Archive for safety

Gracie Survival Tactics – The Inside Scoop

Posted in Jiujitsu, Martial Arts, REVIEWS, Safety, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2016 by bradvaughn

The Non-Lethal Techniques Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know

by Brandon T. Vaughn  01/06/16

GST - Group Pic GJJ

Over the years my position/role/career as a martial arts instructor has offered many opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The most recent of which took place last month, November 16th through the 20th, and took me back to California, a place I first had the pleasure of visiting two years ago when I participated in the Gracie Academy Instructor Certification Program in 2013.

My second visit to California would also be connected to the [Gracie] Academy, only instead of Torrance, this time I would be going to Pleasanton, a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area approximately 25 miles east of Oakland, CA. I decided to take advantage of a formal invitation to all CTC Certified Instructors to assist and participate in any upcoming Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) Instructor Certification Courses. Eager to get an inside look at this program only available to active or retired law enforcement and military personnel, and in desperate need of a vacation (even if it would be a working one) I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad I did. It was an incredible opportunity to learn the GST curriculum first hand, meet some of my fellow CTC Instructors, and get some “mat time” with Ryron Gracie himself.

 

Adapting To Meet A Changing Climate

GST - Vaughn teaching 2For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) is the Gracie Academy’s Defensive Tactics Program for Military & Law Enforcement Personnel. Created by the Gracie Academy to meet the ever changing needs of their clients, the GST program is itself an amalgamation of two earlier combative/defensive tactics programs. Gracie Combatives, an intensive course based on the most effective techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu developed for the United States Army, and G.R.A.P.P.L.E (Gracie Resisting Attack Procedures for Law Enforcement), a non-violent and court defensible program developed for police officers. Both of the aforementioned programs were originally developed by Rorion Gracie, eldest son of Gracie Jiu-jitsu founder Helio Gracie, and creative mind behind the UFC.

Since it’s inception Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) has been taught to countless Federal, State and International military and law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service and the US Border Patrol. During my five days assisting with the GST Instructor Certification Program I was able to meet men and women from a wide range of agencies and hear many of their first hand accounts of situations that they have found themselves in while on duty. As well as some of their concerns with the level of self-defense training that their agencies currently have in place.

 

The Road To Certified GST Instructor

For law enforcement or military personnel (active or retired) wishing to learn Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) for their own continuing education, the complete 23 lesson course is available on www.GracieUniversity.com via online streaming video. However, if you are an officer wishing to implement the GST program at your department or agency the only way to do so is by completing the GST Instructor Certification (Level 1).

The Gracie Academy teaches anywhere from 5 to 10 of these instructor certification courses a year varying by location. Some are hosted by the Academy itself  at their main location in Torrance, CA while others are hosted by various agencies around the world or by individuals within those organizations. The particular course I volunteered to assist in was hosted by a member of the Pleasanton Police Department with the actual training sessions taking place in the gym of a local high school.

The week long course began at 8am Monday morning and started with Ryron Gracie giving a brief history of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, including its creation, their work with the US Army and the development of Gracie Combatives and how working with the military and law enforcement over the last 20 years led to the creation of the techniques that we would be learning over the next five days. He then moved seamlessly into the first of eight techniques that we would cover that day, setting the pace for the rest of the week. Ryron would teach a technique, using either myself or one of the other four instructors that were there to assist in the course, then when he was sure that everyone understood the technique he would release them to practice the technique with their partner. At this time the assistant instructors would walk around and observe the participants doing the techniques, offering feedback and making any necessary corrections.

Day two and three began with the class reviewing all the techniques that they had learned the day before while. After the review period, which lasted anywhere from 10-15 minutes, we would move on the block of techniques that would be taught that day. The training sessions ended with a series of fight simulation drills in which the participants would combine several techniques from previous sessions with the ones that they had just learned, thus building their muscle memory and making them more familiar with how the individual techniques can be used in any possible combination.

While the first three days were dedicated to the learning of the GST techniques, day four was dedicated to instructor training, where the participants learned the most effective ways to teach the GST techniques to their colleagues when they return to their individual agencies/departments. The fifth and final day of the course consisted of a final evaluation to test the participants overall comprehension of all the material covered during the previous four days.

