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.”

Monday, January 3, 2011

Is Rich an atheist? Why did he wear the cross?

Addendum August 16 2011, Since this article has been written, I no longer wear the cross for many of the reasons mentioned in this past article below:

I've been getting lots of questions regarding my 'label' based on my beliefs and the fact that I happen to be very opinionated, outspoken and vocal on top of being a self admitted 'idealist'. The following is in response to an message I received, not directly asking me about my labels and beliefs as much as from a man who is going through some deep introspecting and self discoveries. He at one point in his message, refers to his religion and asks me to be patient with him as he says "and I understand we have differences here, so please bear with me" and I know it is because of my eclectic beliefs.

The reason I am sharing it here is because I receive many questions regarding my perspective and I figured I'd share it here as a reference point for those who care or are simply curious. The text has been modified and edited to maintain anonymity as well as target a broader audience.

I just feel like I gotta get this off my chest. Though I firmly and fundamentally disagree with religion, I fully respect good people's beliefs as long as their beliefs work for them. I don't care what someone worships as long as they are good, selfless folk.

I am also of the opinion that most religious people are brainwashed into believing religion works for them when it clearly doesn't... religion generally segregates rather than unify (if you disagree with that, ask any denomination if they would let their son or daughter date, let alone marry another denomination) it takes away accountability, it takes away questioning and it defies logic.

Think about it for second, your beliefs aren't really yours. If your parents were killed at birth and you
were adopted at birth by a differing denomination than your current parents and raised all your life in that 'other' religion, your beliefs would be entirely different than they presently are today. Period. You are born into religion without choice, even though one may think they do have a chocie once they are an adult, they have 18 to 21 years of programming into a faith tainting that choice.... like you said, and I quote:

"To be honest, I was a bit nervous purchasing the book due it being in the "metaphysical" section of the bookstore. This may seem funny to some, but being raised a certain religion (I am not the religion I was raised), certain things are hard to let go of."

And why do you think they are so hard to let go of? Because they've been drilled into you since birth, not because you researched, questioned and figured out your own path like you seem to be doing now...

Religion also personifies God... made 'him' judge, jury and executioner. God in my most humble opinion, is not a human being, not a man and not a person. God is an energy... Einstien kinda proved it with his E=MC2. And yes, we are all part of that same energy... one energy... love... period. No judgments, those are man made to maintain control and order... no heaven and hell... these are fabrications to maintain control and order... God is the higher-self in all of us and the devil is our ego...

This spiritual rather than religious belief is unifying rather than segregating. Why? Because religion has varying sects, even within its own sects they have varying sects and branches condemning one another for being 'wrong' or 'inaccurate'... spirituality (for lack of a better word since the label spiritual comes with it own stigmas) sees every human being regardless of color, creed, country, background, language as family, as one and the same as a brother and a sister... as the very same energy (god) that sustains a jew, a muslim, a christian, a budhist, atheist etc.

Ask any Egyptian boy in the streets of Cairo under the age of 6 what they think of Israelis and 9 out of 10 will make a gun symbol with their hand firing the trigger... this is religion... a Muslim woman falls in love with a Jewish man, the families never allow the union, threaten disownment etc. This is religion.... I know countless couples of differing religions who fell in love and their union was disallowed... this is religion... when I was married the first time, my wife was Coptic orthodox and I was raised Greek Catholic.... her priest refused to marry us, this is religion. If these people were spiritual instead of religious, they would have seen each others as equals... as brothers and sisters which we are... not as a us and/vs them.... religion doesn't want unification because religion is a great excuse for war... just listen to some of Bushes speeches...

I am not an atheist, I very much believe in that energy which sustains us all... some call it God, but with that semantic comes a mess of luggage... some call it the universe, energy or love... science even sustains this... even non living matter is sustained by that very same energy... all things... E=MC2... FACT: we don't fundamentally exist the way we perceive ourselves.

