Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Years Eve Eve Day




As you know, 2015 is pretty much done. What were my expectations for this past year? Well, according to my blog post last year, here is what I said:

1) I should have my forthcoming book ready for editing and soon after release.

Well, I was WRONG here! The book is STILL forthcoming! =(

Here's the status: I just finished rewriting one of the final chapters. I am working on tying a couple of the chapters together a little better and writing the (brief) conclusion chapter. It is the #1 of my two projects I am committed to finishing in 2016! Plan to submit to editing by March 1, 2016.

2) 5 SUPER SEMINARS Regarding business applications, Krav Maga, Conflict Management and Leadership.

I taught 3 of the 5 Super Seminars. I had some high expectations and learned more what my current tribe is looking for; what needs to be nurtured a bit more; and how the tribe needs to be expanded. I am planning 5 more SUPER SEMINARS in 2016! The first one is the iConnecti Protectors Conference, February 20th. I am headlining the conference w/Israeli Defense Force Maj. Elliott Chordoff. Click here for more info and to register.

Keep an eye on my calendar for 2016 to see what else is going on regarding public events, workshops and seminars.

3)  RGI Events.

RGI (Resolution Group International) heated up in 2015 and looks like it will continue to boil in 2016 as well. Our contract with Camden PD in New Jersey has us running workshops and sustainment sessions on a regular basis. We are honored to be involved with them, helping to create a new culture for their officers and community. We have been getting a lot of media coverage as well.

2016 will be a pivotal year for RGI and it's great to be a part of that team. I enjoy working with everyone: Jack Hoban, Artie Mark, Lt. Col. Joe "Marine" Shusko, Sgt. Maj. Brian Pensak, Margarita Tapia, James Challender, Gary Klugiewicz, James Morganelli, Rich Little, Kevin Lutz, the Camden PD Mentors, Mark Guest, Josh Sager, Tony Notarianni, Michelle, Alana B., and all of the others who have been involved. 

4) Other seminars and trainings. I'm excited to be working on some cool new collaborations with some new people in 2015 as well! 

That did happen! Over all I spoke at or taught at well over 50 seminars and events this year. That's an average of about one per week, however as you probably can guess it didn't work out that smoothly, some weeks I didn't have any and others I had 3 or 4 events! I'm planning on smoothing that out more this year. I'm off to a great start so far. I have over half my year booked solid already and many other projects in the works! It's going to be an incredible year!
  
I tried numerous different marketing, PR and advertising initiatives in 2015 as well: 

~ Facebook Ads
~ Google Adwords
~ A New PeaceWalker App
~ Lunch & Learns
~ Promotional Speaking Engagements & Workshops
~ Hiring an Agent
~ I'm sure there are others that are escaping me at the moment.

Some of these experiments worked, others not so much. I'm collecting the data and making the assessment on improving or eliminating what was and wasn't effective. I'll continue with those things that worked, re-evaluate those things that didn't and add some new tricks to the mix for 2016.


I am going to add a couple things for 2016: 

A) Beginning in February I am planning on a PeaceWalker webinar series.

B) Production of a 12 Week On-Line PeaceWalker Classroom Management System for Teachers is in the works. (This is #2 of my Two Big Project for 2016 Commitment! Remember #1 is my book?!) 


I will continue to grow and create my business in a direction where I am feeling fulfilled personally and professionally.

In 2016 I plan to continue creating and maintaining a culture that encompasses how to better LIVE PROTECT & INSPIRE.

That's what I am shooting for this upcoming year!  

I could go on writing my plans, however why don't you stop reading about mine and keep working on YOURS!

Thanks for sharing some of 2015 w/me. I look forward to more in 2016 as we Keep Going on this wonderful, paradox we call life!



All the best,
~Craig

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Homeless and the Hypocrite

 

In a recent post called The Warrior Sage, I shared some of my views regarding how it is easy being an "enlightened ethical warrior" for a few hours during seminars or in a class surrounded by students who appreciated you, however real life can be a bit more sobering when it comes to being anything close to enlightened and/or when it comes to protecting all others. That said I want to share a recent story with you regarding an incident that happened to me where I fell short of being an "ethical protector."

Here it is Saturday, Dec. 26th, yes, only twenty four hours after that special day where we are supposed to share peace upon the earth and wish goodwill toward mankind. Well, apparently a day can make a big difference regarding the Christmas Spirit and helping your fellow man.

I was headed up North to spend some time away to relax & recharge, but before I took off, I thought I'd quick head downtown to return a gift that I bought. I figured that while I was in the area, I would also stop at my favorite coffee shop, which was just across from the little comic book shop. After I parked in my usual 1hr free parking ramp, I found myself walking a bit faster than usual, unconsciously rushing to leave town. I figured I'd grab a cuppa joe, exchange the gift, and get back in my car to head out. Half way down the heated corridor that connected the parking ramp w/the street just outside the shoppes, I saw a pair of boots attached to a pair of legs. It didn't take long to recognize that those boots belonged to one of the homeless men who frequented the area. His position was strategic, it was warm and it provided a steady flow of traffic to panhandle, as was often the case.

I was in a bit of a hurry and not in a mood to be hassled or asked for money. (I know, Merry Christmas... but what can I say, I'm just being honest). I opened the door and moved past him as quickly as I could, but as I passed, I noticed that he had a blue cast on his arm that he was picking at and wincing. For a moment I considered stopping to ask him if he needed help, but my empathetic sentiments were quickly overrun by my mood of not wanting to be bothered by someone possibly trying to scam me out of a few bucks (as so many times before), so I moved through, the door closing behind me.

Once outside a few thoughts passed through my head: 1) It was colder outside than I remembered. I could understand why he wanted to get out from the elements. 2) To feel less guilty, I consoled myself that if he were "really hurt" he would have asked me for help.  3) Here it was only one day after Christmas and I wouldn't even stop to help someone in need?! What type of ethical protector was I!?

All of this was running through my mind as my feet carried me further from helping him.

After I returned the gift and left the comic book shop, I saw a firetruck w/it's lights flashing, just up from where I was. It only took me a minute to put two and two together. By now I was sipping on my warm cafe' meil, sitting in a nice leather chair. A bolt of guilt and regret shot through me. I realized why the firetruck was there. Getting up out of my seat I looked through the large plate glass window to see down the street where an ambulance had also joined the firetruck. A few EMT's had someone strapped on the stretcher. I recognized the hat of the man that they were caring for. It was the homeless man that I walked right passed only a few minutes ago.

