Tuesday, December 20, 2011


When an instructor is born full grown I am naturally suspicious. What I mean by born full grown is an instructor who seemingly appears on the scene without any verifiable lineage in any prior system other than the system he has claimed to invent. There are many examples of these types of instructors and there are some glaring consistencies in the inconsistency of their collective stories. Rather than go the route of establishing the validity of Tim Larkin's history and credentials, I have chosen to take a look at the material he is teaching, the way it is being taught and the pros and cons of both.

Tim Larkin is on the cover of Black Belt Magazine this month and in fact he has been named 2011 Instructor of the Year. Larkin is the creator of Target Focus Training (TFT) a fighting system that according to Larkin "Fills in the gaps that exist in most combat sports and martial arts". Larkin himself claims to have been competing in combat sports since the age of 4. "I've been involved in combat sports since I was about four years old, and various martial arts and combat sports throughout my grade school and high school. Sports background is basically football, basketball, water polo. I went to University with the goal of getting out into a Special Operations unit. So I went through Navy Seal training and did real well with that."

So this battle hardened former sailor has created “the most devastatingly powerful, scientifically-proven self defense system in the world today.”

A closer examination of his system exposes some very well reasoned approaches and some horrifc tactical approaches and worst of all, training methodoligies that are not at realistic at all.

Larkin's approach to knife defense is the focal point of this critique. In the BB article Larkin, while discussing knife defenses said "In reality, people punch with knives. People who survive a knifing say they never saw the blade. They felt they were being punched. That stat told us we had to alter the type of training we were doing with knives. It's why we teach you to injure the other person rather than try to control the knife. It's better to take out the man, to put him in a nonfunctional state."

The first part of the statement is true. People do punch with knives and most victims of a knife attack neither see the knife nor do they feel the knife plunge into their flesh. So in this I am in total agreement with Larkin. However the second part of the statement is problematic for me. To focus solely on injuring the attacker with negating or addressing the threat posed by the weapon is ridiculous and incredibly dangerous. It is imperative that the delivery system for the weapon gets neutralized while damage is being done to the assailant. It doesn't matter how hard you strike or where you strike your attacker, if you don't simultaneously control the delivery system for the weapon.

To assume that one strike to a sensitive area on the attacker's body is going to do enough damage that renders him completely powerless is absurd. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is a scientific law. So striking the groin of a person who is armed with a knife is going to cause some sort of reaction. Controlling the delivery system for the weapon, in this case the knife arm, is extremely important especially when you consider that the aforementioned response is completely unpredictable.

A further look at TFT reveals some significant issues from a tactical standpoint. It is clear that Larkin teaches his students to focus on damaging the assailant without regard for controlling the weapon the assailant is holding. This is flawed on so many levels. I believe though that the root of this problem is found in two areas.First I am not sure that Larkin is what he claims to be. I have significant doubts about his qualifications and actual background in combat systems either sport or reality based.

Secondly the fact that neither Larkin himself or his students train at combat speed. Everything they do is done at a speed that is so slow all of their defenses work everytime against a predetermined attack. The problem with training in this manner should be obvious. Any reality based training that does not include an element of the unknown, an exterior stress and a non compliant attacker must be viewed skeptically. How can the students deal with the reality of the unknown and the stress of a real attack when their training is not indicative of these harsh realities.

This is a critical point. In previous writings I have pointed to traditional martial arts as being the biggest offenders in this regard. They very rarely if ever train at combat speed vs an unknown attacker. They do forms and Kata instead or heavily choreograph their attacks so that the student gets a false sense of security and goes into the world unprepared. This is extremely concerning when you add firearms and edged weapons to the mix. All of the scientific jargon in the world does not replace sound principles. Claiming to have been a Navy Seal, super soldier or Jack Bauer is not enough to validate a system. Technical apptitude and tactical implementation are the cornerstones of any good system. Combat Speed is the final exam and really is the heart of the system. What happens when the attack is unknown and the attacker does not comply? This is the only method we can truly critique any system. In my professional opinion Tim Larkin and TFT fall way short of being considered a legitimately sound self defense system.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grounded: Why using Jiu Jitsu in the street will get you hurt or killed.

