First You Must Be Able to Swim

You may have heard me talk about the analogy between the lifeguard and being able to swim. Meaning that you first have to be able to swim before you can jump out into the water to help someone else. Good intentions without the skill of knowing how to swim results in both people drowning.

*You can read that post here:

Well, you can expand that idea into many areas of your life. Just today I was reminded of this concept while I was practicing yoga Behnje Masson (my yoga teacher) was talking about this approach from different angles, ranging from your emotional state to finances. Basically the idea that you have to have before you can truly give. The discussion really rang true with me.

We talk a lot about  this when I teach Krav Maga as well. This idea that if you are confident and feel as if you can defend yourself, than you can be a better protector for everyone. But be forewarned, this approach takes clarity! As Jack Hoban expresses the idea: Our Ethic should drive our Tactic, which then forms our technique.

What is the ethic? Kick ass and don't take anyone's shit?! Nope. ...How about, protect "your own" and screw everyone else? That sounds a little better, but it's not quite right either, unless you consider everyone as part of your "Tribe," meaning that we respect All Life.

In his book Values for a New Millennium  Iwo Jima Marine and U.S. State Dept. conflict resolutionist Dr. Robert Humphrey calls this ethic the "Dual Life Value." Humphrey explains that the Life Value is a universal value that all other values are filtered through. Grab his or Jack Hoban's Ethical Warrior book to read more about this simple, yet profound concept.

This ethic has to be clear regarding exactly what we are protecting before we start unleashing our inner Jason Bourne on everyone. If we don't do it this way, then we just might turn into another thug out there creating more violence in the world.

So, in this Spirit, we need to see the value in ourselves first. We have to give to ourselves first. Then with that over abundance we can then give to others. This cannot be done in a selfish, egotistical way. In order for it to be a positive thing, it has to be done in a balanced, healthy way. A way that is able to separate the Value for Life from relative values, beliefs and behaviors.

Think of it like this:

How can you loan someone money if your bank account is empty?

How can you truly protect someone else if you don't have an idea how to protect yourself? 

How can you teach if you haven't first learned?

How can you receive respect if you haven't given it first?

Do you truly respect others if you don't first respect yourself?

In my PeaceWalker Program I say: To help others through inspiration rather than intimidation. The Tactical Leadership model is: Respect, Protect, Empower. First you must know what to respect (Life), before you begin Protecting. Once you align with respect and continually develop the skills to be a better protector, you will find that you have more choices to create less violence. You will also begin to Empower others indirectly, directly, or both. To do it well you will need have to clarity and skill, which requires good teachers and continual training.


"We train so that one may walk in peace.”

~Imi Litchenfeld


This process never ends, so Keep Going!

All the best,


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