The GST Advantage

GST - Vaughn teachingWhat sets Gracie Survival Tactics apart from other defense tactic programs currently being taught to law enforcement and military personnel is it’s lack of reliance on striking techniques (ie. punches and kicks) which may not be effective against an assailant who may be physically larger or stronger or who may be under the influence of a substance that dampens their ability to feel pain. Instead, all the techniques in the GST program are based on leverage, timing, and efficient use of energy. This means the techniques can be employed effectively regardless of gender, size or athletic ability.

With the number of fatal police shootings reported to be nearing 400 nationwide in 2015, and allegations of excessive force at an all time high, GST provides law enforcement officers with a much needed alternative to relying solely on their firearm or secondary tools (ie. baton, stun gun, pepper spray) in situations where the use of deadly force could have possibly been avoided. The GST curriculum also address the high rate of instance where law enforcement officers are shot in the line of duty by an assailant using the officer’s own firearm by including weapon retention techniques in the curriculum as well as a variety of effective techniques that allow an officer to get back to their feet and create distance in the event that they end up on the ground underneath an assailant.

 

A Fear Of Change

With a seemingly endless list of benefits and advantages, it’s hard to imagine that all law enforcement agencies aren’t already taking part in the Gracie Survival Tactics program.

From conversations I had with some of the men and women participating in the GST Level 1 Instructor Certification Course, I learned that one obstacle the newly certified instructors will encounter when trying to implement the program in their own department may be the very officers that they are trying to help.

Whether it stems from an over reliance on the tools they have at their disposal or the lack of continued fitness requirements after they graduate from the academy, some officers seem resistant to any self-defense training outside what is mandated annually by their state. When you consider that 40% of officers that are shot in the line of duty are done so with their own weapon, it would seem that all law enforcement officers would be eager to learn any technique that, would not only teach them how to retain their weapon, but also how to subdue a suspect without the use of their firearm or auxiliary weapons.

Another obstacle that new GST Instructors may have to deal with is a natural resistance to change. Either from the administration or from their department’s defensive tactics instructor, in the event that the GST Instructor doesn’t also serve that role. Strategies on how to address these and other common concerns are included in the support materials that each course participant receives on the final day of training.

GST - Group Pic Sm

 

Final Thoughts

Gracie Survival Tactics is quickly proving itself to be not only a valuable resource for law enforcement officers, but to military personnel as well. As I am writing this article, the United Nations Security Service has become the most recent agency to adopt Gracie Survival Tactics.

My experience at the GST Level 1 Instructor Certification Course in Pleasanton, CA was like nothing I have experienced before and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to not only assist, but to participate in the training as well. As a martial arts instructor I’ve had the opportunity to teach students of all ages how to defend themselves. Even if learning self-defense was not their primary reason for enrolling, it was still a skill they acquired while working towards whatever their personal goals were. Having said that, I have to admit that there was something exceedly rewarding about working with individuals that will most likely be using the techniques you are teaching them a regular basis.

Brandon Vaughn

Certified GJJ CTC Instructor

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The Valkyrie – Attacking with Sword & Shield

Posted in Safety, Self-Defense, Training, Videos, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by chencenter

To all our readers here at CombativeCorner.  We have two more videos to share with you to introduce you me (Michael Joyce) and my wife’s (Jennifer) new project, to share our Outfoxxed Self-Defense Program globally.  We’ve previously shared our introductory video, managing distance, 3 predatory types, and the Fence.  Now, it’s time to share one of our favorite movements of all-time, the Valkyrie.

Enjoy!

Outfoxxed Program Website

Outfoxxed Program YouTube

A Story From The Corner

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Safety, Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , on January 31, 2013 by hybridfightingmethod

Subway Car

I want to share this story from one of my students. I am not releasing her identity.

She was riding the subway (the tube) and she fell asleep. She was woken up by the slam of the inter-car door while the train was in motion.

Three large men whisked through and walked to the end of the car and stood huddled.

Her intuition fired like crazy, and she got off at the very next stop, long before her home.

I am very proud of her.  And I want use her example as a lesson to follow your intuition.

Maybe nothing was wrong, but either way she is alive to tell the story.

As Rory Miller says in his book Meditations on Violence,

“It is better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die.”

This woman showed the best self-defense possible as far as I’m concerned!