There are a lot of myths out there in the world of fighting and self defense. One of the most often repeated myths is that 90% of all fights go to the ground. There is actually no evidence to support such a claim. This is a claim that many Jiu Jitsu schools will use in their marketing or in their presentation of Jiu Jitsu as an effective self defense system. The problem with this type of marketing or presentation is that Jiu Jitsu schools very rarely if ever actually demonstrate their system in realistic enivironment or under realistic scenarios that occur during a violent altercation.

I love Jiu Jitsu. I think that it is the most mentally challenging of all the systems. In the ring especially an MMA ring, a fighter who does not know how to operate on the ground is significantly limited in the fight. That being said it is foolish to look at training for a ring situation in the same light as training for survival in the street.

Jiu Jitsu by itself is not enough to survive a violent street attack. The training environment at most Jiu Jitsu schools is geared toward sport based Jiu Jitsu. In other words they are learning how to prepare for a fight that is governed by rules, regulations and most importantly it is void of true violence. They are preparing for a "fair" fight. A fair fight is when two or more combatants agree to a location, time, rules and decorum in advance. Often times in Jiu Jitsu schools students are "Rolling" with opponents who are within 10 15lbs and the size difference is fairly managaeable.

In the street none of these comforts exist. In fact the victim will in most cases be significantly smaller than the attacker. There are also other factors such as clothing, stress, the surface the fight is taking place, armed attackers and of course multiple attackers. My point is that Jiu Jitsu does not effectively address any of these issues.

A Ground Survival system that addresess these issues in a tactical manner is what is most appropriate for street altercations. The system must combine a basic understanding of wrestling and Jiu Jitsu and it must be infused with a combat mentality that leaves all avenues for damaging the attacker open. Biting, goughging, pinching, striking the groin, small joint manipulation and other "dirty tactics" are the foundation of an effective ground survival program, not an after thought.

The prevailing attitude of the practioner should be that of a rabid animal. There should be controlled mayhem sprinkled with ballistic violence that is being used for the purpose of preserving the practioner's life.

The system itself is to be taught as a principle based system that does not deal in absolutes, it addresses the totality of combat. It deals with multiple attackers, armed attackers and the high stress that comes with ground survival.

When I speak to Law Enforcement officials regarding the type of training that officers are exposed to, I am often very dissapointed when I hear that the officers "roll' at a MMA or Jiu Jitsu gym. When I ask why they chose that gym they usually tell me a name of a famous MMA fighter or Jiu Jitsu coach in order to justify their decision to train there. When I ask how they train, they tell me that they roll for hours per week working submissions and escapes. When I ask them how they are dressed when they roll, they usually respond with Gi, or No gi. But that is not what I mean. If you are training for real survival you must train in your regular street clothing from time to time. If you are in law enforcement or the military you must train in your uniform with all of your gear as you wear it during the course of performing your duties. To train in a Gi exclusively or in MMA gear exclusively is a death sentence.

If you don't know and understand the limitations, disadvantages and advantages that that your clothing/uniform provide for you, then I would submit that your training is far too sterile and not at all preparing you for the realities of ground survival.

In closing, there are far too many factors that can drastically change the outcome of an altercation that leads to a fight on the ground. Sport based training will not provide the most direct answers to situations like this. Only a tactically sound, no holds barred style that is taught with a warrior's mindset will get you home safe. So leave the Jiu Jitsu for the dojo. Learn and perfect a serious ground survival system!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recently there have been a rash of murders on the strip in Las Vegas. In fact as of this writing there have been 3 unrelated murders on the strip in the last 11 days. In all three cases there was some sort of a verbal altercation before the physical violence escalted and left three men dead. There was also collateral damage and even more violence as a fallout from one of these incidents. Here is the thing that jumps out. These men left their homes and headed to the Las Vegas pressumably for fun and laughter. How did it all go so wrong?

A closer look at the incidents reveal some more pertinent details that are worth noting. In all three incidents there were verbal altercations prior to any violence. In 2 out of the 3 killings a weapon was used. Two of the victims were fatally stabbed multiple times and the other victim was punched in the face, knocked unconcious and died on the spot. In the last incident a much longer verbal altercation occured prior to the fatal blow being struck.

