Thursday, December 23, 2010

The lie that saved me...

I was crossing a very sensitive border, leaving the world's
nastiest dictatorship with a head full of intelligence and enough
hard proof to avert global disaster. It was all going so well and I
was almost over the line when a beefy officer with an enormous
Communist hat and an even larger moustache stepped out from behind
his kiosk and grabbed me by the shoulder.

"Is that a Gymboss in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

A cold bead of sweat trickled slowly down my back. My head was
filled with an irritating loop of "Morning Train" by Sheena Easton
-- that was my mental conditioning kicking in, drilled into me so I
wouldn't panic in moments exactly like this.

I was busted and I had to think fast.

That border guard had eyes like a hawk. It was indeed a Gymboss in
my pocket, but I sure didn't want to admit it! He'd know I was
training TACFIT-style and the game would be up.

So what did I do?

I swallowed my pride and batted my eyelashes.

"Why yes officer, I AM happy to see you..."

It was a blow to my pride -- a Gymboss doesn't exactly make an
imposing silhouette -- but it bought me some time. They marched me
into a customs shed, and when they turned their backs to close the
door I picked up a heavy oak desk, pressed it over my head, and
hurled it at them.

The force of the desk took down all three guards. That thing was
solid! I would never have budged it if I hadn't spent those
precious three weeks between missions building functional muscle.

I bolted out the door and sprinted across the border before they
had a chance to get up and pursue me. And I threw in some evasive
dodges, rolls and dives just in case... I bet that freaked them
out, cause everyone thinks "muscular" has to equal "muscle bound."
Sorry Comrade, but that simply isn't true.

Now I'm safe at home, sitting by the fireplace sipping a protein
shake -- shaken, not stirred -- and polishing my dumbbells. I've got
some downtime, and that means it's time to hone my skills.

Yeah, these TACFIT courses have been a lifesaver for my career. I
used to "muscle up" using bodybuilding style training. But after a
while I got so darn bound up that I repeatedly threw out my back
trying to answer my shoe phone. You should have heard the guys at Q
Branch laugh their pocket protectors off!

No, I need muscle that's as functional as it is impressive. I need
strength, power, size and agility to meet the demands of my crazy
life. I might be scuba diving in the morning, scaling the walls of
a fortress at noon, and playing baccarat in the Monte Carlo casino
that night. I swear sometimes the trunk of my Aston Martin looks
like I live in it.

TACFIT is just what the special branch ordered. It's no wonder all
the guys in my department are using it. At least those of us with

This message won't self destruct like those fancy messages I get
from HQ, but the special deal on Mass Assault will!
Move fast like the wind, my friends. Move fast..... like the wind.


Aside from the over the top advertising methods, I like and recommend using the Gymboss timer. Very versatile, compact, etc. I have also been doing the TacFit Commando workouts for the last 4 months or so, and feel they are a great way to focus your training time/methods. I recommend using two gymboss timers, one for the warm-up and cool-down phases (set for 6 rounds of 30 seconds with 30 seconds rest), and one for the Tabata portion. Train hard, train smart.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Been a busy couple of months.

I have been doing Scott Sonnon's TacFit Commando as my base fitness routine the last 4 months or so. Weight has stayed the same (diet has been fair to lousy at times), but I have taken an inch off my waist, firmed up most everything else, lowered resting heart rate and blood pressure. Overall, I will keep on it until I get through the entire routine and let you know how it goes.

Will attempt to post more relevant Yau Kung Mun and other Chinese martial arts related information in the coming year (I know, Master Yoda says "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.").

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Preparedness is always personal!

From Spike's Place:

Courtesy of Mr. Farnam

29 Sept 10

Important Lesson:

A friend was close to the active shooter/suicide incident at the University of Texas library in Austin, TX yesterday.

She was in her supervisor's office, several doors down from her own. They were discussing an unrelated issued when shots were heard. Seconds later, a police officer showed up at the door and announced that the building was
being evacuated, immediately!

My friend had left her purse in her own office, and there was no opportunity to retrieve it.

Moment later, she found herself in the parking lot, without car-keys, call-phone, and wallet, which meant she had no cash, credit cards, transportation, nor identification. She could not drive anywhere, nor could she call anyone, even on someone's else's cell-phone, as she didn't have important phone numbers memorized!

She lived through it, but she had several long, helpless moments, and she told me that she would never again allow herself to be separated from important items.

Preparedness is always personal!