With that said, welcome to accountability brother... real accountability... it makes a world of difference when one becomes accountable for themselves, their lives and their predicaments. Once you realize that YOU are indeed in charge and in control of YOURSELF of YOUR emotions, thoughts, feelings, actions, predicaments, great times, bad times etc. that there is no 'exterior' force controlling your life... that the common denominator in every single situation you ever faced was always YOU... you begin to stop relinquishing your life to others, to religion, to blame, to 'God', to the world... you begin to take control of your own life and you realize, there's no one to blame... there's no need for guilt and shame, life just is and I/we are nothing more than a part of it... I am not the center of it, I am nothing more than a vehicle, a piece of an enormous universal puzzle called life sustainable by love...

And the secret to life? Well... how easy is that? Humanity has been hunting for the meaning of life since the dawn of man... it's right in front of our face... it's the energy that sustains us all... love... Love is the meaning and driving force of life.

Imagine if every human being on earth without exception loved unconditionally for 1 full day. Would that day not indeed be the proverbial religious 'Heaven'? (minus the virgins of course) ;`)

"Then why did you wear a cross?"

The cross for/to me symbolizes what a man lived and died for, whether he was the 'son of God' or not is immaterial to me. Too many people arguing about whether or not he was the son of God or not and not spending enough time on the message he preached which was basically we are all equal, love yourself, your neighbor and even your enemy, be peaceful and spread peace. He died crucified, tortured and humiliated and asked to have his killers forgiven for they know not what they do. Very powerful... very noble... very virtuous and he walked his talk till the bitter end. It is these things that the cross represents to me and reminds me of everyday and the reason I wear it... it has nothing to do with 'Christianity' for me.

To some, I would be considered 'spiritual' or even close to 'Buddhism' or even 'atheist' but these labels comes with much luggage as well, luggage I do not resonate with... though some of my beliefs can be found in most of the major religions as well as the spiritual, the scientifical and the atheist's perspectives, I march to the sound of my own soundtrack, always have, always will and I am in a constant state of search and change so labeling me as anything at all would be inaccurate and misleading... I may not feel this way tomorrow, next week or next year but until further notice, this is where I am at today... these beliefs work for me. They have removed much of the hatred I once had, the racism I once felt and the general intolerance I once nurtured and have shun a powerful light on the fact that humanity is one, a collective, we need each other... we thrive on contact, love and positive attention, everyone of us... and that we are all indeed brothers and sisters, humanity is a family, not a gross amount of differing varying sects and if everyone saw it that way, perhaps people wouldn't be flying airplanes into buildings or killing millions of innocent people in retaliation... for how do you kill people you consider your brothers and sisters???

Much food for thought... These are my beliefs based on my experiences, my research, my questions... I in no way enforce these beliefs on anyone, but I very much do recommend and promote and provoke free thought and questioning... what you come up with is your own.

"Absorb what it is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest." ~ Bruce Lee



  1. Nothing forces me to agree - but I do. I do not have any guru and I do not want to be one nor have any followers. But every now and then, there are men, women and even children within all the "layers" of the society who can be very inspiring - that is the beauty of trying to be in the now; learning through living !
    "...Excuses for war..." Funny... That was my main argument when I deliver in person my letter to the diocese to officially renounced my birth religion. In my humble - too often arrogant - thus regarding my only own opinion; I don't believe "a" Jesus ever existed. He's more of a script character invented to focus and personalize the means. Still, the message is always relevant, adequate and up to date. ...Like "Give Peace a Chance". Words can be a trap for semantic but I consider myself more of an agnostic... On the After Life: If I may say my favorite quote on this - inspired by Clark Gable's line in Gone With The Wind: "I really don't damn know; I really don't damn care; and I really damn don't give a damn !...I'll see it when I'll get there - if I have to." - Since living in harmony "and love" with myself, the people and the nature surrounding me is quite enough in this life for my (again) humble and arrogant being of mine. Thank you for letting me comment on your thoughts. Peace & Long Life. Simon

  2. Thanks for sharing bro, as I mentioned in the article above, I respect all beliefs as long as they are congruous with making an individual kind, selfless, acceptant of others and tolerant.


