Thursday, December 6, 2018

Resistance Training




What comes to mind when most people think of "Resistance Training?"

Well, most, think of weight training.

Weight training is one way we use resistance to tear down our muscles so that when they heal they develop into bigger stronger muscles!

In Krav Maga we train ourselves for a different type of resistance. This resistance is more dynamic involving physical, mental, emotional and social 
elements that are 'torn down' to be built on, developed and strengthened.

The same goes for our training in dealing with other forms of resistance. Like verbal conflict.

Learning how to deal with all of these forms of resistance is important for living a Protectors Life.

AND...

It's not just in that you "Learn" about it. It's also that you Condition yourself for it!

You can "learn" about swimming, but you'll have to actually swim in order to get better at it!

You can "learn" about working out, but you actually have to work out to get and stay in shape.

The same holds true about being a protector...

You can read a bunch of blogs about it. Watch a million youtube videos on it. Listen to all the podcasts in the world, but without training for it, you won't develop the same level of skill as you will actually applying your training.


Life Will Provide An Opportunity

Don't worry...

When it comes to THIS type of resistance...

If you don't seek out the training, it will seek you out...

It's called Life!

So, in order to be really good at protecting yourself (and others) you have to be well rounded.

The Resistance Training I'm talking here is called LIFE! That training will come in handy... Sometimes when you least expect or want it!

But, Keep Going & you'll make it through!


All the best,
~Craig


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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Cryptic vs. Clarity





When it comes to training to protect, less cryptic and more clarity is not only a plus it's essential! That's why I like Krav Maga & the PeaceWalker Approach to Conflict.

Now I know some of you who train w/me are saying...

"Sometimes you're cryptic as f*ck Craig."

...and you would be right! But that's because when it comes to APPLICATION of those basic principles things get real!

...And SIMPLE doesn't mean EASY!

Also...

It depends on what course/class you come to and what questions you ask. If you take one of our Basic Defensive Tactics or PeaceWalker Conflict Management Courses it is a 1-2-3 approach.

The basic fundamentals are not that cryptic they are elegant! It's in their application where things get a bit confusing for the novice. The concepts can be so simple that people think they are easy and believe they 'got it'. Then when they try applying that Basic Principle and fail. After that people typically want the next thing to solve their problem. They believe the next technique will prove to be the solution (and sometimes it will), however what they rarely realize is that it is usually in their application where the problem typically resides. Most of the time it is because people can't do the basic principles well.

You have to learn the basic... 

How it works. How it doesn't. 
When it works. When it doesn't. 
When to use it. When not to. 
When to modify it or transition into another principle. 
When to try harder. When to abandon it all together. 
When to know that even attempting to apply it would be useless or not appropriate for the circumstance.

E=mc2 (squared) is a simple equation that holds the keys to understanding many complex things. 

If you want to apply simple principles to complex situations (Real Life) it's going to take some practice! You have to learn what the basic principles are and how to apply to a variety of dynamic situations under stress.


Here are some examples of basic principles:


Conflict Management:

Learning to set clear and reasonable boundaries.
Developing options when those boundaries are not respected.


Defensive Tactics:

3 C's of Empty Hand Defense vs. Someone Using a Weapon  -

CLEAR your body from the threat of attack.
CONTROL the weapon from further attack.
CONQUER the threat.


Tactical Leadership:

ATTITUDE: Baseline - Boundaries - Set the Pace
AWARENESS - You - Subject - Environment
ACTION - Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason


Now take those principles, turn them into strategies, tactics and techniques and begin applying them in real time to human situations...

That's where it starts getting complicated, chaotic and cryptic!


Want a Good Cake?!

Award winning cakes are made with the same simple ingredients as the ones that don't taste good!

It boils down to the quality of the ingredients, the recipe and the chef!


If You Want Better Answers...
...Ask better questions!

... and Keep Going!



All the best,
~Craig


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Monday, November 26, 2018

Position Before Submission




This is a concept that is taught by practitioners of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The idea of it is that you first establish a good (tactical) position BEFORE you initiate an attack.

WHY?

Because you will always have to give something to get something. Meaning that you are going to have to risk or sacrifice something you have to gain something you want.

In a physical engagement in order to attack you have to risk some of your defensive position.

In relationships, you have to risk being vulnerable and getting hurt, to deepen your relationship with another person.

In a fire fight with guns, you have to expose yourself in order to get your shot in or return fire.

In business you have to risk resources like time, money and effort to acquire something in order to possibly gain financially.

There are few "Sure Things" out there... So it's really about Managing Your Risk...

What I teach in my Assault Prevention Course can be used in life outside of defending yourself physically:


THE RISK CONTINUUM:

1) Understand that there are Risks.
2) Identify those Risks.
3) Assess the Risks According to Your Risk Tolerance.
4) Manage the Risk.


This framework can help you to develop a plan to better prepare you to not only protection, but also PROGRESS, because with Risk also comes OPPORTUNITY!

