Showing posts from 2009

The Tao of Frappe'

Greek Frappé Preparation Time: 2 minutes Serves: 1 Ingredients 2 tsp Nescafé Classic 2 tsp sugar Ice cubes. Preparation: Pour 10-15ml of water in the shaker (preferably not chilled, but chilled will still do). Add two tea-spoonfuls of Nescafé Classic and one tea-spoonful of sugar, or more if desired. Shake strongly until all the water becomes foam. The use of an electric hand mixer, instead of a shaker, will make a shinier and creamier foam. Pour into a glass of 250ml, add 3-4 ice cubes and chilled water to fill the glass for black Nescafé Frappé . For white Nescafé Frappé , add 20-30ml chilled evaporated milk. Ideal serving temperature is 10 degrees Celsius. * Hint: The quantity of water in step 1 plays important role in creating qualitative foam. Very small quantity will not produce enough foam while large quantity will produce soapy foam. If you desire different dosages of coffee and/or sugar, the exact quantity of water in step 1 should vary accordingly. Milk should always

Eye of the Storm

Yes it is true I am back from Jersey and training with Jack Hoban. I decided to leave GR early to avoid getting caught in the blizzard that was threatening to paralyze my travels. Attempting to stay in the "Eye of the Storm" so to speak, I left Wednesday afternoon of last week and missed the storm completely! The trip driving back was equally un-eventful which I am thankful for as well! For those who I train with here in GR, I'm sure that you know what main themes I usually come back with after training w/Jack: 1) Warrior Ethics - Universal Values - Protector/Defender Mentality 2) Controlling Space 3) Smithwicks It is always good training and this month was no exception. I especially liked the material that we worked on this time. December is also the time that the Buyu has their Daikomyosai which is a celebration honoring Jack's teacher Masaaki Hatsumi. So after the training everyone gets duded up and has a fancy dinner and drinks. It was wonderful to share that with

The "Buzz" and Some Insights

Hey Gang~ I'm sitting here listening to some Dishwalla, thinking about my life, my past, my new career directions and just reflecting on the day. It's been a good day. Krav class in the morning was good. We worked on some clinching and talked about negotiation and de-escalation tactics and how it relates to Universal Values. After class wrapped up I went to another great seminar taught by Buzz Smith. Chuck Pippin from Innovative Martial Arts brought Buzz in to teach this all day seminar. Buzz taught with great thoughtfulness, insight, and respect. I've grown to admire those qualities in him. He always shares his unique perspective and art openly with the skill and care of a true artisan. He explains the concepts in a way that everyone can understand. By making the complex simple he doesn't just show you what he can do, he shows you what YOU can do. The mark of a good instructor. I'm sure everyone left with more than what they came in with on many levels. I saw and t

Freedom Writers

Yesterday was a good day of training. Regular class in the morning and a four hour workshop in the afternoon. I watched the UFC with some friends last night. Some good fights. I was happy to see Forrest win over Tito. I would have liked to see him submit Ortiz, but it went to decision. So, it's Sunday morning and I am watching Freedom Writers. It is such a great movie. It touches me in a lot of ways. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. Talk about teaching Universal Values. The main character Erin Gruwell teaches at risk teens whose lives are torn by a war zone in the inner cities where they live. The real war zone isn't in our cities, it's not in the countries, it's not in our relationships, it's not in our religion, our race or in our families...It's in ourselves. It begins in the way we see ourselves and then those around us. It's in the way we treat those who we perceive to be different than ourselves. In the way we teach ourselves and oth

The Dash

Hello all~ Here is a little video clip I shot at a place where I go to get perspective when I need to. This goes hand in hand with the poem called "The Dash" by Linda Ellis. I like the poem and thought you might too. The Dash by Linda Ellis I read of a man who stood to speak At the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone From the beginning to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth And spoke of the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all Was the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time That she spent alive on earth And now only those who loved her Know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own, The cars, the house, the cash, What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard; Are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left That can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enoug

Frontlines of Freedom Military - Veteren Talk Radio

Hello all~ I was just asked by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Denny Gillem and to be the Official Personal Defense Subject Matter Expert for his Military - Veteran Talk Radio Show called Frontlines of freedom - AM 1260 - It is currently airs in Michigan and Florida and is being recommended for national syndication. In the West Michigan area it airs Saturday nights 7pm EST and is Podcast at You can hear my first segment here: Click on the segment labeled - 09 Oct 29th part 3 - to listen. I am honored to be a part of this program and to be able to contribute to a larger community through the show's reach. Thanks for the opportunity Denny. I appreciate your confidence in my perspective and experience and insights regarding Personal Defense! Take care all. Talk to you soon! ~Craig


