Tom Sotis foreword

“Einstein said, “The mind, once stretched by a new idea can never return to its original dimensions.” This book will indeed stretch your mind, expand your thinking, and organize your mental framework, as well as provide activities that bring its principles into practice where their benefits are realized. A pioneering contribution to the personal-protection and combatives industry and, while this book was written mainly through the lens of self-protection, its value is significantly enhanced because the principles that Darren puts forth universally transfer across the wider spectrum of business, athletics, and general performance. Speaking from personal experience, Mind-sculpting will benefit executives, athletes, coaches, and anyone seeking for an edge to improve their performance. I was introduced to NLP in 1986 and have since infused a number of its principles and techniques into my method and its presentation. I believe NLP techniques have significantly contributed to my methods’ ability to impart functional skill in a shorter interval of time than any other. NLP gave me an appreciation for the vital importance of the labels we use. Because we don’t fight with techniques (movement), we fight with tactics (intentions) where techniques are merely the result of said intentions; thus, the labels we give to movements have a significant role in functionalizing xii The Mind-Sculpting Coach them. Simply put, it is hard to jump when you’re thinking sit, and while this oversimplification seems painfully obvious, the principle of accurate and appropriate labeling is profound. I don’t recall exactly how I came upon the Facebook Group: Human Protection Collaborative. Immediately, I was intrigued because it was unlike every other martial/combative page on the internet. Chock full of intelligent discourse, I dove right in feasting on the topics and the level of information that flowed freely, sans the typical ignorant and/or immature egomaniacs. The Human Protection Collaborative was, in my opinion, a tremendous success providing a platform for the advancement of our craft, a service to the martial/combative community from which we all benefitted. The success of the group relied entirely on Darren’s insight and wisdom, who tirelessly moderated the content and expertly managed a martial community, most of which are typically mired in politics by intellectually lazy narrow-minded egomaniacs. A collection of my continuing discussions and friendship with Darren would be aptly titled “Pathways to Insight” as I have learned as much, if not more, from how Darren thinks than by what he thinks. While there are other books written on NLP for martial arts/fighters, Darren’s book is unique among them and I list this book among the very top of my recommended “must read” list for anyone serious about their self-protection and, most especially, for instructors of self-protection. Part One on Hard and soft wiring provides an in-depth look at the human conflict response that dissects and explains in detail, both the common and uncommon aspects of how humans are built for surviving violence. So many “experts” in our field have some of this right, but they have a lot of it wrong, and this text sorts out what is, and what isn’t, in terms of our evolutionary survival mechanisms. Part Two on Linguistics, advanced communication, “mind-sculpting” can greatly aid in clarifying terms, de- xiii Darren Patrick Friesen fining language, and labelling motive. There can be little advancement if there lacks a consensus of terminology and concepts. Part Three on Behavior delves into perceptual-filters, pattern interrupts, behavioral flexibility, anchoring, positive triggers, and a host of other mental tools. Part Four on Applications brings the theory and tools previously discussed into the realm of practical reality with a thorough examination of the benefits and pitfalls of scenario training. Darren’s book provides a number of wonderfully honest personal revelations, which I found refreshing, and the book provides a glimpse into the life of a man who has experienced the grim reality of violent encounters, but only a glimpse. Darren tends to downplay his martial training and experience, but he has an impressive background in martial arts that affords him a wide perspective on methods, styles, and systems including both empty hands and weapons tactics. In reality, technical skills are indeed important but they are only one slice of the totality of a violent encounter. Most martial arts people emphasize technical engagement skill, quite often ignoring both the pre-engagement and post-engagement phases which, typically, won’t lead to the best outcomes. Darren lives in Costa Rica, a developing nation, in which, as a white Canadian by birth, he stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. While practicing grey man blending techniques can be a useful and practical safety measure, Darren’s complexion makes blending in Costa Rica somewhat moot and as such, he relies heavily on a heightened sense of proactive awareness – one that is fully illuminated by this book. Not limited to pre-engagement, this book delves further into how NLP applies to the engagement stage of an encounter. Part four on applications spares no detail with regard to the elements that create effective scenario-based activities where Darren provides a host of drills and activities to acquire skill. The depth of knowledge provided by this text provides a lifetime of work for anyone seeking to probe beyond the surface and take a deep dive into how humans manage violence. xiv The Mind-Sculpting Coach Socially, conversing with Darren always has a relaxed feel to it because of the unabashed honesty with which we speak, but intellectually, conversing with him is always a welcome exercise of whatever you think you know about something. He has an uncanny ability to critically dissect any topic into its most essential elements and shed an objective light on what may otherwise be a bias that limits our understanding of its true nature. I come away from every one of our conversations feeling that I learned something of value and have plenty to ponder. I feel honored that Darren asked me to write this foreword and hope I’ve given deserved justice to this brilliant book.”

