Q&A with Loren W. Christensen on his first novel: Dukkha: The Suffering

Loren’s first novel came out a while ago and I finished reading it not so long ago. I enjoyed the book and asked him if he wanted to do aquick Q&A. He graciously agreed and here’s the result. Enjoy!

Q&A with Loren W. Christensen on his first novel:

Dukkha: The Suffering


Q: What made you decide to write a novel after well over 40 books of non-fiction?

A: I’ve written 45 nonfiction books, all the while itching to try fiction, in the same way some actors want to direct. However, I’ve learned in the writing biz that certain projects are all about timing. For example, I co-wrote ON COMBAT with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in 2003, a complex book that I couldn’t have written in the ‘90s, probably not even in 2000. But in 2003, the experience I had gained from previous writing, such as interviewing, researching, and creating readable text out of transcripts, made it possible to tackle the 31-month project.

Likewise with DUKKHA: THE SUFFERING. I couldn’t have done it in 2000. By the time I began writing it in 2009, however, I’d read lots of how-to-write fiction literature, studied the styles of just under a kuhzillion novelists, and had matured to a place where I was comfortable creating a storyline. With those things under my belt, the novel just fell into place. Okay, it didn’t “fall into place.” It came out of my pores along with buckets of sweat and blood. And tears. And curses.

Q: Was there a specific event that triggered the idea for the story?

A: There are three shootings in the story. The one that triggers all of Sam’s emotional turmoil (duukha) was based on a real incident that happened here in Portland, one that shook the PD to its core and traumatized the citizens for months. I think I started writing with that incident in mind and built around it.

Q: What are the similarities, if any, between you and Sam?

A: There is a little of me in Sam, though he’s 30 years younger. He’s a police officer, as I was for nearly 29 years, and he’s a martial arts teacher, as I have been for the last 47 years. Also, Sam is a good cop, but not always. Sometimes his martial arts work wonderfully and other times not so good. That was my experience as well. [Read more…]

Martial Secrets Podcast with yours truly

While I was in the US a few weeks ago, Kris Wilder interviewed me for his podcast series called Martial Secrets. Here’s the link to the interview. You can download the podcast or listen to it in a pop-up.

Podcast interview with Wim Demeere

We talked about a bunch of stuff, not just martial arts but a load of topics and I had a blast. We didn’t have time to go into as much depth as some of the topics deserved (or the podcast would have ran for several hours, given as it’s hard to shut me up…) so I figure I’d go into it a bit more here. [Read more…]

Total Defense: Interview with Mark Mireles

A while ago, I interviewed Loren about his book Total Defense. This is now the second part in that series, where I interview the other author, Mark Mireles. Mark gave me some real in-depth answers, explaining in detail how the book came about and more importantly, why.

Here’s the interview, enjoy!

Total Defense: Interview with Mark Mireles

Q: “Total Defense” has a specific topic: defending yourself against the most common techniques used in a street fight. Can you give some examples of these?

Total Defense is a unique book because it takes the perspectives of two martial artists with tons of real life observation and observational experience. It outlines what we considered to be the most common street attacks.

The observational of the book takes decades of street police work and encompasses what Loren and I have seen on the mean streets. This was not hypothetical but in the first person for both of us. The broken bones, bruises, lacerations, and emergency rooms that were all part of the job. We’ve had the opportunity to interview thousands of victims of attacks and between the two us we have about a half-century of policing.

Additionally, we have both broken up our fair share of barroom brawls. As Loren and I prepared the scenarios for Total Defense it was like we had been on the same calls: common themes in violence emerged. From this perspective, Total Defense is street forensics 101.

The operational is the hands-on stuff you need to walk that blue line.

