"My Thoughts & Words Whether You Dig'em Or Not"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jet's & Sharks need not apply


It amazes me how some who proclaim mastery of indigenous bladed arts and their tactics proclaim other's as only making shit up, when in fact 90% of their contrived horse shit has never been tested outside the realm of compliance. If you've never pushed steel you should reserve judgement on others and hold your tongue.


Theory sells a product, reality saves lives. This is a fact that no one can refute but some try, especially those of the former. They have drank the fruit punch from their POOBAH and no matter what anyone else says they will never pull their tongues from the ass of the anointed one. The reason behind their lament is more akin to a Walter Mitty syndrome than anything else. They feel for some reason that being this bad man who thinks he can wield steel with a flash and pizzaz is somehow the answer to what ever it is that ails them. In fact they do nothing but promote the fact that their ineptness in life transfers over and shows as a huge weakness. On a side note, their chest thumping and proclamations on others lend creedance to the fact that they know very little about violence as it relates to reality. If I was a betting man I'd say the closest they have ever came to using a blade tactically and practically is buttering a piece of stubborn toast. And that goes for their POOBAH as well.


THE EMPTY BARREL MAKES THE MOST NOISE WHEN THUMPED


When seeking blade skills the old saying caveat emptor applies (buyer beware). I would also add, proceed with caution. Most who proclaim themselves the best due to their their youtube ratings soaring through the stratosphere will garner your attention. Do yourself a favor, treat them like a used car salesman trying to convince you that the flashy corvette in the corner is for you, when in fact it is nothing but a shiney over hyped piece of crap that will more than likely get you killed if you have to punch it. Like the salesman most of these prima donna instructors will do nothing but convince you that flash is tactical and that their way is the only thing that will save your life. They will demo it for you as well, in a nice comfortable environment where it all goes down smooth as wine. They will hard sell you until you buy their product, and like the corvette, if you ever have to punch it your gonna be on the stink end of the shit stick.


Do your homework people, there are people int his world who teach the blade from a very simple, practical platform, based on their experience in surviving steel and also pushing steel (word of advise, come correct in your approach and with your reasoning). Choose wisely, do you really need that flashy corvette or would a durable, practical truck work just as well and keep you a lot safer?

Always remember the knife is an ambush weapon, If you deliberately duel ( the 90% factor mentioned earlier) then you deserve what you get, your a dumb ass! If your forced to go knife on knife I hope you have practical skill sets, if not your chances of coming out of this in one piece is slim and none, and slim just blew town.


RED FLAG WATCH


If he says he a master knife fighter, ASK TO SEE HIS SCARS! Nobodies that damn good, NOBODY!


If he beats the dead horse and claims he has had 200 street fights and never lost...Run, then laugh your ass off all the way to the car.


If he says he is a Special forces knife instructor ask him who, when , where? Ask for references. There is a difference between teaching SF units knife and teaching a guy who happens be in the Army.


If he says his system is so deadly it can't be topped, Turn and walk away, he is a quack!


In other words people..USE YOUR HEAD...This isn't X-BOX


JETS & SHARKS need not apply


If you get hit by flying steel I can assure you the last thing you will be screaming is MARIA..this isn't West Side Story!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Deep End



Martial arts teachers are a fickle bunch to be sure, most believe that a slow steady progression from a dogmatic position is the only way for an adult beginner to understand the nuances of an art. They take their raw recruits and place them at such a low level on the learning curve that it truly hinders growth and confidence. I have found it detrimental to adult students to place them on the same ladder as a child student. Adults and children are different in their mannerisms, experience’s and desires. Often times child students are only there for their parents and will in all likely hood be an in and out student. On the other hand adult students who attend martial classes may in fact be looking for something totally different, something they can covet and call their own, for whatever reason. To place them on that same sliding scale is in my opinion doing a grave injustice to them and not addressing their desires.

