Thursday, March 27, 2008

Force progessions, etc

In my website I have a section for members that has an article entitled The question that won't go away, about use of force. This was added to it as a follow-up in answer to a rhetorical question I ask. It's submitted by Australian instructor Tony Perez. Have a look.

Hi Lee,

Thank you for posting our recent discussion on your blog (the question that won't go away) To answer your last question, "what are you going to do about it", I'd like to share with you the the mental conditioning I've introduced for my students.

1. Establish your belief system. Notice I've stated "your" belief system rather than "a" belief system. This is much more empowering. Your belief system establish clearly not only what you should and would fight but also that you can defend yourself. Just as importantly it gives you permission to fight. This programming instills the self confidence neeeded in step 2.

2. Let a smile and handshake guide your life. Your clearly defined belief system enables you to allow good manners and courtesy to be your first responses thus providing you with a tool to avoid confrontation. After all the best defence is not to be in harms way in the first place right? This level of thinking supports step 3

3. Respond with reason rather than emotion. This can be summed up simply as believing that,
" those who talk, can be pursuaded to walk." But there is a certain skill set needed to do this which leads to step 4.

4. Use choice speech. Engage in tactical dialogue to bring the person in front of you "off the boil". Rule of thumb to achieve this - never tell an angry person to "calm dowm" The key here is to use empathy. Over 2000 years of civilisation and we still don't get it that you don't fight fire with fire. Step 5 brings in the legal angle.

5. Ask Bruce. I've introduced a use of force model adapted from our states Police service which is what they are held accountable to. I've coined this the Bruce L.E.E. model. Basically when push comes to shove, to be deemed as having acted reasonably in the eyes of our state laws you must ask yourself is your intended response;- Lawful; Ethical and Effective. Hence the phrase "Ask Bruce" Once you've reached this point there is only step 6 remaining.

6. Resolute Action. If a physical response is your only option then basically it comes down to "He who hesitates will meditate in a horizontal position."

Anyway, Lee, this is my contibution to try and answer "the question that won't go away"


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Belated birthday

March 19 was Ed Parker's birthday. He would have been 77 year old this month. Some of us were discussing, with some disbelief, that it's been close to 20 years since he passed.
He and I shared the same astrological sign, Pisces. Descriptions of Piscean characteristics often include being a dreamer. One thing I can say is that he wasn't a dreamer in the sense that he'd just think about things and never take action - he made things happen. And with all he accomplished you'd think he was a big, brash guy. Not so, being on the quiet side was a characteristic we shared, too. Mrs. Parker told me he didn't talk much. But, like the old E.F. Hutton commercials used to say, when he talked, people listened.
I seem to remember the date of his passing better than his birthday and I missed the date again this year. Better to remember late than not at all.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bunny Run

Here in Ft. Myers and in other cities, bikers get together to have a "Bunny Run" at Easter. It's like the Christmas Toys for Tots runs for kids that are so popular. Everyone brings a toy and we drop them in a bin at the local hospital.

There were about 300 bikes starting out from the Harley dealership this morning on a 21 mile ride to Lee Memorial's Health Park hospital. We were escorted by the county sheriff's deputies and jammed up traffic all over town at the height of tourist season.

I rode in with a group of friends from the Special Forces Motorcycle Club. We were told that stuffed animals could not be given to the kids but the evening before I had run into the Katz family, whose son and daughter are Kenpo students and they gave me this big, stuffed Easter Bunny to get to the kids. I had to bungee him to my back as you see in the photos and we were a bit of a hit. A reporter came by to ask me both my and the rabbit's name. Had to name her Anna, after the Katz young'in. I took "Anna" upstairs to the Pediatric unit for the nurses. The nurse who took custody with a laugh said "She needs resuscitation, she's blue." I replied we had to ride in the rain a bit but she'd be Ok. She thanked me and all the hundreds of bikers that participated. I have to thank nurses, they're incredible.
The next event here in Ft. Myers is for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation on 11-12 April to raise money for their scholarship fund. You can see an article titled "The Warrior Foundation" about it elsewhere in this blog.
Happy Easter from "Anna" and all of us here in Ft. Myers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stormin' Norman