...And in the world of real people like you and I, where resources are limited, we often have to stretch in order to get to the next level (heck, sometimes just to maintain...).

...Sometimes we have to break a few eggs in order to make that omelet.

Sometimes we have to be violent to protect ourselves from greater violence...

Sometimes we have to RISK in order to be safer...

Sometimes we have to be tough on someone because we love them.

Sometimes going toward the threat is less risky than going away from it. 


Hindsight Maybe 20/20...


Hindsight may be 20/20, but when you're in the thick of things it can be tough to have clarity.

...Often the stress makes things less clear. So, it's important to have a plan in advance, so you're not making decisions on the fly, so to speak.

Remember, nothing comes free, we just have to make sure that we manage the what we do, so that the risk is worth the reward.



Keep Going,
~Craig


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Monday, November 5, 2018

How to Handle a School Lockdown





Rather than me going into detail on what to do or not...

I thought I'd let ROB BARRETT talk to you about his experience of recently being through an actual school lockdown...

This was NOT A DRILL mind you...

It was a REAL Lockdown in response to an actual threat!

But rather than tell you about it, click on this short video below, where Rob tells you what happened and how they responded to the situation.
  
https://youtu.be/6m9ieh9nBqw


Keep Going,
~Craig


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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trick or Treating is a Like Self Defense




Trick or Treat... 
Good for Halloween... 
Bad for Protecting Yourself!


Remember Halloween night when you were a kid!?

You prepared for weeks figuring out what you'd dress up as...

Mapping out your route to the houses that you knew handed out the best candy...

Getting your Halloween flashlight...

Remember those things?!

They were these really cheaply made flashlights that had a pumpkin, ghost or witch face made of plastic on the front end of the flashlight. We picked them up at Meijers (our local grocery store)...

They never survived the night w/o breaking or just not working.

Or...

Choosing your candy bag?! 

Not too small... (You want to make sure you have enough room for all that loot!)

...or too big... (You don't want to lug around something that slows you down from getting to the next house... Lord knows they might run out of candy before you get there...)



So finally, the night comes!!!

You're all duded up and your folks unleash you on the neighborhood!

You look to see who has their porch light on... or some other signs of life indicating that they're 'open for business' so to speak...

You're soooo excited (and a little nervous too!)

You run for the door and make your approach. Stopping your sprint just inches before you slam into the house. You reach out with your little pointer finger to ring the doorbell...

DING DONG...

And then yell...

"TRICK OR TREAT!!!!"

You excitedly wait for the sound of the door opening. The Oohing and Ahhhing as people fawn over your expertly fashioned costume. 

Then out comes...The BOWL!!!

Yes, that's right!!!!

The Bowl w/the CANDY!!!

You open your bag and preparation for a healthy handful of sugary goodness!

You scream 'thank you' as you tear off to the next house to be sacked!

Aaaaaahhhhhh the memories!



Conflict & Violence Is a Lot Like That Too...


Yep...

Just like Trick or Treating...

Conflict and violence has a rhythm, script and 'rules of engagement' as well.  I call it...

"The Game"

Rather than going over all of the details (like I do in the PeaceWalker Course)...

Let me hit a main point or two...

1) There are PLAYERS: 

With Halloween, there are the Trick or Treaters, the parents that haul them around and the people who hand out the candy!

Everyone knows their role!

Same thing when it comes to conflict, crime and violence...

There are...

Aggressors ('perps') & Victims

Aggressors are looking for victims, either consciously (premeditated) or innately (they have learned how to spot targets who are vulnerable and are now drawn to them almost naturally).

Don't Be a Target or Look Like a Good Victim!

HOW?!

Stay Alert! Look Like You Could / Would Protect Yourself.

Have a good Baseline! (Meaning have the right Attitude, Awareness & ability for appropriate Action!)

Stand up for yourself and draw clear boundaries.

Just like when you were a kid trick or treating...

Have a PLAN! It doesn't need to be complicated. As a matter of fact, the simpler, the better! But have one! 

How you're get in and out...

What to do if things go 'South'.

What does 'Going South' look like?


Like Trick or Treating... If you go to a house that has their light on, but if no one comes to the door after a few attempts of ringing the doorbell and yelling 'Trick or Treat', you cut your losses and move on to the next house...

If a stranger tries to get you in their car... Yell and find your parents!

You get the idea...

It doesn't have to be complicated!


If you are in a relationship and it's abusive. Get out! Relationship DONE!

BTW - That works for jobs / careers as well. If your job is abusive and sucks... GET A NEW JOB!

If someone put a gun to your head and wants your money... Give them your money!

If someone tries to isolate you and take you somewhere you don't want to go... DON'T GO WITH THEM!

When you go places... Know where the exits and entrances are and what to do if they're blocked!

Have a plan for you and your family in the event of an intruder...


I could go on, but... You get the idea!


Well, I hope you had some Spooky Halloween Fun on your All Hallows Eve!?!


And Remember...

