Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

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My MA and the Six Phases of SD

Caveat: This post is mine and mine alone. I the author of this blog assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this post. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding.)

I have been practicing and studying martial arts for my entire life and seriously since 1976 while serving as a Marine, i.e., 2/72 - 12/81. During that time, as a Marine on active duty and later on inactive status I always thought that my Marine training along with my martial arts training provided me what I needed for self-defense. That went on for a very long time. I would venture to guess I was pretty much fooling myself until I was exposed to the materials in my bibliography (not just the SD ones below but more). 

I first began getting a hint that I was missing something when I came across the budo books written by Dave Lowry, and a few other authors, but truth be told I didn’t come to realize all that was missing including some things outside the more physical disciplines that would, could and luckily never had to happen in the self-defense arena. There are a lot of authors but those listed below had the most influence in a change in my mind-set/mind-state regarding my martial arts practice and self-defense, i.e., my self-defense martial arts. 

My intent, much like many others over the last four or five decades and more, was pretty much about learning how to handle the bullies in my life starting with my brother all the way up to interactions with Marines and others later in my adulthood. I was lucky that I didn’t step across the line and suffer the consequences that could have happened for my actions. I wanted to have the ability to “kick some ass!”

No one, not one sensei, teacher or instructor ever told me about the law, legal ramifications, the mental/psychological fallout to violence and the economic problems I could have encountered by acting the way I acted. Pretty much monkey shit most of the time. You could have guessed that one, right? Not one ever discussed any of the information I have come to understand in the last decade or so. 

Well, enough of the fluff to set the stage, this post is about what and what is not included in my self-defense martial arts studies using the six phases as presented by Rory Miller from his book, Meditations on Violence published June 6, 2008. Since most of the really good material, from my perspective, came out early 2000 or so it makes me wonder why so many MA SD folks didn’t’ already know and teach this stuff. I guess it comes down to a lack of knowing and a whole lot of money.

Phase one, you are going to have to get Mr. Miller’s book to know what the phases are exactly, I can say that although really late coming I now can say my study and practice of martial arts has this phase included. Currently I only teach, if you will allow me, through my postings, etc. I don’t have a dojo and don’t teach anyone directly and even if I did I would have already changed the training syllabus to include as much of the six phases as possible with requirements that stuff I could not teach would be sought out by the practitioners/students. I feel good about having at least an understanding of the stuff necessary for this phase.

Phase two, I am working on this one, sort of, by changing the way I practice. I am still missing a need to practice this part with others but then again my focus for self-defense seems to be more toward avoidance rather than applying the physical stuff. I am still working hard toward the understanding and study of things like avoidance, awareness and types of violence/levels of force issues, etc. I have a long way to go but still feel good about the foundation I am setting in this phase. 

Phase three, I am missing this one even tho I have had a form of this type of training all my life where the question would be, “Is it the type of stuff that will keep my in the SD circle?” I am not eager to get out there with the folks who can train/teach this part or to gather students where I can work it out for a variety of reasons. Not excusing it but this part may best be done by the younger, stronger and more motivated practitioners where I am currently content in gathering and studying and applying what I can - alone. 

Phase four, I believe I have adequately trained to break the freeze. I have done it a few times, not in the dojo, and I have continued to do so in a variety of ways that are not really dangerous. It is a bit like awareness, you can train and practice that in every day life while not being exposed to conflict and/or violence. Granted, every day life presents forms of conflict and violence and those moments also provide time to train this phase.

Phase five, this one I am happy to say worked for me in the few and minor events I experienced many years ago. I didn’t know what it was and what the other phases were then so consider myself very, very lucky to have passed those moments successfully. Since I am really about avoidance in my winter years and about being aware of the dangers out there I feel strong that my spidey sense will kick in and I will listen with enough time to avoid. As to those rare moments of predatory violence, well, I am aware and therefore smart enough to know when to make changes so exposure is limited as much as a human can achieve. I am prepared both mentally and physically to act if it ever happens but I suspect that my lifestyle and environment is one that will help me remain relatively safe and secure (even if my wife does not understand and sometimes thinks I go a bit overboard, i.e., like when I tell her to lock the car doors after she drops me off at the train station for work. I feel a good balance between a level of vigilance and awareness way below a paranoia hyper-vigilance some think is necessary. 

Phase six, since I have not had to experience a full blow all out attack and survival along with all the legal, moral and personal repercussions I am still good because I accept the fact that these exist and if I am in this situation that I understand they exist and accept the fact that I will deal with them if that time ever arrives and so on. I accept that this phases exist and that I must achieve some level of proficiency to remain within the self-defense circle and I feel confident that I can stay in the circle but my life style tells me that I am at least mentally prepared. 

There are so many more steps that are not directly referenced in Mr. Miller’s six phases but are inferences or alluded to if you go the distance and study, learn and apply his recommendations in the below references. As phase one and two indicate, this is where it all begins and all training should provide the full spectrum to, at minimum, prepare folks for the possibilities of conflict and violence, to create a mind-set/mind-state because this part, the mind, may be the trigger you need to “get-r-done.” 

I don’t normally give time to “regrets” except in this one case. I regret that these guys were not there in my youthful martial arts training days because it would have been a lot more proficient, productive and relevant to modern self-defense and martial arts. 

Primary Bibliography of Self-Defense:
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Secondary Bibliography of Self-Defense:
Ayoob, Massad. “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense”Gun Digest Books. Krouse Publications. Wisconsin. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.
Maffetone, Philip Dr. “The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.” McGraw Hill, New York. 2000
Strong, Sanford. “Strong on Defense_ Survival Rules to Protect you and your Family from Crime.” Pocket Books. New York. 1996.
and more … see blog bibliography.

My Blog Bibliography

Cornered Cat (Scratching Post):
Kodokan Boston:
Mario McKenna (Kowakan):
Wim Demeere’s Blog:

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