Self-Defense Mastery With T.J. Kennedy

Human behaviour fascinates me.  Having been a bouncer for seven years I have witnessed some interesting behaviour from people of all sexes, classes, races, etc.  Some sober, and some under the influence of what we’ll call “contraband substances”. 

Human behaviour has become a HUGE topic of interest to me, so years ago I would buy and read any book or magazine that I could find that talked about the psychology of human behaviour.

This led me down a rabbit hole of books, videos, articles, discussions, etc., all on evolutionary psychology.

From an evolutionary standpoint, all of our behaviour, down to every minute detail – is influenced by the greatest influencers to all humankind…natural and sexual selection(aka – genetic replication/reproduction).

Our entire world and its structures, economy, memes, values – are all ultimately rooted in natural and sexual selection.

From an evolutionary perspective, I (as a man) have three base purposes:
Procreation, protection, and provision.  To have offspring.  To protect myself, my mate, and my offspring from competing males and other predators.  To provide the resources necessary for them to survive and thus pass on my genes to the next generation… infinitum.

The more I studied these concepts, the more overlap I saw in various elements of human behaviour – namely motivations for sex/love and violence.

I have spent many hours consuming and studying material on love, sex, relationships, seduction, dating, etc., and the more I do, the more I see them as a singularity with self-defense concepts.

One such source of my studies is dating ‘guru’ David DeAngelo.  Listening to his audio “Mastery Series”, I have gleaned information that is useful to us in our journey of self-defense mastery.

The first, is a concept known as a ‘Johari Window’.

“A Johari window is a cognitive psychological tool created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 in the United States, used to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships.” (Wikipedia: Johari Window)

In DeAngelo’s modification of this concept he explains the learning process we go through as people in mastering any new skill.

The process can be broken down into four steps that are described as follows:

Step 1. Unconscious-Incompetent.

In this step you are unaware that you do not possess the skill in question.  Ignorance is bliss.  In a self-defense context this would be something like not even ever thinking about self-defense, and never taking the time to learn it.

Step 2. Conscious-Incompetent.

In this step, you become aware that you do not possess the skill in question.  In our context again, it may be that you or someone you know was attacked and was the victim of violence – which makes you aware that you have this incompetence.

Step 3. Conscious-Competent.

You seek out the necessary information and training to attain this skill.  As you learn, you think about the application of what you’re learning.  For self-defense this could mean thinking and applying specific responses to specific attacks (stimuli).

Step 4. Unconscious-Competent.

This is the step where you no longer think about your skills; you just perform.  If you were to be attacked, your body and mind react according to how you’ve trained, essentially bypassing any conscious effort or thought.

So…that’s WHAT we go through to learn these skills, but HOW do we get there in our journey to self-defense mastery?

As Bruce Lee once said:

“Accept what is useful.  Reject what is useless.  Add to it that which is specifically your own.”

DeAngelo outlines this in what he calls his “Five Steps to Personal Evolution”.

They are as follows:

1. Imitate the best until you are getting consistent results.

Find an instructor(s) and study directly under them.  Study videos, books, articles,
etc.  Gather as much information as you can, and find what works.  For example, try technique “A” against an attack, and then “B” and “C” and so on.  See which one(s) lead to success the most.

Do this until you have become proficient in what you’ve been learning.

“Accept what is useful…”

2. Learn how to make finer and finer distinctions until you can clearly see why each approach works or doesn’t work in each situation.

Using the principles you’ve learned, analyze WHY these things will or will not work. Analyze context – this is important because something may work in some situations, but not in others.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet!

3. Learn to assign higher and lower values to behaviours, results, mistakes to create an internal values system to guide you.

Start refining and cutting out unnecessary techniques or principles that you found not useful, and condense everything that’s left into your own personal “system”.

“…Reject what is useless…”

4. Learn to create variations of great ideas and to combine great elements of great ideas to evolve improved versions.

Play around with what works.  Try different techniques in different scenarios according to your new principles and values system.

5. Innovate.  Come up with your own ideas.

Take everything you know, and start to add your own ideas to it, to make it “better”or at the very least, more suited to you as an individual.  Perhaps fill in gaps that exist in your personal system with your own ideas.

“…Add to it that which is specifically your own.”

This is how, over years and years, I came up with the Hybrid Fighting Method – and how you can also innovate and create a system that works for you.  The Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM) is a core system that is effective for all – and is malleable for you to shape it to your strengths and preferences.

As Kenny Werner, musician and author of “Effortless Mastery” says:

“There is nothing difficult; only unfamiliar.”

Apply yourself; follow these steps, and you will achieve self-defense mastery.


T.J. Kennedy
Hybrid Fighting Method

3 Responses to “Self-Defense Mastery With T.J. Kennedy”

  1. Bruce b Smith Says:

    Excellent information, and very good direction on continued learning! T.J. always is very informative. Thank you.

  2. As a fellow TFT principles subscriber, I must respectfully disagree with your comment “try technique A against an attack, then B and C and so on…” I am a huge believer in their principle-based system over techniques, as the human body cannot replicate complex moves and hundreds of different techniques in a violent, adrenaline-pumping scenario. But I guess my belief goes with the saying “Accept what is useful to you, reject what is useless…” ~Bruce Lee

  3. No offense taken Ben. I would point out that several techniques can be. Used that still follow the same principle. But there are far too many variables in life to say ONE is THE one. For example…redirect the line of fire while doing a gun disarm. There are several ways to accomplish this…but incedentals will influence the one you choose.

    All the best to you my friend.

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