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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Martial Arts Self-Defense Training Requirements

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Rory Miller provides us with what is absolutely critical (my words absolutely critical) to achieving adequate self-defense and what I am proposing is a matrix, if you will allow me some latitude, for martial arts use in ensuring the full spectrum, i.e., all necessary essential requirements, is achieved. It is not meant to replace other martial arts dojo requirements for grades but a supplement that adds to those grade requirements when the dojo teachings self-defense as a part of their curriculum. 

Mr. Miller introduces us to the six phases, a complete system of self-defense that, “Should and would cover everything from talking to shooting, and more.” I have created, tentatively, a matrix that requires each phase according to the Kyu level of the practitioner. To research more on this subject from the perspective of a professional, Rory Miller, read the book, “Meditations on Violence.” 

This article presents a generalized requirement list for the Kyu grades that include the two of three most important steps or levels of the “Dan” grades, i.e., both Sho-dan (1st) and Ni-dan (2nd) levels. I used these lower levels simply because, like learning and practicing fundamental principles, you need to set the proper foundation early on in training to prevent the long process of retraining if not done at the novice martial arts levels. Add in that you must find a solid experienced Sensei to teach this part. I say this because there are many Sensei teaching MA-SD that don’t know they don’t know all of these requirements. 

Note: Below’s short terse explanation of Mr. Miller’s phases are my notes from the book and I don’t guarantee they are accurate but recommend reading his book, Meditations on Violence, to verify and validate. My premise in incorporating the phases into the martial arts requirements are meant to get more into the MA self-defense requirements to bring martial arts up to speed in the conflict, violence and self-defense arena. 

         10th Kyu: 
Phase 1 - This phase is first and should be done long before violence hits. This one is about learning and familiarization with the legal aspects of self-defense such as force decisions you can legally use and so on. It is also about answering both the moral and ethical issues with regard to violence.
           9th Kyu: 
           8th Kyu: 
Phase 2 - This one is after phase one, of course, but still before you encounter any type of assault, the physical stuff. You need to understand how to avoid and prevent attacks. Understand terrain. Develop awareness - all kinds. Study about predators, crime, and violence dynamics. Learn how to deescalate yourself and someone else verbally. You need to learn the warning signs when it is too late to make de-escalation work. Remember that the predator won’t give you a chance to use this level.
          7th Kyu: 
          6th Kyu: 
Phase 3 - Use operant conditioning in your training and practice. Optimally, train a small group of counterattacks to sudden assault and train them to reflex speed. This is one of those things that can derail a predator’s attack plan. 
          5th Kyu: 
          4th Kyu: 
Phase 4 - Train to break the freeze. Learn to recognize and act when hit with the freeze.
          3rd Kyu: 
          2nd Kyu: 
Phase 5 - When in the fight, everything you learn in martial arts now applies - if you get here. Phases three and four, in the authors experience (Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence), are usually neglected in martial arts training. They are critical to remaining functional long enough to access your training. 
          1st Kyu: 
          1st Dan: 
Phase 6 - All the stuff that follows the full blown all out attack and survival. You have legal issues, you have health/injury issues and you will have emotional issues
          2nd Dan: 

“If you are training for self-defense you MUST address all six phases of training. If not, seek out training and instructors that will fill in all the missing phases to your martial arts practice. No matter how skilled you are in martial arts or how skilled you “think” you are in martial arts, failing to address any of the six phases can result in your possible death, great bodily harm and all those legal and medical after effects you will have to deal with.”

All of these phases should be taught in tandem with other martial arts requirements with none more important than the fundamental principles of martial disciplines. As can be seen, especially with the physiokinetic and technique principles, the principles are critical to learning the necessary requirements of phase two and three. Take a look at the principles, all of them, and do a comparison to what the requirements are in the phases of SD training, there is an interconnectedness necessary to make both work. 

PHASE 1: I consider this the most important phase to learn. It involves all the things you don’t know and that you don’t know you don’t know. There is an additional set of principles added to the fundamental principles that covers a lot of territory necessary to learn academically so when you take on the next five phases you can begin to “Understand” those requirements thereby encoding them along with other mental and physical necessities. 

