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as the warrior ages, the very thing that made him great are the same things that make him isolated and cause suffering….. a reply to someone about values and the price of honor…..

Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized on July 10, 2018 by thebrutalityofreality

as i get older and more helpless.  For the first time ever,  in my life i have to  pay for help and now my ego hurts.

I have to take a lot of crap from inferior assholes,  i have to bow to young losers who know nothing of suffering , self sacrifice , or battle.   I have to let them insult me,  challenge me,  throw me down,  because i am afraid of the law  and they know it.  i get no praise for being better, i get no honors because i lack the “paper” that honor seems to be written on these days instead of earned thru deed.     I have to accept that i an no longer in control as i once was.  To lead warriors who put their very lives on your word is indeed and honor,  to be willing to sacrifice what you have to for a brother, a friend,  A STUDENT…..  that is honor ,,,  that is worth praise,   but these days the soft youth is in control and i hate it.  They don’t want to learn,  they don’t understand anything but apps.   they lack honor, integrity, and most of all,   they have no soul,  for the soul is the reflection of character,   and character must be forged thru suffering, sacrifice, and success where others would certainly fail…..   but these weak being are taking over……
i could kill these punks with a finger maybe 2 fingers
but i cant’ becasue i’ll get arrested
i hate it
i feel like a victim all the time
in order to fit in i have to “fit” in
and that means be a loser like everyone else….  and i can’t  ,   i refuse,   and there fore i must be isolated and unhappy…….     why?    I saw this when I was a young man,  breaking into some high risk security and other “special” things,    the older guys were,   what i am now becoming….   something i wanted to avoid,  but it’s part of the journey i guess,  it’s not fair,  it;’s not pleasant,  it’s not welcomed,  but it is…..   inevitable.

the security guys i knew when i first go into the “special” shit
they were all isolated
i used to say all the time
too much knowledge is a dangerous thing
a couple would say
you are a wise man for your age
i was 30
now i say too much knowledge and experience

knowledge alone is not enough,  it’s the experiences,   the vision of long ago that seems like it’s happening right now,   the smells, the tastes,   all the senses experiencing what happened long ago,   it’s that experience coupled with the knowledge that leads to the truth,   and that truth is very very hard to embrace.   the world is cruel,  animals suffer so much, people are so rotten in so many ways,   the shroud of illusion is lifted to reveal the harsh reality………   even eating becomes a task of sorrow for i know the suffering of the animal that died.  The weak mind has  no thought of the animals feelings  the suffering in the name of production,  how many have ever taken the time to watch vids of how cruel they are killed?  how they kick and scream as they are cut up while still alive and feeling???   no the weak mind will not even look.   the weak mind will not ponder it,  the weak mind will make up some excuse to avoid the dirty truth,  the weak mind says,  they are here for us to eat,   i don’t think of that,  and other denials,   but the warrior,  he cannot deny what he has experienced and what the knowledge and experience makes him realize about how cruel life is,  and for no reason most times other than laziness.     Knowledge is dangerous ,   but without experience ,  it’s just a thought,  only thru experience does knowledge become real,   become infallible,  it becomes the truth that denies excuses and fulfills what the warrior hopes won’t come…..

the experience takes away the fantasy everyone lives by , it takes away excuses people use to get up another day
it takes away the illusions of life and forces you to look at the most ugly truth

and now it’s me
i think if i had’t given it all up for ex
all to keep her safe so no one would ever try to hurt her to hurt me
i would have been better off
honor has been my undoing
friendship my weakness , the lie i could never see thu
i pray and pray hoping God will just make things go right because  i’m too stupid to make the right choice
but seems i get sicker, coughing right now cant’ breathe
cant’ get out of bed, so sick every day cant’ sleep , but feel ok at night
just like the “guys”
always up all night
for some reason we all hate the sun, the morning
i have a theory on it

i think it’s time for me to just shrink away
the problem is i need a friend, i need talking,
someone to hang with

and no one is there
just like them
what made me strong and successful now is my haunting

my ex was the only one who was there for all of it
it cant’ be explained now, cant’ be relived- i’m old

i used to find pride in obscurity but now i just feel cheated

my question , from a guy who was a real life spy,  i was in my 20/s    he was in his 60/s
he said who are the best spies,
who were the greatest
i couldn’t answer it
and i always posed it to all my students
and anyone who really wanted a profound lesson about ‘things’

what do you think????
who were the greatest spies ever?????



what do you think of?

james bond,    some guy you saw get an award in the pubic eye?

do you think the heros are on plaques and have their pictures hanging somewhere>??

whether it’s a teacher who changes someone’s life,  a friend who was there when no one else was,   or someone involved in the most serious of matters……  who are the greatest warriors,    spies   ,    greatest people ever?????


the answer was…..





we’ll never know only the bad ones got caught

and that’s a life lesson
who are the greatest people
who are the smartest and more philosophical
no one knows
because the true warriors live in isolation and want to forget rather than brag
the true warriors are just tired, tired of being picked on for being better by those who are ignorant losers
the true warriors are not to be found in public forums, corner shops, commercial dojos in strip malls,
the true warriors , are , as they have always been, a ghost that appears when needed by the weak and cast away , back to the shadows when there is no fear, no need of protection, no need of their service,
no thanks, no honors, no recognition
to a young man the honor is enough , but to the older warrior, scarred from battle both physically and emotionally, it’s not a enough, there’s the nagging question…….. would i do it all over again, knowing the pain i have now????
and for some reason ,,,,,

the answer is always yes



Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2017 by thebrutalityofreality

the conversation was about us getting old and how our lives have isolated us.   many of my articles discuss this,  he finally said  ,   in short,    we have earned the right to discard what we want,  because we have the experience to make the choice,

there was much more to the several hrs of discussion,  but that’s the meat of it,    i asked him to write something i could post ,  and here it is..     whether martial arts, or any thing you study,   if you require someone to learn from ,   shouldn’t you learn from someone who has at least as much experience as you wish to learn?    then why go to the corner dojo,  the commercial “business” ,  the day care center?   in the end,   it’s experience that gives us the scales to measure the truth.   the problem today is no one has much experience,  so the majority becomes the rule and the rule is not very experienced.   so people like my friend and myself are the small isolated group that is looked down upon  ,   we just don’t fit in because of “experience”  and “knowledge”

here’s his thoughts as it relates to the conversation of getting old and living a life where we never really fit in,  accept in a small circle.


“My pursuit, is the vehicle powered by passion that has brought me to knowledge and experience. That knowledge and experience gave birth to my objectivity. They entitle or perhaps provide me the right to now cast aside an opinion, a principal, a philosophy, one move, one method, or even an entire ‘art’- forever or temporarily.  At minimum I deserve, and I am allowed to decide for myself what I will value, what works, what is real, or what is useful.  No, I’m not arrogant, I am confident and courageous. 
My courage is fueled by respect and duty- that courage compels me to share, but it also tells me at times not to share.  That courage is to blame for why others will hear me say, ‘that is what remains, and it is mine’.
And yes, what I cast aside will always have value, I said aside, not away. I will keep it close. Maybe I will need to use them as a resource- maybe I see in them, subjectivity. You can’t have objectivity without knowledge and experience, so If and when I choose to share, I can’t think of an easier or other fair way to ‘recruit’ appeal to what I did not cast aside, but to be able to point out an example of what I see as subjective… a claim of objectivity is nothing of value without an example subjectivity.”  R.J. Tucker, with Anthony Carrano,2017.
another great reply in reference to a conversation about training for reality, whether it be combative or just a skill in life,    people train thru illusion.  They never seek the truth because the truth just slaps them in the face screaming loser.  The truth of the loser is that they always look for the easy way out.   Whether it be martial arts with the “3lbs of pressure can kill a person” bullshit or the any other skill,    only training for reality, in realistic scenarios will give the experience required to look objectively and see subjectively,  what you need and what is useless.
this great reply comes in reference to a training vid,  the participants talk about quick kills and one shot stops with punches that are just plain weak.   there is a method to training correctly and this reply pretty much sums up the way to look at it ……
Innate- what you were “born” with. That must be tempered with what you have learned – but if you have learned something you know as to be negative or non-productive.
-Merge Carnal & Temporal 
As the saying goes



Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by thebrutalityofreality


THE flaw of positive reinforcement and classical conditioning…….. It can be seen in any modern arts dojo. I say modern arts because whatever style they may be teaching,  teaching it in the old ways were disciplined and consequences were the heart of training — now they are teaching it with a paycheck as the main focus. If the student does not progress mommy will not cut a check. If the adult does not succeed they will quit and so will their payment.

So first let’s define a few things. Let’s talk about a method of training that everyone is very familiar with. Class starts in a usual way and the classes run in a usual manner. There are no surprises, no real threat of dying, and always the psychological comfort of knowing that at any moment you can quit, take a break, get a drink, or really do whatever you want. You can even leave and never come back. Yet all these schools boast discipline. I fail to see it.

First we must always take into consideration when judging a type of training or school what the goal of training is. If the goal is a spiritual enlightenment then you had better seek out a school with a master who is everything that you want to be and has at least most of the answers you are searching for. If the goal is something to do for Junior after school and the kid just has to have fun, then you have many options. If the goal is purely fighting, there are plenty of schools that will accommodate what you are looking for. However, if the goal is a true martial path in a school that truly thrives on discipline and hard training ,then you have quite a challenge in front of you to find one that will fulfill your needs.

