. With no turning back.

Here I am.

That post was in relation to the violence dynamics training I recently attended.

One cannot unlearn.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Controlling the Masses

This is something that I wonder about often. When some kind of situation happens the public freaks out. The media has it's craft down, they realize that violence, death and destruction grabs the public's attention, thus, keeps the public 'tuned in' to their media outlet. It is a vicious cycle and I know that there have been numerous writings about this topic.
The wee hamlet of Wells has had the opportunity to experience public panic of epic proportion within a short period of time. Observing human nature through this has been something else. At times it has reminded me of the musical 'Fiddler on The Roof' with some of the panic and scuttlebutt that is stirred.
This type of propaganda holds a duel responsibility. The media knows it embellishes its reporting, and they know the public eats it up. The media, rather than making the sell, should realize that simply telling the tale would suffice. No speculation, personal opinion or hyperbolizing.
The public, on the other hand must be rational in what it choses to take as fact or as excess. Which may be difficult since we are a nation of excess. It is the 'fear' factor that keeps people so close to the edge of panic. The tiniest bit of 'public menace' or 'disaster' stirs up the embers of ignorance.
The only way way to defeat ignorance is thru education and discipline. If the media didn't have the audience, then it would reconsider how it presents news. But without knowhow of where to gain the knowledge, how does one become educated in such matters?
As the Zen man said, "Nothing is as it seems, nor is it otherwise."
As you listen to news reports, and media reportings, please take into consideration the main goal is to hold your attention, not necessarily giving the whole facts. If they can keep you on their hook, their ratings go up.
A good recommendation: Fear Less by Gavin de Becker.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisdom of Knowledge-Quest

There came a time when it was realized that in order to get beyond, a stand had to be taken. Then a source had to be discovered, and now another level in the process of development.

In the pursuit of knowledge, I believe wisdom plays a brilliant role in the realization that it is time for 'next'. This weekend I had the opportunity to find that 'next'. Sometimes it is kind of scary for me to think about where I have come from and what I have done. It's like taking Morphius' red pill and experiencing disbelief of the world around the way Neo did.

The trick to learn the 'next' is to find an authentic instructor. For me that is one of those unbelievables. When I was ready to pursue specializing in self defense, my path crossed Phil Messina. From him I not only got to learn how to teach self defense effectively, but I finally learned what vital elements I needed to make it whole.

Now I find myself at the next crossroad. The necessity to gain a deeper understanding of violence. For some reason there is an overwhelming desire to understand it at a deeper level. Why?

Why does one learn self defense? What are the reasons? If I ask a group this, the answer would be to be better prepared to protect ourselves.

OK. From what?

There are many bogus programs out there, and because violence is more rare than media has us believe, a person may never have to apply their self defense skill. So since it may never happen, all that bogus-ness isn't put to the test.

Now the next phase of my knowledge-quest has developed, and lo & behold... I have found an authentic teacher. You cant 'unlearn' something, so now that I have begun, I cant go back. I have opened a new perspective for myself, and it is fascinating.

Time to take in that red pill.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guardian of the Future

There was one point in time when I was sitting on a chair in my front room thinking, "It would be nice to have a little one running around here." That was the summer of 2006. Lo and behold, the summer of 2007 we had a wee one in our family. I know how powerful thought can be. I have experienced it over and over again.

But every once in a while it is nice to be reminded of how special the days are. There is nothing like having a routine in the day that you can look forward to. For me it is going to pick up the 'kid' after school and hanging out with him. I miss him being a baby, but I enjoy him being the conversationalist he has become. The days go by quick and when I don't have to pick him up, it can be a nice break, but when it is several days in a row, it is like I am missing something vital in my day. I get bummed.

That got me to thinking, what would life be like without 'you'? Would one really know how empty life would be, what would it be filled with? I cannot imagine. I have been in the wilderness of New Mexico for an period of time, alone and fasting, with nothing but a tarp, sleeping bag and 4 gallons of water and knowing that when I returned, we would be hanging out doing stuff. The older you get the more stuff we get to do. I am looking forward to teaching and sharing... my responsibility to you is to teach you about life, prepare you for the future and keep you centered, grounded and hungry for knowledge. Along with all this, I must prepare you to face the challenges you will have, and all this through all the distractions that you are bombarded with. Especially when it seems that my concepts are not supported by the others that love you so much they cannot say 'No'.

Our responsibility as the adult is to prepare our youngster to become responsible adults.

Speak to them as if they were intelligent, expecting them to be accountable and holding them to the basic principles of 'be kind and respectful' 'work hard' 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all' and limit television, or at least monitor what is being watched. Why would you want their minds filled with the garbage they see on TV. Also, if they have a cell phone it should be in your possession from 9pm until they leave for school. Sleep is vital for future adults' healthy growth.

