Monday, December 28, 2009

The Tao of Frappe'



Greek Frappé

Preparation Time: 2 minutes Serves: 1 Ingredients 2 tsp Nescafé Classic 2 tsp sugar Ice cubes.

Preparation: Pour 10-15ml of water in the shaker (preferably not chilled, but chilled will still do). Add two tea-spoonfuls of Nescafé Classic and one tea-spoonful of sugar, or more if desired. Shake strongly until all the water becomes foam. The use of an electric hand mixer, instead of a shaker, will make a shinier and creamier foam. Pour into a glass of 250ml, add 3-4 ice cubes and chilled water to fill the glass for black Nescafé Frappé. For white Nescafé Frappé, add 20-30ml chilled evaporated milk. Ideal serving temperature is 10 degrees Celsius.
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Hint: The quantity of water in step 1 plays important role in creating qualitative foam. Very small quantity will not produce enough foam while large quantity will produce soapy foam. If you desire different dosages of coffee and/or sugar, the exact quantity of water in step 1 should vary accordingly. Milk should always be put after stirring otherwise the foam loses all its stability.
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I am watching a video called "My Life in Ruins." It is a B+ grade movie about a college professor who lost her job and takes a position as a tour guide in Greece. We'll just say that things don't exactly go her way and she is a bit up tight and cranky. After many mishaps she is blowing her cool and begins to melt down. Richard Dreyfuss is the smart ass of her latest tour group. She finally blows her lid at him after he makes another comment and no sooner than some defensive words leave her lips than she realizes she said something she didn't really mean. Come to find out Dreyfuss lost his wife a few years previous and went on this tour because she always wanted to go to Greece, so he goes in memory of her.


The movie reminds me of my Greek travels last year. Seeing many of the places that I went to. Simply breath taking! I feel very fortunate to have been able to go. I feel very fortunate to have been able to travel as much as I have, do the things that I've done and meet the wonderful people that I have along the way.


There is a part of the movie where someone is drinking a "frappe' " and it reminded me of my first frappe in Greece. Nestled in a quaint outdoor cafe' in the center of Athens I was told that a frappe' in Greece is kind of like having a Starbuck's here in the U.S. only MUCH better! Having a frappe' is more than just a drink it's an experience to be shared and to be relished, not rushed. So that is exactly what we did, enjoyed the conversation, watched all of the crazy people go by, talked about where we all had been, what we did, would like to do, what we thought and just about any other subject you can think of and sometimes we all talked about nothing in particular at all. This went on for hours. It was strange at first and took me some time for me to fully appreciate and embrace. My fast paced corporate habits were difficult to shake, but after the guilt went away and the feeling that I had to be doing something more "productive" subsided, I was able to enjoy simply being, sharing and living. It was simply wonderful!
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What can be more productive than sharing the experience of being alive with others? Joseph Campbell said, "I don't believe that people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive!"
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I think Joe was absolutely correct!
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The person who I have to thank for introducing me to my first taste of Greek culture was Hannah, a sweet Aussie bartender I met at the hostel Athena on my first night in Athens. She taught me a few things about Greece; Ouzo, frappe, torpedo's, how to drink guy after guy under the table and probably the biggest lesson of all, how to really live life. Hannah was young, full of life and fearless. She befriended everyone she met and lived for the moment. When I heard of her death this past August it made me reflect on many things. I was glad to have met her and continue to be inspired by her zest for life.


It just goes to show that you better be enjoying the ride you're on, because tomorrow may never come. Do you remember the movie Captain Ron? At the beginning of the movie some guy on the elevator says, "We all have things we want to do in life, but before we get to do them some window falls on us, some truck flattens you or you catch some disease... Someday I'll retire to Wisconsin, someday we'll all have more time for our kids, someday Marty will do something worth writing about. Well, what if someday never comes and this is all there is? Huh?"

Well, what then?!


If one day you woke up to believe this was true how would you change what you are doing right now? How would you treat others? How would you choose to spend your time?!


Food for thought for the new year.


Enjoy that frappe' as long as you can my friends! Life's too short!


All the best,

~Craig

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eye of the Storm


Yes it is true I am back from Jersey and training with Jack Hoban. I decided to leave GR early to avoid getting caught in the blizzard that was threatening to paralyze my travels. Attempting to stay in the "Eye of the Storm" so to speak, I left Wednesday afternoon of last week and missed the storm completely! The trip driving back was equally un-eventful which I am thankful for as well!
For those who I train with here in GR, I'm sure that you know what main themes I usually come back with after training w/Jack:

1) Warrior Ethics - Universal Values - Protector/Defender Mentality

2) Controlling Space

3) Smithwicks

It is always good training and this month was no exception. I especially liked the material that we worked on this time. December is also the time that the Buyu has their Daikomyosai which is a celebration honoring Jack's teacher Masaaki Hatsumi. So after the training everyone gets duded up and has a fancy dinner and drinks. It was wonderful to share that with everyone!

On Sunday I had the opportunity to hang out with Jack at his abode. He and Yumiko were wonderful hosts! Thanks so much for your hospitality!

Jack and I chatted, watched the Jets beat the Buccaneers and we talked about Jacks new company - Resolution Group International (RGI) http://www.resgroupintl.com/index.html. RGI is a conflict resolution organization created to address the needs of military, law enforcement, peacekeeping, security organizations, and international corporations.

During a conversation with Jack I pointed out that in order to maintain your tactical space you have to keep your emotions in check while under pressure. If you get overly emotional you rarely think, respond or move in the manner that gives you the tactical advantage. This is true physically, mentally or emotionally. If you lose your cool you often make decisions that place you in harms way. How many times have you gotten angry at someone and "lost it" finding yourself saying and doing things that you regretted later. Or maybe you can remember a test you had while in school that you studied hard for, but you lost it mentally and could barely write your name down. On the battlefield if the soldiers break rank they are more vulnerable and put themselves and others at risks, not to mention they cannot accomplish what they set out to do.

Keeping a cool demeanor is critical in life, especially to save it! If you get the chance pick up and read "The Survivors Club" which tells many true survival stories of all types. It talks to people who have survived some pretty "un-survivable" circumstances ranging from cancer to accidents, assaults; the gamut. The book also outlines common traits that each of the survivors have and how it helped in their survival. Among these traits the ability to stay calm was the number one common trait among the survivors.
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We are so inclined for drama in this day and age most people don't know what to do with tranquility if they ever experience it, hell, I don't know what to do with it half the time. As Dan Millman said in his book "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior," "It is the way OF the peaceful warrior, not the way TO the peaceful warrior and walking the path itself makes the warrior..." This is essential especially when working under stress.

