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My apologies in advance as my new site is down for maintenance and I wanted to get this out in the meantime. I keep hearing this perpetual mantra of “returning to normal” or even some “new normal”…but I´d like to bring-up something that likely a lot of you, including me, might not want to hear, nor have let it cross your mind. What if this is the new normal. Right now. This. The current. What if we are now living in forward-time waiting for a sense of old normalcy that will never return and we have subtly, almost imperceptibly, moved into what will be in time be considered the new normal…or infinitely waiting for our awaited new normal while this has long since become so. A sense of stasis, police-state, solitary-confinement where lockdowns, restrictions, curfews, quarantines ARE that new normalcy. Settling, accepting, defaulting. A slow-moving trajectory of progress almost un-intuited by the “naked eye.”

I so often hear people talking of one or the other: either that this is all one big conspiracy (“normal” never changed) or that the virus is very real and quite tangible (waiting on that new normal), but these are not exclusive and nothing exists in a vacuum. They can both simultaneously be true. Here, we just received warning that a new wave was predicted shortly. Coincidentally, this is supposed to occur during or shortly thereafter “Semana Santa”, or what is considered holy week here, where people get-together with family, loved ones, and trust-circles over the week to celebrate, well, whatever it is you choose to celebrate. So there is inevitably no proof, scientifically or via study, that there will be any spike – outside of the governmental concern for civilians not listening to protocols and going-out (somewhat legit, but…). That might be justifiable – dictating populace-action to lower spread via fear-mongering and repercussion – or it might not be. I´m not here to opine either way. But it does bring up some very interesting future conundrums.

The New Normal: Life after COVID-19

What if the new normal contains the government at whatever point of choosing and for whatever reason – political-tactics at coming election, to control or calm citizen-dissent or dissatisfaction, to implement new laws as a by-product of growing consternation over any number of current occurrences by having a new template for mass population-behavior, to incorporate growing military or police presence or boundary over-stepping – by utilizing these lockdowns, restrictions, quarantines, curfews for other reasons with upcoming viral-threats, real or imagined…or implanted. Let´s be real, it´s one year in and these are now talks that we SHOULD be having – the repercussions and bilateral effects of all this. I´d like it to be made clear while writing this that I still wear a mask, I still social-distance, I still adhere to protocols…as I said, these 2 are not exclusive and this is not an article on conspiracy.

Let´s take a look at some of the collateral-results of the last year. I´ll use my own life as a template and example. My circle of trust has grown exponentially-smaller over time and continues to do so. My projects are with people within that circle, generally away from mainstream social-media, and I have kept them relatively quiet. My future-plans have taken a stark detour by necessity as survival – indefinite survival – becomes my existing and ongoing norm, not in wait for some “new normal.” This is my normal. I am not waiting for anything. Sudden directional-changes, altering future-expectation, rationing, predicting resource-alterations as they increase or decrease, minimizing. The bubble has gotten smaller-and-smaller and there´s really (really) no end in-sight. The vaccinations are continually flubbed or backlogged. People have stopped checking numbers and analyzing data. Poverty, hunger, indigence, homelessness, struggle surround. We are inevitably trapped in the monotony of a day-to-day rinse-and-repeat cycle, akin to Groundhog Day and, similarly, with the idea some end or positive outcome will arrive if we repeat that day to its most effective conclusion. Time. Time has become of the essence while sitting here battling Groundhog Day.

Dreams, future-plans, savings – the things that essentially give us hope, something to work towards, goals, motivation, striving-towards – have been put on the back-burner, shelved, waylaid, hell, eliminated, sometimes out of necessity for current survival, sometimes out of a will to believe they´ll re-enter mainstream thought after a time, sometimes obliterated from circumstance. A global-shift has been made to virtual over presential so subtly we haven´t even noticed it become regular. Human personal- or physical-interaction slowly diminished and often unneeded. A growing reliance on social-media, acceptance, entitlement, speed, instant accessibility, (we´ll term it…) voluntary-tribalism, and gratification. Misinformation and fake news being accepted as par-for-the-course. Media dictating what we should think, feel, buy, believe. Fear, anxiety, impulse, tension, stress, insecurity, unknowing, unpredicting. Bombarded by useless and utterly-meaningless information. More plugged-in to tech. Less need for communication, interaction, proxemics, reading, state, learning replaced by models, templates, cookie-cutters, formulas, equations, data. Instincts and intuition dulling or misfiring. Touching and laughter and connection falling by the wayside. A.I. predicting what we need and want at a fingertips´ notice. It´s all just temporary until the status-quo returns, at least in some semblance of recognizance, right…

Article: How the new normal is shaping the future of talent — People Matters

Even on a micro-level, we are settling. For temp-jobs we´re not long-term satisfied with to ride the storm out. Stocking-up on resources that are unnecessary. Believing that we are only temporarily altering long-term life-goals. Holding-off buying things that will make our lives easier. Halting moves with greater opportunities. Stunting our children´s imperative trait-development and social-development in the meanwhile. Open-ended projects because, who knows what will happen and we have indefinite periods of void to achieve them.

Massive societal-change, contrary to popular-belief, does not occur with one big event altering the fabric of modern-living. (And I state this confidently in the midst of a massive societal-level event, acknowledging the irony and brashness) Quite the contrary. It is altered long-term almost imperceptibly, subtly, gradually, innocuously. Frog in boiling water. Little-by-little and while we “wait for that new-normal” to assuredly arrive. Whether because of vaccination. By a loosening of governmental-control. By numbers decreasing. Mortality lowering. Masks and distancing being alleviated. Businesses and industries and economic sectors re-opening. People going out to social-events and activities again.

I often wonder, however, what if the next pandemic were to come immediately after this one “subsides.” What would happen. How would we manage – or would we. Would this be steeled-in as the new norm under our noses with the view that we might not even notice. Would this be the breaking-point for a huge volume of vulnerable people, more so than the virus could ever account-for. While we are stuck in a seemingly never-ending cycle of monotony – remember that technology, advancement, and evolution move forward, with or without us. Virus or not. Legit or not. AND there are societal repercussions that will be felt in a heavy, life-altering way even if everything up ‘til now that has transpired is 100% legitimate and authentic.

The new normal - KPMG Germany

That uneasy feeling that I have now is multi-fold: isolation, disconnect, repetition, and an eery feeling that this may already the new normal that we are always awaiting with such hopefulness. What would that look like to you? In the here-and-now? Is it acceptable? Would you be prepared to live the way you currently are this very minute for a literally indefinite period of time? Could you? What if survivalism is replaced with simply attrition? Survival IS actually your ability to just indefinitely tolerate the very way we’ve lived the past year, for many of us for the remainder of what´s left of life. There is nothing else coming. Stark and bleak, no…

What if we will have more pandemics (whether legitimate as I have seen predicted or feigned pandemic strategies and run-off for ulterior motive), governmental-templates as to how now to control masses and align populations for purpose, or long(long)-term repercussions of this one that snowball into very different global-national-regional crises that reverberate for years. Are you or will you be prepared for altering long-term strategies and goals if so? Have you thought about it? Or are indignant and steadfast in that you´ll simply do whatever the hell you want whenever you want to…and what if that is simply not feasible or achievable? What then?

I have thought long and hard on this, noting that I am a realist, not a conspiratorialist. BUT, I can also see some things transpiring, or that will transpire, or could indeed transpire…that I don´t like. And right now my spider-sense is going off. Accepting the current state-of-things as any version of “normal” would be a gargantuan step-back for humanity even if the perception is of evolution and progress and moving-forward.

