Ferocious Resolve

Check out our latest article submitted on eZine, entitled Ferocious Resolve and the Physical Confrontation:



Oh My Aching Torso

Okay, so we have been teaching a class this January that focuses specifically on the kettlebell, the whole kettlebell, and nothing but the kettlebell (so help you God).  Now, we have been using kettlebells for years, but we have often utilized the little cannonballs within a cross-training format.  A couple of stations of kettlebells, one station of straight bar exercises, one station of pullups–you get the idea.  It has been some time since I personally dedicated a full block of time to just kettlebell lifting.  Right now we are following some of the girevoy sport training protocols.  My entire torso is so tired and sore in places where I did not remember I had places.  There is such a great deal of stabilization going on during all of these unilateral exercises, I have found renewed respect for these hunks of iron.  Just last night, whilst resting my tender core, I was singing the praises of kettlebells to my younger brother, who is old hat in the ways of weightlifting (respectable 480 pound deadlift and 350 pound bench), but completely uninitiated when it comes to slinging bells.  I may create a new convert in him yet because he is itching for something new and intense and he has become so pressed for time in his daily life, though he loves to work out (a former firefighter).  I find myself talking about bells a lot these days, and it is because I really am on fire for them even though I have Crossfit standards on my goal list for 2010.  Something else I will mention is the fact that when I started using them a few years ago, I had some lower back issues.  I know a lot of folks have a concern about this because they ask us about it quite regularly.  My lower back issues completely went away, and I truly owe it to kettlebells.

Anyway, just my personal stamp of approval on these tools, for what it is worth.  Like I said, I have renewed enthusiasm.  We have walked into many a school weight room and seen bells sitting in the corner, collecting dust because a lot of coaches don’t really know what to do with them.  What a shame, and what a boon they would be to young athletes’ training programs.  Along those same lines, I was reading an article the other day on Elite FTS about coaches becoming more reluctant to teach olympic lifts to young athletes.  What another crying shame!  I better stop there before I get off on some crazy tangent.  🙂

The Will To Survive

This past week I was reading in the book Meditations on Violence, by Sgt. Rory Miller.  Some folks feel you have to be in lethal encounters in order to have anything intelligent to say about violence.  I hear this from time to time.  I understand the whole notion that leagues of martial arts and self-defense instructors possess no touchstone to reality.  Maybe some really do hide deep inside their art, which is comprised of a set of movements and strategies developed in another century for an entirely different set of fears and circumstances.  But I guess the problem is this alternative: does one have to go out and pick a fight, or specifically drop oneself into the lion’s den in order to gain valuable insight?  Experience is a powerful teacher, indeed.  But, as the author admits, every situation carries with it its own set of variables.  No two encounters are alike.  What happens in one scenario may or may not inform another.  The interesting thing to me is that people without training or personal experience in the so-called “reality” of violence successfully defend themselves in a trial by fire.  How is this possible?  For instance, what gives a teenage girl the ability to improvise and stab her would-be abductor with a ballpoint pen and get away?  My best guess is that she possesses a strong will to live, conscious or not, and at that moment of reckoning, she decided in a heartbeat that she would not be a victim.  Regardless of an instructor’s art or personal experience in the ways of violence, if he or she develops the ability to instill a sensibility in people that their lives truly matter, then much has been accomplished!  Be wary of any instructor that tells you he or she has THE way and THE solutions, and spends a lot of time trashing other ways and other instructors.  I really lose my patience with people who waste time doing this.  Use critical thinking, yes, and as the JKD philosophy states, “absorb what is useful” for your mind, your body and your environment.

There is an interesting anecdote in the book about the author trying to convince a young woman that she has the ability to defend herself.  She believes she cannot do this because she has unsuccessfully defended herself against previous boyfriends in play fighting.  Rightly so, the author says this activity has no reflection on reality, since she possesses no real intention of harming the other individual.  He asks her to imagine a 200 pound man holding an 8 pound cat.  Then he asks her to imagine someone throwing water on this cat.  What happens?  She replies that the cat goes “berserk” and is impossible to control.  So, what are the implications of this that we can apply to the woman?  She believes the cat has an advantage because it uses its claws and teeth.  He leaves her with something to chew on: AND YOU DON’T?  A great analogy.

Girls and Girevoy Sport

A Russian gal, Ksenija Dedyukhina, slings a 53 pound bell for 120 reps.  Impressive, don’t ya think??  Well, she is a World Champion.  🙂


One of our readers shared a link to Rick Vargas’ blog, and it addresses Rick’s thoughts on the present day climate of self-defense.  While I get very excited about new brain research and training techniques and how it applies to what we are doing, I totally understand what Rick is getting at, and he includes one of my favorite quotes from Bruce Lee about simplicity:

“Before I studied martial arts a punch was just a punch, a kick was just a kick.  When I studied martial arts a punch was no longer a punch, a kick was no longer a kick.  Now that I’ve transcended martial arts, a punch is just a punch, a kick is just a kick.”

Check out the post:


Critical Eye on Reality Based Self Defense

Here is a very interesting post on Club Chimera’s site.  It is a critical assessment of the new wave of RBSD, or Reality Based Self Defense, and how a lot of camps tend to fall into traps of their own making with their sometimes misguided approaches to self-protection training.  Whatever discipline each one of us trains, whether it falls into the RBSD category or is a more traditional art, and we have notions of using it out in the world to defend ourselves and our loved ones, we should evaluate the efficacy of our training techniques and practices with a critical eye to see if it is appropriate.  If we follow any one path blindly, we are doing ourselves a tremendous disservice.  So, with an open, beginner’s mind, take a look at this article.  It brings up some very interesting points as food for thought!


Dan Inosanto on Wing Chun and JKD

I trained Wing Chun for many years.  It would frustrate the heck out of me and make me feel totally inept, and at times I wondered about its applicability.  I knew someone like my first instructor, Francis Fong, could make it work in close quarters battle, but I was not certain how I could make it work.  And yet, like most things, you don’t realize what you are absorbing until much later in your your journey.  You see, over the course of time, how certain things really do make sense and add another dimension to who you are and how you move.  I do not profess to be a Wing Chun master by any stretch of the imagination, but my training still shaped me.  I think, to some degree, I took for granted my training with Francis Fong, whom I hold in high esteem and give much gratitude for helping me onto this path.

Here is a video clip of an interview with Dan Inosanto and his thoughts on Wing Chun and the foundation of JKD, Bruce Lee, Yip Man and Francis Fong:

Part 2 of the interview:

Much thanks to Edges2, Inc., for posting these two interesting videos on their site.