Thursday, October 22, 2015

Improvise, Adapt & Overcome

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 situation where fractions of seconds count, hesitation and uncertainty can kill.

"Fear causes hesitation and hesitation will cause your worse fear to come true." 
~Bodhi (played by Patrick Swayze) from Point Break

There are many professions where this mantra is frequently exercised: Entrepreneurs, Soldiers, Police, Body Guards, High End Stock Brokers, Day Traders, Sports Athletes, EMT's, ER Doc's, Nurses and Orderlies, Hostage Negotiators, Rescue Teams, etc, etc. 

The ability to quickly assess, connect the dots, create, implement and adapt a plan is essential. That said, don't assume that these people don't spend an enormous amount of time learning, training, planning and preparing beforehand. They do this so when they do find themselves in a tight spot that they can make those quick decisions effectively. 

We were practicing the Improvise, Adapt & Overcome strategy during a recent Krav Maga Defensive Tactics training exercise that addressed physical threats in challenging situations like being stuck in a hostage situation in your car or on a bus, train or airplane. The exercise really brought to light the need to Improvise, Adapt & Overcome during very dangerous situations like these. There were typically no clean solutions to these scenarios. It was very easy to get hurt or killed if the situation became physical. And due to the cramped space, awkward disadvantageous body positions, and an armed threat, the seminar participants had to learn how to improvise and adapt the basic concepts they were taught earlier in the session. Every time an element of the interaction changed, the "technique" would change as well. 

They quickly learned that prevention was best. But, if you couldn't avoid it and still found yourself in such a vulnerable position, the next best thing might be to talk your way out of it. Taking it to a physical level was a last resort. However, if you thought your fate was sealed anyway and you decided that a physical engagement would be your best chance of any type of survival, then understanding the dynamics of distraction and situational timing as well as other strategic tricks that would give you the maximum advantage in the situation was clutch. Knowing the limitations of a strategy, tactic or technique is as important as knowing how to use the method. 

If in a situation you are at such a disadvantage to where you only have a very small chance of success, you want to make sure you know how to squeeze every ounce of effectiveness out of what you CAN do, rather than being paralyzed by what you can't!   

Effective decision making is a skill that needs to be practiced. 

Here is a quick little exercise to try today:
  1. This week set the pace, take the lead - When someone asks you where do you want to go for lunch, dinner, breakfast or coffee, don't say, "I don't know, where would you like to go." Rather, immediately name a place. If they don't like it, suggest another. If they make a suggestion, then either say, OK, or tell them that you'd rather try "restaurant X."   
I know this sounds like a silly pittance of an exercise after talking about hostage situations and such, but it is a simple drill that can help you to begin your journey of being a decisive decision maker. Don't worry, if you need more exercises come out to one of my PeaceWalker Workshops or one of my Krav Maga seminars, I have more advanced drills for you!

Remember, like any other skill, it takes practice to learn to Improvise and Adapt on the fly. The trick is being decisive, but not impulsive; flexible to suggestions and changing situations; seeing the tactical space and being able to quickly connect the dots in every situation.

Good luck and...
Keep going!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Showing Up Is Half the Battle

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 because they did not posses the discipline or foresight to show up, learn, adjust and keep going. Even an average performer can out perform a talented hard charger if they stick to it, learn and grow.

I want to say something like, "In this day and age," but I realize, "this day and age," is probably a lot like every other day and age. People are people and I'm sure it always has been such regarding those who do, those who don't and those who are armchair quarterbacks!

Remember things tend to change over time, not over night, so give yourself a chance and follow Nike's advice; Just Do It!

And of course...

Keep going!


Friday, October 16, 2015



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 about our own feelings and behavior.

"That's an interesting way to feel or do something..."

"I notice that many times when someone does that, I respond like this." 

At this stage don't get caught up in the why you do or feel something, only observe what you are doing and how you feel. Leave it at that at first. Notice your tendencies without judgement.

Once you observe your tendencies without getting caught up in judgement or wondering why, then you can begin to be in process and determine if what you are doing is helping or not. Noticing yourself in process will begin to open up the ability to make different choices. You can CHOOSE to respond differently. Over time not over night if you continue to make different choices you will create new habits and those new habits will begin to change the way you feel about your emotions and thus changing your experience. I call this process iExperience. You can read about it in one of my old blog posts. Click here and scroll down, you'll see it.

We have to begin noticing so we can slow down our own process to be able to determine if our habits are benefiting us. If they are not then we can be in process and play with other options to create a new experience. This is typically done over time not over night.

Something else that will help you with this is to Breathe, Relax and Keep Going!

All the best,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

With, To & For


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. *WARNING* Before I share this I first must warn you that it is a bit explicit, but it will unmistakably drive the point across:

Making love is something you do WITH someone.

Rape is something you do TO someone. 

Prostitution is something you are hired to do FOR someone.

All involve sex, and if you didn't know what you were looking at you may not be able to tell the difference, but as you know they are worlds apart!

Self Defense, Protecting Others and Combat Sports all involve physical interaction, and there is overlap in training and techniques, but they are also very different things.

You may do something WITH someone to help train you to do something TO or FOR some one, but don't get that confused either. When you are training with others to prepare for battle, protection or a consensual game remember the difference of WITH, TO & FOR.

Concurrently: Conflict Management is something you do TO someone, whereas Conflict Resolution is typically something you do WITH the other person or party. Mediation is something you do FOR one or both parties.

Attempts at conflict management can lead to conflict resolution, however in order to have true resolution, both parties have to be willing participants, which is an on-going decision by BOTH parties.

Another way of resolution is by having a management strategy that eliminates the opposition, then voila, the conflict is resolved by default by permanently removing any opposition.

If both parties cannot resolve their differences and for whatever reason don't eliminate the other then it is really conflict management.

So there you have it, the theory of With, To & For when it comes to conflict management, self defense, protection tactics, training, martial arts and sport.

Keep going,