Bill Kipp

“In addition to being a really kickass human, Darren IMO is one of the brightest and foremost self defense experts on the planet. He brings a refreshingly scientific and applied human stress/conflict management technology to the world of self defense. I hope you will support his efforts. Thanks for being who you are Brother and for the work you do. The world needs you now more than ever.”

Kelly S. Worden

“I will say it’s a very impressive breakdown of valuable information that will serve multiple facets of our industry for years to come. I believe your approach is unique and will serve the professional community well. In all honesty you are in a league outside my technical skill sets which is very exciting to say. I have several students that blow my mind every time we get together and thankfully they still find value in my simplistic approach to sharing concepts and connecting the arts. Most importantly, you have defined several important aspects that will set higher standards and no doubt evolve the art in a positive way. So many great thinkers and innovators within the progressive personal defense industry. I believe the diversity of your contribution will impact generations year after year.”

James A. Keating

“MIND Sculpting is just awesome. Expect a deep dive into thought and behavior beyond anything you have encountered before. Warrior scholars will love this book. Darren is way ahead of the curve – not an easy read, you MUST think and understand the meta-magical insights he is sharing with us. Open mind, open heart, new world. A manual for the times – Thanks, Darren!”

Dave Spaulding

“Those of you who have read my book HANDGUN COMBATIVES know I have been a practitioner of NLP. While I have not been as active in it in recent years, I still believe in the concepts as they relate to preparing for one’s personal security. I was recently sent a book by Darren Patrick Friesen entitled THE MIND-SCULPTING COACH: Functional Mental Tools for High-Stress Performance and I have just finished it. This is the first book I have read in a long time that combines the worlds of neuro-linguistics and functional combative-performance and does it in a way that is easy to understand. Darren lives in Costa Rica, so do not be put off by the book being on Amazon in Spanish…there is an English version you just need to look.

If you liked the short chapter in my book on the topic…a chapter that was GREATLY influenced by the work of Marcus Wynne and Dennis Martin…you should read this book! It is a much greater dive into the use of NLP for your personal preparation. While there are some who will call NLP “junk science” I cannot agree. The concepts of modeling and imaging have proven their worth many times over in the real world. What Darren does here is one of the best explanations of the topic…and how to use it… I have seen yet!”

Mahipal Lunia – The Immersion Labs

Review for Darren Patrick Friesen book “The Mind Sculpting Coach.”I am not being compensated in any form to write this review. Darren is a colleague and we have become friends with common interests. My own background in brief: Have studied the MA for over 3 decades. Deep involvement with NLP/Spiral Dynamics/Mind Technologies for over 2 decades. I work on the cusp of Artificial Intelligence and IoT ( get paid for creating heuristics). I use all these skills in the various modeling projects I undertake with Immersion Foundation. This background gives me an interesting perspective into what Darren has done. Darren has written a book for those few who want to understand the roots of violence (the mind), and how to deal with it. He is a skilled fighter, protection specialist and a bladed man. Plenty of those around.What makes him and his work different is his background in Neuro Linguistics and Language & Behavior profiling. In short how ones subjective experience, and language/behavior loop works to shape our responses in the world. This shapes how one uses the neocortex for rapid decision making, and then fire commands to the motor cortex for split second response. Failure to do this right results in amygdala hijacks and the so called fear/freeze response associated with deep trauma.When it comes to the study of violence, we go into some dark territories. To be frank, some of my own modeling projects and its findings will never see the light of the day. However Darren has taken that step forward to provide a serious student to perhaps look behind his/her own curtain to understand the “users manual (brain)” and its role in shaping/dealing with violence.His modeling/reverse engineering of violent confrontations gives one a foray into how violence happens. The book is filled with keen insights and heuristics to expand one’s world view such as:-The predator – prey relationshipRituals and their markersLessons from the animal kingdomMind arts of hypnosis, deep trance identification, visualization How one learns and movement towards unconscious competence Body, Heuristics of behavior, role of filters, Tools such as anchoring, circle of excellenceHow ones metaprograms create very specific cognitive bias, which in turn changes how one responds to violenceAbility to shift positions in the mind to completely change how one intakes information. Decision making heuristics, role fear plays and unconscious loops that take away freedom Body, language and aggression Learning to drill new skills in, using time distortion to accelerate learning/response time, Using Bateson’s Logical Levels to reframe/re-anchor/relearn completely new ideasIt is a good manual for those wanting to sculpt their minds to work with violence. Learn to spot and diffuse the signs of violence with elegance. Learn to code new things in and deal with after effects of violence in an elegant manner. And should you unfortunately have to take part in it, learn to get back to a clean functional state of being able to work with the least amount of trauma.Fair warning: This is a thinking personas manual. You will have to put time into it. And when learning to use one’s brain, or tweak with it best to do so with a skilled professional such as Darren.

