- “Darren Friesen is one of those rare individuals with the ability to read situations and people with a laser beam clarity and depth that allude even the most highly trained personal safety experts in the industry. Add to that his real-life experience and inherent talent as a teacher and forum moderator and Darren is truly a shining star in his own right. In my 3 decades of teaching personal protection worldwide, coming across Darren’s FB Forum page was a breath of fresh air. His wealth of knowledge regarding all manner of self-protection systems and technologies was matched by a humble yet no B.S. approach that drew respect and admiration from an impressive array of professional safety experts. More than once my mind has been blown wide open by Darren’s often revolutionary thinking, especially around a human’s innate ability to protect itself when needed. I am proud and humbled to call Darren one of my closest friends and confidants in matters of self-protection and life in general. I have learned much from him and plan to continue that learning as we join forces on future projects. A man of Darren’s many talents and wisdom has so much to provide the self-protection industry that is long overdue for a major overhaul. Perhaps the industry is finally ready for the paradigm shifts that Darren presents with his sharp wit and dedication to keeping things real at all times in all things.” – Bill Kipp, Predator Armour, www.predatorarmour.com
- “Darren Friesen ranks among the most intelligent, educated, and experienced experts across the broad and multi-level subjects within the self-protection industry. Few people can match Darren’s powerful, contextual, and insightful contributions to any topic with in-depth analyses on survival, risk, conflict, stress, and internal, anatomical, sociological, anthropological, psychological, emotional, mental, and legal elements. Also impressive is how Darren created and moderated a fantastically worthwhile Facebook page by creating a culture, developing a behavioral expectation, and having a community standard that is second to none. After 50 years of training and having taught 1000+ seminars in 24 countries, I can count on one hand the number of Darren Friesen’s I have been fortunate enough to know.” –Tom Sotis, The Sotis Group, LLC; AMOK!, Truly Safer
- “Darren Friesen brings an analytical approach to self defense and fight training, and continues to be one of the most thoughtful teachers on the subject out there. Owing no allegiance to any style, group or clique, he pulls no punches about telling it how it is when it comes to training, violence and self-control. Darren is one of my favorite people to talk to on these subjects.” – Varg Freeborn, One Life Defense, LLC; author of the best-selling book “Violence of Mind”, www.violenceofmind.com
- A few years ago, I was invited to join one of the branches of the Stay Bladed group, Stay Bladed Costa Rica. This proved to be a fantastic group – the discussions were thought provoking, and I met and made a lot of online friends there. The character of this group was due to its administrator / moderator, Darren Friesen. Over time, as I got to know him, I found, among other things, a very skilled martial artist, a man knowledgeable in the psychology and techniques of combat, a very puntastic wordsmith and above all a man of utmost humility and depth rarely seen in today’s martial arts community. Discussions with this dude, Darren (or DP) always provoke me to think and to go deeper into the subject matter at the moment. Such is the nature of this life that at times, the most interesting people you meet and become friends are on the other side of the planet. One day I hope to meet up with this dude and deepen our friendship.” -Felipe P. Jocano Jr., Founder and Punong Guro of the organization Tellu Bituun Bagani organization.
- I recused myself from the Filipino Martial Arts for close to four years after the book I co-wrote with the late Dr. Ned Nepangue was published in 2007. One of the reasons is the growing frustration I have not only with the myths and historical distortions that still continue until this day, but also with the proliferation of thousands of martial arts tutorials and seminars that are horribly flawed, with false promises and hard sell sales pitch. They are all over youtube and the social and growing by the thousands on a daily basis. However, behind these dark backdrop of an industry littered with charlatans and cult leaders, there is a glimmer of hope in people who challenge the clichés and after close scrutiny of some techniques found on youtube pressure test these so-called “effective street techniques”. One of them is Darren Friesen who I only knew through a mutual Gaudencio Lingamen. I was hesitant at the onset and had to beg off Pastor “Gau” not to add anymore into another martial arts group on Facebook fearing I’d be glossing over the same crappy stuff written by testosterone overloaded, commando wannabe type of individuals. Gradually I started to follow some of the interesting discussions in his FB group called Human Protection Collaborative and to my surprise, I’ve found more like-minded individuals who are challenging the status quo of the industry. -Celestino Machachor, author of “Cebuano Eskrima: Beyond the Myth” and head of Estokada de Campo
- “I have known Darren for a few years, give or take. During that time he has become a friend, a sounding board, and a bit of a “pressure tester” for ideas, and to some extent a mentor for me. I’ve pretty much always done my own thing in the martial arts, self-defense, and combatives industries but that’s because there’s been so few people that I’ve felt had consistent sensible input. To the extent that I pretty much walked away completely 20 years ago and just went about doing my own thing.