The new normal needs to look a lot better than the old normal | Colorado  COVID-19 Updates

I´m not here for being a pessimist or to give black-outlook. I do, however, want you to think about how you want to live your life and maximize your (both short-term and long-term) happiness, question the things occurring around you, research-educate-inform yourself on what is actually transpiring and how you can best manipulate for quality-of-life within the “construct”, and…

Keep. Being. Human. Talk to people. Engage. Interact. Share. Fail. Be vulnerable. Communicate. Minimize time on social-media. Be empathetic and coherent on your circle´s state. AND, Jesus, quite talking about “the new normal” as if it´s some noticeable thing that we´ll actually see and perceive when and if it arrives. Stop waiting. Stop putting your life on-hold. Stop letting the powers-that-be dictate when you can go back to living as you´d like. You may be (as the powers-that-be tend to ensure) thoroughly disappointed or devastated and have wasted a ton of time in the process. Plan as if there won´t be any “new normal.” It´s a construct built by individuals or entities that are stalling, answerless, lost, confused, or on-hold and should have zero bearing on your state-of-mind. Drop the new normal and create your own contented normal. I have grown to believe that that phrase has been nothing short of an albatross around the neck of the average person.


As we likely all know by now in the industry, the OODA Loop is a catch-term and buzzword that so many use and few understand. We gloss over it, minimize it, dumb it down for the masses. Maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it so often seems like the dumbing-down is done not to make it more accessible or understandable on a level to the uninitiated but because that’s really all the instructor understands about it. An inability to articulate so it becomes a forced over-simplification instead of one that has been streamlined due to a deep understanding of the concept itself.

So, due to this, I’ve decided this article will likely be somewhat unreadable (and therefore likely unread) to what the low-attention span and compartmentalization for surface-spewing that most these days seem to require. Complex – intentionally. Longer because I want to delve a little deeper.

So what is the “OODA Loop?” It is a cycle of human processing originally designed for combat operations that is now utilized almost everywhere – business, martial arts, learning, law enforcement, law, and everything under the sun. Boyd himself said, “…decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe–orient–decide–act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.”

Observe. Orient. Decide. Act. Seems simple enough. But where do these elements delve from? What shapes whether one is effective or ineffective? What dictates whether one is effective at one thing and yet ineffective at another? Or effective at one thing and ineffective at the same thing at a different time? Or similar-but-different scenarios that may draw entirely different outcomes? It’s one thing to understand the process itself, another entirely to understand how it works under real-time events. So. What goes into these 4 elements that decides whether they fail or succeed? Let’s go inside the loop:

OBSERVE: Unfolding events, scenarios & circumstances that trigger alarm, risk, threat, anxiety, conflict, danger, to processing information, learning new skills, assessing incoming stimuli. We’ll try and stay focused on the area this blog generally pertains to: risk, threat, danger, conflict, violence.

As “observe” generally insinuates the visual, this would included environmental stimuli (barricades/barriers, obstacles, escape routes, engagement range, angles, space, apertures, distractions, type of risk/threat/danger/conflict/violence, etc.) It would include the number of pertinent parties such as allies, dependents, opponents, tertiary parties, relevant agents to the outcome. It would include the spatial dynamic – on-foot, seated, in-car, on bike, etc. and including the sometimes neglected idea that it could asymmetrical in nature. Meaning the threat could be in a different spatial-dynamic than you, more than one (which can and does overload senses and processing-speed), a different species, hell, in a different environment. (online/surveillance/different country) if we’re looking at the macro.

It can include accessibility to pertinent tools to attack, defend, shield, distract, project, threaten – primary, secondary, tertiary. (weapons, tools themselves, identifiable tertiary options)

accessibility to pertinent tools (weapons, tools themselves, identifiable tertiary options), control of own emotions

ORIENT: This is the area where what I define as “perceptual filters” come into heavy play. ( ) Note that your hard- and soft-wiring can and does either increase your processing speed…or make it lag and stunt. What are perceptual filters?

1. Mission/Self-Perception: one’s grander purpose. Spirituality (religious, agnostic, atheist, spiritual), existential place/acceptance, fear-of-death, insecurity about the afterlife, peace with greater power, comfort with life-and-death cycle, etc.
2. Experience – macro=experience/experiences, micro=exposure: events and decisions in life that shape our way of looking at things and making future decisions
3. Nature – internal wiring, personality traits, personal values/beliefs/morals/internal wiring/personality/mindset *nature/nurture can tend to overlap and have influence on each other, negatively or positively, so as to be clear
4. Condition (mental/physical/emotional/psychological): long-term health/condition (mentally-ill, with disease or illness, disabled, gas-lighted), physical capability that gives confidence and knowing limits of self-performance,
5. Physiological State/Emotional/Mental: tired, angry, sad, happy, distracted. euphoric, bitter, drunk, high, stressed, aroused

6. Nurture – Parental grooming/influence, upbringing, familiar dynamic, learning from example, familial structure/familial dynamic, imparted lessons
7. Environment: habitat, neighborhood, micro cultures, influencers, surrounding people
8. Culture: rituals, superstitions, social norms & acceptances, taboos, practices
9. Age/Gender/Sex/Race/Economic Class: filters and their assessment can dramatically change whether from a woman’s perspective vs. a man’s, a black person vs. a white one, older vs. younger, poor vs. well-off
10. Education (training/by-proxy/self-learning) Learning from the experience of others, research, self-assessment, case-study, peer forums, data, grounded-alignment of own circumstance

Now, alllll these combine to make our responses to and assessment of wildly-changing, 3-dimensional, multi-dynamic circumstances very unique – and which is why most martial cookie-cutter approaches fail miserably under the limelight of reality.

These are the factors that combine to make rapid decisions on-the-fly to quickly-changing scenarios. They are unique to us – as our responses, therefore. We analyze, process, assess, deduct, and perceive things very, very differently, which is why the autopilot, mechanical, machine-like, technique-per-situation mentality of most traditional martial arts, static gun classes, self-defense regurgitators generally fails when understanding the deeper meaning of all this. (The surface-meaning is often sufficient when little price is paid, daily-testing isn’t omnipresent, environment is relaitvely safe and suburban, and risk is minimal or minute. If, for instance, experience and exposure are low, training is flawed, mission is undefined but environment is 95% uneventful, a moot point and likely irrelevant, right…)

DECIDE: Based on and influenced by our individual perceptual filters. We make decisions based on our internal database, generally. Previous similar experience, loops/deja-vus, influence from past successful decisions, incoming familiar changing information and dynamics, etc.

However, something to note and that I hear few people bring-up, is the influence our own personal biases have on situations, and this can lead to very bad decision-making and choices. Our biases often lead us down roads that may have worked one or multiple times before but might not here. Influence better-judgment. Default our response without proper-assessment. Give inappropriate response. What else unplanned-for can influence decision-making?

The influence of other persons or parties present. Fear and hesitation. Overload of stimuli. Unpreparedness. Newness of circumstance. Lack of confidence in one’s training. Too many options and the belief that there’s only one correct one. So what, other than the obvious, can help alleviate the potential of these? Well, coming to grips with the importance of these elements is a good start:

  1. Knowledge. Holistic, ongoing, continually-evolving.
  2. The willingness to accept being wrong and change.
  3. An understanding of one’s own biases that come from those personal perceptual filters we discussed above.
  4. The acknowledge that circumstances change, nothing is static, and uncertainty is uber-present.
  5. Mental flexibility.