Articulation and conflict communications are about learning to listen and communicate to achieve such goals as avoidance and deescalation. Add in topics like, “Emotional Intelligence, the three brains, JAM/AOJ and five stages, adrenal stress conditions with reality-based training scenarios, Types of violence, Pre-attack indicators, Weapons, Force levels, Repercussions of using SD, Attitudes and Diplomacy, Legal requirements of self-defense, awareness, permission, initiative, multiple attack methodologies and more … all need to be studied beforehand, before violence occurs, and before you use your skills in self-defense. 

The Principles Discussed Herein:

PRINCIPLE ONE: PRINCIPLES OF THEORY (Universality, Control, Efficiency, Lengthen Our Line, Percentage Principle, Std of Infinite Measure, Power Paradox, Ratio, Simplicity, Natural Action, Michelangelo Principle, Reciprocity, Opponents as Illusions, Reflexive Action, Training Truth, Imperception and Deception.)

PRINCIPLE TWO: PHYSIOKINETIC PRINCIPLES (Breathing, posture, triangle guard, centerline, primary gate, spinal alignment, axis, minor axis, structure, heaviness, relaxation, wave energy, convergence, centeredness, triangulation point, the dynamic sphere, body-mind, void, centripetal force, centrifugal force, sequential locking and sequential relaxation, peripheral vision, tactile sensitivity, rooting, attack hubs, attack posture, possibly the chemical cocktail, Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat]???see below)

PRINCIPLE THREE: PRINCIPLES OF TECHNIQUE (techniques vs. technique, equal rights, compliment, economical motion, active movement, positioning, angling, leading control, complex force, indirect pressure, live energy and dead energy, torsion and pinning, speed, timing, rhythm, balance, reactive control, natural and unnatural motion, weak link, non-telegraphing, extension and penetration, Uke. Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat])

PRINCIPLE FOUR: PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY (Mind [mind-set, mind-state, etc.], mushin, kime, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin and being, non-action, character, the empty cup.)

PRINCIPLE FIVE: PRINCIPLES OF SELF-DEFENSE (“Conflict communications; Emotional Intelligence; Lines/square/circle of SD, Three brains (human, monkey, lizard), JAM/AOJ and five stages, Adrenal stress (stress induced reality based), Violence (Social and Asocial), Pre-Attack indicators, Weapons, Predator process and predator resource, Force levels, Repercussions (medical, legal, civil, personal), Go-NoGo, Win-Loss Ratio, etc. (still working on the core sub-principles for this one)”Attitude, Socio-emotional, Diplomacy, Speed [get-er done fast], Redirected aggression, Dual Time Clocks, Awareness, Initiative, Permission, multiple attack/defense methodologies (i.e., actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat)

PRINCIPLE SIX: CHEMICAL COCKTAIL: (Attacked Mind, Train It, Breath It Away, Visualize It Away, Sparring vs. Fighting, Degradation of Technique/skills, Peripheral Vision Loss, Tunnel Vision, Depth Perception Loss/Altered, Auditory Exclusion, Weakened legs/arms, Loss of Extremity Feeling, Loss of Fine Motor Skills, Distorted Memory/perceptions, Tachypsychia (time slows), Freeze, Perception of Slow Motion, Irrelevant Thought Intrusion, Behavioral Looping, Pain Blocked, Male vs. Female Adrenaline Curve, Victim vs. Predator, The Professional, Levels of Hormonal Stimulation, ???)

This comes down to knowing and understanding and how it all interconnects and functions in the world of conflict and violence. The list of study material necessary to set a solid foundation in self-defense just sets the stage where what you learn is used to learn all the other phases. 

In this phase there are no shortcuts. Unlike martial arts training where often practitioners either pass up, gloss over or totally ignore the boring and repetitive stuff the first phase is going to be tedious and require the same efforts of study and discussion you used to get yourself through all those years of education, i.e., grades one through twelve and then on and into the various programs of University. Just look at it as if you were going to become a physician, there are a ton of years and studies you will have to endure long before you can practice medicine on another human being. Consider your self-defense as a means of practicing that defense on other human beings where grave bodily harm and even death are on the table - cause in both disciplines lives are on the line.

Granted, this is a huge amount of data to learn but where better than up front in order to set the rhythm and cadence of training, practice and its applications over a lifetime of martial arts. It is like the story of how “Tiger Wood” trained to become the greatest golfer, i.e., through a long tough and challenging training and practice regimen over a lifetime. 

All I can say is that once you achieve such a huge and important goal never once in your entire life will you ever regret taking the time and effort and strength to walk this path. Learning to walk the path both in good times and bad is the point. Accepting human nature in conflict and violence is the point. Taking the proverbial heads out of the hot sands of denial and social conditioning is the point. It all begins here.