Wondering if you'll get a Trick or Treat is fun for Halloween...

But, it's not when it comes to the safety of you or those you care about!

Have fun and be safe!



All the best,
~Craig


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Monday, October 22, 2018

Dealing With Non-Compliant People




Let me be clear, this is ONE WAY to deal with someone who is not doing as you asked...

It is NOT THE ONLY WAY... It is simply one way...

No, it won't magically make someone succumb to your every request, it is just simply clearly communicating expectations and setting boundaries.

Here's the Process!


When you clearly asked something of someone and they agreed to do what you asked, but didn't:


You:

"Based on what we agreed on, my expectation was (say what was agreed upon)."

"However, what happened was (describe what actually happened)."

"So, the impact was (describe how the situation affected not only that person, but if you can, how those actions [or lack of] affected a bigger picture and/or others)."

"What happened?"

(LISTEN) Then Say:
 
"I hear what you're saying. I've had things happen before too. So, let me get this straight (Ask any questions you need to clarify what they said w/o arguing w/them... once they answer then  say...)"

"So what you are saying is (reflecting back what they told you...), is that right?


At this time you have to determine how to move forward, but if done right, you opened up the conversation in a way that you can address the situation more clearly.

It's important to stay BASELINE (have a cool head, the right tone and intention) when you are talking to this person.

This will make it easier to get to the bottom of things and better understand how to proceed.

I'll be introducing a number of tips, tricks and tactics on conflict communication skills in preparation for our LIVE On-Line Conflict Communications Course coming in January.

In the meantime, have a great day and...


Keep Going,
~Craig

Monday, October 15, 2018

Does More Skill Make You More Ethical?





Does More Skill Make You More Ethical?

I've trained my entire life...

I'm no stranger to violence...

In the ring...

My youth...

My job...

Life...

I've met, learned from and trained the best in the world...

Martial arts... Tactical training... Sport... Military... Law enforcement... Private security... Domestic & overseas...

However, some of the toughest people that I know are some of the nicest...

Those folks who know they can take care of themselves and don't have anything to prove...

I was fortunate, because I was taught this first and foremost by my Dad and Grandpa (on my Mom's side).

Both were strong good male figures who trained me more by what they did than what they said.

Neither were perfect... They had their shortcomings like we all have... But in my eyes they were great men by their own right and their flaws only made them more interesting.

Regardless, I owe so much to them that this post cannot begin to express my gratitude or that feeling of fortunate I was to have these men in my life.

They taught me the difference between right and wrong... They taught me how to stand up for myself and to protect others. Again... Not by what they said as much as what they did.

My dad's father basically was the Marine Corps. He lied about his age to join the service in the late 1950's. He felt compelled to help his family because his father abandoned him, his mom and her other 4 kids, leaving her (my grandma) to support the household alone, at a time when it was looked upon very differently than it is today.

Dad was stationed in Okinawa and the Philippines (Where BTW he trained in both boxing and Karate). He sent money home as he served as an MP during a time of social unrest, when segregation was unraveling.

His Life experiences with his dad and family as well as his time in the Corps forever changed him as a person...

Later after he married my Mom, he and her Dad developed a close relationship. I don't know, because my Dad is a man of few words... But, I believe he found the father he never had in my Grandpa.

My Grandfather never served in the military due to health issues, but he lived an adventurous protector's Life all the same, beginning with both of his parents dying at and early age, forcing him and his brother to make a choice to continue school, or get a factory job to support the family.

My Grandpa graduated from the 8th grade and then went to work to support the family...

Later, after he married my Grandma, when the Great Depression hit, he 'Hoboed' around for 10 years on the trains travelling the country looking for work, so he could send money home to support his family.

When I was a kid he would tell me of his adventures on the trains and all of the crazy jobs he took to earn money...

Some of more interesting jobs were, working as a carnie, where he boxed any takers. The carnival lied about his 'record' saying he was some big boxing champion (he wasn't)... No google back then! =)

You'd pay to fight the "champ," if you won you'd get the pay off, if you lost you lost your money and your pride...

I'm sure there was a fair amount of side betting going on as well, making the stakes even higher.

Funny... I remember him telling me how they rigged the fights...

Not only would they rig the rounds (ringing the bell when the opponent was getting the better of my Grand dad... And letting the round go a bit longer when he was giving the lickin'...)

Sometimes Grandpa said he would sand bag or fake that he was more tired or beat up than he really was to drive up the side betting.

Then...WHAM!

One of the things that they did to further ensure that the odds were in their favor was that they would give the unsuspecting challenger 18oz gloves, whereas Grandpa had 6oz that looked the same as the others...

And the cherry on top were the penny rolls that he held on to inside the gloves to finish the deal.

He had some other interesting jobs flying a crop duster down near the Mexican boarder too... Where he may have been doing more than just crop dusting down there over the Mexican boarder... 

But those are stories for another time...


Nice... But How Does That Relate to Our Subject?!


You may be thinking...

