Monday, June 29, 2009

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,


Sunday, June 21, 2009

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 create and use even greater tools.
When referring to combat the tools are namely the techniques or tactics that are readily at your disposal. Mechanics on the other hand are the skills of being able to work with those tools within a particular situation to facilitate a solution of the task at hand.

An example of someone who has good tools but is not a mechanic would be a person who went out and bought a new $10,000 Snap On tool box filled with a vast array of extraordinary tools, but that person has no engineering, mechanical or construction abilities. The individual may know the basics of how each of those tools are supposed to be used. They may be able to use their screwdriver to screw in a wood screw into a block of wood or their hammer to pound a nail into a 2 x 4, but they don't know the dynamics of how to to fix a car or build a house.

Further, having good "tools" does not mean one is a good mechanic. Many martial artists fall into this category because of their lack of real world experience and/or the way that they train. The opposite of this would be many street fighters, bouncers, body guards, soldiers and police officers who may have good mechanic skills even though they don't necessarily have the best tools (flashy techniques etc.) to work with. These "mechanics" could fix almost any situation with a pair of pliers, a butter knife and a roll of duct tape.

Our goals as warriors should be to create and maintain a well rounded toolbox and learn to be good mechanics so we know how to use those tools (techniques, tactics) in the real world to save our own bacon and/or the lives of others.

Keep going,

Friday, June 19, 2009

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 kids grow up and have children of their own? Is it to mend those regrets you have between you and an old friend? Take care of a parent who has stood by you throughout your life? Grow old with your husband or wife? Is it to take that trip around the world or write that novel that you started ten years ago? Is it to simply have a beer with with an old school buddy just one more time? Or maybe to defend the freedom and dignity of others. Protect those who need help. To stand in the face of tyranny. To help the down trodden and exploited.

I don't know what it is for you, but YOU need to know what it is for you, so take out a sheet of paper, grab a pen and make that list; a physical list of all of these things and when the time comes in training or life that you have a choice whether or not to give up, think about those things that you wrote down.
Really dig down deep within yourself to find meaningful emotional triggers that will bring out your true desire to live. You have to feel it or this won't be an effective tool for you.

Have a clear understanding of what is worth living for and what is worth dieing for. Make it personal for YOU and your life.

Those are the real reasons why we train!

All the best,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

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 not going to get in an accident.

2) It doesn't guarantee your survival IF you get into an accident.

3) It simply betters your odds of survival when you get into an accident... and it's too late if you never put it on in the first place. JUST LIKE TRAINING!

Here's a deeper question for you:

If you knew that someone would attempt to kill your child or loved one and you knew how they would be attacked, how would you train to defend them?

Keep going,


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Great Year at the Gathering!

Another great year at Innovative Martial Arts / KSMA's 9th 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 would usually easily cost four times this anywhere else!

I have to mention that I did miss seeing Bobbe and Cody this year. Although the two dimensional Bobbe was very active and kept everyone laughing the whole weekend! It was almost like Bobbe was really there... and in a way he was! I hope the three dimensional versions of both of you two can make it out next year.

On another note, I would like to extend my gratitude for the honor of being asked to instruct one of the sessions this year. I shared some IKI Krav Maga pistol disarms, a few stories, and concepts about Robert Humphrey's / Jack Hoban's living values defender/ protector mentality. I have never experienced a group of people (many of whom were instructors) who have been so open to new material, enthusiastic and caught on so well. All of the questions and feed back were inspirational! Thank you!

Finally, I would like to thank Chuck and Jay for inducting me as a member of KSMA. I was getting ready to leave when they cornered me. As they first approached they had that strange look in their eye, a look even stranger than their usual one, if you can believe that! Since I was a little on edge after reading The Gift of Fear I was ready to make a run for it figuring they were going to assault me and steal my wallet & gear or do other unmentionable things you only hear about in Turkish prisons. Instead they presented me with a KSMA membership certificate!

All joking aside I am proud to be a part of such an organization. (here is the link to the entire blog)

All the best!

Keep going,