This attitude of staying calm under fire; being the eye of the storm will help you in life and in crisis, but it needs to be cultivated and constantly worked on. As Jack says, "A warrior does two things, fight in wars or trains. So if they aren't in a war they are training for war."

Without staying calm in a situation you put yourself and others more at risk.

Some hints for staying calm are:

Keep a good attitude:

Have a certain amount of faith that things will workout alright even if...especially if you don't know exactly how it will happen, be open to opportunities that you weren't expecting.

Positive internal dialog:

Keep that coach inside your head telling you positive things that will help you to keep yourself under control (rather than not).

An example of this would be:

Let's say you were having a conversation with someone who you don' t think is listening to you how do you respond to them? Or how about if you were waiting for a loved one to get home and they were late: If your Internal Coach was telling you that the person that you were waiting for was in a horrible accident you might be anxious or upset; but if you were thinking that they may be running late because they were picking up something nice for you, then you may be in a different state of mind.

Our Internal Dialog frames the neutral event and we tend to play into how we frame things.

Breath:

Taking a deep breath helps to clear the mind. Maintain a slow steady breathing pattern from the abdomen.

Remember the acronym T.A.C.T.E.? We went over it in a previous blog:

T- Take a deep breath & think clearly

A- Assess the situation

C- Create a simple plan

T- Take action

E- Evaluate your progress

So there you have it.

Happy Holiday's everyone!!

Be well,

~Craig

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The "Buzz" and Some Insights

Hey Gang~

I'm sitting here listening to some Dishwalla, thinking about my life, my past, my new career directions and just reflecting on the day.

It's been a good day. Krav class in the morning was good. We worked on some clinching and talked about negotiation and de-escalation tactics and how it relates to Universal Values.

After class wrapped up I went to another great seminar taught by Buzz Smith. Chuck Pippin from Innovative Martial Arts brought Buzz in to teach this all day seminar.

Buzz taught with great thoughtfulness, insight, and respect. I've grown to admire those qualities in him. He always shares his unique perspective and art openly with the skill and care of a true artisan. He explains the concepts in a way that everyone can understand. By making the complex simple he doesn't just show you what he can do, he shows you what YOU can do. The mark of a good instructor. I'm sure everyone left with more than what they came in with on many levels.

I saw and trained with many others that I haven't seen since The Gathering in Spring or at one of the other seminars. It was great to see and train with everyone! Also thanks to Chuck for bringing Buzz in! Much appreciated!

One other thing happened that I want to mention: Buzz asked his childhood sweetheart Deb to marry him! She accepted...of course! :-)

Buzz told us that he chose to propose to Deb at the seminar because he considered us all his family and wanted to share that moment with us as well... people who he cared about and who cared about him. It was a touching moment for all of us. Congratulations Buzz and Deb! Thanks for sharing that with us!


Ok, now here is the educational part of the show... well sort of. For your education and entertainment I picked out some videos and pasted them below. I labeled each with a thought. You should find them rather informative, educational, but mostly just entertaining. Enjoy!!

*For those who offend easily or are upset by profanity you may want to skip this next part! :-)


When to Give Up:








How to Properly Profile a Threat (Will Smith Style):








Private Security 101... I thought you'd be bigger!






Confidence and Being a Good Host:






The 4 Big Questions:






Preparing for the Impossible Krav Style:







What a Real Car Jacking Looks Like (well...in your dreams or if you're Jeremy Wiersma):







Belt Ranking:






The True Origins of the UFC & Life Perspective:






The YOU you Want to Be:





Is This Reality?






A Life in a Dream:






One Night Stands, Melancholy & Serendipity:





Follow Your Bliss, But Ignore This Music!






Predator & Prey / Protecting & Defending:







What We'd Like to do When Someone is Trying to Screw Us in a Business Deal (Explicit):







Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed my fun little tangent!?

Talk to you all soon.

Keep going,
~Craig

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Freedom Writers


Yesterday was a good day of training. Regular class in the morning and a four hour workshop in the afternoon. I watched the UFC with some friends last night. Some good fights. I was happy to see Forrest win over Tito. I would have liked to see him submit Ortiz, but it went to decision.


So, it's Sunday morning and I am watching Freedom Writers. It is such a great movie. It touches me in a lot of ways. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. Talk about teaching Universal Values.


The main character Erin Gruwell teaches at risk teens whose lives are torn by a war zone in the inner cities where they live. The real war zone isn't in our cities, it's not in the countries, it's not in our relationships, it's not in our religion, our race or in our families...It's in ourselves. It begins in the way we see ourselves and then those around us. It's in the way we treat those who we perceive to be different than ourselves. In the way we teach ourselves and others how to engage, interact and experience each other and the world around us. In the way that we externalize those fears onto other people, things, situations, countries, relationships, religions, races, ethnicity's, or anything else we can conceive to distract us from our own inner demons.


It starts small. We rationalize the behavior. We justify our actions. We create an environment that validates its self and the actions necessary to survive, saying the ends justify the means... How Machiavellian. We make it about us and them, this group vs. that group. This color vs. that color. This country vs. that country. This religion vs. that religion. This culture vs. that culture. This neighborhood vs. that neighborhood. This gang vs. that gang. This person vs. that person. etc.


It seems to be easier to take our internal struggle, externalize it, give it a name, a face, anything other than seeing the struggle for what and where it truly is. It's easy to validate this fear, there is enough evidence out there to support your perspective. You've heard it: Blacks are all criminals, Muslims are all terrorists, poor people are stupid and lazy, rich people are insensitive, self centered and exploit the poor, Germans were all Nazi's, our economic struggles are because of the Jews, or the Mexicans, or the Chinese... you get the idea.


Does this really happen? Yup, it does, every day. Some black people ARE criminals... and others like President Barrack Obama are leaders of nations; some Muslims ARE terrorists and some like Pakistani Ansar Burney have fought for peace and human rights their entire lives; some poor people ARE lazy and some like Oprah Winfrey overcome great odds to become successful and influential; some rich people DO exploit those less fortunate and others like billionaires Dick DeVos and Jay VanAndel have donated millions of dollars to build schools, medical facilities and research organizations, some Germans WERE Nazi's and others like Oskar Schindler helped hundreds of Jewish people escape from the Nazi Holocaust during WWII.


Different cultures have customs unique to themselves. Different races may have different skin color or facial features. Different religions may worship differently and call god by a different name. Different ethnicity's may eat different food listen to different music. But aren't all of these things what makes life so interesting? Aren't these the things that make our world so rich in culture and discovery? Our strength comes from our diversity.


But some say: "Let's face it we weren't all created equal in what we can do, what we have and where we were born." Its true, people have talents and skills in different area's. Everyone is not equally good at everything that's what makes this world so diverse and each of us so unique. Although we may not have been created equal in all the things that we can do, where we were born, etc. But we WERE all created equal in Who We ARE as living beings. Which not only gives us basic human rights regarding dignity and respect as a living being; I believe it also gives us the right to have equal opportunity to explore what we might be good at, what we have to contribute to ourselves and others and yes even the right, especially the right to fail as we set out on that journey.


Try to see beyond what your fears and stereotypes are telling you. Look for the similarities. See that others hurt just like you. They have families and friends that they love and care about just like you. They have hopes and dreams just like you. They can learn just like you. They have struggles that are just as important to them as yours are to you. They want dignity and respect just like you.


Our beliefs create the lives we live as an individual, a family, a neighborhood, a society and a global community. When we change our beliefs we will change how we live over time not over night for good or bad.


What belief are you going to embrace and spread?


All the best,

~Craig

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Dash

video

Hello all~

Here is a little video clip I shot at a place where I go to get perspective when I need to. This goes hand in hand with the poem called "The Dash" by Linda Ellis. I like the poem and thought you might too.

The Dash

by Linda Ellis


I read of a man who stood to speak

At the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning to the end.


He noted that first came the date of her birth

And spoke of the following date with tears,

But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years.


For that dash represents all the time

That she spent alive on earth

And now only those who loved her

Know what that little line is worth.


For it matters not, how much we own,

The cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love

And how we spend our dash.


So think about this long and hard;

Are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left

That can still be rearranged.


If we could just slow down enough

To consider what’s true and real

And always try to understand

The way other people feel.


And be less quick to anger

And show appreciation more

And love the people in our lives

Like we’ve never loved before.


If we treat each other with respect

And more often wear a smile,

Remembering that this special dash

Might only last a little while.


So when your eulogy is being read

With your life’s actions to rehash

Would you be proud of the things they say

About how you spent your dash?


© 1996 Linda Ellis

Be here NOW, don't waste a minute because we all know it goes fast. We don't know when or how our time is going to end, only that it will. As Mel Gibson so eloquently said in the movie Braveheart, "Every Man Dies, but Not Every Man Really Lives!" Sad, but often too true.

Keep going,

~Craig

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Frontlines of Freedom Military - Veteren Talk Radio


Hello all~

I was just asked by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Denny Gillem and to be the Official Personal Defense Subject Matter Expert for his Military - Veteran Talk Radio Show called Frontlines of freedom - AM 1260 - It is currently airs in Michigan and Florida and is being recommended for national syndication. In the West Michigan area it airs Saturday nights 7pm EST and is Podcast at www.frontlinesoffreedom.com.

You can hear my first segment here:


www.frontlinesoffreedom.com/podcasts.html


Click on the segment labeled - 09 Oct 29th part 3 - to listen.

I am honored to be a part of this program and to be able to contribute to a larger community through the show's reach. Thanks for the opportunity Denny. I appreciate your confidence in my perspective and experience and insights regarding Personal Defense!

Take care all. Talk to you soon!

~Craig

Friday, October 16, 2009

Purpose


If you have any brothers or sisters you may remember when you would fight as kids; once your parents finally got wind of your shenanigans and began their interrogation of the guilty parties you always seemed to get in more trouble if you did the named offense "on purpose." My punishment would be much worse if they thought that whatever I did was "on purpose," rather than it being "random and accidental." Like that time I was grounded because I "accidentally" (ha ha) hit my brother in the head with my sneaker that just happened to fly off from my foot while he was in front of me! Ahhhh the memories!

As we grow up and become adults many of us hold this same fear; the fear of doing things On Purpose! So, as American writer and philosopher David Thoreau said the result is that many people begin to "live lives of quiet desperation."

What is YOUR purpose? If you don't know your purpose is it is difficult to choose your direction. If you don't have a direction then any direction you take can't be wrong. Right? If you can never be accused of doing something On Purpose, you won't have to take any responsibility for what you do, thus you'll never get in trouble for it. It's all an accident right?! Your decisions, your career, your training, your relationships, your life! Nothing On Purpose...

This is all fine and dandy I guess. As J.R.R. Tolkien said "All that wander are not lost..." right?! Maybe, except if for whatever reason you are not happy, fulfilled or passionate about your decisions, your relationships or your life.

You've all heard it, the complaining, the whining, the talk of always being the victim of circumstance. Granted life rarely works out exactly the way we want it to, but that doesn't mean that we are victims. It means that we have to learn to let go of our attachment, have faith, embrace change, learn how to be tenacious, persevere, survive and keep going!

Finding the balance to be able to go full throttle toward something, giving it your best shot yet not being overly attached to the outcome is something that is not easy to do. It takes constant practice. It is so easy to externalize our problems; to blame things that happen to us on events, people, circumstances, whatever we can to avoid the one thing that is constant in all of our lives... US!

Ok, now back to Purpose.

What is your purpose? If you know what it is, prioritizing and keeping focus is much easier. It doesn't have to be complicated, just clear.

Let me share with you what my purpose (take a seat, fasten your safety belts and hold on!)

Here it is (drum roll please):

My purpose in life is to:


Love

Be loved

Experience life authentically

& never stop learning


That's it.


Tim Ferris wrote in his book "The 4 Hour Work Week" that his purpose was to love, be loved and to never stop learning it rang true with me and seemed to get directly to the point, so I added the authentic part and adopted it as my own! Oh, and by the way you should read "The 4 Hour Work Week" if you haven't it is a great book! In the upper right hand side of this blog site is an Amazon link if you want to check it out!