That has as much value as it does detriment so a few years back I started re-connecting to some people within the industry and reaching out to some new people that I thought might have value—thankfully I met Darren. His passion and drive to understand what really makes things work in the field of self-protection has been fantastic to find. He’s passionate about giving people valuable insights into the world of self-protection and understands that research and learning doesn’t end.
Now… when I say “pressure tester,” what I really mean is that he’s able to objectively look at things you may have held onto for years—your darlings—and when necessary, give you other perspectives to consider. Darren doesn’t do this in an egoistic fashion, but rather in a patient and direct manner, with the hope and intent of bringing about consensus and learning for all party’s rather than vehemently “standing his ground.”
Of the many people I’ve interacted with in the martial arts, self-defense, and combatives communities—particularly online where paper tigers abound— he’s become not only a friend but a great asset to the vision and work that I am using my training for. “
-Sean Stark, Guerrilla Self-Protection, Self-defense with purpose, #GoGuerrillaForGood, www.guerrillasilat.com
- Darren’s work is a breath of fresh and articulate truth in the self defense and combatives industry presently and unfortunately plagued by countless wannabe tough guys and technique choreographers. -Richard Dimitri, Rich Dimitri´s Self Defense Services
- “The internet is overflowing with Martial Artists espousing hyper violence & the whole “better judged by twelve than carried by six” philosophy. If you look on many blogs, websites, & Facebook pages you’ll find people with an almost macabre outlook on self defence & martial arts, with instructors making a cult of the blade, & pushing methods that would almost guarantee a prison sentence in most countries. When I first ran into Darren on social media it was a breath of fresh air. We had a similar dislike of the unintelligent hyperviolent & macabre side of personal protection. Darren is one of the few instructors you come across who takes an intelligent, logical, & scientific approach towards personal protection & martial arts, & I have always enjoyed our conversations & discussion, & his writings are always very much worth reading.” -Mark Davies Founder- Tactical Edge combatives ComTech Instructor Close Combat Instructor to UK Special Forces
- “Mr.Friesen is really a rare bird in the modern self defense world: while the majority of instructors try to answer the question how to protect yourself physically and legally, he focuses on attempting to understand the state of things strategically, for example, how to detect unnecessary attention, how to avoid or de-escalate a conflict, how to control your behavioral patterns. Of course, the physical part of the conflict is also a research item here, but it is not paid with more attention than other aspects. In the end of the day our final goal is to return home safely every day and it can be achieved by numerous ways besides using our fighting skills. This approach of Mr.Friesen can be applicable for both civilians, who are interested in leading normal life without dangerous encounters and those officials whose job is not usually well lit by mass media. In short, I would highly recommend at least to take a sip of Mr. Friesen’s approach, it is definitely worth it.” – Oleg Fadeev, former MI officer
- “The world of self-protection is awash with instructors whose pedigree and singular focus are based on their proclaimed physical combat ability. Darren Friesen is an exception to this rule. While Darren has a high level of physical skill and decades of experience, he has used his ability as a springboard to delve deep into the emotional, instinctual, behavioral, and social aspects of human conflict. Darren’s deep understanding of these many aspects of conflict is only second to his willingness to learn more and share what he has gleaned with others.” – Erik Kondo, Conflict Manager
- “I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Darren Friesen for several years now. We have communicated on a variety of subjects both on Facebook and on the phone. He has shown himself to be intelligent, articulate, and very well versed in a variety of topics stemming from authentic martial art training and teaching, to psychology and abhorrent behavior. Aside from displaying great intellect and depth of understanding into the human condition, Mr. Friesen have shown himself to be a gentleman of the highest caliber. I have never experienced any form of posturing or egotistical behavior, or the need to berate others from Mr. Friesen. This is incredibly refreshing in that we see way to much juvenile behavior from full grown adults (even high “ranking” individuals) in the so-called martial art world. For these reasons among many more to lengthy to list here, I recommend MR. Darren Friesen for any task or project that he attempts to be involved in.” -John Kovacs, M.A. Soke Founder of Yishendo Ju-Jutsu Fayetteville, N.C. U.S.A