What kind of protector am I, I thought?

It just goes to show how easy it can be to just not give a shit, or care enough to help someone. Here is a great example of the bystander effect in action. I could've just taken a second to ask him if he was alright, but I didn't want the hassle. WTF?! Did I really just do that? Yep! I did! No getting around it. (Commence the hate mail and trolling...)

And this is why I have to continue to train, practice and keep going.


I know some of you are thinking what a hypocrite I am, while others may be thinking how the homeless guy was probably scamming the system getting a free meal and bed for a while; or that he somehow deserved his lot in life because he put himself in that situation in the first place, etc. Whose right? Both, neither, something in between? I don't know. I do know this though: I still have work to do to be a better protector and a more graceful, empathetic human being. No excuses, I'll try to learn from the experience and keep going. It's easy to get caught up in ourselves rather than just doing the right thing. Heck, I'm a pretty good guy, not to mention I make a living teaching people how to be better protectors and I still fell for my own inner asshole, so to speak. Yes, I'm human too! I am under no illusions about myself: I'm no saint... But I'm not a monster either... which brings me a little relief at least.

Like most people I don't like being hassled or scammed by someone, however I didn't feel I was in danger, so I could have asked him if he needed help; that is if I wasn't thinking about my own wants so much. I'm not proud of how I handled that situation. I'm glad that the guy got some assistance and hope he is doing well. I will try to be less selfish in the future.  Funny, my last experience that involved a homeless person, I was on the receiving end of a stereotype, now I am the one whose playing the douche bag. Even though I didn't insult the guy, I didn't help him either.

Sometimes it's not as much about learning as it is doing. Simple, not easy!


Keep going!
~Craig






Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Skipping Stone: A Japan Trip Review by Tony Notarianni

 

When I first arrived at the new Honbu, I was incredibly impressed by its fresh character. A lot of thought had gone into layout and facilities, while a bright and well decorated interior provided a clean backdrop for Budo training. As much as I miss the old training hall, it definitely felt like an upgrade. The famous chalk board schedule still hung upon the wall, and I was excited to see that I would have the chance to train with many Shihan during my stay.

The first class was with Nagato Sensei, and immediately my attention was drawn to his movement. It seemed that as he demonstrated the initial grab, punch, or kick attack would be the same, and he might even travel in the same initial direction, but from there it would change each time. As the attacker fought back or readjusted balance, the defenders flow would just continue, circumventing the opponents strength and patiently letting a technique unfold naturally.

Nothing was really completed, one moment it appeared that an Omote Gyaku was going to be applied, but then it would suddenly transform into Ganseki Nage, in this way I saw a full flow of Kihon Happo techniques demonstrated, I felt this significant and so it stuck in my mind.

Grandmaster Hatsumi Sensei was of course the heart center of inspiration. I actually had the opportunity to see him teaching five times during my trip and all my observations have since overlapped. He mentioned that this year he had been focusing on Muto Dori, but it felt like he was trying to explain that this represented more than just empty handed defenses against a sword wielding attacker. There was a feeling to it, which was always there, regardless of whether he was armed or not.

Often he repeated the importance of not 'evading' the attack quickly, but to find the right rhythm and space. He also demonstrated the use of very light touch, sometimes using just a finger to control a cover point on the attacker. On a few occasions he didn't even need to touch the opponent, simply covering the important spaces was enough to alter the opponents next move. In fact, he even said not to see the opponent as an opponent to be beaten or defended against, but rather as a collaborator.

He often used his elbows to control, leaving his hands free to strike, or take other points, all in a natural flow. He likened this to the concept of the skipping stone, bouncing across the water. I felt that much like the skipping stone, the outcome is predetermined by the conditions, but any slight variation in those conditions appear to cause vastly deviating visual results. He said the important thing to do was to keep going along with the flow, and to have faith that one will survive.



Another notable concept was his usage of fulcrums and levers, especially when employing a sword or staff. He often found a way to set himself up, so that a simple soft movement of his body exerted incredible natural force against his opponent. Sometimes he even asked for multiple opponents to attack, and he was able to leverage them against each other. He did warn us not to take his Muto Dori too seriously though, and went on to show us how as a swordsman he could easily cut by utilizing the same flow and feeling as if he had no sword.

Hatsumi Sensei actually had an extra class for his Birthday. He talked about how he had spent the last 42 years working on what he had learned in 15 years with his teacher Takamatsu Sensei. He finally feels that he can do justice to the titles he received, and later mentioned that it is sometimes necessary to grow into a title or award, which has been received in advance of reaching the required ability.

He said that he has had a good time during those 42 years, he did a lot of travelling around the world teaching and spreading his art during less turbulent decades. Now however, it might be that as Budoka we have to step up to become examples for future generations as the world itself is changing. This change, and need to evolve was referenced often. Next, next, next....what is going to happen in the next cycle, it felt like a lot of that is really up to all of us now.

I studied with all of the Shihan that made themselves available, my cup was full and emptied several times. I realized I could not take back home their techniques or form, but their advice and training methodologies were certainly something I could work from. Apart from which, their skill and ability are all an inspiration to keep going, reference points to what is possible if I just keep pushing.

Hatsumi Sensei also talked about this, he said that when one hits a wall, one should not give up, but keep trying to find a way through. He said even if the wall is really strong, you can broadcast through it, and that way still reach the other side. That we should not let these walls be such a determination of who we are. With such motivational words, it was really a powerful training environment.

There certainly was a great deal of energy at the Dojo, I was awestruck not just by Hatsumi Sensei and his skills but also at the entire atmosphere he has created. It was very hard not to be distracted and I was reminded about Jack's teaching on the combat mindset during the year. I began to wonder in the skipping stone analogy whether we are supposed to be the skipping stone, or the water.