As far as martial arts go many people train for different reasons: Sport, competition, self defense, survival, preserving history, health, because it's fun, to meet people, to experience another culture, etc. The problem is if the purpose doesn't match the practice. For instance training in an art that is based on strict tradition in attempt to preserve a particular historical cultural experience and thinking that it is tactical street defense. Be open and honest with yourself.

My purpose in martial arts is the following:

~To help stay healthy mentally, physically and spiritually throughout my life.

~To train tactically to protect the life of myself and others. What others? All others!

~To share what I know with individuals who want to live more empowered lives and contribute to an enlightened local and global community.

My question to you is simply this:

What is YOUR Purpose?


Be well,
~Craig

Paradox, Humor and change

*I chose this picture of Jack Hoban because he often inspires me to train and live my life On Purpose! Thanks Jack!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Controlling the Playing Field pt.2 - Elements of the Game

video

Events rarely happen randomly, there are typically recognizable patterns and dynamics that set up and follow the event through. This is what we call “the game.” Although combat and survival is not a game, we have found it to be very successful to break down the elements of what typically happens using terminology that is less threatening, thus easier to talk about, recognize and define. “The Game” is a metaphoric term used to describe any situation that may present a challenge in life. If you can learn to recognize the patterns and how everything comes together you will have a better chance at making more empowered decisions. Being able to recognize, assess and deal with these dynamics will dramatically increase the odds of survival and success in whatever challenge you may face.

Elements of The Game

The PlayersCharacteristics of Predators and Prey.
The ObjectiveWhat the Predators want.
The BoardThe environment needed for Predators to get what they want (primary & secondary locations)
The Rules of ConductBehavior profiles of both Predator & Prey. How both parts are played.
The Rules of EngagementHow predators and prey interact & play their roles together.
The Playing FieldHow all of these elements come together & how to stack the odds in your favor.

If you can control the playing field you can better control your chances of success in anything you have to tackle in life!

Like I said before, think like the general, not the soldier!

Keep going!

~Craig

P.S. I'm heading out to train at the Bujinkan Buyu Camp this weekend! I'm looking forward to training with Jack Hoban and everyone again. I am honored once again to be asked by Jack to teach a session! I look forward to sharing also.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Controlling the Playing Field (part 1)


I received an e-mail the other day regarding a person who was wondering about Krav Maga and the viability of the techniques in a real situation. He, as many of us was very concerned about the effectiveness of the system. Although I feel it is a legit concern to make sure the tactics that you learn are going to be there for you in a pinch, as I read the e-mail further it seemed that this person had a perspective that many hold: 1) Always being prepared for any circumstance 2) Basically looking for a system that would give him the ability to be able to take out anyone no matter the person, situation or conditions. He described a circumstance where he was facing 6 guys at least one of whom who had a weapon. From his description he did make it out alive, hurt, but alive. He admitted that he was very lucky because they were probably drunk and he got the jump on them so to speak. I would agree that he got VERY lucky!

I don’t know of any system that would protect you from this if you were hoping to pull a Steven Segal and want to take all of them out via empty handed. It seems like it is the age old quest, to be invincible. We all would like it to go down like in Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” or most any other action flick, where the hero is surrounded by numerous bad guys where upon he systematically takes out everyone of them because… well, because he is clearly waaaaaaaay cooler and can kick some major booty! That should show everyone who’s the “big boss” (The Big Boss aka Fists of Fury) right? We all know what the real answer to that is don’t we? Yes, we would like for it to be different somehow, especially for us, but alas it is the same answer: We are merely human like everyone else and although some people are more athletic and may have more legitimate skill we all have limitations.
In light of this I believe that if you look at things from a slightly different perspective you can increase your odds of survival in situations that are stacked against you.

1) Identify what game is being played
2) Don’t play their game
3) Think outside of the box
4) Control the engagement
5) Control the playing field

So what do I mean control the playing field and not playing the adversaries game? Let me use an example:

The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center was a tragic, but good example of controlling the playing field. If the terrorists would have gone toe to toe with the United States military forces in conventional warfare they would have been utterly destroyed, they wouldn’t have stood a chance. However they knew our game; didn’t play it and were able to unknowingly make us play theirs by using civilian aircraft as weapons. The result was the most devastating attack on American soil ever in our history from a foreign threat. It was a tragic day for the US; but a tactical success on the part of the terrorists. They were able to do what otherwise would have been impossible had they fought toe to toe with us. They really followed the above five principles. They identified what game the US was playing both militarily and socially, they didn’t play our game militarily and they also thought outside of the box to used our civilian freedom and trust against us by creating a tactical advantage through the use of domestic civilian aircraft as weapons to execute a devastating strike; they controlled the where, when and how of the engagement and we didn’t know what game they were playing so we weren’t able to successfully adapt and defend. By utilizing all of these strategies they ultimately controlled the playing field and the game forcing us to play the way they wanted.

So how can we utilize this same strategy? First by not looking at an engagement as you would a duel (a sporting match is in effect a duel). Rather think of it as more a chess match regarding controlling the playing field (game board, tactical space etc.). It is not whether or not the pawn is tougher than the king, or the queen tougher than the bishop. It is about how you use tools, tactics, tricks and environment to give yourself the best strategic advantage to survive or conquer the situation. Only a portion of it is fighting. Unfortunately too many people are thinking about it as a duel and being able to beat the other guy. Although many great things come from sport training and it is absolutely necessary to become proficient at fighting there is so much more to it than that. If you only train in the physical aspects of a sport mentality you will only view situations as you being able to “beat” the other guy. Be a general not a soldier. There is more to the encounter than just the fight! You can be a world class BJJ athlete but if the goon has a knife and isn’t playing the sport bjj game you could be in for a big surprise: If you are a knife or stick guru and can balisong your way through even the toughest Dog Brother; that may not do you any good if the other guy has a .40 caliber, 20 feet and is a crack shot: You could be great with your pistol but find yourself in the crosshairs of a sniper 200 yds away: You could be a UFC champion and think you are going to walk straight through this goob who you want a piece of and you could, but it might be harder once you realize he has three mean and ugly brothers w/tire irons. The situations are limitless but the principle is the same. There is always a “what if.” Someone can always be younger, stronger, meaner, more aggressive, more skilled…and their all uglier! Don’t fight and if you have to don’t fight toe to toe. It is not a duel / sporting match. Simply put, your ego can kill you.

