Showing posts from 2011

Ronin Martial Arts Academy Wins U.S. Commerce Association 2011 Grand Rapids Award for Martial Arts Training

Thank you, thank you! I am honored to have won this prestigious award! In receiving this recognition I would like to thank my mom and dad, all of my mentors and of course all of those people who train at our academy!! 
Hold on, wait one cotton pickin' minute... Before my I get too big for my britches, we should talk about something first. Who is the U.S. Commerce Association anyway and how did I win this so called award? Well if you google this official sounding association you'll find out very quickly that it is one big scam to get business owners to buy these bogus awards. Tricky tricky! So business owners beware of this scam to pilfer your pocket books!
Have a good New Year all!
And as my grandad used to say, "Don't take any wooden nickles!"
All the best, ~Craig

The Stone Cutter of Notre Dame

Here I sit in one of my favorite coffee houses, sipping on my Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea, listening to some Ronnie James Dio and reflecting about 2011 and of course looking forward to what 2012 has yet to bring! Before I go into too much detail about my thoughts let me tell you a little "Tie In Story." I call this one, "The Stone Cutter of Notre Dame." I don't remember where I picked this story up from, so for that reason forgive me if I don't recite it word for word. I changed the title and adapted things to suit both my purpose of telling it as well as my fading, sometimes ill tempered memory. So without any further ado:

"The Stone Cutter of Notre Dame"

One day the foreman of a very large stone query was out doing his rounds checking on all of the workers who were cutting stone into bricks that were to be used in constructing the great Cathedral of Notre Dame. As he walked he came across one of the workers grumbling and very unhappy…

The Twenty Rules of Silat Zulfikari by Mushtaq Ali

Mushtaq & I at a SNDSTL  [Secret Non-Disclosed Silat Training Location =]
Here is a good post entry I thought you would benefit from. Mushtaq Ali shares his "Twenty Rules of Silat Zulfikari." Although told in a lighthearted way, they are some seriously good principles of warriorship! Enjoy!

If you would like to read more of Mushtaq's insights check out his blog. The Traceless Warrior

The Twenty Rules of Silat Zulfikari 
by Mushtaq Ali

While these rules started out a bit "tongue in cheek", (someone asked me about the philosophical basis of Silat, I replied "I hit you". The rest, as they say, was history). So, for the edification of my students, and the amusement of my readers, I present to you

The Rules (with commentary)
1. I hit you

"We are but a simple people."

It is good to always remember that the point of the exercise is to deliver energy in the form of destabilize shock to one's opponent. This may be in the form of a strike wit…

The Ethical Warrior: Are ethics tactical? by Jack Hoban & Bruce Gourlie

This is a great article on written by fellow RGI compadres Jack Hoban & Bruce Gourlie. A great article I thought you folks out there would benefit from as well. Click here for more about Resolution Group International.

Talk to you soon.

The Ethical Warrior: Are ethics tactical?Our power to overcome danger is born from our duty to protectOur recent article, “The Hunting Story,” tells how a simple soldier in the back of a truck was able to activate a feeling of human equality between relatively well-off Americans and destitute villagers in a poor, allied country with just a few words and a challenge. When asked to articulate why all people feel that their lives are equal he said, “I don't know why they value their lives so much. Maybe it's those snotty nosed kids or the women in the pantaloons. But whatever it is, they care about their lives and the lives of their loved ones, same as we do.”

Human equality and the “inalienable right to lif…

Things Change: Kapap, Krav Maga

The following blog post is written by Israeli Krav International Head Instructor Moshe Katz. It is an interesting article that I hope you find as informative as I did.

All the best,

Things Change

"Nothings going to change my world", sang John Lennon in the 1960's, but perhaps more than any other man of his time he embodied change. He was shaped by the winds of change and he helped make those changes. "The times they are a – changing," Sang Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan, and indeed changing they were and changing they are. Change is constant.

But some of us try to preserve the way things are; we forget that no one can stop change. Yes, some things stay the same forever but some things change.

The same sun rises everyday and sets every night, human nature is basically unchanged, love and hate, jealousy and fear; our emotions are the same as thousands of years ago.

And man comes up with defense mechanisms. One of those remarkable developments …

It's Been a While... Footnotes from the Ronin!