If you look at the make up of most martial arts curriculums you will see a very methodical approach to learning. Everything is laid out softly with little or no challenge. This will hinder the production from an adult student, especially those who have the fire for truth and are there for the simple reason of finding it. They have come to you because they feel you can deliver to them their much needed remedy for confidence and ability. An adult will not stick around for very long if you approach him as a child and throw him into the shallow end of training along side pre-pubescent 13 year olds whose only real reason for being there is because Dad said “Your going”.

A kick is a kick and a punch a punch and both techniques along with many others will be taught to both child and adult alike. The difference between the to will lie in the intent factor. The child may be enamored by the flash of a technique because he is a child. Children work off of a very different stimuli make up than an adult. The adult may and probably will see that flash technique as futile. He isn’t there for that. As a teacher you will now run into the explain game. The explain game is a place where you have to quantify every nook and cranny of a technique. You have to be able to sell this flash as function to the youngster yet somehow convince the adult that it is still functional form. The former may be easy but the latter will be a hard pressed sell. This quagmire can be avoided by simply removing the adult from a child geared class and gearing the work equal to the intellect and desire.

I am a firm believer in the deep end continuum. I will take a new adult student and put him straight into the deep end of training. He will show up and find himself so overwhelmed that he will think he is drowning in information. On the contrary what he perceives as a suffocating immersion is really a liberating approach, the only thing lacking is understanding which will be gained moment by moment as he starts to float back to the surface of WHY. In this way you can take a raw recruit and give him the necessary work needed and boost his confidence from day one.

My approach to function is simple. It all starts with belief. The student must be confident in what he is learning and his abilities to learn and use it. If you take this student and place him in the shallow end of learning he will flounder. There is no challenge, there is no mana (spirit), there is no fire. That shallow end is that for a reason. It isn’t geared for truth, rather it is geared for purposes other than form equal function. The student will simply dry up because of the boredom placed before him. It is a ladder of ascension based upon technique and dogma. There is also the time factor to be addressed in the low end method. There are teachers who follow strict doctrine from some mother ship entity who believe that time equals skill. They will make it mandatory that each person stays at a certain level for a certain period of time before they are allowed to test for something higher. During this time the only real skill these people garner is dojo manifested. They may be dynamite in the controlled setting where punches and kicks come at them like marsh mellows to a flame but in reality have they learned one iota of truth as it pertains to self preservation? People, especially adult students have to be good now not 2 years from now. If an adult remains in a shallow end frame his skills will be a long time coming, if they ever come at all.

The deep end is chalked full of intent and motion, you take the student and immerse him into the fray from day one, you get him doing things he never thought he could do in a million years. In essence you have him believing in himself because you chucked the dogmatic playbook right out the window. He does not view himself as a beginner or an outsider trying to find his place. In the deep end he is embraced as a brother or sister and everyone understands that he or she is there for that very reason you so desired not so long ago. He is a part of the tribe, not a tribe of technique theory driven students led by a figure head who is more interested in generating income as opposed to the well being of his tribe. In the deep end students will learn fast, they will function fast, they will realize that nothing is wrong and nothing is right it simply is and that flow is the key. They will amaze themselves at every turn learning motion and simplicity. This confidence will then sink the hook of reality deep into the students craw driving him to become better.

Simplicity with intent is the axiom on which I hang my hat, if it isn’t simple and chalked full of intent then to me it is useless. In the deep end the student will soon understand that simplicity is key and quite easy to manifest once the belief is engrained, and engraining belief comes quite early in the deep end. It has to, you have no other choice, you’re in it up to your neck. My students have been with me for a maximum of 2.5 years yet they function as if they have been playing the game for a decade. This judgement doesn’t come from me, I know good they are. This assessment comes from seasoned practitioners and teachers of other methodologies who stood awe struck after witnessing them work and flow under pressure in not so friendly of confines. The only way these folks got that good that fast was by me throwing them from day one into the deep end of the learning pool. Trust me it works.