There is a good video on Hock Hocheim’s site that shows a scuffle in a convenience store where one guy clearly knows some grappling. He puts the other guy in a closed guard and guillotine choke just before getting stabbed numerous times with some sharp pointy object that was found on the ground. The guy who got stabbed was clearly a better grappler and had the advantage …well up until he realized he was in a knife fight without a knife. His ego got him into trouble because he thought it was a duel/fight and he didn’t respond tactically he tried to “beat” his opponent. Incidentally he died from his wounds at the scene.

Don’t let your ego get you in trouble. It is not just about the fight; control the playing field by whatever means possible using strategy which may or may not involve fighting. It is better if it doesn’t! And if you do have to go to blows; the more you control the how, where and when of the engagement the better off you’ll be. Think outside of the box, be creative. Once again be the general not the soldier.


Keep going,
~Craig

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fighter vs. Warrior



What is the difference between a fighter and a warrior?

A fighter trains to fight and sometimes they learn to live. A warrior trains to live and sometimes they have to fight protecting themselves and others. What others? All others.

Yes the warrior does train to fight, but the fighting is not the focus of the training.

A warrior fights because he has to.
A fighter fights because he wants to.
A warrior fights to protect others.
A fighter fights for himself.

I have trained with both fighters and warriors. I have fought for myself and to protect others. I prefer warriorship over fighting. I feel it is a richer, deeper, more fulfilling path although it is more challenging. Your steps along this journey are sometime difficult to see clearly. The greatest obstacle has always been yourself. Giving and sacrifice to others over seeking self gratification is tough because we are all human and none of us are perfect.

Being a warrior isn't about some belt, trophy, title, job (solder, officer, bodyguard, gladiator, etc)or any goal that we achieve, we don't ever really master it really, it is just a choice that we make every step that we take. Sometime we stumble and sometimes we fall, but warriors get up, brush themselves off and "Keep Going!" It is our actions, what we DO and our intentions behind those actions. If we ever really think we are "there" or that we "got it" we are fooling ourselves. It isn't something we get it is something that we do over and over again. You are either walking the path or you are not. It isn't a journey with an end. Only one step after the next. It is really about the practice and EVERYTHING, everyday, every moment is practice.

All the best,
~Craig

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where are the Freakin' Rapids?



Holy cow! This weekend was a great one! I could write a book on everything that transpired, but we don't have time for that today. I only have time to share a little bit of what went on during that 36 or so hours between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.

You see this past Saturday Jack Hoban and I gave a seminar at Ronin Martial Arts / West Side Fitness in Grand Rapids, Michigan (the place where I hold on going classes). I picked Jack up from the airport late Friday afternoon, we hung out, watched some good friends of mine play in their surf band at Rocky's Tavern, a local watering hole near downtown Grand Rapids then cut home to get some shut eye. We didn't stay out long because we has a full day of training Saturday.

Although both Jack and I covered a lot of physical tactics, what I want to talk about in this blog entry is a little of what Jack was sharing regarding Dr. Robert Humphrey's view's concerning Living Values & Warrior Ethics. It is important for us to clairify what training is really for and who we are trying to protect.

Jack shared with us how warrior training whether it is done by the military, law enforcement or in the local martial arts studio can act as a vehicle for a higher purpose. If done correctly this physical training along with insightful discussions can help to align our purpose with our actions regarding ourselves and the lives of others. What others you ask? All others.

These ideas are something that seem to ring true in every individual that I have met. They are simple ideals that strike so close to home with each individual human being that it is almost impossible to deny their effect upon us. I say these principles are simple, not to be confused with easy! These very simple concepts that everyone seems to resonate with yet they are so easily lost from us.

By now you may be wondering what the heck I am talking about... Well, let me very simply tell you: It is about R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Aretha Franklin had it right, it IS all about respect.

How do we begin to combat all of the hatred in ourselves and out there in the world? How do we take steps closer to peace and further from war? How do we overcome many of the differences between us all regarding culture, language, ethnocentrism, religion, etc? These are common obstacles that we have to overcome when dealing with people of the world and in our lives. Here's a question for anyone who wonders about violence, self defense and protection: How do we justify physical violence and/or killing if we find ourselves in a position where we feel that we have to do it in order to survive or protect the lives of others?

Believe it or not, it still boils down to respect! Respect what? Life! Who's life? Your life and the life of others! What others? ALL OTHERS! So, when would you then physically defend or kill someone? To protect life. Who's life? Everyones life! Your own life and the life of others! What others? ALL others! Do you see the pattern here?

Now you may be thinking, "Well that is a great theory, but there are bad people out there. People who need to be dealt with, some of them probably should even be killed. What about them? There are terrorists, murderers and many others out there who mean to do us in.

Yes that is true and those people do need to be dealt with and some of us reading this have a duty to protect others from this type of threat, but how can we do it within the context of this "living Value" principle? Well, it still boils down to respect, and relative values vs. universal values!

Let me explain:

We will do what is necessary to protect the life of ourselves and others from the ACTIONS of those who are threatening those lives. Even if we don't condone an action or need to stop that action of someone else, it doesn't mean we should disrespect the person as being human or hate them in some attempt to justify our actions. Remember it is stopping the action, not justifying and dehumanizing the individual or group through prejudice, bigotry and hatred. It is all too easy to see the differences in people and use that as justification to perform sometimes extreme acts of violence to each other. We've done that for centuries! Hatred and killing due to religion, skin color, heritage, financial class, gender, language, social class, etc. etc. the list is endless! Over the centuries we've perfected the art of justification and brainwashing people into killing over relative values only to become sick in the aftermath of it all. Hopefully we can evolve past all of that and embrace a more peaceful path.

When do we take a life? To protect life. Who's life? Our own life and the life of others. Period. All other reasons are relative values. You might be thinking: Well what about freedom that is a universal value isn't it? NO it's NOT! That is relative. Everyone's view of freedom is different. What about equality? Shouldn't we be able to kill for equality? Equality is still a relative value, because everyones idea of what equal is can be relative. The ONLY universal value is life! The only time taking life is justified is for the protection of LIFE!