According to police reports two men were inside of a restroom in a casino on the strip. The victim made a racial comment to his would be killer. The verbal jabs continued as the men exited the restroom. The vicitim's hands were in his pockets while he was jawing back and forth with this man. The attacker pretended to turn and walk away and instead turned back around and delivered a vicious right hand to the victim's jaw. The victim was knocked out immediately and never regained conciousness. The punch knocked him out and the fall probably killed him. In a matter of seconds, both mens lives and the lives of their families were changed forever.

What went wrong? Who's fault is this? Did the victim bring this upon himself? Did his attacker overreact? Was his attacker acting out of fear or out of anger? There are so many questions that will unfortunately never get answered. But what I think is more important than that is the concept that we all should really consider our actions and the impact that they can have on our lives and the lives of others.

Everytime we get into an altercation verbal or physical our lives are at risk. We have to recognize the inate dangers of aggresive behavior. These types of scenes are played out every single day and most of them do not end in the death of one of the participants. Unfortunately all of these types of altercations have the potential to end exactly like that. So how does our training prepare us for situations like this.

We should always remember that it is more important to avoid altercations such as these because of their unpredictable nature. Tactically there is no advantage for exchanging verbal barbs with another individual, when you add alcohol, insulted pride and macho attitudes to the mix you can see where the volatile nature of these types of incidents can explode in violence.

Let's take a look at the victim here. First according to police accounts he was the one who "started" the altercation by making racial remarks to the attacker. He also continued verbally insulting the man after first exiting the restroom. When the man was approaching him, he kept his hands in his pockets and allowed the man to be in striking distance without preparing himself for the possibility of violence. He was talking and not paying attention to the assailant's body language or the fact that he was agitated. Why did he have his hands in his pocket? Was he trying to convey to the attacker that he was not going to become violent? Was he reaching for a weapon?

The attacker also participated in the verbal insults. He too was willing to exchange insults and profanities all while making the decision to strike the victim. He moved closer and closer to the victim and feined leaving prior to hitting the man. Was he angry because of the initial insult? Was he in fear for his safety because the man had his hands in his pockets? Or did he see the victim's hands in his pockets and take advantage of the opportunity to strike the victim?

A confrontation over an insult leads to one man's death and the other man's incarceration and two families destroyed by violence. We have to take these things very seriously. We have to maintain our civility and only us violence as means to to stop an aggresor who is clearly posing a threat to our lives or that of our loved ones. Our training must include scenarios that instill in our students the understanding of defusing and removing themselves from the threat as early on in the altercation as possible. The type of training that we do breeds confidence and that confidence can sometimes cause a student to remain in a situation linger than he or she should.

Violence has a potential of breaking out wherever humans frequent. We are all training to deal with violence should it come. We must never forget that the best way to deal with an altercation is to avoid said altercation. If that fails then we have to remember to constantly evaluate the other person's body language. We have to look at his hands first! We have to move to a better strategic situation ie, not be directly in front of him, We have to use a firm but fair tone and avoid directly challenging them with our words. We must be able to read and sense when he is going to act violently and respond with an appropriate amount of force. If you have a verbal altercation you must remember that the potential for violence is extremely high. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Liberate Yourself From Traditional Krav Maga


There are several reasons why I chose to write this article and I will touch on those reasons throughout the course of this writing. I have stated this before and I feel it bears repeating once more. Bruce lee has had a tremendous impact on me personally and as a martial artist. I specifically chose this title because Bruce himself wrote an article titled, Liberate Yourself from Classical Karate which was first published in September 1971.

In this truly groundbreaking article Lee encouraged the reader to free his/her mind from their chosen style in order to seek their own expression. The article was not anti Karate. In fact it was anti style. That is to say, that it was anti- all styles, or the trappings of any given style, even his own. Bruce thought that the ultimate level for any martial artist to reach was to be “form - less”, to have “no-way” as a “way”, to have “no-style” as a style. Bruce was trying to share his vision with the martial arts world in an effort to help them liberate their own minds from their own styles.

So it is in this spirit that I write the following article about Krav Maga. The purpose of this article is not to attack any specific organization or for that matter any specific instructor, school or students. Quite frankly I am not concerned with whether or not you as the reader agree with me or not. I only hope that you read this article and then re-read the article in the hopes that you are able to find the courage to question your training. If we are not constantly trying to improve we are by default ceasing to grow into our greatest potential.