- “The Filipino arts are perhaps the most advanced of combat systems. We have evolved out of the real need for combat, and address the kill-or-be-killed aspect of combat that most arts ignore. Yet we have been overrun by non-fighters, who wish to make the Filipino arts an “everyman’s” art–one that can be learned and mastered with little pain and commitment; on the same level as learning Zumba–except Zumba is harder to do. We must change this. But it won’t be on the heels of the masses or well-known masters. To bring the arts back to its origin, we will need a small minority of forward-thinkers, who are willing to challenge status quo and herd thinking. They must ask the questions no one likes to ask, and look in places most refuse to look. They must reject the idea that FMAs must contain only what is Filipino in origin, or fit the “FMA formula”(stick=knife=hand), or even be historically accurate and impressive to look at. It must be new, progressive, and fire-tested. I have been on Facebook since 2009, and found very little value in socializing on FMA forums. Most FMA men I found simply parrot what is popular and are awestruck by flash and fast talk. For years, the only FMA group I participated in was run by D.P. Friesen, who is part of this minority I am speaking of. He is not stuck in style-dogma, and has taken the FMA Red Pill years ago. I am glad to hear that he has decided to teach in his home, Costa Rica. The FMA needs independent thinkers, who will carry this arts forward. Please check out his page and follow him if you would like to discover more of what his doing.” -Mustafa “The Kuntawman” Gatdula, www.Filipinofightingsecretslive.com
- “DP Friesen is a refreshingly pragmatic voice in a community which routinely promotes itself through cliche and fear. His thoughtful approach and ability to conceptualise and articulate his ideas should be essential study for anyone interested in self protection. The interactions I’ve had with DP indicate an individual who is genuinely invested in helping people develop practical skills, allowing them to think about how they navigate and manage the world around them.” – Rannoch Donald, Simple Strength
- “Darren Friesen has a vision. He’s explored the heights of martial training and plumped the depths of human conflict and come full circle. He’s well beyond the “sport vs. street” debates and the petty style wars. His martial knowledge and skill are admirable but his vision of a movement toward holistic self-protection, and beyond it, makes him even more special. He sees a world of partners, not students; allies in progress toward safer, happier lives. The emotional and conceptual maturity of his ideas make him more than worthy of your time and attention. Read. Consider. Be enlightened. Be challenged. Grow.” – Malcolm Rivers, District Combatives, NOVA Self Defense and Director of Rory Miller’s Chiron Training
- “I first spoke to Darren a few years ago via online interaction, after talking to him a few times, I found him to be a genuinely knowledgeable person. To me, it seems that Darren has a perspective in the industry that not many seem to have. Add to the fact that whatever he teaches and shares is not to profit, but to genuinely educate and inform people, makes him a truly unique individual. Personally, every interaction between him and I, has been intellectually stimulating for me and has enabled me to perceive things from a different, broader perspective. What I truly admire about Darren is that he isn’t someone who’s after a big name and fame and stuff like that, instead what he’s about, is clearing up the huge amount of misinformation floating around and actually help people be safe rather than just feel safe and live a life without needless stress. His page, the HPC and his blogs, which he has put tremendous effort in by creating healthy and intellectually stimulating conversations are the best sources of a vast amount of information backed by evidence, which is what I admire the most. I can honestly say, that it truly has been quite an honor and a pleasure to call him a friend.” –Ashtad Rustomji, Street Self-Defense