Bram FrankFounder CSSD-SC and Modular Tactical Concepts

“Let me state up front I don’t know Darren…nor do I have a dog in this fight about his subject matter. My experience with NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming comes from decades ago with my brother Martin Starr who learned it as a adjunct skill with his Psychological skills which he used on his patients to get them a different perspective on how they viewed their situations. As an instructor of martial.arts and combatives I have always been a step off the beaten path as I’ve told people humans need to name things to ” own” them..and how we word things and express things are vitally important: “In the beginning there was the word” ..some words have magical and life changing import..and effect. I stress survival skill use rather than fine motor use because we lose fine motorskills under duress..I’ve routinely when I use imagination drills see my skill set not work..technique fail and the bad guy win..its a weird mind set to be in the bad guys shoes or to see .yself fail but it opens up my what if door..And of course most people think I’m totally over the edge. What’s this got to do with Darren and his book Mind Sculpting Coach? Darren asked me to read the book and give a simple review. It took a bit because of formatting on my Kindle but as I read his book..and methodologies..I found myself seeing a kindred spirit..abliet a much more informed one on these matters.. but he’s dead on. What I used to shake my head at..roll my eyes at my brother..Darren has madeceasy to understand and share and I find that I’ve been using a form of his methodologies all these years. THANK YOU DARREN. Darren has also brought his way of seeing and using NLP into an area I deeply care about: personal combatives. I talk about perspective is everything and here is Darren expounding on it and showing how to teach one to see and understand perspectives. I always ask someone before we train how far are you willing to go because if one can’t deal with the moral and legal repercussions of one’s actions..then other actions or methods need to be found.. Any instructor or participant in self defense/ street combatives should read this book. Be warned..its not a read it once put it away. You like me will be reading and reading reading what Darren has written. It’s a true adjuct to learning self defense/ combatives. Im glad Darren asked me to read and review his book. And contrary to my original statement..I NOW have a “dog in the fight” as Darren’s book about NLP in combative use and personal use within those contexts is a must. Thank you Darren.” Bram Frank Founder CSSD-SC and Modular Tactical concepts

Malcolm Rivers

“Darren Friesen is a thinker. In a field dominated by fears, feelings, and cults masquerading as schools; Darren has specialized in mature, contemplative approaches to the larger questions posed by self-defense and martial arts. How do we empower? How can we protect? How must we improve? Darren’s latest work, The Mind Sculpting Coach, takes another substantial shot at these questions and more. Framed by his unique background and skillsets, TMSC is a robust, well-considered exploration of building highly functional performance for highly stressful situations. The book is serious, as Darren is, without being self-aggrandizing and theoretical without becoming excessively esoteric. If for nothing but the ambition to take the field in a more sensible direction, Darren deserves commendation and a ready mind to consider TMSC’s ideas. Give it a read.”

Matt Stait

“I have followed the musings of the author Darren Patrick Friesen for quite some time on social media and has always appreciated his keen observations and understanding of the harsh realities of violence and violent people. As such it was with great interest to learn his book The Mind-Sculpting Coach was going to tackle some of these concepts and more from his perspective.

I found the book to go beyond my expectations (which were already high) and go into a depth rarely discussed. It is very clear the author is writing from a deep knowledge which is hardly surprising given his more interesting lifestyle choices. There are many books that approach these subjects, but few stand out in a way that ensure they hold a place on my bookshelves to reference back to over time. This however is quickly becoming a valued resource. As well as being a very easy read with clear definitions and a steady flow of information that keeps the reader’s interest it also contains within its pages very clear definitions around the core themes. That is no small trick to pull off.

