Just a quick update:
I have a birthday coming up and to celebrate it, I’d like to give something back to all of you who have supported me and my work for such a long time now, especially the subscribers to my newsletter. Here’s what’s gonna happen:
For the next two days, I’m giving away two fiction stories for free and am heavily discounting one book.
If you already subscribed to my newsletter, you don’t have to do anything. You’ll receive an email with all the details either later today or early tomorrow.
If you have not subscribed yet, do so now by entering your name and email address in the form here below. Don’t forget to click the link in the confirmation email you get afterwards, or you won’t be on the list and will miss out on everything.
That’s it. Now please excuse me as I go off to eat some chocolate cake…
Team Fighting Championship seems to be the next step in MMA: fighting multiple opponents.
This isn’t the first attempt at competitive team fighting I’ve seen, but it is one of the most brutal ones given what seems to be allowed. I tried to find some more information about the rules (if any) but didn’t see much. For now, it seems like pretty much anything goes until the referees stop a fighter.
Take a look at this fight (it starts at about 2min.) to see what I mean and I’ll give some comments and a personal opinion afterwards:
If you want to see more of these videos, check out their Youtube channel.
There are a couple of things that stand out in this fight. I’ll cover those first and make some predictions afterwards. Here goes: Read More→
After more than ten years of writing non-fiction, I just published some fiction. It’s a short story titled “Deadly Sin #3″ and is part of a series I’m calling “Horrible Endings. You can guess why…
If you like that genre, you can buy the book here.
For the long explanation, here’s a video with some background information. Watch out for the spoilers though:
And this is a video with some details about Deadly Sin #3. Again, spoilers!
To clearly answer the question that I’ve been asked repeatedly since this story went live:
Will I stop writing about martial arts and self-defense?
No, not at all.
I have three MA/SD books going right now and plans for many more. I only write fiction when I’m temporarily stuck with those books and when I need to occupy my mind with something totally different. Then I write some fiction and it helps me get back to the non-fiction with a clearer head.
Also, it’ fun. I enjoy it. I had so much fun writing those stories, it should be illegal.
So there it is. No worries, plenty more to come both in fiction as in non-fiction.
It’s been a while since I wrote a “how-to” guide so here is another one: how to keep your guard up in a fight.
First, a quick explanation: The focus of this guide is combat sports like MMA, muay Thai and boxing. That said, to a degree, you can use the same information for self-defense and traditional martial arts as well. In those, you sometimes have to keep your hands in a specific place, for instance on center-line, chambered at the hip, etc. Some of the ideas I write here will apply there as well, but not all of them. As always, use whatever you can and ignore the rest.
Second, why is it important? Why is there even a need to keep your guard up in a fight? We’ve all seen fighters with low or sloppy guards beat their opponents, right?
True enough, it happens. The most popular example of this is Muhammad Ali, who routinely dropped his hands or just kept them all the way down and still beat his opponents. Here he is in action. Watch the low guard…
Here’s the thing: just because some other fighter can get away with it, doesn’t mean you can.
You’re not Muhammad Ali. Do you have his level of skill? His footwork? His speed? His elusiveness? His experience?
But all these elements are a part of why he didn’t get punished all the time when he didn’t keep his guard up in a fight. However, when he got older and slower, the low guard didn’t work anymore and he started taking beatings in the ring. So no matter how good you are, there comes a time when a sloppy guard will come back to haunt you. The reason why a high guard is important is simple: you get hit more often if you drop your guard, especially if you don’t know you’re dropping it.
As a final point, there are two parts to learning how to keep your guard up in a fight: Read More→
Before we get to the video where this stupid prankster gets knocked out, some background.
A while ago, I was talking to my teenage daughter about how the world is so different now from when I was her age. One of those differences is the internet and how it changed our society. For instance, now, you can make a living off being a “Youtube celebrity”. Just get tons of people to follow you on Youtube, and eventually you’ll attract sponsor, advertisers and so on. I don’t consider it a worthwhile career path, except for the few lucky ones, which is what I wanted to point out to her.
In and of itself, this phenomenon is not a bad thing. In fact, there are many YouTube professionals that offer a lot of valuable information for free in just this way. But there are also people who should be protected against their own stupidity and others who should be put in jail for the nonsense or misinformation they propagate. Case in point, the stupid prankster that gets knocked out.
You can watch the whole thing, but if you want to skip to the knock out, it’s at 2min10.