Generally, the more impactful these factors are in keeping your own biases at-bay, the more they’ll have been worked-out prior to shit hitting the proverbial fan. In the midst of real-time stress, pressure, volatility is an awful times to realize that the “map is not the territory”, that your version of the world is not how the world actually is.

ACT: I have come to the hard-fought conclusion that the higher-percentage options and those that up the survival-quotient the greatest are those cultivated by and based on adaptability, critical-thinking, momentary/snap decision-making, and resilience. (developing that last one is an element for a different article altogether) Understanding there are no one-size-fits-all, singular-solution, “one right answer” outcomes and there are always more than one way to do a thing – and do it successfully, is another rarely discussed.

The diversity and specificity of “acts” is limitless so let’s return back to general human conflict-response, of which we’ve discussed thoroughly in a previous article, of where I’m going to plagiarize myself a little. ( )

Let’s break them up into soft-wired (learned, developed, cognitive, “by-design”) and hard-wired (innate, instinctive, evolutionary) first. We have the generally-accepted fight, flight, fright, or freeze that are over-quoted so there’s absolutely no point in beating a dead-horse. But we also have those below, whether done consciously or sub-consciously, and noting that these can be used physically, verbally, or psychologically as well to serve different purposes:

  1. Posturing/projection.
  2. Submission.
  3. Avoidance/Evasion. It is NOT the same as flight/run/escape.
  4. Negotiate/Mitigate. Different than submit in that you’re actively attempting to find resolution mid-conflict.
  5. Deflect/Distract.
  6. Plea for Assistance.
  7. Attack. Going on the offensive. (verbal or physical altercation)

As we have broken them up into both innate and learned response and applied them to both verbal and physical response, we can also broaden this further, based on time. What about delving into the sliding scale of physical-altercation types? Are there others that show themselves if we’re ambushed? Given no downtime to prep or ready ourselves? No signs of impending danger, at least that we caught prior? While these are generally instinctive and evolutionary, they can also “act” as a trigger to get to the orient stage of the cycle and access training/fight capability/internal resilience. On that point, sometimes the orient stage jumps directly to the act stage, that instinctive/evolutionary response (or what I call “innate survival-skill mechanisms”, system 1) that keeps us alive or functional just long-enough to access training/mindset/capability (system 2)…

  1. Turtling.
  2. Flinching.
  3. Covering.

How about ongoing stress? A looming threat or upcoming unavoidable confrontation? Enemies who pressure you over time? We can add a couple more to the above, as well. Remember that “acting” can be done prior to an event, as can the entire cycle itself. Think of a series of interlocking cycles that lead to proper preparation, understanding, and foresight of events to come and culminating in successful performance of a/the final or highest-order event.

  1. Hyper-vigilance. (panic, confusion, ultra-aggression and overkill regarding daily reactions, constantly tuned-in and jacked-up) It’s worth mentioning that hyper-vigilance and freezing are often coupled together in the industry but medically they are 2 VERY different sides of human trauma and PTSD, as most professionals will attest to.
  2. Informing. Educating oneself on fear, adrenaline, the enemy, the coming event. Planning tactics, re-evaluating options, reconnaissance. Studying the opponent and/or self. Anticipation of outcomes. Psychological warfare.
  3. Activate. Breathing, meditating, and the like to calm oneself, change state, frame the stress in a different way, and come to terms with the process-stress.

Note that inaction, or not acting, is itself an action, whether proactive (strategic/tactical) or reactive (hyper-vigilance/fear causing inaction).

Note also that scenarios are 3-dimensional, organic, and fluid. So the acting and decision stages may sometimes be altered by changing stimuli, greater information coming to light, alternative options presenting themselves, or outside influence. They then return to the observe/orient phases to recalibrate best-possible avenues/solutions as change presents.

Now, is all this necessary to share with students? No. But, returning to the fifth-stage of learning cycle (understanding/articulation/making simplicity out of complexity), I like to test myself to my capability of sharing important ideas is coherent and cognizant.


*full-article written on Sunday, March 29th, 2020

This was the first thing I posted on March 14th, 2020:

“Remember how these events have generally developed throughout history stage-wise, should this all progressively get worse – and by all accounts it will. The repercussions of mass-fear-response are often felt faaar longer than the virus itself are. Inevitably hoarding, price-jacking, rioting, protests, store-sackings, mass-layoffs, education-pauses are inevitable. We’re seeing some of these already here. Each one of these presents different strategies and tactics to avert, mitigate, or manage.

Longer-term potential areas of concern: suicide, violence, crime, divorce, domestic-abuse, substance-abuse rates and other much-more affective elements will spike due to financial-loss and future-stability destroyed. Plan macro/long-term, not micro/short-term. I’m not fear-mongering but be aware of the phases that are historically-present as time progresses. And be conscious of how your actions and choices affect others and potentially impact your vulnerability with the above factors. Start now, not later. Being aware of how your behavior can be a detriment or contributor to a human-support system is part of your responsibility in a time of crisis. Whether you like it or not, at this point we’re in this together, and generally have to rely more on each other than our government.”

Scientists Compare Novel Coronavirus with SARS and MERS Viruses ...

Now, regarding specific stages, here’s both what I see unfolding based on general human behavior patterning, past references, and some of which have come to fruition:

  1. Shock and disbelief. And we see this manifesting itself in 2 distinctly different ways. A) Utter horror. Freezing. Scared to react, indecisive, disconnect from steps that need to be taken and which state is most effective with which to achieve them. And B) A casualness that borders on delusional, denial of circumstance, refusal to accept the new reality and an active (though very likely unconscious) desperation to maintain the old normalcy. Both have played out here in real-time.
  2. Panic and fear. Paranoia, anxiety, immense stress.  Realization of potential consequences and, with that, rash and irrational decision-making that is intended to make-up for the wasted time from above. We saw this with the toilet-paper, soap, cleaning-out of store-shelves, hoarding, price-jacking, etc. Played out in real-time.
  3. A period of relative calm. Gradual acceptance of current circumstance and a desire to get to some semblance of a routine, as much to convince oneself psychologically of the new norm and to “buckle-in” for the long-haul while the original shock is slowly alleviated than actual acceptance. I’m starting to see this now and we’ll see more of it in the coming days and weeks. Consider it the eye-of-the-hurricane.
  4. Unrest. People getting agitated and angry at the status-quo, blaming whoever they feel is responsible. Government, big corporations, politicians, God, other nations, etc. Blaming  others unites groups of people and tribes. It builds and festers during some of the earlier stages and likely will hit at a crescendo when the shock and acceptance finally wear off and tensions start to grow within own households about where money/food/shelter/schooling will come from. Protests, disenfranchisement, anti-government sentiment start. Animosity between societal groups and classes. (ineptitude and ethics of politicians already won’t help here, to be sure) Pack mentality.
  5. Explosion, whether gradual or pockets of sudden and unpredictable. As people start running out of money and resources, tensions and anger and frustration hit a boiling point as society hits an “every man for himself” modality. Violence erupts in the streets, looting, riots, domestic violence and child-abuse peaks. Suicide, alcoholism, depression, and drug-use spike. Divorce, theft, violent crime, unemployment-rate and murder-rate rise. Chaos starts taking over as despondence hits. Knee-jerk reactions occur. And we’re ALL immune as, as I stated earlier, if the rest of the world is in full-blown panic, we all have to be as well to be able to respond to, understand intimately, and make decisions based upon that chaos. (Are you ready for this potentiality in the variety of areas pertinent to dealing with it?)
  6. The sun rises. People surprise when all are on the precipice. The crisis begins to subside. And, in spite of the far greater levels of collateral damage than the virus itself ever could have inflicted, a new normalcy returns as the storm has started to pass and the population craves some calm to re-build and re-establish a new normal. The long arduous climb back to stability, relative peace, and re-establishing futures begins. Maybe, if we’re extremely lucky, a re-setting of global values, essentials, basics, and focuses, though..
Coronavirus: Symptoms, death rate, where it came from, and other ...