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in  order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.
The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need  to do, in order to have what you want.
~Margaret Young

It's been a couple months since I've written, so I thought I'd jot down a few thoughts. I've been really busy lately, fortunately all good things! My work with The PeaceWalker Project, Resolution Group International, Ronin Empowerment Group and of course Ronin Krav Maga all have been keeping me rather busy. Not to mention my meager college class load that I am able to scratch out as I try to finish my degree in ethno-history. I'll probably be eighty years old before that bad dog is finally done!
I have all of you to thank regarding how my path has developed and keeps moving forward. I appreciate everyone who has written, attended seminars, come to classes, m…

What Saved the Hostages in Recent Standoff with Dantzler?

The Home where the standoff took place.
In the wake of the recent tragedy concerning 34-year-old Rodrick Dantzler much has been reported on. This deeply unfortunate event that has rocked the foundation of our community is certain to touch each of us in some way, to a lessor or greater degree. It is times like these that truly illustrate just how interconnected our community is. The degree of separation that each of us has from someone involved in this incident will probably prove to be surprisingly small, for me it has been but three tiny degrees.
My Saturday wrapped up much as it always does, teach from morning into late afternoon, go home, take a shower, wrap up some bookwork, take a quick power nap and then off to a Saturday night of socializing, while taking advantage of another incredible Michigan Summer. This week I ended up at a small pool get together on the West Side of Grand Rapids near Leonard and Covell. Things started as they usually do in similar social se…

Spirit is Spirit

"Once upon a time I asked a wise man how he reconciles the religious tradition of the Indigenous, Native culture into which he was born with his affiliation with one of the three Abrahamic faiths. His response to me was, "Spirit is Spirit."... I did not know at the time that I also belong to an Indigenous, Native culture. Thanks to that same wise man, I know that now and have also come to understand that indeed, "Spirit is Spirit". I will always remember those words..."

~Corinne Clair Coughlin
w/some possible mysterious connection to a certain Mushtaq Ali Al Ansar, but one can never be sure =)

The Note - A Fathers Day Tribute!

Tom Gray (my Dad) on Left - 1960 Okinawa

Earlier this year I moved out of my condo and as part of my downsizing strategy; I decided to get rid of quite a few of my books. This sounded easy enough at first, unless you are an avid book reader and collector as I am. You other "book-ies" out there know what I'm talking about! Well, deciding to undertake a book purge has been a good lesson for me in terms of practicing non-attachment and letting go. I have accumulated somewhere between 1,800 to 2,000 books. No, that's not a misprint, I did have THAT many books! Too many, WAY too many! So I began going through them, picking out the ones that I wanted to keep (like ALL of them!) and the ones that I would give away or sell. I would first make three piles: The first made up of those books I couldn't do without; the second were those books that I knew I didn't really need and then the third... Oh, that damn third pile, it was the most difficult of all because it was the…

Muskegon Middle Schoolers Get Some Tips on Conflict Resolution

In response to public cries for answers regarding conflict in and outside of our schools Timberland Charter Academy decided to take a different approach in addressing some of the problems facing thier students. In a society where zero tolerance policies, strict legal ramifications and over the top laws are having difficulty providing solutions to the serious problems that our kids continually face, this small school in Muskegon is working to do something more.  Wondering if stiffer penalties and inflexible guidelines are the only ways to deal with issues facing the young people attending their schools, playing in their neighborhoods and walking down their streets, assistant principal Todd Hendricks tries another approach.

The real question that needs to be asked is whether or not the bullying and violence is the problem, or if it is a symptom of something deeper? How can we inspire the respect needed to even have a chance of avoiding the threats of bullying and violence…

The ethical warrior: Developing a cop's combat mindset by Jack Hoban & Bruce Gourlie

Here is another great article by my colleague, friend and RGI President, Jack Hoban. In this article Jack and Bruce clairify and add depth to the concept of the Combat Mindset. They go into depth regarding the three dislipines that make up this path. The discussion includes how and why these dynamics are so important no matter if you are a soldier, police officer or a civilian PeaceWalker (something I will elaborate on later).

I hope you enjoy the article and find it beneficial along your journey. If you would like to find out more about this perspective please join us at our Resolution Group International Conflict Resolution Workshop coming up in May. Click here for details.

In the meantime enjoy the article and as Jack says, "Keep Going!"


The ethical warrior: Developing a cop's combat mindset
by Jack Hoban & Bruce Gourlie

One popular phrase says: “Be polite and professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” It may sound sensible to some an…

Woosha! by James Morganelli

I recently received my Instructors Certification in Dr. George Thompson's Tactical Communication course he calls Verbal Judo  It is an impressive course on how to de-escalate and negotiate with a person to gain voluntary compliance, cooperation and collaboration. It was created and  run by Dr. Thompson and his right hand man Gary Klugiewicz.

