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Showing posts from 2015

New Years Eve Eve Day

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As you know, 2015 is pretty much done. What were my expectations for this past year? Well, according to my blog post last year, here is what I said:

1) I should have my forthcoming book ready for editing and soon after release.

Well, I was WRONG here! The book is STILL forthcoming! =(

Here's the status: I just finished rewriting one of the final chapters. I am working on tying a couple of the chapters together a little better and writing the (brief) conclusion chapter. It is the #1 of my two projects I am committed to finishing in 2016! Plan to submit to editing by March 1, 2016.

2) 5 SUPER SEMINARS Regarding business applications, Krav Maga, Conflict Management and Leadership.

I taught 3 of the 5 Super Seminars. I had some high expectations and learned more what my current tribe is looking for; what needs to be nurtured a bit more; and how the tribe needs to be expanded. I am planning 5 more SUPER SEMINARS in 2016! The first one is the iConnecti Protectors Conference, Februar…

The Homeless and the Hypocrite

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In a recent post called The Warrior Sage, I shared some of my views regarding how it is easy being an "enlightened ethical warrior" for a few hours during seminars or in a class surrounded by students who appreciated you, however real life can be a bit more sobering when it comes to being anything close to enlightened and/or when it comes to protecting all others. That said I want to share a recent story with you regarding an incident that happened to me where I fell short of being an "ethical protector."

Here it is Saturday, Dec. 26th, yes, only twenty four hours after that special day where we are supposed to share peace upon the earth and wish goodwill toward mankind. Well, apparently a day can make a big difference regarding the Christmas Spirit and helping your fellow man.

I was headed up North to spend some time away to relax & recharge, but before I took off, I thought I'd quick head downtown to return a gift that I bought. I figured that while I wa…

The Skipping Stone: A Japan Trip Review by Tony Notarianni

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When I first arrived at the new Honbu, I was incredibly impressed by its fresh character. A lot of thought had gone into layout and facilities, while a bright and well decorated interior provided a clean backdrop for Budo training. As much as I miss the old training hall, it definitely felt like an upgrade. The famous chalk board schedule still hung upon the wall, and I was excited to see that I would have the chance to train with many Shihan during my stay.

The first class was with Nagato Sensei, and immediately my attention was drawn to his movement. It seemed that as he demonstrated the initial grab, punch, or kick attack would be the same, and he might even travel in the same initial direction, but from there it would change each time. As the attacker fought back or readjusted balance, the defenders flow would just continue, circumventing the opponents strength and patiently letting a technique unfold naturally.

Nothing was really completed, one moment it appeared th…

Everyday Baseline (in Japan and Life)

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So here I am in Kashiwa, Japan. I just finished breakfast and now I 'm sipping on my cafe' Ole'  that I picked up at this quaint little French bakery around the corner. Training with Hatsumi Sensei starts in a few hours, so I have a second or two to think. One of the things that comes to mind is being the eye of the storm. Why? Well, the martial arts training that I am doing over here really relies on the practitioner to be what I call baseline (which for those of you who don't know what it is; I'll get into in a second). You see if you are not emotionally detached a bit from the engagement you may put yourself in a more vulnerable position. You have to remain calm inside and when you do let your emotions out it's done so intentionally and strategically. (Very Japanese it seems). If you can't see through and control your own emotions, you will continue to resist and fight with the external circumstance or be overly passive rather than knowing how to flow w…

Nippon

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Well, I'm back in Japan! I just came off from a week and a half RGI stint in New Jersey that, due to bad weather in Chicago resulted in an airport stay-over, turning my 4 hour flight into a 26 1/2 hour airport extravaganza. Fast forward to Friday, (5 Days Later) and I'm wheels up for Japan. It's no wonder that I'm going at things a bit raw to begin with regarding travel. Not that I'm bitching mind you (well, ok you caught me, I am whining a bit... sorry.).