T.J. Kennedy

Hybrid Fighting Method

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HFM : The Rise of a Fighting Methodology

Posted in Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Self-Defense, Training with tags , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by hybridfightingmethod

The time for self-defense is over. Self-defense is dis-empowering and it is NOT what we do in the Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM). We are a fighting method – not a self-defense system. What is the difference? Well, let’s first look at what ‘self-defense’ actually means.

Self-defense means “to defend one’s self”…. which leads you naturally to the question – from what? When you think of self-defense, what image do you conjure up in your head? If you are anything like me, you conjure up an image of someone attacking you – maybe punching you, maybe stabbing you with a knife, maybe someone pinning you down on the bed – usually trying to stop someone from hurting you. You are the recipient of an action – a helpless and hapless victim – doing your very best to assuage your own demise. You are only ever reacting to what is being thrust upon you; forever one step behind until it’s too late to help yourself.

That’s what self-defense is. The very idea dis-empowers you from the start. A successful combative methodology ENABLES you to action, it doesn`t DISABLE you from it.

When you think of fighting, what image(s) do you conjure up in your head? Maybe with the popularity of combat sports these days, you think of two combatants in a ring or cage fighting for sport. And that is partially the case. The leading definition of FIGHTING is: “taking part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons.” (Dictionary.com) A fight, for our purposes, can therefore be defined as A VIOLENT STRUGGLE.

Already you imagine yourself as a proactive part of your own survival. You are enabled. You are on the offense. You are a fighter…a survivor

What are you fighting for? A person who would attack you could want a number of things – your property, your body, your life. You’re not going to let them take those things from you, you’re going to fight! But how do you fight? That’s where we come in. Just like you need a specific tool for a specific job, you too need to choose an appropriate system for your life.

Are you a soldier? Carrying around an M16, dodging bullets day-in and day-out. Infiltrating terrorist cells and narrowly missing the end of your life due to IED explosions?

Are you a mixed martial arts fighter, training 4, 5, 6 or more hours a day getting in the best shape of your life for a title fight in 8 weeks? A fight with rules, a referee, a doctor on standby?

Or are you a normal person. You live in a house or an apartment or a condo, and you live your day to day life driving your car, taking the subway, working in an office, going shopping, going to the movies, and hanging out with your friends on weekends. It doesn’t make sense to learn how to fight like a soldier in a foreign desert. It doesn’t make sense to learn how to be a world champion athlete, when what you need is a way of fighting that was designed for an urban environment. Designed for your life. Designed just for you.

Military systems like Krav Maga or Systema, and sport combat systems like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are great…..but you find yourself in elevators, in bedrooms, in line-ups, in coffee shops, shopping mall parking lots – and these are all places that attacks happen. In fact, the number one location in frequency for sexual assaults is your very own home. You will only ever be attacked in the place that you are. And you can’t limit yourself with the rules inherent in some of these “self-defense” systems, or you are already dead.

The Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM) was specifically designed in an urban environment for an urban environment. And at the end of the day, soldiers and cage fighters need to come home to an urban environment, too.

In HFM we begin by instilling a survivalist mindset – enabling you to overcome any mental obstacles that would hinder your fight. Then we teach you how to impose your will on a would-be attacker – shutting them down quickly and confidently in ways you never dreamed that you could. And make no mistake – you can! And finally, we teach you what are called “defensive tactics” – which simply means how to deal with what is being thrown at you while you shut your attacker down.

Learn the Hybrid Fighting Method and you will transform into an urban fighter – and also become the most dangerous person you know.

T.J. Kennedy

HYBRID FIGHTING METHOD

Blauer’s Ten Commandents of Street Survival

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by Combative Corner

I – THOU SHALT NOT NOT TRAIN

Imagine for a moment losing a real street fight.  Imagine the impact on your confidence, dignity and pride.  Imagine if you were hurt and couldn’t train or possibly go to work for several weeks.  Imagine if when you “physically” recovered you were gun-shy in sparring.  Imagine all this.

At the time of the attack you took too long to recognize the danger, hesitated and as you started to react you were knocked to the ground and though you put up a valiant effort you were beaten.

Upon reflection you realized that you lost this fight for several reasons:

  1. Your actual understanding of the theories of “intuitive radar”, “attacker profiles”, “sucker punch psychology” and “fear management” were limited.
  2. Actually, you never did “sucker punch” drills.
  3. You had never done “threshold and pain tolerance training” or
  4. Worked on “ballistic ground fighting” and
  5. You never analyzed natural stances.