By Tony Notarianni


Visit Tony's blog here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Everyday Baseline (in Japan and Life)

 

So here I am in Kashiwa, Japan. I just finished breakfast and now I 'm sipping on my cafe' Ole'  that I picked up at this quaint little French bakery around the corner. Training with Hatsumi Sensei starts in a few hours, so I have a second or two to think. One of the things that comes to mind is being the eye of the storm. Why? Well, the martial arts training that I am doing over here really relies on the practitioner to be what I call baseline (which for those of you who don't know what it is; I'll get into in a second). You see if you are not emotionally detached a bit from the engagement you may put yourself in a more vulnerable position. You have to remain calm inside and when you do let your emotions out it's done so intentionally and strategically. (Very Japanese it seems). If you can't see through and control your own emotions, you will continue to resist and fight with the external circumstance or be overly passive rather than knowing how to flow with it. The object is to either find and maintain mutual balance, or gain the tactical advantage by remaining balanced while taking your opponents from him.

In light of my thoughts I just wanted to share a little story about having Baseline in everyday life. Before I share the story let me  first review what I mean by being Baseline and why it is so important:

Basically this state of what I call Baseline is simply choosing not to be part of the problem. Being the eye of the storm, rather than being caught up in the storm or the creator of it.

Baseline can be made up of many things, however it can be summarized by these three (3) components:


1) Attitude: 
A) See Conflict as an Opportunity
B) Respect Life - Separate Actions and beliefs from someone's Life Value
C) Set the Pace - Lead by Example

2) Awareness:
A) Yourself
B) Others
C) The Situation (Including Environment)


3) Appropriate Action: 
A) Do the Right Thing
B) At the Right Time
C) W/the Right Intention (Most Good/Least Harm for Everyone)

Ok, so now that we clarified that at least in summary form, let me share my very simple, everyday story. It goes something like this:

I just got back from teaching/training out in New Jersey on Sunday and almost before I have time to eat some T-Day Turkey and stuffing I left for Japan on Friday, so I was trying to get all of my bills paid before I went, knowing that if I don't pay some of them they will go unpaid past their due date incurring fees. So, I am getting anxious about getting them taken care of.  

Now, I have to share another part of the equation, I live in a quaint "Heritage Hill" style home that is split up into three apartments. The mail comes into one collective mailbox and on a number of occasions my mail has gotten lost. I don't get a lot of mail. A few pieces of junk mail and bills. That said, if my junk mail gets misplaced I wouldn't miss it or really care for that matter, however, a few of my bills get misplaced every year, which can be problematic. Especially when I am on a tight time frame. 

So, here's the scene, due to my 4 hour plane trip taking 26 hours because of delays I just get into town a couple days ago from a week and a half in Jersey. Thanksgiving is Thursday and I leave on Friday for Japan, so as I said I'm trying to get all of my household things done before I go, so I'm feeling a bit crunched for time. 

My bills are typically all here by this time of the month, so when I don't see them on my doorstep I get a bit nervous. I call my landlord, friend and compadre' to see if they are in a pile somewhere at his place. He says he'll look. I don't hear from him, so I text him. Nothing. Then his wife texts me saying that they "distributed all of the mail" and nothing else for me. 

Being that my baseline was wavering a bit due to my stress of trying to catch up after the flight, get ready to leave for Japan and the holiday. That whiny adolescent voice in my head was saying: Crap, they lost my mail again! Maybe they can pay all of my late fees and the hassles this time!? I have to leave in a couple days, I don't have time for this shit! Blah, blah, blah, the voice went on and on in my head, determined to make me more anxious and cranky. 

I ALMOST replied to her text with this: Hmmmmm, Interesting that my mail was misplaced again! 

Even though that response was better than what was going on in my head, it still was reacting to a situation and making some assumptions... and you know what happens when we make assumptions!? It could have easily festered into something else, something bigger. As we know many big blowouts start w/small inconsequential things like this, turning into something much more ugly.

Anyway, I took a couple deep breaths, collected myself, re-calibrated, told my little (whiny) voice to chill and instead responded with this:

Thanks for the update, let me know if you find something. 

Telling myself it's really no big deal (which is true). I started figuring out how to pay the bills online (which I don't like doing, but oh well).

Later that afternoon I hear a knock on my door and it's my buddy with the last two bills I was looking for, he says, "These came in the mail for you today." 

If I would have let my frustration get the better of me and said what was on my mind at first or even went ahead with my snarky return text, I would have felt like a first class schmuck. Luckily I was able to keep my baseline and saved myself a lot of static as well as having to eat crow. 

I know this was a small incident, but it was a great example of being a PeaceWalker, maintaining baseline and using conflict as an opportunity, rather than in this case causing a problem. An everyday encounter that gives me practice for the bigger stuff we sometimes run into. It's all practice.  

Anyway, I hope that you folks had a great Turkey day and continue to open up to being Thankful for your lives and the people and experiences in them. 

Keep going!

~Craig 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nippon

 

Well, I'm back in Japan! I just came off from a week and a half RGI stint in New Jersey that, due to bad weather in Chicago resulted in an airport stay-over, turning my 4 hour flight into a 26 1/2 hour airport extravaganza. Fast forward to Friday, (5 Days Later) and I'm wheels up for Japan. It's no wonder that I'm going at things a bit raw to begin with regarding travel. Not that I'm bitching mind you (well, ok you caught me, I am whining a bit... sorry.).

I'm am so fortunate to be able to do what I do! I just am looking forward to the time where we can be beamed places instantaneously, rather than spending hours or in some cases days getting to our destination! I can just hear the voices of days long ago screaming in harmony, "Cry me a river you big baby! Do you even have a clue what we went through to travel to places? Try being on a crappy, disease ridden, cramped, leaky boat for 6 months w/no guarantee that you were even going to survive the journey to your destination! ...and you're complaining about traveling half way around the world in hours not months in a comfortable cabin with cushioned seat, meals, adult beverages and a book!? Really?! Are you friggin' kidding me?! No symphony here mate!"

Yeah... I get it, life's good!

Anyway, transit here was a bit long, but I'm good to go. I hooked up w/some Buyu friends, we're grabbing breakfast in a few hours, then it's off to the Hombu to train.

More later.

~Craig

Monday, November 23, 2015

In Search of the Heroic




Thanks to a snow storm in Chicago that turned my 4 hour flight into a 26 hour airport marathon, I'm a bit disoriented from my journey home from New Jersey. We've (www.rgi.co) been working with the Camden County Police Department since April of this year and this last crew was the largest group to go through the course yet. A bunch of tough hard charging young officers and a handful of veteran cops as well. It was great seeing all of the Camden mentors again. You all did a fantastic job helping out! We couldn't have done it without you folks.