“It is conceivable that a long time ago a certain martial artist discovered some partial truth. During his lifetime, the man resisted the temptation to organize this partial truth, although this is a common tendency in a man's search for security and certainty in life. After his death, his students took "his" hypotheses, "his" postulates, "his" method and turned them into law. Impressive creeds were then invented, solemn reinforcing ceremonies prescribed, rigid philosophy and patterns formulated, and so on, until finally an institution was erected. So, what originated as one man's intuition of some sort of personal fluidity has been transformed into solidified, fixed knowledge, complete with organized classified responses presented in a logical order. In so doing, the well-meaning, loyal followers have not only made this knowledge a holy shrine, but also a tomb in which they have buried the founder's wisdom.”-Bruce Lee

I have had the honor of training with the very best instructors in the world. Some of these men learned Krav Maga directly from the founder, Imi. Many did not have the pleasure of learning from The Grandmaster. We all owe Imi a debt of gratitude because he had the courage to fight for those who could not do it for themselves and he also had the courage to share his knowledge with the rest of us. His system, Krav Maga, is a principle based system that has specific techniques that all of us have learned, practiced and taught thousands of times. While I firmly believe that Krav Maga is one of the most effective systems being taught today. I am not so blinded by my respect for the system and more importantly Imi, that I don’t see the holes in our system. Yes there are holes in the system. Some of these holes are unavoidable because of the unpredictability of combat. Remember, there are no guarantees that anything works 100% of the time. There are some holes however that are created by our training methods. I recently had a conversation with Jeremy Stafford, a dear friend, a warrior and a top notch Krav Maga Instructor! We were talking about training at combat speed vs. a knife attack. Both he and I agree that the only way to train against a knife wielding attacker is to do so at combat speed. If you are not training at combat speed against an attacker that is trying to stab you, you are not training. More on this later though.

The biggest issue that many top level instructors encounter in finding solutions for the holes in our system is that they are afraid to make changes to the system that Imi founded. I know because I have trained with these men. I have spoken to them at length about some of the issues with various techniques in the system. Some of them have openly acknowledged the problems but they are unwilling to address them because they know that their peers will be very critical of them should they make an addition or even more blasphemous, a subtraction of a technique that Imi wanted in the system. John Whitman , one of the world’s leading authority on Krav Maga and in my opinion the best teacher on the planet, is one of the men who will make such changes to the system because he sees what the others are afraid to admit. Simply, we have some things in our system that need to be changed because we have found that the techniques are too difficult to perform at combat speed for most practioners.

It takes a great deal of courage to take a look at ourselves and ask the tough questions. It is much easier to sit around a table with our peers and students and listen to them tell us how awesome we are. We can sit around and wait for change to come from above or we can “Be like water” and adapt to any given situation as needed. It is not disrespectful to improve the system through understanding and training methods that put each individual under the most duress possible. This is the only way to assign a value, a tangible measurement of our technical performance and the methodology behind our training approach.

As Bruce mentioned in the excerpt above, the system only represents the founder’s mindset or personal understanding at the time that the lesson was being taught, the curriculum was being developed or the book was being written. It is the followers who make his words dogma and thus creativity is smothered. So in our own training are we challenging our students to find their own truth? Are we afraid to step outside of our own training methodology because we know that Imi did not provide the answer to the questions that are guaranteed to come? Imi is not coming back anytime soon. We have to remember that Imi left us with the beginning, not the end of our growth. It is up to us as instructors not to provide absolute answers, no, we have to provide a light on the path for each student.


I have trained with exceptionally talented instructors from various systems and the thing that separates the average system from the extraordinary systems is the quality of the curriculum. When the curriculum is put together in a structured manner that is supported by high level instruction, the student can expect to grow quickly and consistently. Additionally if we are to treat our schools as true places of learning, we must have a tangible way of discerning each student’s ability and giving the student attainable training goals followed by a realistic training schedule. Without a curriculum the student will be limited by the instructor’s lack of lesson plan and therefore the lack of measurement of each student’s growth. So from a practical standpoint, an instruction standpoint and a learning standpoint, a concise curriculum is extremely important.

By the same token a curriculum can also cripple a student’s growth, limit the student’s understanding and stifle and instructor’s ability to find answers for his students if the curriculum is valued more than the needs of the individual practioner. No system is more important than the individual training in the system. An instructor must be able to understand the curriculum so well that he sees its flaws and immediately seeks to correct the flaw in the technique or the way that it is presented. If the instructor is not doing this he is falling into the trap of blindly following the dogma of his instructor. His instructor either lacked the skill set or the courage to see a problem in our training and find an answer for the problem.

