Boxer hospitalized after confronting burglars

I just read a story about professional boxer Anthony Crolla. How he got into a fight outside of the ring and it ended badly. All the details aren’t out just yet, so take everything with a grain of salt until more details are released.

What seems to have happened is this:

  • Anthony Crolla noticed burglars climbing over the neighbor’s fence into his yard.
  • He chased them and managed to get a hold of one of them.
  • The other one grabbed a brick (or slab of concrete) and hit him over the head with it.
  • Crolla suffered a broken ankle and fractured skull and was taken to a hospital.

That’s pretty much all we know so far.

I’d like to make two specific points here. Neither one is related to Crolla as an individual. Before I do, take a look at this highlight and keep in mind that Crolla was scheduled for a world-title fight next month.

You can argue many things, but you can’t argue that Crolla is a poorly skilled boxer. He’s a professional, young and in awesome shape, especially given his upcoming title bout. Yet all that wasn’t enough to avoid getting his head bashed in and as a result, he might never fight again. At the very least, that title bout is gone and he’s in for a long recovery.

The first point I want to make is this:

If a professional, world class-level boxer can’t make boxing work in such a situation, why would you think you can pull it off?

You can again argue many things against this statement, that he is a lightweight and maybe the burglars were heavier. That it’s two against one, or some other issue you might want to bring up. If you do, you precisely make my second point: [Read more…]

Street fighting mistakes: being an innocent bystander

One of the things I’ve written about a lot is that street fights and violence are chaotic and unpredictable. If you have some experience in this area, then you know what this implies. If not, then chances are you don’t have a realistic idea of what I mean. Just to be clear, I don’t blame anybody for not having this knowledge. Not having to face violence is a good thing. If I can go my entire life without ever having to do so again, I’ll be a happy man. But violence can pop up any time, any place so it’s best to prepare.

That aside, there’s a fundamental flaw in human nature: we are intrigued by violence and want to watch it.

I’m going to leave the explanations to the scientists, but to the best of my knowledge and after plenty of research, I think this is a fair statement. People are intrigued by violence, men as well as women. You find public executions and torture in all cultures, all over the world throughout the ages. In Saudi Arabia, public beheading is still the norm and somehow there are always enough people willing to watch. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say humans want to watch other humans suffer violence.

For the point I want to make now, let me put that differently:

People who don’t understand violence and haven’t suffered enough from it will put themselves at risk to watch it.

Once you understand the true danger, you don’t want to get involved with anything that could end your life. Once you come face-to-face with your own mortality, have lost loved ones to violence or have had to take somebody’s life, the allure tends to diminish significantly. Like a friend of mine likes to say: “The cost of it.” Those who have not experienced this cost sometimes consider themselves an innocent bystander and assume this keeps them safe from harm. Why should they do anything to avoid becoming collateral damage? After all, they’re just watching, so they can’t get hurt, right?


Street fights are living things, they change and evolve constantly:

  • They add numbers to the active participants in an instant and decrease them just as fast.
  • They start in one spot and then move several yards in a few seconds, to swing back to the original spot (or another) right after.
  • One side may be wining when the dynamics suddenly change and they start losing.
  • They start as fisticuffs and stay that way until somebody starts shooting or stabbing his opponents.

In short, they are chaotic and unpredictable. Making assumptions about your safety because you are just a bystander is a dangerous game. You can be very, very wrong.

Here are some examples of the chaos and unpredictability of real violence: [Read more…]

From self-defense to excessive force

Here’s a great example of how your actions can take you from self-defense to excessive force in the eyes of the law. I’ve written many times about why this is important, but this video is a perfect illustration of the many factors involved in street violence. I’ll comment after the clips, but first a caveat:

I have no idea what started the confrontation.

I also don’t know if the man survived the beating he took.

There is the obligatory idiot screaming “Worldstar!” the whole time. You might want to turn down your sound.