If you have any brothers or sisters you may remember when you would fight as kids; once your parents finally got wind of your shenanigans and began their interrogation of the guilty parties you always seemed to get in more trouble if you did the named offense "on purpose." My punishment would be much worse if they thought that whatever I did was "on purpose," rather than it being "random and accidental." Like that time I was grounded because I "accidentally" (ha ha) hit my brother in the head with my sneaker that just happened to fly off from my foot while he was in front of me! Ahhhh the memories! As we grow up and become adults many of us hold this same fear; the fear of doing things On Purpose! So, as American writer and philosopher David Thoreau said the result is that many people begin to "live lives of quiet desperation." What is YOUR purpose? If you don't know your purpose is it is difficult to choose your direction. If you d

Controlling the Playing Field pt.2 - Elements of the Game

Events rarely happen randomly, there are typically recognizable patterns and dynamics that set up and follow the event through. This is what we call “the game.” Although combat and survival is not a game, we have found it to be very successful to break down the elements of what typically happens using terminology that is less threatening, thus easier to talk about, recognize and define. “The Game” is a metaphoric term used to describe any situation that may present a challenge in life. If you can learn to recognize the patterns and how everything comes together you will have a better chance at making more empowered decisions. Being able to recognize, assess and deal with these dynamics will dramatically increase the odds of survival and success in whatever challenge you may face. Elements of The Game The Players – Characteristics of Predators and Prey. The Objective – What the Predators want. The Board – The environment needed for Predators to get what they want (primary & secon

Controlling the Playing Field (part 1)

I received an e-mail the other day regarding a person who was wondering about Krav Maga and the viability of the techniques in a real situation. He, as many of us was very concerned about the effectiveness of the system. Although I feel it is a legit concern to make sure the tactics that you learn are going to be there for you in a pinch, as I read the e-mail further it seemed that this person had a perspective that many hold: 1) Always being prepared for any circumstance 2) Basically looking for a system that would give him the ability to be able to take out anyone no matter the person, situation or conditions. He described a circumstance where he was facing 6 guys at least one of whom who had a weapon. From his description he did make it out alive, hurt, but alive. He admitted that he was very lucky because they were probably drunk and he got the jump on them so to speak. I would agree that he got VERY lucky! I don’t know of any system that would protect you from this if you were hop

Fighter vs. Warrior

What is the difference between a fighter and a warrior? A fighter trains to fight and sometimes they learn to live. A warrior trains to live and sometimes they have to fight protecting themselves and others. What others? All others. Yes the warrior does train to fight, but the fighting is not the focus of the training. A warrior fights because he has to. A fighter fights because he wants to. A warrior fights to protect others. A fighter fights for himself. I have trained with both fighters and warriors. I have fought for myself and to protect others. I prefer warriorship over fighting. I feel it is a richer, deeper, more fulfilling path although it is more challenging. Your steps along this journey are sometime difficult to see clearly. The greatest obstacle has always been yourself. Giving and sacrifice to others over seeking self gratification is tough because we are all human and none of us are perfect. Being a warrior isn't about some belt, trophy, title, job (solder, officer,

Where are the Freakin' Rapids?

Holy cow! This weekend was a great one! I could write a book on everything that transpired, but we don't have time for that today. I only have time to share a little bit of what went on during that 36 or so hours between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. You see this past Saturday Jack Hoban and I gave a seminar at Ronin Martial Arts / West Side Fitness in Grand Rapids, Michigan (the place where I hold on going classes). I picked Jack up from the airport late Friday afternoon, we hung out, watched some good friends of mine play in their surf band at Rocky's Tavern, a local watering hole near downtown Grand Rapids then cut home to get some shut eye. We didn't stay out long because we has a full day of training Saturday. Although both Jack and I covered a lot of physical tactics, what I want to talk about in this blog entry is a little of what Jack was sharing regarding Dr. Robert Humphrey's view's concerning Living Values & Warrior Ethics. It is important for