Mike Blackgrave

SEAMOK Tactical Solutions (TM)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Think like a founder


"Think Like a Founder, not a follower" Those are the words I live by. I always pay respect to who and where I got what from. My goal is not to mimic there work, but to develop mine. In that way I can pass that same blue print mindset on to my people and allow them to build their own house. In this way SEAMOK never grows static and dogma never creeps in. I encourage everyone to find their own way. I tell them, take what I gave you...take it in your personal laboratory and make your own Frankenstein. Then give it to some one else and encourage them to do the same...it's the only way that form will ever meet function as we are all so goddamn different

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It Can't Happen to Me !!



Some people will never get it. We can lay it on them hard and heavy, scream our reasoning and still they will not get it. What I am talking about is self preservation. The ability to understand that protecting yourself is paramount to success. The vast majority of people in this and any country are simply unprepared, unaware and simply stated, ignorant. They are not stupid people but they let their inexperience and life status dictate to them how they will perform daily, with nary a care to the harsh realities that surround them.


The world as we know it has taken some serious low roads as of late. The gang scene has always been present but until recently it seemed to be relegated to the big city, the inner city. It seems now that the trend is to infiltrate the middle road areas, the suburbs, and set up shop. The reasons are obvious, a gullible market, an under manned, under armed police force and less over all competition and heat from the authorities. This coupled with a prime recruiting ground for further expansion leads one to the assumption that the hood has come to Mayberry.


When you are a teacher of self preservation it is an extremely frustrating realism to know that some people place little value upon their well being. However, they are not conscious to the fact. I have asked a vast array of individuals this question; “ What do you do to prepare for a life threatening encounter?” The answers are as strange as they are disheartening, for example;


“ I really don’t think that will ever happen to me, I drive a nice car and live in a gated community and rarely go near a bad area.”


Or this..


“ I lift weights a lot, I’ll kick their ass.”


And finally this gem...


“ I couldn’t hurt another human being like that, if it’s my time then God made it so.”


These are but a few answers I have heard in the last year alone. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that these individuals and many more like them have no idea the danger that is creeping nearer and nearer each and every day.


Federal Bureau of Investigation stats reveal that fifty eight percent of all local and national law enforcement agencies now report gang activities in their communities, this according to the 2008 report. That was a thirteen percent increase from the 2004 statistics. This alarming increase demands that people take a hard look at their personal safety concerns. Sadly most will not, preferring to stay in their comfortable box with blinders firm in place.


So what’s the answer? is there any hope of bringing the light to these people? Should we waste our time to do so? I for one say yes. As annoying as a combatives instructor can be I strongly believe that there is more to the average mans sheepish disposition. That truth needs be shared whether they like it or not!


A lot of the excuses people use are merely quick discussion enders as opposed to anything remotely resembling the truth. The quick and cool blow off is just a card in their deck to further allow themselves the option of quit, and once you get the quits it’s a hard monkey to kick.


Another entity that must hold some responsibility is the martial arts. What people sell as truth has a way of transcending to the masses due to an over zealous marketing ploy to deliver a product that is a lie. We see it every day in commercial and non commercial schools across this and every country that have martial arts being taught. You can pick up any martial arts magazine and see the worlds deadliest this or meanest that. Is it truth? Perhaps to those who haven’t a clue as to the harsh reality of street combat, or the wow that rocks crowd who still believe that X-BOX holds the secrets to the grail, and even more so to the sods who declare it as the only way, the deadliest way, their way.


If you look through most martial publications you will see many knife articles based on combat usage. Some deal with military tactics, others talk loudly about their defensive prowess while a vast majority go on about their invincibility in the oh so coveted duel. But rarely do you come across one that deals in the realm of the common cultural attacks that plague our societies.


