29
Jun

When it comes to arguments on the Internet, nothing I’ve seen in the martial arts has spawned as much emotion and posturing as the debate over the effectiveness of certain martial arts systems for self defense. I’d like to throw my hat into the ring on the side of reason. Brace yourself, this is going to be a long post.

First, when I talk about self defense I am not speaking about any mutually agreed upon combat - including many bar-fights. I’m talking about a violent response to the threat of, or to actual, violence. Non-violent responses fall into a different categories, mitigation, avoidance, personal protection - etc. If there is no threat or actual violence then we are most likely talking about assault.

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Category : martial arts | self defense | Blog
4
Jun

I was saddened today to learn of the death of actor and martial artist David Carradine. Carradine, 72, was apparently found dead in a Bangkok hotel where he had been staying while shooting a film.

Initial stories and rumors (suicide, murder, accident) are already flying around the net as one might expect from the passing of such a celebrity. Regardless of details, his passing is a tragedy.

Carradine was one amongst a  handful of actors, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris etc. who really popularized martial arts in the United States. He, of course, is best known as Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu Series.  Most recently, fans got to enjoy his acting skills in the Kill Bill franchise.

He was a legend who became a proponent of the martial arts, Eastern medicine, and philosophy. My heart goes out to his family and friends,

Category : news | Blog
27
Apr

I have been enjoying a great new show on Spike TV called “Deadliest Warrior” where experts pit historical warriors against each other to determine who would win a fight. If you haven’t seen the show, combinations such as Spartan vs. ninja and pirate vs. knight are played out. Weapons, armor, and tactics are compared and tested scientifically.

At the conclusion of the show, a computer simulation is run to determine which warrior would compare most positively in a real face to face fight.

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Category : TV | martial arts | self defense | Blog
10
Feb

From first-hand experience I can tell you that about 90% of what the world believes about martial arts and self defense comes from movies and TV. There are many unrealistic portrayals about self defense - so let’s tackle the idea of dueling.

When you watch the hero of your favorite film face off with his arch-enemy and duke it out for 4 minutes without mussing his hair - that has virtually nothing to do with self-defense. Fighting in sport and television has little to do with self-defense. That’s dueling.

Most of the time, these media fights play out like the bar fights I’ve witnessed. They are essentially mutually agreed upon combat. Once you’ve agreed to fight, it’s no longer self-defense.

Real self-defense usually involves a sudden and violent surprise attack where a predator tries to overpower a target. Usually the target is not attacked from the front, with lots of warning, on mats, under bright lights, after stretching for 20 minutes, and while wearing special training clothes. Frequently attackers work in groups, carry weapons, and refuse to fight fair.

Every tool in your arsenal including screaming, running away, pulling out a gun, calling 911, using pepper spray, throwing a mean round-house kick to the temple, etc. is 100% useless unless you can effectively deal with the initial attack.

Self defense has only one goal - get to safety.

It isn’t about winning a fight or arresting your attacker (unless you’re a cop and we call it defensive tactics). Self defense isn’t about teaching your attacker a lesson, or getting an ego boost out of kicking a guy’s butt at a bar.

I hope you’ll take these words to heart and let them inform your training choices and your mindset.

Category : martial arts | self defense | Blog
27
Jan

Mission Centric Training™ is a term I coined a few years back when training civilians, law enforcement, and military personnel. It became clear that each of these groups of people had different goals, operating rules, equipment, training levels, etc. Training them all the same way is a mistake.

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Category : self defense | Blog
26
Jan

Hollywood remakes everything these days. Apparently it’s less risky to bank on the success of something earlier than to create something new. I shuddered when I heard that Hollywood is going to remake The Karate Kid - a movie which requires no remake in my opinion.

Apparently 1984 star Ralph Macchio has mixed feelings but has given a nod to Jaden Smith (Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son). Jackie Chan is set to play Mr. Miyagi.

Normally I couldn’t care less about what hollywood does. In the end, it’s all business designed to make money. In fact the original Karate Kid spun off three less than stellar sequels (OK #2 was OK), a cartoon series, luchboxes, toys etc. No problem.

I believe, and many agree, that the original movie is an icon of American culture. It fostered a youth interest in martial arts that is still in effect in the US and abroad. It promoted the positive virtues of martial arts in a way that shied away from the violent aspects shown in the movies of the day.

I was personally inspied by the movie and, to this day, if it’s on cable I’ll try to watch it. It helped start me on my lifelong path in the martial arts. So, yes I take it perhaps a little personally when I hear of a remake of a film so close to my heart.

I hope they change the story and go for a whole new “thing”. Jaden is, after all, only 10 so the high school bully thing isn’t going to play so well. I hope that Jackie Chan plays the Miyagi role with respect for what Pat Morita had created. And I hope that perhaps this movie will inspire a new generation to watch the original.

Category : Martial Arts Movies | Blog
22
Jan

I heard that great quote recently, although I’m not sure of it’s origins. I couldn’t agree more.

My preferred definition of self defense is this, “when faced with the threat of violence or actual violence, self defense is doing what is necessary to move from an unsafe place to a safer place.”

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Category : martial arts | self defense | Blog
19
Jan

Today I would like to talk about the idea of hard and soft striking in self defense. Particularly, I want to address the phenomenon of punching to the head. Punching to the head is common to many systems, yet may not be a particularly great idea in actual self defense. First, let me say that I do not make it a practice to rebuke other systems, or styles of unarmed defense training. Everything has it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses, and you can learn many valuable things from many systems if you approach them with an open mind. A punch is a tool, the same way that a kick, a lock, a throw or a screwdriver is a tool. Punches are very good for tasks for which they were designed, and not so good for others. For example - punches to the body are a great way to introduce a lot of force. Punches can create significant hydrostatic shock to the soft tissues and somewhat flexible ribs of the body. However, just as using a screwdriver as a pry-bar is likely to damage your screwdriver, punching to the head is also very likely to damage your hands. Here are a few things you should know:

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Category : self defense | Blog
19
Jan

NOW!

I know this seems a little off the cuff considering it’s such a serious topic, but I want to make it clear that there’s no time like the present.

In July – September of 2002 I, along with a fellow  trainer had the honor of conducting several free women’s self defense seminars in the Boston area. The seminars were packed; many times the rooms were over capacity. You see, during that time there were two serial rapists active in the Boston area. The local media had reports on every newscast every day.

Many women in the area were justifiably frightened – which led to the popularity of our classes.

I have also known many people to take up a martial art, or start to carry pepper spray, or some other tool after being exposed to violent crime. Without being too flippant about a serious subject, the words “too late” come to mind.
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Category : self defense | Blog
19
Jan

Smart companies take steps to keep their employees healthy - health insurance, dental insurance, wellness programs. It’s not just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. A new trend in Corporate Wellness is in-house self-defense seminars.

These seminars teach important life-saving skills and should become regular occurrences in many organizations’ wellness programs. Other than the primary benefit of teaching your employees to physically defend themselves - there are significant secondary benefits to self-defense training.
Here are 6 great reasons to include personal protection (self defense) training in your organization:

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Category : self defense | success | Blog