Mark's Daily Apple on Fitness and Survival

Here are some very interesting posts by Mark Sisson on his weblog, Mark’s Daily Apple: Primal Living in the Modern World.  It is a well-written four-part series, discussing the meaning of fitness, modern standards, and how fitness relates to issues of survival not only for the average person, but also for our special forces.  Mark gives a nod to Crossfit in the final post, and discusses his own thoughts on standards based on our primal roots.  You should also check out his book, The Primal Blueprint, which the other instructor is reading and highly recommends!  It is important to be fit for health and longevity as well as fit to fight (in case you ever have to assert your right to longevity!!).  Speaking of Crossfit, we are currently working on ourselves and some of our clients in an effort to meet the Crossfit benchmark standards.  We find them very comprehensive, and though some people do take the workouts to the absolute extreme, scaled properly and ramped up reasonably, they are very well-rounded standards, indeed.   Anyhoo, Check out these posts!

Post 1: What Does it Mean to Be Fit? 


Post 2: Could You Save Your Own Life? 


Post 3: Modern Fitness Standards: How Do You Measure Up? 


Post 4: Primal Blueprint Fitness Standards 


Mark’s book:



We are starting to delve more deeply into the concepts of Neuro Linguistic Programming so we can apply it to rapid learning in class.  Feels like I’ve just been reading a lot of metadata, now I am finally reading about the nuts and bolts.  If we can learn to use these techniques, students can absorb Combatives Concepts more quickly and be able to use them immediately.  Even beyond conceptual information, we want them to acquire skills more quickly.  I already know that some camps say NLP is a pseudoscience.  I am not so much worried about that because I keep reading about its application and find arguments quite compelling in light of other material I have read about the brain. 

Here is an interesting article by Lee Morrison (Urban Combatives) on his experience training with Marcus Wynne and applying NLP to CQB.  He was not able to go into a lot of the specifics because Marcus has developed his own approach.  If only we knew what that man knows! 

I am currently reading a book that lays out the NLP concepts.  It applies them to maintaining health, but one should be able to apply them to anything in life.  I remember Marcus mentioning the book in another article, so I went digging for it.  All of this reminds me of another book I have that I didn’t get to reading yet.  It is entitled Sources of Power, and it is about how people make decisions, under duress, that save lives.  Do you ever feel like you have all the pieces of a puzzle, to unlock your understanding and take what you do to the next level, but you just haven’t figured out how to arrange everything yet?  Of course, there is always more to learn, even if you finally do put one of the puzzles together.

Basic Pistol Seminar


Combat Hard taught another Firearm Safety and Basic Pistol Course this Saturday.  We set up the indoor Airsoft range again, which we must admit looks pretty darn cool.  It was another great seminar and participants had great questions about owning and carrying firearms, as well as safety issues regarding children.  This is a introductory class, and students will have an opportunity at a later date to participate in live-fire courses on the range as well as our Integrated Combatives class that combines fighting and shooting.

We would really like to thank Heath Mayer, who talked to us about the Georgia Carry organization, which does a lot in our state to protect our rights to bear arms.  We would like to thank KBX Gym, our gracious host! Oh, and thank you so much Lissa for helping us with the trailer situation!!! You are the best, girl! 🙂

Charles Nelson

Perhaps some of you already know of Charles Nelson, the former marine instructor with a special gift for Close Combat methods.  He studied and incorporated many fighting disciplines in his system of self-defense, including combatives methods taught between WW1 and WW2, Western Boxing, Ju Jitsu (dirty fighting), and Mongolian Wrestling, among others.  For half a century he passionately taught his methods in New York City to anyone and everyone.  He would regularly collect news stories that involved violent crime, and utilize the details to create scenarios to teach students what to do if they found themselves in similar lethal encounters.  He believed that avoidance was the best defense, but that sometimes trouble found people despite their best efforts. 

We have utilized some of his fight sequences in our Gutterfighting, and he had a tendency to draw the attacker in to a false sense of security (think of breaking into his OODA loop) before launching into a fast and furious attack; he would attack to diminish the intention of the attacker.  This, of course, follows the principles of close quarters combat: speed, surprise, and violence of action. 

Charles left behind quite a legacy, and many people survived terrible encounters due to his no-nonsense, practical approach to self-defense.  Take a moment to read about this amazing man.

Gutterfighting Combatives Seminar


Chin Jab!


Knife to throat


Catcher's mitt pistol disarm


Gun disarm


Group shot!

On Saturday, Combat Hard conducted a three-hour seminar on combatives.  We put things within a scenario-based framework and drilled empty-hand techniques, knife and pistol disarms, as well as improvised weapons (magazines).  Everyone had great questions.  As much as we would like to fill in all the blanks of what could happen and what people should do, of course, some of the variables in any given situation would be anyone’s guess until a real-life encounter unfolded.  We all need to certainly use our imaginations and become critical thinkers, and scenarios are a great way to play with the possibilities, as well.  Emotional content is essential.  I try to feel as I would feel in a lethal encounter, complete with facial expressions and feeling the aggression surging through me.  One important point we stressed was training like we wish to perform out on the street.  Whatever we repeat in training, including bad habits, will come out!  This is why it is critical NOT to do things like hand the pistol or knife back to the training partner after disarming him or her.  This is just one example.  We cannot put this into our motor programs.  SO IMPORTANT!

Thanks so much to all students who participated, and to KBX Gym for making the seminar a success!

Know the Law That Governs You

Something that we have probably not talked about enough on this blog is the law and how it views use of force.  As you might expect, it is going to vary from state to state here in the U.S., as well as in other countries.  So, I highly recommend that you get online and read the local code that governs you wherever you live.  Whenever we talk about use of force, I am always a little surprised at what people do NOT know.  For instance, several individuals have expressed disbelief over not being able to legally shoot an assailant after disarming him.  Granted, if that assailant is still attempting to harm them, it is a different story altogether.  But, if he is no longer exhibiting threatening behavior, and they shoot him anyway, it is basically an execution.  If some guy throws the first punch, and I render him unconscious, AND I CONTINUE to beat him, the law is not going to look at me with a friendly eye.  It is easy to be vengeful and angry for his crime against me, but that doesn’t absolve me of committing my crime.  We have to make the distinction between force and excessive force, and if we use deadly force, we need to be able to articulate why.  Ignorance of the law of the land is never a good excuse, and I really don’t want anyone to transform an act of self-protection into a prison sentence.  Be safe and use your heads!

Imagine versus Visualize

In my last post I talked briefly about helping students to imagine all aspects of a scenario through imagination, using language that speaks to all the senses, not just visual.  Some people really struggle with mental pictures, or have none at all.  For me, it simply became a habit not to visualize.  I once had the ability to vividly create mental pictures, but I was told as a kid to “stop daydreaming!”  Now, I was not able to hold onto the images for long stretches at a time, but I could nevertheless create them.  This could be true for you, as well; maybe you are just rusty!  OR, maybe you need to imagine things with other sensory information.  It is an individual thing.

Brian Willis talks about this very dilemma of visualization in his blog post.  Interesting reading: