Friday, February 25, 2011

Launch of a new website

Hello Everyone,

I have an announcement I wanted to share.  I still have one big surprise in the works for some time in March so this is not all I have going on but it is a big one to me.  I have launched version 1.0 of my new website.

Thanks to Tiffani Sahara Creative for the graphic design work and to Jeremy Hill for his help with website services in getting it online.  They are both available for work and I have their contact information if anyone needs their services.  They are incredible!

I am building a client list now if anyone knows someone needing either Process Service work and/or Private Investigations.  Get the word out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who are you?

Is life defined by our actions or our perceptions?  I had this argument with a friend in High School and I do not think we ever came to a conclusion.  But I have a quote that supports my stance on the argument.
Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
   -  Thomas Jefferson

What do you think?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Some great quotes...

I like quotes, the more simple and profound the better.  Here are a few that really hit me this week. 

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
- Nelson Mandela

"Darkness is only driven out with light, not more darkness."
- Martin Luther King, Jr. 

"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."
- Muhammad Ali

Thanks to Incense and Candles blog for the great quotes!

Knife in Chinese man’s head

Take a look at this blog post by Wim Demeeres. His blog post makes some very good observations: (Also, ee-gad! Four years!)

Knife in Chinese man’s head

By Wim

Here’s something you don’t see every day…

A Chinese man living in Yuxi, Yunnan province, had a knife removed from his head after it had been lodged there for four years…

He suffered from headaches, had difficulty swallowing and so on. He self-medicated for years to live with the pain but eventually, he went to see the doctors. Imagine their surprise when they took an x-ray and saw a knife lodged in his skull…

Knife in Chinese man's head.

X-ray of the knife inside the Chinese man's head.

Turns out the man fought a robber four years ago and remembered being struck in the jaw during the fight. I guess you could say he was pretty lucky to survive it… But that’s not what I wanted to point out, this is:

The man didn’t even know he got stabbed, let alone have a blade still inside him.

Which only goes to show that fights are unpredictable and things can happen so fast, you don’t know what’s going on until it’s too late. He clearly didn’t see the blade because he never even considered a knife wound as the cause for his medical issues. Had the knife struck a few inches to the side, the Chinese man wouldn’t have survived it. So he got real, real lucky.

This is one of the biggest issues I have with people who claim sports fighting techniques are great for self defense. It’s not that they can’t work in that environment, that’s not the problem because they sure can. But you typically don’t train knife defense when you’ll be fighting in the Octagon, simply because there won’t be a knife-wielding opponent there. And defending from a knife attack is very different from defending against a double leg take down. Which seems common sense to me but apparently it’s not for many devoted combat sports practitioners. Because if you claim otherwise, they say you’re a dumb as brick traditionalist.

Knife blade in Chinese man's head.

The knife, after removal form the man's head.

The weird thing is this: go to any MMA or muay Thai gym and ask if they agree that the way you train will be the way you react. Most of them will agree. Then ask them if you have to train for what happens the most in the Octagon instead of preparing for some sort of traditional art’s concept like fighting on an ancient battlefield. I’m pretty sure they’ll agree again.

But if you then point out that outside the Octagon, people use knives and other weapons, especially the criminals who are most likely to attack you, they don’t see the disconnect: sports fighting is not self-defense because it doesn’t address what happens most in real-life violence. It’s similar, I absolutely agree with that. But the differences are just as important as the similarities (Thank you Randy!) and it’s the differences (he’s unarmed vs. he has a knife) that can get you killed.

“Yeah but how about defending against unarmed attacks?! MMA is the shit for that!!!”

I don’t think that’s true but I’ll not dispute that sports fighting can be devastating in unarmed self-defense situations. Being able to punch, kick, knee, throw, etc. with a lot of speed and power is a crucial skill to have there. But here’s the rub:

Just like with our poor Chinese man here, you might only find out weapons are involved when it’s too late to do anything about it. Chances are, you won’t be as lucky as him so perhaps it’s not the best idea to count on luck here and prepare accordingly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Design for Guinn Martial Arts

Guinn Martial Arts has a new design thanks to Tiffani Sahara Creative.  It looks remarkable and I really appreciate her hard work on this project.  If you like the design you can buy a copy of your own on my logo gear website.