This scenario is a fantasy or perhaps a nightmare.  But it need not be.

“Totality” in your training is simply about being thorough.

I always tell my students,

If I am to lose to the superior fighter.  Let me lose because he was better than I was.  Not because I was worse than him.”

How hard do you train in relation to “why” you train?  Think on that.

Coach Bear Bryant said, “The will to win compares little with the will to prepare to win.”  That is one of my favorite quotes and pretty much sums it up.

You can’t not train and expect to be your best at a moment’s notice.  Boxers agree to fight 3 months in advance so that they may train for the contest.  You don’t have that luxury.  As my friend Marco Lala said, “You can’t fake endurance.”

II-  THOU SHALT NOT DEFEAT THYSELF

The mental side of combat is so vast and powerful that it quite literally determines your next move.  Dan Millman wrote, “When faced with just one opponent and you oppose yourself… you’re outnumbered.”

Powerful words.  Your mind can be your ally or your most formidable opponent.  Your thoughts can motivate you or they can create the inertia State of psycho-physical paralysis.

Psychological fear leads to doubt and hesitation.  Unchecked it can devolve into anxiety and panic.  Unsolicited, a ‘Victim’s vocabulary’ starts: What if I lose?  What if it hurts?  What if I fail?  Thoughts like these must be eliminated from your vocabulary for you to perform at your peak.  Your ‘self talk’ or ‘internal dialogue’ must be positive, assertive and motivating.  Your inner coach must empower you to greater heights, to surpass preconceived limitations, to boldly go where… you get the picture.  That is what it means to not defeat yourself.

III- THOU SHALT NOT GIVE UP

The will to survive is probably the most neglected area of our training.  It is also the most important.  Knowing what to do and knowing which tools to use is important but compares little with the ‘will to survive.’  If you have great technique, but do not know how to dig deep, I will bet on the opponent with heart.  Will beats skill.  “Not giving up,” means Not giving up.  You must research this.

Irrespective of your training, there are situations that can catch us off guard.  Sudden violence or specific threats outside our Comfort Zones can overwhelm us emotionally and induce the ubiquitous “victim” mind-set.  To off-set this I have my students tap into their “desire” to survive by writing out a list of things they will lose if they do not survive the fight.

This list is memorized (ideally, long before any serious altercation) and serves as an unconscious motivating force that triggers the survival mechanisms when our theoretical warrior-self is experiencing technical difficulties.

The list should include the most important people, places and things in your life.  And you must remind yourself that if you “give up” in the street – you may be giving up that list as well.

In 1987, this concept became the Be Your Own BodyGuard™ principle.  This is a powerful metaphor for street survival.  Sometimes we feel that we would rush to someone else’s aid quicker than we would defend ourselves.. this is a common emotional feeling, however, it is not very practical if you are the intended victim.  So ask yourself, “Who (or what) would you fight to the death for?”  And if you are the person’s Bodyguard, who is yours?

My friend… be your own bodyguard.

IV – THOU SHALT NOT FEAR FEAR

More dangerous than your opponent is your mind.  If it doesn’t support you you’re 3/4 beaten before you’ve started.  There are really only two types of fear: biological and psychological.

Fear (biological) has been generally described as the “fight or flight” syndrome for most of our modern history.  This definition does not serve us once the physical confrontation is under way and is really not pertinent to your success.  Though the adrenaline surge created by your survival signals is a component of success, it is the mind that ultimately determines the action you will take.

Psychological fear, on the other hand, is an emotional state.  Therefore it can be controlled and used to create action.  However, due to the lack of good information on fear management, fear, as we feel it, usually creates emotional inertia: your body’s inability to move.  Inertia or panic is created by psychological fear when the mind visualizes failure and pain.  Understanding this process is necessary to conquer fear.

We use three acronyms, to help us remember that psychological fear is only in our mind.  They are:

  1. False Evidence Appearing Real (External stimuli that distracts ups; physical evidence: weapons, multiple opponents, etc.)
  2. False Expectations Appearing Real (Internal stimuli that distracts us; how we visualize, images of pain and failure.)
  3. Failure Expected Action Required (A trigger to DO SOMETHING!)

Cus D’Amato, a famous boxing coach, said, “The difference between the hero and the coward is what they do with their fear.”  The next time you feel it – fight it.  Challenge your fear.  Attack your fear.  Do not fear fear.  We all feel it.