Emergencies tend to be come-as-you-are affairs, and there is seldom time, nor opportunity, to "get ready."

You're ready or you're not. Either way, nobody cares

...except you!

Comment: As always, great advice from Mr. Farnam. We are each responsible for ourselves and our loved ones. Use the information resources available to you (such as this great blog) and get some training to put the theory into practice.

As my friend Mr. Keating says - Be Trained or Be Chained.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pepper Spray article

The Problems with Pepper Spray

Briefly, the article talks of the issues taking a law enforcement tool and using it in the civilian world. Credit goes to Modern Combatives Systems Blog.

Also, if you choose to use/carry the spray, learn to do so properly. Much like when striking someone, you need to be moving away from where you were (stay on the X and he will likely strike out at the location).

You can find more personal defense items at MW Security Systems

Friday, September 24, 2010

Real World H2H

Sometimes we get too fancy for our own good. Here's some good advice from Death Valley Mag.

Only words of wisdom on this subject: investigate the use of the shin (vice foot) as the impacting tool. Unless, of course, steel toed shoes are in use.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Target Focus Training link

I have trained in the TFT methods for a long time now. I recommend them for everyone, and also recommend that you attend with others so you will have a reaction partner to train with.

The people at TFT also have some good networking tools, to get you in touch with other reaction partners in your area.

Head over to their site and take a look. I feel it will enhance your current martial art style, and will serve as a great basis for your personal self protection.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