This is just my opinion based on my observations. I know this would help our society in the long run. But I know it is an inconvenience to some parents to be so pro-active in their kid's social human development.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Preparing to Defend

Another week, another post. I have stepped into an adventure that is both exhilarating and scary. I have signed up for a weekend of training in Oakland. I am staying in San Francisco, driving myself there. Driving in California is the scary part.

I am attending another seminar facilitated by Rory Miller, author of 'Meditation on Violence'. I read this book last June and absolutely loved it. It covers aspects of self defense that I have been contemplating for as long as I can remember. Violence is a part of personal defense that is a given, but the training most get is not very accurate. This is because we are so influenced about what happens in a violent situation thru media and video. When we step into most karate/martial arts classes, which we all know are synonymous with self defense, we begin practicing defense for specific situations. All crisp in our white karate uniforms, with our nifty colored belt around our waist and our bare feet gripping the floor.

But violence is anything but crispy white or nifty. it certainly can be gripping, but not specific. There are a lot of variables, and unforeseen circumstances, that are not usually brought up in the karate workout. Even sparing, no matter how fun, is still not quite the realism one would experience in the terror of a real violent encounter.

My contemplations with this began during my training. Even tho I had never really had a 'violent' encounter, I somehow knew that a violent encounter would probably not be the way I had been training for. Therefore, I am adamant at finding distinct, training with excellent instructors who have true, accurate experience. How else can I truly prepare my students, no matter how few, to defend against the terror of a violent encounter.

Read about the the upcoming training.. here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Frustrations and Knowledge

For January I offered several personal defense courses. A couple thru Great Basin College and a 3-session course in Wells. I had one person for the Wells class. A few others who said they were interested, didn't follow thru. This is one of the frustration each of us a personal defense instructors experience.

As for the GBC workshops, I showed up Saturday the 22 for the morning. But after waiting there until 9am and having no one show up I left. There were only 2 people signed up, but I was looking forward to the class. It turns out, that the two people were traveling from a near by town and came upon an accident on their way to my class. They are first responders, so they took care of the scene. Needless to say, I have rescheduled the class for this coming Saturday. I am looking very forward to meeting these ladies! Some press releases have been sent to hopefully get a couple of more people to sign up.

The frustration of having so few ladies take such a beneficial class can get to me sometimes. Often times I wonder why I continue to train and pursue the information and education I do, at my expense, to become more knowledgeable about defense and violence. Becoming the best, most accurate teacher I can be is of what use if there are no students? I am about to go off to yet another training in which day two is titled, Concrete, Dirt, & Barstools. Environmental fighting simulations at a real biker bar, rented specifically for training. What I know I will get from this training is yet another level of understanding of defensive situations, and violence.


What for?

I am going to drive to an area I have never been before, stepping into a training situation that is rather intimidating to think about. I have full confidence and faith in the trainers ability to train. He is diligent, well trained, and knowledgeable. It will be fun and exciting, and I will be meeting some great people. I always do when I venture into training.

So as I asked Travis once, "What are you going to do with all this 'knowledge?"

I too, ask myself, "What do I do with all this knowledge?"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Commitment and Action

I was watching Phil's lecture video on commitment and action and part of the lecture talked about the paths we take in our lives. As we journey though our lives, the easiest path to take is the one that others have forged and laid out for us. But that may not necessarily be the path we want to take.
A few things crossed my mind upon hearing this; arranged marriages, being forced into or away from a gender-specific occupations, attending a specific college because everyone else in the family had... so many things in our lives are pre-forged for us.

It is scary to wander off the beaten path to find a different way. Our own way.

I consider my life to be a journey, as many do. When I reflect upon this journey of mine, it has been remarkable. At least to me. I had never thought of some of the things I've done, participated in, or accomplished in a 'commitment' sense. But in retrospect, the commitments I made throughout my life has been chunks of commitments and actions to have brought me to where I am. I thought I was just having fun and doing what I enjoyed. I never considered my years of martial arts training as a commitment, but it most certainly was.

Being committed to something is easy when it is something we enjoy. The test of the character comes when we commit to something we may not have an exceedingly amount of passion for. Jogging for instance. Or just any consistent time focused upon a specific activity that is necessary, but may not be enjoyable. Like paying bills, laundry, cleaning, working out, etc.

Resolutions have a commitment factor. To make a resolution to do something is one thing, putting that resolution into action is another. Commitment without action is just empty words. We hear lots of those.

What actions have been taken towards 'commitments' you've expressed. I for one, have spent more time on the treadmill. I have also added to this blog every week since the 1st. It can be tough figuring out what to write about. It's constantly a thought at the back of my mind, 'what am I going to post this week?' And then finding the time to sit down and gather thoughts in a coherent manner to do it. Then I think, 'Well, who gives a shit, no one reads this any way. Missing one week won't be a big deal.' Which it really wouldn't make a difference to anyone, except me. So here I am putting the action in to my commitment.
Squeezing it in between other actions.