General Norman Schwartzkopf is known as "Stormin' Norman". He will be in Florida the first weekend of April for a function. From what I understand he and Paul Newman have several camps around the country to help children. The event in April will recognize contributors to the fund that makes this possible.
Brad and Colbi Congress of Bradley's Fine Jewelers in Ft. Myers were commissioned to design a pin to be given to those donors. Brad is one of my black belts. He has created a Five Swords pendant from the artwork by Ed Parker Jr., which you see at the top of the picture here.
The General will be presented with one of the Five Swords warrior pendants along with this certificate. The certificate is signed by Ed Jr, Brad and myself. Brad is a key person in something called the "E-Generation", one of the reasons why the list of E-related principles is on the certificate. If you're "green" you'll be interested in what Brad is doing. (239) 337-2723. If you want to get one of the Five Swords pendants, go to my online store at
I'm honored that Brad included me in this recognition for General Schwartzkopf, one inspirational person.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kenpo Karate 601 update

Kenpo 601 is almost ready to go to the printer. I'm hoping it will be out by May. Preface by Chicago's Kurt Barnhart, cover by Ed Parker Jr. This will be the last of the form book series. Let someone else write Seven and Eight, 201 thru 601 took six years.

It's in the blood

My neice, Serena, recently was awarded her Billy Mitchell award through the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. (Billy Mitchell led the raid on Tokyo in early 1942 and is remembered as one of America's important aviators.)

Serena will also be recognized by the local VFW in April as Cadet of the Year. She's attended the Honor Guard Academy in Maryland, where she and her group were taught by the US Air Force Honor Guard and she's been selected to return this year for advanced training.

Pictured here with her is the commander of the Charlotte County Composite Squadron, Major Jim Kaletta.

Some inspiration

I recently received an e-mail from Lou in Alaska.
"Dear Lee, I am a recovering stroke patient and have trouble with balance and coordination."

I've had many people come through my programs with all sorts of physical problems and I've seen some pretty remarkable results from martial arts training.

Lou continued, "Years ago, I studied Kenpo and am thinking that this just may be the ticket to a full recovery. I have found that just simply stepping back into a fighting stance is a challenge as my body seems to have forgotten where the end of my right leg is. I showed my physical therapist a front snap kick from a fighting stance and she incorporated it into my therapy!"

That's a good therapist he's got there.

Lou wrote, "I've discovered that doing balancing exercises just for the sake of improving my balance is incredibly boring. When I saw your video of Delayed Sword on YouTube I could feel my old martial arts juices flowing."

I have to say I'm not wild about the whole You Tube thing. My web guru, Tom Fanelli, thinks it's great while I want to shut the thing off. Some of the comments I've read are just uncalled for, especially since we have kids going online there. But following comments from someone like Lou have me reconsidering.

"I was also inspired by your mastery. My intuition was confirmed when I read your "I love me" page."

I don't consider myself a master. But if Lou, and people like him, can benefit from what I have to share, I'll keep it up. And I'm sure Lou will, too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hartford, Connecticut seminar

I taught three classes at Frank Shekosky's studio in Middletown, CT, near Hartford, over the weekend. This photo is from a short seminar I did on foot maneuvers. Note the triplets in front.
Frank and his wife Debbie run a nice studio up there and teach both Parker Kenpo and Arnis. They have two children, Kimberly and Kelly, who keep me entertained during my visits.
The group up there at Cromwell Martial Arts is really good to work with - attentive, ask good questions, and work hard. Lance Soares out of MA and Troy Bohlander from NY were there, too. Lance is getting close to his promotion to third black and Troy gets better every time I see him. Frank himself takes a private lesson every time I go up and he's getting more and more insights into the Parker system, too.
All in all, it's a pleasure to work with the group. Now the flying up and back part is a different story. I might start walking.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Too cool!

I've always been fascinated with Chinese weapons and the double hooks swords in particular. I got a pair for my birthday recently from Kyle Zwarg.
It brings out the rabbi in me.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Raking Mace Video

Ed Cabrera has been working on boxing infusions into kenpo techniques. He sent me this clip of his variation of Raking Mace. Ed's working on a book as well on the blending of boxing and Kenpo. He's a former Golden Gloves winner, and I know Frank Trejo would approve.

A story about fear

This was sent to me by New Hampshire's Steve White. I don't know if he wrote it but it makes some good points. I take regular check rides for aircraft proficiency and, like most pilots, I get a bit nervous. Now I'm a 3000+ hour pilot and have a lot of experience but I still get nervous. It's normal. When I was to take my first aircraft checkout for the Civil Air Patrol I was told it was very thorough, blah, blah, blah. I started getting apprehensive. Then I realized that the worst that could happen is they'd say I couldn't fly their airplanes. That's it. Then practice up and come do it again. This story and its commentary pinpoint such thinking and how to deal with fear.