Make note that these things always build, with each stage being cultivated within the last or one previous. Overlap is part of the unseen/unconscious progression, they’re not spontaneous. To add, none of these phases have pre-assumed or pre-estimated durations and can go on for indefinite or long lengths. If there are potential 2nd- or 3rd-waves after a lull, repeat stages 2-6.

Now, there are, to me, so-called “wars” transpiring here on 3 different fronts.

  • A potential shift of global power, though subtle. A war fought in far different ways than superior firepower or armament-accumulation. At minimum, very possibly a shift in the global-power structure, from West to East, for example. Note that, to this point, no western country is close to getting below the curve while a number of eastern ones have shown the discipline, self-control and social unity (for whatever reason…) like China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and I believe Singapore, for instance. I’d say that’s hardly a coincidence, though I may be proven wrong. Inevitably, I see this decided by 21st-Century means (tech, science, medicine, non-physical, etc.), and between very different mindsets of what “war” even is, survived best and with greater rebound by countries with different qualities and strengths than we have.
  • Attrition. Whether humans can keep their shit together, be unified-ENOUGH to get through this, care for their fellow human, and not lose their sanity in the process. As this draws-out, it won’t just be isolation we’re battling, but financial/resource-exhaustion, psychological/mental/emotional illness/damage, spiritual-hopelessness, future-bleakness, familial-disintegration, and a long recovery even after winning an attitrition battle. Some of us, simply, won’t make it out of this.
  • The virus itself, which still seems to carry some variables and unknowns that could be problematic. Mutations. Second and third stronger waves. Anomalies, Time to a vaccine while curbing mortality-rates, etc. And remembering that the other two above are entirely dependent on this one enduring, it was the trigger-point for the other two even happening.
Coronavirus in Russia: The Latest News - The Moscow Times

Regardless, those that come out of this the best will be those that can survive the longest on the least for those of us (be it individual, group, nation) with minimal resources – that “other” 98%. That find their mental-resolve, have their head around exactly what’s all transpiring here, and show the greatest self-control, discipline, and patience – and that will be tested in even the strongest.

Now, as always, there are intangibles involved here. The mutative capability of the virus and its ability to end life with anomalies that are making themselves known, currently contrary to what we’ve been told. (affecting children, young and otherwise strong men, some extremely-elderly starting to survive, etc.) The erroneous, misleading, or entire lack-of statistics and tracking of some countries for various reasons that may alter/effect any positive results others have made. China, everyone in Central America outside of CR/Panama, Russia, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, some in the Middle-East allll are purported to have diversely skewed statistics, whether for lack of technology, means, and capability to track viral origins/strains or intentional due to erroneous lack-of-controls and not wanting to lose their place in the pecking-order…playing tactics/strategies. The human element: people still simply do not understand the long-term ramifications of all this. I hate to bring up a perpetual buzzword but Dunning-Kruger has never displayed itself with such rigor. Confirmation biases are peacocks pluming their feathers. The opposite is true as well – people can and have surprised and united at the most daunting of times, as history has borne out. (Which people will we be…)

We here, in Costa Rica, are so far maintaining an exponentially-consistent growth on the curve, people are generally listening, and the government has handled their part quite well (admittedly) BUT that could all change in a heartbeat with the human factor loosening the strings, thinking the worst is over or a short-term crisis, or simply just being restless and missing the “old normal.” Very precarious at the moment as, maybe more so than the virus itself, we ourselves will determine how long the financial/economic strain will draw-out and how long the attrition that affects the psychological/emotional/mental/spiritual limits will last. A much better question that should be asked at this point than the perpetual “How long can this last?!!” is “How long do you want this to last and are you doing your part in your backyard to it lasts as short a duration as is necessary?” Time will truly tell….


Lt. Col. David Grossman, of “On Killing” and “On Combat” has become quite renowned for his use of the sheepdog metaphor for those who “protect the public”…law-enforcement, military, martialists, security, men, etc. I’ve always thought this an immensely derogatory term as it assumes that the general public is filled with stupid, unthinking, incapable sheep and puppets, yet we see these same regular untrained people surviving violence with just the “technology” that evolution gave them…daily. It also puts us, the supposed “sheepdogs” on some self-important pedestal of superiority.  Regardless, let’s actually break down the real qualities of the actual sheepdog breed to see if we can understand further his correlation:

Image result for sheepdog
Your friendly neighbohood watch-dog

“The Old English Sheepdog (or “Sheepie”)….can be quite the clown, and is demanding of attention. If left without companionship…he will become unhappy, destructive, and noisy.”

“They make sensible watchdogs with a deep, ringing bark, but they’re not guard dogs. In fact, there is timidity and skittishness in some lines, sharpness in others.”

“….since the vast majority of them are bred to be show dogs or pets, rather than working sheepdogs, their herding instincts are typically-diminished or absent.”

“…we’ve seen too many with neurotic behaviors, including hyperactivity, fearfulness, and aggression.”

So, in conclusion, I’d actually say Dave was entirely on to something from the people I’ve interacted with in-person and on the Interweb that are in-love with labeling themselves this term. From the above definitions, I’m actually starting to see his point, from talking to so many “sheepdogs” over the years. I’m just not sure he realized that he was ironically-correct, not actually-correct.


Well, with a term pandemic in full-swing and us owning a bed-and-breakfast that hosts foreigners from a vast array of foreign nations, I’ve used it as an opportunity to test the staunchly cultural social graces that often are taken for granted…and how to get-around and manipulate them. Handshakes, hugging, kissing, and physical-contact of any kind being non-recommended. As the fist-bump, forearm-press, and others have already been omnipresent in the media (and, t o me, can create awkwardness with those you don’t know or aren’t familiar with, I find) , I’m going to present s o me different options I’ve been experimenting with with success, some quite socially-acceptable, so me not as much, others maybe not at all, but, hey, my and my family’s health is more important to me at that point than formalities.

  • Making less and shorter eye-contact. Feigning a missed-handshake or hug can prevent an outright perceived slight. No-touch.
  • Angling the body. As direct squaring-off and eye-contact (especially between men) generally insinuates a firm-handshake is coming, angling the body away c o upled with the above break in eye-contact can cause hesitation and the mental perception that the opportunity to establish dominance or neutrality has passed o r was missed entirely. I’ve often been coupling these 2 with a smile and immediate turn-away to bring them to the registration area. When followed by small-talk, questions on their flight or time in the country usually quashes formalities and takes things to the next phase smoothly and subtly. No-touch.
  • Distance-control. In social situations I use what I call “active hands”, especially when a multitude or group of people are present. That way I have a buffer in-between myself and any one I’m not comfortable with or don’t know. I control space and distance. No-or-minimal-touch.
  • Immediately angling and going for the shoulder or elbow combined with a welcoming smile. Warm, welcoming and it entirely overruns the handshake entirely. Can be an invisible touch or light-touch but better to touch clothing than skin.
  • If there’s an advance with movement from distance, I’ve combined #4 with, upon physical-touching range, turning and walking with them in the direction they were heading. Works well in more open-spaces like the street, park, or mall. If they’re leading and stop, continuing conversation usually renders a handshake, hug, or kiss awkward or awkwardly-late. Light-or-no-touch.
  • When I don’t catch the handshake or hug on-time, I apologize warmly and feign having a slight cold or allergy and tell them I don’t want to have them start their holiday off sick. Especially with current events, I get zero argument or offense. Light-or-no-touch.
  • OR, there’s simply being direct. “In this time of insecurity heath-wise, it’s probably safer for both of us if we don’t shake hands/hug/kiss, I hope you understand…
  • Hey, even utilizing temporary body odor, sweat, or halitosis can keep people at-bay, if worse would comes to worse. Remember, we know little of this strain as of yet so it pays to be extremely cautious and some people simply don’t get it.

