My Patreon page and how you can support this blog

Last week, I opened my Patreon page to the public, you can visit it here. If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s a short video that explains what it’s about:

In short:

  • Patreon is continuous crowdfunding, like Kickstarter but with monthly support instead of a one-time donation. You can use PayPal and most major credit cards.
  • There are different tiers at different price levels, each offering specific rewards. When you pick a higher tier, you automatically get all the rewards at the lower tiers as well.
  • You can stop at any time, go to a lower tier or go to a higher tier.

That’s pretty much it. It’s a simple and robust platform that works exactly as advertised.

 

Why am I using it?

When I started my first site in 1999, I promised wife at the time that I wouldn’t invest money in it, only time. I’ve tried to stick to that promise and worked with advertisers to cover the cost of hosting this blog. I don’t want to be too dependent on too many of them so I kept it limited. The last few years, the number of visitors has risen consistently and it’s come to the point that my current web host isn’t good enough anymore. Then there are the projects like my webcast, that I want to turn into a podcast, but that also needs some investment. To make better videos, I need to invest in equipment, etc. You can read all of the goals on the left side of the page.

I am using Patreon as a membership site, which in essence means two things:

  • I’m creating content specifically for it and you get to see it right away when it’s done, no delays. Some content will be unique to my Patreon page and not get published elsewhere.
  • You’ll have access to me. I’m going to be active in different ways: comments, videos, Q&A sessions and more.

My ultimate goal is to have my Patreon page be something you enjoy, find useful and feel you are getting your money’s worth from.

 

What now?

In less than a week time and with only a handful of patrons we blew past the first two goals. With their support, I can now:

  • Upgrade my blog to a much better web host. This will improve the speed, up-time and overall user experience for all of you. I’m comparing the plans of a few web hosts right now and am almost ready to pick one. Then the migration process can start. I’ll let you know when it’s done.
  • I can turn my webcast into a podcast as well. It will be available on Youtube as before, but also in audio version here on my blog and on iTunes.

I hadn’t expected to reach those goals any time soon. Everything I read about Patreon told me you need to work hard and be patient as patrons slowly trickle in over the months. It’s humbling to see how my patrons stepped up and signed on right away, even when there wasn’t a lot of content just yet. So here’s a big thank you to Andy, Pieter, Tino, Jose, Jan and Michael. You guys rock! I’m busy creating lots more content every day and I’ll do my best to reward your confidence in me.

If you want to support my blog, there’s two ways you can do so:

  • Sign up and become a patron here. Support can be as little as $1 a month at the lowest tier; every bit helps and I appreciate all of it.
  • Share my Patreon page with people you think might be interested. The more people take a look, the more chances one of them signs up. The more people sign up, the more everybody benefits as it’ll allow me to create more and better content.

As an added bonus, I’m offering a special surprise reward for the first 50 patrons, regardless of which tier you sign up for. So don’t wait too long if you are interested.

And to those of you who spread the word: thank you. I very much appreciate it.

Teenager shot by police at Reno high school: Lessons to learn

I just got sent this link to a video of a teenager shot by the police at a Reno high school:

You can view another angle here.
What seems to be known so far.
The predictable response here.

What is likely to happen now:

  • There will be the usual outcry along the lines of “Why did he shoot him, the kid only had a knife?” from those with no understanding of the dynamics involved in such an encounter.
  • Then there will be some more outrage as the journalists, pundits and professional rabble-rousers do their thing.
  • In the end, nothing will change and it’ll be waiting for the next incident.

In the mean time, I suggest focusing on the lessons we can learn from this. There are several things to take away form this video:

  • Disarming somebody with a knife without hurting him is not easy, nor is there a guaranteed technique you can use to pull it off. What’s more, a knife represents lethal force. Such a threat is typically responded to with lethal force, such as a firearm. Why? Because when you don’t and things go wrong, they can go wrong in catastrophic fashion (fast forward to 7min15 for the attack):

