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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Training the Mind-Set

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.

According the Stanford Strong, author of Strong on Defense, police and SWAT training academies throughout the United States, the core of officer survival training is the survival mind-set. What he then explains as meaning, having bottom-line survival decisions made before violence strikes

Mr. Strong goes on to stress, “a survival mind-set creates a point of reference, a starting block for that moment when the difference between life or death (or great bodily harm) is decisions made immediately.  Survival is what you do when the crime is going down and what is instantly done or not done likely decides who survives and who doesn’t.”

“The advantage of a survival mind-set over everything else is that it’s always with you and ready for immediate use.” This means one must train the mind-set so that when the sudden assault, i.e., the fast, hard, close and surprise attack, hits where there is no space and no time to think or decide as to goals and tactics to remain safe and secure. This is where mind-set come into play or what I prefer, setting a mind-state you can rely on instinctively to “get-r-done.” 

This post is my attempt to learn, understand and then apply to my life so that if, god forbid, I encounter violence by surprise that results in both fear and pain my mind-set/mind-state will kick in and allow me to bypass the OOD part and act, Yea!

Martial Arts

Strong on Defense states: “There is nothing wrong with the martial arts except that as normally instructed, they are not the answer to surviving violence. In their pure form, they have many objectives: discipline, control of both body and mind, as well as fundamental principles of martial systems, i.e., mastery of physiokinetics such as posture, structure, centerline, spinal alignment and so on. Crime survival has one objective: to make split-second decisions under the stress of violence and a time of life or death or grave bodily harm.”

Martial arts are mostly studied in our modern society as  a means of personal accomplishment, gaining respect for self and others, ability to concentrate, to achieve balance, self-control and development of self-discipline - all a part of survival training but accessible in a violent encounter IF your get that far first by instinctual triggering a proper mind-set/mind-state. Martial Arts is also excellant in exposing a practitoner in experiencing pain - to learn what it is like to be hit, to be knocked down, and most of all to get back up and continue regardless of those things along with experiencing fear and surprise, etc.

Martial Arts can be a tool to combating violence provided the training encompasses that full spectrum of violence as presented in the book by Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence, where he explains how four phases of training that get you there. 

Another aspect of martial arts concerning survival of violence is it is just the opposite of the accumulation of techniques, kata, and black belts but rather about reductionism, i.e., trimming moves and applications for efficiency, revamping to break down what is trained for violence defense into simple and easy goals and tactics with fluid techniques and combinations that will be encoded into that mind. 

What must not be forgotten and the distinction all martial artists must believe, understand and accept is that martial arts and crime survival are two totally different and distinct disciplines yet both can cross over if the training and practice are adjusted. Even so, the one definitive training requirement is the one that trains the mind or mind-set/mind-state as described in the book, Strong on Defense.

Crime Defense

It starts, especially for civilians who are not professionals like police, military or security, with the study of “real-life crime scenarios.” Training must be related to reality, the reality that comes from the real and directly inter-connected to this type of training. It is about teaching the practical side with stronger emphasis over the art side in martial arts - not neglecting that art side as well. Both are also seperate and distinct disciplines and should remain so in training.

Surviving crime and the violence that is a part of that comes from the mental toughness one develops and that does not come from ignoring crime and violence because it is hard to digest, difficult to see and leaves bad feelings. It is part about education, acceptance and taking the reins and riding forward to create a mind-set/mind-state that will allow other disciplines and tools to be available when violence hits.

Mind-Setting Mind-State

The core of Strong on Defense’s mind-set training is about rehearsal and visualization. One must not assume that this is the end all of training to deal with crime and violence but rather another tool that one should teach and learn in phase one and two of the four phases of training. Look at it as a way of planning your responses to various scenario’s but in a way that they will be available and doable to many scenario’s, not just the one.

When you draw on real-life crime cases you can analyze things, discover mistakes as you perceive them from others, learn and then decide on how you would do it if that happened to you. Mr. Strong wants his readers, I feel, to create survival do’s and don’ts from the study and discussion and visualization of “worst-case” scenario planning

When facing violence and crime the mind should not be working toward what and why the attacker is doing what they are doing but rather focus should be on “what you are going to do.” 

Reality training, if available to you, may supplement and support this type of mind-set/mind-state training but it ain’t the real thing. Since most life or death or grave bodily harm attacks cannot truly be trained  physically we have to mentally rehearse with visualization along with group discussions with friends, family and/or dojo mates for martial arts so that you are exposed to different perspectives, perceptions and idea’s to create those mind-set/mind-state do’s and don’ts. 

Another benefit of this type of training is it helps build on your awareness, another aspect taught in phase one and/or phase two of violence/crime training. This type of awareness provides those instinctual alarms that we feel, like a spidey sense, to achieve avoidance, noticing quickly those road signs that say, “danger, violence and/or crime ahead!” 

Make your planning, mental rehearsal-visualization-discussions, your plan for when you encounter crime/violence. Think of it as planning to make good decisions - from a good system - where you discuss, visualize and rehearse the do’s and don’ts to reduce and/or mitigate the consequences of crime/violence and so on. 

When you train rehearsal, visualization and round-table discussions make sure you are aware of self, aware of self-honesty, aware of fear and pain, and aware of fear, pain and injury so it won’t be an obstacle to your acting. Make the first order of business in mind-set training to learn to deal with fear, pain and injury - three factors that contribute to mind-lock, the freeze.

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 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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