Fight your fear first then fight your physical foe. 

This is one of the true ways of growth.

V- THOU SHALT NOT TELEGRAPH YOUR INTENTIONS

When it’s time to fight, most fighters telegraph their intentions.  This “faux pas” is committed at times by everyone and every type of fighter, including you and me.  From street fighters to professional boxers, from military generals to serial killers.  We all telegraph.

Telegraphing for most is considered to be a physical gesture, but really, the physical telegraph is usually the third stage of the telegraph ‘Domino effect.’  In my seminars I always remind participants that you can only beat the opponent when the opponent makes a mistake.  Think about that.  The “real” opportunity occurs at the moment of the telegraph, when the intention is revealed, when there is hesitation or a momentary lapse in attention.

Start thinking about the various ways we reveal ourselves, signals that create the telegraph: anger, erratic breathing.  Adopting a specific stance, going for the knockout, verbal threat.  These are some of the most common telegraphs that would afford an experienced opponent some mental preparedness.  Remember that your opponent should be the last person to see your attack.

This subject is so vast that I can’t do justice to it here.  Just remember that fighting is like tennis, the player who makes the most unforced errors, generally loses.  But don’t look at the obvious.  Be sure to study our Sucker Punch Psychology and Non-Violent Postures theory.

VI – THOU SHALT NOT LOSE THE STREET FIGHT

You must know in advance that you will survive the authentic street fight.  By ‘authentic’ I mean a true situation where you have a moral and ethical reason to take action.  Only then can you be resolute in your conviction and only then will you have the support of good and the force of the universe behind you.  This may sound corny to some, but when you use your skills for “life” (for preservation), rather than “death”, (abuse of your skill) the emotional power that is available to you is exponential.

You must also appreciate the relationship to the pejorative ego in combat.

You don’t “win” a real fight.  You survive one.

Win & Lose are labels our ego uses.  Think survival.  Think about your life and why you’ll survive.  This is true power.

Remember this: Never fight when your opponent wants to fight.  Never fight where your opponent wants to fight.  And never fight how your opponent wants to fight.  Take care of those three factors, I’ll bet on you.  Sun Tzu wrote: “The height of strategy is to attack your opponent’s strategy.”  Study this.

*On purely a strategic level you can study the Samurai treaties about the mind and the ego and death.  They reveal much about the appropriate mind-set for lethal combat.  If you catch a glimpse of the power of this mind-set you will recognize true power and you will be sure not to abuse this power.

VII – THOU SHALT NOT INVITE DISASTER

You’ve heard the expression “An accident waiting to happen.”  So many victims of violence failed to use simple skills like awareness and avoidance.  No one deserves to be a victim, but many street tragedies result from “planning for failure through failure to plan.”  Though the world is an incredible and wonderful place, it does have its dangers.  If you respect the simple truth and spend a little time developing your Survival Toolbox, you can get back to the real task at hand: enjoying your life.

For simplicity sake consider there are two types of victims.  Those who deny and ignore (apathy will usually help seal your fate) and those who manufacture danger at every turn.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Gavin De Becker’s excellent book, The Gift of Fear, get yourself a copy.  It is the first time, in my opinion; anyone has effectively explained the fear signal in a positive, useful light as it relates to danger and violence.  His examples and theories are welcome additions to the pre-contact arsenal necessary to try to avoid violence.

It would be nice if simply ‘trusting’ survival signals were all we needed to detect and avoid danger.  Unfortunately, there may be situations where we do everything right, but still find ourselves in the thick of things and must take physical action.  Preparation is paramount.

Learn to evaluate a stimulus in advance.  This mind-set will spare you a lot of trouble if you do a little research.  In the end, most situations are easily avoided with the right attitude, awareness and advance analysis.