If you are still somewhat confused maybe this analogy that Jack shared with us will help: If you had a child that you loved yet they were stealing from others and not being a very nice person, chances are you wouldn't condone their behavior and would probably even punish them for their actions, but despite their behavior you still love and respect them as a human being. You are punishing their BEHAVIOR, and when those actions changed so would the way that you treated them. You didn't punish them because you hated them, although you may have hated their actions! The only reason that you acted in the way that you did was in response to their actions, to change their behavior, not disrespect them as a human beings nor justify what you did through some false rational. Well, I know it's hard, but take that sentiment and try to expand it to include everyone! Wow, I know that is a tall order, and that is why we have to keep being reminded or we lose that feeling, then when we come across a difficult situation the universal values often become fuzzy and unclear.

Does that help to clear things up at all? I hope so. If not visit Dr. Humphrey's website: www.lifevalues.com to get a clearer idea of this life changing concept.

Speaking of Dr. Humphrey, here is a simple way to show respect to people who may even speak different languages or are from different cultures with customs that may be foreign to you. Oddly enough this exercise will also work with those in your life who are not strangers as well! This method comes from Dr. Humphrey's "hunting story" in his book Values for a New Millennium.

The Sergent from Tennessee looked at Humphrey and said, "You got to be able to look them (the natives) in the face and let them know, just with your eyes, that you know they are men (or women) who hurt like we do, and hope like we do, and want for their kids just like we all do." You gotta let them know that you respect them for the humans they are dispute all of the differences that you see, smell, hear, taste and experience.

It seems that the timing is right to share with you something that I wrote in my journal about 15 years ago or so. Here it is:

"To find truth seek similarity, not difference. Look not at outward stylistic separateness, but at the inward principle sameness. Understand the core, the why, the principles that make the manifestation work. Recognize differences, but seek similarity. The embodiment of truth comes in many forms. The word of truth translates into many languages. Although outer appearances may differ, look deeper and you shall see the truth."


Dr. Robert Humphrey's Warrior Creed:

Whereever I go people are safer because I am there.

Whereever I am anyone in need has a friend.

Whenever I go home people are happy that I am there.

...its a better life.

One last thing before I go:

Jack, thanks for coming out man! It was good hanging out with you again and training. I also appreciate that you took the time to share your insight and skills with some of the folks in this neck of the woods. I am looking forward to training with you soon my friend!

Keep going!

~Craig

Friday, July 17, 2009

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Hello all! I hope everyone's summer is going well. It's going by way too fast!

Ok, here is a little technique for you to use when you face a challenge that needs to be overcome. This method can be used during a tight spot and/or just in general.

Whenever you face a challenge you need to create a plan. If you don't have a plan you are at a huge disadvantage, so here is an easy method to use it is called T.A.C.T.E.

Think calmly and clearly (as much as the situation allows)
Assess the situation
Create a simple plan
Take action
Evaluate success

*repeat as needed.

The elements are simple. The calmer you stay and the clearer your thinking the better your chances of overcoming the challenge at hand. Assess the situation at hand and make your plan. The plan needn't always be complicated. As a matter of fact if you are in the middle of an emergency or conflict you may need to quickly asses and create a very simple plan in order to save your skin (or the skin of another). After creating your plan of attack, you need to act on it. Doing nothing is an action if you choose to do it rather than simply freeze. The final step is to evaluate your success. If what you did is not getting you the results you intended change what you need to be successful.

Well, that's it for now.

Talk to you all later.

All the best,
~Craig

Friday, July 3, 2009

Training, Krav Maga and Freedom



I wanted to wish everyone a happy 4th of July.

I know the above picture contrasts such a cheery intro, but as you read the article below it will become more clear why I chose the above picture.

I began writing my blog for the 4th when Moshe e-mailed me this article. I thought that it was written very well and said everything I was trying to convey, so being one for efficency I thought I would share his words. I ran it by Moshe to make sure it was alright with him and indeed it was, so here you go!



Krav Maga for me is more than a 'martial art', or even a method of self defense. It is part of my essence; it is part of who I am.

I am an American citizen and an Israeli citizen, and I am proud of both traditions and I am loyal to both flags. I signed up for the US draft, although I was never called, I vote in every election, I support our troops.


The United States and Israel share the same core values, values which are not shared by many other countries. At the outset the USA was an experiment in democracy. Kids often ask me, "Why should I study history? What's the big deal?"

Well, you must study history. Without the knowledge of history you will never understand the present. When you study early American history; the founding fathers, their struggles, their passion and sacrifice, their goals and uncompromising attitude, you will understand what America is about, or what it was about and should be about.

At the time of the founding of the United States of America, the personal freedom which we see today in America and in many parts of Europe was unheard of. Most people today could not even imagine that kind of life, a life without the freedom of personal choices, a life without the freedom of diversity or self expression. We are free to choose our life style and beliefs.

Early Americans struggled, fought and died, so that you today can have the life you have. We are still indebted to those early freedom fighters and we must never forget that we too must fight; we must always remember that freedom is never free. I can not understand how an American can not know the lives of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin. I do not know how an Israeli can not know the lives of Jabotinsky, Begin, Trumpeldor and Herzl.

Why do we train in Krav Maga? Because we want to be free. We train so that when a woman walks down the street she is empowered to stand up to sexual or verbal abuse, so that a child or teenager can feel strong enough to say 'No' to peer pressure, so that an older person can walk the streets without fear.

We train in Krav Maga to retain the basic freedoms that the USA and Israel stand for. The government, army and police protect us on one level; we must protect ourselves on another level. To live in fear is not to be free, we train to be free.

Each person who stands up to personal abuse, each person who feels secure to be whom they want to be, each person who lives without fear, is a triumph in freedom. Each one of us contributes to this freedom.

I see Krav Maga as an Israeli contribution to American life and to the lives of all those who value freedom. Give it as a gift to someone who needs to feel the confidence, the power. This is the spirit of freedom, the spirit of America, Israel and all people who stand up to tyranny.

By Moshe Katz - IKI Krav Maga Founder and Head Instructor



I wish everyone a great 4th of July!!

All the Best,
~Craig

Monday, June 29, 2009

If You're Going To...


If you're going to be passionate about something, be passionate about learning.

If you're going to fight something, fight for those in need.

If you're going to question something, question authority.

If you're going to lose something, lose your inhibitions.

If you're going to gain something, gain respect and confidence.

And if you're going to hate something, hate the false idea that you are not capable of your dreams.


~Daniel Golston



I liked this quote by Golston and I thought you might like it too.


