No styles, no systems, no rituals, no lineages, no masters, no labels, no belts, no katas, no uniforms, no dogmas;

Only the process of self actualization & personal expression of truth through functional combative movement and fitness.

On a purely physical level, we share how to individually and collectively use all of our natural tools as well as extended ones, offensively and defensively in a strategic and tactical manner and in all ranges of combat.

We're put through functional physical fitness training where we learn to push ourselves through our own perceived limitations. We also have much to offer on nutrition, health and optimum performance.

On a more cerebral level we learn about the psychology of violence, fear, stress & confrontation management skills, deescalation strategies and holistic survival tactics.

As the mind navigates the body; by challenging personal self defense dogmas and individual & core belief systems, personal growth and evolution occurs.

On a human level, we learn about the ripple effect and the moral, legal, and ethical consequences of our chosen actions while self examining our darkest emotions. We are encouraged to question everything, to learn to think for ourselves, to be more accountable and research everything we learn and to be open and responsive to life without judgment.

On a personal level, the training can make you face and slay your own demons.

Everything shared here is highly encouraged to be individually researched, to “absorb what is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest.”

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, is Humanity failing? Oh, and happy holidays….

With all the growing segregations and segregations within even more segregations, labels, factions, borders causing larger and larger gaps amongst people, rich and poor, races, men and women, religions, and even sexual orientations and with the ever growing selfishness, greed and individualistic lifestyles promoted and marketed worldwide…. Are we not indeed failing ourselves? Our future generations?

Future generations… this is a term that eludes so many as most live as if there will be no tomorrows to come with the mindset that the next generation will fix and repair the damage we’ve continuously caused to both ourselves and the very planet we live upon.

Fear of change coupled with selfishness, greed and laziness breeds indifference and indifference is what is hurting us all.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, happy new year, may God be with you, hope this year brings you the best, the purchase of gifts for loved ones and the purchase of gifts out of necessity for those that may get offended if they don’t receive, yet you really wouldn’t have gotten them a thing were it strictly up to you…

These are mere gestures we act out like a bunch of puppets on a string due to a national or international holiday based on fables and stories repeated from generation to generation, father to son, mother to daughter depending of course on where one was brought up. And these fables are only acted upon in certain times of the year, when guilt overrides an individual… we go to churches on Sundays only to forget everything we prayed for and promised the very following day as we walk by a homeless man or another in dire need.

We go to Mosques and synagogues and other temples to release and purge ourselves of our ‘sins’ and to pray to the very same God/universe that made each and every one of us; yet we hate, judge and condemn those that do not pray like us, look like us.

What is eluding most of us, is that all these fables were constructed by man in the hopes of unifying masses but in the end, create more hatred, segregation, war and death than any other entity or cause combined. War, hatred, death, racism, segregation, poverty…. All in the name of God.

And so the Christmas season is upon us again… and what have we done indeed? What are we doing? Christ preached love, peace and unity. He said it is better to give than to receive and though there are many that do and this isn’t about them, it is about all those that wear their crosses, go to church and pray every night who receive much, much more than they ever give or gave. It is about those that walk around wearing clothes totalling well over the 5 thousand dollar mark, wearing $4 thousand + watches driving in their 75 thousand + cars driving by and literally walking over homeless people on their way to and from work, dropping an occasional $20 or more in their cups to appease their underlying guilt that is mostly suffocated by their very own greed and need to fulfill their voids…

This is not judgement, this is fact. This can be seen much more often than not in all countries of this planet we live in, all cities, 3rd or 1st world alike.

One needs to as the picture states, define necessity. Where I live today, I see this on a daily basis… people driving by others in starvation in their multi thousand dollar vehicles. Day in and day I out I struggle with these issues for I do give and give allot on as many possible levels without allowing myself to reach the very own state of poverty I am trying to combat.

And some will argue that they do also give, and they do indeed give and do a lot of good for a lot of people who otherwise would have not received anything at all… but this isn’t about them. Though, to play devil’s advocate, yes, it is indeed about them as well because more can be done. Some of these ‘givers’ drive multi thousand dollar vehicles and live in extreme luxury. I however do not and am relying mainly on friends, family and cabs at this stage.

Rather than drive $75.000+ automobiles that consumes more oil and fuel than necessary and in turn depleting the earth of it’s vital resources, when there are entire cities and villages that don’t even have enough water to drink or bathe in, these people could be instead driving equally reliable cars for $25,000 or less and use the extra $50 grand + what is saved on fuel, insurance, etc. to build shelters for the needy. And if 50 people who own $75G+ cars pooled together and did that, then more villages can be saved, more of humanity can have their daily bread with a roof over their heads.

