Archive for September, 2012

Daily Armor. What Are You Most Grateful For?

September 22, 2012

What are you most grateful today? Are you wearing your armor?

Do you start your day and end your day with gratitude? I’ve found that the first and last part of my day is best used focusing on what I’m most grateful for. I have more energy, a better attitude and those things affect my decisions and actions.

From my health, family, students, beautiful weather, and living in a country of opportunity the list goes on and on. Also, the more I do it, the better I become at it. Along with eating a nutritious breakfast and exercise, I think of it as putting on my daily armor. It is all part of my routine to put me into an empowered mindset that builds positive momentum. I’ve learned that the reverse is also true.

Sometimes the stress and demands of day to day living can be taxing, not just on the body, but on the mind and spirit. By doing this meditative gratitude exercise I’ve found that it helps restore my sense of perspective and encourages me be the person I want to be.

I’ve also noticed that when I dismiss it, trivialize it, or just forget to do it, that I don’t perform or feel as well. So to me it isn’t a pop psychology exercise or some nice intention thing. I’ve found a significant quality of life difference.

If you are taking time out to meditate on gratitude and intentionally set your self up for success and joy, I would recommend you continue it. If you haven’t tried it, I challenge you to do it for a month and journal your results. If you’re like me, you’ll not only feel better but be better in your health, relationships, performance and attitude. After all, counting time is not as important as making time count.

Do You Suffer from What’s Next Syndrome?

September 6, 2012

Do You Suffer from What’s Next Syndrome?

I know that I do from time to time.  I’ve made the observation that the more time I spend with media and plugged in (the kind that are constantly and excessively using phones and media) people, the less I am enjoying the moment and present minded.  In our fast paced society it seems more and more of us fall prey to the instant gratification of drive through windows, information and resources at our fingertips, and lightning fast computing.  You can really spot the addicts when you see them experience anxiety when they are denied access to such media.

Impatience Leading to In-Patients

From Google to our iphones, many of us are increasingly conditioned to be impatient.  Combined with high consumption of energy drinks and other stimulants, it is no wonder.  While our time is more and more a scarce resource and our demands from work and overly complex living our bodies and minds are suffering from unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety.   Research indicates that we have more people on anti-anxiety medication at unprecedented levels.

Being Present and in The Now

Increasingly I find myself trying to get students to be in the moment, to, as it is taught in yoga, “BE PRESENT”.  It is not only a critical lesson in enjoying life, having increased joy and gratitude, it is also a vital self defense and safety lesson.  As I learned from my mentor Bob Martin of Gavin de Becker and Associates, the only time an attack can happen is, “…in the present and in your presence.”  Being in the now can save lives, including yours.

Eyes Bigger Than The Stomach

My students are eager to learn new material all the time without having even grasped the elements of what they have.  They want to learn the next form and yet still improperly execute the one they are on.  Rather than pursue excellence in their existing material, they want to jump to the next because it seems new and shiny, neglecting the character and discipline lessons inherent in the proven training process.

It reminds me of my childhood when the family got to go to a buffet and my Mom saying, “You can eat all you want but you have to eat all you take.”  The excitement of the variety and the prospect of so many yummy items usually won out but I learned some valuable lessons in controlling my emotions.

Living for the Bell

Greg X Volz, a singer from a band called Petra that I listened to in my youth, had a song called, “Livin’ for the Bell”.   The lyrics are instructive:

Blue collar men mill around the dock

Their work is forgotten as they watch the clock

Just a few more minutes and they’re thru for the day

In their minds they’re already drivin’ away

The manager says you oughta be there some night

If you don’t think the dead can come back to life


Livin’ for the bell – like a fighter that fell

When ya leave it’s just as well

Coz your heart’s not in it when you’re livin’ for the bell


The students all hang on the edge of their chairs

Nervous anticipation fairly clouds the air

The teachers know better than to try to teach them

Coz those final moments don’t belong to them

They stay at their desks to escape the stampede

Coz there ain’t no fury like the recently freed… 


Livin’ for the bell

The Album: The River Is Rising (1986), by Greg X Volz.


The lyrics stated, “when you’re hearts not in it then you’re livin for the bell.” Like school children counting down the seconds til the end of the class, many of us miss the most important announcements, tips and lessons in those vital moments at the end.  Our hearts are not in it.  Being prepared, pro-active and thinking ahead are good but training the mind to focus in key times can make a profound difference in our experience and education.  Perhaps most important is the learning to be still, listen, focus, patient and diligent in our pursuit of excellence.

A Change in Recent Years

Years ago, it was only a small number of adults and children who had this issue.  Some of them are simply drivers and trying to race their way to the finish to check off yet another accomplishment in the “whomever does the most and dies with the most -wins” life philosophy.  Others simply demonstrate that they have yet to learn that often the best things are hard things that take time.

While working armed security I saw and heard of several incidents where guards or bodyguards were fired for improperly using cell phones on duty.  Distracted driving continues to be a growing concern as well.

Hope for us Drooling Dogs

Like Pavlovian dogs salivating at the sound of a bell, I think many of us are products of our modern media conditioning. Respected clinical psychologist Dr. James McGee explained to me that it takes a couple days to deprogram from media.   I’ve found that unplugging, practicing forms and martial arts with yoga is a powerful therapy – especially as a daily routine.  Another tip is rather than just devour our food, it is good to exercise this mindfulness by slowing down, expressing gratitude or blessing the meal before eating.  It’s not just what we do, it’s how we do it.  Not only are we more grateful, we connect better to nature, ourselves and those around us.  More importantly, we learn to strive for excellence rather than the next thing and stop living for the bell.  Just one more reason I think that Martial Arts study with a good teacher is a great answer to the ills of modern day living.

The Most Powerful Weapon – A Conditioned Mind

September 2, 2012

Mindset, Mindset, Mindset
The difference between humans and the other creatures of this planet is the brain. Our highly creative and powerful minds have helped us adapt, innovate and solve problems to become the dominant species on the planet. While we may still be outnumbered by insects, it is the human mind that has allowed us to decode the human genome, create the microchip, and set foot on the moon.  It is this ability to dream, solve problems and creatively use tools that make tools that significantly separates us from the rest of the creatures on the planet.  Wouldn’t it make sense to emphasize the training of one’s mind?

This mindset is useful for:

  • Law enforcement
  • Military
  • Corrections
  • Security
  • Self Defense & Personal Protection

Convert Your “What If”  scenarios to “When then” scenarios

Create suspects out of what is in your environment.  Transform your thinking from “What if…” or “What then…” to a more empowering and specific way of thinking and planning by saying “WHEN this happens, THEN I will…”

This mindset is much more pro-active and action oriented.  It is specific enough to transform from the emotional centers of the brain into the functional problem solving areas.

This line of mindset questioning will assist you in gaining internal traction that translates to external action.  You are better able to identify evacuation routes, exits, weapons of opportunity, environmental factors, barriers, distracters, force multipliers, cover, and targets.  What strengths and assets can you use and what vulnerabilities can you exploit? You can weaponize accordingly and reduce your response, and therefore exposure time.  What is your best option for gaining a tactical position of advantage?

Use these mental conditioning skills and pass them on to team, family and friends.  These steps go a long way in helping you become a harder target.

Train the brain.