And most of the time I think that I am not doing enough. hmmmm

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Xperts R Us

Expert - Having a comprehensive knowledge of or skill in a particular area.
Knowing something in depth, is different than simply dabbling in wide arena and then developing an opinion. Sometimes tho, the knowledge we believe we have can be a figment our our imagination. Would that make it opinion?
It is a fact that the sun rises in the east. Or is it? The fact is that the sun is stationary and the planets are the ones that move. This fact refutes the 'rising' in the east statement, doesn't it?

In depth knowledge is a trait anyone can have. In depth knowledge makes one an 'expert'. I know people who have in-depth knowledge of dolls, engines, football, technology... whenever I converse with them it is always fascinating to me the passion they have for their subject of interest.

How does one become an expert? I think the first requirement is passion. A profound, deep passion for the particular subject. I would never be able to become an expert about auto mechanics. Not my cup of tea. I am however striving to gain expertise in personal defense. It is the subject matter that is my passion. How to be the best instructor possible, how to present information and education to those who need it in the most powerful, comprehensive way, finding other experts who have truly lived the experience. Drawing from those who have real life experience in this stuff is vital.

Anyone can be a self defense instructor, but not everyone has the capacity to truly comprehend what a self defense situation will actually feel and smell like. Violence is not what most people think it is. When a self defense instructor suggest that there is a 'safe' way to fight, or even to comply in your assault -then they are tossing their students to the wolves. Perpetuating myths, falsehoods and employing complicated unproductive mechanics creates a false sense of security. Which in turn, produces a freeze when what the skills and information they have been given fail.

Like any industry, there are great programs, mediocre programs, and lousy programs. How does one find a good, reputable, accurate program of personal defense? Research. There are things that a good program will have. That, will be left for another day....

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Negligent Instructors

As I was on the treadmill today, I was watching Kevin Dillon's DVD. Part one of Police Tactics Training or something of the sort. I have had the opportunity to train with Kevin. Funny guy. His program is really appealing to me. It is simple, and gets the job done. Nothing fancy, just effective.

While listening to him talk about warm ups and such, I began to wander into my own past training. My instructor was so hardcore and relentless when it came to doing things exactly as he said to. There was no questioning, no alterations allowed. All of it was in the name of training. The greatest part to that regimen was that he insisted things be done properly. Proper body alignment when we did all our warmups and exercises. Proper breathing as we executed movements. All of this, was important. It has become so much more apparent to me why he was so anal about not slacking and not altering.

I have been into other school's classes and watched as the lead instructors allow 'sloppy' skills to develop. No improper fists were ever corrected. I witnessed bent wrists, and yes, even thumbs tucked inside. In fact I was sparring a youngster, and caught his fist in mid-strike to correct his tucked thumb. Why in the world he was allowed to continually develop such a bad, detrimental habit is beyond me. I found it insulting.

I have witnessed so much of these unacceptable habits to be continuously allowed that I have a hard time when others telling me about how great their training is. Perhaps I have become overly skeptical... Nawwwww. It is just that I am frustrated that so many expert black belts literally sacrifice their student's health and well-being because they choose to take no responsibility to learn anatomy along with the how and why of training the body properly. A poor quality of instruction handed down from teacher to student, etc. on down the line

A good school is more than just bustin' out reps and learning bad-ass ways to be a bigger bad-ass. It is a great physical workout that is beneficial for health and fitness for years and years. Our school was full contact, worked out on concrete, and I usually had to spar bigger guys, (because everyone is bigger than me) my knees are still good, no arthritis, and no bad, back, hip, ankle, or any other part of me that suffered damage from improper training. Boxers break, chipped teeth, and a few broken bones... none of which were the result of a negligent instructor.

IDK.. what do you think?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

New Years resolutions usually get broken. I resolve to contribute to my blog regularly for 2011. It has been created and has had only a few posts on it for quite some time. In reading for thru them, they weren't too bad, if I say so myself. I was nicely shocked about the 'fighting' post. All of it was written before reading 'Meditations on Violence'. It was great to have the documentation of my thoughts previous to reading that book.

I have always said both aloud and to myself that I would like to write. In order to be a writer, one must write. So that may be my goal, among others, for this year. I plan to actually schedule writing time into my week so that I may post weekly.

Content will vary, as there are often tidbits of stuff I read or find throughout the day that I find myself quietly bellowing about 'tis time to put that bellowing out there. Overcome the fears of publishing and at least publish on my blog site. Maybe, just maybe, something will come of it, be it outrage or insight.

So welcome to 2011. Keep checking in and see whats up.

Stay Safe.