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Finding Your People

“The only people for me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

– Jack Kerouac

It took me a long time to figure out there was nothing wrong with me. I was just spending time around the wrong people. I’m not saying I didn’t make mistakes or do things the wrong way. I am saying that once I began to spend time around people that accepted me, and were in fact a lot like me, life got exponentially better!!

I remember talking to a friend about a shooting drill. I said I spent almost 6 hours dry firing and then another 3 hours live fire on that drill. It wasn’t intentional, I just lost track of time chasing that performance dragon. My friend said, “that’s not a bad way to spend the day.” See, he knew! That was one 9 hour day of work, not 9 hours of work spread out over a week or so. He knew because he’s done similar things chasing performance. Once I started spending time around people obsessed with improving themselves I was no longer the odd one. I was just another one doing what we all are doing to be better at all the things that matter to us.

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The Guardian Conference

One of the things I really enjoy is teaching at conferences. This is something I have done throughout my career and gives me the opportunity to reach a larger and more varied audience than I normally engage. From September 15th through the 17th I will be in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma teaching at The Guardian Conference which is an event presented by CCW Safe.

What is The Guardian Conference? The Guardian Conference provides top-tier training, easily attainable for every American self-defender. We instill in attendees the mindset, knowledge, skills, and relationships necessary to becoming a lawful defender of one’s community, one’s family, and oneself. These values align with my own and my mission in life to make good people dangerous to bad people. If you would like to attend The Guardian Conference you can sign up here:

I hope to see as many of you as possible at this event. It is going to be awesome!!

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On this day 3 years ago we lost my good friend and fellow Shivworks Collective member, William Aprill. William was many things to many people. That was one of his strengths. He could be there for people in their most challenging moments.

One of my favorite memories of William is a thought exercise we would play when we had “down” time.

Several years ago William and I were talking about deeply held beliefs. William said, I have a challenge for you. Take one of your most deeply held beliefs and dismantle it. Tell me every way it could be wrong. We spent the next few hours engaged in this exercise.

Over the years this became a thought exercise we would regularly engage in, particularly while sitting in airports. Take something you absolutely believe to be true and burn it to the ground. (Fairly certain there are a number of people in airports that thought they were witnessing a domestic dispute.)

Over time I’ve realized there are two outcomes. One, I strengthen my belief or at least the argument for it because now I know almost every way it can be taken apart. Two, I change my belief because I now realize it should be changed.

This is a thought exercise I’ve continued to this day and it still challenges me. Thanks William.

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10/13/23 Pancreatic Cancer Fund Raiser

What’s happening?! As some of you know I like to participate in fundraisers for good causes. One of those causes is the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, or PanCan for short.

I’ve recently talked with Jill Sharp and David Sharp about the next event and we’ve decided 10/13/2023 is the date!!

On that date at 0500 hrs we’re going to start the labor! Every hour on the hour, we will run 3 miles. And we are going to do this for as long as we can.

If you’d like to donate click the link:

If you’d like to come out and run a few rounds with us, reach out! 

This event is important because it raises awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer research. By participating, we can make a direct impact on the lives of those affected by this devastating disease. Every mile we run and every dollar we raise brings us one step closer to finding a cure.

PanCan is an incredible organization that provides support to patients and their families, educates the public about pancreatic cancer, and advocates for increased funding for research. Through their efforts, they are making a difference in the fight against this deadly cancer.

We are inviting everyone to join us in this incredible challenge. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, your participation will make a difference. Together, we can raise funds, raise awareness, and make a difference in the lives of those affected by pancreatic cancer.

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Realistic Pistol Manipulations

My latest course offering is now available! We are excited to present a comprehensive 4-hour deep dive into the crucial elements of pistol performance. Focusing on robust and repeatable techniques, we will cover methods suitable for all body types. Prepare for a substantial amount of practice.