Here are the critical areas you must examine:

  • Evaluate your routine.  Are there any obvious places you could be attacked?  Is there something about your schedule, behavior, residence, etc. that sends a ‘come and get me’ message to an opportunist criminal?  When you you attack you and why?
  • Evaluate your mind.  What type of person are you?  Do you find yourself in many confrontations? (Of any nature)  How do you deal with them?  Do you lose your temper quickly?  Do you accept abuse (verbal, mental, etc.) too readily?  Both reactions could create serious problems in a violent confrontation.
  • Evaluate your arsenal.  You may take care of the routine and have yourself in total control and still be faced with a threat.  What specialized skills do you bring to the confrontation?  Many of us become fairly proficient with our empty hands in a ready stance in the dojo where we know the rules, we know our opponent, the level of contact is agreed to and we’re wearing equipment and.. I think you get my point.  Do you really understand the nut on the street?  Are you confident on the ground?  Against a weapon?  In a survival scenario?  Total confidence results when you ask pertinent questions and research, to satisfaction, the answers.  That’s being proactive.  After all, this is your life.

Apathy and denial will seal your fate in a confrontation.  Other personality aberrations like an inflated ego, misguided inferiority complex, and overconfidence all contribute to the issue of safety.  There attributes will create problems during confrontations of any nature.  Be proactive about the things that can cause you grief.

I have a simple belief that keeps me honest and introspective:

I believe we experience confrontations every day of our lives, (“Confrontation” defined as any situation that affects our enjoyment of the moment – I know people who take traffic personally!).  Therefore, the degree of calmness and clarity with which we deal with our confrontations will directly determine the quality of our day and therefore, the quality of our life.

VIII – THOU SHALT NOT KILL, UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

Bruce Lee wrote in his Tao of Jeet Kune Do, “Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain.  Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life’ Do not be concerned with your escaping safely – your life before him!”

Hmmm? What do you think of this? Pretty powerful, huh? Not how it triggered a visual and how it affected your mind-set: power or fear?  Though Bruce Lee’s quote has much value, it sends a dangerous message if not analyzed correctly.

Many people who come to the martial arts for self-defense buy into the mythological image of cool nerves, impenetrable defense and total control.  Unfortunately, the sociopath’s intensity on the street bears little relation to the energy in the dojo and so those martial artists who have not done diligent homework for the street situation are predisposed to fail.  This doesn’t mean they will.  But, it means they survive in spite of the way they trained.

What would you do if…?  Have you really visualized different scenarios and analyzed what would be necessary to escape the confrontation safely?  It takes courage to walk away.  Is avoidance a component of your self-defense system?  How far would you go to avoid bodily harm? Would you kill?  What moral and ethical issues do your responses raise?  do you possess a directive, one that would support you in a court of Law or when you looked in the mirror?

When you train with integrity, and respect all humanity, you will grasp the deepest message in Bruce’s words.  As a last resort I endorse his message.

IX – THOU SHALT NOT SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY

There are key areas of concern for this commandment.  Human beings are designed for improvement.  Our brains and bodies are built for success.  We use only a small percentage of our brain’s capacity.  Our bodies are capable of massive muscular and cardiovascular development and we have only just begun to explore the power of spiritual development.

Remember earlier I wrote that the mind navigates the body?  I believe that there are three fundamental rules we all break from time-to-time that prevent us from maximizing our performance and development in many areas.

  1. Avoid Comparison: Compete with yourself.  Use other people for inspiration only.  If someone is better than you are, use his or her “skill level” as a reference point.  Find out how they train and what their beliefs are.  Many people miss this point and experience frustration in their training.  The pejorative ego is duplicitous and works overtime on comparison.  It’s your job to defuse this emotional time bomb and get focused on your path.
  2. Don’t Judge: Don’t judge others.  Don’t even judge yourself.  Learn to evaluate, diagnose, weigh, and consider.  When you change the “judgement filter” to one of “analysis”, you will gain so much more.  Like comparison, judgement is a detour away from our goals.  Many times we enter some arena (relationship, job, fight) worrying about what the other person is bringing to the table.  Howe can you be yourself and work on you when you are fixating on them?  True education takes place when we start to notice our tendency to compare and judge.
  3. Limiting Beliefs:  Many of us have been fed negative programs during our life and these ‘ideas’ eventually become our very own erroneous beliefs.  And they severely handicap our growth.  How often do we say or hear statements like, “You can’t.” “That’ll take too long.”, I’ll never be able to do that”, “What’s the point?”.  The list goes on… you get my point.  Beliefs that do not serve your goals, success, happiness, or dreams must be purged from your mind.  This is an easy process.. you believe it is too hard.

Just remember that starting off positive is every bit as important as actually starting.