I will limit this conversation to the old training (koryo) and speak about the flaws of the modern schools and society as a whole. Everywhere we look today we can find examples of people who state that they are very disciplined yet are very weak. Anything that is to be compared is only a subjective view. If you could only lift 50 pounds someone who could lift 100 pounds is much stronger than you. However, we are conditioned to look at very narrow views and would generally say that the person is strong — not stronger. The willingness to accept the fact that a person that could lift twice as much as you can is strong is a failed view. Though the person is indeed stronger they may not be strong. Strong is a subjective term that can only be proven or unproven by comparison. The key is what you will compare it to. By comparison to someone who could lift 1000 pounds this strong champion is just a whimp, but in contrast to the even bigger puss that could only lift 50 pounds on his best day the whimp is quite a role model. It is this subjective view that has been so detrimental to martial arts and society in general.  What is a black belt worth any more?  Is the black belt the master or just a long time novice?   Without getting into martial philosophy of what a black belt means, one thing is certain….  There seems to be an over whelming amount of blackbelts out there.  Can they all be this good?  Even at the ages of children starting school?    They are blackbelts by comparison.  The standards have dropped so much,  that in my experience, today’s black belt is no more than a beginner in if we compare them with a black belt of 30 years ago.

We must first discuss the parameters of subjective views if we are to truly understand the value of the old ways. For this conversation I will limit the problem to this. The standards are so low today that everywhere you look in every field, and every dojo, and every job — everywhere… The standards of comparison have dropped dramatically over time. It is a simple fact that every generation is softer than the preceding generation. My generation grew up with more advantages in a softer lifestyle then my parents, my parents had it better than my grandparents, and when I look at the youth of today I am quickly turning into the generation before me saying the same things about how soft they are. Yes I even have used the phrase “when I was your age…” I find that I am using it more often. So speaking of training will naturally include a subjective view of what is good and bad, what is hard and soft, what is discipline and lacking thereof.

Today’s society is so empowered with the rights of the individual that the rights of the whole, such as the whole class or the whole of society are ignored. The needs of one seem to outweigh the needs of many. A few examples of this would be a whiny person who is always getting hurt and never succeeds in class. Though that person should really be told they don’t have what it takes to succeed and be booted from class they just keep on going and they seem to get their belts and at times even win trophies for some stupidity. The need of one outweigh the needs of many. At this point you’re probably thinking that it is the need of that one disaster of a student — that one talentless pain in the ass that keep showing up, however, I’m not referring to the student. I am referring to the owner of the dojo. The owner of the class is the one need that outweighs the many. That need is money and ego. Throwing a student out would decrease his money. If he threw out enough  he would destroy his ego. Simply he would not be able to boast of a large class. Society seems to teach to let things go rather than uphold standards and have to sacrifice. Though this talentless student may show great dedication he is still holding back the others due to lack of progress and talent. On this note I would like to emphasize in the strongest way possible that I do not believe anyone who tries should be denied training or the chance to prove themselves simply because they do not have the talent to succeed — no, my point is that the owner of the dojo does not even see this, he only sees a paycheck.

To stress this point for a moment, I would like to briefly speak of my own school. At many times I have taken on students that just do not have the physical or mental capacity to train at a high level. However, they are genuinely interested in training and have a great deal of heart. I would never turn anyone genuine away because they do not have talent or skill. But I would not put them in an advanced class and hold the others back. I have always separated my classes and taken people out of one training and put them into another which is usually a downgraded and softer path. I know as a few of you are reading this, those who are involved in martial arts, you are judging me and thinking that every school does this – but again it is a subjective view. My advanced class uses real weapons and we really strike each other quite hard. I teach in great detail and keep the students on the phone for many hours discussing the philosophy of many things. So it’s back to the conversation earlier of the subjective view on the guy who can lift 50 pounds {which I would equate as the standard dojo} thinking the guy who can lift 100 pounds is strong. The guy who can lift 100 pounds I would equate to the Premier dojo’s to be found anymore and people classifying them as the best. They are not the best  just as the second guy is not strong. They are better in the same manner that the second guy is stronger but neither is the best or the strongest. They only shined in contrast to shit. However, they become shit in contrast to the real way whether it be working out or training in the dojo.

So how does this tie into the title? Very simple. Everything these days that is to be taught ,whether in school or in the dojo, seems to revolve around one theory that I believe was instituted for the week mind. It was construed out of necessity to deal with the weak mind and derived from a choice between quality and quantity. It has been taken to extremes and I believe turned into the biggest scam and amoral way of teaching. It is positive reinforcement. Let me explain why. At this point I’m sure most readers have closed their mind saying this is ridiculous and have formulated their own opinion. Such is the goal with my writing , always to let the reader form their own opinion and then throw a curveball to open their mind. Positive reinforcement has been drilled into us as being correct — there have been many studies in psychology suggesting its validity. However, we must again look at the subjective side of positive reinforcement. So open your mind and try to understand rather than debate the negative side of positive reinforcement.

Let’s examine the qualities and advantages of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is giving someone credit for doing something good. In the case of the dojo a kick A. be lacking in many ways yet the instructor would give positive reinforcement stating that perhaps this stance is very good and the kick will come. The student being of a weak mind would not feel too hurt by this and would focus on his good stands rather than his poor kick. Being in business is a classic scam. It’s the sandwich of a compliment to ridicule and another compliment. Telework or something good then bring up the problem, Ben and off with the criticism and followed up quickly with a positive reinforcement of sorts. I will bluntly state that I believe people are of the weakest nature if they need positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement stroke your ego and gives a week mine that little something it needs to continue one. Positive reinforcement says “it’s okay to fail”. Positive reinforcement can be the most attractive team thing to anyone especially a young mind. Put this aside for a second and don’t judge it, just take it in and sat in the back of your mind like a piece of the puzzle as we discuss the next one.

Everyone is familiar with the experiments of Pavlov and that poor dog. On a side note what few people don’t know is that the dog was not given to meat but a meat powder and I have also read text stating that the poor animals had tubes inserted into their organs to test for the reaction of digestion. Though we have learned so much I think it is a horrific price to torture animals in this way. But back to the nature of positive reinforcement. In Pavlov’s experiment the poor dog was conditioned to think that every time he heard a bell he would get a pleasing treat. I won’t go into the rest of the experiment as an intelligent mind is already familiar with it and if you are not, you should research it on your own time. He showed that planning on something is a very powerful emotion. One that will not let us easily change our course once we have adopted the belief that a certain stimuli causes or gets us a certain thing. This is done in school, jobs, and especially in the modern high money dojo. Let’s examine the cause and effect of conditioning responses. You can make the argument that a worker shows up for his job, completes the task, and is paid money. That is a condition response much like Pavlov’s dog. Perhaps when the alarm sounds in the morning knowing that there is a shady day of work ahead we all have that gut wrenching feeling and don’t want to get out of bed, yet on a day off no alarm is needed to rise and a better feeling is accompanied with a morning ritual. The differences is the conditioned response. It is that on certain day we have to get up early and go to a task we do not enjoy versus days off being easier to rise since the threat of the job is not there.   If you enjoy your job then  you have the complete opposite effect — you can’t wait to get to work. In the dojo the conditioned response is that class starts in the usual manner and is taught in the usual way with the usual people going over the usual mistakes with the usual amount of safety and the usual class duration ending in the usual manner on the usual nights. Nothing really ever changes. The conditioned response is that if you go through this, you will get out and have positive reinforcement that you have succeeded. Let’s look at a more specific example of how a particular class would deal with strikes and blocks. The student pairs up with a partner. Let‘s just use Bill and John. Bill is paired up with student  John. Bill is a bumbling fool and not very coordinated whereas John is succeeding quite rapidly and has a natural ability. Bill and John are always partners. Always doing the usual stuff and nothing really changes or surprises them. Over the next year or so Bill, being a bad uke and not much of a martial artist imparts  a great deal of knowledge on John with his mistakes. However, in this scenario we will say that Bill and John both get constant positive reinforcement for their efforts. They are conditioned to believe that what they are doing is really training for real combat.  Here’s the problem. The lack of discipline and the role of positive reinforcement has made John come down to Bill’s level rather than making bill go up to John’s level. In my personal experience I have seen this so many times and been the victim of it a few times. John becomes complacent because Bill’s attacks are not very powerful or real. Bill is telegraphing and John has a little bit of sense to be preemptive  making John look like a superstar. John and Bill are always selected for demonstrations as John is easily able to manipulate Bill and Bill is happy to take it. Imagine this super duo in class. They would always appear to be the best students and probably get promoted the quickest. Bill standing on John’s ability and John succeeding through Bill’s inability.

Just take this all in for a second and look around your life. I’m sure you will see many examples of this. Somewhere in your daily life whether it be at work or possibly even at home by comparison you are much better or much worse than someone at something. Therefore, you probably avoid the things that you’re bad at and lean towards the things that you’re good at. You probably get positive reinforcement for shining on some tasks while you’re failed attempts are never discussed. Therefore, you have been conditioned to go after what you succeed at and avoid what you fail at because you are seeking positive reinforcement. The positive reinforcement in your life is what holds you back. What you feel you are succeeding at is always subjective. You are only more successful than the next loser in line but you are the loser when there is someone more successful ahead of you. So in the dojo that boasts practical and real training positive reinforcement is detrimental.

The positive reinforcement overlooks mistakes and produces a weak mind. You’re probably wondering how I can come up with a skewed view of positive reinforcement. There is another essential element to this conversation that I will leave till the end but for now let’s add a few more concepts to positive reinforcement.