Powerline Designs - Guinn Martial Arts Logo Gear 

Need any creative work done, feel free to contact Tiffani at the link above.  Want a Shirt or coffee mug with this awesome design on it.  Go get one today!

And, yes!  I AM shamelessly promoting my stuff.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This Conclusion Comes with Clarity

This Conclusion Comes with Clarity:

"If you open up the Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵) you will find a comment somewhere in the pages that a person should be familiar will all arts. Musashi also goes on to make the distinction between being familiar and understanding other arts, he is not suggesting that you master every art, just know about them.

Here is a quick list of where I have spent time, Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, Hung-gar, Modern Arnis, Goju-Ryu, Judo, Aikido, Brazilian Jujitsu, Kenpo, Tai Chi and wrestling. You know what this experience has given me? A certainty. A certainty that what I am training now is right for me. This conclusion comes with clarity because I have had and still have the intellectual curiosity to explore other arts. A curiosity fostered by my parents, by my teachers and some of my martial arts instructors.

Now obviously I can not, nor could I try every art that is out there, that is impossible, however, a sampling allows you to “be familiar” as Musashi puts it. I liken it to a child that is resistant to trying a new food. They do not want to try it because they are confident that they know what it tastes like, and in a fit of immaturity turn up their nose to something that they have never tasted.

Some of my students have gone off to other arts, leaving the school permanently. Other students have returned after knocking around the martial arts world a bit. Other students have found something that lights them up more than karate. My comment to both of those paths is, “cool.”

I say get out there. There are more diverse opportunities in the martial arts than we have ever known in the history of man. Get out there try something new, you do not have to marry it, you can just date, it's OK....Guh a head, it's OK."

This article was written by Kris Wilder and Lawrence Kane. They are some great guys from up in the Seattle Washington part of the United States. If you ever get a chance to study with them it is totally worth your time. As for this article, I absoluely agree, read it and give it some thought. Personally I have spent time on, Shotokan Karate, Aikijutsu, Aikido, Jujitsu, Sambo, Wing Chun Chuan, Daito Ryu, Goju Ryu, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Muay Thai, Lua, Uechi Ryu, Kendo, Kobudo, Kempo, and the list goes on. Some of them I have worked on for years and others I have merely spent a passing seminar or book or even video tape in study. This does not make me an expert in all these styles. I can honestly say I am not an "expert" in any of them. I think I know a tiny bit more than the average bear but I have just scratched the surface of what there is to know of fighting and the martial arts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dehumanization and Self Defense Training

"On Killing" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is a book that I have been reading for quite a while.  It is a fascinating read but it has taken me forever to get through it.  I think I just have a lot of irons in the fire.  (Too many projects for those of you outside the area)  Anyway, as I said it is a great read.  Some very interesting information in it for certain.  I am not sure I agree with everything said in the book but that is important for any new information.  We must be able to analyze and see the truth of it.  I will go into detail on that in another post.  However, I have come up with an interesting (to me anyway) observation.

"Othering" People

Without giving too much away.  There is a practice of dehumanization nicknamed "Othering" by some.  It is the process of psychologically separating yourself from another group of people in order to allow you a mental barrier from any sort of personal accountability.  This makes it possible to herd, maim, and even kill with less remorse than one might have otherwise.  Applied in the book specifically to war it is how soldiers on all sides are able to kill their enemies.  I do not make a conscious practice of labeling people.  However, I realized on the drive in that I do it subconsciously.  It happens for me every time I get cut off in traffic.  Especially when I am cut off or if I perceive a threat to my or my car's safety.  Then the person who dunnit becomes "othered" with a whole list of words I will not share here.


It occurred to me after reading this that this is the same process people who are racist use to separate themselves from the race or ethnic grouping of people they dislike.  In this case, it is based on something as stupid and arbitrary as skin color perhaps.  Keep in mind this practice may or may not make you a bad person.  I can see where this practice might be necessary at times.  I will get into that in the training section later.