I always get  back from these training's a little wiped out emotionally and physically, but so inspired! Reconnecting with my RGI compadres', working side by side w/the new Camden mentors and of course training the officers going through the course is an honor, a way for me to not only give back, but to learn as well. An all around fulfilling experience that helps me to reactivate, sustain and Keep Going!

Working with these officers reminded me of a passage in James Owens book Cowboy Ethics.


 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


If ever we have needed heroes, we need them now. I'm not talking about comic-book warriors with superhuman powers, or the magazine-cover denizens who flaunt their celebrity and wealth, we've got a surfeit of those. What's in short supply are authentic, real-life heroes who remind us of our potential to be heroic ourselves.

We may be living a so-called ordinary life. Yet even as we move through the rhythms of our daily tasks, we still hope we can find that reservoir of courage, determination, and nobility we really need when life puts us to the test. We want to know, when all is said and done, that we are not ordinary at all.

This is why we need heroes, not to show us what it's like to triumph, but to help us transcend our fears and find heart for the struggles we inevitably encounter in life. Through the ages, every culture has had of legend and history. In stories of hardships endured, challenges overcome, and great deeds accomplished, these role models show us a way of being that we can aspire to. They help us believe that we, too, can rise above the obstacles we face, no matter how daunting. They inspire us.

From James P. Owen's book Cowboy Ethics

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What a great passage! This simple yet profound insight articulates my feelings pretty well. This is why I do what I do and how I am inspired by others. I met and worked with some heroes this past week. Ordinary people doing the right thing during extraordinary circumstances. These people are the quintessence of the Ethical Protector or PeaceWalker.  This is what motivates me to continue to train, teach and keep going. 

I have never really been into cowboys or the westerns, but if you haven't read Cowboy Ethics by James Owen, I would recommend that you do. It's not a long book, however it is profound in its uncomplicated simplicity. Not to mention it has many beautiful pictures as well.


Keep going!


All the best,
~Craig

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Warrior Sage


My friend Jack Hoban  often jokes about how easy it is being a "Warrior Sage" for a couple hour class or weekend seminar, but then there's the rest of your life. There is how your students see you and then there is the rest of the world. Your significant other, sibling or best friend probably has a much different perspective of your sage like qualities compared to that guy or gal who read your book, watched all of your videos and is hanging on your every "enlightened" word of inspiration regarding human nature and the path of the Bodhisattva Warrior.

But all cliche's aside, if you are training protector tactics, self defense, personal protection, etc. there is a reason and benefit for you (professional protectors or not) to find someone or group of someones who are helping you to clarify, connect and sustain this warrior ethos. Being an Ethical Protector as Jack says, or a PeaceWalker in my lingo is essential.

Why?

Because if you don't it can be detrimental to your own well being. If you are just training for physical effectiveness minus the ethics of being a protector you may find yourself beginning to see the world in a different way and that view will cause you to make decisions that may increase the violence you were initially trying to defend yourself (and others) from. You may even become the very problem you are training to prevent.

When I was younger I would train with anyone who I thought I could benefit from regarding learning martial arts and defensive tactics. I would even seek out people who saw a lot of "action," meaning instructors who had experienced real violence. I often let my perspective overlook a fair amount of "character flaws" in them. Now don't get me wrong, we can learn something from anyone or thing, however be careful who you continue to train and surround yourself with because that "Out Thug the Thug" mentality is challenging to contain only in your training. The next thing you know you may likely develop a perspective of aggression and violence to others in general. The line between "us" and "them" broadens and it really becomes more about your fear, ego and relative values. Your "tribe" shrinks which can increase the violence (emotionally, verbally, physically, socially, spiritually, etc). Not to mention because psychologically speaking we will seek to feel good about ourselves, we will begin to narrate a story that will support our fear mongering, out thug the thug perspective and actions to ensure that we are justifying our beliefs and behavior, keeping us the "good guys" so to speak. The hidden, yet circular validation process becomes a vicious cycle of disrespect and violence. Eventually you may become a tribe of one! Treating others with disrespect that causes or increases violence.

Because training in defensive tactics deals with human conflict including hurting, maiming and possibly even taking someones life; it has to be done from the right perspective, with the right heart. If it is approached in the wrong way it could not only harm the other person, but it can also physically and emotionally harm you if you are not careful about your ethical and physical training methods.

This is even more important when responding to incidents such as the recent terrorist attack's in France, Beirut and Kenya. In the wake of such violence it is human to feel a wide array of emotions: Anger, fear, sadness, frustration, helplessness, uncertainty, etc. People want to do something. We want something solid to push against, to defeat, for justice, or maybe revenge and to feel safe again. Unfortunately it's not that simple. It's not conventional warfare. It's not army vs. army as much as conflict within our boarders. No longer is it the foreigners "over there" it's our neighbors, our customers, our vendors, cousins, friends and family. We can try to make higher fences, wider rivers or more check points to keep the threat out, but it will be minimally effective at best. Our worst fear is the truth: The threat isn't outside of us, it's in each of us. 

Terrorist attacks in France, Beirut, Kenya, Israel, 9/11 - Incidents in Saint Louis, Baltimore, Ferguson, Sandy Hook & Fort Hood, Boston bombing, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Texas bell tower, McVay, Kaczynski, Rodney King incident, Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, segregation, Rwanda, Khmer Rouge, the Holocaust, Stalin's Holodomor, Mao's Great Leap Forward, the KKK,  slavery, wounded knee, the trail of tears...

What do all of these things have in common? Incidents where individuals or groups of individuals put their relative values over the value of other peoples lives. Many of these situations were carried out by people from within the very society in which they lived. Each, in their own unique way convinced themselves (and in some cases many followers), that their beliefs were more important than someone else's life. This belief justified the decisions they made leading to their acts of violence.

About now you may be thinking that I am naive, unrealistic and very liberal; none of which are accurate. I believe that we should have a strong defensive position and be willing to bring down a good ole' fashioned ass whoopin' on folks who go around hurting and killing people over their relative beliefs, but at the same time we have to be careful not to let our emotions get the better of us. We have to have the clarity and skill to see through our emotions to the tactical space and ultimately to the Life Value that we are trying to protect. Doing the right thing without over reacting or reacting in the wrong way isn't going to help anything or anyone. It is easy to do both of these things if we're not careful.