10 Travel Safety Tips You Can’t Afford To Ignore

10 Travel Safety Tips You Can’t Afford To Ignore
Written by Lea - courtesy of Location Independent
Having survived cities such as New York, London, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh and Sydney, and a fair few other places such as Belize City, Mexico, Guatemala, Budapest, and Prague (back when it was far less touristy), I’ve learned how to keep myself relatively *safe* but you can never be too careful.
There is one travel experience I will never forget…and it involves being robbed of $200 by a group of 10 year old girls on the streets of Nice, France. It’s one of those things I’ll never forget for 3 reasons:
* At the time, I considered myself a fairly experienced traveller having flown and travelled to far flung places since the age of about five.
* The sneaky & crafty way in which they did it still astounds me – but knowing their trick has saved me (and some friends) on more than once occasion from succumbing to the same fate.
* The fact that I was robbed by 10 year old children is still just a tad embarrassing.
Here’s how I was robbed by kids…
A group of young girls crowded round me asking for money and holding out a piece of paper in front of them, asking me to read it. I tried to push them away but they kept swarming round me and pawing at me, asking me to read this sign and surrounding me, despite the best efforts of my girlfriends to help push them away.
After a couple of minutes I felt a small tugging on the security money pouch I was wearing (but hadn’t had time to tuck away properly – duh!). I looked down and as I did the kids scarpered having clearly been rumbled. I noticed the zip was open about an inch and was convinced they couldn’t have taken much from such a small opening. They’d actually snaffled around $200.
Another would-be thief tried the same tactic on me again whilst I was having a coffee with a friend in London a year or so later; our mobile phones were on the table and some guy came up to our table and held a piece of cardboard over the table in front of our faces and told us to read it. Wise to his trick, I immediately shoved it away and grabbed our stuff off the table and he skulked away empty-handed.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 1: Don’t Let Them Distract You
If kids or anyone else ever come up to you begging or holding out a piece of paper/cardboard or something else in front of them, push it away immediately and secure your belongings. This is just a distraction so their nifty little fingers can get at your valuables.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 2: Secure your luggage
When everything you own is carried round with you, it’s of paramount importance to keep this safe and sound. Even if it’s not worth much, it’s all you’ve got on your nomadic wanderings and what seems of little value to you, may be exceptionally tempting and valuable to people in the countries you visit. Keeping your luggage safe means securing it in any way possible, to prevent and deter anyone from tampering with or stealing your luggage…
* Always have a lock for your luggage – TSA-approved padlocks help to ensure that airport security don’t just cut it off and leave your luggage unlocked, plus they let you know if your luggage has been inspected.
* If you’re travelling on trains or you need to secure your bags temporarily (even if you’re sitting right next to them), then consider getting a backpack & bag mesh protector which encases your bag in a wire mesh and allows you to lock it securely to something to avoid it being taken.
* To help keep your possessions as safe as possible in your room both when you’re there or when you’re not, consider a travel door alarm to alert you of any suspicious activity.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 3: Secure your laptop
As a nomadic, work-anywhere entrepreneur your laptop is probably one of the most prized items you’re carrying. Not only is it crucial to running your business wherever you are, it probably cost a fair bit of money too. It’s well worth securing this valuable item with extra precaution and measures…
* Consider carrying a laptop lock and using it to secure your laptop up when you leave your accommodation and/or if you use it at airports, in cafes or other places where it can easily be snaffled from right under your nose.
* You should also consider the type of bag you carry your laptop in – whilst a fancy Tumi laptop case might set you apart from the commuters in New York or London, it’s almost as good as carrying a sign above your head forecasting your “rob-ability”. Try getting a laptop backpack that looks more like an adventure backpack. Alternatively, you could try the Pacfsafe Theft-proof bag.
* There are certain places where you probably want to avoid carrying your laptop around with you. As nice as it might be to go and work on the beach or from a wireless cafe, be aware of who sees you out and about with it and keep it under wraps. You may also want to avoid broadcasting the fact that you have a laptop at your accommodation by wandering in and out of your accommodation with it under your arm.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 4: Secure your cash & credit cards
* You may or may not be a fan of those travel wallets that strap to various parts of your body. Whether you use one or not may depend upon where you’re going and whether you need to carry huge wads of cash about with you. If you do use one, then I’d recommend the more authentic “belts“over the leg, waist or shoulder-type pouches – unless, as a woman, it doesn’t go with your outfit!
* Keep a note of your credit card numbers and the telephone numbers needed to cancel them (but not the security number and/or expiration date). Whilst some people advise making photocopies of the front & back of your card, if these get mislaid or stolen the thief can use the details to order online.You can keep a soft copy of your cards, password-protected on your laptop if you must.
* You should let your credit card company and bank know that you will be overseas – and ideally where you’ll be. Banks monitor suspected fraudulent use and will stop a card from working if they suspect it. Whilst it often only takes a phone call to reactivate it, it’s more efficient to let them know your travel plans in advance.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 5: Keep your eyes and ear peeled
If you’re new to a city and haven’t quite got the measure of the different neighbourhoods, then keep your wits about you as you’re walking around. You can usually tell whether you’ve unwittingly wandered into a different area by the type of people walking around, the state of the buildings and shop fronts on the streets.
If you don’t notice any other tourists and you do see more threatening looking people around, then walk confidently in the direction you came (unless you know a quicker way out already) without getting your map out and head back to a safer, more touristy/populated area.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 6: Blend in – or at least try not to stand out
If you are trying to blend in with locals – or at least stand out less – then on your first day in a place, notice how the locals dress and dress accordingly. Dead giveaways include:
* Wearing sandals with white socks
* Wearing trainers/sneakers
* Wearing a bum-bag/fanny pack (unless you’re in the US perhaps)
* Carrying a camera around your neck
* Having a tourist map sticking out of your pocket
* Wearing shorts & t-shirts when everyone else is dressed for business

Top Travel Safety Tip# 7: Avoid public demonstrations and marches
As exciting as it may seem to join a public march or demonstration, if you’re in unfamiliar territory and a foreign land, then it’s best to avoid these. Whilst peaceful demonstrations may be the norm in your country, you don’t know that this will be the case in a foreign country and your visa may also be at risk if you are caught taking part in political demonstrations. It’s just not worth the risk for that little bit of excitement and camaraderie you might experience at the time.
Top Travel Safety Tip# 8: Avoid broadcasting your lack of local knowledge
Unless you’re in a touristy area where everyone else is doing the same, the be careful about getting your map out and trying to figure out where you are. The same goes for standing in the middle of the road and pointing vigorously to specific points of interest in the distance – another dead giveaway that you’re less than a local.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 9: Always know your escape route
As you’re walking around unfamiliar areas, especially in the dark, take note of specific landmarks, buildings and amenities. If you ever feel threatened, it’s useful to know a ‘friendly’ place you can duck into (the nearest shop, bar, cafe, gas station, mini mart or restaurant) as soon as you can to either call for help or wait until the threat has passed.

