Between Self & Others

I observed an interesting phenomenon recently. It all started when I received an email from Franklin Fudail. Mr. Fudail was inquiring about a women's assault prevention workshop that I teach called Her Survival Guide.  (HSG is a program that I've been teaching all over the United States for more than two decades now.) 

Franklin introduced his organization and explained what and why they were doing what they were doing. He said that he had been following me and my organizations for some time and liked what I was up to. Then he asked how much I charged to teach the workshop. Although now that I teach conflict management for a living I do charge for my services, however I still think it is important to donate time to those in need, it helps them and it helps me too. So, I dedicate a certain amount of hours to serve my fellow brothers and sisters out there. I try to pay it forward a little when I can. Most of it goes unseen by many, which is good, because as NYFD hero Capt. Pat Brown said true service is done in silence. (Pat tragically lost his life saving others in the attack on the World Trade Building in New York on 9/11). But once in a while an opportunity is given like this one and even though I don't make decisions based on getting a bunch of publicity, it is nice when I get some and I gladly take it when it comes. Thus the facebook post and this blog post.

I try to give to those people who need it, but honestly can't afford it. This is not to be confused with those people and organizations who can afford it, but try to get it discounted or donated even though they have the resources. To those folks I would like to remind you that there are people out there that really need financial help and when you don't contribute it hurts those who really don't have the means. Too many "non-profit" organizations sit up on their high horses looking down on others just before driving away in their BMW's, taking vacations in their $300k summer homes, touting about their lofty altruistic goals as they do more to take advantage of and provide tax shelters than support the cause. I'll gladly compare accounting records with you regarding how much of the money coming in goes to the actual cause of helping people! What can each of us do to contribute to the betterment of humanity?! What are YOU doing? Go get another latte' and think about it. When it comes to helping: Lead, follow, or get out of our way!

Sorry about that little rant. I am human so, sometimes I get a little frustrated with some organizations and people out there.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yea...

If you haven't been keeping up with the news, you may not know that Muskegon has been struggling. There have also been numerous girls disappearing either through being abducted or running away.  Franklin's Muskegon Heights Boxing Club and the Barbara J. Matthews Summer Empowerment Program for Girls is trying to do something about it. They are down in the trenches helping out kids and families who need it. Franklin and his staff are making a difference in those young people's lives in a community that is struggling. 

I saw that there are good people who need help in something that I have some expertise in. And since I believe that we are all in this together, I asked Franklin if it would be alright to just donate my time to do the workshop at no cost to their organization. 

Now you may be wondering to yourself why I am blabbing about this in my blog? Didn't I just quote Capt. Pat Brown about real service being in silence? You're right, I did, but let me go on with my story...

It is interesting how the universe works. As Joseph Campbell says, "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls." I am finding this to be true. Scary, but true. It takes a lot of hard work and faith to open those doors. Most quit before they give themselves (or the universe) a chance.

Anyway, after I asked to donate the HSG program, Franklin was very appreciative.He said that he owned the Muskegon Tribune Newspaper and that he was going to have one of his reporters call me to do an article on me. I wasn't expecting him to do something like that, but I thought that it was nice of him to put "a little blurb" in the back of the paper or something (which is what I usually get). I wasn't expecting being on the FRONT COVER! I was stunned and a bit humbled. To say that it was very generous would be an understatement! (Franklin, if you are reading this, thanks brother. I really appreciate it!)

I made a few changes to the curriculum to accommodate the age group and called on a friend and student of mine, Todd Hendricks to lend a hand if he could. Todd is the assistant dean at Timberland Charter School in Muskegon. He has been training with me in Krav Maga for a couple years as well as a graduate of my PeaceWalker conflict management/leadership program. Between that and his experience working with kids, I thought he would be a great addition to the event. And he was. Todd is an inspiring leader. We need more people like Todd in our education system out there. He is also in the trenches every day making a difference in peoples lives.

The ride out to Muskegon was beautiful, especially if you take the back roads (which I did). I wove Westward around Leonard Street. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the trees were tall and green, there was little breeze, jammin' to some old school Sammy Hagar on the stereo, doing what I love to do, train with people while maybe even make the world a little better place! =) Beats the hell out of a cubicle in corporate America. Life doesn't get much better than this!

In about 50 minutes I arrived in Muskegon and met Franklin for the first time. He is a wonderful, humble, respectful man. I can tell by the way he holds himself that he is sincere. We are lucky to have him as a mentor to our kids who need some guidance in their lives. Thanks Franklin.

I got the gym a little early to set up, so Franklin helped me unload my car. A little later Todd showed up, followed by the girls. Once 4pm rolled around we had about fifteen young ladies waiting to learn, share and grow. And that is what we did for the next hour and a half! We talked about the 6 A's of safety  we worked on controlling our tactical space, as well as some wrist releases. The most important things we covered is having the right Attitude! Don't play the victim. As Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl once said, "You can't always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it."

After the workshop I felt as I always feel after a training session: Reconnected, energized and excited! 

Once home I decided to share the newspaper article on my facebook page and was overwhelmed by all of the "likes" and comments! I received over 70 likes on my personal page and dozens on the other pages that I have (Ronin Empowerment Group, The PeaceWalker Project & Ronin Krav Maga). Now I've have posted messages that have received numerous "likes" and comments, but none compare to this post. 

Why was this one so different? Was it because I was on the front cover of a periodical? Nope, I've posted about being in other magazines, like Rapid Growth Media, Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, even on Nationally Syndicated Frontlines of Freedom or ABC TV13 and nothing compared to this article. WHY?! Well, I think because it dealt with helping OTHERS! Yes, that's right folks. I think people connected with this post so much because I was helping other people who needed it. This is what Dr. Robert Humphrey's Dual Life Values talks about. Self preservation is respected, we all want to survive and we like to learn skills that help us to do that, however we connect even more deeply with protecting others. I think knowingly or not, when everyone heard about the girls getting training in how to protect themselves it was accessing their own protector mindset at a deeper level because it was helping SOMEONE ELSE.  Now please don't confuse my message, I am NOT saying that I am any sort of hero for doing this, I am simply pointing out that we connect more deeply with protecting others more so than ourselves. I think that all the facebook "Likes" and comments support that protector perspective. Who doesn't want their young daughter to be protected? We are all protectors at heart, sometime we need only activate it! My friend and training brother Jack Hoban goes into great detail on this in his new book The Ethical Warrior. If you haven't read it you should! It really sheds light on this.  As a matter of fact, I'm having Jack come in and do both a presentation and workshop this month, so if you are interested click for more info.

So there are my thoughts for the day! Now it's off to Frontlines of Freedom to record Denny Gillem and my latest segment regarding safety tactics during domestic or international terrorism! 

All the best,


  1. Excellent post, Craig... You are making a HUGE difference... every little bit helps to make this place better for all of us. Keep it up and I'm right there with you!


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