I have always liked Teddy Roosevelt. He was far from perfect, however he was one of my favorite presidents. His words; "Speak softly, but carry a big stick" always made good sense to me. Keep in mind that when you use that big stick you should:

A) Know when to use your stick.
B) Know when to not use your stick.
C) Know how to use your stick (skillfully).
D) Know why you're using your stick.
E) Know how much whoopin' is needed to solve the problem.
F) Know when to stop using your stick.
G) Be clear that using your stick is the last resort. (So you don't end up with regrets [aka PTSD], false justification and more [or more resolve] enemies).  
H) Know what to do after the whoopin'.


Seek to be an individual/society who is well versed in being a protector not just physically, but ethically, emotionally, verbally, socially, etc. It is essential for healthy development, making better decisions, creating a better global community and living a more fulfilling life. The skills, technology and resources that we are developing should protect life, not simply create profit or inflict injury. If we are training to out thug the thug, don't be surprised if we actually become one ourselves.

Is it risky being an Ethical Protector? You bet it is! That's why you have to be good! 

In the words of Iwo Jima Marine and cold war conflict resolutionist Dr. Robert Humphrey:

Where ever you go everyone's safer because your there.
Where ever you are someone in need has a friend.
When ever you go home people are glad you are there.

It's a better life.



Keep going,
~Craig


Monday, November 9, 2015

Say HELL YEAH or Hell No!


 

I wish I'd written the blurb below. Words to live by once you get passed the point of living and working only for necessity and simply sustenance. Every year I get one step closer to taking on more projects that I want to be involved in; working with more people that I find fulfillment engaging with; making more of a difference. This all means saying no to many of the things that pull me away from the projects, and people who take up time in a way that I don't find as beneficial to me and my life. It's not all bad, there are a lot of good ideas out there and it's easy to get caught up in "busy work," but before you know it there is no time or energy left for the things that really matter. These are some of the reasons why I left Corporate America many years ago. Not that I really wanted that (corp. America) in the first place, it kind of happened and I got caught up in it. Luckily, I was able to break free to do more of what I want. Following your bliss comes with risks and insecurities, but IMO it's well worth it.

You don't have to be anywhere other than where you are at to benefit from this advice though! All you have to do is be clear enough to know what to say HELL YEAH to, and of course, Keep Going!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I'm trying: If I'm not saying "HELL YEAH!" about something, then I say no.
Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no. When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.


By Derek Sivers

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Do NOT Approach: A Tale of Mistaken Identity

 


I don't consider myself a jogger, however as part of my workout, I typically run 3 to 4 miles a day, pretty much everyday of the week. I run rain or shine, snow or sleet. My apparel isn't elaborate; typically beat up olive drab fatigues, an old t-shirt and sometimes a hat if it's chilly or wet.

Yesterday, Because it was raining I had my forest green rain coat on along with a baseball hat that I picked up twenty some years ago when I did some training in South Korea. Soaked from head to toe, I finished my run. I sprinted across Leonard street toward Westside Fitness, the gym that I teach my Krav Maga Classes. The gym is in an old strip mall that used to be what we called "little Meijers." It was a Meijers grocery store before they transitioned into the gigantic hyper markets they are today. Anyway, there are a number of other shops in the building one of which is a subway. There was a lady coming out of that subway. She was walking to her car when I came jogging into the parking lot. Our paths were intersecting, so I said hello to her. Her reply caught me completely off guard:

"Do NOT Approach!" She said loudly, with venom dripping from her tongue and an angry look in her eye.

I was confused for a split second, than it dawned on me that she must of thought I was a homeless person asking for money. 

I started to explain that I wasn't what she thought I was, but no sooner than the words formed on my lips, she said in a louder, even more pissed off tone, "DO NOT Approach!" And picked up her pace toward her vehicle.

As I turned toward the door, she spit her final words of advice to my back, "Get a fucking job!"

I smiled and shook my head as I headed to the gym.

After my amusement subsided, I have to admit a bolt of anger shot through me from the way she treated me. And then just like that the feeling passed and I chuckled to myself.

After that interaction I couldn't help but to think a few things:

1) Apparently I need some new schnazzy jogging gear that distinguishes me from being a homeless person.  =)

2) It is interesting to me how socialized we are. What do I mean? Well, a few things really; for starters, the disdain we have for those who we feel aren't part of our social "norm" be it people who we believe aren't contributing to society, or even worse "living off" the work of others, so to speak. Free loaders, bums, vagrants, homeless, drifters, gypsies, street people, etc. we tend to avoid them, scorn them, judge them, sometimes people take advantage of them, try to teach them a lesson or hurt them in some way. Now, I'm not a sociologist, psychologist or anything, but I think that another aspect of people treating others badly is due to being conflicted in ourselves:

A) Much like the iconic 80's movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ferris's sister was jealous because she worked hard and Ferris chose not to be a drone of the system, but instead played it and (in the movie), got away with murder.  This of course, pissed her off to no end, because she how dare someone else try to shortcut the system that she was working so hard to be good at? They shouldn't have things "easier" than her, they should know their place in hierarchy of things. How dare Ferris actually get what he want and be popular beating the very system that she toiled so hard to get to the top of?

Anyway, some people are like this in real life too. They worked hard to "get ahead" in the system in which they live and it really pisses them off to see someone "play" that system they are "slaves to." So in their eyes, seeing people on welfare, beg for money and/or not have a regular job for whatever reason may look like someone is trying to soak the system that they themselves adhere to so loyally, even if they struggle with it, or resent aspects of it. Kind of like people who get mad at others who can eat whatever they want and never gain a pound, where you and I look at food and our pant size goes up a size.

B) Another interesting thing is we often find ourselves conflicted. We may feel threatened in some way (maybe physical, social, etc) and believe that we need to defend ourselves. Being that we want to feel good about ourselves (we don't want to feel like the "bad guy" so to speak) and because it hurts us to hurt people we care about or who are like us, we tend to rationalize our decisions and often dehumanize or demonize those we feel we need to defend ourselves from. Thus, the anger in the woman's voice and aggression in her actions toward me due to her perception of who/what she thought I was. Who knows, maybe she was attacked before or was afraid of being hurt again in some way, it's hard to tell for sure.


3) Something else I noticed was the way I felt by her believing me to be a homeless guy asking her for money. I was offended and it upset me that she disrespected me and treated me like a piece of shit, second class citizen. I was able to laugh about it, but there is a part of me that is a bit mad when I think about it. It made me hesitate saying hello to others for a little while after that.

4) Under the circumstance, her attitude was too gung ho and rather than keeping her safe, it could have escalated the situation into an assault or worse. Heck, I'm a pretty good guy and teach protectors for a living and after she treated me that way I wanted to at the very least tell her off.

It was totally alright for her to keep her distance and communicate that she didn't want to be approached (even though I wasn't approaching her, I was just walking to Westside's door). However, maybe with more training and confidence she could learn to assess the situation more accurately, stay baseline and communicate more effectively without escalating a situation and contributing to or even causing a problem.

I have to hand it to her though, she had her interview stance down well!

5) Lastly, it makes me evaluate how I approach and treat others (whether coming from subway, homeless or not). 

Good lessons all the way around!

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go to MC Sports to pick up the latest fashions in jogging apparel! ;-]


Keep going,
~Craig


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Improvise, Adapt & Overcome


It seems in today's overly compartmentalized world it's easy to fall into the "analysis paralysis" trap. It seems that more people are excited to pontificate, research, philosophize, attending meeting after meeting, consult the "experts," and compare ALL of the endless options, rather than get as much info as appropriate, make the best decision to implement a plan, move forward and adapt as needed on the fly. Too much talking, not enough doing.



"A good plan executed now is better than the perfect plan executed next week." 
~Gen. George S. Patton 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting a "Ready, Shoot, Aim" strategy.  Don't make rash, impatient or emotional decisions. However, if you are dealing with something urgent or something that needs to have forward movement, then make your assessment, consult who or what you must, make your decision, implement and adapt as needed to overcome the challenge.

In a critical situation where fractions of seconds count, hesitation and uncertainty can kill.
 

"Fear causes hesitation and hesitation will cause your worse fear to come true." 
~Bodhi (played by Patrick Swayze) from Point Break


There are many professions where this mantra is frequently exercised: Entrepreneurs, Soldiers, Police, Body Guards, High End Stock Brokers, Day Traders, Sports Athletes, EMT's, ER Doc's, Nurses and Orderlies, Hostage Negotiators, Rescue Teams, etc, etc. 

The ability to quickly assess, connect the dots, create, implement and adapt a plan is essential. That said, don't assume that these people don't spend an enormous amount of time learning, training, planning and preparing beforehand. They do this so when they do find themselves in a tight spot that they can make those quick decisions effectively. 

We were practicing the Improvise, Adapt & Overcome strategy during a recent Krav Maga Defensive Tactics training exercise that addressed physical threats in challenging situations like being stuck in a hostage situation in your car or on a bus, train or airplane. The exercise really brought to light the need to Improvise, Adapt & Overcome during very dangerous situations like these. There were typically no clean solutions to these scenarios. It was very easy to get hurt or killed if the situation became physical. And due to the cramped space, awkward disadvantageous body positions, and an armed threat, the seminar participants had to learn how to improvise and adapt the basic concepts they were taught earlier in the session. Every time an element of the interaction changed, the "technique" would change as well. 

They quickly learned that prevention was best. But, if you couldn't avoid it and still found yourself in such a vulnerable position, the next best thing might be to talk your way out of it. Taking it to a physical level was a last resort. However, if you thought your fate was sealed anyway and you decided that a physical engagement would be your best chance of any type of survival, then understanding the dynamics of distraction and situational timing as well as other strategic tricks that would give you the maximum advantage in the situation was clutch. Knowing the limitations of a strategy, tactic or technique is as important as knowing how to use the method. 

If in a situation you are at such a disadvantage to where you only have a very small chance of success, you want to make sure you know how to squeeze every ounce of effectiveness out of what you CAN do, rather than being paralyzed by what you can't!   

Effective decision making is a skill that needs to be practiced. 

Here is a quick little exercise to try today:
  1. This week set the pace, take the lead - When someone asks you where do you want to go for lunch, dinner, breakfast or coffee, don't say, "I don't know, where would you like to go." Rather, immediately name a place. If they don't like it, suggest another. If they make a suggestion, then either say, OK, or tell them that you'd rather try "restaurant X."   
I know this sounds like a silly pittance of an exercise after talking about hostage situations and such, but it is a simple drill that can help you to begin your journey of being a decisive decision maker. Don't worry, if you need more exercises come out to one of my PeaceWalker Workshops or one of my Krav Maga seminars, I have more advanced drills for you!

Remember, like any other skill, it takes practice to learn to Improvise and Adapt on the fly. The trick is being decisive, but not impulsive; flexible to suggestions and changing situations; seeing the tactical space and being able to quickly connect the dots in every situation.


Good luck and...
Keep going!
~Craig

Monday, October 19, 2015

Showing Up Is Half the Battle




You may have heard the saying, "showing up is half the battle?" Well, according to Woody Allen, it's not true, showing up isn't just half the battle, he believes that its 80% of being successful!

No matter how much talent you have or how well equipped you are for whatever it is that you're supposed to be showing up for, the fact remains that if you never make it, none of that even matters.

Keep in mind that attending means more than just being there physically, it's about really being THERE! Being present, having a good attitude and not giving up are essential to your success. You "showing up" and being about as useful as a two legged chair isn't the point either. You actually have to apply yourself too.

Over the years I have seen many examples of hard chargers fail even though they were smart, athletic, strong, persuasive and talented. Why did they fail? It wasn't because they lacked the skills or innate ability, rather it was simply because they did not posses the discipline or foresight to show up, learn, adjust and keep going. Even an average performer can out perform a talented hard charger if they stick to it, learn and grow.

I want to say something like, "In this day and age," but I realize, "this day and age," is probably a lot like every other day and age. People are people and I'm sure it always has been such regarding those who do, those who don't and those who are armchair quarterbacks!

Remember things tend to change over time, not over night, so give yourself a chance and follow Nike's advice; Just Do It!

And of course...

Keep going!

~Craig

Friday, October 16, 2015

Balance

 

Balance lays somewhere in between gun ho and gun shy. Each of us has our tenancies toward too hot or too cold, too aggressive or too passive, too much or too little, too fast or too slow, too optimistic or too pessimistic, too idealistic or too realistic. You get the idea.

It is important that you know where you are and continue to find the balance between the two opposites of your personality. Not always, but often within the one duality lays the seed of its opposite. The bully may, on the inside be someone who has a fragile ego and is afraid, so they over compensate by bullying others to protect themselves and/or make themselves feel better (at the expense of others).

We often resist in others what we don't like in ourselves. The more balance we can find the less waves we create in ourselves and when dealing with others.

How can we make this shift into a more balanced state? First by simply noticing. Without judging or trying to figure out, notice our own tendencies, be curious about our own feelings and behavior.

"That's an interesting way to feel or do something..."

"I notice that many times when someone does that, I respond like this." 

At this stage don't get caught up in the why you do or feel something, only observe what you are doing and how you feel. Leave it at that at first. Notice your tendencies without judgement.

Once you observe your tendencies without getting caught up in judgement or wondering why, then you can begin to be in process and determine if what you are doing is helping or not. Noticing yourself in process will begin to open up the ability to make different choices. You can CHOOSE to respond differently. Over time not over night if you continue to make different choices you will create new habits and those new habits will begin to change the way you feel about your emotions and thus changing your experience. I call this process iExperience. You can read about it in one of my old blog posts. Click here and scroll down, you'll see it.

We have to begin noticing so we can slow down our own process to be able to determine if our habits are benefiting us. If they are not then we can be in process and play with other options to create a new experience. This is typically done over time not over night.

Something else that will help you with this is to Breathe, Relax and Keep Going!


All the best,
~Craig

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

With, To & For

 


When it comes to training in the martial arts, there are many methods out there. It is easy to get confused as to what is what.

I was trying to explain the difference between defensive tactics, training, sport and protecting in a way that clarified the difference. Something that communicated the right feeling of each and didn't over complicate the subject.

Three Faces:

Combat sports (like boxing, wrestling, judo, bjj, mma, fencing, etc.), training in martial arts & defensive tactics are things we do WITH others.

Defensive tactics, personal protection, survival, violence are things we do TO others.

Protecting, helping, administering first aid, etc. are things we do FOR others.

Some of these activities may look similar. An MMA match may look a lot like something you would do TO another person, but in fact it is a game where two willing participants share an experience where there are boundaries, expectations and consent.

Here is an analogy that may better illustrate what I mean. *WARNING* Before I share this I first must warn you that it is a bit explicit, but it will unmistakably drive the point across:


Making love is something you do WITH someone.

Rape is something you do TO someone. 

Prostitution is something you are hired to do FOR someone.

All involve sex, and if you didn't know what you were looking at you may not be able to tell the difference, but as you know they are worlds apart!

Self Defense, Protecting Others and Combat Sports all involve physical interaction, and there is overlap in training and techniques, but they are also very different things.

You may do something WITH someone to help train you to do something TO or FOR some one, but don't get that confused either. When you are training with others to prepare for battle, protection or a consensual game remember the difference of WITH, TO & FOR.

Concurrently: Conflict Management is something you do TO someone, whereas Conflict Resolution is typically something you do WITH the other person or party. Mediation is something you do FOR one or both parties.

Attempts at conflict management can lead to conflict resolution, however in order to have true resolution, both parties have to be willing participants, which is an on-going decision by BOTH parties.

Another way of resolution is by having a management strategy that eliminates the opposition, then voila, the conflict is resolved by default by permanently removing any opposition.

If both parties cannot resolve their differences and for whatever reason don't eliminate the other then it is really conflict management.

So there you have it, the theory of With, To & For when it comes to conflict management, self defense, protection tactics, training, martial arts and sport.


Keep going,
~Craig

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It Matters

 

One day after a high tide thousands of starfish were washed up on the shore. They started drying up in the sun. A boy, walking down the shore started throwing them back into the ocean, so they would live.

 A person came up to him and asked,  "Why are you doing this? Look around! There are thousands of starfish; the shore is covered with them. Your attempts won’t change anything, it doesn't matter!"

The boy picked up the starfish at his feet, thought for a moment, threw it into the sea and said, "It matters to THIS one!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stay grounded, we can only do so much. There is a lot that we cannot do, but when you have the opportunity to help, do so, no matter how insignificant it may seem. It matters a lot more than some may think. A wave begins as a ripple.

Keep going,
~Craig


Sunday, September 27, 2015

First Listen

 

Once there was a team of very educated men who were doing aid work in Africa. They were helping an impoverished village develop agriculture for sustenance and financial development. They were sure that they had an answer that the native people must have never thought of.

The team of PhD's were so pleased with themselves that they were eager to get started. Immediately they mobilized volunteers to began tilling new fields and planting crops. They tended to the crops and within weeks their hard labor was rewarded with lush fruits and vegetables.

"Look how easy agriculture is!" The team beamed as they gloated to the local African natives.

Overnight, when the crops were ripe and ready to be picked hundreds of hippos came from the nearby river eating everything and trampling what was not eaten.

"My God, the hippos!" The team exclaimed!

The natives laughed and said, "Yes, that's why we have no agriculture here!"

"Why didn't you tell us?" The team asked.

"You never asked." The natives responded.

The moral of the story should be pretty obvious: Don't plant crops by rivers where hippos live... and if you really want to help someone, first listen to them.


Keep going,
~Craig

*Story paraphrased from Dr. Ernesto Sirolli's 2012 Ted Talk




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Palette or Toolbox?

 

I spent this past weekend out in New Jersey training, teaching and learning at the annual Buyu Camp East.  It's always a wonderful time filled with outstanding people from all over the world and of course great training. Among the many people who attended, this tale involves a gentleman by the name of Murray Taylor. Murray is a long time practitioner of Budo Taijutsu, former British Army Officer and Israeli Defense Force Soldier. He is a pleasure to know, so I enjoy the times that I get the chance to share his company.


Murray is the handsome gent w/the hat

We were having a brilliant discussion on that first evening after training, when the conversation inevitably came around to martial arts. Murray went on to describe how his teaching started and continues to evolve. One of the analogies that I really liked that he used involves a palette rather than toolbox.  

For decades I have used the toolbox analogy. I thought it rather clearly described what I was trying to communicate. What is the toolbox analogy you ask?! Well, in case you don't know what the heck I'm talking about; it goes something like this:

Each of us is a "mechanic" of sorts and posses a "toolbox" filled with "tools" or skills that are used to build or fix things that need to be worked on. It's an analogy that could be used for just about anything that requires one to have skill to perform.