Thanks for the interesting family stories...

But how do they relate to the topic of more skill equaling better ethics?

Well, both my Dad & Grandpa were confident men who knew how to stand up for themselves and had the physical skills and experience to do it.

They also lived lives filled with adversity and consequence, where they chose to sacrifice of themselves to protect their families...

Where did they pick those values up from!? To be honest, I don't know... But, I suppose mentors that they had in their lives...

Regardless... They taught me those same values less by what came out of their mouths and more by how they Lived their Lives.

And... I've been trying to follow their lead for 48 some years now...



Men of Few Words...


My Dad was a man of few words... My Grandpa... not so much... He was a sparkplug...

Regardless, both were men of action where words, however many or few had better be backed up w/action. When either of them said something, they meant it! Which brings us to our Subject and the Communication Tip of the Day...


Don't Say Something You Can't Follow Through With.


If you are tempted to hand out a strong boundary. You know a "Do It Or Else" ultimatum. Don't throw down that Trump Card, unless you're willing and able to deliver on said promise. Empty threats are only as good as someone calling your bluff. Especially if you interact w/that person on a regular basis. Once that person (or people) knows you're blowing smoke and full of hot air, you become a 'paper tiger' and your negotiation leverage is gone, along w/respect and your reputation. 

Which brings us to the skills and being ethical part...

What happens in a debate when the person doesn't have the skill to win the argument, but still wants to have an upper hand?!

That's right, they start 'playing dirty'. Mud slinging, insults, even threats are what typically come next.

It's the same with a physical engagement...

The real dirty tricks come out of desperation. The fear of losing, due to lack of skill, stamina, or superior weapons, tactics, etc.

Business can be the same...

FEAR fuels both (1) Greed (wanting what you want at any cost) and (2) desperation for survival.

When you start down that path of playing dirty or hitting low or "Total War" as a reaction (because you don't have a choice it 'just comes out') rather than a tactic (trained and calculated to be done at the right time for the right reason), it typically leads to ill decisions, regret and the stories we tell ourselves to keep us in the good light of justification...

I did it because...

The more Clear, Skilled and Courageous you are, the easier it is to be ethical. Easier, not to be confused with Easy! There is a lot of weight in the 'ier'! =)

Yes, sometimes people need a good a$$ kicking, but as a last resort, for the right reasons. So, if an ultimatum is necessary and you're the one who is going to be Thor's Hammer, you better be able to...



"Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is..."



Remember...

Living a Protector's LifeStyle is about Living a Better Life! That means you are on a constant journey of personal development... It never ends! 

So, you have to keep developing your Skills. Because, having Clarity about you ethics and finding the space inside of you to be Courageous to do the right thing. Which isn't always the Easy Thing.



All the Best,
~Craig



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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Krav Ma... Squirrel!!




All of my weekend social events had me thinking about how much we rely on verbal communication, not only for casual conversation, but also during conflict. It is an intricate part of interacting with others.

Have you ever known someone who can talk their way out of (and into) anything? Someone who has learned to weaponize their words to be persuasive or even deceiving? They can use their words to spin a spell that has a certain control over others.

It's a skill that is largely overlooked not so much in action but in TRAINING!

Most believe that you either 'have it' or don't...

And we both know that some folks seem to have been born with the gift of gab and others struggle...

However, you CAN learn how to do it!

So, in preparation for the LIVE On-Line PeaceWalker Conflict Communication Course coming in January, I wanted to start sharing some methods of using verbal communication as...


Another Facet of Defense

When most people train Krav Maga (or any self defense system), they pretty much just train physically.

Don't get me wrong, I get it... Aside from your kosher-warrior yell, it's not as sexy to add the verbal element to training. It substantially changes the feel of a normal training session...

However...

Real conflict involves talking. So, if you want to really be effective at defending yourself and managing conflict, learning how to control 'Tactical Space' verbally as well as physically is essential. Understanding how those two elements come together can be a very powerful combination to protecting yourself and others.

This is a large part of Living Life as a Protector...

There are many tactics to gain the advantage verbally. One of the methods that can be used to attain an advantage before you initiate a physical action is called a...


Pattern Interrupt...

It works like this...

We have certain patterns that we typically adhere to when communicating with people, These habits are difficult to break.  Further, if you know what they are, you can intentionally deviate and exploit them.

One of these patterns deals with the way we listen and respond to someone during a conversation.

It is kind of like a game of tennis, I hit the ball to you. You hit the ball back to me. We go back and forth. It develops a rhythm and an expectation that is predictable and can be used to gain a tactical advantage, if you know how to do it right...

Another way of thinking about it is playing fetch w/a dog...

You throw the ball, he runs, picks it up and brings it back to you to throw again. After doing it a couple times he is expecting you to throw it so he can retrieve it over and over... However, this time you pretend to throw it, but instead, you intentionally deceive him by feigning the throw, and secretly drop the ball behind you as you wind up for the throw.