PHASE 2: Here is where the fun stuff begins, the part where you begin to play. Things like applying principles to actually apply force and power along with all the other cool stuff begins here. Yea, you got to do other martial arts stuff like basics and even kata along the study path but now you really begin to get into the meat and potato’s stuff that will set you for staying within the self-defense square (coined phrase from Marc MacYoung). 

Here is where other things often not taught in the more general martial arts self-defense training. Thinks like awareness, i.e., one of those things I personally feel provide us all the understanding and training to recognize conflict and violence in its earliest stages so we can avoid and/or deescalate, etc. This is the second most important thing I feel once can learn in self-defense. This is where we self-analyze using the learning in phase one to assess and change ourselves for it is often our monkey brain that gets us in conflict and leads toward violence. Not always, but a lot of the time this is true.

Some other things that will be taught here are, “Understanding terrain and developing all the kinds of awareness, studying about predators and crime and violence dynamics, using verbal skills to deescalate yourself and someone else, learning waring signs when it is too late to make deescalation work, and what to expect when a predator, process and resource types, attack with sudden, surprising, painful, structure and balance disrupting, close in and a flurry of injury inducing pummeling …

I consider this phase as a good place to introduce things like, “Adrenal stress conditions reality-based training scenario’s” as well as operant type conditioning necessary to make it work in the most difficult positions one can be in necessary to apply self-defense. 

PHASE 3 (Note: Usually neglected in MA training): Here is where operant conditioning becomes serious. It is recommended that one, “train a small group of counterattacks to sudden assault and train them to reflex speed.” Here we can pull up things you studied early on such as what will cause a freeze and how that effects your self-defense at all levels, a kind of intro into phase four. 

PHASE 4 (Note: Usually neglected in MA training): Breaking the freeze, the OO bounce and other debilitating aspects of conflict and violence. Often this phase trains folks that in most cases have never encountered and/or experienced the conflict and violence that would cause the freeze/OO bounce. I can almost guarantee that a good majority of martial arts self-defense never even acknowledge this part of required training and practice let along teach it in a manner that will actually be useful if attacked. 

PHASE 5: The do or die phase or maybe better, “The do or get injured or die phase.” Everything you have learned, practiced and intend to apply as appropriate to the situation now applies, i.e., the get-r-done phase. I am not sure exactly what Mr. Miller meant as to my notes on this phase but I suspect this is the phase where you have to make it work. It is that phase where the adrenal dump effects are triggered through adrenal stress conditions reality-based training scenario’s. Yes, we did some of it earlier as a kind of prerequisite so it won’t be a surprise here but here is where the rubber meets the road at least to as great an extent that can be done with relative safety and without actually exposing yourself to “Real Violent Encounters.” 

This is where the military and police, etc., take it as far as possible for it is in this phase those without hands-on experiences need to learn, practice and understand because when the proverbial crap hits the fan they are going to need all five phases to achieve success in phase six. 

PHASE 6: My interpretation, perception and perspective on this phase is to teach and train all five phases while learning to understand and apply them as if in a full blown all out attack and survival where you learn about legal issues and ramifications, the health/injury stuff and all the emotional effects you will endure before, during and especially after an incident. 

I remember a close friend who was suffering, many many years after combat, some emotional and psychological issues as a result of combat and killing in combat. He once let me know that he could not understand why, after years and years of nothing, he began to feel and suffer because of his actions in Viet Nam. I had just finished the books by LtCol Dave Grossman, i.e., On Killing and On Combat, because it seemed to me important for my friend to know and understand why what he was feeling, etc. was actually normal along with ways to handle it, etc. I got a call from him long after that discussion simply to say thanks and that those books went a long way to help him understand and accept what was happening. It all helped and that is why this is so important to martial arts training in self-defense. 

Remember, without such training and practice when you encounter conflict and violence, especially at the higher levels, that lack of knowledge, understanding and application at least in training and practice WILL result in the FREEZE and you will suffer the consequences of that I have no doubt. 

Rory Miller discusses these phases at length and his materials do to a deeper level of study, training and understanding but this short article should at least provide martial arts dojo a better view of what self-defense NEEDS to get-r-done. Hopefully no one will have to make use of this education but since humans are still a violent animal species, albeit a higher level species, that use conflict and violence at more levels than what most understand. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

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