That said, here are the two videos:


Some thoughts on all this: [Read more…]

Motivation in martial arts training

Earlier today,  I was chatting with a friend of mine. He had bought the Combat Bundle I provided one of my books for (the deal ends today so you better hurry if you want to get it) and was having some trouble downloading the files. We were talking and he mentioned one of the problems he faces is getting off his butt and actually train. He thought this would be hard for me (as a personal trainer) to understand. We talked some more and this (along with my first training session in a month) got me thinking.

This post is the result.


Starting over

As I explained previously, I had surgery one month ago. Today is the first time I worked out since then. I took it slow and easy, was careful not to rip open the wounds, paid special attention to everything the physical therapist had told me, etc.  As I was warming up, I thought about the two ways I could view this first session:

  • The negative. I was bound to suck. After such a long time off and having to be careful to avoid additional injuries, there is no way I would be able to train hard.
  • The positive. I would get to move again! After such a long time of inactivity, I could train again. That is awesome!

I chose to focus on the latter. Sure, it was nowhere the intensity I normally like to train, but it was the first step towards that goal. I know there will be many more steps along the way, but that’s OK. I know where I’m going and I’m going to enjoy the journey getting there. I lost years of training time because they couldn’t diagnose me correctly. I won’t get those years back, along with the skill and conditioning I lost in the mean time and that sucks. But the one good thing to come out of this whole ordeal is that I am a lot more grateful for every good day I have. I no longer take my training for granted, because I now know how quickly it can be taken away from me when my body refuses to let me.

So I focus on the positive, on what I can do. Even if it isn’t what I used to be able to do. Even if the goal I’m training for is still a long way off. I don’t care. I’m going to enjoy each training session. Right now, that’s what keeps me motivated.

But it isn’t always like that.

Motivation in martial arts training

Leaving the hospital the day after my surgery. Tried walking without the crutches and managed to do so (slowly.)

Motivation in martial arts training

I’ve been training in the martial arts for about thirty years now and finding the motivation to keep going has been an ongoing process. Sometimes it was easy, other times not so much. I am fortunate that I can teach professionally, which means I am training every day at least a little bit with clients, but that’s not the same as making sure I have my own progress in the arts. Which brings us to the question I think is key to have long-term motivation to continue in the martial arts: [Read more…]

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome in martial arts

Last week,  I received an email from somebody who follows my Youtube Channel. He asked why I wasn’t regularly uploading videos like I used to in the past. That’s a good question and it deserves an answer:

I don’t like making crappy videos in which my performance sucks.

The next question would then be: why would my performance suck?

The answer to that one is something I debated if I would explain it or not. On the one hand, my personal life and health is nobody’s business but my own. I also don’t feel like sharing everything that goes on in my life with the entire world. I believe I already give more than enough access to my thoughts and life experiences. Finally, I don’t like people who whine each time they get a little bit injured and would rather not be seen as one of those.

On the other hand, I very much hate the macho-attitude that is rampant in martial arts and combat sports. You know what I mean; the guys who pretend like they can take everything that comes their way, they’re never hurt, they cannot be beaten, etc. I loathe that kind of immature showboating because it is both stupid and pointless. Fighting hurts. If you train to fight and/or fight a lot, you’ll get hurt regularly. If you’re unlucky, you’ll get injured and if you really push it, you’ll get chronic injuries. Pretending that this doesn’t happen is one of the biggest lies macho martial artists perpetrate.

A second aspect is the years I lived with pain and had no cure for it. If by sharing my story I can spare just one person going through that same ordeal, then it’ll be worth it.

Here goes.



A bit over two years ago, I felt like crap. I was tired, weak and always in pain, in particular in my back and legs. Then all of a sudden the symptoms got worse and it felt like I had aged ten years in a month. So  I went to my MD and he did a basic examination. Not much to be found except that I scored zero on the patellar reflex test. Meaning, he hit me with the hammer and nothing happened. My legs didn’t even twitch. Then started a long downward spiral that lasted until a few weeks ago… [Read more…]