Some years ago, I went to an amusement park with my mother. At first, she was somewhat afraid of the roller coaster, but eventually relented in the name of adventure. As we boarded the roller coaster, I could see the tension in my mother’s body, undoubtedly caused by the adrenaline coursing through her veins with each hearbeat. I was probably feeling the same way, but since this is another one of those situations over which you have no control, it didn’t really bother me that much. Hey, if this was my day to die, then it is my day to die - might as well enjoy the ride before the accident!

As I finished my thought, the roller coaster started moving slowly. I could feel the weight of the metal that was going to hurl me at whirling speeds in a few minutes. My mother’s grip tightened with each passing second. I can only imagine what was going through her head right then. It probably contained some images of her flying through the air diving towards the ground.

Pretty soon, we were at the top. You could see my mother tensed and ready for a battle to the death. I, on the other hand, was as relaxed as I possibly could be, eagerly waiting to see what kind of strange sensations a couple extra gs would bring.

Before long, the roller coaster went over its apex and started accelerating downwards. At that time, I haven’t ridden a roller coaster in a while, so some terrifying sensations was definiately expected, Strangely, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d thought. The upwards “pull” feeling on my stomach wasn’t nearly as strong as I’d remembered. Maybe it has something to do with growing up and having a bigger body. Anyway, the random motions still seemed interesting, jerking me back and forth. I sat there, looking around at stuff at weird angles. I could probably have had a sandwich and read a book without it bothering me too much.

Out of the corner of my eyes, I caught a glimpse of my mother. She was completely bent over, with her head in between her arms, in one of the most terrified positions a person can be in. I couldn’t help but notice the irony of the situation. It reminds me of those cartoons where two guys fall off a roof, one guy lands on the floor, while another guy is grasping desperately onto the lowest ledge, only inches from the ground. The first guy taps the on the shoulder of the second guy, kind of saying, “Hey eerr, you know you can let go right?” This is exactly what I tried to do - I leaned over and gently tapped on mom on the back, seeing if she’ll relax. She barely acknowledged me, completely paralyzed by her own fear. Later, as we were getting off, she told me that she sprained her neck on the ride.

I am reminded of this experience every time I see people make a really big deal out of not so bad situations. For example, we hear of college students committing suicide because of the pressure of getting good grades. It’s so tempting to tap them on the shoulder and say, “You know - all that piece of paper says is you don’t know it very well right now - it’s not like you can’t just learn it later!” This is an example of something that could just be ignored, but instead is blown up into ridiculous proportions, just like Jack and Bob in The Key To A Healthy Relationship.

I’ve actually known the college student mentioned above personally. We played chess together at one point in high school and I knew him to be one of the smartest people in the school. Yet, from what I’ve heard, he jumped off a bridge from the pressure of graduate school and because his best friend also did the same.

The Obstacles That Our Fears Create
In both of these situations, the person in question created a seemingly unsurmountable obstacle that exists solely in their imagination. In my mom’s case, she was so sure that she was going to die on the roller coaster that day, that she did everything she could to avoid the experience. As a result, not only did she not enjoy the ride, she had a sprained neck to go along with it. In the case of the student jumping off the bridge, he probably viewed certain accomplishments in graduate school as the ultimate achievement in life. Because he thought that if he didn’t achieve this, his life would have no meaning, he ended his life just to avoid “failing” at this imaginary task.

Looking around, there are numerous instances of fears that keep people from getting what they want every day. A guy standing next to a girl who likes him but he’s afraid of asking out. So he walks away, leaving himself and the girl disappointed. A guy who wants to start a business but sees all the problems before they even manifest. Ultimately, he decides against it because these problems seem so unsurmountable, leaving himself and his potential clients unhappy. Every day, many people are prevented from accomplishing their dreams due to these imaginary obstacles. I am sure that I have had my fair share of these unjustified fears. Here’s a few tips for combatting them:

Recognize Your Fears - First, you need to recognize that this is indeed one of the fears you have. If you already accept this particular fear as the absolute truth, then there is no way to face that particular fear and hence no way to overcome it. For example, say you want to start a business, but you are afraid of taking risks. Every time someone talks to you about starting a business, your immediate response is “Oh, that’s too risky for me”. In this instance, you have so internalized the fear of taking risks that you don’t even recognize it as one of your fears anymore. In your world, it becomes an absolute truth that starting a business = bad. You no longer recall why or how you came to that conclusion, just that it is.