I genuinely enjoyed reading this book and have already recommended it to others so have no hesitation in doing so here as well.”

Wim Demeere

“I don’t know Darren personally, but he was kind enough to send me his book for review. I read it and if you are interested in self-defense and/or martial arts, you might enjoy reading it too. He covers a LOT of ground and brings a unique approach to the subject. This isn’t a book to quickly read and be done with; to get the most out of it you’ll have to do a bit of work: the information he presents will have you consider it, reconsider it and then do the same for what you already know about violence and the mind. There is bound to be information you haven’t heard of before, especially if you are new to NLP. So that alone is worth it to start reading. I enjoyed reading the Mind-Sculpting Coach and hope you do too.” 

Steve Grody

“Anyone that is concerned with how conflict is managed or mismanaged should study this book. In the martial arts, there may be attention paid to various ranges and scenarios once conflict is under way, but little to NO attention and training given to the wide variety of ways conflict arises, may be avoided or managed before physical engagement. The psycho-social dynamics that can easily lead to unnecessary and unfortunate circumstances are examined in detail in Friesen’s book. From the neurological to the psychological and real-world consequences and legalities, Friesen breaks down processes as they happen in contrast to the easy fantasy too many martial instructors present. Any conflict-related coach that considers themselves “well-rounded” needs the perspectives that this book so well lays out.”

John Kovacs M.A., Founder Yishendo Escrima Ju-Jutsu, Stedman, NC, USA

“I have been in regular correspondence with Mr. Friesen for several years now. We have chatted about various topics ranging from martial arts to human potential theories. I have very much appreciated our dialogue in that very few people are truly in my “inner circle”, and very few if any, are as erudite and deeply aware of the current human condition as Mr. Friesen. This new book written by Mr. Friesen takes on a fresh perspective on a very often written topic – NLP. I truly appreciate how the information while familiar within NLP nomenclature, is presented in a fresh and vibrant way as to make it directly applicable to our human existence. The various sections of the book flow smoothly and build upon each other. The use of language within Mind Sculpting is very user friendly, encouraging the reader to keep turning the page to drink in the wealth of information contained. The information contained in this well researched book can save your life on many different levels. Whether you are a martial artist, or a person dealing with so-called every-day challenges, Mind Sculpting contains a wide plethora of avenues to explore to improve the quality of your life. I very highly recommend this incredible book to enhance THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE.”

 Ashtad Rustomji

“Darren’s ideas and approach to NLP and Conflict Management are something that would stimulate one’s intellect to develop a complex and objective thought process. This is what makes Darren’s approach unique, especially considering how most coaches today just offer a very superficial idea of it or pay cheap lip service.

All of that and more translates really well into this book. Darren has never been the kind of guy to hold back knowledge. And that reflects in his book. It seems, he put all of his experiences, thoughts and ideas in this book and made them into a very simple and digestible set of information. Something that can be read and understood by someone who is new to the subject.

The book kind of starts out slow, and for a good reason, it is to get the reader into a certain mindset, to basically prep for what’s about to come. A Mise-en-place, for the banquet of valuable information. This eases the reader who isn’t too familiar with the subject matter into the fundamentals of it for better grasping of the information.

But for those who do have an understanding of the fundamentals, this book will still give you a unique perspective as you progress ahead.

The analogical comparisons given, make it easy to visualize what was written and by the end, the book covers basically every key point that is needed to develop an understanding of the subject matter, I. E. Not just conflict and violence, but also our neurological responses to situations that we aren’t generally used to and don’t fully understand.

Personally for me, Part 4 of the book: ‘Linguistics and Communication’ is a gold mine of knowledge.

Overall it’s an amazing read that I recommend for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or an NLP practitioner or a martial arts coach or self-protection coach or a professional in the field of security, etc. This book has something for each of the above and more.”

Nathan Hatton

“In The Mind-Sculpting Coach: Functional Mental Tools for High-Stress Performance, D.P. Friesen tackles the psychology of personal protection in a way that is part memoir, part instructional manual. Friesen combines decades of martial arts training with material from the social sciences and applied psychology− not to mention years of field experience− in crafting this text. Critically, it is not an abstract assessment of the subject matter. At every turn, Friesen provides practical analysis, suggestions, and drills that can enhance both the student’s theoretical and applied knowledge of personal protection, frequently doing so with examples from his own life. Friesen also topples a few “sacred cows” in the personal protection field, making this text is both novel and revisionist in nature. In sum, The Mind-Sculpting Coach is not to be read and put aside. For best results, this is the type of book that should be regularly consulted with the aid of a pen, notebook, highlighters, or whatever other tools you have at hand to digest, reflect on, and internalize, the knowledge contained therein.”