Another thing I’ve personally been doing when out in public (of a different safety variety) is making sure I have my sunglasses on as much as I can. The first known case here was apparently an American from New York who knowingly interacted with a known infected acquaintance but didn’t let it prevent him from travelling here, I’ve noticed some online resentment towards gringo, of which I’m generally lumped in with as a Canuck. While it’s pretty hard to “go grey” here, I can limit the exposure to my blue eyes, which give it away upon sight.

With men it’s often more difficult to avoid as the dominance game is instinctive in most men, especially those from Western countries. Even apart from that, I admit the handshake is almost reflexive to me and I’ve both erred and had to consciously strain to keep aware as it’s a politeness we’ve had ingrained since childhood, at least in my household. More than once my wife has reprimanded me for not only shaking hands but not even being coherent I’ve done so .

In closing, as I had to explain to one particularly casual guest, while it’s not an epidemic or total chaos at this point, and calm and rationality should be implemented instead of panicked frenzy, there are still some things we simply don’t know at this point. Whether it returns stronger a 2nd or 3rd time around, why it affects certain segments of the population and not others, and how it got to be so much more contagious than other strains. Plus, history is littered with epidemics that started off as familiar and seemingly known before wiping large segments of populations. So, while calm should take precedence and it may all turn out just fine, there’s a reason that grand-scale precautions are being taken.


Costa Rican (and Central American and Latino, for that matter) culture is filled with fascinating superstition, taboos, legends, and metaphysical-beliefs. “La Masquerada” is an event once a year, usually in August, that pays tribute to these folkloric (and sometimes foreboding) characters that originated from a combination of local aboriginal culture and Spanish occupation. With the rural lower-class, they can still have significant belief attached to them. They are accepted as a bilateral cultural addition to the staunchly Catholic following. What’s fascinating to me is that many are a superstitious warning or deterrent to the very negative-but-real stereotypes associated with the culture itself. Infidelity to one’s wife, promiscuity, perpetual drinking and partying, antipathy or distance from religion, God, or family.

Some examples in the photos below:
1. El gigante/la giganta (the giant): Representing the rich Spanish occupants from generations past.

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2. El diablo (the devil) deceiptfully laying traps to make some stray from the path 3. La pelona: the skull-bearing representation of death
4. La segua: a lovetorn half-horse, half-woman siren that baits adulterous men and deters promiscuous women

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5. La llorona: the ghost of a woman whose lost love has caused her to be seen crying, wailing, and shrieking at riverbanks.
6. El cadejos: a young boy cursed to live as a dog for eternity by his own father for his unruly drinking ways
All are very expressive and folkloric and have their own independent cautionary tale.

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I’ve been thinking that there’s very likely no small coincidence that western foreigners ply their snakeoil, charlatanism, and fraudulence here manipulating and taking advantage of those very superstitions, taboos, and legends. Most often in the form of fraudulent yoga gurus, shamans, astrologers, cults, energy-channelers, and healers. If it’s not taking at home, go where it will, right…remember that belief is half the battle and placebos can become very real for the misleading shysters with financial gain on their mind. I’ve met many here over the years, they’re extremely easy to smell and tend to avoid people from “back home.”

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Note that I’ve studied and been curious about this aspect of Central American culture for years. I’ve attended a cult ceremony and gone through some of the rituals (saumerios, “cuarentenas”, invocations, etc.). Been to see a shaman. Attended a number of masqueradas. Learned about these supernatural urban legends. Interacted with a number of the people peddling mysticism and the metaphysical. Now, regardless of my views on the authenticity of any of it, I respect it as many people here do and to mock that which gets many through their day and the intrinsic beliefs of many locals, especially as a foreigner, would be disrespectful and invoking animosity and bad “karma.”

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That being said, there is a clear niche where peddler and receiver co-exist and a market is created. If a consumer feels that the product will increase their odds, add value to their life, give them power or protection, or give them greater spiritual-connectedness, is anyone really being swindled? Who has the right to say. As a Westerner living here, I find it far more beneficial and informative to understand the powers-that-be than mock them with my “1st-World” superiority. Remember, there’s nothing more powerful entity in life than belief and many an entitled foreigner’s fortunes have ended poorly here for misunderstanding their playing field.

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And, as a self-described student of human behavior, I find the “dark”, mystical, metaphysical aspect of a culture intriguing and more than a little revealing in understanding the reason people think the way they do. It’s a peek into their psyche and why they act the way they do. Dismissing or mocking that which isn’t personally believed or understood is always a tactical error. Knowledge of foreign belief-structures helps mitigate, prevent, disrupt, and foresee potential forks in the road. Brushing-off the potential to gain that knowledge can put a target on one’s back.


I have always found personal success in the physical-arena: fighting, sparring, combat, violence, resistance, pressure due to a number of intangibles that have until now given me an distinct advantage – that rather huge thing that I see so few addressing in the field.

1. Stamina. Gas-in-the-tank is a huge weapon that’s builds confidence to pull-off whatever training and experience one has accumulated. And one that, when not present, creates a psychological bug in the back of one’s mind that one needs to get done what needs to get done within a timeframe or…(or your skill/speed/power/smarts will become irrelevant and, yes, I know that in real-life everything should be terminated fast, but…)

2. Being (or learning how to be) comfortable in changing circumstances. Surface, range, implements, changing-dynamics. And I do not mean diving into formal specialized classes (BJJ-ground, FMA-weapons, boxing-punching) I mean being able to adapt to altering stimulus. “Horizontal-fighting” is the same as vertical if understanding the dynamics and having exposure to/experience within them.

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3. Pain tolerance/threshold, and I’ve always, always, stated that these two are different entities. Yes, it’s an intangible to an extent but can absolutely be cultivated. Some are blessed with an intensity, certain physiological advantages, and a will that others simply don’t have so I always laugh at this “3-1 for me!” or “In real, that would’ve taken you out” mentality I see many sparring with. It’s comical because that is an element you simply don’t know and cannot build your house upon.

4. The ability to shift and intensify aggression levels. All, every single one of my students, past and present, have heard me say “Everyone -everyone- has 2,3, 4 levels more of aggression than they ever show in class. In sparring. In resistance-training. In pressure-testing. Everyone. Now whether they know how to access or trigger those levels and access that animal-inside…is a different thing entirely. And, yes, there are ways to do and teach that as well. Do not think that whatever you see me doing in the videos I put out is the same creature that you’d be facing if you presented an immediate and direct threat to my family – it’s not. (and many other experienced people in this industry undoubtedly – and justifiably – would say the same thing about themselves) This, again, can absolutely include fear, adrenal-stress response, innate resistance due to a number of intangibles as well.

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5. The attention to those “micro-movements” that “our group” so often discuss, what an industry-friend terms so well “naturally-occurring technique”. Figuring out what it is that you, the individual, does to super-charge your techniques, or whatever it is that drives your personal success and works specific to you. Systems so rarely teach this as it tends to go against their syllabus, chain-of-command, or mechanical-reproduction and assembly-line mentality.