The worst of the losers is the neutral person who never takes a side and just respects everyone’s ability and opinion.  At some point you have to take a stand.   Neutrality if for the lazy and cowardly.

Positive reinforcement goes hand-in-hand with classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is the example of Pavlov’s dog. Do something and get something. It happens over and over and over until you expect it and then you are conditioned. You put money in a machine and expect to get something of value out of it whether it be chips or coffee or whatever. You take a certain pill and expect a certain feeling. You stab yourself with a knife and expect a certain outcome. You get the idea. Classical conditioning done in the correct manner can be very good and produce a winner and a strong mind, however, society has a large role to play on what the conditioning consists of. In order to make a fair argument we must look at the current times. You can no longer tell people outwardly and publicly about their flaws. If you tell a minority something that is associated with the stereotype you may even get charged with a hate crime if a fight ensues. Gone are the days when you could freely make jokes and have the butt of the joke laughing with you. There is a smaller and smaller group that is willing to make fun of themselves. Yet making fun of yourself is the greatest thing that you can do for it says that you are aware of your failure and shortcomings. The key is to do something about those failures and shortcomings. Hell I used to have a little bit of a gut and people would make fat jokes about it. I am just the type of person that no matter how lean  the rest of me gets, I still have a little belly. This would always give me two choices. I could either be very bothered by someone else’s opinion and do nothing about my belly which would keep the hurtful remarks coming or I could lose my belly and eliminate the cause of the remarks that hurt me so much. I bet that sounded really good and everybody agreed with that. However, that was just a bait for my next point. I would count myself as a very big loser, a non-warrior, a disgrace in general if I let a comment about my belly bring me down. Follow this. Someone says my belly is fat and it hurts me. Why would that hurt me? Generally when you make fun of someone’s flaws, especially someone who is fat it hurts them deeply. Meaning=  it would hurt me only if I had nothing else going for me. But in my case I was always very powerful and that power only came from a lot of hard work and discipline at the gym. I also had a lot of hard work and discipline in my daily life and still do. So my fat belly was something I could not do anything about even though I tried but it was a minor infraction of my overall being as I was still much more powerful than those who called me fat. I had greater muscle mass and power. I could beat the shit out of them right there on the spot if I chose to. So this comment did not bother me much at all, in fact ,I would make jokes about it myself. Many times in class we would do an arm bar and I would be able to trap an arm under my belly across my legs and do an arm bar without using my hands. Since then I have leaned down due to health issues and no longer have my belly. It’s just a small little flabby pouch and now hardly worth mentioning. But I would make jokes about it myself and I was never embarrassed of it. He the source of my confidence came from the discipline of my life and succeeding at other things. I did not need anyone to positively reinforce those other things.

Confidence and self-esteem only come from the hard path. You don’t build confidence by not pushing yourself and you don’t build self-esteem by taking the easy way out. Positive reinforcement and classical conditioning often promote the easy way out and condition the weak mind to be even weaker. So getting back to John and Bill, let’s say some years have passed and the two have just been superstars. John and Bill are in a dojo that boast very hard disciplined training for real life. John and Bill both know through positive reinforcement and classical conditioning that their techniques are bulletproof. Somewhere in John and Bill’s future a giant ass kicking is waiting for them. At some point if they engage a real fighter Bill will quickly find that in a real fight no one will have the courtesy of pulling their punches and working in the form that he is classically conditioned to respond to and John will quickly find that not everyone is as soft as Bill and his strikes that he has been classically conditioned to believe will disable someone will most likely go unnoticed.  For reasons of his conditioning thru positive reinforcement, he will suffer great bodily damage in the fight.

Positive reinforcement and classical conditioning is totally dependent on the view of what a positive and negative reinforcement is from both the student and teacher. Again it is all subjective. I think positive reinforcement — focusing on the good =is a total waste of time. It’s like a fortuneteller saying something good will happen to you. Who really gives a shit if something good is going to happen? Let it! I want to know about the bad that will happen so I can do something about it. I call positive reinforcement focusing on the failure but everyone else calls it negative. The difference is subjective — it is the difference between a warrior mind and a loser. The loser wants to hear only good things , maybe a sprinkle of criticism here and there, but generally good things. Whereas the warrior is more interested in the negative because it is a negative that gets you killed. The negative of not blocking correctly will get you killed. The negative of not striking correctly will make your strikes ineffective and possibly get you killed. It is the negative that we should all be concerned with when we  think about our daily lives, not a positive. Only through focusing on the negative can you correct those things. Focusing on the positive makes you ignore the negative and therefore conditioned you to be a loser.

I think now something has sparked in her mind. It you are starting to get the idea that I am trying to put across. The key is that Paul the parties are winners and mentally tough. The key is that both parties are going in the same direction looking for the ultimate same goal. If the student is looking for belts they cannot train under me for it that is not my goal to promote students. If there is a conflict of goals what is seen as negative and positive will also conflict.

The missing concept that makes positive enforcement and classical conditioning a success or failure is the goal. It is essential that both parties have the same goal and look at training in the same manner. I would much rather be told all the things that I am doing wrong so that I can correct them. Being told that I am doing something right is of little use to me. I don’t need a compliment to  make me feel good, and I don’t need it to give me the strength to go on. My goal is to master something so ,therefore, I need the information of what I am not mastering. It is just a waste of time to know what is good. I tell students over and over how bad they are doing. Rarely do I ever give them any positive reinforcement but when it does come it means a lot because it is so rarely given. However, the positive reinforcement is only the perception of the person getting it or giving it. So in the classical manner I give very little, almost no positive reinforcement. The classical conditioning in my way is that if you’re not doing it correctly, there is a consequence. I want my guys to be able to defend themselves not be bullies. It is the responsibility of all of us in class to develop a strong warrior mind that does not fight with ego and does not seek to hurt someone unjustly. It is my responsibility to carefully hand out knowledge and make sure that I do not arm someone who cannot handle the responsibility. This method of guarding knowledge  in itself is a positive reinforcement. When someone in my class is shown a better way to do something they instantly know that they have succeeded in proving themselves and that is why they are getting this extra bit of knowledge. That is the classical conditioning. However, I see these examples as being far different from the commercial dojo that classically conditions the student to get belts and trophies.

In classical conditioning we must have other support systems behind it. Classical conditioning requires other elements for the conditioning to take place. It would not be conditioning if there were not a negative and positive associated with the action or a fear of consequence or an extinction of the habit or consequence. Let’s examine these other attributes. Not only does classical conditioning involved positive reinforcement but also negative reinforcement. Let’s look at negative reinforcement for a moment. This is probably the most common practice in all of our lives. Usually brought about through loss of control and resorting to last resorts. Someone can nag too much about a certain topic. Let’s say,  taking the garbage out. You don’t want to perform the task .  By not fulfilling the wish of the nagger,  you keep hearing the same nagging.   You finally get so disgusted with the nagging that you take the garbage out. This was negative reinforcement. You were taught that if you have a certain action or lack of a certain action that the consequence will be negative in nature. I’m sure all of you can think of it least 1000 things in your life that are examples of negative reinforcement. Those of you with children most likely use negative reinforcement all the time without knowing it. Now that the word “negative” associated with something you do it probably gives you an uncertainty about your actions. Many parents will take a privilege or a toy away from a child when they are bad. This is negative reinforcement. Using negative reinforcement is indeed a powerful tool and I believe if used in the right manner can be much more advantageous than positive reinforcement. Many will disagree simply because it’s negative in nature, however, the undisputable proof is there that when someone won’t do some thing for the right reasons,  negative reinforcement is the only solution.  It is the foundation of our legal system.  Break the law and go to jail.    Negative reinforcement  keeps many  from getting in trouble.   

The next element that we should look at them is a side effect of the reinforcement. It is a punishment or reward. The punishment is of course naturally associated with negative reinforcement, however, if you open your mind you’ll see that positive reinforcement can create a much greater punishment than negative reinforcement for it never addresses what has to be fixed.  Example: The child does not complete a task and negative reinforcement is enacted by taking away the child’s phone. This act in itself is to be called a punishment. Through classical conditioning the child will soon learn that when an act or lack of act is committed it will result in the loss of privileges to use that phone. Now the only choice is — is the loss of the phone a harsh enough punishment to make the child act in a certain manner or is the task too great and makes the loss of the phone the easier way out?.  Again the character of the participant must be studied in great detail.   A child who never wants to disappoint the parents will comply for a greater reason than just the loss of the phone.  The phone is simply a symbol of failure and the disappointment of the parents.  However, the child who lacks character and does not care about the parents’ disappointment will only see the loss of the phone,  and only if the loss is too great,  will the child comply.  So it is with a student.  A good student will see correction as gift and duty to make it better while the loser sees it as negative and doesn’t care about the failure.  Any type of reinforcement and conditioning methods should be dictated by the character of the student.

Another important example is an extinction or removal of a certain stimuli. The phone is the stimuli that is removed in the former case. In any conditioning there is always the response to a stimuli while the removal of the problematic stimuli is usually involved. Let’s look at this in martial arts. If Bill throws a punch at John and John does not correctly block allowing Bill’s fist to make contact with his face,  then John’s goal is to block correctly in order to facilitate the extinction of the fist in his face. If we look at things in this manner I think you will gain a better understanding of the whole picture and the problem with positive reinforcement . Positive reinforcement usually does not deal with what the extinction of the problem rather with the avoidance. A positive reinforcement in this manner would be that John did not block correctly but he sure can take a punch ,what the guy. Bill’s positive reinforcement would be that he is a very good striker. My method would be to use negative reinforcement and make fun of Bill for his poor strike. The goal would still be the extinction of the fist in the fist in the face but I would use what is deemed negative reinforcement.