As I was putting my thoughts down in a manner that would be enjoyable and beneficial to read, I saw that RGI Associate and friend James Moganelli wrote a nice piece on the experience, so being one to leverage talent, I asked James if I could re-post his article.
As for James, he is a very talented martial artist, instructor and writer. I met him a couple of years ago through Jack Hoban and I am glad that we are getting a chance to know each other better. I would recommend that you check out James's blog site
Here is James article:

The video is grainy, but bright. It is December 19,…

Zen and the Art of Krav Maga

We recently made the front cover of Rapid Growth Media. A nice article that you can read here:

The article has created a little ripple of a buzz inspiring some others to do a little writing of their own. Here is a nice write up by John Kowalski's Babacita blog shout! Thanks for the good words John!

Here are John's words:

An excellent article on Krav Maga and local Grand Rapids, MI instructor Craig Gray. I’ve had the honor and privilege of knowing Craig as a friend and also training with him for a few years. He is the utmost professional and extremely skilled in teaching this important, life-changing mentality and skill set.

Some excerpts from the article:

“Our global society has changed the way we do warfare. It’s not ‘us versus them’ anymore. You don’t always know who the enemy is,” explains Gray. “Krav continues to change to embrace new threats.”

No matter the situation, Gray believes “going physical shou…

Familiar Sounds by Moshe Katz

A chill ran up my spine when I first heard the news regarding the terrorist bombing a bus in Israel, especially upon the news report of the particular bus that was said to have been hit: Bus #174 to Maaleh Adumim. It is the bus I take when I am training in Israel with Israeli Krav International Head Instructor, Moshe Katz. My first thought was, is Moshe alright?! Once I found out that he was, my next thought was, "Hey, that is the bus that I take. It could have been me on that bus!" Reality check and some food for thought! Another Krav Lesson.

Later reports confirmed that it was NOT bus #174, rather it was bus #74, regardless a tragic event all the same.

Here is an article Moshe wrote regarding the recent terrorist bombing in Israel.

I just landed yesterday, back home in Israel after a long seminar tour of the USA and Canada, and it is great to be home. Today I received some phone calls from dear friends and family, "Are you OK?", "Sure", I said, not …

The Masks We Wear

Moshe (bottom) & I showing some Krav Maga ground tactics at a seminar in Indy(ouch!).

Here is a blog post by Moshe Katz. I liked what he says here and thought you would find it insightful as well.


We all wear many masks throughout our lives. We are trained not to act spontaneously, not to show our hand, not to reveal too much. A child cries when it feels like it, even if the timing and location are very poor. Tomorrow I will fly to the USA, a twelve hour flight, and I pray I will not be near any crying children on the plane.

As a child grows older his parents train him how to behave in public, and this is a good thing. We must learn to be considerate of others, not to shout out loud in public when we are overly excited about something. We live in a civilized society and we must be constantly aware of our behavior and be considerate of others.
But then there are moments when a person might lose control. He might forget all his careful etiquette…

Playing with Fire!

I hesitated to post this because of the dangerous nature of the subject matter, however I often get questions regarding Krav Maga firearm disarms when it pertains to directly grabbing the weapon. I was forwarded these videos by Nick Gutschow (Thanks man!). One video shows what happens when you grab the slide of an automatic pistol the other video shows what happens when you grab the cylinder of a revolver. 

Now before you watch the video let's talk about a few things:

1) If you are in a conflict with a person who has a weapon (in this case a pistol), THEY have the advantage. It is best to do whatever you can to not get into a physical confrontation with them. If you can talk or walk your way out of the situation that would be the best and safest way out. If you do have to go physical remember the 3C's:

CLEAR your body from the danger (this includes innocent bystanders)
CONTROL the weapon (through space, finding cover or by physical manipulation)
CONQUER the threat or CLEAR t…

The Ethical Warrior: Philosophy and why it is important

Jack Hoban Teaching the USMC at their base in Quantico Va. The following article is featured in It was written by Jack Hoban and Bruce Gourlie, two talented professionals that I have the pleasure of working with. Jack's organization, Resolution Group International (RGI) is a professional training organization created to address the needs of military, law enforcement and civilian organizations. I am proud to be a part of this organization and work with such high caliber instructors with the same vision: To make a difference in a very profound way.So without further ado:
The Ethical Warrior: Philosophy and why it is important
We can help people become ethical by encouraging them to act more consistently in accordance with their moral values. That begs the question: “Why wouldn’t they act ethically in the first place?”There is a saying, “All actions proceed from philosophy.” Either co…