Total Defense

Total Defense by Loren W. Christensen and Mark Mireles

When you’re the one who separates good and evil, when society brakes down, someone is eventually going to try to see what you’re made of. As a police officer, you have a duty to protect people and property and, unlike a regular citizen, there is not an expectation that running away is a method of self-defense. In fact, if a police officer were to run he would be disciplined or terminated from his position. I think it’s important to understand that police work puts us on the front lines and that’s a huge benefit that Loren and I bring to the reader. We simply share the totality of our martial arts training balanced with our observation of how violence unfolds.

That said, operationally Loren and I have been in our share of both lethal and non-lethal force encounters. The violence we saw and experienced did not occur in a sterile environment or in a police academy classroom. It was up-close, visceral, real world violence. This book demonstrates what has worked for us as we share it with the readers: Loren uses his unique methods of striking, ripping, and gouging to launch devastating attacks and I demonstrate grappling based response to the attacks.

Don’t read into this too much though: Loren does his share of holding and mauling (grappling) and I use strikes in conjunction to grappling. We also outline the criminal mind from our real life experiences to illustrate points.

Q: How did you come about selecting those specific attacks?

Total Defense is broken up into two parts: unarmed and armed attacks. The first part covers what Loren and I have determined to be the most common street attacks: the overhand looping right, the tackle, the bear hug, the head lock, and a whole lot more. These are dangerous attacks; some of them can be just as deadly as being attacked with a weapon. For instance, a headlock can turn deadly if your blood or air supply gets cut off. Loren and I take two approaches to break down the ideal counter-attacks so it really is like getting two books in one.

The second half of the book deals with common street weapons and the criminals who use them. We demonstrate how to counter weapons such as bats, knives, and guns, the tools of choice among the criminal element. That means the attacker has a weapon and the model in the book is unarmed because most people don’t carry weapons. In the United States it’s a matter of state jurisdiction if you can carry a gun or a knife. I live in California where gun laws are strict as to carrying them in public as opposed to having a gun in your home. There is also a multitude of laws on what type of knife you can carry. In Europe weapon laws are even more restrictive than in the States. [Read more…]

Interviews page

Some blog news:

I just published a page where you can read all the interviews I’ve done so far:

  • The ones where I’m the interviewee.
  • But also all the interviews I did with other people, right here on my blog. 

There are a bunch more to come in the near future, so you might want to check this page every now and then.

I placed a link in the menu for your convenience, right underneath the logo. It’s called… “Interviews“. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! ;-)


“One Against Many”, Interview with Branimir Tudjan

I recently reviewed One against Many” by Branimir Tudjan and liked how he covered the topic of multiple opponents. So I contacted him for an inteview about this video and he kindly agreed. Enjoy!

One Against Many: Interview with Branimir Tudjan

Q: Could you give us some information on your professional background and training?

A: Hello Wim. First I would like to thank you for your interest in my MOSS video and for conducting this interview. You know, in the so called martial arts world which is nowadays unfortunately full of big ego “grandmasters” or “guru’s” and where every “expert” perceives others (and their systems) as a potential threat or less “realistic & effective” system then their own, it’s a pleasure to meet a person and a colleague like yourself who is competent, mature, confident and open minded. I am also genuinely impressed with your work with Paladin Press.

(Note from Wim: The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for your kind words, Branimir. Some more thoughts on this here.)

Also I would like to say hello to all your students and visitors on this blog.

I was born in 1965 in Zagreb (Croatia). I began my martial arts training at age of 8 in Japanese Karate. As a teenager I studied Wing Chun and Tae Kwon Do and Western Boxing. After the compulsory army service I traveled to Israel (1987) where I worked as a journalist and had my first encounter with the Israeli self defense system Krav Maga while teaching my Karate classes to the Kibbutz children.

After a while I relocated to The Netherlands where I first introduced Krav Maga (as an official representative of the Israeli Krav Maga Association- IKMA from Israel) and Takeda-ryu Aikido (from Japan). I also introduced Krav Maga to my native country of Croatia.

I was a police officer in The Netherlands for over 13 years and visited many police departments through the world (NYPD. ESPD, Israeli National Police, French GIGN etc). [Read more…]