Opportunity Knocks

Most of us are comfortable among our own group or tribe. I have spent my life surrounded by warriors. I feel at home in this environment. I understand the rules that govern the gym, ring, or range, and more importantly I understand the people that inhabit these environments. I dress appropriately, I speak the language, and I have the necessary skills and tools. The need to train and improve ourselves is constant, and so is the sharing of common goals. Coaching this “familiar” group is easier for me, like preaching to the choir. But what happens when your entire class of clients come from a totally different profession and lifestyle? What if a gun is not an option because of attire or international travel?


In a recent class, I taught a group of executives that travel internationally and work in a corporate environment, limiting their defensive options. Claude Werner recently wrote an article titled “Dear Instructors get a real job”.  I found great value in this article and I think it pertains to this blog. Please read it!

What a thought provoking challenge of trying to wear my every day carry (when prohibited) in a retail job without getting fired. As usual, the universe provided the needed opportunity, a chance to work with a group of executives facing the same challenges.

The class was 4 parts, Proactive Mindset, self defense law, dry fire and live fire, and Close Quarter Decisions. Proactive Mindset and Close Quarter Decisions became the focal point of the training, since a firearm was not always an option for this class of CEOs.

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You win 100% of the fights you avoid, especially if you cannot carry a firearm. Our skills, tactics, strategies, have to overlap, and cannot be dependent on one tool. Self protection is always more than whatever weapons/tools you carry. Developing concentric rings of warning and protection is the goal. Examining our lifestyle for weaknesses and openings, and developing a plan. Our mission is always to stay out of danger, and sometimes we can select the proper tools for the environment, and sometimes we have to access whatever is available from our surroundings.


Difficult situations provide opportunities for growth. Legal restrictions, age, injury, and misfortune may happen to all of us, diminishing or restricting our capabilities. How we adapt to the situation give us the greatest chance for success.

Everyone found great value in the training, and more importantly they have asked us to run a private class for their significant others. This will be a great chance to introduce a new group of clients to the world of self protection.

We are all ambassadors, and we must seize every opportunity to open the doors to self reliance that is both flexible and adaptive.

Couples Communication


The weekend before Valentine’s Day, The Complete Combatant hosts a class for couples that focus on teamwork and communication. I often joke with my wife that we are fire team Hill, but there really is some truth to this statement. If you are attacked, the chances that your loved one will be with you and in danger also, are a real concerns for many of us.

Business teamwork building concept.

A common statement from spouses that are not as committed to the self defense lifestyle is “My significant other carriers so I don’t have to be prepared, they will protect me.” I know all of us want to be protectors, but what if your protector is injured, unconscious, or worse? There are many responsibilities in a violent encounter, moving to safety, first aid, getting help, and watching for other potential threats. They all have one thing in common, the need to communicate with each other in manner which is both efficient and effective. Couples face a greater challenge because their communication is intimate, convening not only information, but also emotion. As I like to say, words have meanings, but not always the same meaning to everyone.


High stress situations require streamline communication, which is simple and direct. During a movement exercise we were doing in class, one partner told the other to go to the door, well I have 6 doors in my gym, so they headed toward different doors. Right and left, front and back, are relative to the direction you are facing, so non-specific words can work poorly in team communication. Everyone in class quickly learned to use hand signals, words that they could understood clearly, and to ask for clarification if they did not understand what the other person was saying. Verbal skills, movement, defensive skills and weapon use need to be practice together. One of drills requires taking down a bad guy together, using high and low, or arms and legs, as areas of responsibilities they quickly began to dominate their opponent, disarm them, and pin them. One person would tell someone to call 911 or get help and the other would give clear commands to the bad guy. The act of taking charge, giving directions, breaks the freeze in individuals and groups.


Developing a plan in advance and learning how to communicate simply and effectively will benefit all of us in any situation. Get training in all areas of self defense, and be prepared to work together to survive any encounter.



In my last blog, I wrote about practice and the proper mindset to achieve long lasting results. Practice is preparation for the challenges that we will face. Competition, qualifications, testing, training, or self defense will shape our practice and preparation for the future.

As a fighter, I used a 12 week training cycle. This would allow to manage my weight, study my opponent, improve conditioning, develop a game plan, and fill in the areas of weakness in my skill set. I still use this model in preparation for shooting competitions.


This allows me to improve baselines on my fundamentals, study other shooters, and improve weak skill sets. I use this same pattern when I attend a training class. I want to get the most out of every class I attend, so I prepare. I research the instructor, to understand what they teach and expect of students. I read reviews from students, looking for suggestions and details about the class. I look for study guides and course curriculum so I can structure my practice. I read the course requirements and prepare my gear in advance. I ask people who have taken the course for advice and expectations. Most importantly, I visualize my performance and develop a belief in myself to perform at the highest level my preparation and practice will allow. Now I can train with concentration and focus, getting the most out of class.

It is helpful to be confident, and prepared when you compete and train. Holding myself accountable shuts down the protective mechanism of making excuses or lowering my standards. After the class, I review my performance, and add things to my practice and make changes to skills, if I have been shown a better way.


One of the greatest tools we have as self defenders are the numerous videos of actual attacks. For the first time, we can really know how attacks are set up and executed on citizens. We can now prioritize what is necessary to avoid or survive a violent attack. Awareness, verbal skills, appropriate tool and skill selection, medical training and gear, and legal aspects of encounter can all be prepared for in advance. Make sure your practice is preparation for challenges you will face.

Timendi causa est nescire – “Ignorance is the cause of fear.”

― Seneca, Natural Questions