  • If the officer didn’t stop the kid and went down himself like the officers in the previous video did, the kid could have slaughtered several of students who were standing there. It’s the officer’s duty to avoid that, along with not dying himself. So if you brandish a knife and threaten others with it, act erratic and refuse to drop it when ordered, you should expect a definite response from law enforcement.
  • For those who don’t understand this, here are some realities about violence, about knife vs. gun and also this article. As an overall strategy, when faced with a knife and you have the option: run. Run for your life. Which brings us to the next point.
  • Look at the other students. They refuse to leave and even come closer as soon as the kid is no longer looking right at them or moving in their direction. There is no way to emphasize enough how monumentally stupid this is… If you have kids, teach them to flee when an event like this happens. I teach this to my children and repeat the lesson regularly: being an innocent bystander doesn’t make you safe. On the contrary, you can become a victim in an instant or become collateral damage when law enforcement takes action. Here’s an article with many examples. Here’s a video that shows exactly how fast bystanders can become victims, even when they think the fight is over…
Teenager shot by police at Reno high school - Lessons to learn

Teenager threatening with a knife in Reno high school

Early reports claim the kid was bullied and lashed out like this to protect himself. I have no idea if this is true, the investigation is ongoing and should reveal more. If true, is this enough to give him a pass on pulling a knife like that? That discussion is beyond the point of this article. The point is to learn from this incident and avoid becoming a victim.

Good luck and stay safe.

Webcast 004: My books and Q&A

It took a while but here is webcast 004, in which I talk a bit about my books and answer some questions. I ran a bit long in this episode, 50min instead of 30, because I wanted to be thorough in my answers instead of glossing over the questions. So grab a drink, take a seat and I hope you enjoy my yapping into the the microphone…

Here’s the episode guide and all the relevant links are below in the content guide.

 

Content guide:

1. Update:

Receive an email update when my books are published

 

2. My books. 5min, 25sec.

The Fighter’s body

Timing in the fighting arts

The Fighter’s Guide to Hardcore Heavy Bag Training and also the companion video.

Martial arts, self-defense and a whole lot more

Horrible Endings

Hong Kong Brawl and also this article for more information.

 

3. Q&A 29min, 45sec.

Jose’s question: Power/Control video

 

4. Get in touch. 51min, 40sec.
New book/video email notification list
Facebook Page
Instagram
Twitter

Thanks again for watching and I hope you enjoyed it. Please like and share if you want to help the webcast grow. As I said, for the next episode I’m planning to interview Marc “Animal” MacYoung, so stay tuned for that one.

 

New editions of my books

Last year, my first publisher went out of business and the rights of my first two books went to YMAA. They just re-released them and you can find them here:

The fighter's bodytiming in the fighting arts

These are the same books as before, except for the cover. I like the covers a lot better than the original ones, but that’s just me. Anyway, if you haven’t gotten round to buying these before, please consider these new editions. Also, if you could post a review on Amazon, I’d appreciate it.

Thanks.

How to train the leg kick for MMA

I’m busy editing and shooting the pictures for my Leg Kick book, so I’ve been testing ways to train the leg kick with my students for a while now. There are many possibilities, too many to mention, and what I explain in this article is not the only way to train. But it is something I haven’t seen many coaches use, so I wanted to share it here.

If you want to get an update when the Leg Kick book is released, follow the instructions here to get on my notification list. It’s free and I don’t do spam, only an occasional email when I have a new book or video out.

That said, here goes for the training drill.

How to train the leg kick for MMA

Before we go on, some key points:

  • If you are new to the leg kick, this drill isn’t for you. The assumption is that you have trained the leg kick already and know the different variations of it.
  • This drill isn’t the only way to train the leg kick; there are plenty of other ways. But in this drill we focus on something very specific so you have to follow the instructions. If you want to do other variations, change the drill.
  • I’ll explain my reasons why the combinations are set up the way they are, but that doesn’t mean you always have to do it that way in a fight. The combinations in the drill are like that because they force the student to train in the precise way I want them to train so they learn what I want them to learn. There is a time for improvising and free play; this drill isn’t one of those times.
  • The drill is not supposed to teach you good technique; you should already have that. Instead, it teaches skill within technique. Meaning, having the ability to change and adapt the technique depending on ever changing circumstances and do so instantly, without needing time to think it through.
  • The drill incorporates a key principle: compare/contrast. You might have had to write essays in this manner back in the day, but this method works just as well for training the leg kick in MMA. By comparing two techniques, the similarities and differences become clearer and your understanding improves. You contrast them by putting two versions at opposite ends of the scale next to each other. This makes those similarities/differences stand out even more.

Now that we have the context out of the way, let’s look at the drill itself.

How to train the leg kick for MMA

How to train the leg kick for MMA

The drill

The drill is done in a progressive manner, starting from simple to a bit more complex. You only go to the next phase when you can do the drill consistently without error. [Read more…]