I have included two quotes from the aforementioned article for this section. Read these carefully as I believe that most instructors, regardless of what style they teach, do not understand the concept of true combat.

“One cannot express himself fully when imprisoned by a confining style. Combat "as is" is total, and it includes all the "is" as well as "is not," without favorite lines or angles. Lacking boundaries, combat is always fresh, alive and constantly changing. Your particular style, your personal inclinations and your physical makeup are all 'parts' of combat, but they do not constitute the 'whole' of combat. Should your responses become dependent upon any single part, you will react in terms of what "should be" rather than to the reality of the ever-changing "what is." Remember that while the whole is evidenced in all its parts, an isolated part, efficient or not, does not constitute the whole.”-Bruce Lee 1971.

When a student first begins studying their chosen system they understand very little and are forced to mimic their instructor or another student. This is a normal occurrence but if unchecked it can cause the student to misunderstand their abilities and more importantly cause them to misunderstand the harsh realities of combat. The need for personal exploration must be stated often and early on in the students training. Without this critical understanding of learning vs. being systematized the students progress and therefore the instructors ability to grow is stifled.

“Prolonged repetitious drillings will certainly yield mechanical precision and security of that kind comes from any routine. However, it is exactly this kind of "selective" security or "crutch" which limits or blocks the total growth of a martial artist. In fact, quite a few practitioners develop such a liking for and dependence on their "crutch" that they can no longer walk without it. Thus, anyone special technique, however cleverly designed is actually a hindrance.”- Bruce Lee

If we are not careful we can become that which we despise the most. The patterns and training flaws of traditional systems are creeping their way into what we are doing and we must rectify this immediately. This is most evident in our striking. You can watch any Krav Maga student and see how they move and strike. You can see which strikes they favor and you will know who they train under. It is human nature for a team to take the personality and in many cases the physical traits of their leader. However this can also be a negative if the instructor is not adept at teaching reality. What good is it to teach a student how to throw a knee by repeatedly throwing knee after knee after knee during a self defense scenario? The instructor must be able to make a clear distinction for the student. The instructor must know the difference between on the mat training and street application.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fight For Your Life!!!!

This past weekend I taught a seminar at our school in Las Vegas. The theme of the event was "Fight For Your Life". The training itself was centered on close quarters hand to hand combat. We introduced various scenarios to the students. For instance they had their hands taped together in front of their body and behind their backs while they were being attacked by a knife wielding assailant. They were put in very close quarters with an unknown amount of attackers some of whom were armed others were not. They did not know what attack would come or from who the attack would come from!

We also spent a entire teaching block reviewing ground survival tactics. We try to put as much emphasis on the harsh realities of surviving on the ground or in the worst case scenario, surviving an abduction. Yes we had a van and two of our instructors were the abductors. The students were training outside of the school and when the van pulled up they were lined up and told to close their eyes. A target was selected and the abductors grabbed the student and dragged them into the van! The doors slammed behind them and the van took off. We took them for a ride in the van and expected and encouraged to fight back while the van was moving.

The entire seminar was based on "worst case scenario" type of training. To be abducted is terrifying and I wanted to give the students the most realistic feeling that I could. So the intensity of the abduction portion was not taken for granted. In fact some of the students became very emotional during the attack and post attack.

One of the most important elements of the training was the after action review. Upon exiting the vehicle the student was given a statement form and asked to recount the entire event. We had a police officer explain how to fill out the witness statement form properly. Then they were asked to complete the form. The details varied from person to person. We left small clues inside the van. For instance business cards from a local business and a shirt with the company's logo were left in relative plain sight. We told the attackers to call each other by name and yell out directions like "turn left on laredo" all while the victim was being attacked. My hope was that the student would recognize some of these clues and be able to recall them.

As each member was abducted they started to realize that they must fight hard to prevent being put in the van in the first place. Every second they spent in the van was a second closer to being hurt further and in a real situation they would be closer to death. So the fights between the abductors and the students began to become more and more violent. This was awesome to witness. Some of the female students freaked out because of the intensity of the abductions. But what made me most proud was that all of them requested to be abducted again. They wanted to prove themselves. They wanted the challenge. They wanted the growth. They wanted to face their fears and that was amazing to see.