It 'looks' like you threw the ball, so Fido chases what he thinks he sees, but there's no ball... He eventually figures it out, but in the meantime you get a little chuckle...

This verbal/mental trick works the same way...

There is a stimulus / stimulus response reaction that can slow down the physical reaction time allowing you to 'get the jump' on the other person.

We'll be covering a number of these tricks, but for today lets go over two...


Examples of a Pattern Interrupt:

1) Asking a question.
2) Initiating your action mid-sentence.

I. Asking questions is a good way to control the conversation (and gain data too). While the person is thinking about what to say, you can be using that time and distraction to your benefit.


II. Stopping mid...

...Sentence is another good trick to use to gain an advantage.

When we hear someone talk we are listening for their thought to be completed, so if the person talking doesn't complete the sentence, our brains typically hesitate a moment and then try to complete the phrase that was being communicated.

You can use this tendency to your advantage, by initiating your movement mid-sentence. So, while the persons mind is completing your sentence it gives you a split second to initiate your movement, forcing him to shift his gears mentally from the conversation to responding physically.

No, these tricks are not fool-proof, however if you smooth them out by practicing them, they can prove to be a valid way of distracting someone for the brief second that it will take to make your move (or escape).



Keep Going.
~Craig

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How to Turn Anger Into Acton




Anger, Action & Israel?!


A couple days ago we were talking about Anger. I promised you we'd talk about how to take that anger, focus it the right way and turn it into action. I also asked what Israel had to do with all of that!?
.
Well, we've already determined that when you're Angry, sh*t gets done!  So, let's build on that shall we?! =)


Turning Anger Into Action...


In order to start using your anger... First STOP resisting it!

WHAT?!?

Are you crazy Craig!?  If I do that I'll kill everything that MOVES some days!

Wait a minute... Listen to me first...

Stop resisting the feeling of your angry emotion.

Just because you FEEL something, it doesn't mean you have to act on it! Simply notice how you are feeling without judging it or acting on it... Just be aware of it! Then breath (from your belly) and decide if you need to act on it or not.

Sometimes it is alright (even good) to act on it...

Other times...

It'd be best to let the anger move through you and dissipate w/o any action on your part other than realizing that you're pissed.


How to Recognize the FEELING of Anger?


Although we all feel anger a bit differently, there are some distinct sensations we typically feel in our body...

1) A surge of energy raising from your stomach Upward!
2) It's typically warm or hot.
3) It may cause your face to turn pink or red.
4) An increase of heartbeat, blood pressure and temperature.

It often feels like a wave washing up over you!

How to Control It & Use It

(1) You have to be able to FEEL it!
(2) Let it flow...w/o letting it control you!
      HOW?!
      I. When you feel it just recognize it, relax and BREATHE!
(3) Decide if you're going to (a) use it, or (b) let it go.
(4) Adjust your perspective to:
        (I) Empowered Focus: Think Solutions, What You Can Do, Next Step.
        (II) You're going to start to demonize or dehumanize the other
              person/group/subject, so get ready for it!   
       (III) You're going to over exaggerate your own wants & needs, get ready for
               this too! It's easy to become self centered &overreact, even it out!
       (IV) Focus on Most Good /Least Harm for everyone... 


How Do You Train This Skill?

Simple not easy!!

(1) Start small... Yep, work on feeling and guiding your anger at a lower level. (lower levels of anger are: Frustration, Irritation, Annoyance, Impatience, Irritability, Grumpy, Cranky, etc.)
(2) Meditate - No it's not some weird religion or anything... Just pick a time once per day, sit your butt down (or stand) and for between 5 to 20 minutes just focus your attention on your breath. Breathe in and out and count your breaths (groups of 3 - 5 or 10). Don't think of anything... except counting your breath.
(3) Work on your Foundational Grounding... Basically how your living your life, treating yourself and others.

Tactical Grounding

Here's another quick tactic when you feel Anger creeping up on you...

(1) Take a deep breath or two & Align your spine (straighten up).
(2) Positive mental dialog.(Monitor what that voice in your head says to you)
(3) Put on your "game face". (Look the part when you are interacting w/someone)

So, What Does Israel Have to Do With It?!

Israel has a society that is more inclined for being a Protector's culture. Meaning they are more accustom as a society for taking action and working through their fear to protect not only themselves, but one another.

We are not... So it takes more to work through our social norms that are taught and constantly reinforced...

This is why I teach and have all of the resources available for you!

I'd like to see this Underground Movement go Mainstream!

In order to do this We Need Each Other!

It is very difficult to be peaceful in a violent society. Just like it is difficult to be violent in a society of PeaceWalkers!


Live for Most Good / Least Harm in everything that you do!

Work to have the skills to back it up!


LIVE - PROTECT - INSPIRE!!


And...



Keep Going!
~Craig


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Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Reunion & the Answer to Conflict



Classmates who passed away since our graduation... Reminding us that life is precious & fleeting...