  3. I like your words as they pertain to personal accountability, to a degree. But beyond that, what I see in your position is a condemnation of religion on the basis of individuals acting within the freedom with which they were created. Of all the sins you listed, I did not see one that would not occur to the same degree outside of religion.
    Discrimination, hatred, violence, all of these would, and indeed do exist, in both individuals and societies where religion is not present. Indeed, history is unequivocal on this point. Totalitarian regimes where belief in God has been eschewed over a belief in the state have butchered millions upon millions of their own people.
    To write off most individuals as having been brain washed by religion, well, whether you intend this or not, it presents itself as nothing but gross egotism on your part.
    As to everyone loving for one day? Again, where is the freedom in that?
    I wonder, rather than asking the question of what you believe in. Did you ever stop to ask what, if anything, believes in you? This is an important distinction in the fundamental question. An atheist will jump at the chance ponder pompously on how the ignorant masses believe in a God, but will not once turn the question around and sit there expounding upon the fatuous notion that they themselves are nothing more than a mass of learned and inherited behavioral traits, that are of no significance and that will all too soon cease to exist without any meaning. And this is with good reason, because one cannot engage in a ego wank when honestly facing nihilism. In a similar way do I view your reasoning. It begins with what you believe, not, what believes in you. From there, any personal relevance or duty to one who created you is forgone, and instead, the all powerful judge is manufactured, one, that can be loftily dismissed, for we are accountable only to ourselves. From here, if nihilism is to not be embraced, then at the very least the idea of a non threatening, non judgmental force or energy must be championed.
    Just imagine if there is no heaven or hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people, living as I believe they should.
    The oceans of blood that have resulted from the machinations of such Utopian driven zealots, who to a man could have told what is was they believed in, but never, what One, believed in them, nor why He created us with the freedom with which we have been endowed, have far eclipsed all that has been shed by human failures finding voice in religion.

  4. Your words would have more weight behind them if they weren't posted as 'Anonymous'. Though I appreciate your position as well as respect your beliefs; I cannot converse with anonymity...

    Thank you for taking the time to express yourself and to share your thoughts.

    Much peace to you.

  5. I need to ascribe a personal identity to my words for them to have gravitas? I have exhibited some sort of cowardice out of a desire for privacy?
    What a nonsensical position! A name by itself means nothing, as in this context, it would have been very easy for me to fabricate one. That, would have been cowardly. That, would have invalidated my words. And that, I did not do. That being the case, either your reasoning is faulty, or you took a cheap (and weaselly) way out of addressing what I wrote.
    I would hope I am wrong on that last charge, after all, you did post my reply. Then again, perhaps you did so because you honestly (and incorrectly) believed you could invalidate it in the manner in which you tried to do so.

  6. None of the above... I just don't like to converse with anonymity. I respect your position and your beliefs, I don't necessarily agree with them and I have no problem agreeing to disagree but I don't particularly enjoy discussions with anonymous individuals. For me, it serves no purpose. That's all. :`)

    Here's my number, 514-500-2535... you know my full name, feel free to give me a call, if can't answer for whatever reason, leave me a message with a number I can reach you at and we can discuss things all you like if it's that's important to you but I'm not having discussions with anonymous individuals.

    After all, I did end the piece with:

    Much food for thought... These are my beliefs based on my experiences, my research, my questions... I in no way enforce these beliefs on anyone, but I very much do recommend and promote and provoke free thought and questioning... what you come up with is your own.

    "Absorb what it is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest." ~ Bruce Lee


    Much peace to you brother or sister... ;`)


  7. Again, as you saw fit to ignore the point the first time, how relevant is my anonymity, if with 2 mins work or less, a false name could have been set up by myself? The answer is, none whatsoever.
    Rather, your response presents itself as a tacit attempt to lay a charge of cowardice against me, and thereby invalidate that which I wrote. A behavior you continue with a stating of the obvious, that I know your full name, followed by, providing me with your telephone no., something which would also be readily available. Oh, and lets not forget that old ploy, 'if it's so important to you'. Really, that's what it's come to?
    Your post interested me. As you seem like an articulate individual, and so, I took the time to give a cogent reply as I was genuinely interested in what you would have to say for yourself in response. Well, through your actions, I got my answer. I would be lying if I said I was not hoping for a lot more. True faith relishes being challenged. And I certainly got none of that! So for that reason there is no feeling of vindication on my part. Instead, I feel disappointed and more than a little grubby. I do not see how any intelligent discourse can follow from this point, not that any has been forthcoming to date anyway. I'll leave it to you to employ the tactics of invalidation one last time. For myself, I see no further point in giving you my time. I'll seek my challenges other places.