We often hear someone say, "Here's just another tool in your toolbox." Meaning that what they are teaching is another skill, tactic or technique that may be beneficial for you to use during a situation 
in which it would be appropriate.

I have often expanded this analogy a bit by using the example that I have friends that are great mechanics who can use duct tape, chicken wire and a butter knife to fix about anything and others who have a $50k SnapOn toolbox and couldn't change a flat tire.

Hopefully you get the idea.

Well, Murray's palette analogy is similar but more... colorful =):

Each of us are artists w/perspective, palette, paint, brush and canvas. When we choose to create a picture, we use our artistic ability, paint and palette to mix our colors together in just the right way and then with each stroke of the brush, we begin to orchestrate a picture on the canvas. Some paintings are remarkably realistic, others come from the depths of imagination. Some artists are talented, where others are primal. Some simply communicate in the most basic way, others are so beautifully expressive that their art becomes cherished for generations. Some paintings are down right ugly to most, save one... the artist mother. And a few special pieces are works of art that are looked upon as examples of civilization itself.

Because each artist has a different perception, skill level and materials, each painting is uniquely different. Murray went on to say that if you asked five different artists to paint the exact same thing, you would get five different paintings. Each artists' interpretation of what they were painting would be different. Some subtly, others substantially.

I thought that was a great way of describing it.

So, the next time you are learning or teaching something, think of Murray's palette analogy!

As always...

Keep Going!
~Craig





 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

9/11 Tribute & Training

 
Artie Mark is the handsome guy hoisted up above the group, smiling as usual!


The New Jersey beach was silent as I warmed up with the the Camden County police officers in preparation for Lt. Col. (Ret) Joe “Marine’s” infamous partner combat conditioning course. The day was September, 11th  2015, the anniversary of a dark day. A day that most professional protectors are especially respectful of. A day that we hope is never repeated. 

I can think of many good ways to commemorate 9/11: Showing respect for those fallen; extending condolences to loved ones of the victims; giving thanks to the protectors who are now on duty and of course, training to be a better protector. And that is exactly what we were doing this past Friday, September 11th 2015, in the morning beach sand of a small New Jersey town not too far from where the Towers stood in New York City.  

When we think of what happened and what we can do to prevent something like that from happening again, I am reminded of our diversity, our strength and our resilience. We are ALL protectors and each of us contributes in our own way. Some of us are professional protectors, be it firemen, police officers, military personnel, medics, nurses, etc. others protect in different ways, maybe financial, maybe helping with the clean up or the rebuild. In the moment of crisis many civilian citizens become the warriors and protectors of others who were hurt, frightened, or somehow incapable of protecting themselves. 

Out on that Jersey beach early Friday morning working side by side with those officers my mind was focused on my task at hand as Joe Marine put us through the paces. The bigger picture was that we were coming together as ethical warriors. Sharpening our skills to become better protectors to hopefully prevent another 9/11 from happening and when something does happen again we trust that through our training we are more equipped to deal with whatever we are up against.

After we were finished making sugar cookies out of ourselves my friend and colleague Artie Mark shared his first hand experience of the 9/11 terrorist attack. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but Artie is the real deal, a true protector and hero. He is one of the humblest, coolest guys that I know. He looks like an average Joe. He doesn’t boast or act like some arrogant ‘delta bravo.’ If you didn't know him you wouldn't suspect that he spent over 20 years on some of the toughest assignments in New York, including a special crime unit that put him in the most dangerous neighborhoods in NYC. His job in those days was to seize illegal guns and drugs to of course protect people from the violence that was out of control at that time. I am honored to work with Artie and call him a friend. 

9/11/2001 began as a normal day. Artie was on his way to a court hearing when a plane hit the first tower. He was only blocks away when he got the call and rushed to the scene. Still believing that the incident was some accident Artie saw the second plane fly right over his head striking the second tower. It wasn’t until he heard about a plane hitting the pentagon that the realization came over him that we were under attack.

Artie made four trips into the building helping people to safety. On his fourth trip Artie was helping an elderly woman leave the building, when he ran into an old schoolmate who he hadn’t seen in years. Now a NYPD officer as well, the two quickly reconnected. After Artie helped the lady, his old friend asked him to help him tape off the parameter around the first tower. An act that actually saved his life!
While Artie scrambled to tape off the first building a bike courier (like the character Kevin Bacon played in Quicksilver or Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 2012’s Premium Rush) sped past the barricade. Artie yelled for him to stop, but in true New York fashion the courier ignored the cry. It was a mistake that cost the courier his life. The bike messenger got no more than thirty feet from Artie when a giant sheet of plate glass fell from the burning building cutting him in half, right before Arties eyes. 

“It was just like out of a movie,” Artie said as he shared the experience. 

A moment later the entire tower collapsed, causing Artie and anyone in the area to run for their lives for a moment, before returning to assisting others. 

Artie said that if he hadn’t stopped to help tape off the first tower he would have certainly died as the building collapsed with him in it. 

“It was like the world was coming to an end.” Artie shared with me and the rest of the RGI team. 

He, the other officers and emergency rescue personnel worked frantically to save as many lives as possible. Artie remembers the legs of his pants being soaked with the blood of the bodies that were exploding all around him from the people jumping out of the buildings. It was like the scene of a movie. Sublime. 

A couple days before this beach training Artie picked me up from the airport. We drove through downtown Manhattan and he showed me exactly where he was standing when he saw the tower collapsed. 

After the attack, Artie pulled security and search and rescue efforts on Ground Zero. 16/6/6: For sixteen hour days, six days a week for six months Artie and other NYPD/NYFD protected, searched and recovered the remains of the victims of the attack.otal, the attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 people and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage; $3 Trillion in total costs. It was the deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.

After Artie finished with his story and we took a moment of silence to show reverence and respect, he went on to say that he knows many of his fellow protectors (and many citizens as well) who suffer from PTSD from the incident, however he never did. He believes that it is his training regarding being an ethical warrior that shielded him from the psychological effects of the experience. 

This is why we train. 

Did I mention how much of an honor it is to know, work with and be able to call Artie my friend? I love you brother! Thanks for sharing some of your path with me! I'm glad you are here. My life and the lives of so many others are not only safer because you are here, we are truly happier whenever you come around. We know that anyone in need has a friend in your presence. How can we tell? You communicate it with everything you do, even when you don't say a word, we can even see it in your eyes alone.

All the best,
~Craig