This is an extremely dangerous mode to get into because not only are your fears limiting your progress, you don’t even know that it is! This is the very situation that the graduate student who committed suicide got himself into. He became so obsessed with doing well in school and feared failing so much, that failing = the end of life for him. Once he saw that he couldn’t accomplish what he wanted, he figured he was going to “die anyway”, so he might as well do it earlier.

You should always very carefully examine the reasons why you choose not to do something. As long as something doesn’t kill you or permanently injure you in some way, you can do it! Start by making a list of anything you want to do. If an automatic thought crosses your mind stating some reason you can’t do it now, that is the result of some sort of fear. For example, let’s say you want to start a business but you can’t do it now because you don’t have enough money, that is the result of the fear of going broke, the fear of being hungry, the fear of having no shelter, etc. Or maybe you are not talking to the guy or girl you like because now is not a good time. That is the result of the fear of being rejected, the fear of not belonging, the fear of being inadequate, etc. Write down the reasons you have and the fears associated with those reasons.

Once you have recognized your fears, you can now work towards defeating them. These are the things that are holding you back from exploring more possibilities and limiting your growth as a person.

Understanding The Root Of Your Fears - With your list of fears that are holding you back, you can now try to figure out where these fears come from. For each item on the list, examine whether this fear is the result of some other fears. Your goal is to consolidate your list to as few fears as possible, so that you can better understand where the root of your all your fears are coming from. For example, say one of the items on your list is the fear of being poor. Ask yourself, why am I afraid of being poor? Maybe it’s because being poor limits your freedom. Maybe it makes you insecure about your ability to support yourself. From that one fear, you have actually expanded your list to two fears. Continue this process and ask yourself why you are afraid of having no freedom and why you are afraid of being unable to support yourself.

When you start this exercise, your list will probably grow bigger and bigger as your discover more and more of your fears. However, like finding bugs in software engineering (and then fixing them), you eventually will hit a peak and the number on that list will start to decrease. Try to find as many common base fears as possible, so that you have a smaller number of fears to have to work on. I also find this excerise to really help with knowing yourself better.

When I finished this process, I only had one fear left on the list - the fear of not existing.
Overcoming Your Fears - Fear, as far as I can tell, is the result of uncertainty about a situation. We fear death because we don’t know what happens after it. We fear losing our jobs because we don’t know if there is another way we’ll be able to support ourselves. We fear asking a person out on a date because we don’t know what the other person’s expectations are and whether they would say yes or no. In all of these instances, fear comes from not knowing what we would do should some particular situation happen.

To get rid of the fear, simply figure out what you will do in each of the possible scenarios. For example, for the fear of asking someone out on a date, figure out what you would do if he/she says yes, he/she says no, he/she says yes with a smile, he/she says no with a smile, he/she throws a glass of water at you, etc. Once you know exactly how to handle every single situation, there is simply nothing to be afraid of anymore.

Of course, it’s not always easy to plan out exactly what to do in every situation. How do you even go about doing that? There are infinite number of situations that can come up, so there is no way to “memorize the correct action” for each particular situation. This is where knowing your purpose in life helps tremendously. When you have a definite purpose that encompasses all situations, then you will always have something fall back on if you don’t know exactly what to do.

For me, that purpose is existence. In any situation where I am unsure or confused, I will pick the option that maximizes my existence. Dying? No problem, I will just create as much stuff as possible (could be things or ideas) while I am alive and my existence will become these things. Asking for a date? if yes, we find out more about each other. If no, I go back to my happy single life and possibly try again at a later time. Losing my job? I will try to find some other way to increase my existence. Sure, I may still be afraid from time to time since I haven’t worked every single thing out, but given a bit of time, I will always know which path to take.

Having this purpose is like having a giant compass whenever you are lost. You may not know where you are now, but you will always end up at your destination if you follow the general. Knowing this, what is there to be afraid of? You will get what you want, you are heading the right way, and you do know what to do when you are lost. Since this is an internal thing, this sure seems like a good saying: “For all problems, look inside yourself”.

Figure out your purpose and fear will never control you!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Book updates

Kenpo Karate 601 is waiting on the photos and a cover, then it goes to the printer.
Kenpo Karate 101, my first book, is going into its third printing this month. I'm working on Lessons with Ed Parker and it's over 80 pages so far. When I finish Lessons I plan to revise Kenpo 101. And Dr. Rowe and I are discussing a functional anatomy book for martial artists. It's going to be a busy year.