I'm am so fortunate to be able to do what I do! I just am looking forward to the time where we can be beamed places instantaneously, rather than spending hours or in some cases days getting to our destination! I can just hear the voices of days long ago screaming in harmony, "Cry me a river you big baby! Do you even have a clue what we went through to travel to places? Try being on a crappy, disease ridden, cramped, leaky boat for 6 months w/no guarantee that you were even going to survive the journey t…

In Search of the Heroic

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Thanks to a snow storm in Chicago that turned my 4 hour flight into a 26 hour airport marathon, I'm a bit disoriented from my journey home from New Jersey. We've (www.rgi.co) been working with the Camden County Police Department since April of this year and this last crew was the largest group to go through the course yet. A bunch of tough hard charging young officers and a handful of veteran cops as well. It was great seeing all of the Camden mentors again. You all did a fantastic job helping out! We couldn't have done it without you folks.

I always get  back from these training's a little wiped out emotionally and physically, but so inspired! Reconnecting with my RGI compadres', working side by side w/the new Camden mentors and of course training the officers going through the course is an honor, a way for me to not only give back, but to learn as well. An all around fulfilling experience that helps me to reactivate, sustain and Keep Going!

Working with these of…

The Warrior Sage

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My friend Jack Hoban  often jokes about how easy it is being a "Warrior Sage" for a couple hour class or weekend seminar, but then there's the rest of your life. There is how your students see you and then there is the rest of the world. Your significant other, sibling or best friend probably has a much different perspective of your sage like qualities compared to that guy or gal who read your book, watched all of your videos and is hanging on your every "enlightened" word of inspiration regarding human nature and the path of the Bodhisattva Warrior.

But all cliche's aside, if you are training protector tactics, self defense, personal protection, etc. there is a reason and benefit for you (professional protectors or not) to find someone or group of someones who are helping you to clarify, connect and sustain this warrior ethos. Being an Ethical Protector as Jack says, or a PeaceWalker in my lingo is essential.

Why?

Because if you don't it can be detrim…

Say HELL YEAH or Hell No!

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I wish I'd written the blurb below. Words to live by once you get passed the point of living and working only for necessity and simply sustenance. Every year I get one step closer to taking on more projects that I want to be involved in; working with more people that I find fulfillment engaging with; making more of a difference. This all means saying no to many of the things that pull me away from the projects, and people who take up time in a way that I don't find as beneficial to me and my life. It's not all bad, there are a lot of good ideas out there and it's easy to get caught up in "busy work," but before you know it there is no time or energy left for the things that really matter. These are some of the reasons why I left Corporate America many years ago. Not that I really wanted that (corp. America) in the first place, it kind of happened and I got caught up in it. Luckily, I was able to break free to do more of what I want. Following your bliss come…

Do NOT Approach: A Tale of Mistaken Identity

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I don't consider myself a jogger, however as part of my workout, I typically run 3 to 4 miles a day, pretty much everyday of the week. I run rain or shine, snow or sleet. My apparel isn't elaborate; typically beat up olive drab fatigues, an old t-shirt and sometimes a hat if it's chilly or wet.

Yesterday, Because it was raining I had my forest green rain coat on along with a baseball hat that I picked up twenty some years ago when I did some training in South Korea. Soaked from head to toe, I finished my run. I sprinted across Leonard street toward Westside Fitness, the gym that I teach my Krav Maga Classes. The gym is in an old strip mall that used to be what we called "little Meijers." It was a Meijers grocery store before they transitioned into the gigantic hyper markets they are today. Anyway, there are a number of other shops in the building one of which is a subway. There was a lady coming out of that subway. She was walking to her car when I came jogging …

Improvise, Adapt & Overcome

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It seems in today's overly compartmentalized world it's easy to fall into the "analysis paralysis" trap. It seems that more people are excited to pontificate, research, philosophize, attending meeting after meeting, consult the "experts," and compare ALL of the endless options, rather than get as much info as appropriate, make the best decision to implement a plan, move forward and adapt as needed on the fly. Too much talking, not enough doing.



"A good plan executed now is better than the perfect plan executed next week."  ~Gen. George S. Patton 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting a "Ready, Shoot, Aim" strategy.  Don't make rash, impatient or emotional decisions. However, if you are dealing with something urgent or something that needs to have forward movement, then make your assessment, consult who or what you must, make your decision, implement and adapt as needed to overcome the challenge.
In a critical situatio…

Showing Up Is Half the Battle

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You may have heard the saying, "showing up is half the battle?" Well, according to Woody Allen, it's not true, showing up isn't just half the battle, he believes that its 80% of being successful!

No matter how much talent you have or how well equipped you are for whatever it is that you're supposed to be showing up for, the fact remains that if you never make it, none of that even matters.

