Blog Archive

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Seminar: Personal Defense Readiness Workshop: Level 2 -- Malfunctions and Attacks From Behind

What: Advanced strategies for dealing with being attacked from behind and other common malfunctions.

One of the most common questions we get during our Personal Defense Readiness courses is the question “but what if the bad guy is behind me”?

In this seminar, we’ll answer that question, examining attacks from behind and several other common “malfunctions” that occur during a violent assault.

As with all of our seminars, we’ll approach this problem three-dimensionally, looking at the emotional, psychological, and physical aspects of self-defense. Using the PDR’s unique Three D’s model: Detect, Defuse, Defend, we’ll seek to understand why these malfunctions occur, and how to deal with them to get back into the fight.

What We’ll Cover

How the S.P.E.A.R. System addresses attacks from behind, such as sudden grabs, choke holds, etc.
How to recover position when your initial response leaves you compromised
Unique drills to help improve your perception speed and help you get back into the fight faster


The curriculum for these workshops is based on Tony Blauer’s PDR/SPEAR system, which uses a ’3-Dimensional’ theory that creates confidence on emotional, psychological, and physical levels. We’ll approach self-defense as a holistic problem, which means we’ll look at awareness and avoidance strategies and verbal defusing skills, not just physical drills (though we do those too).

The Personal Defense Readiness program is widely acknowledged as being on the cutting edge of personal safety training. This workshop will flow from mind-set, to contact, to confrontation, using the PDR’s unique Three D’s model: Detect, Defuse, Defend. Using Non-Violent Postures™ students will learn how to identify pre-contact cues, position for interception, and how to convert the startle-flinch to intercept the ambush.

The S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM™ is the first genetically & behaviorally inspired self-defense method of it’s kind. It is the only self-defense method that fully integrates the body’s reflexive responses and instinctive survival mechanisms, making the S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM™ the easiest, most natural way to protect yourself.

JP CrossFit
54 Hyde Park Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

 April 13th, 1-4pm.

Cost: JP CrossFit Members, $30. Non-members, $40

UPDATE: Registration is available here:

"Earning Respect" Is An Excuse For Being An Asshole

“Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” ― Robert E. Howard 

This past week, the stars aligned, and an outpouring of Internet hate was spewed at Coach Blauer and his CrossFit Defense program. The Internet seems to do this occasionally--erupt in a burst of hatred toward a particular coach, system, style, or whatever. A lot of it is noise of the lowest quality, and at this point in my life, I try not to invest much of my limited time in it. This particular round, however, included a comment that I've seen before, but touched off this particular line of thought.

One of the Twitter Trolls (Is that a term? Did I just make up an internet word?) told Coach Blauer "Respect is given to those who earn it." This was at the tail end of an exchange that involved calling Coach Blauer a "fraud", telling him his techniques were "bullshit" and "garbage". In short, a lot of childish, vulgar, name calling.

The idea that "Respect is given to those who earn it" is one that I've heard before, and I may have even said it in the past (and I was wrong to do so). But seeing it in this twitter exchange, it struck me that it's essentially just an excuse to be an asshole.

Some of this comes from the fact that "respect" has two definitions which are similar, but not exactly the same (technically, it has more than two definitions, but only two are relevant to this discussion).

The first definition ( "esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability" carries with it a connotation of sincere admiration. To respect someone in this sense is to truly admire them for who they are, what they have done, or both. This is the kind of respect that is earned, not given. There is no particular reason to admire someone who you've never met, spoken to, or in the case of martial arts, trained with, simply because of who they are or what they do. I have no problem with that line of though.

The second definition "deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment" is not about admiration at all. It's just about being polite. And no one needs to "earn" that. The very notion is insane.

Maybe I'm just turning into a cranky old man, but where is it written that someone has to earn the right to have you speak to them like a human being? I imagine that most of the people spewing vitriol at Coach Blauer and his team would get deeply angry and offended if someone spoke to them the same way they were speaking to him. And with good reason. Telling someone they're "full of shit" and "fucking suck" is rude. Yet the children of the Internet seem to think that it's not only perfectly acceptable, but that somehow, someone has to earn the right to NOT be spoken to in that way.

Here's a newsflash--if you're waiting for someone to prove to you that they've earned the right to be spoken to politely, you are an asshole.

You have a disagreement with someone? Fine. Disagree politely.

You don't like what someone teaches? Fine. Ask questions, explain your position, but do it politely.

If you can't handle that, then you really aren't interested in the disagreement or the discussion. You're interested in puffing yourself up, and (you guessed it), being an asshole.

When I was younger, a lot of my seniors in the martial arts worried that the MMA movement was destroying the culture of respect that was imbedded in the martial arts. At the time, I scoffed. Now, I'm not so certain they were wrong.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's With the Desert Island Questions?

Saw another one of these the other day. I don't even remember where.

You know the formula:

If you were trapped on a desert island and could only bring a single books/piece of training equipment/do one exercise...what would you do?!

There seems to be a societal obsession with the question, and I really don't get it. Is there an epidemic of people being stranded on desert islands that I'm not aware of? If I am stranded on a desert island, am I really going to be worried about the fact that I don't have my copy of the Lord of the Rings, or my trusty kettlebell to swing around (frankly, if I'm trapped on a desert island, I don't think I'm going to be real worried about whether or not I'm getting enough exercise).

I get that, at its core, the question is asking "what things are important to you" or, in the case of fitness, "what tools or exercises are most useful to you", but why not just ask that? And really, why ask at all, unless you'll do something with the information.

Joking aside, the Lord of the Rings really is my answer to the book question (and yes, it is one book, don't start with me). But that doesn't mean I'm just going to sit around and read the Lord of the Rings and nothing else for the rest of my life.

I love kettlebells (although, with the SFL coming up, barbell work has taken up more of my time of late), but I'm (clearly) not going to stop lifting barbells, doing bodyweight exercises, or whatever else. Why should I? There is no earthly reason.

Honestly, the question makes the least sense to me when applied to exercise. I could see devoting some serious time to really diving deeply into a book, but what world do you live in where you're only allowed to do a single exercise? Unless you have time for exactly one rep per day, in which case I would humbly suggest that the exercise you need to perform is organizing yourself better.

I'm all for "hacking away at the inessentials" (to borrow a Bruce Lee quote), but why not do it in a way that actually makes sense? Unless you know you're about to be stranded on a desert island, why the fuss?

(If you know you're about to be stranded on a desert island, I suggest the most valuable tool for you would be a radio or other device that helps people find you and you off the friggin' island.)