There’s obviously the stupidity of the prank itself: provoking people like this is a surefire way to get knocked out, or worse. But what’s worse is how he seems all proud of getting knocked out, as if it’s an accomplishment. The prankster probably doesn’t realize that a knock out like that can leave lasting damage or even kill you outright. When blunt trauma to the head happens, that’s always in the cards. The fact that it didn’t happen here doesn’t mean the danger doesn’t exist. Go ask an ER doctor about this if you think I’m exaggerating…
The other guy also might have hit him at an angle so he would have fallen forward, off the grassy slope and onto the concrete. An unconscious face-plant from that height usually means lots of surgery to put your skull back together, at best. But hey, it was all just a prank, right, so it’s OK… Read More→
One of my students likes to torment me by Googling my name and sending me links to what people write about me. I’ve learned to fear his research (he pays for it during our training sessions…) and often click away after 2 seconds because there’s only so much I can endure. Every now and then, I reply to people but over the years this has become very rare. Simply because those discussions all too often end up as shouting matches.
The latest link he sent was of a forum discussing one of my blog posts. As usual, I was impressed by how people seem to read into my words something other than what I wrote or put words into my mouth that I never spoke and then argue about it amongst themselves (straw man anyone?). Disagreement is fine, even more, it’s necessary for any real growth to occur. But all too often, egos get in the way and the flame wars get started. That’s why I have pretty much stopped participating in forums, barring a few exceptions.
I’ve written about this ad nauseam but for clarity’s sake, I’ll repeat it here: Nothing I write is gospel. This is all just my opinion and it may or may not be valid for whatever circumstances you live in. I’m just a guy, like you, with his own set of faults and virtues. If you find a use for what I write, awesome. If not, that’s OK too. Let me add to that with some more points:
- I could be wrong. I frequently am (ask my girlfriend…) and it’s no big deal. I’m not married to my opinions; they change all the time. The only thing I try to commit to is a standard of reasoning as to how I reach my opinions. I try to make sense whenever I can. Doesn’t mean I’m right about anything though…
- My books and videos don’t mean anything. Anybody can write a book or make a video, who cares? Being published doesn’t prove anything. I know tons of people who are hell on wheels to fight, but they never published anything. I’d put a small fortune on those same people if they were to go up against some of the biggest names in the self-defense industry. And vice versa: some authors aren’t all that impressive in their writing or on the screen. But I’ve met them and trained with them, I know how incredibly effective they are.
So all in all, I’m just a guy who shares his opinions on certain topics. I’ve been fortunate that a bunch of people seem to find them helpful and that keeps me going, but as I explained in my post about internet experts, popularity doesn’t mean anything either. So I say again, who cares? If anything I write doesn’t make sense for you, then by all means just move on. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with somebody. However, I believe there is something wrong if the discussion turns to name-calling and rhetorical tricks to “win”. When I see that stuff happening, I pick up my marbles and go play elsewhere. I’ve been on the internet for about 20 years now and have seen all kinds of flame wars: I’m done with those.
If you want to have a meaningful discussion, I believe it takes a level of maturity and self-monitoring to get anywhere. I always liked this hierarchy of discussion tactics. The top ones are the “best”, the bottom ones are useless, except for pissing people off:
Funny thing though, what you see the most in forum discussions is the bottom three tactics along with pars pro toto reasoning. I’ll get back to that in a bit.
If you can’t have a discussion without those bottom three tactics, then I humbly submit you aren’t interested in discussing anything. Might as well quit and skip ahead to saying neener-neener. If you are interested in exchanging ideas and debating a topic, then this flow chart is a good place to start: Read More→
This post is another one that is the result of a bunch of factors coming together. It started with the infamous Shane Fazen knife defense video from a while ago. Then there was a conversation about “internet experts” on a private mailing list I’m on. But what brought it all together was an exchange I had on Twitter with Pat Flynn. I’ll explain all of this in a bit and then try to bring it together into the point I want to make.
Let’s get started with the knife video. Take a look at this first:
First of all, I like Shane. I think his intentions are good; he always mentions avoidance and only fighting in self-defense. Second, the basic advice he gives in this video isn’t bad per se. It’s only when he shows that crescent kick that it turns sour. I’m not a big fan of critiquing other people’s videos but this one, I’m willing to step up and call bullshit. There are a number of reasons why I say so: Read More→