C. Nathan Hatton, PhD Black Belt, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Historian and author of Thrashing Seasons: Sporting Culture in Manitoba and the Genesis of Prairie Wrestling

Erik Kondo

“Those who have read Darren’s first book, Battles of Attrition, are already familiar with his hard charging, deep dive style. Darren makes no effort to provide simplistic explanations for complex topics. His intention is not to preach, but to challenge readers to think for themselves. His writing provides deep knowledge, and provokes readers into drawing their own conclusions about the material presented. The Mind Sculpting Coach is not intended to be a fast or easy read. It is an essential study guide for anyone serious in evolving their understanding of conflict and human performance.” -Erik Kondo

Raymond Dettinger

“Darren gives his own interpretation of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) as applied to his study of the self-defense industry. Unlike the official NLP programs with its official doctrines and cold academic dogma, Darren has used his real-world martial arts and defensive experiences to give examples of how NLP concepts can be incorporated into any self-defense training. No cryptographic hard to understand language is used to confuse the readers unfamiliar with NLP as related to the martial/defensive arts. Darren’s interpretation of NLP involves conceptual world views, body language, sociopathic behaviors, environmental context in stressful situa- x The Mind-Sculpting Coach tions, misunderstanding of cultural and subcultural behaviors, feedback of negative and positive behaviors in relation to a person’s own mental filters. This book encourages the reader to question if they can mentally and physically use lethal force for self-preservation. Under what mental and social environment (context) can lethal force be legally and morally justified? What will be the after effects of doing so? Can one really know if they have the mental and physical ability or capability to engage in self-preservation/defense. How will violent encounters affect the defender’s future? One must look at all these questions to determine the answer before taking up any study of self-defense. Failure to do so is a mistake that can be very costly in many ways. Darren explains these costs. This book will help keep you out of prison if you learn its lessons. Learning to know thyself is probably a good description of Darren’s interpretation of NLP in relation to the self-defense industry. I would recommend this as the first book to read by anybody who wants to take up armed or unarmed self-defense. Darren gives a comprehensive guide to what concepts and principles a person absolutely has to know up front when deciding to take up self-defense. My opinion is that this book is a modernized or updated “Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi, the ancient undefeated Japanese Samurai swordsman (1584 – 1645). Most of the concepts in Miyamoto’s book is also referenced in Darren’s Book. I highly recommend this book.”

Rigo Hook

“As i was recently asked to review a new book on “how to survive an aggressive encounter” kinda style, my enthusiasm wasn’t exactly overwhelming. That is until i began to read the damn thing. As i progressed through the book my enthusiasm rapidly grew with each turned page.
As a experienced self defense instructor, i have cringed about the bullshit that is reurgitated in the self defense press from instructors that can’t even throw a proper punch, and on the many cookie-cutter books that are published on the subject.
Well, this book is a breath of fresh air, earthy, philosophical, live-affirming and pragmatic. It offers no bullshit, no untested theories and no gimmicks.
If death stares in my face, i want Darren Friesen by my side, or at least have his book finished.

What this book not is: another technique collector book in the style of: if the opponent graps you here, you must do this and that. We have already enough of those, and tbh, they don’t work in the first place without a supervising instructor.

What it is instead: a full packed overview of pretty much everything else relating self defense.
They say, self defense is more mental as physical. Another saying is: he who controls the pre-fight comes out a winner. Well, that is good advise, but merely lip service in most books i read so far. Not in this one, though. The Author dives deep into this topics, and very good at that.
There is no preaching, tho, rather a guiding the reader to use his own head.

The first sentence of the book is a quote of Albert Einstein: “the mind, once stretched to a new idea, can never return to its original dimension”, and that sums it up pretty good.
I, as a former bouncer and, in my younger years a barroom brawler, have a rather bouncer-ish or barrom brawler-ish point of view on all things self defense. Darren here has no such limitations, he thinks things through and shows us that there is not only a second side to a coin, but there are even more sides to it than we ever thought.

This book has five parts to it, with many topics to them. Here is just an overview, as there are to much to count them all:
Part one is called : soft and hard-wiring, with sections like
* human conflict response (a more in depht look)
* freeze response
* predator prey reversal
and many more.