Keep going,

~Craig

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Toolboxes, Tools and Mechanics


A broad definition of a tool as stated by Wikipedia is an entity used to interface between two or more domains that facilitates more effective action of one domain upon the other. For example, a crowbar simply functions as a lever. The further out from the pivot point, the more force is transmitted along the lever. A hammer typically interfaces between the operator's hand and the nail the operator wishes to strike. A telephone is a communication tool that interfaces between two people engaged in conversation at one level.

Marshall McLuhan famously said "We shape our tools. And then our tools shape us." McLuhan was referring to the fact that our social practices co-evolve with our use of new tools and the refinements we make to existing tools.

So basically tools are those things that act as an extension of ones self to assist in completing a particular task. As our tools evolve so shall our choices, options of the situation and also the evolution increases our ability to create and use even greater tools.
*
When referring to combat the tools are namely the techniques or tactics that are readily at your disposal. Mechanics on the other hand are the skills of being able to work with those tools within a particular situation to facilitate a solution of the task at hand.

An example of someone who has good tools but is not a mechanic would be a person who went out and bought a new $10,000 Snap On tool box filled with a vast array of extraordinary tools, but that person has no engineering, mechanical or construction abilities. The individual may know the basics of how each of those tools are supposed to be used. They may be able to use their screwdriver to screw in a wood screw into a block of wood or their hammer to pound a nail into a 2 x 4, but they don't know the dynamics of how to to fix a car or build a house.

Further, having good "tools" does not mean one is a good mechanic. Many martial artists fall into this category because of their lack of real world experience and/or the way that they train. The opposite of this would be many street fighters, bouncers, body guards, soldiers and police officers who may have good mechanic skills even though they don't necessarily have the best tools (flashy techniques etc.) to work with. These "mechanics" could fix almost any situation with a pair of pliers, a butter knife and a roll of duct tape.

Our goals as warriors should be to create and maintain a well rounded toolbox and learn to be good mechanics so we know how to use those tools (techniques, tactics) in the real world to save our own bacon and/or the lives of others.

Keep going,
~Craig

Friday, June 19, 2009

Why Do You Train?

When training I will sometimes ask everyone: "When do we give up?" The response is "When we are dead or safe!" I have heard a shorter version of this that I like from the Navy Seals: "Not dead, can't quit." This is a great mantra.

To flesh this idea out a bit I developed a simple exercise that will help to bring this mantra to life for you. It can keep you focused in training when you are fatigued, beat down, gassed, frustrated, wiped out, trashed, getting schooled, at your wits end, and ready to throw in the towel. This same exercise is absolutely essential to keep focused if you ever find yourself in a real situation where your life (and possibly the lives of others) depends on you not quitting even when everything else is screaming at you to give up.

Take a evening and reflect on all of those things that you want to live for. I know this sounds a little corny, but really think about this. Why do YOU want to be here on this earth? Is it to see your kids grow up and have children of their own? Is it to mend those regrets you have between you and an old friend? Take care of a parent who has stood by you throughout your life? Grow old with your husband or wife? Is it to take that trip around the world or write that novel that you started ten years ago? Is it to simply have a beer with with an old school buddy just one more time? Or maybe to defend the freedom and dignity of others. Protect those who need help. To stand in the face of tyranny. To help the down trodden and exploited.

I don't know what it is for you, but YOU need to know what it is for you, so take out a sheet of paper, grab a pen and make that list; a physical list of all of these things and when the time comes in training or life that you have a choice whether or not to give up, think about those things that you wrote down.
Really dig down deep within yourself to find meaningful emotional triggers that will bring out your true desire to live. You have to feel it or this won't be an effective tool for you.

Have a clear understanding of what is worth living for and what is worth dieing for. Make it personal for YOU and your life.

Those are the real reasons why we train!

All the best,
~Craig



Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's a lot like wearing your seat belt!

Civilian, Law Enforcement Officer, Soldier, Bouncer, Security Guard... It doesn't matter who:
If you knew that you were going to be attacked by an angry, aggressive assailant tomorrow and you knew how he was going to attack you, how would you train that defense in class tonight? Would you work that technique until you could do it from any position without hesitation. Would you train it so you could concentrate on surviving the assault rather than looking pretty? Would you work it until you understood its principles intimately and responded reflexively to the threat? Would you want to know that your training was increasing your odds of surviving the attack, rather than just some motions you were going through as you got your cardio workout?

Well, I'll let you in on a secret: The defense you are working on tonight may be the one that saves your life tomorrow.

It's a lot like wearing your seat belt:

1) Just because you wear your seat belt doesn't guarantee that you are not going to get in an accident.

2) It doesn't guarantee your survival IF you get into an accident.

3) It simply betters your odds of survival when you get into an accident... and it's too late if you never put it on in the first place. JUST LIKE TRAINING!

Here's a deeper question for you:

If you knew that someone would attempt to kill your child or loved one and you knew how they would be attacked, how would you train to defend them?

Keep going,

~Craig

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Great Year at the Gathering!







Another great year at Innovative Martial Arts / KSMA's 9th annual Gathering of the Tribes 2009!! This is a weekend seminar where instructors and practitioners come from all over the U.S. to train, reconnect, eat and hang! I enjoyed reconnecting with friends and meeting new faces. The training was superb as usual! I love experiencing all of the different perspectives and styles of the people who came out. It is cool that the various instructors are so open to share what they know not only during their respective sessions, but also in impromptu' training where someone pulls them aside to ask questions. Everyone's willingness to teach and learn is second only to the openness and friendliness found here. I really appreciate Chuck and Jeannie Pippin taking the time and effort to put this all together for everyone to learn and enjoy! It is great training, food and friends minus the usual ego that seminars like this often have... and it is so economical!! A weekend like this would usually easily cost four times this anywhere else!

I have to mention that I did miss seeing Bobbe and Cody this year. Although the two dimensional Bobbe was very active and kept everyone laughing the whole weekend! It was almost like Bobbe was really there... and in a way he was! I hope the three dimensional versions of both of you two can make it out next year.

On another note, I would like to extend my gratitude for the honor of being asked to instruct one of the sessions this year. I shared some IKI Krav Maga pistol disarms, a few stories, and concepts about Robert Humphrey's / Jack Hoban's living values defender/ protector mentality. I have never experienced a group of people (many of whom were instructors) who have been so open to new material, enthusiastic and caught on so well. All of the questions and feed back were inspirational! Thank you!