All of the participants came away with an understanding that they did not have prior to the seminar. Again we did so many different drills throughout the day. It was awesome. I am very proud of all who attended and participated. We will continue to push the envelope and provide training that is realistic and pertinent. If you missed this event you missed out on some amazing training. Make sure you don't miss the next one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


With the proliferation of MMA schools all over the world, combative sports are becoming more and more popular. Boxing gyms have been negatively impacted by MMA's growth. Traditional systems like Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Judo have also been negatively impacted by the rise of MMA. MMA has quickly changed the way that many people view the martial arts and it is good for the growth of the sport.

However there is an under current that I have noticed within the MMA community. While the explosion of MMA has been great for the growth of the sport there are many fans and practitioners of MMA that believe that what happens in the ring is similar to what happens in a violent street encounter. The truth is, the two could not be further apart. If you go into a violent encounter thinking sport and the attacker is thinking combat and violence, you are going to get killed.

The differences between sport fighting and violent encounters is vast and on so many levels, very unique. Combative Sports have rules. The presence of rules or an agreed upon code of conduct between two combatants automatically makes the fight sterile. Those who have been in a real violent encounter know that there is nothing sterile about violence. In fact violence is organic. It changes from second to second. It is not at all predictable and there are major factors that contribute to its unpredictability.

The presence of rules means no weapons! No weapons in a street fight? According to the F.B.I. and Department of Justice weapons are used in 70% of all violent encounters. That means that in 7out 10 altercations a weapon is deployed. When was the last time you saw an MMA fighter bring a weapon into the cage? In fact they are literally patted down prior to entering the cage. So the MMA fighter/practitioner is not at all concerned about a weapon being deployed and will not have trained his/her senses to expect and anticipate when the weapon is deployed.

MMA gyms do not train their fighters to be concerned with multiple attackers. Why? Well it's against the rules. When was the last time you went to a bar by yourself? When was the last time you went to a social gathering by yourself? Imagine you are at an event with a friend and you leave to get a refill of your favorite beverage. When you return you see that your friend is in a fight. What do you do? Do you start yelling out instructions to him like a good corner man? No. You jump in. You help your friend and you put boots to the guy that he is fighting with! Well what do you think your opponents friend will do to you? Again you will never see this in the cage.

There is a difference between combative sports and defending yourself against a person who is hell bent on causing your great bodily harm or even trying to kill you. The next time that you watch an MMA fight ask yourself one question. Which one of the fighters is actually in a homicidal rage and is trying to kill the other fighter? You won't be able to identify him because despite all of the bravado and the chest thumping, neither combatant really wants to kill the other. Neither one of the fighters will use any dirty tactics. Neither one of the fighters is hopped up on a drug or alcohol. Neither one of them are armed. Do you see how different sport is from combat?

There is nothing wrong with training in MMA. Your fighting skill and fitness level will certainly be improved greatly. But do not make the mistake of overestimating your skill level and underestimating the importance of understanding the commitment level of your opponent in the street. Studies have shown that criminals are far more prone to using violence than their victims are. No surprise there right? Additionally they are much better at committing violent acts than most people are at defending and neutralizing the threat.

The training must mimic the actual event. You can't practice two hand touch football and think for one second that you will be able to step into a full contact football game without experiencing a completely different sensation and level of violence.

In conclusion you can train in MMA and for that matter traditional martial arts both pursuits have their strong points. But you should never confuse those sterile environments with the organic nature of combat. If your training does not include dealing with an unknown factor you must upgrade your training now. Your training must include training empty hand vs weapons. You are more likely to run into a violent armed attacker than you are to run into a psychotic MMA figher. Where should spend your time?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Traditional Martial Arts On life support..... Pull the plug already.

The following subject matter is bound to ruffle some feathers. I have given great consideration to this article and I was talked out of writing it by a dear friend once before. However I am not able to remain quiet any longer. The purpose of this article is not to promote any particular system over another. I do practice and teach Krav Maga everyday. So my opinions are not entirely unbiased. However I want you, the reader, to understand that I do have experience training in traditional martial arts (TMA) and I am well aware of the importance of many of these systems to its many followers. Regardless of my own connection to traditional systems it is my opinion that TMA's days are numbered.