  8. Sorry you feel that way, honestly. Thank you for your interest in what I wrote, I do sincerely appreciate it. I do hope you find better places to challenge your intellect. If you ever do change your mind, you know how to reach me.


  9. Hey anonymous, one more thing... thank you for making me realize that I am facilitating a venue for anonymous replies. This isn't fair on my part and I appreciate your position as I should have made mine clearer from the beginning regarding my issue in having conversation with anonyminity yet allowing a venue for such conversation to happen. My bad, on top of being opinionated, I'm also technologically challenged :`)

    I will be looking into directing all comments regarding any blog piece to either our forum or Facebook page where it's simply nothing more of a pain in the ass to remain anonymous and I figure if someone goes through the trouble of taking the time to register in as someone else, well then that means they really have a deep need to express themselves one way or another and I'll provide the venues being our forum or Facebook page...

    Much appreciate it, you did help me out in a totally unexpected way, hope to be able to one day do the same for you friend.


  10. I do not wish to pour oil into the fire - Just for the sake of the discussion or to add up for careful consideration...
    And as far as I can: no pretense here...Just questioning out loud.
    Believing in something seems to be a survival reflex for a human being. Why would it be something wrong with that ? Ok...! Now ! Since we are a fragile species we feel secured when we gather with others. Especially if they care for each other and also if they share our ways of thinking (beliefs).
    The problem I have with religion is not the religion by itself, it's rather the stand point of view they ground themselves in.
    Again I'm talking about the system here not their members whom are for many of them great and descent human beings.
    But to come back to my questioning; I'll put it this way and I know it sounds a bit gullible but again, just for the sake of questioning: What if all religions would say or rather state: Listen guys: We know that anxiety and searching for "a" reason torment us all in this life span so instead of this or that from the other religions, we propose these meanings, those answers to your quest. As far as you feel secured by them feel free to join us and follow our rituals that should calm down your cerebral hamster and bring you more peace and harmony in your life. Stay with us as long as you want and feel free to explore other religions or spiritual guidance and if you ever find one that suits you better just go right ahead. And we will still be friend.
    So I conclude this way: How the world would have been if religions would have state : we offer you this vision to calm you down instead of saying: we are the only one to own the truth?
    Thank you for your time.
    To Mr. Anonymous and Rich: It was quite challenging and indeed, a learning process to read your comments.
    Thank you - I wish you the best !
    Peace & Long Life. Simon

  11. Can't say I disagree with you on anything there Simon, you said it better than I could and I really liked your take on the truth of it, thing is, truth is not and has never been the most popular thing eh.

    Part of survivability for many it seems includes the need of superiority and/or dominance, which I suppose is understandable in a Neanderthal sort of way, but that again becomes an issue of us vs them instead of just us, everyone included.

    This need of hierarchy in absolutely everything.... but as anonymous mentioned, how does that reflect on choice which begs the question... how much choice do we truly have anyway and how much of it should we be allowed to have?

    Much to ponder if one so desires...

    PS. Please keep in mind that all comments regarding anything on or from the blog will soon to be made either on our online forum or our facebook page and no longer on the blog itself.

    Thank you.

  12. Indeed ! There's a French expression: "Où il y a de l'homme, il y a de l'hommerie !" - I'm not quite sure how to translate this one. (You might be better than me to do it...) But it reflects exactly what you're saying...
    Yeah ! Much to ponder...
    Thanks for your feed back. Take Care Rich.
    Ps. Facebook ? Great ! -> Look forward to it.