Keep in mind that attending means more than just being there physically, it's about really being THERE! Being present, having a good attitude and not giving up are essential to your success. You "showing up" and being about as useful as a two legged chair isn't the point either. You actually have to apply yourself too.

Over the years I have seen many examples of hard chargers fail even though they were smart, athletic, strong, persuasive and talented. Why did they fail? It wasn't because they lacked the skills or innate ability, rather it was simply becau…

Balance

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Balance lays somewhere in between gun ho and gun shy. Each of us has our tenancies toward too hot or too cold, too aggressive or too passive, too much or too little, too fast or too slow, too optimistic or too pessimistic, too idealistic or too realistic. You get the idea.

It is important that you know where you are and continue to find the balance between the two opposites of your personality. Not always, but often within the one duality lays the seed of its opposite. The bully may, on the inside be someone who has a fragile ego and is afraid, so they over compensate by bullying others to protect themselves and/or make themselves feel better (at the expense of others).

We often resist in others what we don't like in ourselves. The more balance we can find the less waves we create in ourselves and when dealing with others.

How can we make this shift into a more balanced state? First by simply noticing. Without judging or trying to figure out, notice our own tendencies, be curious …

With, To & For

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When it comes to training in the martial arts, there are many methods out there. It is easy to get confused as to what is what.

I was trying to explain the difference between defensive tactics, training, sport and protecting in a way that clarified the difference. Something that communicated the right feeling of each and didn't over complicate the subject.

Three Faces:

Combat sports (like boxing, wrestling, judo, bjj, mma, fencing, etc.), training in martial arts & defensive tactics are things we do WITH others.

Defensive tactics, personal protection, survival, violence are things we do TO others.

Protecting, helping, administering first aid, etc. are things we do FOR others.

Some of these activities may look similar. An MMA match may look a lot like something you would do TO another person, but in fact it is a game where two willing participants share an experience where there are boundaries, expectations and consent.

Here is an analogy that may better illustrate what I mean…

It Matters

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One day after a high tide thousands of starfish were washed up on the shore. They started drying up in the sun. A boy, walking down the shore started throwing them back into the ocean, so they would live.

 A person came up to him and asked,  "Why are you doing this? Look around! There are thousands of starfish; the shore is covered with them. Your attempts won’t change anything, it doesn't matter!"

The boy picked up the starfish at his feet, thought for a moment, threw it into the sea and said, "It matters to THIS one!"

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Stay grounded, we can only do so much. There is a lot that we cannot do, but when you have the opportunity to help, do so, no matter how insignificant it may seem. It matters a lot more than some may think. A wave begins as a ripple.

Keep going,
~Craig


First Listen

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Once there was a team of very educated men who were doing aid work in Africa. They were helping an impoverished village develop agriculture for sustenance and financial development. They were sure that they had an answer that the native people must have never thought of.

The team of PhD's were so pleased with themselves that they were eager to get started. Immediately they mobilized volunteers to began tilling new fields and planting crops. They tended to the crops and within weeks their hard labor was rewarded with lush fruits and vegetables.

"Look how easy agriculture is!" The team beamed as they gloated to the local African natives.

Overnight, when the crops were ripe and ready to be picked hundreds of hippos came from the nearby river eating everything and trampling what was not eaten.

"My God, the hippos!" The team exclaimed!

The natives laughed and said, "Yes, that's why we have no agriculture here!"

"Why didn't you tell us?" The…

Palette or Toolbox?

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I spent this past weekend out in New Jersey training, teaching and learning at the annual Buyu Camp East.  It's always a wonderful time filled with outstanding people from all over the world and of course great training. Among the many people who attended, this tale involves a gentleman by the name of Murray Taylor. Murray is a long time practitioner of Budo Taijutsu, former British Army Officer and Israeli Defense Force Soldier. He is a pleasure to know, so I enjoy the times that I get the chance to share his company.


Murray is the handsome gent w/the hat

We were having a brilliant discussion on that first evening after training, when the conversation inevitably came around to martial arts. Murray went on to describe how his teaching started and continues to evolve. One of the analogies that I really liked that he used involves a palette rather than toolbox.  
For decades I have used the toolbox analogy. I thought it rather clearly described what I was trying to communicate. What…

9/11 Tribute & Training

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