So with all this information readily available what is the average person to do? That question sits at the root of this problem. Sadly before any action is taken a tragic occurrence may drive the once confident, bullet proof citizen towards the path of self preservation. It is a dark day when it takes violence to open the eyes of someone who finally gets it. It is a high price to pay.


The obvious move for the individual is to seek out instruction. This is where we the competent instructors come into the picture. Most people who will seek out self preservation training have no idea what it is they are actually trying to find. They will do research perhaps, or simply yellow page it and give it a whirl. The research they do may in fact be done at a time when everything and anything looks plausible. Many will begin their path under false pretenses and gullibility thus withering away in dogmatic systems that are based on anything but the well being of the student. The instructors of these ways may in fact be doing only what they were taught and only what they know but some where in that cycle a choice was made and that choice is what the students are hanging their hats on. Sadly, many times the hat just doesn’t fit the head!


So the key for the laymen lies in the truth based on another mans experience. Not an easy sell by any means. If one can crack the stubborn mindset of these people an entire life style change takes place. Confidence is renewed in the person who decided to climb over the edge of his box. A sense of empowerment now takes the place of gifted ego.


When a man or woman takes the first step down the path of self preservation they will find a world that is sometimes shocking, often times overwhelming but always rewarding. One thing for sure, they will be joining a fraternity of people who simply refuse to be victims and are ready to do something about it. Most people think only tough guys, blue collar type people get into this type of activity. On the contrary. There are people from all walks of life who at one time lived in a glass bubble with a handful of rocks. The one thing they have in common is their passion for this type of training. And that’s enough for every one to coexist in an often time high speed low drag atmosphere.


Once skills start becoming a part of your everyday drive and training becomes part of your daily do the individual will no longer walk in fear. It is hard to explain to those who choose to live their life on the premise that it can never happen to me. The drive one will feel is inspiring and a rush in and of itself, a rush that can and will save your life.


So what should an individual seek? There again lies a very important question. In my humble opinion the first thing that must be sought is truth. We are all adults and as such we should have the common sense to know when the wool is being draped across our eyes. If Master Chum Lee has a boat load of trophies adorning his store front window a red flag should immediately pop up. He isn’t what you want. Do not be fooled by these types who say “ I teach both sport and combatives.” The two simply do not jive for obvious reasons. The sport mindset is that of competition, and competition is not what one should covet when one is knee deep in violence in a street situation gone array.


People need to ask questions, pertinent questions, for example:


What do you teach? The answers will differ but listen none the less. If you hear words like forms, contracts, master etc. you may want to look else where. There is nothing in those words that address your needs. Schools who operate on these premises are often times after a student base to put money in pockets, your personal safety isn’t first and foremost on their agenda. Strip mall karate will never be your answer to what you seek. That much I guarantee.


Do you teach weapons? This is a very important issue. When this question is asked you once again will hear various answers, listen up. If you hear “Yes I teach bo-staff, three sectional staff, ninja stars but only after brown belt.” If you hear that you must automatically throw up the huge RED FLAG. This once again will serve you no purpose. Ask yourself, “ Where on earth could I ever carry and conceal such a weapon?” Another point to consider is the entire I only teach weapons at a higher belt level. This mindset coveted by the traditionalists is archaic at best. This is 2010 not 1835. We live in a society where weapons are used against innocent people daily, yet these dinosaurs expect their people to battle those odds empty handed. This is akin to taking a shower with a raincoat, it just doesn’t make sense. Weapon training should always be practical and tactical. A bo-staff is neither, nor is a ninja star or a naginata. The practical weapons that one must train are:


  1. Impact weapon (a stick no longer than arm length, an asp, a walking stick) These weapons are easily transferable to empty hand usage as well as make shift weaponry, i.e. a rolled up news paper, a piece of pipe, a car antenna and basically anything you can grab. Longer impact weapons like a cane are legal and also easy to learn and use.
  2. Edged weapon (a knife, there are many to choose, folders, straight blade, karambit) The idea is to become adept at using the knife from a tactical practical mindset. The ability to draw the weapon and put it into play under duress. Be wary of schools that covet the duel and flashy movement. Practical and Tactical is the key. Also, BE WARY OF THE INSTRUCTOR WHO NEVER MENTIONS RUNNING AWAY.
  3. Firearms (a pistol, a tactical rifle, a tactical shotgun) Many people will run in terror at the idea of handling firearms. They do so at their own peril. This is America, land of the gun. Your enemy is using it, you must as well. It is your right as an American to keep and bare arms. Embrace that fact! Many combatives instructors do not teach this aspect, but it is an easy fix. There are countless quality CQB (close quarter battle) academies that teach the needed skill sets. Often times these academies are run by former SWAT and military operatives who have been in harms way on more than one occasion. They teach from experience and a practical / tactical platform. Once again, ask pertinent questions when seeking these individuals out for instruction. Do your homework. Use your internet for more than quick surfing porn. Do you work and pursue this avenue.


These are the only weapons in my opinion that one must have in their personal self preservation tool box. Yes there are others but for the average citizen who desires skill sets to keep them and theirs safe this is it. Rock solid empty hands, impact and edged weaponry and firearm skills.


Another excuse people use to talk themselves out of their pursuit is, THIS ALL COSTS TO MUCH MONEY. Well yes it does, but to much is a question I never ask. Perhaps one should ask them self “ How much is your life and the lives of your loved ones worth?” One can obtain a quality high calibre (9mm, .40 cal, .45 acp) for $400-$600 dollars. A quality rifle for $800 dollars. A quality shotgun for $200-$400 dollars. (The training at various fire arm academies can be pricey but in my opinion any dime you pay will be well worth it. Remember owning a gun doesn’t make you tactical, training does.) A stick is dirt cheap, an asp is cheap and a good tactical folder can be obtained for $45 dollars. You do not need to acquire all your tools at one time. Take your time, start with a folder and a stick. Obtain a pistol as it should be your first line of home defense and the first firearm you learn to use. You can obtain your permit to carry as well. So this totally debunks the jelly backed excuse as money is an issue.


The same issue of money comes up in the question of who do I train with. Some people who teach are absolutely nuts on their prices. If someone tells you their stuff is so dangerous that it costs $500 a month walk away. There are quality people who keep it real and never over charge their students. You will not find these types teaching at a strip mall. Usually these types (myself included) teach small groups in the back yards and garages of America. They are not in it for the buck, rather they are in it to pass on knowledge to people who need and want life saving skills. Remember, you are paying for the instructors time, what he teaches he gives for free.


So there you have it folks. We live in a violent society and for you or anyone to dismiss that is ignorant and dangerous. Do not let bad things happen to you and yours because you decided that those security gates and that BMW give you some sort of golden ticket that prevents evil from finding you. If that’s your mind set I pray that you never have to find out, but something tells me that MURPHY’S LAW may have other plans.


Train smart, Train Hard, Seek the truth, LIVE it’s your right!


Mike Blackgrave

SEAMOK Tactical Solutions


Simplicity with Intent

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

COOPERISMS


Below sit the words of Col. Jeff Cooper. He was not a poet, rather a man who saw and dealt with violence his way on more than one occasion. His home spun mannerisms speak volumes to practical common sense.

"I have over the past thirty years been one hundred percent in favor of Gun Control - achieved through proper stance, controlled breathing, and smooth trigger squeeze; applied repeatedly until the threat is neutralized."

"The police cannot protect the citizen at this stage of our development, and they cannot even protect themselves in many cases. It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory."

"And the Lord said, 'Blessed are the short of cash, for they shall not be led into temptations'. So the Devil invented consumer credit."

"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician."


These are but a few..I will post more in due time...peace ya'll...and remember center mass is crucial but available center mass is truth.
"Perso"Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapo are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons."