Wednesday, August 9, 2017

You are the product of your training.

"Chasing what cant be done is madness. But the base person is unable to do anything else." - Marcus Aurelius

The dog that is allowed to chase cars will chase cars, the child who is never given boundaries will become spoiled. a mind not in control of itself will be directed on impulses and external events, This is not how one wants to live. You must be aware of these flaws and embrace corrective training with fiery enthusiasm. This is the path towards finding the way.

I spend a lot of time sitting in an office getting worked up about things like the office not having enough paper clips or a building cleaner being mouthy because they made a mistake of some kind. Letting these events attack you emotionally is not productive. being short on stationary is not a problem in an of itself it is merely an inconvenience. It is weak to react to this and that weakness needs to be conditioned with repetitions and drilling.


Grey Stoicism: It is not what happens that hurts it is how you react.

"True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.:"

This is going to be a first in a series of journals covering the beginning of a practical effort on my part to reshape and recondition my mindset and philosophy on life. Mindset has been a key been factor in my writings ever since the first article i published to this little corner of the Internet. Quite simply it has always been my philosophy that your mind is the ultimate weapon I have simply failed in recent years to treat my mind like a weapon and treat life like the ultimate battle.

Stoicism is a gravely misunderstood philosophy, It is often summarized as "be emotionless because emotions are evil" but I do not really believe this is an accurate summary of the philosophy. For starters mental health treatment in 2017 should always be an option for people there is no shame in seeking professional help. The philosophy asserts that it is our perception of things rather then the things themselves that affect our lives and impact us.

It is not what happens it is how you react to it that hurts you.

I write a lot about combat sports, conflict, war and violence and one thing that is key in any conflict is that the better mentally conditioned opponent, The fighter who is more knowledgeable in himself and his foe will ultimately be the victor. Now to say these things is simple and easy, everyone has given you advice before about being more mindful of your flaws or advice on how to think differently. But with this we are going to be tackling this head on through operant conditioning. This is my attempt to bring back the old me.

Now why this sudden extreme change and approach to my life? I last posted to this website in December of 2014 about how the year 2015 was going to be the year that I recommit myself to my passions, However early into the year things would change drastically.

In March/April of 2015 I suffered a significant series of troubling events that pushed me towards things to cope that I never imagined would be a part of my life, Things that I denied from my life as they were in my eyes counter productive to living a Martial Life. From alcohol consumption and drug use, thoughts of self harm and suicide. This was the hardest time of my life and included the loss of a relationship which I expected to last for the rest of my life, I witnessed a suicide and began suffering with my own suicidal thoughts.

The kicker? These problems are still happening today in August of 2017 and I am still allowing them to interfere with my life. And I realized after looking back on my old writings how far I had fallen from grace and that I was not the man I was when I started this program, Now change and growth are natural however when I look at the Grey from the beginning of this project to the Grey of today. I am simply inferior.

To some self deprecation is seen as a negative but I am not above telling somebody they are a piece of shit so I most certainly should be willing to say that to myself when merited.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

2015 and onward

As I sit at my desk around an hour in to my twelve hour back shift, staring at a pile of reports and research papers with my tall bottle of very stale, very warm water courtesy of my zero caffeine resolution for 2015. (Spoiler: this is brutal.) I slowly come to the conclusion that I have missed this little corner of the cyber world that I call my own and that I should get back to it.

So hello internet. It is good to see you again. It has been a while since I have sat down and put fingers to keyboard to add to this project. I am hoping to add more to this place in 2015. Lets do some good here internet.

I have had a ongoing list of things that have kept me away from the project, a summer trip to beautiful Newfoundland, my return to my home province to go back to my old job, It has been a very trying time but there is some good that comes out of the journey, I have been away from the project for far too long. I have not been active in martial arts any more, This has left me with lots of time to reflect but also has introduced negativity. I feel that the need for the controlled application of violence is necessary in my life as a conditioning tool.

According to my stats I get a decent pile of hits and readers, Please tell me what you want me to talk about, comment, share with your friends, offer feedback.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Laws of Kenpo: Law 2 Strike First

The Law: This principle has several meanings. First, it indicates that kenpo is primarily a striking art. Seventy percent hands and 30 percent feet is the classical breakdown, but you can change the proportion according to the circumstances or your body build.
The second meaning is that if a confrontation is inevitable—a thug is climbing through your bathroom window at 2 o’clock in the morning and he starts swinging a baseball bat—you should not wait for the aggressor to attack first. You need to hit him first with a foot, a fist, an elbow or a knee. You also need to hit hard and hit continuously until he is subdued.
The kenpo curriculum also includes numerous grappling and throwing techniques, but research has shown they are used in less than 25 percent of the encounters practitioners have found themselves in, and they are ineffective against multiple attackers. Because grappling uses four times as much strength and energy as striking does, it has been deemed a last resort suitable for use only if your opponent penetrates your first and second lines of defense: your feet and fists, respectively.