- “I’ve always looked at Darren as a shining example of the direction I want to go with regard to not only conflict management, but also with regard to mitigation of need to manage conflict, by way of choosing carefully, the words to use, and situations in which to just avoid speaking, for sake of preventing any sort of conflict, verbal, or otherwise, from ever arising. I already was heading that direction, but without having seen things he’d written, as well as that of some others, and without the space he provided both in the Stay Bladed Costa Rica group, and in the Human Protection Collaborative group, I wouldn’t have had a space in which to really hone that ability, and understanding of it, or the encouragement of others who believe in that method, who were discussing doing the same. I’d also like to say that, as a man, he understands that there are intrinsic differences between men, and women, not only physically, but psychologically, and socially, that change both how we respond to, and how others respond to what we say, or do. So he understands the complexity of interactions, and why there is no “one way”, because each man will respond differently, but generally similar, as long as you understand the archetype of personality, and so to with women, our personality archetypes are different, and as such, there needs to be a different approach for each, and sometimes, you don’t have the opportunity to learn what personality archetype the person is (or any of it’s facets that deviate from the base model), so there needs to be a very holistic (I know, most people hate that term, because of it’s association with bad medicine) approach to human engagement, to ensure that things go smoothly, and how to prevent them from spiraling out of control, should they take a bad turn.” – Siofra Cody, Black Temple Combatives
- “Cuando se habla se seguridad, siempre se piensa en acción, violencia, muy pocos entienden que no es asi, hay mucho más y eso más, es más importante, hablamos del análisis, estudio de prevención, lectura del delito, y de las reacciones humanas, para poder llegar a esto, hace falta que quien lo realice conozca sobre la esencia del delito y de la naturaleza humana, y fue Darren Friesen quien lo realizo, un referente en este enfoque de análisis, “el no solo observo el árbol, el vio el bosque, y supo dónde estaba el lobo”; en esta tarea es imprescindible que la persona que realiza esta acción tenga valores, conciencia, conocimiento, experiencia…real, y humildad, ya que esta lectura es para poner un granito de arena para mejorar este mundo cada día más globalizado, conozco a Darren hace ya unos cuantos años, y considero que es una de las personas más nobles, en este ámbito, simplemente, un hombre de valor y principios.” – Jorge Emilio Prina, Esgrima Criolla, http://esgrimacriolla.blogspot.com/
- “One of the men i do admire in this business, he has great insights into a very discussed topic, that is personal safety. He understands fully what i always try to say: it is NOT your martial arts that will save your ass, but your brain when shit hits the fan. People all over the world have defended themselves successfully with absolutely no martial art knowledge, so there must be more to this. And what this is, no one knows better than DP Friesen.” – Rigo Hook
- “Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, in less than normal circumstances, I became interested in self-defense methods. Back then, only Judo and a few other traditional martial arts were available if you were lucky to have a school near you. You took what was available like it nor not. Like now, emphasis was placed only on the physical aspects of self-defense and encouraged blind loyalty to your style. Questions as to their practical effectiveness were never brought up. Such questioning was not welcomed anyway. Thoughts about teaching environmental awareness to help students recognize and avoid potentially violent situations and the physiological and psychological changes the body goes through during violent encounters were unknown or not discussed by instructors or schools. So, students were unaware that their martial arts skills could be impaired by their own body’s response when under stress. That could be a recipe for disaster. These subjects have been overshadowed by the emphasis placed solely on the physical aspects of the martial arts or self-defense industry. Theatrical and cinematic self-defense continue to misinform the public about real self-defense. The above-mentioned problems have only begun to be questioned by a few martial artists with an open mind. Darren Friesen is one such individual. His deep analysis of how the body’s adrenal stress response can hinder or help us when confronted with violence can help us develop more realistic training programs. A person’s training and skills must be able to adapt to or work through the body’s adrenal stress responses. The hard-wired natural responses to stress can override a person’s highly trained skills, especially if they are very complicated. Few martial arts or self-defense instructors will mention these things to their students for a variety of reasons. Darren has also researched other intriguing ideas in