Here’s another key concept in the performance enhancement formula my company has developed:  You’ll often hear motivators state: “Your potential is unlimited.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Actually ‘potential’ is quite finite, whereas ‘capacity’ is unlimited.  Think about it [and yes I know this is completely backwards from conventional thinking].  Your ability is limited by your capacity.  But you can work on your ‘capacity’ daily.  And therefore ‘capacity’ is continually evolving.  However, ‘potential’ is fixed.  In other words, your potential is limited by the fact that you are human, or of a specific gender, age, size and so forth.  Potential is also something we ‘can’t do’ yet.  The trick in maximizing performance therefore, will be our ability to reframe, to create a personal paradigm shift and really direct our energy into our ‘current abilities’ and forget about where we could be if…

Confused?  Read the next two paragraphs and then reflect a little.

I have done a number of motivational seminars on this very important paradigm shift, an empowerment process I call The Myth of Peak Performance.  To consider, evaluate, plan and proceed, you must understand the difference between “capacity” and “potential.”  What you can do is your capacity.  What you would like to be able to do is your potential.  But, at the end of the day, you can only do as much as you can do.

Reflect on this expression:

“You’ll never know how much you can do until you try to do more than you can.” 

In training, assess your capacity, recognize your potential as greater, and create realistic goals so that you experience success regularly and you will be on your way to self-mastery.  But do not fixate on your potential.

In the self-defense and martial art world many practitioners severely handicap their capacity by not sharing information, not investigating other options and ideas, not asking questions, etc.  To go beyond the limitations of style’, you must challenge all ideas so that your training results in unshakable faith in your skill.

X – THOU SHALT NOT REBUKE OTHER SYSTEMS

Bruce Lee said, “Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”  This commandment is important on two levels.  Firstly, on an emotional level it is so important to make peace with everyone we contact.  This attitude is contagious and if we all adopted a more loving and compassionate view of life and of our fellow human beings, we would all experience a significant increase in happiness and peace of mind.

In the martial arts world there exists so much comparison, pejorative competitiveness and politics, that our industry is simply a microcosm of the warring nations and rival gangs that pollute our cities and countries.  Please reflect on this.

We are on the same team.  We train to better our selves.  We choose different schools and styles for a variety of reasons.  But we all want the same think. Peace.  Inner peace. Confidence. Self-control.

So keep an open mind.  Maintain a “Beginner’s Mind.”  A beginner loves to learn.  He is intent and intense.  Learn to communicate, listen to the words, and listen to the voice of body language.  When someone shows you a different way or explains a different approach, listen keenly.  Savor, digest and absorb.

And secondly, as a martial artist and self-defense specialist, you cannot afford to limit your training.  The more you understand any and all strategies, approaches, attitudes and methods, the greater your confidence.

So remember, training must be holistic: Mind, Body, Spirit

(*Note how each commandment interconnects and a flaw in one of the areas could very well throw the equation into flux.)

*Article is re-posted with permission & unchanged from the original. 

From Tony Blauer, “Permission is granted to quote, reprint or distribute provided the text is not altered and appropriate credit is given.

Tony Blauer is one of the most sought-after authorities in the area of self-defense and is the owner of Blauer Tactical System in San Diego, California. For more information on him, visit his website at http://TonyBlauer.Com and/or follow his postings on his Facebook Group (Personal Defense Readiness).

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Tony Blauer’s Cycle of Behavior

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Outside 90


GUNS: A Tool For The Weak?

Posted in Crime, Discussion Question, Safety, Self-Defense, Violence, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by chencenter

Gun-related homicides have slightly increased each year since 2002.  People between the ages of 15 and 24 are most likely to be targeted by gun violence as opposed to other forms of violence.  Intimate partner violence can be fatal when a gun is involved – from 1990 to 2005, two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims were killed by guns* (usdoj.gov).

In a 2002 crime study* (UN/OCJS) the United States ranked #4 (behind South Africa, Colombia & Thailand) in gun-related homicides [#8 per capita].

Let’s compare that with our neighbor to the north, Canada.

United States- 9,369  ¤  Canada- 144

In Detroit, a US city fairly well-known for its crime, recorded 308 criminal homicides in 2010 (a 15.4% drop from 2009) (DN).  However, a tweet from director Michael Moore alerted me to the fact that Detroit’s city across the river, Windsor, had a total of ZERO gun-related homicides.  Whether you are a fan of Moore or not, you have to ask yourself a question, what is it about us that drives us to kill one another?  Is it because of our gun laws?  How about our access to guns?  Is it just our American nature?