Saturday was off the hook w/social events:

My Morning - Bar Mitzvah
My Afternoon - Wedding
My Evening - Class Reunion

Oh my!

It was a whirl wind of cool craziness and a bunch of mini road-trips gallivanting around West Michigan! 

It was a great day of re-connecting and celebrating w/friends...



The ONE THING I Learned from My Reunion that Could Instantly Change the World!


One thing happened at my class reunion that really stuck with me...

Something SO POWERFUL that all cliche's aside...

COULD CHANGE THE WORLD!

A group of people who are decades removed from our K-12 experience reunite for an evening...

We've all lived long enough to have Life kick us around a bit...

After some time here on this planet, it's difficult to avoid having things happen to us that we have absolutely no control over...

And I'm not talking about the good stuff...

I'm talking about the challenges, disappointments, heartaches, problems, issues, sickness, death, suffering, failure, ups, downs, mundane middles that Life brings us, whether we ask for it or not...

Things we can't avoid... run from, persuade, buy or lie ourselves out of...

You either learn resilience or become disillusioned, callous or bitter...

You can either grow wise or just get old...

Your choice...


The 'Shadow Side'


The 'shadow side' of youth can have negative effects. Selfishness, Competitiveness, judgement, shortsightedness & even cruelty, can often play a large role in our young world...

If you've ever been to a class reunion or something of its likeness, you already know that it comes with its share of anticipation and excitement to reconnect with old friends...

You also know that it comes with a healthy dose of hesitation, uncertainty, and unease...

Vulnerability...

We can tend to focus on our own flaws, the chinks in our armor.

When we go to gatherings like this, there is a part of us that is hoping we will be seen in a way that is pleasing...

Hoping that we'll be accepted and embraced for who we are...

For those who we shared our youth with to overlook our flaws of today and yesterday.

To remember the good things about us. To see the positive side of us now.

Possibly can (re)visit that what once was or what we wished it to be...

Or maybe to just recapture that feeling of wonder... discovery... That clean slate of experience that only youth can provide. Even for an evening...


What I Saw Was Astounding!


What I saw change at this reunion (our 30th) and our 20th that was different from our school experience and the experience even reaching as far as our 15th reunion...

Acceptance. Camaraderie. Humility (Well most of us anyway!=). Connection.

We saw ourselves as One Tribe...

Left behind were the clicks. The competitiveness. The ill will. The cruelty, that can sometimes accompany our youth and (of course) adulthood.

I saw a group of people come together who genuinely embraced each other. Who were grateful. Who were willing to look beyond the differences, imperfections, shortcomings, scars and wounds to connect with that deeper part inside of us as human beings.

That night there were no clicks, no casts, no popular, geeks, jocks, in or outs... We became One Tribe... Only people coming together who seemed truly grateful for those who were there.

It was astounding and humbling to be a part of...

Then I thought...


That's IT!


Yes, yes, I DO realize I am having a bit of a moment here...

But, as simple and idealistic as this is, it IS what holds the answer to many of the problems and conflicts we face in the world...

NO, it won't solve all of our issues (not by a long shot...) and NO not everyone will have this same viewpoint and even w/the ones that do, there will still be problems to contend with...

HOWEVER...

When we can see beyond all of our relative differences to that which is the same... We are humans and the Life we are stewarding has intrinsic value, beyond the differences we sometimes find so important.

If we can see ourselves as...


One Tribe


We can not only better deal with the conflicts that are unavoidable during this human experience we are having...

We will have a much better chance at dealing with those conflicts with much more clarity, less mistakes & suffering.

We will find it much easier to do Most Good / Least Harm for everyone!

So, can you see beyond someone's shortcomings, their faults, their relative values, their beliefs and behaviors to see them as a person and show THAT part of them respect, when you are appropriately managing their behavior?! (Even if you have to do things that are difficult and unpleasant?)

(I know, I know you've heard this story from me before... Well, at least I'm consistent! =)

Ok... Granola Rant OVER! =)



Keep Going,
~Craig


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Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Space to Live





Just got back from New Jersey; a weekend of training (and a bit of teaching too). It was great hanging out w/old friends, meeting some new ones and getting some good training in.

As I unpacked my gear, I was reminded of a discussion that Jack Hoban's teacher Maasaki Hatsumi had regarding space.

He took out a piece of calligraphy parchment and painted the character of LIFE on one side of it, let it dry as he explained his thoughts of space, distance, timing and what we in the 'tactical' world would call the 'Reactionary Gap.'

When the paint was sufficiently dried, Hatsumi then flipped the parchment over and painted DEATH on the other side...

He then looked at us and said "In battle, the difference between Life & Death are often only the width of a paper apart!"

I thought it was an eloquent example


The Space to Live...

When fractions of seconds count... Distance often equates to time.

The way you move, the position you take, the distance you are at, all factor into the equation of your ability to take the advantage of a situation (even if only to survive it).

People often only think about the physical space, when it comes to reaction time. However there are many more spaces that greatly influence ones reaction time during an engagement. 