There are a few more things associated with classical conditioning whether negative or positive. This will be best understood if we use a dog being housebroken as the example. The doggy pees , two hours later you see the puddle and proceed to beat the poor thing for peeing in the house. The dog has no idea what he is being beaten about since the incident has happened long ago. In housebreaking a puppy you must discipline the animal at that very moment that the infraction occurs or the poor dog does not know what is being disciplined for. This brings us to correction. It is very important in any type of conditioning correction that it take place at intervals. No one ever really stopped to think about this part therefore conditioning is a failure. Let’s look at a few types of conditioning. There is fixed and ratio meaning that one conditioning is every time something happens. You can expect a consequence. The other gives you a ratio of infractions before the consequence is realized. A couple of examples of ratio reinforcement is that of your work policy. There are most likely some parameters laid out that you get written up a certain amount of times and then a certain consequence is invoked. Of course this only works when the threat is always delivered. If you work in a place where some get written up 50 times with no consequence and others get fired for getting written up three times as stated the conditioning now comes beating the system not the write ups. Ratio reinforcement is simply that there is a known amount of infraction or stimuli between cause and effect. In the case of Bill and John, the ratio stimuli would be that John, being a sound fighter, would always put his hands up signaling  he is ready to fight or as Bill being a bumbling idiot would shake his hands like he’s making martinis because he is nervous in class and his palms are always sweaty. When John sees Bill shaking his hands he would know that Bill is defenseless and therefore always get a strike in whereas when Bill saw John’s hands in a certain position he would know that John was at his peak of readiness and would be able to block easily so Bill would not try to strike at that moment. That’s a bit of a stretch but it applies in the same manner. A more accurate dojo concept of a  ratio reinforcement would be on your test. If you fail a certain amount of techniques then you would fail the test. This would be a fixed rule that would not change and you could count on. After failing a certain amount of techniques you would not have to be told that you would fail the test , you would know. Anything that has a specific schedule of warnings or some type of stimuli before a consequence whether good or bad is enacted could be a ratio reinforcement.

A fixed reinforcement would be anything that is set in stone and does not change such as time in grade. Many schools have this concept that no matter how talented you are you have to spend a certain amount of time as a certain belt before you can be promoted. So you know that if you spend this time and do certain tasks within that belt you will get promoted on a schedule. Another example of a fixed reinforcement would be an interest rate. You know that over a certain amount of time you will collect a certain amount of interest on a certain amount of money yielding a certain return.

Whether a ratio or fixed reinforcement, the key is that the reinforcement always be delivered in the terms in which it was laid out. You cannot tell a child that the third time you tell them to complete a task and they don’t will result in a punishment, then sometimes tell them five times and sometimes only once. This is confusing. Any reinforcement must be delivered at a constant interval and in a constant manner otherwise the conditioning will not be learned. The use of making the extinction of a certain stimuli the goal is perhaps the underlying reason conditioning works. In the case of the child they are seeking the extinction of the punishment and in the dojo we are seeking the extinction of pain from being hit or fear from being an inept fighter. Without these elements conditioning will usually be confusing and fail.

Another element which is usually part of the conditioning experiment is the variable of success. A variable ratio is basically your odds. If you play the lottery and lose three out of four times but consistently win on the fourth ticket you will be conditioned to always lose three times and most likely place a small little wager but on the fourth time, expecting to win, you will spend a lot of money to increase your return. In the dojo we can see examples of this in sparring. Let’s go back to John and Bill. Bill has been conditioned that the ratio of John’s steps dictate when he is going to move in and try to grab Bill whereas John has been conditioned that the ratio of Bill’s jabs tells him when Bill is about to fire the haymaker and John easily blocks it. So every time Bill does three little jabs he is going to fire a wild haymaker — John knowing this always blocks it and looks like a hero but is only a hero because he has figured out the variable ratio of bills jabs.

As usual I save the keys for last. Variable interval is perhaps the best way to keep the performance. Again let’s look at your job. If you have a job that requires inspections — perhaps a restaurant, then you may or may not know when the inspections will take place. If the inspections are fixed you will quickly get ready for them and once they are gone you will feel that you don’t have to be as aggressive in your duties since another inspection will not come for a while and you will know before it happens. With variable interval concepts the inspection can happen at any time. You would have to keep the restaurant clean and perfect every day as you don’t know when inspection may take place. In the dojo the same concept is valuable when the students are constantly thrown into chaos. A class that is very familiar and never changes is not a class that teaches very much but a class that keeps the student in constant chaos with techniques constantly changing dictates that the student must be very aware and at peak performance all times or there will be consequences that are not wanted such as injury or dismissal.  In the case of Bill and John,  if  Bill and John are to be graded every three months they may slack off around the fifth or sixth week taking a break and start to become complacent but when the three-month check is near they will quickly regroup and move back to a higher level of training to get through the past or review.

The problem with anything fixed is that we quickly learn that it is fixed and are able to compensate it. An inspection that is to be done on a known date will allow employees to slack between those dates and quickly get ready for the inspection of the job review. But once they’re past that, they can quickly move to a complacent state again with little consequence. Whereas anything that is unknown, interval, dictates that you can get in trouble any day. The only consideration here is how valuable is the job or in the case of the dojo ,training? Only if a student is truly worried about getting thrown out will they always do their best. If surprise tests are given then the student must always know the material or fail. If there is a fixed schedule on which the students test or a certain material that is to be known in a certain time, the student can slack and become very complacent as long as they can manipulate the system and be sharp for that moment.

So far we can see that the simple concept of positive reinforcement is indeed a very complicated one and to be done correctly it must interact with classical conditioning. There are many elements that must be adhered to and the teacher must be diligent even more so than the student. If there are no consequences the reinforcement will not be taken seriously. In the case of positive reinforcement the consequences of good feelings and a conditioning is always taken to heart because it produces those good feelings. In the case of negative reinforcement the feelings produced are usually sullen and depressing and the weak mind will quickly lose motivation. The problems with anything fixed is that you can manipulate the system. If a child knows that a certain amount of warnings will be given before a punishment is enacted the child will push those warnings right to the edge and just before the punishment is about to be stated the child will complete the task or stop the behavior. Anything that is interval requires the student to always be at peak performance but there must be a clear and present threat of failure or dismissal or the will to succeed will be diminished.

Classical conditioning interacts with all of these concepts according to the skill and dedication of the teacher. However there is one last point that is always overlooked. Whatever you are training for, whatever you hope to succeed at in life requires that you train for it. In the work force world we see that a welder is actually trained in an environment that he will be working in with the equipment that he will work with. A mechanic is also trained in the environment that he will work in with the equipment that he will work on and with. A surgeon is trained in the environment that he will be in the equipment and problems that he will work with. Yet in the dojo they train for real combat, or so they claim, but they do not train in the environment that such combat will take place in.

How is it possible to train for something if you do not train in the environment that will take place in and with the tools that you will have to work with? Herein lies the problem with positive reinforcement and classical conditioning. Today’s commercial dojo is a plethora of safety. They are nice soft cushy mats and soft cushy pads for the students to wear. There are no sharp weapons that could hurt you and sticks are usually padded. It is air-conditioned in the summer and he did in the winter. There are plenty of lights and a good atmosphere. At this point I think some people who train may be confusing the point of this last paragraph. I am not speaking of discipline and safety I am merely pointing out that in all aspects of life we are trained in the environment in which we will be working in with the tools we will work with , and the problems that we will face when at work,  yet in the commercial dojo  the students are trained in the opposite faction. They are positively reinforced and classically conditioned that they are combat ready when they are only blocking a rubber knife or disarming the rubber gun. How can a gun defense be taught if the student does not have a real gun to work with and lacks knowledge of how a real gun works and what the bullet will do.? How can a student be prepared for a knife fight by practicing with a dull knife? How can anyone be taught to fight if there is never any fear of getting hurt.? After all if you are seeking a combat  art that will help you in a real fight in the real world, how can you learn this if you train anywhere but the real world? Discipline and ritual are the heart and core of any classical fighting system. You cannot be a great warrior without those elements. There is just some esoteric goodness that comes from a strict discipline and ritualized class that cannot be explained only experienced. However, I do not see how a rubber knife, a  rubber gun, or padded stick can prepare you for the real world. This brings us to the last part ….
operant  conditioning.

Operant  conditioning is the most useful and the most overlooked part of any type of training.   There is no need for safety pads.   Your partner should have enough control not to break your ribs but you should also have enough toughness to take the hits. A pad only teaches you to let your guard down and takes the fear away from the strike but in the real world, the first time that a real strike is really felt you won’t know how to deal with the consequences of your failure.  You have been classically conditioned to think that the strike will not hurt you. In the real world you’re killing blow that you have been classically conditioned to think will disable your partner , the magic strike that you have been positively reinforced in the notion that you are a powerful killer because your partner is compliant and your instructor tells you it will work will be greatly challenged in the real world. Operant conditioning is simply putting someone in a situation over and over and allowing them to know what to expect and to learn from that situation. A classic dojo example would be that a grappler who is inexperienced & keeps getting choked. This will work for a while until novice figures out that every time he leaves his neck exposed the opponent will quickly seize the opportunity to get his arm around it and quickly choke him. Again the key factor here is fear and pain — reality. If they are simulating chokes the novice will have a hard time learning because the consequence is not distasteful. However, if the novice is quickly choked to the point of passing out the fear of this will quickly teach him to guard his neck. If someone is continually punched in the face because they steal drinks at a bar they will quickly learn not to steal drinks. This type of conditioning is based upon consequences and cause and effect. There cannot be a true learning in a combative nature if the environment is left out. In the real world there are no mats and I’ve never been attacked by a mugger with a rubber knife or gun.