I believe shooting, like all the other fighting sports, involves a great deal of learning by doing. However, if we are spending time on less-than-optimal movements we can greatly hinder our progress. This is why having an experienced coach help you is really important. I can get you to the next level and help you go even farther as you continue to work on your training and practice plan after the class is over.

The cost for this course is $150.00 USD. To participate, please come prepared with 500 rounds of ammunition, a sturdy holster, and belt. Additionally, ensure you have a hat with a brim, safety glasses, and a shirt that covers your neck, such as a t-shirt. Lastly, wear enclosed shoes; flip flops are not permitted.

Click this link to reserve your spot:

If you have any inquiries, feel free to contact me at [email protected], and I’ll will gladly address them.

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The Guardian Conference

I have the honor and privilege of coaching at the upcoming Guardian Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 15th through the 17th! This event is presented by my friends at CCW Safe, the premier legal protection team for capable citizens!

I will be teaching practical Jiujitsu and knife defense strategies in four 2 hour blocks. This is going to change the way folks look at Jiujitsu and how to apply it to their everyday life. I also hope to spark a fire of curiosity in those that don’t train, causing them to want to find a Jiujitsu academy when they return to their home! How cool would that be?!

Also, if you are interested in signing up here is an affiliate link:

Get signed up and I’ll see you there! LET’S GO!!!!

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Amor Fati: Embracing the Love of Fate

Amor Fati, a Latin phrase meaning “love of fate,” is a philosophical concept that encourages individuals to embrace and accept their lives’ circumstances, whether positive or negative, with love and gratitude. This idea has its roots in Stoicism, a school of philosophy that flourished in ancient Greece and Rome. While Amor Fati may appear paradoxical at first glance, as it suggests finding love in the face of adversity, it holds profound wisdom and offers a powerful approach to living a fulfilled and meaningful life.

The Stoics believed in living in harmony with nature and adhered to the principle of acceptance and tranquility. They recognized that life is unpredictable and filled with both joys and sorrows. Instead of resisting or resenting the hardships and challenges that life presents, they advocated for embracing them with equanimity and an open heart.

At the core of Amor Fati is the recognition that we have limited control over external events and circumstances. We might not be able to control the things that happen to us or around us. We can, however, control our attitudes and responses to these events. By accepting fate with love, we free ourselves from the burden of constant worry and frustration. This does not imply a passive surrender to life’s challenges, but rather an active choice to face them with courage and grace.

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus famously said, “Do not seek for things to happen the way you want them to; rather, wish that what happens happen the way it happens: then you will be happy.” This sentiment encapsulates the essence of Amor Fati. Happiness, according to the Stoics, lies not in attempting to control external events but in cultivating an inner state of contentment and serenity, regardless of the circumstances.

Moreover, the concept of Amor Fati urges individuals to view every event in their lives, whether favorable or unfavorable, as an opportunity for growth and learning. Challenges and setbacks, instead of being seen as obstacles, become stepping stones on the path to self-improvement and personal development. Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, was a proponent of Amor Fati and saw it as the key to achieving greatness. He famously proclaimed, “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.”

Embracing Amor Fati requires a shift in mindset, away from a victim mentality to one of empowerment. Instead of blaming external factors for our struggles, we take responsibility for our reactions and attitudes. It is an ongoing practice that demands self-awareness, resilience, and a commitment to personal growth. The Stoics advised the use of meditation and self-reflection to strengthen one’s ability to accept fate with love.

The wisdom of Amor Fati has resonated with many notable figures throughout history. Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher, wrote extensively about the importance of embracing fate. He emphasized that life is transient and that the acceptance of fate leads to greater inner peace. Additionally, the German-American philosopher Albert Schweitzer expressed the sentiment of Amor Fati when he said, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

Amor Fati is a profound philosophical concept that encourages individuals to love and embrace their destinies, regardless of the circumstances. By accepting fate with love and gratitude, we can find inner peace, resilience, and a sense of purpose in the face of life’s challenges. Amor Fati is a transformative practice that empowers us to cultivate a positive mindset, take responsibility for our attitudes, and appreciate the richness of life’s experiences. By integrating Amor Fati into our lives, we can unlock the potential for growth and wisdom, leading to a more fulfilled and meaningful existence.