Too much to ask? “They deserve their riches because they worked hard for them??? How about all of the exploited children who work 21 hour days for less than pennies a day to make some of the very clothes these hard working rich folk deserve? Do they not count because they are out of sight and out of mind?

Does the following picture mean nothing to anyone?

Will you just look at it, say how horrible, click on the next page of your computer and forget it even existed? Will you deny that it is every single one of our responsibilities, perhaps even argue that fact? Will you go and hug your own child and say “Thank God?” but then, what kind of God do you pray too that you believe would allow you to be bestowed with the great gift of a precious child and the means to support that beautiful child yet deny and spit on others? Are we not all God’s children? Does the same energy that runs through you not run through every living thing, plant, animal and human combined?

Do we need luxury when half of us don’t eat for days or weeks? Is it fair in our hearts to vacation in 5 star hotels when half of us live daily in cardboard boxes? Is it not each and every one of us responsibilities? Is it enough to just give our $35.95 a month that gets taken off our credit cards to supposedly feed a hungry child half way across the planet? A child most will never meet? But that $35.95 allows us to perhaps sleep better at night, appease that continuously nagging feeling that we just can’t pinpoint deep in the corner of our souls… leaving us wanting more and more and more….

And so, if desired, if any of this made any sense to you, if you resonated at all with any of it then there is something everyone can do regardless of our positions in life.

It begins with ego. And that is the most difficult part because being human myself and as I am typing this right now, I am battling mine fiercely but I have been making this change step by step, little by little and I and my love Tania are well on our way… Tania Garby, my very first girlfriend back in 1986 which I reconnected 23 years later in late July of 2009 is one of those human beings who gives so much more than she receives, for reference of an amazing and inspirational story of selflessness and helping the less fortunate, please refer to our past blog article “The True Ripple Effects of Love and Selflessness”

And so self defense truly does begin with the self… it begins with dealing with our very own personal demons, tackling our arch enemy, the ego… and fundamentally understanding at the deepest of all levels that we are all one. There is no greater gift than changing a human life for the better, than improving and providing another with the tools to excel, survive and thrive and I am not talking about street fighting or personal protection here, I am talking about sharing ones love with a stranger in need.

And so this holiday season, and all seasons, make an effort and lend a helping hand, a friendly ear, to someone in need, don’t just give a homeless man money to eat, take him out for a meal, sit with him and break bread with him. Sell your 500 thousand dollar home, purchase a $200 thousand dollar home and use the extra $300 thousand to build a shelter or provide education to those who lack it, instead of watching TV for 4 hours a night every night after work, volunteer somewhere you can make a difference in someone’s life, raise money for the needy and take the time yourself to go out there and help them make the best of it because simply giving to organizations such as the Red Cross or others doesn’t ever guarantee the needy receive the money as for the most part, they do not, case in point, Thailand, after the Tsunami hit, thousands donated to the Red Cross for the survivors, the survivors received nothing… the government kept it all….

Do not count on the powers that be, they too are human, count on yourselves, make the differences with your hands, see it with your own eyes, I can promise you that nothing is more enriching than saving another human life because I have done it and continue on doing it every single day. There is nothing more rewarding than that… and if this does not resonate with you, if none of this sounds right… then keep doing what you’re doing…

Once again, I leave you with the good Mother Theresa’s words:

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.

And with that said, have yourselves a very merry Christmas, joyful and peaceful holidays and a fantastic new year and remember;

Peace is a state best always kept and not just during holiday season; may one and all achieve and maintain peace in your hearts and souls for all time...

Rich, Tania & the Senshido International Team


  1. Excellent article brother, as always. Very deep my friend, God bless you now and always, especially when we don't see eye to eye on certain topics.

    I'm honored to be your friend Rich.


  2. Thank you for that Richard! I will do more to help others and teach others so they in turn can help them selves and others!

    Happy holidays!

  3. Rich...Every single word u wrote here is very true. Not so easy to implement though, but i should & will try to.

    Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year!!

    Karim Messarra

  4. Thank you guys... remember, "Trying implies and allows for the possibility of failure, do not 'try', but DO."


  5. Hi Rich

    What an article and what important points to be made. Regarding the Kevin Carter photo, I first saw this a year or so ago and thought hard about it for a long time. It's an incredibly powerful yet disturbing image.

    I do hope you have a good New Year, here's to a successful and peaceful 2010!


    Jonny Figgis
    Hard Target Self Defence
    Self Defence Federation

  6. Thanks Jonny, long time my friend... hope you are more than well yourself. My best to you and yours for the new year and thank you for your kind and inspiring words.

    Glad you enjoyed the piece.