 Classical conditioning can be a great tool or the greatest detriment to learning depending on the goal in view of the student and teacher. It has to take into account the character of each. If the student is sensitive and is seeking confirmation of greatness and the teacher is seeking to teach a very real and effective course of combat there is a conflict. The student will want to hear good things — complements- yet the teacher who feels an obligation and duty of honor to point out the flaws that could get the student killed in real life will constantly tell the student about his failure. Whereas the student with a weak mind takes criticisms as negative the warrior mind takes them as positive reinforcement. Someone who really wants to learn will be grateful for all the criticisms and critiques. If you do not train in a real environment with all the climatic variables and terrain differentials you will not really be training for combat. In my class I am not concerned with competitions or titles. I do not base my teachings on anything other than reality and the old ways. The old ways were much better and produced much stronger students with much more knowledge. Today everyone wants to sue somebody for something and has this self deserving attitude about everything. Parents feel their kids should succeed just because they showed up and adults feel they should succeed for  the same and other stupid reasons. Again we must look at the military and their special forces. Not just anyone becomes a SEAL or Marine Recon or Airborne Ranger because they had a good attitude and tried hard. There are strict criteria that must be met in the selection process that must be gone through. The ones who do succeed are filled with pride that cannot be described only experienced. They emerge with a strong constitution that cannot be knocked down. They have been negatively reinforced with many variables. Always on the brink of being thrown out for failure which causes them to always try their hardest and be at peak performance and awareness.

If you’re looking for spiritual ride or a hobby than this entire article will be useless as it goes against the fundamental tenants of such things. If you’re looking for a dojo that will get you promoted quickly and a wall full of trophies, then this article will not make much sense. But if you’re looking for training that will produce a warrior who can indeed hold himself up to the world and claim himself as a true martial artist or even if you are not in martial arts and just seek to live as a citizen above the rest , I think you will ponder this and make sense of it. As is my style I want the reader to always walk away slightly confused with new thoughts and questioning their old beliefs. I do not want to state my views strongly nor do I seek to use cunning words to sway the readers opinion and judgment. It is my intention to just offer facts and make clear that we all are involved with classical conditioning and reinforcement of some type in our daily lives. If you take the time to understand it I think you may do things a little differently. If you are a parent, possibly parent a little differently. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the complacent way of society.

In the end you can’t grow a dead seed. Conversely , the most fertile seed will not grow without the right nutrients. A teacher must have the welfare of the student in mind always. A teacher must not look at financial gain or trophies. A teacher must not let ego get in the way and seek to always be right. A student must not want these things either. A student must look at the negative as the most useful for it tells the student where he is failing. A student should not seek complements or any type of positive reinforcement for those are the signature of a weak mind if that is what is needed to go on. In our daily lives if we get offended about comments that concern our physical appearance, perhaps there is not much else in life to be proud of. Thru discipline and hard training you should have much more in your life to compensate comments about your physical appearance. When your feelings get hurt too easily that is the sign of the week life filled with failure. Every day we are victims of conditioning. We must keep vigilant not to be conditioned in the wrong ways. After all that big Mac on TV does look a lot better than a plain piece of chicken that we should be eating and it would be easier to skip the gym and just watch TV all day. I hope that the reader won’t walk away from this article lightly and will ponder it often throughout their lives. Philosophy is integral to our lives and those around us. Often mistakes are made and we don’t even know it. Knowledge is key to everything.

 So give yourself some negative reinforcement today and think about all the things that you do wrong. Don’t get down about it — do something about it. If you are fat and lazy , change your diet and be more physical. If you are emotionally weak , get strong. It’s just that simple. If things don’t matter to you enough to change, soon nothing in your life will matter to you at all.


Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality

I was just about to get out of bed this morning when a thought popped into my head. What is the difference between somebody who gives up something because they are quitter than somebody who gives up something because they see it as useless and move on to something more useful? In my martial arts career I have continually run across people who proudly state that they have given up this or that and moved on because they saw a more useful style. I started to ponder if I had become the same loser that I view them as. I started to think of all the similarities in my life to what people have told me — I view them as quitter’s — have I become a quitter too?  So I started to pick it apart — what have I given up in martial arts?

When I was young I practiced tae kwon do and tang soo do.  I have given up this practice. In my early adult years I practiced the art of aikido yet I no longer practice the art as a whole, I keep bits and pieces of it — I had given these systems up many years ago. So what makes me different from the person that I view as a quitter and loser who spouts off basically the same thing? Well the answer became clear as I looked for the reason that I gave up certain practices and the reason others give up certain practices. The answer is mostly concerned with the amount of study something has been given before it is given up.   For instance I gave up tae kwon do and tang soo do in my teens because every time I got in a schoolyard fight it never worked in any defensive way. Going all the way back to when I started to my early teens it was always the same story.  I would quickly employ the blocks and try to use the strikes that worked so well in class but here on the playground or in a crowded hall between classes it never worked. I would sustain hit after hit never be able to block them in my strikes would never land — if they did they were not very effective. If I was lucky enough to land a few hits, it was not out of any martial form.  I found out quickly that the engagements I won was due entirely to fighting with anger and dirty fighting.   In my teens I gave up this practice  and switched to judo because the art of kicking and punching proved to be very ineffective in real-life situations. Later on I gave up practicing judo as an art for the same reasons. In my adult life I gave up practicing the art of aikido for similar reasons. Though this art utilizes principles that are sound it does little to subdue a drunk that is flailing about and swinging anything he can get his hands on.

To illustrate the comparison and make the case that I have become the loser I make fun of , I will now talk about the others that have said such similar things. Many have stated that they no longer practice kicking or punching because they have moved on to a more streamlined art. A good example of this is when the mixed martial arts first started. After Gracie started beating everyone with his ground fighting skills many people gave up their stand up arts. At that time the pride fights were indeed great fights. As we watch the sport progress more and more rules were implemented and people gave up more and more techniques until recently I find that mixed martial arts has become a very small world and only employs a handful of techniques. {this comment will anger many that are fans or practice the mma – they will say I am not knowledgeable enough to see the many levels of techniques offered,  but it is my many years of training,  my understanding of the arts as a whole,  my experience that makes me view it as a small world.   They only know that world and don’t see how small it is}. They have given up their traditional striking and much of the groundwork that used to produce wins. Now you see most of the wins with chokes or possibly an arm bar but many are just lucky hits that someone happens to land. As I thought further about things that I have given up such as the practice of forms and very strict ritualized movements it became more and more apparent that I have turned into what I now make fun of.

This would be a good time to refer back to another chapter which I believe was entitled to three people in decision-making or something like that.  in that chapter I spoke about my belief that every problem must be attacked by three people — you must make yourself look at a problem and be three different people within yourself — the person who emotionally wants to — the person who has something to gain or lose by it — and the third person who was neutral and has no emotion or no gain or loss regardless of the outcome. So first I like to look at it from the emotional person — have I walked away from any of these practices because of the emotion? Yes, I guess I have. The emotion of fear. Since I have had the shit kicked out of me trying to defend myself with some of the arts , that weighed heavily on my decision to abandon training in them as a sole art form. From an emotional standpoint I feel my decision to abandon those arts was based entirely on fear — fear of getting beat up or possibly killed if I had to defend myself. The more I got into the security and executive protection realms the more I saw these arts as useless — so I would have to settle on giving them up for the emotion of fear. Next I think about what I had to lose or gain by giving them up. Was my decision based on a selfish reason fueled by greed of self gain or was it a sound decision based on fact? What would I have to gain if I gave these arts up? Well by this time I was starting to think about teaching and if I had not given these arts up it would have been a huge advantage in teaching as everyone these days has a black belt in tae kwon do and the studios have become babysitter factories. So in this case I cannot see any greedy or emotional reason based on personal gain. Actually it was quite the opposite in that choosing to distance myself from these arts I severely limited the people that I would interact with or take on as students. And finally I look at it from the third person who is neutral with nothing to gain or lose and no emotion involved. From this viewpoint we usually see the true reason for most decisions. From this third viewpoint I find that my reason for abandoning these arts was founded on the premise that they did not work for me when I needed them. But still the question remains have I turned into what I make fun of?

As usual I will get off on a bit of a tangent that seems to be off the subject but later will tie it to the point. I think this is a valid chapter that encompasses most every decision in life. Does somebody give up on something because they’re a loser or are they truly founded in moving forward? Let’s look at a college student. I have spoken with many kids at the gym who were constantly telling me that they are changing their majors. They spout off a bunch of reasons why they are constantly changing what they will do for a career and why they have given up on their previous choice. However, they never seem to move forward. Rarely have I ever spoken to anyone who benefits from giving up one thing and going to another. They usually just bounce around and it seems to me they give up when it becomes too difficult and seek an easier path. For instance one kid at the gym first told me he was going to attend medical school. A couple of years later I asked him how it was going and where he had been. He stated that he went off to college a few miles from here but still in the state. I asked him how long it would be before he got into med school and he told me that he had changed his mind. He was not going to be a doctor, now he was going to be a nurse. He spouted many reasons for the credibility of his decision such as not having large loans to repay when he graduates, getting done with school about eight years earlier, getting out of school and immediately starting to make 90,000 per year — all these things sounded like legitimate reasons for his decision and seemed to make sense but I viewed it as being weak and giving up because it was just too hard. He had to know early on what this path entailed and what he was getting into. For him to change his mind after two years of college seemed very weak and showed that he had not thought about his decision. A year later I saw him again when he came home from college on vacation. We started talking and  I asked about his nursing career. He informed me that once again he had changed his mind and now he would become a physical therapist. He spouted reasons again of not having the financial debt when he graduated and getting into the workforce much earlier. But all I saw was a loser seeking an easier path and never completing any of them. It would’ve been much better for him just to abandon college after the first two years and get into the workforce. He will probably not make it to be a physical therapist either and if he does that is a far cry from being a doctor.

Other examples that I see in life are people who are constantly changing their mind about little plans such as diets, home improvements, and my biggest peeve is when they make a plan to get out of debt and just can’t give up anything to achieve their goal. A diet needs no further consideration of explanation — it’s a short subject of the New Year’s resolution or whatever reason people say they will get in better shape and eat better but that only lasts for a couple weeks. Little projects around the house — people make a list, ponder the list, go to Home Depot to look for things that will aid them in their list, but they never actually get down to working on the list. In the end they’re too lazy and they abandon their list. And my favorite, getting out of debt. They say they will adopt new spending habits and a new way of life. They have not really thought about the sacrifice it will take to clear their debt. Many years of careless spending and no discipline cannot be resolved in a matter of weeks. So then starts the long list of excuses of why they cannot get out of debt. Honorable excuses like they’re doing it for the kids or they just need certain things in their lives.  My favorite is the “I deserve” ones like they deserve a good meal after working a long day so they have to go out and drop 200 bucks on dinner or they deserve a vacation because they work so hard. It all comes down to lack of discipline.

So as I lay there pondering if I have become the loser that I despise — after thinking of these examples — which really only took me about 10 minutes while I was laying there trying to get the stiff joints ready to rise– it finally hit me. The loser gives up — gives up for the sake of giving up. The loser gives up because things are too hard or not pleasant in some fashion. In the case of everyday life people abandoned their path because it’s just too hard. In the case of martial arts many people abandon training because they cannot see the use in continuing.  They look for the immediate advantage and never see it as a life long study,  they never give credit to the inner person side.  Many times in martial arts people abandon aspects of a style and incorporate aspects of another style stating that they are following the path of the great Bruce Lee. They justify giving up something comparing themselves to a legend. However, they have no right to do this since they have not followed the path of Bruce Lee.

What these people fail to realize is that Bruce Lee studied complete systems and hand such a raw talent that no one since has ever come close to him.  He was the fastest and moved so naturally.  How can these losers compare themselves to such a legend? They have given up something for the wrong reason. They have abandoned their training because it was too hard to follow a path. I never really hear them backing their decision with legitimate comments about a field that they may be involved in and the art not being suited for that field. Herein lies the difference between a loser who gives up any professional who specializes.

I concluded that my path has not been one of giving up but rather one of specializing. I did not totally abandon the training of my youth and my teens. I stopped practicing those arts as a whole but still practice and teach Many aspects from them. For instance I teach many of the aikido principles as a core foundation. Aikido has its roots in movement and blending. Two things that are extremely important when confronted with a weapon. The tae kwon do and tang soo do utilize blocking and striking that are common to the Japanese karate systems. Though I do not teach the systems as sole systems I do teach the blocking and striking that I learned as a child. It produces a foundation for rooting and gives the student a glimpse into traditional karate. They are easily incorporated into my base system of jujitsu. Now my focus in my adult life is Uechi ryu karate. I have abandoned the karate that I studied in my youth — a Korean style — for an Okinawan style in my adult life. I don’t have the flexibility that I did as a child nor do I have the tender body I once did.  Now I can sustain hits and not be bothered much by it.  Uechi demands physical toughness  and excuses lack of flexibility. The choice has merit.  The difference between the  loser and me is that I studied the systems as a whole. I went through the entire system and back in the 70s getting a black belt was no easy task as it is today. We did not have pads and belts were not just handed out because mommy paid monthly fees. I abandoned those systems for good reason, on the premise of self preservation. Though I am sure there are many practitioners of those arts that can defend themselves adequately, those styles did not work for me. Now at 40 years old I have turned my karate practice to the Okinawan style of Uechi ryu. I have dabbled in Uechi since the mid 90;s when I met the guy who is teaching it to me now.  But my body and mind was not ready for it to be a serious focus then.  The last few years it has been a true study of the art.  I practice the kata daily and have worked on conditioning specific to that art.  It is just the right time in my life for it.  10 years ago I couldn’t do a push up on my index knuckle, now I can rep them out with ease on a thin mat,  my shins are pretty  much dead and strong.  I don’t feel the pain I did 15 years ago.  I find that it is a much more combat effective style and blends easily with what I am already doing. It is a style that demands extreme durability and focuses on hard obliterating striking. It would do the reader well to research Japanese jujitsu and Uechi to better understand my point of combat effectiveness.

There are many things in my life that I have abandoned but few that I have abandoned because I was too weak to continue. I guess one thing that I have abandoned because of the weakness is a diet. When I first found out that I was becoming diabetic my diet was much cleaner than it is now. I just couldn’t go on eating chicken and lettuce every day and not having anything else. As I continued to play the game with my blood work and sneak under the bar of full-blown diabetes I cheat on my diet. This is just weakness — there is no good reason. Thankfully there are  few examples in my life of abandonment because of weakness. In my martial career I have abandoned what I saw as a weakness — I didn’t give it up because of weakness. I specialized in a close quarter fighting system. The more specialized something becomes the less room there is for extraneous things that have little to do with that specialty.

For instance, my training as a youth was more about outside fighting and then in my teens  judo was all about grabbing each other, throwing, and submissions. In my adult life jujitsu has been a combative judo (judo was developed in an effort to keep martial arts alive when jujitsu was outlawed — judo is a sub part of jujitsu). Though I have abandoned judo as a complete art I still teach the throws of the Kodakan and many judo techniques. For as much as I have abandoned the complete art of judo I have broadened my jujitsu. I teach my students judo throws for the sake of knowing judo and the principles of throwing and then modify them to be combative jujitsu throws.

In the end I have taken the systems that I have studied in their entirety and added them to a close quarter fighting style that is based in Japanese jujitsu. The original Japanese jujitsu incorporated much more than what people think of today with mixed martial arts when they hear jujitsu. The original samurai form included blocking, striking, takedowns, joint locks, weapons, throwing, submissions, strangulation, and a repertoire of movement to facilitate true combat. What I have abandoned was for the sake of specializing. I did not just take a few months of something and then claim the path of the great Bruce Lee by stating that I just take what is useful and trim off everything else. I have studied an entire system and incorporated the heart of the system. Unlike others that claim 15 different black belts and their own system of unbeatable fighting, I now only claim one system. My system.  Unlike the others who have spent just a few months trying to get the idea of a system and moving on I have spent years studying a system to truly understand it. Unlike the quitters who now have a bag full of useless techniques and myths, I have a system full of field-tested techniques and hard learned truths.  Each system that I have studied is now part of my jujitsu system. The only thing that is lacking is the forms and a ranking matrix. But at each level in their jujitsu training my students are required to know what is at the heart of each of the other arts.

In conclusion this long wordy spiel has had one point. A loser gives up because it is too hard, the professional gives up what is not useful because he specializes


Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality

it occurred to me that there is little difference between the muscle head on steroids and the jerk off that gets his black belt because dues have been paid and asses kissed. I see the steroid muscle heads every day at the gym. For a few weeks they walk around with their heads held high and their arms out to the side demanding space that they feel they are entitled to. They have a demeaning air about them and let everyone know how big and pumped they are with their screams and grunts. They walk around telling everyone about their magnificent diet and how hard they are hitting it. What really kills me is all the jerks that believe them. People encourage them when they tell them how good they look and the improvements that they see. A typical example is a trainer who suddenly gets larger-than-life with-  veins sticking out all over. Suddenly people are hiring him and everyone is complementing him. They actually believe that he put on such massive size in a couple of weeks because of egg whites and chicken. These members who are so easily impressed are the biggest losers. They do not lift any weight themselves nor do they work out for an extended period of time. They come to the gym sporadically, missing workouts for weeks and then suddenly reappearing stating “I missed the last two weeks so I’m really going to hit it hard this week to make up for it”. No one who is serious can possibly make up for two weeks away from the gym in one week?  Only the loser who doesn’t do much when he’s there anyway isn’t missing that much by taking time off. How can they lose much when they don’t do anything when they are there?