Top Travel Safety Tip# 10: Leave your valuables at ‘home’
Depending upon where you are, you may want to consider always leaving your laptop, jewellery, watches or other expensive items at home rather than carting them around with you. Whilst some people have had bad experiences of laptops and valuables being stolen whilst left in a room/apartment, being robbed of an item directly from your person can be a far more unpleasant experience. Plus, you’re increasing the chance of something else happening (like dropping it or losing it) whilst you’re out and about.
The most effective advice is this…if you ever *feel* threatened, but you’re not quite sure why, then follow your instincts and get out of the situation you’re in as quickly as possible. We have instincts for a reason…trust them!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weapons of Yau Kung Mun

Yau Kung Mun, being a traditional Southern Siu Lum system, has a wide variety of weapons sets.

As an example of some of our sets, we have three staff sets teaching three different types of staff - double ended, long and medium lengths. We have single and double broadsword sets, double dagger sets, butterfly knife sets (similar in size to the Wing Chun knife, not the balisong), trident, horse bench, spear and three sectional staff forms.

Some question the utility of training with traditional weapons (who carries a three section staff in their back pocket?). I feel there are many reasons to train with traditional weapons.

One is that the usage of differing weapons builds a fighters attributes - strength, fluidity, stability. Swinging a large heavy weapon such as the Trident or a kwan do (not the lightweight versions ala wu shu) will quickly tell you whether you are rooting in your stances, as well as utilizing all the upper body muscles dynamically.

A second reason is for the retention of historical techniques. Look at the popularity of Renaissance Fairs and re-enactments - this is a way to touch with the past in a fun, healthy way.

A third reason is to learn the principles of the weapons (not just a form or technique) and apply then to common every day items (brooms, tire irons, pens, etc).

Historically, I feel that weapons usage was probably taught first, then empty hand skills (similar to modern day military usage - all learn to shoot firearms as the primary skill, hand to hand is lower on the priority). When Martial Arts became civilianized, the shift occurred to empty hand skills, character development, and weapons usage declined (as well as being outlawed in many countries). Also historically, time was limited for 'fitness' training, and weapons allowed for a way to train fitness and skill that directly related to fighting.

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Great Wing Chun link for you

China Boxer

Here is a site that seems to have a great amount of detail and information on Wing Chun.

Definitely worth a look for southern stylists.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hakka Kuntao

Sifu Amon’s Phoenix Eye Fist

A friend who has been talking with me about the Kuntao of "Uncle" Willem DeThouars sent me the following link.

Hakka Kuntao

Pretty good article, makes me want to learn even more.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Firearms Link

Here's a blog with a great title - "The Thinking Gunfighter".

Looks like some good information for those who intend to use firearms for defense.

(I just like the photo, nothing to do with the post.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Five circles of preparedness

From the Surviving in Argentina blog -

He describes the preparedness mindset much like martial artists discuss ranges - from the immediate, 'deal with it now' range to the longer range (but still life threatening), take a breath and cope (prepare) range.

I like to think of martial arts as being a micro version of the real world - the strategies/principles we use for protecting ourselves are the same, only the tactics and techniques change. And when things go south, fancy moves rarely help - simple, proven methods are preferred.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Preparedness Link

Preparedness Lifestyle vs Preparedness Event -

"Preparedness is like physical fitness, the little things you do every day matter more than the big things you do once in a while."

A little workout every day beats one long workout rarely. A journey of a thousand steps begins with one step, repeated.

Friday, February 19, 2010

From Ikigai - Blogging the martial way

"Everybody has to decide for themselves what they are willing to risk to defend themselves, their loved ones, and complete strangers. But it’s wise to understand the possible ramifications of relying solely on others for that protection."

Wise words from Ikigai -

Words that apply to all of life - don't wait around for someone else to do what you should be doing for yourself.

And a belated Gung Hay Fat Choy to everyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Knife Laws in Florida

Just a link to a blog I follow, for my fellow Floridians interested in things sharp and edgy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Media Hype or Firearm Facts—You Decide

Media Hype or Firearm Facts—You Decide
Posted on February 11, 2010 by Kellene Bishop

Thanks to Kellene for posting this. The inherent right to self defense should not be an emotional issue, but oftentimes it becomes one. No matter how you decide to defend yourself and your loved ones, get proper training. Training and awareness will get you through life much better than dumb luck....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Link to Low Tech Combat

From a blog I follow on Google reader - some good points for the Reality Based Self Defense crowd (and all of us who practice martial arts for a self defense aspect).
One on a skeptical look at MA -

One on Pre-attack indicators -

And one on aliveness -

Friday, January 8, 2010

Spar With The Mind of A Bloodhound

Clean and simple article on the inner dialogue game. Just as important as training hard is training smart.