Let me point out just two of these other 'Spaces':

~ Emotional Space
~ Psychological Space

If you are emotionally or psychologically overwhelmed, distracted, confused, disengaged or maybe just slow, it affects the time it takes you to respond. That lag may be the difference of being successful or not...

In minor situations it may cause you to lose that debate, the interview, a sale, negotiation or argument...

However...

In extreme situations it can be the difference between surviving or not!

I don't have a lot of time to chat today, so I'm going to keep things short. I just wanted to open this up that when you think about 'Space', you consider more than only 'Physical' Space.



Build Good Habits

Building good habits to reduce your exposure to the 'reactionary gap' doesn't only revolve around physical training (but you should be doing that as well!).

Yes, spend time physically training, but don't neglect being emotionally and psychologically sharp (Foundational & Tactical Grounding), or even at the right 'distance' you can find yourself in the same vulnerable situation of not having enough time because you didn't have the 'Space' to respond to what was happening.

Sorry...

I know there's a lot there I could go into WAY more depth on...

But, no time today...

Don't feel bad though, watch tactical shooting instructor Larry McDonald's MasterClass where we discuss & train it in the context of retaining and drawing your pistol:


If that's STILL not enough, don't fret, we'll talk about it more later!

In the meantime...


Keep Going,
~Craig

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Gift of Anger?!





Where Fear Meets Anger...

Gavin DeBecker's book "The Gift of Fear" make some really good points about that gut feeling you get that will keep you safe.

Most people are pretty clear about why we feel fear

However...

Less people know what to do with Anger, let alone how to USE it as a tactical advantage!

When we can throw off all of our current stigmas that coincide with anger, namely, loss of control, guilt, shame, bullying, victimizing... etc.

You can see anger for what it truly is and what it can be used for.

ACTION!

Anger Equals Action!

Yep, When you're Angry, sh*t gets done!

Now I don't mean unbridled rage, temper tantrums or anything to that extreme. I'm talking about feeling the emotion of anger, harnessing it and using it to your advantage!

If you can accomplish that, you can use the energy that anger gives you to good use.

However...

In this age of "being a victim" is power, the only thing we seem to use anger to fuel is blaming, resentment and passive aggression that can lead to greater acts of violence and sometimes tragic consequences including suicide, 'lone wolf' attacks and terrorist activities.

We have become a society where we learn (and are expected) to suppress a lot of anger, rather than being taught to understand how to use it properly.



Barbarism?!

Today anger is often seen as a rude, unnecessary, loss of control and barbarism that which isn't tolerated by our 'civilized' society. It appears that we would much rather deal with things (initially) in a more passive, politically correct way (faux respect), than meet things head on appropriately, but more assertively.

So we've mastered a wide array of passive (and not so passive, but one might say cowardly) aggression that seem to be more accepted.

Trolling, cyber bullying, ghosting, blaming, playing the victim, (to a lessor or greater degree) entitlement, complaining or protesting w/o lifting a finger to actually help, are just some of the examples of what is transpiring.

It's easy to light up your (or someone else's) social media page w/your words (and memes) of violent protest, or even put up a sign in the lawn about your convictions. Some may even go to the extent of picketing or putting on a demonstration...

All fine! It's great living in a country where we not only can do these things, but have the right to do so...

However...

It's like being in a meeting with people who all have such good idea's about how it 'should be' done (typically something that they don't have to deal with directly themselves)...

Then...

When it comes time for someone to step forward to actually do something about it, no one has anything but excuses as to why it 'should' be different, but they are too busy or otherwise indisposed to dig in and actually help implement the change they are suggesting. And/or the change is so idealistically unrealistic at this time it doesn't leave room of how things happen in real time.

It's easy to be an 'arm chair quarter back!'

But don't miss read me, I'm not advocating that voicing your protest is wrong, nor that violence as the ultimate way to manage conflict. I'm just saying that it's easier to complain than actually DO something and it appears that the pendulum has swung in that direction (some might say quite a bit).


Use It... Don't Lose It!

Use the intensity your anger gives you for (appropriate) action. Don't just 'lose it' and wast all that raw energy on being impulsive!

If you are taught to use your emotions they are your ally...

Unfortunately today we are taught to suppress many emotions that we find 'unsavory', we lack the mentoring necessary to teach others how to use that energy correctly to gain the advantages they were meant to give.

Another reason for good training!

Good training will help you to not only navigate those emotions, but use them to your distinct advantage.

If you suppress them they are not only useless, they are a detriment in the moment and will cause serious psychological/emotional problems in your life.


An Observation...

I'm no sociologist but I believe that part of what we are experiencing today, which is across the board a DECREASE in 'standard' forms of social violence, but an INCREASE in more extremes like suicide, active shooting events and terrorism (each of these categories have risen extensively in the past 20 years), is due to this trend of teaching (a.d.a. socializing) people to be more passive beyond the point of comfort and what we would naturally, instinctively do on our own (or possibly it is the transition or social 'evolution' that we are experiencing with such resistance?).