Back to the steroids. These mammoth ass holes walk around feeling superior to everyone for a few weeks, giving advice, and lifting massive amounts of weight. But then suddenly their workout weight goes down and though they are still gargantuan. They are only using a very small amount of weight doing high repetitions but still getting pumped beyond what you would think is humanly possible. It is amazing to watch someone use a 20 pound dumbbell and after about the third rep he is so pumped and his veins are exploding — massive 22 inch arms off that little weight. Like a jerk I am using more than twice that weight and my arms are just tipping 17 or 18 inches on a good week. So they walk around for a couple weeks more with their heads high and arms stuck out to the side while everyone gives them compliments on their tremendous improvement and ask advice from these idiots to aid them in their personal workouts. After a couple of months they are getting smaller but no one seems to really notice. Then suddenly within a couple of weeks they deflate and look like shitt. They stop working out and their arms miraculously go back to their sides as a normal persons would. They walk around with their puny little bodies and stick arms dragging with no energy and telling everyone that they did not have their pre-workout drink and their blood sugar is low because they have not eaten. Yes that must be the reason they are so tired and look so bad. After a week or so you see them trying to work out but the weight that used to be so massive it is now very little and they are struggling. It’s at this point that I always like to ask them if their chicken died. They look at me and I reply “your chicken must’ve died — you’re getting small without the egg whites”.

The black belt is the steroid of today’s dojo. Though it takes longer to get, once they have it they never seem to lose it. Unlike the massive muscle that comes and goes with each cycle the black belt is here to stay. No matter what these people do in life, no matter when they stop training (which is usually right after they get their black belt), no matter what they fail at and how big of a loser they are in life, they will always be able to brag about that black belt. Much like the roid head that takes many pictures when they are at the peak of fitness so the black belt will always refer back to the glory days.   I can’t stand when they have to interject into every conversation “it’s like when I got my blackbelt…. that reminds me of when I was going for my blackbelt…… I used to train hard,  I got my blackbelt and now I just teach”.

what losers,   they stand on that bought belt for everything.

The common thread here is that both live a lie and seek the easy path that requires little or no discipline. One shows up to class the other shows up to the gym. One spends his money buying his black belt the other buying steroids. One walks around for a short time with big muscles that will quickly fade the other gets to keep his black belt forever, but has never really done anything great to get it.  Both have an artificial victory. The other common thing speaks volumes for the stupidity of society. In the gym little weak losers run up to the roid head asking for advice and admiring their artificial victory. The same sort of loser admirers the black belt and boost their egos reaffirming their greatness. How many times have you heard someone — (hope you are not one of these) have a conversation with one of these black belts — somehow it came out that they had this belt — and the loser says to the black belt “I bet you could kill anybody with just a finger — I sure wouldn’t want to screw with you”. What a stupid comment. These people that say that have never been in a fight nor do they have any knowledge to base their comments on. More concerning, why would you want to compliment someone who has taken such an easy path and now holds a piece of material that stands for nothing except weakness? Why doesn’t anyone ever ask what they have to do to get that black belt? It is the ignorance of society. People are conditioned to look at symbols and judge success and failure by those symbols. Someone who has a trophy for sparring that has many colors on it, a big plaque that says first place, is considered a hero. Yet many times these first-place winners are the only one in their group and there is no one else for them to compete with. Since there is no one else in the group they are guaranteed the first spot. Sometimes there is only two people guaranteeing one will get first and one will get second. But none of this ever comes up, people only see the black belt and give admiration and respect to these losers. Every time one of these losers is given respect for the sham of their black belt, it is disrespectful to those of us who have spent many years following the path and suffered many injuries training.  The ones who have sacrificed, never missed training, the few who live a true martial life should be honored, not the shithead that gets his blackbelt in a couple of years.

The same is true for the gym. The few of us who show up daily and lift a good amount of weight naturally without the use of drugs should be held in higher regard than the steroid user who was only on top every few weeks and then quickly shrinks. Why are the few who actually put the work in never given the respect for taking the harder slower path than the ones who cheat? They recently had a squatting competition at the gym. Everyone got all juiced up and looked massive. Yet with all those drugs the winning squat was only 375. In my 20’s I could easily squad in the high fours and sometimes into the 500’s. I remember at 25 I wanted to see how much weight I could actually do and I put 725 pounds on the bar. Though I only got halfway down I was routinely doing this for five or six reps which made going to the ground with 400 pounds pretty easy. But there is no glory in all my hard work, only bad knees. The steroid heads with massive amounts of drugs could only get 375 — what losers.  And to add insult to injury they walked around actually proud of themselves.  How could they not feel stupid.  Now 2 weeks later they are all shrinking by the day.  Every one of them has the same story about not taking the pre workout drink and “cutting up” .  Yeah they will cut up without the drugs since they looked like balloons.  They were so juiced up.   But that just shows how stupid everyone else is and how this country applauds the loser and strives to be a loser.    Just look around,  this country is full of jerks who try their hardest to be  the biggest scum bag they can.  Instead of telling groups who dress like slobs and fail to pronounce their words correctly to be better,  they admire these low lifes and emulate them.  Hey, lets all walk around holding our pants up under our ass cheeks,  yeah that’s cool,   let’s not speak well ,  lets use all that street slang.   Why won’t anyone show pride in their education:?     it’s whore not ho,   and there is an “L” AND “D” in gold,  old,  and so on.   It is OLD SCHOOL   NOT owe skoo.    glad I don’t have kids that have to live in this world.

I bet if you look around you can find many examples of things that can be compared to the gym rat on steroids. People who get promoted because of politics — people who never get in trouble at their job and they are the worst workers. The best workers who get in trouble for little piddling nothings — and people who were passed over for promotions and never find success yet they are truly deserving of it. It is the world of today and it sucks. People are praised for artificial victories — for taking the short easy path because they are too weak to follow the path of the warrior. While I have been dictating this I have been watching a mixed martial arts segment. There is no question that these guys are in great shape and are great competitors. But let’s call a spade a spade — it is a sport. When it first started with the pride fights there were no gloves and no rules. Those were fights these are just competitions. People ask me why I am not in them if I am so skilled. If I am such a great teacher why my students do not go in there and win. That is not what we do. We are a close quarter engagement school — win for the sake of survival and win within a force matrix. In the ring everyone does the same thing and many victories are just lucky strikes or someone caught off guard, but there is always a referee to pull somebody off the loser. They do not have to worry about working within a matrix to avoid lawsuits. In real life I do not want to fall on the ground and roll around for 10 minutes hoping to find an opening and worrying that somebody’s friend may kick my head off. In real life you cannot hold somebody and do the “ground and pound” as a witness will be your worst enemy when you have a lawsuit against you. In real life it takes a lot of skill to control an aggressor and still be within the law. Actually being right with the law is the biggest challenge not winning the fight.

So look around you, I bet in your office or somewhere in your daily routine there are at lease two or three people who have a black belt and it most likely is in tae kwon do. Sadly that art has become the example of money belts and babysitting. Somewhere around you there is someone who looks really good and tells everyone how hard they work out — they are probably all drugged up. When you open your eyes and look around the world is a pretty sad place full of weakness and frauds. It will get you depressed and people will tell you that you are negative for seeing the truth but if you just open your eyes and look around, you will have to acknowledge this truth.  If you don’t see it you are probably one of them.  If you honestly look around,  and if you are not a weak minded whimp always looking for the positive shit to hide from the bad things,  I bet within one hour of reading this you can find at least one person that you thought well of and now see as a fraud. I find it to be a very positive thing to focus on the negative. I find strength in being aware of the steroids at the gym — it makes me drive harder and gives me more pride that I can do what I do with only a jug of coffee. By  looking at the black belt frauds and how weak they are, I find strength to train hard and not to become them.

Too bad everyone looks the other way.  If more people told these shit heads they were losers,  maybe a few of them would change.   The rules of society are made by society.  If there are more weak losers than strong winners,  the norm will be that of weakness.  Make it your business to compliment the true winner and tell the losers they are losers.  Don’t compliment anyone for their cheating , weak ways.   Don’t ad to the mix of crap out there.

There is only success and failure,  like someone who wants to lose weight and does or someone who tries and only takes off a couple of pounds.   Don’t applaud the “at least it’s better than nothing” crowd.

second place is only the first place loser.

I think any comments of your personal experience after reading this chapter would be beneficial to other readers. I would encourage a reply of comments.


Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu, with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality

everyone puts too much emphasis on the just find and forgets about the unconscious mind. In martial arts there is much talk about the unconscious mind that is responsible for directing movement and where the learning takes place. Many people preach that a movement that is done 1000 times becomes a perfect movement. The old adage is “do it 1000 times and you own it”. The other very popular saying is “I don’t worry about the guy with 1000 moves, I worry about the guy with one move who did it 1000 times”. In either case they leave out something very important. What if you practice something 1000 times and you’re doing it wrong? Well, that just means that you track the something 1000 times incorrectly and now you have the perfect habit of doing it wrong. These sayings have little meaning in today’s weak minded world. Increasingly, people in the martial arts world, or in society as a whole, stand on old teachings and bastardized them to fit their pathetic lives and hide their failures.

The point is we all have a knowledge that tells us maybe something is wrong or we can do it differently, but most are too lazy to explore it.   If a project turns out wrong, someone says they had a feeling it was going wrong,  they knew, they were just to lazy to really think about it and fix it.

The subconscious tells us things with “gut feelings”.   In the case of martial arts, we must pay attention to every little thing.  We must ask why something is valid or not.   We must always “feel’ what we are doing.   I try to discover something every class or at least once monthly.   This sounds easy or common,   everyone says they learn something every class,  but It is really hard.   It requires a lot of time just pondering something.   When I’m at the gym, many times I just sit there between sets doing something in my mind.  It looks like useless day dreaming but it’s training.  Most are too weak and lack discipline to keep an active mind.  They talk about sports or other useless “feel good” things, but to actively engage your mind when you could just be sitting there is really a lot of work.  It’s hard.  Hard to stay on that active path.   Try it.   Next time you have a moment, take a conscious look at what you are doing with that time.   Probably texting or looking online.  You should be thinking about some physophical point or going over something in great detail.  It is exhausting.   Think about all the time that is wasted just staring at stuff.   All the time in a job wasted planning to make a plan.   Only thru a disciplined mind that is always searching can we find what we already know.

