View Full Version : The seminar I've been waiting years for...

2006-Jan-14, 08:12 PM
Woohoo - I'm so thrilled! I've been planning an upcoming seminar for about 3 years now; and in one month it's finally going to happen!

OK; you know in your fields - whatever they are - there are 'superstars' for whom seminars are major events. I'm not really sure who in astronomy that would be; I imagine Carl Sagan when he was alive, etc.

In my field of Self Defense; one of the really big names is Marc 'Animal' MacYoung (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com). He's a guy who started on the streets of L.A.; pulled himself out of the life and eventually worked his way up to become the director of a corrections institute. His was a truly violent life; that gave him an understanding about the realities of violence, and about what works and what doesn't for self defense.
Some years ago he began teaching what he calls No Nonsense Self Defense; a defensive philosophy that emphasizes the avoidance of violence rather than 'beating the bad guys' which is all too commonly accepted as 'self defense'. He states that true defense is a matter of lifestyle choices; not physical ability and that education, awareness and intelligent action are far more valuable than any 'ultimate techniques' you might learn.

Anyway, I've been familiar with some of Mr. MacYoung's work for several years. Initially I was very turned off by his 'tough guy' appearance and nickname of 'Animal' and practically had to be forced to read some of his books. It didn't take me long to change my mind - Marc teaches about avoidance, escape and lifestyle because he's tough and has lived a violent life - and thus knows the dangers involved. As one who has also lived a violent life; a lot of what he said - not all - supported what has been in my mind for a long time regarding the issues of violence and its concequences.
Anyway, around 3 years back I entered into a correspondence with Marc. I had questions, rebuttals and arguments to some of his statements. Unlike many experts who say 'It's so because I say it's so' he responded with respect for my opinions; explaining his positions with great depth and clarity.
Over the intervening years, we've had a number of truly spectacular (and occasionally public) arguments; usually in areas where there are no fixed 'yes or no' answers.
Last year; I was invited to an annual gathering - a BBQ - he hosts every year; sort of an informal 'think tank' in which experts from around the world meet to discuss, compare, teach and learn from each other. (And eat some really great food too, of course. ;) ) Not simply martial artists, but cops, soldiers, federal agents, lawyers, doctors, psychologists etc., also bikers and reformed criminals - all who have their own piece of the violence and defense puzzle. Think of the 'Amazing Meeting' for self defense and you've got the idea.
It was an amazing experience. Perhaps the most amazing part was that I - a newcomer to the field with a mere 25 years experience - was accepted as an equal and could discuss my own theories without fear of ridicule. Far from it - every teacher has the option to teach while he/she is there. Of course, the truly great teachers have large classes - it's a rare opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business. I was astonished to find that in my class; many of those top names were present as students. (Stage fright!! :D )
I mean think about it: I wound up in discussions about - for instance - the judicious use of force with a former commandant of the US Army War College, a Federal Air Marshal, a criminal psychologist and a lawyer; each balancing a paper plate piled high with bulgogi, roast chicken and curried lamb on his lap. What could possibly be better? :D
During that meeting; I of course met Marc for the first time. While we've always respected one another via mail; we quickly became friends and now I consider him to be one of my closest friends.

Well; the upshot of all this is that at long last; I've managed to get Marc to agree to come to Canada to conduct a seminar. It certainly didn't take much to get him to agree; he's never been to Canada - it was the organizing that was the tough part. So on Feb. 18, Marc will be teaching in Kitchener! Yippee!

Hee hee - sorry for all the above; I'm just excited. This is an opportunity that happens once in a lifetime and I'm so absolutely thrilled to be bringing this terriffic man to my school for a weekend. My students have had to deal with me; now they get to get real instruction from one of the sources. :D


2006-Jan-14, 10:40 PM
Congratulations. That is quite an opportunity and you did a good job catching it and running with it.

2006-Jan-15, 10:27 AM
Cngratulations on getting the seminar done.

Just an observation which may be considered totally irrelevant or perhaps not.
I've always found my best weapon in a self defense situation to be my mouth, so far I've never found myself in a potentially violent situation I couldn't defuse by talking.
Thinking back, if I'd had martial arts training it's quite possible some of them would have ended up as fights instead.