Grey Commentary: I think that while the law of first strike and the idea of not waiting around for your opponent to assault you before deciding to act is sound, I feel that this is not applicable to every situation especially in cases of self defence or in work related environments such as security and law enforcement
I believe as far as the grappling commentary is concerned unless you are in a LE or security position grappling and locking up on an people and essentially trying to effect some kind of an “arrest” is not wise your goal should be to strike quickly and fiercely and get off the line of attack and get far away. Grappling with the intention of breaking a limb is applicable in my eyes as it is an effective way of incapacitating a foe that being said there are much faster ways of breaking limbs. My priority is to strike quickly and get as far away from this fight as possible if I am not being paid to be in this fight why would I ever want to stay there?

My stance on that is also not a whole “police/security vs civilian” argument it is simply examining the requirements of the situation if I am a police officer or a security officer I will need to detain the subject I am fighting with because they may be involved in a criminal investigation or might be trespassing and property or might need to be detained for other reasons related to their assault or attempt to flee. If I am a civilian and I do not have devices to restrain an individual it is not an effective use of energy to attempt such techniques.

The one spot I do see an applicable stance on locks and grappling would be to remove an intruder (like the bathroom window) from your home or place of business. strike first with multiple attacks some stunning blows followed by a power shot or two, circle around to a side, apply a joint lock and remove them from the area. That is in my eyes a very street relevant stance for grappling tactics.

The Laws of Kenpo: Law 1 The Circle and the Line

The Law: The first law of kenpo states that when your opponent charges straight in and attacks, you should use your feet to move your body along a circular path. You should also consider moving your arms in a circular pattern to deflect the oncoming force.
When your opponent attacks you in a circular fashion, however, you should respond with a fast linear attack —along a straight line from your weapon to his target. Just as the circle can overcome the line, the line can overcome the circle.

Grey Commentary: I think Circle and Line makes some sense from the most basic of positions. If the opponent steps in with a jab roll over the lead hand to cover the face shuffle step around to their side and then follow with a jab to the temple or a body shot or even a side kick the options are near limitless. That being said there may be instances where such a tactic is not the wisest option where I do not want to count them circling with a linear strike and then be inside their reach and instead circle around with them to maintain a fix on their position possibly circling with them will also allow me a position near an exit to allow me to escape in a street scenario or I may just not want to get close to them by going with the linear attack. Always have options.

The comments of circular blocking motions like parrying or circular outward/inward blocks has its place but I feel this is also relevant to linear fighting as well. I believe that checks and parry’s would be more applicable to circular movements as the goal is speed and not power where as a linear block would be more solid and have more power behind it.

The idea of the line overcoming the circle is a practice found in other traditional asian martial arts like wing chun which is a very linear style of fighting with regard to the centre line concept and its striking styles these styles can also found in parts of kenpo. I feel that both have their place but the reaction to a circle does not always need to be a line nor a line a circle.

This law need not also be applied from the movement of the body but from the angles of a strike, liner strike blocked by a circlular block, followed up by a liner strike of your own circling into another strike of your own followed by one more linear strike. Like the old boxing adage of head, body, head, body

Here is a video from Kenpo Master Larry Tatum. The video is a clip from one of his DVD’s and cuts out near the end but still offers some commentary on the law from a striking application. In this video Master Tatum reacts to a right straight punch with a right handed inward block, followed by a ridge hand to the neck, followed by an elbow to the face, followed by a hammer fist to the liver.  