I so very rarely see these 5 being addressed, which would seemingly reflect the rather universal view of systemic (over-) reliance and a false sense-of-security in formalized training. Just my take, if needing ask for change back from my .02.


I’d like to be clear before starting this article…this is not in any way directed at society’s truly vulnerable and capability-challenged. The infirm, aged, with disability, sick or health-challenged, non-able-bodied, children, poor vs. grand-scale crime. This is directed at able-bodied, capable, fully-functional people that I run into daily.

I’ve talked previously about the myth of the sheepdog and the negative connotations, insult, and elitism it projects to regular society and civilians. So I’d like to explore this from the other perspective, the other side-of-the-coin, and the idea of “being” a sheepdog. I’d also like to make one other thing clear, I’m not a sheepdog. I’m not a superhero nor an avenging angel. I did not train, experience, research, study, learn, fight, evolve to protect all of society. I’m not out to keep everyone safe and protect the herd. It’s not my mission statement. Never was. Won’t be in the future. I realize that’s often a controversial take as most “average” people believe innately that others will always be there to protect them and that those with training (military, law enforcement, security, counter-violence specialists, etc.) are obligated to save their skin should something go wrong. I’m not one of those.

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I have trained for 25 years now psychologically, physically, emotionally, mentally, sociologically, anthropologically, hell, even spiritually….to keep myself, my family, and my loved ones safe. I suggest you do the same. Don’t rely on others for your personal safety. A police officer’s job is to enforce the law, not to protect the public. Security is there to protect the protocols, inventory, standards, interests, and smooth-running of the business and business-owners they’re being paid by. Military is there to serve the interests of their nation and, by that, that nation’s politicians, lawmakers, and decision-makers. Not to protect your personal protection needs. Your responsibility for your personal safety….are no one’s but your own.

Part of the big problem in society is that it’s denizens so often feel entitled, over-reliant, and obligated to receive protection from the interests of governments, corporations, and entities with a much different mission statement than their own. Uber-naive. What I’ve never understood is the constant expectation that I, because I’ve invested so much personal time on learning about conflict, violence, threat, and aggression, “should” be willing to throw my ass on the line for you because you haven’t. That, to me, is more than a little presumptuous. I took the heavily-invested time to become proficient in this field EXACTLY SO THAT I WOULDN’T HAVE TO RELY ON SOMEONE ELSE TO KEEP MYSELF AND MY FAMILY SAFE. I do not rely on public peace-officers, my local military-branch, the often untrained security-guard on the corner who’s praying that nothing happens that he/she’s not prepared for, my local martial-arts instructor that most times doesn’t train in any way for real violence for my own personal safety and protection. I rely on myself. Which is why I’ve been so attentive, studious, open, intense, functional, pragmatic of my own training. In fact, exactly for that reason. Which is not to say I may never need or accept help against overwhelming odds….but speaking for most general situations we may find ourselves in.

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AND my mission-statement at this point is crystal-clear. I will not throw my ass on the line for a total stranger, a situation I’m clueless about on context, inter-dynamics I’m unfamiliar with, or high-risk situations that will put my family, myself, my family’s long-term well-being, my family’s future ability to be provided-for…my dog…in-danger unnecessarily because I want fame, glory, or heroism. Or even to do the “right” thing if that “right” thing puts my wife or children in greater-danger…or takes me away from them…or can put me in legal hot-water….or have the “victim” turn on me, ad infinitum. There’s oftentimes an exorbitantly high cost for that. And if you haven’t taken the time and effort and foresight to take you and your family’s safety seriously….please explain to me why I “should.” To me, the “I know you and I know you’ll protect me” or “Darren’s here so we have a bodyguard” or “I trust he’d bail me out should shit-hit-the-fan” is you taking the easy road and being too lazy/ignorant/naive/oblivious/delusional/entitled/insert-appropriate-adjective-here to take the time yourself to learn and become proficient. It’s a fundamental right and life-skill. More so than voting. Freedom-of-speech. Questioning the powers-that-be. Being safe and being able to defend yourself is the number one right we have as humans in this world and that won’t change because of the Internet, social media, or technology. There may be other and diverse manners with which that right is implemented over time, but the right itself will remain. And it’s your responsibility. Period. Not mine.

I hate to state this in a way that will likely draw much criticism from the idealist crowd, but I’m a pragmatist. YOU. ARE. YOUR. OWN. FINAL. LINE. OF. DEFENSE. Nobody will forever be there to protect you and save your ass when things get sketchy. It is YOUR responsibility. YOUR obligation. YOUR necessity, even. Take it seriously. Go get training. Go gain experience. Go look at case-studies. Go assess your life, circumstances, and daily-risks. Go get in shape and work on your physical stamina and conditioning. Go get fit. Go talk to those in-the-know. Go learn from those with experience and understanding and knowledge. I get ultra-tired of having the expectation that I’m some kind of societal peace-enforcer when in-public. Note that if I don’t know you, don’t know the context, have my family with me, don’t understand the dynamics of the assault, am not privy to all of the information, think that the risk of involvement is far too great for my own or my family’s well-being….chances are pretty damn high that I’ll be moving right along. I’m not being paid to protect society and I didn’t accept that responsibility simply because I trained to become personally safer. And that is my wont. I feel zero obligation, commitment, or responsibility outside of my own personal-choice. It’s not cowardly or apathetic….it’s knowing your mission statement. Prior assessment on what I’m willing to get involved in…and what not. Knowing my lane. Knowing who I am there to protect and who takes first-priority and long-term repercussions of my actions and involvement.

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So, again, if YOU are not willing to put in the work to educate yourself and become proficient in physical self-defense, fighting, conflict-management, boundary-setting, spatial-awareness/proxemics, combatives, personal-preservation, ad infinitum, evasion & escape, awareness…..why should I be FOR you, exactly? However, though I won’t cover your ass randomly or blindly, I will teach you everything I know on personal-safety if you’re with me long-enough. And you’ll proactively and pragmatically have a far greater chance to keep yourself and your family safe. Independently and self-reliably….and that’s something, right….


This 2-part article was passed to me a little while ago by a friend. I want to make clear that I don’t wish to draw unnecessary attention, either to the articles in-question or any kind of unneeded tension between myself and any other industry professional.

Apparently it had been making its rounds in industry-circles and been getting generally solid and positive reviews. I debated putting this out here as I simply have no interest in getting in a he said-he said debate with another generally well-respected industry person. HOWEVER, there were so many things in here that caught my eye, I’ve finally decided to put out a rebuttle. First of all, not all of these commentaries are bad, nor do I disagree with all of it. I do sincerely believe he was trying to share a different perspective to counter the general industry hyperbole and violence-mongering so often peddled. I do, however, want to point out a ton of inaccuracies here that should be pointed-out.