If your school does not fall into this box, I applaud your teacher. You have no reason to be offended. If you are offended its probably because you train at one of these schools and now you are going to have to go ask your Sifu,sensei, master, grandmaster etc... why he'd been lying to you for so long.

The primary issue I have with TMA is the fact that they lie to the public. They sell themselves as "Self Defense" schools when they are nothing of the sort. The problem is that most of these instructors are have never been in a real life or death fight. Most of them are teaching the same old tired techniques that they learned from their instructor who also was never in a real fight! So what they are passing off as self defense is in fact choreographed dance moves covered in grunting, loud kiyai all while dressed like Ralph Machio in the Karate Kid, that's the original version all of you youngsters, but I digress.

The history of Martial Arts is fascinating if you are into that kind of thing. Basically most experts agree that the first written word on martial arts came from China. Kung Fu is the generic term for Chinese systems so Kung Fu practioners are quick to remind you that all things came from their style. The validity and furthermore the importance of this statement are questionable. Many of the traditional systems Karate, Kung Fu (apologies for lumping you all together), Aikido,Judo and everyones favorite Tae Kwon Do have been lying to their students for years. These systems have different origins and I am sure that they are taught significantly different in their country of origin than they are in the U.S. . But, most of these systems have sold out for the quick buck and are stealing money from parents and the few and I mean very few adult students that they manage to have.

If I see another 9 year old black belt I am going to vomit. These school owners have made a living lying to their students and parents of these students. Everyday parents bring their kids into these fluffed up after school daycare centers hoping that their child learns how to defend themselves. Parents are assaulted by the instructors need to show every plaque, trophy, sash, stripe and belt he/she has ever received. The parents are told that the "little dragon" program is the essential first step to the child being able to defend himself. The parents are told that the child will learn respect and discipline and most importantly he/she will be able to truly defend themselves. It's all a bunch of lies. Every word of it. But parents buy it, hook,line and sinker. So off goes little Johnny. He learns how to throw a half ass punch and practices his horse stance, next thing you know Johnny is awarded a belt! It's disgusting.

I spoke to a father who's son earned his yellow belt after his second class! This kind of stuff is criminal! What's more is the culture of fake respect and false humility that these schools show. They talk the talk but walk a different walk. The Sensei/Sifu/Master/Grandmaster or whatever ridiculous title that many of these clowns place on themselves,tell their students lies about knowing techniques so deadly that they can not be passed on to a student until the student devotes his life to studying the art. These clowns are snake oil salesmen. They walk around their dojos like they are the reincarnation of Jesus. They claim to possess special powers and heightened senses . Some claim to have healing powers and claim to have the ability to feel "hot spots" on your body without touching you. Bullshit. It's all bullshit.

Again this all wouldn't be so bad if they were not lying to their student body by claiming to teach real self defense techniques. Your instructor does not have magical powers. He is not a healing man. He is a charlatan. He is a fake.He is lying to you, wake up. He is an imposter. It is offensive that a person who allegedly teaches self defense would try to elevate himself to the level of a spiritual conduit to your personal power.

Over the last several years I have had many interactions with representatives from various systems. Some of these people are my friends now and they know who they are. Most of these Karateka, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu practioners, Judoka and other TMA practioners publicly won't speak ill of other systems and then privately trash them. Cowards. All of them.

Reality Based Systems and MMA are choking the life out of TMA and they know it! Why are there more MMA tournaments than Karate tournaments? Why are publications like Blackbelt Magazine featuring reality based systems more than traditional systems? Because it is clear that the modern martial artist has figured out what Bruce Lee was trying to tell us so many years ago. "When you get down to it,real combat is not fixed and is very much alive. The fancy mess solidifies and conditions what was once fluid, and when you look at it realistically, it is nothing but a blind devotion to the systematic uselessness of practicing routines or stunts that lead nowhere."

In other words you are wasting your time practicing forms and Kata because these have nothing to do with survival or true combat! Yet TMA is wrought with this outdated practice. Again, as long as they don't call what they teach self defense I am fine with it. Forms and Kata are closer to ballet than they are combat!They are worlds apart from self defense and these posers should recognize this and stop lying to their students.

More to come.....