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, January 7, 2010

The world isn't all that dark...

Having lived a good portion of my life concentrating on the dark side of our world, our lives, dealing with violence & crime, working with many a law enforcement officers who have witnessed various shades of hell through their chosen vocations, dealing with racism, hatred, back-stabbings and being a witness myself to the death of a few who were taken violently out of this world, I dwelled for a long time on the negative and less desirable aspects of our societies and very world we live in.

I have also had the chance to travel around our planet, fortunate enough through my very own vocation as well as personal travels, to have visited places like New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Mexico, Finland, Italy, England, Scotland, most of North America, Libya, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Holland, Belgium, France and more and though I was locked into a very dark part of my own soul within my own life and work, I got to witness some pretty magnificent places and meet some very incredible people.

Some of these people I met have helped me see and understand that the world, though indeed plagued by many things, is also blessed and possesses much, much beauty and magnificence. I have visited the castles of Europe, seen the Grand Canyon, the Pyramids of Egypt, the incredible breath taking landscapes of New Zealand and Australia, the Sinai desert, the Rocky mountains, the coliseum and so much more taking me on such a ride that will leave me spinning for the rest of my life. And I have yet to see and do so much more...

In front of one of the 8 (don't forget Andre the Giant) wonders of the world. The history can be felt in the very air breathed.

There was a time where I couldn't see the beauty in the world because I so concentrated on wiping out the ugliness in it, wanting to fight it tooth and nail, head on and I did just that for most of my life. I've seen and done things that I am not very proud of, that had exposed me to much violence but at the same time, have helped shape me into the man I have become today. Along with several key people who were guiding angels if you will, who took me under their wing when mine were broken and soiled, and helped pick me up time and time again until I was able to finally see, realize and fundamentally understand that living the way I was, was indeed slowly eating me up inside without my even realizing it.

Hiking in New Zealand

These 'angels' taught me much about myself and life in general and they taught me how to begin to live life outside my dark veil, they showed me that there is beauty in this world, and that there are still many good, no... extraordinary people out there doing so much good. They taught me the balance of this world and allowed me to accept the bad as without it, the good would not exist as every single thing has it’s ‘Yin’ and its ‘Yang’. A good friend once said to me “You do not fight evil head on, you out birth it.” And the difference is monumental.

In essence, they showed me the proverbial light and I chose to finally accept to see it. For the longest time I fought it, arguing for the right to have violence in my life, arguing through my very own ego in the name of ‘justice’, I used to be a very vengeful person incapable of forgiveness, incapable of fully trusting people in general outside my very own personal circle.

The fear of change was almost crippling. I believed at the time that if I were to rid myself of this underlining anger I carried through the vehicle of guilt most of my life and used as the driving and motivational force to forge on and do the things I did, both good and bad, that if I were to put my proverbial ‘guns’ down, I would feel disarmed, like a declawed cat, complacent and unmotivated. How wrong I was.

In awe at the grand canyon... ok, maybe not in this pic, but definitely breath taking.

A friend made me look at it another way, instead of looking at it like I am putting my guns down completely, view it as simply holstering them, keeping them aside if the unfortunate need to arise ever presents itself again. You see, I used to walk around with my proverbial guns drawn at all times, ready to go on the spur of the moment if need be, concentrating on the many ways I can dismantle, subdue and incapacitate another human being with the greatest of ease, honing my combative skills, my, what I believed to be, ‘warrior mind set’… 24/7.

‘Holstering’ my guns resonated with me… hmmm I thought… makes sense. After all, they’ll always be there; they are now ingrained in me since the tender age of 6. Been through the battle fields, did the whole blood and guts routine, danced with devil and yada yada… why not be secure enough with myself to simply ‘holster my guns’?

And so I did… and things immediately began to change… almost instantly actually. I understood that the true warrior is a peaceful one as Dan Millman wrote in his famous series “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.” My life began attracting more positive things, things that prior to I believed or thought were not possible. I began to grow actually, not physically taller or anything but I began to feel my spirit, my soul if you will without the underlining sensation of pain attached to it. I began to see the world from a collective-centric point of view as opposed to the incredibly frequent and overused egocentric most, including myself have adopted for so long… it was like I found my place in the grand scheme of life, I understood my path, finally.

By the red sea in the Sinai desert. The colors are truly magnificent, the picture doesn't do it justice at all.

My life went from several confrontations per year to 2 since 2005. I began to attract unbelievable people from all four corners of the globe into my life and began to see the magnificent beauty of this world we live in. Life was happening all around and on every imaginable level, flowing naturally while most of humanity resisted it. It was astounding to see, to realize that I was doing the same thing… resisting life, fighting it, falling victim to it and then getting angrier at it. It was like a sonic boom in my head… and so the shift began and continues to go… it is a never ending one for every new place explored, every human being encountered every morsel of food and every breath taken expands on that shift.

I understood that the meaning of life, the true singular driving force, the very essence of life itself is love. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. Love is the essence of life. As I’ve stated before, imagine for one moment, if the whole world, every single one of us human beings truly, honestly and fully loved and were loved back at the exact same moment for a minute, an hour, a day… a week? Would we not have instant utopia? Would that not indeed be the heavens the major religions talk about? Instant worldwide peace. Idealistic? Perhaps… but if we’re capable of so much violence, so many wars and so much neglect, selfishness and general hatred of others unlike us (and this is mainly how we have been living as a species since the dawn of man) couldn’t we do the opposite for a while and see how it works out? I mean, we’ve tried it the other way forever… why not, as John Lennon prophetically stated, give peace a chance?

And as I watch many around make this shift, I also watch many others still stuck where I once was, painfully & perfectly understanding them in their anger and frustrations, the succumbing to the lies of their own egos, incapable still of ridding themselves of self righteousness… and yet, this is all a part of life’s grandmaster plan… everything is a choice that inevitably leads us to where we all should be, either via a rocky, jagged path or a more serene and majestic one, only we hold the key of choice…

There is beauty in this world, much of it. There are many great people doing great things, contributing to so much creating brilliant ripple effects worldwide, we, they, you are out there. Better to concentrate and focus on what the good people of our earth are doing than focus so much on the bad. Better to be a part of the positive ripple effects rather than sit and bitch about the shitty and crappy parts. Better to become the great person we all could be if we do chose and desired too. Better to contribute through positive actions and words than to enforce through constant vigil and threat from the bad.

These are the 2 cents of a man who has not only walked, but hiked, camped and rock climbed both sides of the road & bought the T-shirt. I have done some unspeakable things; I have done, witnessed and seen things with my own eyes that would make most cringe watching it on a movie screen.

I have also helped and continue to save, change and improve many lives worldwide (strangely enough, to many a few protestations and chagrins go figure) and since this incredible shift from dark to light… Senshido has shifted as well and has exponentially grown from a RBSD (reality based self defense system) to a worldwide movement for peace and unity through the vehicle of personal protection.

Take the time to experience life beyond your work, your ego and your habits and you will experience many fascinating and marvelling things… the choice is indeed yours.

“Become the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Ghandi


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