This practice is merely a tool used by people to set themselves apart.  However, there is no better example of the tool itself not being evil just how it is used being evil.  In the case of the Nazi movement in the 1940's the "Aryan" label was used to elevate a people above others.  Kind of a reverse to the process but still holds the same principle in common.  Of course, everyone knows their terrible focus was on the Jewish community at large and they also used derogatory terms to infuse both a sense of elevation to themselves and a dehumanization to their target.  This redundant use of both dehumanization of a population and the elevation of a people could have put an even larger mental divide between them.  Looking back it did create a serious hate within the people of Germany.  No matter the justification it worked and was terribly effective. 

If nothing else the use of this tool in the United States is still alive and well today when dealing with people who vary from a Caucasian background.  Some friends of mine went to a diner in nearby town and were refused service to my friends based entirely on the skin color of one of them. I admit to be a lot naive here because I knew this sort of irrational behavior still existed but had no idea it happened anywhere near here.  The phrase used by the company owner was essentially, "We do not serve people like Him here."  The use of the pronoun was emphasized to show the dehumanization that the owner felt.  

Law Enforcement(LEO)

A few years ago some law enforcement agency was picked on by the media for employing profiling as a means to identify potential threats to security.  The main statement by the media is that profiling is not fair because it lumps the innocent in with the guilty.  The very feeler and not a very thinker response.  It is a shame that the people who questioned this practice didn't look closer at the statistics to see that this is perhaps not real fair but is also very effective.

Another method of "othering" the people you have to manage is to set them apart by their actions instead of by their appearance.  In law enforcement because it is sometimes necessary to employ force to stop a situation the use of "othering" terms can be seen when the policy refer to the person as a suspect or some other similar term.  

If it keeps the general public safe from people who might hurt us is it still wrong?  I do not think so.  I think it is a means to a end.  It is a tool that allows people to do what they need to do to get buy.  Making the use of force, without it even needing to be lethal, easier.

Self Defense Training

Something that I know several people have talked about in self defense circles has also been about this concept of a "failure to engage".  I think it is likely more common among civilians than LEO.  This is due to the fact that as a civilian we have a bigger list of things to consider.  Do we run away?  Could we get hurt?  Would we have to hurt someone else?  Do I have the right to intervene?  etc...  Not to mention that if we do get involved in violence, too many systems do not give their students all the tools they might need to be effective.  Yes, you can punch and kick but what if the person you face is seemingly impervious to your attacks?  What about the idea that as a civilian our number one goal is to run away?

So, perhaps one way to make the engagement issue easier is to include some sort of "othering" effect during training.  Make clear to the person performing the technique that the opposition has crossed a line.  Pick a "go button" or some sort of threshold that you will not abide.  (Examples:  They get to close after being told to stay away.  Or the grab you after being told to leave you alone.)  It is probably a good idea to role play these things on occasion too, just so they are not so much a shock the students in class if it really happens.

Have everyone in class take turns being the attacker and the defender and include the use of terms that separate you from the opposition.  I would think that the terms do not need to be derogatory but they do need to set a firm line between the two people.  I prefer to use the term "bad guy".  Probably a little to cut a dried considering sometimes the bad guy could be family.  That is where you make clear that the thing that makes them the bad guy is that they have crossed that threshold that we have set for ourselves mentally.  They have crossed over into the bad guy zone.  Making us need to be good civilians, if that is our context, and run away.  If LEO is your context then instead of running away you arrest the situation.  Bring the crime to a stop or whatever is appropriate to the situation.


This is a new topic for me.  I will learn more where possible and be sure to share my research as I get more information or as my experiences show me a new perspective.  Give this a try in your school.  Decide for a single scenario to role play what make the opposition the bad guy.  Perhaps something they can role play in class.  Perhaps telling the defender that they have hit someone in their family.  etc...  Once the context of the scenario is established then let the attacker and defender play out the defense using the tools they have learned in class (punches, kicks, throws etc...).  This kind of drill will give the students a chance to try something very different for some of you.   In each drill have the student either quietly or aloud use terms that condition them to putting a line between them and their attacker.  Again, try to avoid terms that might offend as we want everyone to get along in and out of class.  You can talk about the attacker as the bad guy if that is easiest for you.

I welcome suggestions and observations on this article.  I didn't have the time to write it like I wanted but still want feedback if you have any for me.