The most dangerous reads are often the ones that honestly seem to be based on gravity and grounding, yet seem to misunderstand the actual problems addressed in a holistic capacity. Those with best intentions shouldn’t be given a free hall-pass just because of those intentions. They’re still held accountable for transferring inaccurate information, information lacking an element of the totality, or information that can get people in serious trouble in spite of those intentions. So, with that said, let’s dissect this here:

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  1. One of the major points that he’s forgetting to mention as to why civilians are resistant to use and carry knives for self-defense is the almost nil past-history of case studies where the “victim” has utilized a blade for SD….and won legally. (never mind the capability/inhibitions of the average person using one, and the post-event psychological/emotional/social elements) I can count on one hand the files I’ve been passed where there’s been a “successful” trial outcome over the years. Public perception is not good…and that’s who you’ll be tried by…jury/defense lawyer/judge, not industry peers; likely none of whom will see that having someone gutted, permanently maimed, bleeding all over the place, holes in their body, organs punctured….is normal or likely acceptable, regardless of situational seriousness.  No knife guys mention this.
  2. One of the other major points is that knives are simply not a guaranteed stopping tool. There is no area to cut, set times of cutting/stabbing, ensured blood-loss amount, biomechanical-cutting assurance….that will guarantee a stop to a motivated, intent-driven, aggressive attacking person. Rarely (r-a-r-e-l-y) does a knife shut down a moving adrenalized body in 1-2 shots the way a heavy, hard impact weapon can. (really, whatever, a hammer, pipe, tire-iron, baseball-bat, autobody-hammer, etc. Talk to Varg Freeborn about that, he’ll talk indefinitely and honestly on this) And 30 generally puts you in jail for some time as it crosses the “self-defense” and “sufficient damage to stop threat” mandates. Note also that the resultant effects of knife-usage on a human body – tendons/muscles/ligaments…flesh…torn, mutilations, holes, appendage-removal/amputations, ugly lifelong scars, lots of blood…are rarely something the average person who’ll be in-charge of your freedom will view without some horror…
  3. In #2, he’s openly talking about “self-defense” against an unarmed man using a knife. (I’d say that cancels out the “defensive” in the title. I’m sure that’ll go over super-swell with the above-mentioned demographic. (and entirely counter-acting his comments in #1, by the way…)
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  • 4. EVERY WEEK 3-4 people show up at his door stating they’ve been recently robbed or attacked with a knife?! Where the hell is he living?! I live in Central America and I can’t claim a small percentage of that. Sounds hyperbolic but whatta’ I know, maybe he lives or works in an absolute dive.
  • 5. “Some immediately hang-up the phone, some tell me they don’t want to kill anyone, and others think I’m crazy.” That tells me a lot. I’d imagine these would often be “stable people”, avoiding people that exacerbate and sensationalize the actual problems they face daily. (And when they don’t partake, he mocks them because they reject his Kool-Aid…damn unicorns, snowflakes, cotton-candy eaters.
  • 6. In the “Legal Issues” paragraph, he openly advocates for breaking the law and explains why everything he said previous was hyperbole. They’re illegal. Prosecution just for carrying one (let alone using it) is strict and enforced in his area. (Why wouldn’t he advocated heavy improvised-weapon, daily-tool, innocuous-item usage, why the one that’ll guaranteed get you in trouble legally regardless of context? Digressing. I guess I’m just not in love with a tool the way some are. Nobody will change the stigma a knife brings, it’s sexual/psychological in-nature and brings awful results, and the public knows it.
  • 7. In “Important Considerations”, he’d rather you sent it ahead to your destination or gift-wrap it or mark it as a gift?? The least alarming way to bring it is exactly in that checked luggage. It can be removed without incident upon arrival and you’re not likely to be attacked in a national airport. Equally valid, buy a throw-away piece-of-shit from the local grocery store wherever you’re travelling. There’s no record if paying in cash. It’s not a big expense. It can be discarded prior to exiting the country again and, while in, used for a number of actual daily uses…peeling wonderful Caribbean fruit, for instance. (Or use the above innocuous weapons mentioned)
  • 8. His “When Can You Claim Self-Defense”? Wildly context-dependent and not at all a general-scope. Always a case-by-case study. What is “an attack?” Even a push from a martial artist or pro fighter will justify lethal-force by blade?? Can you deploy from the position the attempted-rape is starting from, and with prior knowledge the known trusted entity perpetrating it will give sufficient time, motor skill, acknowledgement that now’s the correct-time for deployment?? And so-on-and-so-forth with likely 17 other questions I left out…
  • 9. Again “Leaving the Scene of a Crime”, he’s openly advocating that you do something against the law and worry about it later. (precedence/negligence: negligence as a teacher should one of his students be in a bind legally, and definitely fodder should he actually need to use one-precedence…)
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  • 10. He owns 100 knives. That’ll look great for the defense attorney should he ever actually need one as well. There are knife-collectors that sincerely partake in that hobby legitimately, let’s keep perspective. However, when you like to announce it on social-media like that in the same breath as an offensive-knife-defense article, more than a little curious to any potential lawyers, jury members, judges, or police officers. Remember, they’re building a profile of you in their mind should you have used a blade in a self-defense environment…
  • 11. “There seems to be a preference for some students to purchase expensive knives for their collection and to use a cheap knife for EDC. That’s beyond stupid, don’t be cheap, you need a dependable high quality knife – your life may depend on it.” (There’s a very specific reason for this, serious people who are actually authentically “in-the-shit” know why that is. He also just stated above that he’s now at the point that “but now, any knife that’s pointy and sharp is fine with me, in the end it’s just a tool”…so which one is it…I’m confused…
  • 12. “Anytime you post your thumb or forefinger on top or on the side of the blade, you have already diminished your grip strength on the knife by more than 70%.” Well, actually that’s not true. Modern knives are actually made with grooves for this in-mind. The Filipinos (thumb on spine) and Argentineans (thumb on flat, and both with palm-reinforcement (even on long handles) to stabilize grip) use different grips and have traditionally come from knife cultures that utilize these as they reinforce cutting power/trajectory/accuracy of targeting and solidify grip for striking. I’ve test-cutted tons using both of these and have never, ever dropped a live blade while doing so. There are tons of documented prison/historical knife fights that reinforce this method in both countries, remembering that both originated from Spanish swordsmanship/fencing, whose dueling culture goes back centuries. (But, hey, right….)
  • 13. His link to grip-research is broken/doesn’t exist so seemingly nothing to back his points there…
  • 14. “however some individuals need knife skills NOW and neither have the time nor interest in learning the stick.” Why? Whom? Not the military, they so rarely need knife-fighting that it’s hardly mentionable outside of triviality. The new martial-arts belt program from Matt Larsen doesn’t even have knife in the curriculum, to my knowledge. Cops? Heavy legal liability. Bouncers? I wonder what their employers would say regarding that liability issue. Civilians? Why do they need these skills NOW? You really think government agents/private-security/bodyguards will use a knife as a go-to weapon wshtff? Really? I’d think there are tons of lower-key, publically-innocuous, attention-deficient (and more immediately-effective) tools they’d sooner carry so as not to draw public/legal/professional scrutiny. Maybe just me. (And then there’s your statement about, if you end up in that situation in these professions, you’re probably shit at your job) Also, see my above #2 for shutdown-potential issue.
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  • 15. “Many criminals have openly admitted that they prefer not to target someone who seems to be aware of their surroundings.” (Yup. Many have also admitted they don’t give a fuck if the person’s aware of their surroundings. They pick a target and commit to it. Small sheepish women can be aware of their surroundings. Disabled and aged folk as well. Slumping, seemingly-weak, undeveloped men as well. So what.) My recent event also could be added here.
  • 16. “The only way to recognize an attack is to maintain constant vigilance and awareness…” Really. So he recommends being hyper-vigilant. Jacked and tuned-in 24/7. First of all, that’s simply not at all achievable physiologically. And here’s betting he dies of heart-problems and stress-related body shutdown long before that fucking knifer ever decides to come around. Be tranquilo, normal, unnoticeable…until it’s time not to be. I believe that being hyper-vigilant also draws far more unneeded attention than being attentive to pertinent information when it arises. I’m not tuned-in all day, until I notice something important and contextually-odd that I need to be tuned-in about.
  • 17. In his “Stances” commentary, he mocks the WW2 knife-hand back methodology. They were at war. The knife-hand back was to protect the blade and make sure it entered into an unarmed or attacking opponent and control distance while doing so. They weren’t fucking dueling. And a kill in that environment was somewhat more justified than civilian training that he’s discussing.
  • 18. His #1 point in stances, sounds like potential murder to me.  Jus’ sayin’. Legal thing again and all.
  • 19. Regarding “stab vs. slash”, he should read Darren Laur’s articles on this from ER doctors actually authenticated and legitimized. (not anecdotal or mentioned in passing) They say something quite different, including regarding the throat. The book from Michael Janich on contemporary knife-targeting as well has some documented information in this regard. Medically-viable information and backed, might I add…
  • 20. I think he means “biomechanical” (cutting muscles/tendons/ligaments) cutting. “Biometric” is the use of statistical data to identify a person based on specific personal traits.
  • 21. “The fighter ran away as fast as he could – as he should have” (This was in #6 down page 2, but above that a few paragraphs he said you shouldn’t run away at top-speed, you should jog because top-speed pools blood to the torso and causing fumbling and tripping. Weird. Wonder regardless of jogging/running flat-out, if you’re disabled, infirm, injured, slow, out-of-shape, aged, less-fast-than-Johnny-Knifeattacker, with family….what then…)
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Anyways, listen, as mentioned, he does actually have some good advice to be found in here, some of which I agree with, to be sure. It’s certainly not all bad and he’s at least thought some of it through instead of the usual die-in-Valhalla-kill-‘em-all garbage we so often see. But, to be honest, I hate “how-to” articles like this. Bloody-well hate them. Context is predominantly invisible here, as it is in so many others. Vacant. Experience(s) is(are) different. Circumstances change rapidly. What works for one doesn’t do so for others. And how-to editorials get people killed, I find. Often quite efficiently.