Finally, I would like to thank Chuck and Jay for inducting me as a member of KSMA. I was getting ready to leave when they cornered me. As they first approached they had that strange look in their eye, a look even stranger than their usual one, if you can believe that! Since I was a little on edge after reading The Gift of Fear I was ready to make a run for it figuring they were going to assault me and steal my wallet & gear or do other unmentionable things you only hear about in Turkish prisons. Instead they presented me with a KSMA membership certificate!

All joking aside I am proud to be a part of such an organization.
http://ksma.blogspot.com/ (here is the link to the entire blog)

All the best!

Keep going,
~Craig

Monday, April 20, 2009

Krav Maga Boot Camp Graduates April 2009!!


Here is the crew from our last Krav Maga Boot Camp. It was a month long training session that met 2x per week for an hour... well, except on Saturday's when we would sometime train for 3 or more hours (What can we say?! We like to train!!). The crew pictured above met the Krav challenge head on and did a great job!

Meet the Peeps:
From left to right back row: Denny Mossen, Nate Koets, Jon Koets, Chris Carpenter. L to R front row: Sandra Jewell, Me (Craig G.), Staci Carpenter, Josh Gekeler.

Five of these fine people went on to join us in our intermediate class!

Great job gang!!

Keep going!

~Craig

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Krav Maga Seminar at Ronin Martial Arts



















On Saturday, Feb. 21st we brought in Krav Maga instructor Moshe Katz from Israel to share some authentic Krav Maga with us. Moshe is Itay Gil's (star of the History Channel's Human Weapon Krav Maga episode) highest ranking student. Moshe stayed with me at my condo for a few days. Living in Israel just outside of Jerusalem Moshe shared stories of a vastly different cultural and life perspective than I hold. He has a gentle heart and was a true gentleman to me and all who he came in contact with here in Grand Rapids.
Students at Ronin Martial Arts Academy as well as over 50 others from all over Michigan thoroughly enjoyed Moshe's seminar. Much to my surprise and pleasure we sold out in a little over one week.
At the seminar we learned numerous defenses dealing with everything from knife, gun and empty hand threats to 3rd party and airline situations. Moshe also shared with us the philosophy, history and roots of Krav Maga in Israel.
I had the honor to train one on one, hang out, play guitar together with Moshe (Moshe you do rock! I especially liked our "All Along the Watchtower" rendition!). It seemed that we talked about everything under the sun (probably because I am always asking questions). He was a pleasure to have as a guest, so much so when the chance came to have him back March 19th I jumped at the chance. Apparently others here share my sentiment because after only one day marketing for the seminar we have over 18 spots pre-paid for the seminar. I anticipate that we will have well over 20 spots full by the end of this weekend.
I like Krav because of its simplicity, effectiveness and modern adaptation. It is used here and now, not somewhere, sometime. It is practical and very functional. It is about simplicity.
I am happy that people here have embraced Krav Maga and hope that it empowers & enriches each persons life who trains in it.
I am proud to be an Israeli Krav International Certified Instructor and will continue to bring Moshe in to share deeper Krav Maga insights with us.
(In the words of Jack...)
Keep going!
~Craig










Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Good Night for a Walk

It has been a beautiful day today and the night proved to be equally wonderful. 56 degrees, clear, starry night. A little earlier a close buddy of mine came over and we decided to go for a walk. We talked about life's beauty, challenges, hopes, dreams, paradox, you know the things two people talk about when they are "mowing the lawn" mentally. It was a good night and great philosophical conversation. We had been walking a hour and a half or so and were about a half mile from my condo (I live downtown in a mid sized city where the "landscape" changes rather quickly if you know what I mean!) when I say "hey, lets cross the street." It just felt like the right thing to do. So we crossed. We take no more than a couple steps onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street and these four rather drunk "gentlemen" turn the corner on the side of the street we just came from. They were loud obnoxious and clearly looking for trouble. But since we were on the other side of the street we were of little interest to them. Now, I don't know why exactly I felt like crossing the street, it just happened very naturally... but I did cross which resulted in a possible situation being resolved before it ever became one! My buddy and I looked at each other smiled and with a slight nod continued our conversation.

It was a good night for a walk...

~Craig

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A moment of Silence for Helio Gracie who passed away this past Thursday.

Helio Gracie, the father of Gracie jiu-jitsu, is dead at the age of 95. Gracie passed in his sleep early Thursday in Itaipaiva, Rio de Janeiro, after he had been admitted to a local hospital a few days prior for stomach problems. “He passed the way he always wanted to –- quick and fast,” said an immediate relative, who asked not to be identified. The relative said Gracie’s body would be buried on Thursday. The youngest of Cesalina and Gastao Gracie’s eight children, he learned traditional jiu-jitsu by watching his brother, Carlos, teach it, but his small frame made it difficult for him to execute the moves. As a result, he adapted techniques to fit his limited physical ability and gave rise to modern-day Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gracie was involved in two legendary fights. He lost to Masahiko Kimura -- a man who outweighed him by some 40 pounds -- in 1951 when Carlos threw in the towel after Kimura broke Gracie’s arm with the shoulder lock that now bears his name. Four years later, Gracie fought former student Valdemar Santana for nearly four hours before losing. His impact on the sport of mixed martial arts was profound. His son, Rorion, was credited with developing the concept that became the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and another of his sons, Royce, won the first two UFC tournaments in 1993 and 1994. Two other sons, Rickson and Royler, also competed in MMA. Gracie is survived by his wife Vera; his sons Rickson, Royler, Rolker, Royce, Relson, Robin and Rorion; his daughters Rerika and Ricci, as well as numerous siblings, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beginners Bootcamp

Tonight was the first night of our Beginner Bootcamp at WestSide Fitness. It goes until Saturday Feb. 7th. Everyone who attended did a great job! We covered a lot of material and everyone seemed to pick it up pretty well. ...And the stuff you didn't, don't worry it will get easier overtime, not overnight! Just "Keep Going!"

I am looking forward to training with all of you at our next class.

~Craig

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Carrot, an Egg and a Cup of Coffee...

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again. A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.' 'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?' Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. 'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you (I JUST DID); to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life. If you don't send it, you will just miss out on the opportunity to brighten someone's day with this message! May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!!

Written by Krav Maga instructor Moshe Katz