Musashi's nine principles from the Book of Earth

"To all Ways there are side-tracks. If you study a Way daily, and your spirit diverges, you may think you are obeying a good Way, but objectively it is not the true Way. If you are following the true Way and diverge a little, this will later become a large divergence. You must realize this."
  1. Do not harbor sinister designs. Think honestly and truthfully.
  2. The Way is in training. One must continue to train.
  3. Cultivate a wide range of interests in the ten skills and ten arts. Then one can definitely find the benefits of hyoho and develop oneself.
  4. Be knowledgeable in a variety of occupations, and learn the thinking of people who work in them.
  5. Know the difference between loss and gain in worldly matters.
  6. Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all matters. It is important to build up an intuitive judgment and understand true values.
  7. Be aware of those things which cannot be easily seen with the eye. Develop intuitive judgment and a mind that freely controls one's body.
  8. Do not be negligent, but pay attention even to the smallest details. Keep them in mind all the time, so as to avoid unexpected failure.
  9. Do not engage in useless activity. Do not argue about useless things. Concentrate on your duties. 
The nine basic attitudes listed are essential for freeing your spirit from negative thoughts that would interfere with the journey. They must be constantly drilled and you must take them into your heart. only once you have accepted these attitudes are you able to proceed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Meditations on Violence: Overcome the bully.

It has been far too long since I have sat down and put fingers to keyboard and talked on my pursuit of the way and the goal of living a martial lifestyle. When I first started this project in February of 2012 with my post on taking your ego out of the fight I intended this to simply be a way to record my musings on life, violence and martial concepts. As time went on and I got more deeply involved in my work things took a steer into more work related stuff, while also dabbling in urban survival concepts and some gear reviews. And while these are all great things to be knowledgeable in and aware of the true way is in training to quote Miyamoto Musashi everything else is secondary.

To have training and knowledge is to build confidence it gives you a true inner power. Something that you can reach deep down inside of yourself and grab onto when the going gets tough. That is what I am going to talk about today. But first I have a question for you as readers.

If I told you that for the next 12 years or so for 8 or 9 hours a day I was going to send you to a place that would give you a regimented system of subjects in the arts, english, mathematics, sciences, your nations history, hands on trade skills and life skills for both your current home life and your future. you would be taught, drilled and tested on these subjects and expected to rise to a certain level of standard and that theoretically your results would have a major impact on the rest of your life and all of this would happen under the eyes of a trained administrative body designed to watch over you, teach you and in theory protect you while you were at this place.

At the same time in between or even during these academic subjects you would be exposed to without any warning and at a moments notice a variety of very challenging issues not related to these subjects of learning such as social circles, rumours, deceit, mental manipulation, peer pressure and downright violence

And you will have to adapt or overcome all of these issues while trying to learn the subjects you have been tasked with and at the same time adapt to your own personal growth, emotional and physical changes. 

And what if I told you that the administrative body from before would in your eyes provide the bare minimum level of assistance to help you solve these issues? And you have to go there every day for five days straight and then they would give you two days off to recover and then throw you right back into it for another five days.. over and over for the next 12 years.

It sounds like some kind of prison sentence doesn't it? or just some twisted experiment but for 64 percent of our youth in this country. That is their school experience.

Here in Canada and for that matter many other countries around the world there are easily hundreds of thousands of youth and adolescents who will face a level of violence, harassment and intimidation on such a regular basis with no true warning or preparation just by getting up and going to school. Some of these kids will develop emotional trauma from this, some may commit suicide from these events and a rare few may even lash out and kill because of these issues.

And what if I told you we could do something about this? As a child I was sheltered from violence in my youth while at the same time being exposed to violence both at home at the hands of a parent and at school at the hands of "the bullies" which at times felt like it was the entire school. Not knowing how to cope with this constant hammering my reaction would be different with each encounter ranging from running away, fighting back, crying to just uncontrollable screaming at the constant never ending hit of this wave of violence and aggression.

I had no outlet no coping mechanism no moral support my entire time in this system and it was not until I had grown into adulthood and moved out into the real world that I found the thing that saved me.

Martial arts saved my life. Not by teaching me how to fight or how to harm people but by teaching me to endure anything, teaching me discipline, teaching me my own self value and giving me a family that I can look to for support. A family from all walks of life regardless of Gi or belt colour, style or system, race, gender, creed, sexuality the only thing that matters when you put that Gi on, the only thing they look to you for is your willingness to learn, train, roll and grow as a person.

I am sure most people who have had even basic exposure to the world of martial arts especially the mixed martial arts community know about the Gracie Family. In case you dont I will simply say these people are like royalty to our community. an unbelievably long line of martial artists in the study of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with several high ranking masters and world champions in a variety of leagues. Here is a video from Rener Gracie talking about the program the family has developed called Bully-proof which has taken off like crazy and gained a HUGE amount of support.

I strongly encourage any parents and martial artists to support this program. Teaching your child a martial art is not about teaching them to fight it is about teaching them to unlock that inner power deep down inside of them