I like to do kata in a mirror but also with my eyes closed.   Both are so very different.   Then I like to practice moves or bunkai by myself in the dark.  A totally dark room.   Though no room is totally dark as light comes thru cracks and under doors, -but looking into the dark , -that seems endless- in a small room with many obstacles is far different from just closing your eyes.   Just a few examples of challenging what you are doing and it brings up questions.

You get the idea.   We all seem to know something is wrong, not really the best, not “something” or it is “something”,  you just can’t put your finger on it.   The unconscious knowledge is there but it takes great effort to use it and release it.

This is a hard subject to explore.  It takes a reader who is willing to open their mind.   A lazy reader won’t get it.

Let’s just ponder a couple of common examples of closed minded practice in martial arts.

Case one: a student practices a front punch 1000 times. He watched the instructor (notice I said in instructor and not teacher) and did it exactly as the instructor showed it. Now he studies for 10 years attaining high rank and gains many titles within his school. He may win competitions and demonstrate perfect form as far as the judges are concerned. However, through the years while practicing his perfect punches he never actually practiced any punching that was very real. Now with all his training the day comes when he has to engage in a real street fight and has perfect punch only gets him a broken wrist and ass kicking. He can’t understand why his perfect punch that was practiced 1000 times did not save him. The reason is that he never practiced it for real, in a real setting, with a real person, and most of all he never pondered all the “what if’s”.  He never practiced punching without his safety gear such as craps and gloves — he never bareknuckle sparred so when the time came for him to engage in such activity, he was not prepared

Case two the grappler: the grappler works his moves 1000 times and feels that he can take down anyone. He is so confident that he has convinced himself that no standup fighter could beat him. In class he routinely takes everyone down with ease and is unbeatable. He has practiced all the moves from all the positions at least 1000 times each. Then the day comes when he has to fight outside of his class and with all his skill one lucky punch sends him to the floor and everyone laughs at him.

Before I get to the issue of unconscious knowledge I must make a point about the thousand repetitions. It is only valuable to practice something over and over if you practice it correctly. A subject for another chapter is how people practice incorrectly and just developed a bad habit. This is the fault of the instructor. A true teacher would not let his students make such mistakes. However, the true teacher must be aware of unconscious knowledge and teach his students to think in that manner.

One of the biggest things separating the true master from just an idiot who can do a lot of flashy crap is being aware of unconscious knowledge. When executing a move — whether it is a throw, a punch, or just a simple slight movement of any kind, a true master must be aware of the slightest  movement and reaction within his own being. Let’s just explore taking a step. The untrained moron would describe it as putting 1 foot in front of the other. Let’s jump deeper into a psychological standpoint and ponder what a neurosurgeon would say is involved in taking one step. He would explain how  your brain would fire signals to your muscles — all the synapse that fire and how your body interprets electrical charges. Of course his explanation would be much deeper- let’s stick to our subject of unconscious knowledge. The fact that you can open your mind and know that all these things occur before you even make a movement is your greatest wisdom. If you do not explore anatomy and study the nervous systems how will you ever know how the body works? A doctor who is very knowledgeable of biomechanics would have a totally different explanation explaining in detail all the physical things that happen when you take a step. All these things are important and are unconsciously made known to us in our daily lives. It is nearly impossible in this age of technology not to know something happens beyond 1 foot in front of another. Unconsciously we all know this, but consciously we do not delve into the subject and seek the answers of why things are.  As related to martial arts it is the secret to the secret techniques, as related to life…. it’s the discipline and imagination of great minds.

So in reference to case one and two, both practitioners most likely had an unconscious knowledge of the many flaws in their technique. They must have  known that a cheap shot from an unseen enemy would end the fight and crush them — they must have known subconsciously that a bullet could take their life — there are endless unconscious things that we all know but never think about consciously. The master, on the other hand, makes the unconscious knowledge his conscious world. In my own path I have always looked for ways to defeat a technique. I put more emphasis on exposing its flaws rather than working on it strengths.  It is through this way of thinking that I have uncovered many flaws in the traditional and new techniques. Times change and we must change with them. But we must not lose the value of training the traditional way even if it is for the sake of tradition only.

Unconsciously people knew for thousands of years that if metal was heated or if something caught fire it produced light yet it took someone — someone who question why this happened and what materials produced what type of glow or light to invent the light bulb. Many people had an unconscious knowledge that heating the material would cause a light yet it was only one scientist who experimented — questioned — what materials produced what type of light and the light bulb was born. Any invention that is great seems so simple after we see the invention. For instance how simple is the wheel and how great is the invention itself. Unconsciously early man must have seen a rock  roll or a tree fall down and roll down a hill. Unconsciously the knowledge was there but it took someone who was willing to explore their own mind and their own observations to actually invent the wheel. The wheel must have been invented many times over all around globe. I find it hard to believe that early man invented a wheel in one spot and from that one person — that one source it spread throughout the world with the limited technology and travel they had. Anything that has been invented has been from an unconscious knowledge. Think of all the things you don’t know you know. All that hidden talent — all the things you don’t know you can do. This is the essence of becoming the master. By questioning and experimenting and opening your mind you become the master.

Sometimes it only takes a suggestion to push someone in a direction and then once that direction is seen they can be their own teacher. For instance if you give someone a tool and just give them a hint as to what it can do and leave them alone — if they are determined — they will come up with many more uses for it. Such is the case with this chapter. I feel that a direction has been shown and without expounding any more on the subject a basis has been given that will allow the reader to explore their own feelings and unconscious knowledge. I bet there are many things right now flooding your mind — questions that you never had and thoughts you never bothered to think about. If I have opened the door for you to ponder the things that you don’t know and question things that you have taken as an absolute than I have been successful.

It takes an intelligent person to have an intelligent thought — a person with no drive will just think whatever they are told to think-they will take things at face value and never question them. So if you have read this and feel that there was not enough material provided or that the thoughts were incomplete and did not give an answer — if you haven’t finished this with questions on your mind and a willingness to answer them for yourself — then you are an idiot and too lazy to figure anything out. I hope this is not the case with anyone who has read this. It seems that people who read sites like this are in search of knowledge and have the mental fortitude to ponder things openly. But look around you and you will see all the weak minded losers that a subject like this is invisible to. If you ask them a question to get them thinking they will probably respond that they have better things to think about — like a sporting event that is about to come on TV.

Everything is learned in the unconscious brain. We don’t have to think about breathing or making our heartbeat — our blood circulates freely without our conscious thought. Most everything we do is an unconscious maneuver or action. The trick is to learn something new consciously and then plant in your unconscious mind so that it becomes part of you. That is the true journey to becoming the master. Any idiot can do something wrong 1000 times and then learn it wrong. Anyone can perform while there are people watching them or it is a specific class or forum that they are performing in. Only the true master makes everything that he studies part of him — part of his unconscious knowledge.


Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality

this  would be another great chapter to write about.   when will you react and when you will you just be alert and passive?   i have been caught many times unaware and though nothing has happened for the most part i would have been defenseless.  other times i was so aware and ready that a pin dropping would have set me in motion.     i have come to believe that you must always first assess where you are and before you go there make your decision and get your mindset.  example,   when i go to the movies i take some weapon, mainly 2 knives a pepper spray and a small flashlight.   if something happens in the movies, there are only 2 exits , front or back,  you may have a crazy nut who just starts shooting and you have to take cover,   the spray could be the best weapon to shoot from cover and disappear,  or you may be attacked,   you need the light even if it’s just to see what you are sitting in.    try making your decision on your demeanor before you get there.   every place at every time will be different.   keep in mind how you feel and what your ability is at the time.    you may not be well enough to engage.
mainly look for available exits, how many you think will be attacking, what weapons you will have and what is allowed.  your physical and mental status,  who you are with.  you may have to put more emphasis on protection of another than on engaging.   or you may be able to just fight and not worry about anyone else.  terrain, obstacles.    time and place,   are you in a place likely to have trouble,  are you credible to take action or will you be looked at as a nut.  what is the response time for help to arrive and what is there function,  can they actually do anything to neutralize the threat or are they just an over weight out of shape manager who won’t do anything to help you.    if you use a weapon such as a knife are you going to be to aggressive in the eyes of the law,   multiple weapons give you choices.
so back to the original question,   make your decision early how you will react to what.  run some scenarios based on intellect and experience.  assess the “real” threat level of each and act on that info.  in the movies be really alert.  there are too many variables.  you don’t know who is there.  maybe someone just broke up and they are suicidal.  maybe a drunk homeless guy wants to end it all and take you with him.   drugs, kids,  pranks,   too many things could go wrong and no one is there to help you.   in a restaurant, the chances are very low,   maybe a bar fight or a robbery.  but generally you won’t be affected.
The only way you will have the slightest idea of what you will do and how you will react is training.  You must train in your mind all the time.
Only becoming familiar with the engagement can prepare you for the actual encounter.  As you live it in your mind,  you should discover flaws in your plan.  Correct them and do it again.