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In modern parlance a Misogi is an endeavor we are not sure we can complete. There is a 50% chance we will fail. It is meant to challenge us mentally, physically, and spiritually. I’ve embarked on quite a few Misogi’s in my life and while I have completed quite a few, I have also failed quite a few. Usually I fail the first attempt, maybe even the second attempt, but I will complete it on the third attempt. For me that is not a win since successfully completing the first attempt is the point of a Misogi like test.

While these tests primarily involve physical adversity, the goal is to build a “roadmap” of our mind and spirit. What are we made of? Where are my breaking points? At what point do I transcend the physical and mental discomfort, pain, and even injury? That is the information I am searching for.

Historically Misogi was a Shinto purification practice. However, the practice of Misogi is not limited to Shintoism; it has also influenced other Japanese spiritual traditions and has been adapted into modern spiritual and self-improvement practices. The concept of purification and cleansing remains central to the idea of Misogi, where individuals seek to rid themselves of negative energies or attachments that hinder their personal growth and spiritual development.

For our purposes, as multidisciplinary athletes, a Misogi can take many forms. I encourage you to pick an event, a task, something you are not quite sure you can do, and then go all in. Do it or die trying. Commit, even if it means a monk like life for a few days, weeks, or months. Put everything else on hold until after you complete your Misogi. You might be surprised how this endeavor will transform you.

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4 Rules 4 Fighting

Once you are within arms length, and contact is imminent there are 4 rules I consistently stress to the folks that train with me;

1) Control the hands

2) Control the space

3) Gain dominant position

4) End the fight with submission or tool acquisition

These apply whether it’s a self-defense or sport situation. Make sure you’re putting in plenty of rounds hand fighting, pummeling for position, and understanding how to control the position so you can setup submissions and/or acquisition.

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Fear Is Not My Future

Training hard to be an Asset, not a liability to our people is not fear based. It’s the highest form of love and service. We are sacrificing our own selfish pursuits to prepare ourselves for a day when we might have to serve in our highest capacity.

  1. Training to be an Asset, not a Liability: This means actively working on oneself, gaining knowledge, skills, and abilities that can be of use to others. By becoming an asset, individuals aim to contribute positively to their communities, organizations, or society as a whole. It’s about being proactive and seeking opportunities to make a difference.
  2. Highest Form of Love and Service: The motivation behind this approach is not rooted in fear but rather in love and service. It’s about caring deeply for others and wanting to be in a position to help and support them when needed. This selfless mindset comes from a place of compassion and empathy.
  3. Sacrificing Selfish Pursuits: This highlights the willingness to forgo personal desires and interests for the greater good. It could mean dedicating time, effort, or resources towards self-improvement and skill development instead of focusing solely on individual gains.
  4. Preparing for Serving in Highest Capacity: The emphasis here is on being prepared to step up when the situation demands it. This could mean being ready to take on leadership roles or being equipped to handle challenges and crises effectively. The ultimate goal is to be of maximum service to others in times of need.
  5. Not Promoting Violence: This approach is not about promoting violence or causing harm to others. It emphasizes preservation, saving lives, and promoting life in all aspects. It suggests a focus on nurturing and protecting life rather than engaging in destructive behaviors.
  6. Concepts of Self-Protection and Preparedness: While some people may associate self-protection and preparedness with a more defensive or combative mindset, the approach described here centers around using those skills and preparedness to safeguard and support others. It’s about being a force for good and promoting safety and well-being.

It’s not about taking life, fighting, or violence. It’s about preserving, saving, and giving life. At all levels. This might not be how some approach the concepts of self protection, and preparedness but it is how I approach it and teach it to others.