2006-Jan-16, 01:24 AM
Thello - thanks for the kind responses. :)

Henrik: You raise a valid point; but let's expand on it some.

I've always found my best weapon in a self defense situation to be my mouth, so far I've never found myself in a potentially violent situation I couldn't defuse by talking.
Well done - that is exactly the right attitude to have. Be warned however; what you are describing is not a self defense situation; it is a potential fight. They are two very, very different things and while a 'fight' certainly can (and does, if a punch is thrown) escalate into an assault; that doesn't mean it's a 'self defense situation'.

Why? Simple: it takes two to start a fight, but only one to launch an assault.
Everybody screams when I say that - they insist that someone in a bar will throw a punch utterly without provocation. Bull - it very rarely happens. In my life I've been in dozens of fights - in my youth I was every bit the muscleheaded, testosterone-poisoned young soldier I've been stereotyped as - witnessed hundreds more, often while trying to separate the combatants. I've studied literally thousands of encounters on top of that and in all that I've seen maybe twenty that could truly be said to be unprovoked. Keep in mind now - some meatbrain who's feeling frisky with his whiskey certainly doesn't need much provocation to attack; but the fact is that provocation is there. For example, guy 1 says something, guy 2 said something back. OR: Guy 1 was looking at Guy 2's girl. OR Guy 1 looked at Guy 2 wrong.
Childish, pointless reasons - but they are reasons; and totally valid inside whatever world exists in their little pea brains. Much of the trick of avoiding a fight lies in understanding what counts as provocation and knowing how to apply that knowledge at the right time. In other words, when to face down (almost never), when to be conciliatory (more common) and when to walk away (most common).
And also how to deal with your own ego - the concept of just walking away from a fight as almost incomprehensible to much of today's younger (30 and down) males. And that is a large part of what proper self defense teaches; as opposed to martial arts training.

For a bit more info you can read Marc's page here (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/fight_selfdefense.html#real_world_self_defence).
(Warning - page(s) contain strong language.)

Edit: I realise I forgot to finish off the point - I got caught up in provocation. The point is that people think in terms of 'fight'; but that's only a tiny fraction of the violence once can face nowadays. Mugging, rape, robbery, burglary, harassment - these all qualify. Nor does self defense limit itself to criminal activity: by properly applying the defensive principles of awareness and understanding; you can also deal with troublesome co-workers, abusive family members, the disturbed, the panicked, etc. SD isn't about beating the other guy; it's about protecting yourself.
For suggested reading material along these lines I strongly encourage everyone to read the book Emotional Vampires: Dealing with people who drain you dry by Dr. Albert Bernstein. It's exremely informative, eye=opening and quite a fun read as well.

Thinking back, if I'd had martial arts training it's quite possible some of them would have ended up as fights instead.

This distresses me - not the lest because I hear it so often. And because depending on the school/teacher/focus; it is so often true.

People in the West are often highly resistant to the idea that martial arts is not about fighting. It's about personal development, discipline and health - both inner and outer. That said; there are many many schools (and schools of thought) that espouse violence and call it 'martial arts' Or worse, 'Self defense'. That's part of what makes my job so difficult - havint to pull people out of violent, incorrect mindsets before I can actually start teaching them defense.
I get screamed at a lot by saying that as well; but consider: how many times have you heard someone talk about 'winning' a fight/violent encounter? Hate to say it, but that's the violent mindset right there - the idea that you have to do unto the other guy worse than he does unto you. Correct defense concerns itself with first avoiding an incident through understanding and awareness, and failing that escaping - not winning - an encounter.

I also have to constantly make the correction that martial arts and self defense are not the same thing, though I very rarely see an MA school that doesn't advertise itself as a school for learning self defense. Keep in mind that this largely is advertising; and it can be extremely successful due to the fact that people generally don't get the difference unless it's been shown to them.
For more info on the difference, you can read Marc's page here (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/traditionalMA.htm).


Just for fun, here's a post with photos I put up in another forum when I opened my school in June. When I started I called it 'Great Wave Aikido'; but soon changed it to Great Wave Self Defense; since I didn't want to misrepresent aikido.