So, most people in the the mainstream comply and are, more or less minimally negatively affected emotionally or psychologically. However at the extremes, the people on the fringe have a greater reaction to the suppression, thus losing their 'release' valve so to speak, which results in the increase of the more extreme forms of violence...

This coupled with the 'establishment' (which could be our government, school, place of work, etc... basically our society as a whole) has become less tolerant of lessor forms of violence and more idealistic as to outcomes of how situations should be handled. Not to mention making claims that are not and cannot always be backed up...

Namely, 'we' don't trust you to protect yourself. 'We' will protect you. But when that doesn't happen it leaves most people in a social/emotional gridlock of confusion, doubt, frustration, fear and anger.

We are (often) taught that standing up for ourselves is wrong or that the margin for error or misjudgment is so fine and the consequence for stepping out of line so great, that the infraction of not following the establishments rules supersedes that of the violator infringement of the victim.

WOW!

We are taught that we don't have the expertise necessary to do a good enough job and we need someone of authority to do it on our behalf.

We begin to believe that we are not 'authorized' to protect ourselves. So, we begin to do it less. Relying on the authorities more...

And for the most part that works, because we DO live in an overall less violent society.

But for some, when they've been taught that they will be taken care of, but then the establishment doesn't protect them...

The feeling of resentment is multiplied by feeling betrayed because they've been taught that going against the establishment holds a greater consequence than someone victimizing them.

At  a deep level they want to do as their society expects, however they are sick and tired of feeling victimized, marginalized and disrespected (imagined or real)...

So they begin to feel resentment, becoming more conflicted, confused and angry.

In they're head they create a bigger enemy...

And that, in extreme cases can motivate some to:

Implode - Suicide
Explode - Active shooter, 'lone wolf' attacks, active assailant, joining extremist groups and act terrorism, etc.

Now I realize that I have not dug my heels in to do a full researched study... and probably won't, but that is my view of it at this point in time with the research I have done, what I see happening and the experiences I have had.
 

So, How Do YOU Turn Your Anger Into An Advantage?!
.
And What Does Israel Have to Do With It?!

I'll tell you in the next post!

In the meantime...

Have a Great Day!


All the best,
~Craig


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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11... Do You Wish You Were There?


Picture Courtesy of Tom Collins


Fall came in fast...

Today I am in a bit of a reflective mood about the shock and tragedy that happened 17 years ago. It could just as well have been yesterday for me... It's still that clear in my memory... Where I was... What I was doing... How I was feeling... The phone calls... Watching events unfold... But I was one of the millions of people who weren't actually there...

But I have friends who were... Police, firefighters, friends.

Not everyone made it...

But, we all remember...

And that reminds me of Israel and what an Israeli friend of mine said about the attitude of many in that culture...


I Wish I Was There...


When a terrorist attack occurs many people think "I'm so lucky I wasn't there."

And don't get me wrong I would say that would be a pretty rational and intuitive thing to think...

However...

Some of my friends and colleagues from Israel have a different perspective. When something happens, when a tragedy occurs these people think...

If only I were there I could have helped in some way!

The cop may think...

If only I were there l could have helped and maybe I could have stopped the terrorist...

The firefighter may think...

If only I were there I could have helped and maybe I could have rescued more people...

The medic may think...

If only I were there I could have helped, maybe I could have helped save more people...

The citizen may think...

If only I were there I could have done SOMETHING, ANYTHING to help, maybe I could have made a difference...


Lifestyle vs. a Technique


This is why I train.

This is why I teach.

This is why I created this Community & Resource...

To help people recognize the importance of... and develop the skills to Build a Protectors LIFESTYLE!

Yes, learn good techniques. But, more importantly, develop a BETTER Lifestyle. A Protector's Lifestyle.

All cliche's and BS aside...

I want more people to become PeaceWalkers. To walk in peace. To know how to handle conflict w/o creating more of it.  To be clear about what they are protecting and to do most good / least harm.

To LIVE, PROTECT & INSPIRE!

In order to do that you have to surround yourself by healthy people who are on the same path. You have to train in the right way. STOP just thinking so much about technique and start thinking about HOW YOU LIVE! You have to LIVE the right way and develop a Lifestyle of a Protector!
.

Why Do You Train?!


If you train to defend yourself, you're thinking Too Small! If you train to defend your family, as noble as that may be, you're still thinking Too Small! 

Train so you can be clear, train so you CAN Protect yourself, your family, your friends, your colleagues and yes, train so you can protect that person you don't even know... Train so that You don't become part of the problem!  Train so that...

Everyone Is a Little Bit Safer Because You Are There!

Train that you are so Clear about what you are really protecting. That way, if you don't have the direct skills, you have a better chance of figuring out the details.

Train so you won't compromise your ethic.

Do not train to learn techniques...

TRAIN For LIFE!

...and

Keep Going!

  
All the best,
~Craig



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