self-defense. For example, why do unskilled people successfully defend themselves and prevail in street attacks using untrained random and instinctual methods whereas trained martial artists fail and are defeated, hurt or killed? There has to be an explanation for all this! Discovering the answers will take “out of the box thinking”. Given these ideas, just what makes a good self-defense system? Who and what does a person need? Over the past few years, Darren has been doing out of the box research for the answers. Most people are not asking the hard questions mentioned above but he is. There are plenty of reasons not to do so such as pride, ego and money. His research also includes the integration of legal justification in one’s defensive actions which is vital in litigation societies. He has also researched the much neglected psychological, social and financial aftermath of a violent encounter which may have severe consequences to the victor. Even if you win a fight, you can still lose in many ways. Darren is a master researcher trying to sift out the truth in a sea of myths and misinformation. I have also been researching these same questions for decades. I encourage Darren to continue his great research and asking the tough questions avoided by most. Good luck to him on his continued research. I have learned a lot from his page “The Human Protection Collaborative”. I am just glad that there are people struggling to answer the hard questions about the self-protection industry. Most people just go along with the program without questioning anything. I believe that is not good. We need more thinkers out there like Darren Friesen.” – Raymond Dettinger
- Darren & I became FB friends a few years ago & since then we had several interactions through personal messages, comments in groups we both joined, as well as in groups that he created or administered. We haven’t met personally, but we have many things in common:like: passion for martial arts & a belief in practicality/reality of self-defense techniques. We both have a dislike for keyboard warriors, people who just love to talk & talk, but won’t do the walk. I found Darren to be knowledgeable in many aspects of self-protection, especially involving human brain responses when under stress & effects of adrenaline to human responses to different stimuli. I have no substantive background in neurology, psychology, & other related sciences. In fact I used to tell him that there are topics that I can’t comprehend very well due to my inadequacy in the use of English which happened to be my 3rd language. I noticed that he is humble enough to ask questions about things unfamiliar to him. He hasn’t tried to project an image that he is an all-knowing person. I like people who remain humble despite the library of knowledge & skills they have in martial arts & related fields & behave like half-empty vessels that are ready to receive additional valuable inputs. As far as I’ve seen in his posts, he concentrates on practicality of techniques rather than cinematic or fancy maneuvers. He can be friendly & courteous, but he can properly react to people who are loud & impolite. We seem to have been comfortable with with each other & we can make funny jokes without taking any offense. But I suspect that when he is pushed against the wall, ha can become someone who believes in “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. I maybe wrong in this. ” -Rev. Gaudencio JR Lingamen, founder of the Dos Palos and Garrote y Lanza systems of FMA
- “Very few people in the martial arts can introspect, understand, and overcome the biases and programming so common in this field. Darren has a rare mix of understanding of both the mentality and the physicality required for combatives and/or self defense or counter violence that is hard to find. His outlook and experience means one gets a well balanced and effective methodology, useful both to a beginner or someone with training looking to expand their skillset whilst cutting through the clutter that is commercially taught as the ‘martial arts’.” -Adrian Jagmag, Indian Martial Arts
- “Today I would like to talk about this blog: https://blog.mandirigmafma.com/ by Darren DP Friesen. It is very interesting blog because it talks about different themes related to fighting and martial arts in general, the articles are very informative and can help the understanding of some particular aspects of the fight such as: survival skill response, psychological warfare, truth on human violence, conflict de-escalation, myths and martial arts training methods etc. If you like the scientific aspect of the fight, this is the blog you should follow!” – PG Fabrizio Mansur Filograna, SCAR Director
"Un-Hammering" Nails: a cerebral approach to personal preservation, self-defense, combatives, and martial arts.