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Hello all! I hope everyone's summer is going well. It's going by way too fast! Ok, here is a little technique for you to use when you face a challenge that needs to be overcome. This method can be used during a tight spot and/or just in general. Whenever you face a challenge you need to create a plan. If you don't have a plan you are at a huge disadvantage, so here is an easy method to use it is called T.A.C.T.E. T hink calmly and clearly (as much as the situation allows) A ssess the situation C reate a simple plan T ake action E valuate success *repeat as needed. The elements are simple. The calmer you stay and the clearer your thinking the better your chances of overcoming the challenge at hand. Assess the situation at hand and make your plan. The plan needn't always be complicated. As a matter of fact if you are in the middle of an emergency or conflict you may need to quickly asses and create a very simple plan in order to save your skin (or the skin of another). Af

Training, Krav Maga and Freedom

I wanted to wish everyone a happy 4th of July. I know the above picture contrasts such a cheery intro, but as you read the article below it will become more clear why I chose the above picture. I began writing my blog for the 4th when Moshe e-mailed me this article. I thought that it was written very well and said everything I was trying to convey, so being one for efficency I thought I would share his words. I ran it by Moshe to make sure it was alright with him and indeed it was, so here you go! Krav Maga for me is more than a 'martial art', or even a method of self defense. It is part of my essence; it is part of who I am. I am an American citizen and an Israeli citizen, and I am proud of both traditions and I am loyal to both flags. I signed up for the US draft, although I was never called, I vote in every election, I support our troops. The United States and Israel share the same core values, values which are not shared by many other countries. At the outset the USA was a

If You're Going To...

If you're going to be passionate about something, be passionate about learning. If you're going to fight something, fight for those in need. If you're going to question something, question authority. If you're going to lose something, lose your inhibitions. If you're going to gain something, gain respect and confidence. And if you're going to hate something, hate the false idea that you are not capable of your dreams. ~Daniel Golston I liked this quote by Golston and I thought you might like it too. Keep going, ~Craig

Toolboxes, Tools and Mechanics

A broad definition of a tool as stated by Wikipedia is an entity used to interface between two or more domains that facilitates more effective action of one domain upon the other. For example, a crowbar simply functions as a lever . The further out from the pivot point, the more force is transmitted along the lever. A hammer typically interfaces between the operator's hand and the nail the operator wishes to strike. A telephone is a communication tool that interfaces between two people engaged in conversation at one level. Marshall McLuhan famously said "We shape our tools. And then our tools shape us." McLuhan was referring to the fact that our social practices co-evolve with our use of new tools and the refinements we make to existing tools. So basically tools are those things that act as an extension of ones self to assist in completing a particular task. As our tools evolve so shall our choices, options of the situation and also the evolution increases our ability to

Why Do You Train?

When training I will sometimes ask everyone: "When do we give up?" The response is "When we are dead or safe!" I have heard a shorter version of this that I like from the Navy Seals: "Not dead, can't quit." This is a great mantra. To flesh this idea out a bit I developed a simple exercise that will help to bring this mantra to life for you. It can keep you focused in training when you are fatigued, beat down, gassed, frustrated, wiped out, trashed, getting schooled, at your wits end, and ready to throw in the towel. This same exercise is absolutely essential to keep focused if you ever find yourself in a real situation where your life (and possibly the lives of others) depends on you not quitting even when everything else is screaming at you to give up. Take a evening and reflect on all of those things that you want to live for. I know this sounds a little corny, but really think about this. Why do YOU want to be here on this earth? Is it to see your

It's a lot like wearing your seat belt!

Civilian, Law Enforcement Officer, Soldier, Bouncer, Security Guard... It doesn't matter who: If you knew that you were going to be attacked by an angry, aggressive assailant tomorrow and you knew how he was going to attack you, how would you train that defense in class tonight? Would you work that technique until you could do it from any position without hesitation. Would you train it so you could concentrate on surviving the assault rather than looking pretty? Would you work it until you understood its principles intimately and responded reflexively to the threat? Would you want to know that your training was increasing your odds of surviving the attack, rather than just some motions you were going through as you got your cardio workout? Well, I'll let you in on a secret: The defense you are working on tonight may be the one that saves your life tomorrow. It's a lot like wearing your seat belt: 1) Just because you wear your seat belt doesn't guarantee that you are n

Another Great Year at the Gathering!