Part two than goes into behaviour.
* behavioural flexebility
* anchoring and positive triggers
(The authors dive into NLP for self defense is never boring or unrealistic, tho)

Part three: decision making
* framing / re-framing
* subliminal messaging and sybolism
* modelling
* strategies
* cognition
and many more.

Part four: linguistic and communications
* advanced communication
* rapport
* combat linguistic

Part five then is what we all waited for: applications
* reverse engeneering
* scenario training
* slow motion training (in my mind a big one, i can never bring young testosterone filled males to practice slow, so they can see the mistakes they make by themselves)
* mentality and physicality – an example of mind/ body synergy
* physical conditioning
* natural aggression cultivation and many more…

Who can benefit from this book, then? Well, simply everyone, from beginner to master. To my mind, you can provide more of this the higher you are in the hierarchy. If you are a grand master, you are not likely to read this, bcs you think you know it all, but you of all should read this. The Author has his way of slaughtering some holy cows (even some of mine…bastard), and that can certainly help some grandmasters out of their bubble of yes-sayers and ass-kissers.
If you are a beginner, same thing. He questions you to think about the justification of mortal defense moves, and can not only help you staying out of prison, but also provides some good solutions that can save your ass.

Highly recommended.”

 Dragan Milojevic


Whew! Reading the book was really a ride… Will have to restart it soon enough.
When it comes to dealing with human conflict, many treatises pay lipservice to many diverse aspects of that field, maybe get into a few superficially, and then essentially focus on one while portraying it as the key component on which everything else rests.
Not the case here. The author approaches his treatment in as thorough and all-encompassing manner as possible, leaving no stones unturned. And the thing that I liked most is that he does it without any pretentiousness whatsoever, fully disclosing his own doubts and biases along the way. The book is well written (although proofreading could have been a bit more detailed), but it is not an easy read. Sheer scope of the material is bound to present some new areas of knowledge that will require good investment of concentration and thinking. But that is what good education is about, right?
Unavoidably, throughout the book Mr. Friesen raises some difficult questions, opens challenging insights and sheds uncomfortable light on many aspects of personal training (well, if your self-assessment is honest).
But, how does one avoid the paralysis by analysis syndrome then?
There is a fair number or various approaches, drills and exercises presented all over the book, meant to offer guidance in adapting you training procedures in order to be prepared as best as possible for whatever challenging inter-personal situations may be your issue – corporate negotiations, security work, personal protection, sport competition etc.
If you are a practitioner/performer in any of those fields, the Mind-Sculpting Coach is highly recommended, but if you are an instructor/coach, then it is mandatory – as close to the definitive textbook as you will find anywhere.”

 Simon Shaw

“Strength and progress come from letting go of the old and adopting to worthy, tested new ideas and methods. Darren is a clear example of a person investigating a subject, learning from it, understanding its essence, testing it, and applying it to his life. He has studiously and exhaustively investigated NLP and other related human behavior concepts in order to glean a better understanding of how people tick and their processing of information, which dictates their actions. He has applied his learnings to his martial arts in an uncompromising and brilliant way. In boxing terms, he is a thinking fighter, not a slugger. A great example of brains over brawn. Study the book, test what is said for yourself, and be enlightened.”

Jay Matt

“D.P. Friesen covers a wide variety of topics and theories to improve your mind and mental game. Though the focus is on combative (or martial) applications, it can definitely be used for just about anything. But this is not your typical “mindset” book. DP slays some sacred cows, and is honest about the mainstream “self defense” industry mantras that are not necessarily a reflection of a true violent encounter. His writings and understanding of human behaviors, that most self defense teachers rarely touch on, is eye opening. This is a must read, and paradigm shifting book for anyone that wants to improve their mental game and capabilities.”

Gary Garofalo

“D.P. Friesen takes us on a deep dive into self assessment of our physical, mental and perhaps spiritual abilities under duress. He actually keeps it simple by reminding us that most of us have a moral/ethical compass guiding us through decisions of conflict. Physical fitness definitely a plus but he also points out that there are very primitive strengths in us that surface when confronted with true survival needs. I thoroughly enjoyed the content and read, thanks to the author and all who contributed to his work.”

Ariel Blanco

“A fantastic starting point to re-evaluate what you are doing in training and in every aspect of your life. I may need to read this book several times to capture all the nuances. So happy to have it.”

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