I posted a video on my facebook page on Monday that featured musician Henry Rollins in a 1994 MTV ad on violence (the video).  In this clip, Rollins proclaims, “…The strong don’t need guns.  Guns are tools of the weak.”  I got a fair amount of comments on this video, and I’m glad it attracted the attention it did.  This topic has gone on time and time again, and yet, gun-related homicides continue to rise.

My (personal) stance on guns?

Guns serve little purpose in today’s society other than: getting people hurt, creating accidents (many-times harmful and fatal ones), and killing or maiming innocent animals for sport (which I’ve always been against).  Guns, to me, are relics of a by-gone era.  While I understand that our military and law enforcement may need the protection of a ballistic weapon, our “every-day-citizen” does not.

What about my Second Amendment right?

Yes. This Constitutional amendment “protects” the right of the people to bear arms.  But with this, I think back to the words of comedian Chris Rock that said, “You could drive a car with your feet if you WANT to, that don’t make a it a good &%# idea!”  What are we scared of that we need a gun around for?  Le révolution?

Ok. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.  So there’s a revolution.

My next question would be, “Who do you think you are?”  Am I trying to be funny by asking this question? Well, yes AND no.  While it may be exciting to think that we’re a Clint Eastwood character, it’s humorous to believe you’re going to “Make someone’s day” without first getting yourself killed.  Your best bet will be to drill for oil/”juice” and barricade yourself in your fort (see film, The Road Warrior).

What about hunting?

Too cruel for me, but if that’s what you enjoy doing…and if you’re like Dexter and you need to exercise that need to kill something (or you’ll just blow your top), then go right ahead.  I can’t stop you.  But why not try to wrestle an elk down with your bare hands?  Why not learn to spear fish?  Give the poor animal a fighting chance, by God!  Don’t just dangle its food source in front of him with a hidden spike in it!  Wow, you out-smarted a fish!  Wow, you sniped a deer as it was walking through a meadow (which was probably the only natural clearing available with all the nearby freeways).  I might be impressed if you smeared yourself with dung, crept within range and used a slingshot or bow and arrow to bring the animal down, but that’s just my opinion.  Whatever you do though, don’t display the animal’s head on your wall and grin with pride.  How barbaric… but then again, somewhere inside of you you must feel that it is too.

Additional Note

If you do plan on owning a gun, make sure it is stored in a safe place and you educate yourself properly on the care, use and handling of the firearm.  Understand the state laws and keep in mind that injuring and/or killing (even a criminal or attacker) may like hold with it a prison sentence for you.

Suggested Reading:Facing Violence” by: Rory Miller.

We’d love to you what you, our readers, feel on the subject.

The underlining question IS, however, “Are guns needed” and “Are guns the biggest problem with America (when it comes to violence)?”

Sources:

United States Department of Justice, The Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends &, Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2002), The Detroit News. January 2010 (Hunter)

The Path of Violence

Posted in Discussion Question, Self-Defense, Training, Violence with tags , , , , , , , on February 11, 2011 by chencenter

I explained in my previous article (here) that we should acknowledge the need for violence when it comes to self protection and the protection of those you love and/or need to protect [especially when the aggressor’s intent to harm is evident].

Both your training and your personal attitude/thoughts on violent intent should be put under the microscope, because just as greatly as we wish to be effective and ruthless enough to survive, there is (or should be) just as much (or more) of a need to be peaceful and approach conflict by way of peaceful means.

While many may not think to heavily on our mental development on violent intent [as we often focus on the physical preparations]… effective training can have an adverse effect on the body.  What we do with our bodies on a continuous basis affects the body entirely – this could be as small as increased anxiety to larger issues such as: mood swings and paranoia.

It is no mystery why many people take up the internal arts or adopt the principles of Taoism or Buddhism.  I’m not saying that everyone should take up Qigong and sit for long hours under the shade of an elm tree – but it’s my opinion that we should understand that balance must be met!  Neglecting this can only be harmful to our true nature as human beings.

Michael Joyce

What are your thoughts my friends?  The lines are open.

(Drop your comments below)

Related Posts:

Improve Self-Defense, Add Violence (by: Michael Joyce)

All IN, or All OUT (by: T.J. Kennedy)

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