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Saturday, October 8, 2011


Wow… what a week. There is something to be said about being surrounded by the best of the best. And not only are they the best but are all too willing to help us learn, grow, improve and become the best we can be.

A great teacher cannot help you transform yourself into a duplicate version of him but his glory lies in his ability to help you become the best “you”.

Kasey beat me to an awesome re-cap of the entire week so I will avoid the repeat and just throw in what I have taken away from those amazing teachers.

It is going to be hard to describe what we did without giving away any of the actual class contents. If you want that… attend the class… there is no replacing it.

Here are the major highlights for me.

· Solid structure. Hitting someone with a brick wall has a lot more effect than hitting them with a feather pillow. If your body is well structured, your arms and legs will not collapse on you and you will be able to hit with a lot more power than if you let your arms turn into spaghetti. Speed is nice but structure gets the job done. And with my size difference, I NEED all the structure I can muster. I have taken away some good exercises I can do by myself to test out my structure. Kasey's sword class only re-enforce those lessons. It’s much harder to control something that is far away from you. If your structure is sound, it can be done without breaking a sweat. We can all take a lesson from architecture. If the structure of a building is not sound, it will collapse.

· Subtle movements that pack a lot of punch, minimum effort vs maximum results. Check this photo of the hole in the wall that was created when I “sneezed” a big guy in the wall…. Call it what you want but a rose by any other name would be just as awesome.

We worked on power train, continuity of movement… never break the chain. Another thing that is extremely important for smaller people. When I keep the power train intact, I can be one step ahead of my opponent. I can “feel” what he will do next and it makes me look like The Flash. I never allow a break in the control I have and give him a chance to re-coup. A break in the chain may mean my collapse

· We worked on drills, boy did we work on drills. It was awesome… loved them. It is a great way to reinforce the principles what we were working on and to ingrain new concepts.

· We learned about conflict communication, how to avoid or recognize traps and pitfalls into every communication: be it a relationship, work, professional, social. A must for everyone!!!!

· We learned about the dynamics of violence: how bad guys act, how and why violence happens, how to recognize and avoid most of it. If you are going to spend any time learning to defend yourself, you NEED to start here!!!!

· My favorite lesson was to learn to shut off my thinking pattern. One of my biggest draw back has always been to try and plan ahead: if he does this, I will do this , then he will react this way and I can counter with this. This does not work unless you outweigh your opponent by a good 100lbs then you can use your strength to patch up the mistakes. But if you get in that habit, there will come a time that it will not serve you well, I don’t care how big and strong you are. Forgetting to "do" martial arts freed me to finally do the martial art I had in me all along. I started to look for “gifts” instead of pre-planning. There is always a gift handed to you somewhere… find it. This was wonderful. The Plastic Mind drill….. totally rocks!!!

In this golden age of “Combat system” and “self-defense gurus”, it is refreshing to talk to people who are not learning their trade through Hollywood bull crap but through actual real life experience. They know the difference between …. “Hmmmm… that looks cool so it should work” and “Dude… you try this and you will get killed or go to jail”. They have seen it, tested it and refined it.

If you can’t take care of yourself after this clinic, you slept the whole way through.

Be smart, stay safe!


  1. Can you elaborate more on shutting off your thinking pattern and looking for gifts? My instructor always tells me to work with what you have available rather than trying to do this or that technique, but I still find myself preplanning a lot, then when things don't go according to plan I get frozen

  2. You are in good company. Most martial artists do the same thing. ;-)
    That's the major feedback we had, that people tend to either pre-plan or rely on things they "think" will work (strength for big guys, techniques for martial artists) instead of seeing the openings, the gifts your opponent gives you.... and they ALL give you something to work with. It's like trying to fit square pegs into a round hole.... "but I really wanted to do a leg sweep right here... it would have been so cool"

    Rory's drill... the Plastic Mind.... is what seemed to have unlock it for me. Can't promise it'll do the same for you. But I guarantee if you invite Rory over for a clinic... he'll help you work toward your goal.

    You can find the drill book here:


    His drills are are very mind opening and let you do a little soul searching. I highly recommend them.

    Let me know how the experiments works out for you