Another great year at Innovative Martial Arts / KSMA's 9 th annual Gathering of the Tribes 2009!! This is a weekend seminar where instructors and practitioners come from all over the U.S. to train, reconnect, eat and hang! I enjoyed reconnecting with friends and meeting new faces. The training was superb as usual! I love experiencing all of the different perspectives and styles of the people who came out. It is cool that the various instructors are so open to share what they know not only during their respective sessions, but also in impromptu' training where someone pulls them aside to ask questions. Everyone's willingness to teach and learn is second only to the openness and friendliness found here. I really appreciate Chuck and Jeannie Pippin taking the time and effort to put this all together for everyone to learn and enjoy! It is great training, food and friends minus the usual ego that seminars like this often have... and it is so economical!! A weekend like this w

Krav Maga Boot Camp Graduates April 2009!!

Here is the crew from our last Krav Maga Boot Camp. It was a month long training session that met 2x per week for an hour... well, except on Saturday's when we would sometime train for 3 or more hours (What can we say?! We like to train!!). The crew pictured above met the Krav challenge head on and did a great job! Meet the Peeps: From left to right back row: Denny Mossen , Nate Koets , Jon Koets , Chris Carpenter. L to R front row: Sandra Jewell, Me (Craig G.), Staci Carpenter, Josh Gekeler . Five of these fine people went on to join us in our intermediate class! Great job gang!! Keep going! ~Craig

Krav Maga Seminar at Ronin Martial Arts

On Saturday, Feb. 21st we brought in Krav Maga instructor Moshe Katz from Israel to share some authentic Krav Maga with us. Moshe is Itay Gil's (star of the History Channel's Human Weapon Krav Maga episode) highest ranking student. Moshe stayed with me at my condo for a few days. Living in Israel just outside of Jerusalem Moshe shared stories of a vastly different cultural and life perspective than I hold. He has a gentle heart and was a true gentleman to me and all who he came in contact with here in Grand Rapids. Students at Ronin Martial Arts Academy as well as over 50 others from all over Michigan thoroughly enjoyed Moshe's seminar. Much to my surprise and pleasure we sold out in a little over one week. At the seminar we learned numerous defenses dealing with everything from knife, gun and empty hand threats to 3rd party and airline situations. Moshe also shared with us the philosophy, history and roots of Krav Maga in Israel. I had the honor to train one

A Good Night for a Walk

It has been a beautiful day today and the night proved to be equally wonderful. 56 degrees, clear, starry night. A little earlier a close buddy of mine came over and we decided to go for a walk. We talked about life's beauty, challenges, hopes, dreams, paradox, you know the things two people talk about when they are "mowing the lawn" mentally. It was a good night and great philosophical conversation. We had been walking a hour and a half or so and were about a half mile from my condo (I live downtown in a mid sized city where the "landscape" changes rather quickly if you know what I mean!) when I say "hey, lets cross the street." It just felt like the right thing to do. So we crossed. We take no more than a couple steps onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street and these four rather drunk "gentlemen" turn the corner on the side of the street we just came from. They were loud obnoxious and clearly looking for trouble. But since we were

A moment of Silence for Helio Gracie who passed away this past Thursday.

Helio Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu, is dead at the age of 95. Gracie passed in his sleep early Thursday in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro, after he had been admitted to a local hospital a few days prior for stomach problems. “He passed the way he always wanted to –- quick and fast,” said an immediate relative, who asked not to be identified. The relative said Gracie’s body would be buried on Thursday. The youngest of Cesalina and Gastao Gracie’s eight children, he learned traditional jiu-jitsu by watching his brother, Carlos, teach it, but his small frame made it difficult for him to execute the moves. As a result, he adapted techniques to fit his limited physical ability and gave rise to modern-day Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gracie was involved in two legendary fights. He lost to Masahiko Kimura -- a man who outweighed him by some 40 pounds -- in 1951 when Carlos threw in the towel after Kimura broke Gracie’s arm with the shoulder lock that now bears his name. Four years later, Gracie

Beginners Bootcamp

Tonight was the first night of our Beginner Bootcamp at WestSide Fitness. It goes until Saturday Feb. 7th. Everyone who attended did a great job! We covered a lot of material and everyone seemed to pick it up pretty well. ...And the stuff you didn't, don't worry it will get easier overtime, not overnight! Just "Keep Going!" I am looking forward to training with all of you at our next class. ~Craig

A Carrot, an Egg and a Cup of Coffee...

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again. A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.' 'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied. Her mother brou