I also refuse (at least anymore, if I ever actually did) to write articles on knife-fighting or knife-culture or knife-training. I don’t want any of it down on paper, should that event ever occur for real, and it’s not entirely out-of-the-realm of possibility for me, if we’re being honest. Maybe I’m subtle that way but I don’t talk shit online for very specific purpose. These articles are actually a prototype for what I’ve long was tried to explain on content from RBSD folk recently. I refuse to call what I do RBSD anymore. I simply do not want to be affiliated with stuff like this.

Taking all this into consideration, I’d like you, the reader, to see these articles as a point/counter-point investment. Think hard and analyze deeply on all elements of carrying a knife for self-defense purposes. Note that I am not against doing so by any stretch (as many know about me) but I DO think that some deep assessment – far more than most give it and definitely more than is present here – is a prerequisite for doing so. Compare perspectives and make an advised decision on what’s best for you and your family. These will be long reads but you may get an education on knife-carry and your decision(s) to do so.


I’m going to leave this in its original form for posterity-sake. It was written very shortly after it happened, when back at home, when everything was still fresh. Part 2 the day after. Part 3 today, 2 days post-event. I haven’t altered anything so as to keep first-assessment as-is without any foggy post-event opinions or buffed-up hyperbole we all tend to add to build our credibility or capability.

So this legitimately happened today. We were marked. I held my regular Sunday morning class, my wife and son picked me up and we went to the park/market in San Jose. We were walking the streets for about 30 minutes and had just finished stopping for a quick coffee break. I had been talking with my wife, joking with my son, and sporadically interacting with Mr. Kovacs via Messenger about “shop”. Returning from where we came, we passed a guy who immediately jumped out and off the page to me. He looked at me, I acknowledged but something DID NOT sit right. I looked over my shoulder and he was still stopped and staring. We kept walking and I subtly turned around again about 50 meters up the road. Still staring. After that he started following us, I was sure of it.

So, I stopped at various points using counter-surveillance techniques. Utilizing apertures and angles and the crowd to get a clear view and confirm my inner-feeling. I caught sight of him and he froze, not thinking he’d be caught. He then turned around and started walking back from the direction he came, constantly looking over his shoulder. Here’s where the details drew immediate alarm-bells. He was “well”-dressed, by which I mean his hair was slicked-back with gel, he had a sport-t on, revealing a well-framed and muscular torso, had a well-coiffured goatee that had been well-maintained, dark clean pants….and he was carrying a plastic-bag “at the handle.”

Now, the first part of that paragraph tells me he’s not some low-level bum on the street looking for a quick robbery or mugging…it tells me there’s something more. The fact he turned around when busted tells me he’s not looking for a fight. The plastic-bag tells me something more ominous. I told my wife in a low, calm voice “It’s time to go. Now.” Now, my wife is pretty damn calm herself in these situations, surprisingly so. She looked at me, grabbed my son’s hand and we started down the street as he continued to follow as I coached her along the way. Stopping near LE whenever we saw them at corners…subtly but in direct vicinity. (They won’t do shit here but most hard-criminals don’t want witnesses of that variety) We meshed in to crowds where visibility would be difficult….in front of a group of women, a rather large/overweight guy and his equally overweight wife, into a group of people watching a small kids’ Spiderman dress-up, around corners where sight-out from pillars and angles made it hard to see back.

As we made our way back to the car, he appeared again, having circled-back around from a few blocks down. I caught sight him again before he caught us. I crossed the street with the 2 within vision of 2 street-cops standing kitty-corner. He paused again, seemingly a little confused, before turning a corner with a fence. Looking through the fence, I saw him digging around in the plastic-bag. By then I already had the blade I was carrying out quickly and my wife immediately grabbed my son’s hand and started making her way to the car. I palmed and he looked at me directly as I faced him, with people walking in-between us in both directions.

At this point, I felt like ice. I was fully-adrenalized and blank emotionally, I remember it clearly. But super-, super-calm. Very on-top-of my physiological response and intimately familiar with each change or additional trait. No emotion, no reflexive panic-breathing, truly entirely void. He crossed the street and started moving away from us. I made my way back to my family and we moved toward where the car was parked down the street. I told my wife and son to get in the car and start it up. Meanwhile, I found a subtle vantage-point to see if had re-engaged. Seemingly that was not the case. I did very clearly sense that there was an acknowledgement from him that this was not going to be an easy target. I made that very clear in a number of intentional ways without confrontation or engagement. (subliminal-messaging, calm, palming, some clear counter-surveillance ability, self-control, deceiving/misleading tactics)

I knew this predator immediately when I saw him. I was NOT drawing unnecessary attention to myself and my family but, when you know what to look for…
I do not know what his actual intent was, but it wasn’t good and it wasn’t innocuous or low-level. This was a high-order guy. It was a rather stark reminder that, contrary to many who live in a self-defense dome where no real danger ever really threatens their day-to-day, I’m still a Canadian living in Central America and there are simply some realistic threats that are present here that there aren’t back North-America side. Anywho, we’re all fine and back home. Charged and a little high from the post-kick but all’s well. Wanted to get it down while the details were fresh and clear and not made foggy over by worn-away adrenaline, time, and my own hyperbole or self-aggrandizing bullshit.

*I’m also leaving this documentation for any potential criminal, legal, or self-defense issues that may arise from this or future incident pertaining to this. But not the least to protect my wife and son from continual exposure and re-hashing negative memories by seeing incessant talk on the event. By password-protecting, it also allows me to keep tabs on who’s reading the content.